Sunday, October 30, 2011


I survived the race. However, let me start from the beginning.

Saturday we had a bunch of friends over for our usual Game Night Halloween party. It is just a group of close friends, all with kids and they come over in costume. We provided crafts for them to do and then we had a mock Trick or Treat session in our hallway.

This was actually a really good thing because Jersey Girl discovered that Lil Dude (who is 2) likes to walk INTO a house after he knocks and the door is opened. Now she is prepared for Halloween night.

Every year we get our annual photo .... some kids are missing each year for various reasons, but they are all still super cute and growing fast!




After everyone left and we cleaned up the house I went to bed. It was 8:30 pm and Squeaker had been down since 7 pm. I needed to make up for lost sleep from the night before when both Squeaker and the Peanut woke up.

Squeaker woke up at 10:30 pm, 2 am and 5 am to eat. My alarm went off at 6 am for the race. I felt well rested. After some coffee to get things moving and breakfast of gluten free oatmeal with peanut butter I was ready to leave for the race. I woke Vans to tell him I was leaving (it was about 6:50 am) and that Squeaker would probably be up at 7 am.

The bonus of living closer to Folsom now is that I do not have to leave super early for this race. I easily found a parking spot and sat in my car where it was warm. I needed a moment to mentally prepare myself for this race.

This would be my 6th Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon, and for some reason I was nervous. I told Vans the night before that I was as nervous for this race as I was the very first time I ever ran it in 2002. Why? I think I had too many expectations for myself and considering my lack of quality training lately, I was afraid I would not finish.

I eventually got out of my car. I had my iPhone with me and my running playlist. I don't normally race with headphones or music but for some reason, with this race I felt like I needed it. I am glad I had it with me.

I made my way to the starting area and ran into one crazy porta potty line.

This stretched on much farther than it shows. 

Another bonus of living closer is that I went before I left the house so no porta potty line for me!

Since the race generally falls on or near Halloween, the Race Directors usually encourage people to dress in costume and will give a prize for the best one. This year, I think this guy's costume was pretty crazy.

Orange man?

He must have been fast in that suit because I never saw him at all during the race. He also must have been pretty darn hot!

I stood talking to a nice guy who worked for Raleys in their corporate office for a long while. It was his first Four Bridges and he was a bit excited. I think I need to go work for Raleys though as he was telling me that at his office, they have an incentive plan where if you work out on your lunch hour, you can reduce your health care premium every year! Sign me up!

Soon it was time for my wave to start. I sort of positioned myself in the middle. Years past I would have been up front but I know that I get caught up in the excitement of the first mile and often start out too fast.

This year I carried my water since I will be carrying my water for CIM. I also had some salt tabs and a few gels with me just in case. The gun went off and the wave started walking. When you hit the chip mat however, things started moving and I was off.

Immediately I felt sore. My back hurt, my hip was sore and I just felt out of sorts. Eventually all that wore off and I felt my groove. I did not turn on my music because I actually like the sounds of a race start because there are lots of people. This race has you run through Old Folsom the first mile or so which is really cute so I kept my music off until I hit the bike trail portion.

The first few miles flew by and I could not wait until the first aid-station. Not because I needed anything but because it was the Fleet Feet aid-station and I knew that I would see some familiar faces.

Sure enough Coach Nikon was the first to spot me and yell and I saw Super Woman and Pigeon and heard a few more cheers. It was just the boost I needed.

 I have to say that I was moving along at a decent pace and felt great. I felt as if I could hold the pace for a while. I think living and running in El Dorado Hills has really made me a stronger up hill runner as every person I passed, was on an up hill portion. There are a lot of rolling hills the first half of the race which I enjoyed.

Once again, anything flat has me struggling. I am guessing speed work and leg turnover is something I need to focus more on if I want to improve on the flat sections (any other advice??).

I was just cruising along feeling great. My stomach felt amazing which is rare for me. It felt so great that I was barely sipping any water for fear of having it give me trouble. The minute I started drinking water I was hit with a few side stitches. I never ever get those but lately, they have been happening more frequently and I am not sure as to why.

