Monday, September 26, 2011


Seven years ago today I married my best-friend and the man of my dreams. He is now the father of my children, still my best-friend and still the man of my dreams.

Vans and I have known each other for 11 years. 10 years ago we started dating. 3 and half years after dating we were married. He's a patient man what can I say ... or maybe he was just taking his time trying to decide if he was ready for a set of New Jersey in-laws, a life-time of Bon Jovi music and a wife who can instantly "go Jersey" at any moment. I make it interesting ... what can I say?

Happy Anniversary!

Wow. 7 years and two kids later ...

Our annual Tahoe week is coming up. I can hardly wait and neither can the Peanut. We are actually spending a couple extra days in Tahoe this year because of course I found a race to run and also an Oktoberfest for Vans! Priorities. What can I say?

Yesterday I knew I had to do double digit mileage or at least 2 hours on my feet. I was dreading this all weekend. I was supposed to go Saturday morning but Squeaker had a rough night, as did Vans and so I was left waking up throughout the night and on early mommy duty in the morning and therefore bailed on my run. We also wanted to head out to the Auburn Damn Overlook to watch Pigeon rock it in the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run. She nailed it.

So Sunday was the day. I started later than I had anticipated but Squeaker is not taking a bottle easily so I had to make sure she was well fed and Vans was alert and ready to deal with two kids. I headed out down my street and about a half mile from my house I run into four women.

I did a double take. Could it be? Really!? It was 3 old Buffalo Chip girls that I used to run with and one newbie! They asked me if I wanted to run with them and I about cried at the offer. What a dream! They were already on mile 8 of their 16 for the day but I tagged along with them for about 4 miles before they headed back towards Folsom. I am now on their radar and hope to join them on a few runs through El Dorado Hills.

It is funny but they were so overjoyed to run around my neck of the woods. They oogled at houses and they loved running the hills. For weeks I have been complaining about hills and yet I hear them saying how much they wished they lived here. Years ago (pre-kids) I used to run with the Chips up in Cameron Park and I'd come home excited to tell Vans about the amazing houses and great training hills. I wanted to live there. Funny how that works. The grass is always greener huh? 

After I left the girls I decided I needed to change my way of thinking and enjoy where I am and where I get to run. It will only help me and make me stronger in my training. 

I left my group at the corner of Green Valley and Sophia Parkway and turned back up Sophia to tackle Beatty. Beatty is probably most known to cyclists as one of the meanest training hills in the area. It is long, steep and long. Very long. Did I mention it was long? I ran some walked some ran some walked some. I dodged turkeys and ran some more. I enjoyed it. 

After running all around El Dorado Hills I finally made 10 miles and called it a day. I was so excited to tell Vans about my run-in with the Buffalo Chips. 

Next weekend I have some major mileage planned. We leave for Tahoe on Friday. Saturday morning is my race. The race is from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley which is about 7.88 miles. We stay in Squaw Valley so in order to get my required mileage in ... I plan to wake up early, run to Tahoe City and then join the race and run back to Squaw Valley. This not only gives me my mileage for the weekend it also allows Vans and the girls the chance to sleep in and only walk over to the finish vs waking up and driving me to the start. 

Hopefully day light is on my side ... otherwise I might be starting my run in the dark ... actually I probably will be starting my run in the dark just a little bit. Dark and cold but I can hardly wait. It's TAHOE!

I love our week in Tahoe and sadly this is my last week home with Squeaker. After we return from Tahoe I return to work. Good bye maternity leave. Never again will I have this time at home the way I have had it this summer. 

Going back to work is bittersweet. I am anxious for the routine and to um, actually earn a paycheck but at the same time, one on one time with Squeaker is just so precious. 

She's so cute ... what can I say?

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Today was the Big Blue Adventure Emerald Bay Trail Run also called the Bay to Bliss run (because you run from Emerald Bay to D.L. Bliss Park's Lester Beach).

