Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear William (46 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 46 months old!

It has been a fantastic month.

We started it off with camping trip to the Mark Twain National Forest, where your dad ran the Berryman 50 mile trail race.  You were very helpful setting up the tent.

Photo 2

Photo 3


Back at home, you tried cauliflower, which you sort of liked. 

Photo 1


It was raining on Memorial Day Weekend, so we couldn't go outside much. Instead we did some baking. You helped me invent the most amazing Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies, but then you refused to eat them :(.

Photo 1 3


There was an end-of-the-schoolyear carnival at the Catholic school up the street. (End-of-the-schoolyear carnivals are A Thing in St. Louis.  Every school has one).  There were real, actual roller coasters there.  The height requirements for most of them were 42 inches, and you are about 39, but no was too concerned about that.

You loved the roller coasters, which is surprising, considering that you share my DNA (and occasionally my propensity for carsickness).

Photo 1 2

Photo 2 2

Although it looks like you must be in horrible danger, you said you were having fun.


You went to Shakespeare in the Park.

Photo 4


You continued to work hard at school, practicing pre-writing and the teeter-totter.



You love practicing to read and write.  You even do that for fun at home with me.  Sometimes you do some pages in your kindergarden workbook while wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume and a conductor hat.

Photo 5


This month you drew a picture of me for the very first time.  It's adorable.  I think I look like a smiling australopithecine in a dress.

Photo 4 1


Left: Mommy.  Middle peach blob: Will.  Skinny brown stick figure below that: Daddy.


You are taking a swim class at the Heman Park Pool.  Sometimes you love it, sometimes you cry and say that the water is too cold.  I am really hoping that you stick with this and that you like swimming.  Of all the sports you could end up choosing to do, swimming would be a good one.

You have also started riding your balance bike more and more.  At first you didn't like it, but now you can't wait to ride!


 On a nice day this month, I took you outside and gave you a really great haircut.  You are so handsome!!  I could just kiss your cheeks all day long.

Photo 2 3

William, starting this past week, I am off work for the rest of the summer.  Time for Mama and Will to play!  We have been having so much fun, and we've got 2 more months to play and play.  I am loving every minute of it.  When I wake up in the mornings and hear the birds chirping, I get so happy just thinking about spending the day with you!

Love always,

Your mama 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Love on the Run 10K

Two 10K's in two weeks for me!

Heart to heart

Immediately after the U-City Memorial Day 10K, I started perusing Big River Running Company's race calendar to see if there was anything else coming up that interested me.  The Creve Coeur Heart to Heart run on June 8th looked good-- it was a 10K and nearby.  Miraculously, it did not conflict with any of Rob's running, swimming, triathlon, hiking, or mountain/road/cyclocross bike races, so I signed up for it.  

On Saturday morning I got up early, had some cinnamon toast, and drove all the way out to West County.  After I picked up my bib number (there was an actual expo for this race), I ran a couple of miles along the course.  It started out going up a pretty sizable hill, and I thought, this is fantastic.  Seriously.  Three years of living in St. Louis, and somehow, hills have become My Thing.

Sufficiently warmed up, I went back to the start/finish area (at the Creve Coeur Government Center) to wait.  I ended up running into one of the guys I had met 2 weeks prior at the U-City 10K, who had asked me where I get my protein.  I guess I was pretty easy to spot-- I was wearing the exact same outfit (No Meat Athlete singlet, black shorts, sliver/teal trail racing flats).  It was nice to have someone to talk to as we waited for the race to start.

I was determined not to make the same mistake that I had at U-City, which was starting way too far back and losing about 40 seconds in the first mile.  But I also didn't want to miscalculate and put myself in front of any guys who were planning on going out at 5 minute pace.  It was a delicate balance, and as the seconds ticked down, I alternated panicking that I had again positioned myself too far back, or that I had overcompensated and now risked being trampled by lining up too close to the front.  

But when it was time to go, we all just went, and everything was fine.  It was one of the smoothest race starts I've ever had-- maybe just about 5 or 10 seconds of jockeying for position, and then I felt like I was perfectly on my pace and exactly where I wanted to be.  

Starting on the uphill was hard for a lot of people, but I effortlessly streamed passed other runners.  Maybe about a half a mile in, I noticed how very close to the front of the pack I was, and that I could only see one other woman in front of me.  This was peculiar.  The race was a 5K as well, and we were all still running together at this point.  There should have been a lot more people ahead of me than there was.  I started to freak out a little bit.  This either meant that 1) I was running way too fast -or- 2) There were not a whole lot of fast people doing this race.