Around mile 7 I took a salt tab which I think helped with my side stitch. I also noticed that they have changed the course since I last ran it in 2008. With the new Hazel Bridge construction complete, they had us running a small out and back section before crossing the bridge and they didn't have us running under the bridge they way we had in the past. This threw me for a loop as I was not expecting it and I really did not enjoy the out and back section. I hate seeing runners going in the opposite direction that I am.

Once I crossed Hazel however, things started going south. The other half of this course has a lot more flat sections to it and no matter how hard I tried to speed up, my mile splits just kept getting slower and slower. I finally took a gel at mile 10 thinking maybe that would help but it didn't. I just kept getting slower.

The last mile of this race is notorious for being rough. It is up hill once you cross the foot bridge in Old Folsom. A switch-back up up up past all the spectators will lead you to the finish shoot. An up hill finish is always tough.

I have to say I felt strong on all the up hills except the finish hill. I wasn't dead but I was not as strong as I had been on the up hills earlier in the race.

I crossed the finish and felt a surge of relief that I was done.


I wore my Dylan Flinchum RockOn Foundation shirt for the race. It was perfect.

Here are my mile splits:

Mile 1 8:13
Mile 2 8:05
Mile 3 8:03
Mile 4 8:10
Mile 5 8:04
Mile 6 8:07
Mile 7 8:09
Mile 8 8:23
Mile 9 8:22
Mile 10 8:31
Mile 11 8:23
Mile 12 8:49
Mile 13 9:12 (that darn up hill)
My unofficial Garmin results were 1:50 and a 8:21/mile.

Official results: 1:50 and a 8:25/mile
11th in my age group out of 129
292 out of 1613 women

No matter how hard I tried after mile 9 to run faster, I just couldn't. At times I thought I was picking up the pace only to be passed by a few runners. Those darn flat straight sections get me every time!

When I finished the race I called Vans just to be sure he wasn't secretly trying to surprise me after the race. He wasn't. He had his own challenges at home (Squeaker is teething).

When I arrived home the girls were super excited to see me. Vans too but for a different reason. The Peanut really liked my medal and asked me "Mommy!? Did you WIN?!" Bless her heart.

I may not have won the race but I did win in life. 


Off to do my first "race" post baby. Squeaker is four months two weeks and 2 days old .... fingers crossed I survive....

Thursday, October 27, 2011


So this has been a rough week. After my weekend of running, I basically have not run much this week at all other than a few miles on Tuesday evening. I have had some knee pain that is either being caused by me wearing heels (since I have returned to work) or because I hardly run all week long and then on weekends I go out and pound a lot of mileage. Honestly, it is probably is a combination of the two.

Something needs to change. I had a talk with Vans because I complain to him that I *need* to run at night but I am physically and mentally drained from a day of working, commuting and being the mommy shuttle bus for two little ones. Add in making dinner, prepping lunches, washing clothes that have been subject to poo-namis, grocery shopping ... the list goes on and on. When can I run? Vans does his part around the house and often times forces me out reminding me to just start a run, if I am still beat after a mile, then I can come home.

I don't mean to complain (well, it is my blog and I can complain if I want to) but I know some of you out there battle the same struggles that I am battling right now and you some how find the time. It is possible. It might not happen every day the same way but I know that I need to carve out 30 minutes minimum of "me time" to run, cross-train whatever!

I've also reached out to Coach Seth. He's a "stop complaining" kind of guy but he is trying to work with my crazy schedule and daily routine. I am afraid curious to see what he comes up with because right now, any strength training I did over the summer is gone. However he is also battling some serious back pain and is scheduled to have surgery in December. Maybe he'll go easy on me then? (ha) He has a lot on his plate right now but I trust him enough to tell me what I need to do in order to be the best me I can be physically. He can't hold my hand and he can't force me out the door, but he can suggest the right routine for me and the rest is up to me. He is good at telling people to stop complaining and just do the work to get what you want.

