Tuesday, December 12, 2017

11 months too long...

Hi friends!

My apologies for the obvious neglect around here. I ran that crazy marathon back in February, 2 days after my 29th birthday and it's been a whirlwind of a year. I've thought about writing several times, and even drafted a few different posts... but I never finished them and the next time I log in, they are completely irrelevant.

So here it goes...

In February I ran THAT marathon. My THIRD marathon, my first as a #motherrunner and my SLOWEST to-date. It was one of the hardest training cycles I've ever accomplished and my PRIMARY goal was to finish. And that's exactly what I did... with lots of tears and pain in my left knee/IT band area. I had my mama, my hubby and my daughter out there in the COLD Dallas weather cheering me on every chance they got. It was ugly, and beautiful all at the same time. And it was such a monumental moment that helped me prove to myself that I can do this thing called motherhood and running and working (and not cooking)... this thing called life.

Joanna and I after The Cowtown Marathon
February 26, 2017

Life got pretty busy after that because I was assigned my second major project at work. I pretty much spent 70% of my time in Austin for the next 4-5 months between consolidating one of our laboratories and checking-in on our new house being built on the north side of town. The travel between Dallas and Austin was HEAVY and I thought it would never end. On May 30th my project went live and on June 30th we closed on our new home.  The stress of building a home 4 hours away while traveling back and forth with a toddler and 2 dogs, was insane to say the least. But somehow (with the grace of God and lots of prayers) we survived.

Brad and Joanna on closing day
June 30, 2017

Brad and I had some serious downtime the month after closing. He took some time off work before starting at the new hospital in Austin and I also got some much needed time away from work projects to unpack and help us get settled. We took on lots of little house projects - laying sod in our backyard, staining the fence, hanging all of the blinds, painting the garage and setting up a "big girl room" for Joanna. It was great to able to hit the reset button and focus on our family after such a stressful 6-8 months.

After getting back into the groove of his new hospital and me working with a new team at my new Austin office, I decided to apply to Baylor University for their Online MBA program. I've been considering going back to school for the last 2 years but the timing has been less than ideal. Moving our Ganey circus TWICE in a year and half has not been something I've wanted to handle while also trying to juggle going back to school. In October I received my acceptance letter for Baylor and a few days later we found out we are EXPECTING BABY #2! I say less than ideal circumstances for going back to school and you're probably thinking that introducing another baby into our lives is not the best timing either... ha :) but we were also ready for Joanna to be a big sister. If there is one thing I've really figured out in the last few years, it's that there is never a good time to grow your career, grow your family and increase your knowledge. So, we decided... let's just do it all at the same time :)

Ganey Christmas photos
November 15, 2017

Work travel has been pretty heavy again this fall as I was assigned a new major project. My leadership team has been very supportive of my desire to have and try to balance all.the.things but my #1 rock has been Brad. That man is the glue who keeps it all together for us. I don't want to turn this into a mushy rant about how great my husband is, but the things he does for our family.. and for me to pursue ALL MY ASPIRATIONS... (because I have like ADHD for life and feel the need to juggle 5 balls at the same time), is beyond what I can try to sum up in a 3 paragraph essay. I'm just going to throw it out there that I am a pretty lucky gal. While he does try to "bring me back down to earth" as I set goals in the sky, he always encourages me to follow the little voice inside of my heart.

So here we are, mid-December and I just finished my first semester of GRAD school! Baylor's online program is accelerated, which means that every 6 weeks I'm taking a new class. At this rate, I'll be finishing the program when baby #2 is TWO YEARS old. I'm currently on a 1 week vacation at work reflecting on the last year and enjoying time with Florida family who are coming to visit us (I specifically told everyone that we DO NOT want to pack any bags to visit anyone for Christmas.... but they can come to Austin!).

One thing that has really helped me in the last month is REFLECTION. Instead of just pushing forward relentlessly, I need to remind myself to take a moment and look at all that WE have accomplished. Every little and big goal that we've set for our family and how we both came out stronger in the end. It's all about team work and we definitely don't get enough date nights to slow down with each other and reflect on everything we've been through in the last two years.

So, before we wrap up this "year in review" or 11 months too long...
I have to share a few things that have helped me personally survive the last year...