Last year I ran this race as the kick off to our week long vacation in Tahoe. I was also pregnant when I ran the race but did not know it at the time. It was such a beautiful run and it finished directly on the beach which was a hit for Vans and the Peanut.

I was determined to run the race again since it was so much fun and I felt I needed to redeem myself.

I also want to note that this recap will be an honest recap. What I mean by that is I will explain what a mother of an infant (and a 3 year old) actually has to do before a race for those who do not have kids and want to know how they can still race while having a child under the age of one and a 3 year old at home. So here goes ...

First and foremost, you have to have a supportive partner. Vans is very supportive and he is also very competitive so he understands my need for doing certain races over and over again. It also helps that he loves Tahoe as much as I do.

Also, Squeaker is an amazing baby. I won't lie.

She's pretty easy going.

Okay. ONCE in a while she'll cry...

But generally, she's easy as gluten-free pie.

So last night she woke up to eat at 3:45 am. I am nursing so that means I get up at 3:45 as well. As she often does, she poops. All babies do and usually when you are half asleep. However, by 4:00 am I was back in bed (told you she was easy). 5:45 am my alarm goes off (ugh). I change into my running clothes and take a few sips of coffee (I need that warm wake up first thing). A little after 6 am I make sure Vans is up (usually he isn't) and I go into the Peanut's room. I change her from her jammies into shorts and a t-shirt with long pants and a sweat shirt over it ... ALL while she is still asleep. She is used to this. She slowly opens her eyes and says "are we in Tahoe yet?" What can I say, this kid also loves Tahoe. I finish getting her ready and plop her on the couch where she starts talking nonstop about what she plans to do in Tahoe.

Next, I go into Squeaker's room who is still sound asleep. I pick her up and I nurse her while she's asleep and then I change her from her jammies into WARMER jammies. I remembered this year just how chilly it was at the start (go me). While I am doing this, Vans is loading the car with all the snacks, drinks, sand toys and other odds and ends we laid out last night.

6:40 am we're on the road and I am worried we're not going to make it. The glare from the sun was horrible on the drive up causing us to drive well below the speed limit.

We finally get to Eagle Point Campground (the race start) and I jump out of the car to head to registration to get my race packet. Vans luckily scored the last parking spot.

When I got to the car, Vans was changing Squeaker's diaper and then did the handoff to me. Sadly, Squeaker is refusing to take bottles making my life terribly stressful and hard right now. SO ... a mother has to do what a mother has to do ... I nursed her in the front seat of the car. After that, I placed her on the driver's side while Vans got all of our baby-gear ready. As a nursing mother AND a runner ... you have to then pump before running. If you are child-less or from another generation and do not know what "pumping" means, google "pumping milk" to find out. 10 minutes later I am finally getting myself dressed to race ... with only 8 minutes to spare before race start.

I blow kisses to the family and I run. The race start is a half mile down this very long hill to the very bottom of Eagle Point Campground ... with the start racing back up the same hill you've just run down.

Here is the course map:

Here is the course profile:

What the course profile doesn't show you are the STAIRS you have to climb in and around Vikingsholm. More on that later.

So the race starts (literally, "3, 2, 1 GO" by the race director). Everyone races up the hill only to be hit by the altitude and steepness of this paved hill. I saw Mo Bartley fly by me with absolutely no problems (no surprise). However, I have to say that this year the hill seemed a lot easier. That doesn't mean I ran it any faster, but it was easier to climb because all of a sudden I saw the Peanut!

With Gu! Again!

Squeaker was there too...

The hand off...

The Peanut was standing right where the race turns into a real trail race. A conga line trail race ...

Can you find me?

The Peanut, Vans and Squeaker hung our for a bit taking photos.