Basically I want to be strong and fit enough that I am not exhausted come the end of the day. Vans pointed out this morning that I should really look at my nutrition to see if I am getting enough iron and protein and such. I admit, I am on the fly constantly right now that "a bar" is all too often a meal during the day. Working on that.

All day my energy is strong but come that long drive home with a tired (and cranky) Peanut and a hungry (and tired) Squeaker any "oomph" I had is gone. My girls need me, especially in the evenings. Normally I will do any running after Squeaker is down for the night. Adorned in my headlamp and reflective gear, I hit the streets while Vans gives the Peanut a bath. I am not enjoying this. I want snuggle time on the couch, I want to cook a healthy meal for us instead of reheating and microwaving stuff. I enjoyed cooking dinners for my family while I was home on maternity leave. I miss that.

So while driving to work this morning I did some thinking. Having a long commute lends itself to having random thoughts and ideas (just ask Vans). I have decided that I need to workout in the morning. For my own sake and for that of my girls. If I can find 30 minutes in the morning to run or lift then perhaps, that is the answer I am looking for right now. Of course, I say this forgetting that I am up feeding Squeaker at 10:30 pm, 2:00 am and 5 am most nights/mornings. However, why not after my 5 am wake can't I just hit the treadmill? I get up for the day at 5:45 anyway ... why not just stay up in an effort to have more quality time at home in the evenings?

I will probably put this plan into effect next week, after I run my half this weekend. I know there will be mornings where Squeaker will be "off" and not waking at her usual times or the Peanut will be up (she is still the worst sleeper) but I can deal. I know this isn't forever. Squeaker will sleep (some day)and the Peanut? Well, she stays asleep MOST of the time ... when she doesn't, I'll let Vans deal. :-)

What matters most are my girls and the time I get to spend with them. I just stumbled across this photo today ... it was taken March 2010 at the Way Too Cool 50K:

March 2010 So tiny. So QUIET.

Now she seems so grown up to me. She will talk your ear off if you let her and she never lets you get  a word in either. Hmmm, sounds like the making of a good lawyer to me?!

 October 2011 Feisty and


Just amazes me how fast she is growing and I don't want to miss a second of it. I am already sad being back at work with the girls being away from me all day long. Granted I enjoy adult time but nothing compares to spending time with my girls.

Squeaker is just finishing up her last week with a private nanny-share. Next week she finally attends the same daycare that the Peanut is going to right now. What does that mean? It means (hopefully) a quicker drop off and pick up  for us but it also means that most likely she will get her first cold. It is inevitable. Daycare is a germ fest.

Right now she's enjoying the nanny and the company of another little baby .... it is quiet. Boy is she in for a shocker come Monday!

Squeaker (on the right) and her buddy out for a ride

Story time!

Toy thief. She snags the toys from her friend constantly.

Yup, just seeing those photos makes me excited to be home more in the evenings.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


It is possible to get lost on a run that you've already done twice before. My problem seems that I chit chat too much at a particular spot that I never noticed where we turned. So when I ran the same route yesterday, on my own, I had no idea where to go and ran up and down the same street a few times until I figured my way out. Oops.

It has been a running weekend. I needed that. It all started on Friday when Fleet Feet Fair-Oaks/Roseville had their first Pub Run!

Yes, a running pub run. 

It wasn't your typical college pub run where you just run from pub to pub drinking. Instead we met at a pub on Friday evening, registered for this FREE event and then took off running four miles. I pushed Squeaker in the BOB stroller and Vans pushed the Peanut in the chariot. We were the only ones out there with joggers but it was fun! The Peanut had a blast with her cowbell and yelling "run faster mommy faster!"

They also had a guy dressed up as a beer bottle with ribbons attached to him. He would hide somewhere out on the course and you had to find him, chase him and grab one of the ribbons to get a prize at the end of the race. Vans was ready for him. The Peanut however, was calling him the BEARD guy instead of the beer guy so it was "get the beard guy daddy! get the beard guy!" Vans caught him. Nice.