  1. I give myself grace, all the time. And I pray and ask God to help me give myself grace on the days that I feel like I'm really beating down on myself.
  2. I acknowledge and thank Brad for all that he does to help this Ganey circus move forward, as often as I possibly can. Because without his support and without him by my side, none of this would matter.
  3. I try my hardest not to stress out when my kid only wants to eat mac and cheese and fish sticks (this comes in waves, luckily right now she likes broccoli again!). But, we do continue to offer her different varieties of food. You gotta pick your battles, right?
  4. I write everything down and have taken my PMP skills to the next level at home. Although I could do a much better job meal-planning, I really try to have a "plan" for everything and that helps me get things accomplished.
  5. I ask Brad to take the lead in the kitchen and when it's my turn to cook, I don't compare my sub-par dinner to his savory meals!
  6. I have accepted that my running needs to take a backseat for a while. I can't run marathons, do crafty homemaker things, do well at my demanding-job, be a present mother, do an online MBA program and be a decent wife to my extremely supportive husband. I can't do it all and I have to accept when some areas suffer so I can give attention to the areas that need it. Oh did I mention cooking in that long list? Yeah, that isn't my forte anyways. I CANNOT be a chef :)
  7. I reach out to a few close girlfriends more often. I know we are all busy but leaning on them for some support, guidance and just laughter helps me see that we are all chasing the same dream. It's true what they say, "there ain't no hood like motherhood" and having some supportive girlfriends in your corner (mommies or not) is the best kind of therapy life can offer.

Hopefully in 2018 I can do a better job reflecting and use this little space in the corner as an outlet, opposed to making it feel like another thing on my checklist

Until next time! & Happy 2017!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Cowtown Marathon Training Week 4-6

Please excuse my condensed training recap for the last several weeks. I needed a way to "catch up" without spending hours writing separate posts. That's about how unorganized my life has been these last several weeks and my training is barely hanging on to put it best.

The last several weeks have been a circle of "who is sick now?". Between heading back to work full time (and throw in some travel) and Joanna catching icky germs at daycare... we haven't been ourselves around here. I've been praying hard that this last round of RSV was it because I'm beginning to question my sanity for signing up for a marathon (with a small child during cold & flu season). I hope the rest of you are staying healthy!

Week 4
This is where it started going downhill. Joanna was sick for 2 days straight and Brad was working overnight. So it was all mama handling the sniffles, the coughing and the no sleeping. Needless to say, I missed a run during the week because my mama duties come first. Running on little rest doesn't do my body any favors! By Friday, Brad was back home in the evenings and I was able to get my runs in.

I dropped off Jo at daycare and called the doctor's office at 8am sharp. The previous night she barely slept but she seemed much better after breakfast. After the doctor's office said I could bring her in for a 9:30am apt, I knew that I had a very short window to get a run in before I needed to get back and pick her up. Brad worked an extra shift Thursday night (have I mentioned that we are trying to build a house in Austin?) so he also needed his rest. Come to find out, she was diagnosed with her first ear infection and pink eye :(

What was supposed to be 6 miles was cut short. But oh were they glorious miles after the week I had! And yes I showed up to daycare in my running pants... but at least I changed my smelly sports bra and shirt!

Miles: 5.25
Pace: 10:39 avg
Time: 55:56 

I ran 3 warm up miles on the treadmill (it was 49 and windy out) before heading out the door for 10 more. This is the first time in this training cycle that I could do double-digit mileage in one stretch. I've been breaking up my mileage to try to make this training cycle work but I felt very proud of this run!

Treadmill Miles: 3
Pace: 10:50
Time: 32:31

Outdoor Miles: 10
Pace: 10:53
Time: 1:48:53

Week 5
This was right after the New Years weekend of all 3 of us together for 4 days! (and Jo taking lots of antibiotics). Monday was the "observed holiday" so it was pretty laid back and easy to get in my running. Come Tuesday, I flew out to Austin at 6:05am and worked until about 11pm. Wednesday I flew home around 3pm and made it to daycare pickup! (barely). I had a pretty bad head cold while I was gone so I took the extra rest day. Friday I got back on the 'mill and finished up my weekend mileage. Recap: this week my mileage tanked to 22 instead of increasing to 31.