The race was on and I was feeling pretty good. I passed four women right off the bat on the down hill. As I was yelling "on your left" I heard an echo "on your left" coming from behind me. Once we were farther away from those other women, I hollered back "Anytime you want to pass just let me know!" "I am not going anywhere girlfriend!" a voice yelled back at me ... I just laughed and then in my head thought "wait a minute" when the person yelled, "Do you know who this is!?" and for a second my mind went blank. I definitely recognized the voice "Kind of," I said, "Who is it?" "It's BIG D girl!"! "NO WAY!" I yelled! I instantly teared up.

Big D was my pacer at AR50 and my long time running buddy. I have not run with her in over TWO YEARS and to all of a sudden have her behind me was like a dream! She told me she wasn't leaving my side but Big D is fast. Super fast and I could tell that she was running solid. She ran with me for a bit and then she remembered that her coach (Mo Bartley) was here and that she was really supposed to be running hard. I didn't mind as I was starting to lose steam and did not want to hold Big D back at all. I watched with a huge smile on my face as I saw Big D pass runner after runner after runner and was out of sight.

Instead, I locked in on my race rabbit for this race. I instantly labeled her Lululemon because she was decked out in Lululemon capris, tanks (yes two) and socks. She was solid and running strong. I passed two men to catch up to her. I stayed behind her and noticed that when we hit the stairs going up, she was flying. Hmmm, I assumed she was from the Bay Area with the way she was climbing stairs and I later learned I was right.

Miles 4 through 6 were hard for me. I walked way more than I had imagined. Not including the stairs. I was flying on the downs, solid on the ups but the FLATS had me struggling at times. What gives!? I remained behind Lululemon though. I was hot on her heels. She said she wasn't bothered by my heavy breathing.

At one point near the finish, Lululemon started slowing! What?! No way! She was my rabbit! I yelled "Hey! Hey Lululemon don't slow down now! C'mon! You can do it!"

"Did I really just call her Lululemon out loud?" I thought to myself. Yes. Yes I did but she appreciated it and she turned on the jets. I followed her to the finish. I could have passed her at two different spots in the race but I don't doubt she would have caught up to me. Instead, I was happy I could motivate her to keep going because she had kept me going the entire race.

I knew once I hit the finish area that no matter what, the Peanut was going to run through the finish with me. She had asked me, no, BEGGED ME this morning to let her run the entire race with me. She was devastated when I said she couldn't but she was more than happy to take me into the finish shoot.



The finish (I love that the race ends on the beach facing the water)

A few runners actually run straight through the finish and dive into the water. The race director loves this!

Sadly, my time was about the same as last year. Who am I kidding, that isn't that bad I suppose. Last year I was pregnant and this year I am 3 months post baby ... next year, NEXT YEAR will be the year I PR ... right Vans?

Of course I immediately had to find Big D.

She was baby lovin!

And the baby was lovin Big D!

The girls!

Then I had to find Lululemon. She actually found me and we talked for a bit. She was from the Bay Area (those stairs!) and thanked me immensely for getting her bum into gear near the finish. I told her that one of my dear friends is a huge Lululemon fan and that she kept me honest all race.

I love this race. Absolutely love it. You cannot deny the awesome beach finish is the best way to end a race ... which also makes a great ice-bath later as well.

(psst - Captain Kirk - this is for you from Vans)

The kids also love this race because they get to play on the beach. Next year there will be no rest for the racer ... as I'll be chasing two!!

But that is okay because I love...

my girls.

Friday, September 16, 2011


It is

exhausting ...

being this cute.

Sorry, nothing running related ... I ran 6 miles yesterday, 4 at tempo. Gearing up for the race this weekend. That's all. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This past Sunday I had the Buffalo Stampede ... this upcoming weekend I have the Big Blue Adventure Emerald Bay race. I ran this race last year (go here) and very vividly remember struggling at various points throughout the course. It isn't a difficult race (not super easy but not terrible). Looking back I didn't fuel well AT ALL ... um, basically barely any food before the race as I was trying to pack up our family to get on the road. Soon AFTER the race I discovered I was pregnant with Squeaker. A quick "doh! that is why I felt like that!" and  "that is why my heart rate was beating so high" moments hit me and have left this race as one that sticks out in my mind. I couldn't wait to return.