When we finished, Fleet Feet had the back patio ready for everyone. The event was co-sponsored by Saucony and they had cool raffle prizes and free beer and cookies. Seriously? What could be a better Friday night!? I hope they do this again with other running sponsors. It was great because Saucony let you test out their shoes on the run as well as their reflective vests! That is a great way to get your product out there to the public.

Saturday I woke up and needed to get a long run in. I am still battling some tummy issues that I had earlier in the week (I was accidentally glutened at a party). I set out with the intentions of doing 8 hilly miles. Once again I ran up Beatty, or at least most of it. I've decided that I need to stop being complacent with hills. In ultras they say you should walk the ups and run the downs and that is true for the most part, especially if you are doing a really long race, but I am finding myself walking the ups more than I think I really need to because I assume I have to. Instead I am trying to push myself to run hills more so I can get stronger. I think it is working as I am feeling much stronger on some of the smaller hills in the neighborhood.

After the run we went out to the Folsom Whole Foods Pre-opening party! The store officially opens on Wednesday and I can hardly wait. I am a Whole Foods junkie (being gluten free I sort of have to be). The store will probably be insane for a few weeks though. I will go once all the excitement passes or right before they close.

I think today I might head out for a 3 mile run later. It has some hills but I feel the need to add a few extra miles in this weekend since I didn't go very long on Saturday. Next Sunday is the Folsom Lake Four Bridges Half Marathon. I am considering this my first "real" race since being back post Squeaker. I signed up for this race last year but then found out I was pregnant and we were gearing up to move so I had not been running much. It isn't a super easy half as there are some hills involved. I hope I am ready. I really want to do well in this race.

I ran the same race after the Peanut was born and I ran it faster than I ever had before (a new PR for this race actually). I ran it in 1:48 (8:18/mile). My half marathon PR is 1:44 (7:58/mile) at Shamrock the same year ... for some reason post Peanut I was way faster than I am post Squeaker. My expectations are high but I also don't want to disappoint myself as I know what I am running right now and it isn't that. I guess we will see what the week brings and how it affects my race. Work has not been an easy return and the Squeaker is adjusting to going to a "daycare" environment and thus waking more frequently in the middle of the night.

She's still an awesome kid who does sleep well. I really can't complain and apparently neither can Vans as she has become a great photography subject ....

Hey Dad, is that a CAMERA you have?

Shall I give you a profile?

Or a smirk?

Darling, please ... I know how cute I am.

Lord, tell him how cute I am!

See. The kid loves the camera. Lucky for Vans.....

Because the Peanut doesn't. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This is Dylan.

I posted a while back about helping out Dylan. Dylan is the son of a dear friend of mine who I have known my entire life. Dylan is three and was recently diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy often referred to as MLD. Basically people who are affected by MLD lack an enzyme in their blood. Without this enzyme, sulfatides are NOT broken down and instead build-up in the white matter of the brain and central nervous system causing destruction of the myelin sheath, or demyelination. Without an intact myelin sheath there is a breakdown in communication between the nerves and the brain. This loss of or miscommunication accounts for the loss of acquired functions, paralysis, blindness, seizures and eventual death seen in MLD. You can learn more about MLD here.

Dylan and his family need your help.

Dylan's Mom & Dad
From Dylan's Facebook page:
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 achieve 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.

When I found out about Dylan I decided that I would run The California International Marathon this December 4th in his honor and I wanted to bring awareness to Dylan's situation and help his family at the same time. I wanted to wear a shirt so that everyone running near me for those 26.2 miles will know who Dylan is and raise awareness about MLD. I also wanted my cheering section (aka my family) sporting the same shirts. Heck, they will be standing out there for hours waiting for me to run by, I might as well put them to use and help spread the word right!?

So I set out to find a company that could help me achieve my goals. I reached out to Beth at Shut Up and Run and quite a few other bloggers but Beth sent me to Paul at Family Fan Club. I emailed Paul about Dylan and the same day I received an email back from Paul saying that he could help ... and help he did!

Paul set up The Dylan Flinchum Rockon Foundation store page where you can buy not only New Balance Tech Shirts (ahem, great for running in) but also regular t-shirts, shirts for kids, mugs, water bottles and decals and the proceeds will help Dylan's family!!!!