Who runs on a Friday night? This girl does! Brad was back to work so it was just Jo and I in the house. It was very hard to convince myself to get out of my PJs (I change into my PJs immediately after I get home, ha) and get on to the treadmill. But, like they always say... you never regret a workout after its been completed.

Treadmill miles:7
Pace 10:53
Time: 1:16:13

After a shower and protein shake on Friday night, I jumped in bed for 5 hours and woke up to run again. It actually wasn't too bad. I imagined getting in a nap when Jo napped... I don't recall that nap ever happening and by 9pm when I had my next opportunity to do the second-half of my long run, I was exhausted. So I pushed the stroller run to Sunday.

Treadmill miles: 6 
Pace: 10:50
Time: 1:05:04

Almost 7 hours of sleep on Saturday night! Jo and I went out for 5miles with the stroller and this run felt pretty effortless. 10ish pace with a stroller? I think I'm getting my speed and strength back!

Stroller miles: 5.22
Pace: 10:06
Time: 52:42

Week 6
We made it to week 6! It was hard to believe that I barely survived the last two weeks. It reminded me of the newborn stage all over again... very little sleep (side note: Joanna didn't become a "good sleeper" until about 10 months; isn't it obvious why it took so long for my running to come back?). This was my highest mileage week and although we got more sleep... it wasn't much easier to get through. Why did I think that marathon training was going to be easy?

Monday Yasso's - nailed it!
Tuesday STRENGTH - non-existent and you'll see where this catches up to me next week
Wednesday Mid-long 7mi - nailed it! Well, I cut it short at 6.5 because Joanna woke up
Thursday 5mi over/under - nailed it! Went even faster than my coach put in my plan.
Friday REST - psssh, I got rest days down :)

Saturday - these runs "tested" how bad I actually want to run a marathon. It was super cold and wet outside and I'm not sure why I had hope that it was going to clear up. So this is the best way I could stitch together an 18 mile long run while still spending time with my family.

5am - 8miles on the treadmill
Pace: 10:53
Time: 1:27:03

Followed by breakfast, swim class, lunch with friends, struggled nap for the toddler (and I took a 30min cat nap too) and dinner at home.

8pm - 6miles on the treadmill 
Pace: 10:53
Time: 1:05:20

9ish pm - 4miles outside (45 degrees and foggy)
Pace: 10:20
Time: 41:52

After 18miles strung together on a long Saturday!

...And somehow I am still alive (and thanking God for giving me the strong will to keep pushing towards my goal!). It wasn't pretty, I used a lot of dry shampoo and there were some days that I was drinking two cups of Spark (my version of coffee). 6 more weeks until race day! 4 more weeks until taper! After re-reading all of that... I feel somewhere between crazy and committed to toe the line at race day...

Running Mama Steph

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cowtown Marathon Training Week 3

Greetings from Austin, friends! While the rest of the world is reflecting on 2016, I'm traveling to Austin for work this week and reflecting on week 3 of marathon training. No doubt, 2016 requires some dedicated time for reflection as it was a year full of challenges and lots of blessings... but that will come in due time (because we all know that I dance to the beat of my own song :)

On to week 3... this week was hard. We (Brad, Joanna and I) were wrapping up our Florida vacation and headed back to reality. The lack of much needed post-vacation-rest combined with Brad's overnight schedule had me tired (to say the least) by the time weekend rolled around. Let's see how we shook out..

Miles: 4
Time: 43;14
Pace: 10:48

We drove back to my parent's house on Sunday night and I ran this first thing in the morning (5am wake up). This felt nice and easy like it should.

We traveled back to Dallas on Tuesday so the day was filled with airport lines, a pretty smooth plane ride and then picking up the dogs on our way home. We were tired and I'm pretty sure we all went to bed super early this night.

Miles: 8
Time: 1:23:38
Pace: 10:27

Progression Run:
Mile 1 - 11:00
Mile 2 - 10:45
Mile 3 - 10:40
Mile 4 - 10:35
Mile 5 - 10:30
Mile 6 - 10:15
Mile 7 - 10:15
Mile 8 - 10:00

I nailed this run! It felt SO great getting back to the cooler weather and running out of my own front door. Luckily, Brad was still off of work so I was able to get out the door feeling relaxed. I was headed back to a 3-day week at the office so I also wasn't in a hurry to get ready for work (although I did have a lot of catching up to do). I savored my last vacation run and totally enjoyed this while hitting each mile almost on the head. Although my fingers were pretty darn cold at the end.