So this Sunday we'll be loading the car bright and early and hitting the road to Emerald Bay so I can run this course again. The best part about this race is that it ends on Lester Beach. Literally ON the beach where the Peanut can build endless sandcastles. Hopefully the weather cooperates.

The Saturday before the Buffalo Stampede race we met Jersey Girl and her son LilDude and Scrapbook and her family downtown for the Pro-Cycling Races. It was a fun time. The kids really enjoyed watching the races.

Squeaker was in awe ...

The Peanut busted out the cowbell...

"helping" LilDude not touch the fence...

Showing him how fast she can run...

Trying not to think he's pretty funny...

Yet secretly, I think they have a friendship...


The cyclists raced on...

The Peanut climbed trees...

and Vans.

Overall, it was a great Saturday evening. Both kids were fast asleep the minute we arrived home. I just love weekends like the past two we've had ... we're very lucky and blessed. 


On a more serious note, I would like to send everyone to The Dylan Flinchum "Rock On" Foundation Facebook page. Please "Like" this page and if you can manage, please look at the page's "Info" tab about sending donations. 

Dylan Flinchum is the nephew of my very best friend and the son to my long-time childhood neighbor and friend. This family has been in my life since I was 3 months old living next door to me. Matt, my friend and Mike, Dylan's father have been like brothers to me. Please help support Dylan and his family any way that you can. 

This is taken directly from the Facebook Page ...

Shortly after Dylan’s second birthday in January, he began to experience difficulty walking. After being referred to several medical specialists (including some of the top neurosurgeons in the country at Cornell Medical Center in NYC) it was determined that Dylan had a condition known as Chiari malformation. Dylan underwent surgery in the spring and was expected to make a full recovery.

After several weeks of physical therapy, Dylan was not progressing as expected and began to show symptoms that were unrelated to the malformation. A follow up MRI was completed and doctors were shocked to significant change in Dylan's white brain matter. After getting the initial diagnosis from Cornell, Mike and Melissa traveled to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where it was confirmed that Dylan is suffering from a degenerative disease known as metachromatic leukodystrophy, often referred to as MLD.

As they all prepare to cope with this horrible disease, everyone is focused on one thing, Dylan. Their goal is to make Dylan as happy and as comfortable as possible while bringing as many smiles to his face as they can.

In order to best acheive this, they will likely be missing extended periods of work as well as making many trips back and forth to Philadelphia to be sure that they are providing Dylan with the best care that is offered at CHOP, the top pediatric hospital in the country. Dylan will also require special medical equipment and various types of therapy to make him more comfortable as the disease continues to progress.

The Dylan Flinchum “Rock On!” Foundation has been created as we all want to help ease just some of the burden Mike and Melissa are facing so that they can devote all their time and effort on Dylan. A Facebook page has all been created so please send your kind words and prayers to Mike and Melissa on the Foundation Page (if you have a Facebook account) as they need all of our love and support. We are in the process of planning a Music fundraising event later this fall and hope to organize a walk in the spring.

In the meantime if you would like to contribute to the Foundation or have any other questions, please send an email to:

Please send a check to:

The Dylan Flinchum “Rock On!” Foundation
14 Lenape Drive
Stanhope, NJ 07874

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today was the the Buffalo Stampede 10 mile race. It begins and ends at Rio Americana High School (aka Van's alma mater). It goes down American River Drive and past my old neighborhood where you turn around and wind back through the neighborhood streets onto American River Drive again making your way back to Rio. It is a great fast flat course. Every year I run this race and every year I wonder "How can such a flat course make me feel like I am losing steam?"