New Balance Tech Shirt
How cute is that!?

Paul and the rest of the Family Fan Club people had the site up and running in no time at all and have been VERY supportive. I am beside myself with joy over this and The Dylan Flinchum Rockon Foundation Facebook page has posted the link to Dylan's store.

I ask you, beg you and plead with you to please visit the Family Fan Club Dylan Flinchum Rockon Foundation Store page and buy a shirt, a water bottle, a sticker ... anything. Please help Dylan.

And while you are helping out Dylan, please go over to the Family Fan Club page and tell them how awesome they are. You can also "Like" them on Facebook. It is an amazing thing they have done for Dylan and his family.

Monday, October 17, 2011


On Sunday I ran 16 miles with Pigeon. It was almost like old times ... except we were not on trails and we were not training for a race that SHE was doing. Instead, she came running the streets of El Dorado Hills with ME since I am training for CIM.

Earlier in the week some emails bounced around from my old running group the Buffalo Chips. They were headed to EDH to run and so I thought it was great timing for me to join them. However, I know how fast those Buffalo Chippers are ... they are super fast. Pigeon had expressed an interest in running with me and I have been dying to run with her as well. I invited her. The poor girl had run 13 crazy hilly miles on the trails in Cool the day prior but still agreed to come and run with me. True running friendship at its finest.

The day started early with Pigeon arriving at my house at 7 am. We drove to the meet-up location even though the route passed my house half-way in. This was Pigeon's "out point" if she was struggling, which is why she left her car at my house.

The minute the group started running I thought something was not quite right. They were running too close to our pace and then it happened. We hit a hill and those Buffalo Chippers were long gone. You would think THEY lived in El Dorado Hills the way they powered up some of those hills yesterday. Sheesh! It didn't help that Pigeon and I took a wrong turn at one point and went about a half mile out of the way. Oops.

Yet, like Pigeon posted in her run report, the miles just flew by because we were playing catch up on lost time. We would talk, we would run, we would walk the occasional hill but the entire time it was as if no time had past at all between us. Despite her running The Sierra Nevada Endurance Run 50 miler just three weeks ago ... and me having had a baby just four months ago ... we were just picking up as if no time had passed. It was great.

(Thanks Pigeon for the 2010 photo)

After our run she came back to my house (she had to, her car was there) and we iced our legs in my very cold pool while sipping Godiva Pumpkin Coffee! It was great. She finally was able to meet Squeaker and poor Peanut just whisked Pigeon away to her room to show her all her toys and claim the attention for herself.

Squeaker did not mind as she has a "new to her" toy ... the jump-a-roo and boy does she JUMP!

Bounce Bounce Bounce

She jumps so much the picture is a bit fuzzy! You would never know this girl had her shots on Friday! She measured in at 14 pounds 13.8 ounces ... almost a full pound heavier than the Peanut at four months. The nurse administered the 3 shots and she cried but then stopped and the rest of the weekend was her happy smiling self. She was also super snugly. Love.


If you didn't catch my post over the weekend, please check out my support of the No White At Night campaign.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that I went on a night run. I have gone night running before always wearing a headlamp and some sort of reflective gear. If you remember this post, I wear these often and love them.

Where I live there are no sidewalks or street lamps. It is pitch black outside both in the early morning and in the evenings when I return home from work. I used to workout first thing in the morning and I do prefer that but with two kids, a long commute and just life in general ... it isn't feasible for me right now. I am resigned to run after work.

Watch this video that 3M Schotchlite sent to me and asked me to promote on my blog. It will truly open your eyes and make you think:

I cannot tell you how many neighbors are out walking their dogs when I drive home from work and they are practically invisible to me until I am within feet of them. I see people running at dusk with nothing more than a stripe on their shorts.

Please be careful out there. I think that video speaks volumes in the first few seconds. The evenings are getting darker earlier and I am a firm believer in being seen by motor vehicles when I am out running. As a kid I was squished between a moving car and a parked car, my own fault, but none the less, it made me very adamant about being visible to motorists. In the game of chicken, the car will always win.