I decided to just stay the course until we got to the mile 1 marker and see what kind of pace I was going.

Creve Coeur 10K Race Route

I got there in a no-frills time of 7:28.  Fine.  Exactly where I should be.  I was capable of holding 7:30 pace for the rest of the race-- wasn't I?

The first mile (on N. New Ballas and Olive) had been nearly all uphill and in a rather bland concrete expanse of businesses, doctors offices, and chain restaurants.  Once we got through that section, the 5K and 10K split off.  The rest of the race wound up and down (the hills never quit!) residential areas.  I liked that part much better.

I made it to mile 2 in 7:37, and I felt a little grim.  It didn't seem like I was slacking off, but I was 9 seconds slower.  This didn't bode well.  If I was already slowing down by the 2nd mile, how much more would I slow down by the end?

I picked out people ahead of me and made up my mind to catch them, one by one.

I hit mile 3 at 7:30 even.  Okay, that was a good sign.  Not a huge speed increase, but at least I wasn't continuing to go slower.  By this point I think we hit the section where we had to run on the sidewalk because the course was on a semi-busy road that wasn't closed to traffic.  I'd been kind of worried that this was the road-race equivalent of running on a single track trail (and getting stuck behind people you can't pass), but it was fine.  The runners were very spread out by now, and I was not boxed in on the sidewalk at all.

Mile 4 was 7:29.  Huzzah.  I was still kicking it and now there were just two miles and a bit left.  No nausea, not any real fatigue, nothing hurt too bad. My legs were totally fine on the hills-- in fact, I felt noticeably better at this point than I had just 2 weeks earlier at U-City-- but my stomach was cramping.  Like having a stitch in my side.  I notice that this happens a lot when I run hills at under 8 minute pace.  I think it is because I breathe too shallowly.  I should probably work on that.

Mile 5, 7:40.  Ugh.  Pick it up, Ragfield.  Ignore the stitch in your side and breathe as deep as you can.  You've only got a mile to go.

Mile 6, 7:35.  Okay, you can still pull this off.  And it is probably going to be a PR.

My finishing time was 46:55 by my watch, 47:01 by the gun (meaning there had been a 6 second delay from the start of the race until I actually crossed the start line).  I'll take it.  That's almost 40 seconds faster than I ran 2 weeks ago at U-City, so I am pleased.  And it may be the fastest 10K I've ever run (I wasn't very good about keeping track of m times back in the early 2000's when I was faster).

Creve coeur 10K

This race had a much smaller field than U-City.  My time, which may have been a PR for me but in the scheme of things is really No Big Deal, was good enough to place me as the 13th overall finisher, 3rd overall female.  That is kind of cool, I guess.

Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 10 38 12 PM


And here is a fun spreadsheet of how my splits compared to the U-City race 2 weeks ago:

Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 10 42 50 PM

So, the difference really does appear to be primarily a result of that slow first mile at U-City.

Don't get me wrong, I love ultras, but these last two races have me half tempted to try to go out and be fast at shorter distances.

What I learned from this race: I am not too old to run a 10K at near 7:30 pace.  Also, I might have evolved beyond the Clif Bar (or else, thrown up too many Clif Bars in my lifetime) because my pre-race breakfast of cinnamon toast (Will's current favorite food) served me well.

Something else noteworthy: Race organization was great.  Except for getting slightly tangled up with 5K walkers at the end (I think that was during my 7:40 mile), everything was fantastic.  You could tell that the race directors really took this seriously and knew what they were doing.  I mean, there was an expo and I got a medal at the end.  That has never happened in a 10K before.

How does this mesh with ultra training?  The thing about running a 10K is that it is kind of a waste of a good weekend with regard to ultra training.  At least it is when you married to someone who trains for 1700 different things and you have a child that one of you needs to be looking after at all times.  Saturday morning was the little block I had chiseled out for myself.  Immediately after the race, I drove home and then left to run another 8 miles (including a stop by the playground where Rob had taken Will).  I was still home in time for lunch.  Even though I only ran about 14 or 15 miles for the day, it was a pretty good workout.  Those fast miles really made a difference in my level of fatigue-- I was exhausted afterwards.  Rob left in the afternoon to run for a couple of hours, and I completely passed out on the couch while Will was sitting next to me reading some books.  I woke up an indeterminate amount of time later-- Will was sitting on my stomach, eating Goldfish crackers, and apparently just staring at me until I opened my eyes.

A final thought: June 8th was Eduardo's 18th birthday.