This year I went into this race with one goal in mind. A goal that is very opposite of how I approach any other race ... go slow. I normally start out way too fast and lose speed, quickly. Today I wanted to actually PACE myself.

With five minutes left to spare, Vans dropped me off at the starting line. Literally. Everyone watched me get out of the car. The race directors said a few nice words honoring the memory of 9/11 and then we had 30 seconds of silence.

While milling about the starting area I said hello to a few Buffalo Chips that I used to run with and who have since surpassed me speed wise. I also set my sights on a girl I used to know years ago. Someone I used to play soccer with too. I silently designated her as my "race rabbit." Everyone has one of these. Generally they are someone you recognize or know ... someone that you set your sights on and designate (usually mentally) that you will beat that person or at the very least, stay within sight of them. This girl has been my race rabbit for years. Usually I end up beating her but barely. Today, I just wanted to stay behind her but close.

The race started and she was in front of me. She seemed to be going at a decent pace, nothing too strenuous and I thought "Hey this is going to be a piece of cake." As I was running along I was thinking about mile 4. Mile 4 is where I always see Vans and the Peanut as it is near where we used to live and where my in-laws currently live. Before the race I handed the Peanut a Gu and I told her to hold onto it tight. I told her it was my race fuel and that she could give it to me when she sees me running later. Her eyes lit up. She couldn't wait to give her momma her "race fuel."


I also told myself that at Mile 4 I am going to stop and say "hi" to Vans and the Peanut and if I lose my race rabbit I won't let her get too far ahead. Mile 4 came and it was great...

Armed with her Gu

and her cow bell ...

she sees her momma!

Momma gets a hug mid-race.

Back on the road again.

However, I saw my race rabbit slowly getting farther and farther away. At mile 5 I took the Gu the Peanut gave me hoping maybe it would give me some juice. It helped. I wasn't suffering at all and I was enjoying the race yet I knew that if I tried to catch my race rabbit that I probably would not be able to maintain my energy level after sprinting to catch her. I slowly just let her go. At mile 7 I could still see her in my sights but I was no where near in a position to catch her and it seemed as if she too was gaining some speed to the finish.

Instead I jockeyed position with a husband and wife team. The husband was quite entertaining as he was the only person who accepted the Krispy Kremes they were handing out at mile 6 ... twice. His wife didn't seem happy and he kept yelling at her to "come on honey! you can do it honey" ... she didn't look too thrilled. I eventually passed them both at mile 8 as I felt the need to accelerate. Oddly at mile 9 he came sprinting by me tell me to "gooooo" yet 20 feet in front of me he just stops. Completely stops. I am guessing he went back to find his wife and finish with her but perhaps mentally he was using ME as HIS race rabbit.

Waiting patiently for momma at the finish. With cow bell. Again.

Even Squeaker was waiting um, semi-patiently.

The home stretch.

As I crossed the finish line I saw Boss and Jessica's Mom from my old ultra-running group. It was nice to see them and Jessica's Mom got to meet Squeaker! I also introduced Squeaker to some Buffalo Chip friends and I chatted it up with my race rabbit after I crossed the finish line. In my age group, she only finished one person in front of me!

Here are my mile splits:

Mile 1: 8:49
Mile 2: 8:40
Mile 3: 8:31
Mile 4: 8:33
Mile 5: 8:37
Mile 6: 8:44
Mile 7: 8:49
Mile 8: 8:45
Mile 9: 8:43
Mile 10: 8:28

My garmin says an 8:39 average but the official race results say 8:44 with a 1:27 finish. Definitely my slowest Buffalo Stampede ever but hey, that was my goal right? I definitely paced myself.

The Peanut also attempted another half mile kids' race but unfortunately because of her slow mother (and forgetful father) we missed the actual race. However, the race director was so awesome he let her run one lap around the track and gave her a medal anyway ....

Run Momma Run!

Almost there!

Peanut gets a medal!

SO happy. 