I ask you all, what do you wear when running in dark conditions? Is it only a headlamp? What about the motorists behind you? They can't see that light.

360 degrees of visibility is key. 3M Scotchlite has the right idea in their new campaign "No White At Night."

Please spread the word. Fleet Feet has tons of reflective apparel in their stores and there is a ton of stuff online too. They say running is one of the most inexpensive sports around ...all you need are shoes and a water bottle. Well, I'd like to add "reflective gear" to that list too. Most reflective clothing is very affordable.

Just remember, you have to be visible not only from the front, but from the side and behind as well.

Can you see the white?

Scotchlite New Balance 360 Jacket

You have to be careful ... people that love you are counting on you. Be an example. Be safe.

Friday, October 14, 2011


We are home now from vacation and today I returned to work. Wow, 4.5 months have flown by. I tried posting more photos while in Tahoe but it SNOWED while we were there and the internet connection was terrible. I also tried for days to post from home and again, bad internet ... sheesh!

Finally here are some more photos from our week in Tahoe ...
The Peanut & Vans at the Oktoberfest

At the top of the world!

Playing footsie!

Ready for the chilly weather!

She won't take a bottle from Vans, but she'll take one from the Peanut!

Snuggles on the couch!

Peanut's first time bowling!!

Followed by some soccer (the girl has natural talent).

Snuggles with mom!

10 guesses who took this photo and why?


Okay, pics are FINALLY up ... man I miss being there already. Tahoe is always a place of memories for us. Stay tuned for an important post about saftey!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


So this week I returned to work after being off for 4.5 months. It's been rough. A lot of changes happened while I was gone. None of them good. I will leave it at that.

What else isn't very good at the moment? My running. Last Sunday I should have done 12 miles. I set out to do 10. I ended up running about 8. Digestive issues had me cutting my run short. Not to mention we had just returned from Tahoe and were still settling. I did however, take some photos of my solo pathetic 8 miler.

This is half way up Beatty

I have written about Beatty before. It is a mile plus steep hill near my house that most cyclists use as a training hill. I've been running it once in a while. I can't run the entire thing but I can run most of it ... or I run until I hit the dreaded turkeys and then I stop and wage war. Not really. I cross the street as far away from them as I can possibly get.

Almost at the top

Beatty is a great hill to train on and strengthen your legs. The homes lined along this street are pretty awesome to look at as well and they have million dollar views ...

View of Folsom Lake

It's been rough since we returned from Tahoe. I am still attempting to share more vacation photos but they are on my laptop which is being "difficult" to say the least ... hello iPad! Well, not really but I am dreaming and begging for one at the same time.

When we returned from our week in Tahoe we discovered the following ...

Tree down!

One of the pretty trees in our front yard fell down. Luckily it didn't fall into our home but it did mean that the first full day back, Vans spent the entire day chainsawing and removing pieces of tree. Which now sits in our driveway ready to be taken to a local dump.

Then I started work on Tuesday which like I mentioned, was full of surprises and Squeaker started her first full day at her nanny-share place. She isn't going to the same school as the Peanut right now (long complicated and frustrating story). However, she seems to be having fun with her partner Little G and lots of one on one time with the nanny.

Little G and Squeaker at the park

Now that I am working, I also do not get home until super late and then have to put Squeaker to bed (she is the child who LIKES to sleep) and feed the Peanut. Last night I made a point to put Squeaker to bed and head out on a run even though I knew it would be 1. in the dark and 2. very short.

Hello headlamp & reflective gear

This leads me to my next post ... a teaser of sorts. I was contacted by a company and asked to share some thing with my readers. I just have not had the chance to sit down and devote the proper attention to it that I would like. It is something I believe in and I think everyone who runs should be made aware. So please, stay tuned. I apologize for all the infrequent posting of late. Adjusting to the working world again is always rough the first week.

At least I have my girls ... and Vans to keep me strong.

The Peanut at four months (ish) ...

Squeaker at four months (ish)

Crazy isn't it?!