Time: 59:55
Pace: 10:54

I cut this short by half mile because I just didn't have the mental strength to stay on the treadmill. Joanna didn't sleep so well the night before and I was pretty tired from the previous day run and lack of sleep myself. Looking back, I should have held on for another 5-6 minutes but at the time I just couldn't convince myself.

REST DAY and I soaked it all up! I'm pretty sure on Thursday night I went to bed around 8pm and slept until 6am (with lots of interruptions). Point being, I thoroughly enjoyed not rushing out of my bed because I was SO tired. Vacations do something to toddler sleep habits and by Thursday night it had all caught up to me. I should have focused on some strength this day but I needed all the rest I could get.

(4 treadmill and 4 outside stroller)

Miles: 4
Time: 40:36
Pace: 10:09

I got these faster miles in before Jo woke up for the day. It was rainy out so I wasn't sure if I was going to be treadmill bound again after she went to bed or we'd be able to get out on the stroller later in the afternoon.

Miles: 4
Time: 40:29

By the time nap rolled around, Joanna was over tired and fighting every bit of her nap. I was pretty frustrated and the rain had cleared up too. I pushed the stroller faster than normal and Joanna fell asleep. This was a win, win for all of us! I was so happy that I could push that stroller just as fast as running on the treadmill hours earlier. I can always tell how much stronger I am getting by the improvement of my stroller time. It was humid, I was sweaty and I left most of it out on the neighborhood hills.

"Finally sleeping! And now I'm sweating bullets..."

REST DAY! Well, active recovery. I pulled the wagon to the park and we played on the swings and slide. Then I pulled the wagon home. I probably walked a mile total at a very easy pace.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Cowtown Marathon Training Week 2

Week 2 is in the bag! My success this week is due to my very supportive mother who thoroughly enjoyed breakfast with Joanna every morning that I stepped out her door to run. I love that woman and I love that she is so supportive of my crazy hobbies and lifestyle. She has always encouraged me to focus, do the hard stuff and REST when its time to REST.

We arrived in Florida on Saturday night. Jo and I spent a total of 10 days between the Saravias and the Ganeys. Here is how the week shook out...

After doing my long run in Lake Mary on Sunday, on Monday we headed to Disney. We walked about 22k steps from 10am when we arrived until 9pm when we left. My legs were definitely tired and I fell asleep in the car ride while my mom drove us all home... just like we used to do when we were kids.

"Wita" (grandma), Joanna and I at Disney

Miles: 4
Time: 43:19
Pace: 10:50 avg

This was supposed to be a nice and easy shake out run. Although I didn't push it hard, I did have to remind myself to take it slower. I need to take advantage of the "easy" runs and just enjoy the scenery! Easy on the easy days; hard only on the hard days.

Miles: 6
Time: 1:04:54
Pace: 10:48 avg

My brother's huskey (Mila) is staying in Lake Mary with his wife and my parents while he is deployed. That girl (the husky) has a lot of energy to burn off and this day was my turn to take her for a stroll around the neighborhood. If I was at home on my treadmill, this would have been 6miles of hills. But because I was in Lake Mary, this was a humid, 6 miles trying to keep the dog at a steady pace - overall this felt good.

Mila and I after a solid 6 miles

Miles: 5.74
Time: 1:00:22
Pace: 10:31 avg   

By the time this run came around, Brad had arrived from Texas and we drove over to his grandma's house, South of Lakeland. Joanna was down for a nap and I was out the door in the middle of the Florida afternoon. The temp wasn't awful but it did catch up to me a little near the end. Here was the workout my coach gave me:

1 mile warm up
5 x 800 @ Marathon Goal Pace w/400 recovery jog
1 mile cool down

My marathon goal pace is 4hr 45min so I should have run my half miles (800s) in 4 min and 45 seconds (abt 9:30 pace) but I ran these close to 9:50 pace. I probably should have asked my coach to clarify what a Yasso was BEFORE I did the workout. But this gives me a good excuse to run a little slower in that mid-afternoon Florida heat :)

Time: 1:28:41
Pace: 10:45

This run was originally scheduled for Sunday but on Saturday night I had a bachelorette party to attend back in Orlando. There was NO WAY that I was going to drive back on minimal sleep and expect to run 10 miles so I went ahead and did this on Saturday morning. Running on tired legs was a good reminder of my biggest challenge during this training cycle. I couldn't find my gu in my suitcase and I cut this run short at mile 8.25 as I could feel the fatigue in my legs and I didn't have the mental strength to make a 4th loop around the same small-town circle at grandma's house. I should have dug deep and finished this out. Oh well :(

Overall this week went well. I didn't have the normal work/life/kid struggle that I'm sure will come up in the next coming weeks as I try to balance training and my normal life. But dang, that Florida humidity is no joke!