I absolutely love races that have FREE Kid races as well. I think they show case such a great example of fitness and family fun. The Peanut is pretty easy going at most races and really enjoys watching people race. Next year, when the Squeaker is bigger, I will have someone to hold my Gu AND water! :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011


I have probably used that title for various posts because that word comes into play a lot in our lives. We are definitely the "Stubborn Family."

First Squeaker is being stubborn. After taking the bottle initially after she was born, she has started refusing it. Completely. She will go five plus hours without taking it and will scream for an hour fighting it. Eventually she has taken the bottle at some point but in increments. This "stubbornness" is stressing me out because she starts daycare in about a month. We are not making any headway here either. I have purchased numerous bottle types and I have even purchased a warmer! The Peanut got her milk cold out of the fridge and never once complained ... so this refusal is something very new to us. The girl is stellar in every way ... minus this one tiny (albeit important) detail ... she's too attached to me. Literally.

But she is so darn cute!

Second the scale is being stubborn. I am currently back to what I was at my first prenatal appointment ... but quite a bit away from where I was and need to be. This is one area of my life where I can practice patience. I know the scale will budge eventually and my diet could use improvement (um, just discovered gluten free cake balls ... such an addiction) but I do have some work attire that I need to fit into in about a month. I guess I need to put down these cake balls huh?

Third I am being stubborn in not wanting to leave the house because Squeaker is being stubborn (see item number 1 above). Last night I was presented with an opportunity to go running with some friends over at Cavitt. I was going to say no and just do my usual run around the house so that I could be home early enough to feed Squeaker and rescue Vans. Well, Vans didn't force me to go but he strongly encouraged me to go and meet my friends even though he knew I would be gone up to 2 hours. So I met my friend Biceps and her friend at Cavitt Junior High and we ran 6 miles on the trails. They were good miles too. I ran all the hills up and down and never walked once. I felt good and strong. I am glad that I went and when I returned home, Vans told me that Squeaker did scream for about 15 minutes and then passed out and basically waited until I got home. That works. It did screw up our usual easy bedtime routine but hey, no complaints.

The Peanut is naturally stubborn. She is 3 after all. 

Fourth ... again this points to me (hmmm) I am racing the Buffalo Chips Stampede this weekend. It is a 10 mile race. I love having a blog because I can look back to 2010 and see how I did ... (go here to see it). However, in 2010 I didn't have a new born and I lived a half mile from the start. 2011 I will have a 13 week old who wakes at night to eat, we now live about 30 minutes from the start and I have to get Vans, Squeaker AND the Peanut ready to go ... oh how times have changed. I must practice patience this Sunday. This run/race needs to be purely a training run for me. I have not done 10 miles on pavement yet. Clearly I am way behind my CIM training plan (which has me doing 12). I am hoping that my hilly runs here at the house will make me strong enough to manage the 10 flat miles of the Buffalo Chip Stampede. We shall see. I just want to pace myself well and not start out too fast like I normally do. The Peanut is excited as well because there is kids half mile race immediately following my race ... she's pumped and ready to go!

The girl is always ... it.

So we have a lot going on this weekend and have had a lot going on this past week. I am still feeling fine minus the wine glass that I accidentally impaled into the palm of my hand on Tuesday morning. Ouch that really hurts and has prevented me from doing my weight training exercises. No I wasn't drinking early Tuesday morning, just doing the dishes.

The Peanut was home sick all week with a bad cough, cold/sore throat combo. I let her get away with a lot of tv watching but really, she just slept ... that is how you know she's really sick because that girl never sleeps. Today she is happily back at school though.

I managed some sprints at the track this past Tuesday. Body feels slow but overall I am feeling more like myself.

I think things are slowly coming back together for us although I am waiting for my third "issue" to happen. I have had two major things happen lately and you know they always come in threes ... first my 911 scare, then the wine glass I had to pull out of my palm ... what next? Wait. Don't answer that.