Running Mama 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cowtown Marathon Training Week 1

 "Welcome to week 1 of marathon training... with a small child".... that's what I told myself when I started this week on Monday. I could make 4 different excuses why this is not a good idea (actually, I'm sure I could come up with more than 4) but I'm only going to list the 4 that were in my mind....
  1. You are going to start training on Monday, then you'll fly to Orlando to begin vacation on Saturday (where there is tons of humidity).
  2. You are going to be busy this week "preparing" for taking 10 days off of work, how will you find time to run sleep?
  3. Brad works this week so you'll need to run, shower, get Jo ready and be out the door by 7am... how will you find the energy to do all of that?
  4. You are going to be doing some runs in Florida... and it will be hot! (did I mention the humidity)
You see that? I could find every excuse in the book as to why I shouldn't be trying to train for a marathon with a small child. Or, I can push myself to be the best version of myself (this usually happens when I am running). Plus, I found this awesome new dry shampoo that goes so well with the cold weather. So there goes the excuse of needing to spend a lot of time in the shower and styling my curly hair when its 30 degrees outside :D

Miles: 5.15
Time: 57:09
Pace: 11:06 avg

I woke up at 4am and got this in watching Fixer Upper on the iPad. I usually eat a yogurt and drink a cup of spark before my morning runs. I was in the shower by 5:45am.

Here is the workout provided by my coach:
1 mile warm up
2 minutes @ zone 3 pace - no incline
1 minute @ zone 2 pace @ 3.0 incline
1 minute @ zone 3 pace - no incline
1minute @ zone 2 pace @ 4.0 incline
Repeat the above "five minute" set 5 times through
Finish out the run to hit five miles total.

My zone 3 pace is 5.8 on the treadmill.
My zone 2 pace is 5.3 on the treadmill.

Miles: 4
Pace:  11:03 avg

Another 4am wake up, yogurt and cup of spark. This felt great.

I was scheduled to run before work but I stayed up late after I put Jo down for bed trying to get some work done before I left for vacation on Saturday. I knew it wasn't realistic to go to bed late and wake at 4am to run so I slept-in and planned on doing this at night after Jo went to bed. Then, I came home with a stomach ache from work so I just called it quits.

Miles: 3 (makeup from Friday)
Time: 32:40
Pace: 10:53

I got these miles in before Jo woke up (5am wake up) and cruised at 5.5 on the treadmill while watching TV. I'm learning to embrace the treadmill :) This was followed by breakfast with Santa at Brad's hospital! As you can tell by Jo's face... she did not enjoy the strange man with the beard... not one bit.

Miles: 10
Time: 1:53:44
Pace: 11:22 

Jo and I flew to Orlando on Saturday and arrived around 8pm. I got some rest and ran around my parents house on Sunday morning. My mom agreed to watch Joanna and feed her pancakes (I prepared the egg-free batter while I was eating breakfast myself) so I didn't feel rushed to get back to the house.  Around mile 3-4 I met up with my sister and did a run/walk - she lovingly brought me a bottle of water which I downed by mile 6. I didn't pack any gu so I definitely felt sluggish towards the end of the run. The humidity wasn't awful and there were cooler temps that kept this run feeling pretty comfortable.

This was a good first week of training. Just like I planned, a few things came up (working late, tummy ache and traveling to Florida) so I just worked with my coach to make some adjustments. Since I'll be doing some back-to-back long runs later in the plan, I'll need to try my best not to move too many of my runs around.

Running Mama Stephanie 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cowtown Marathon

Hi friends!
Last we left off, our little family was making big moves to find a home in Austin. This is still front and center but I think it's calmed down since we found the neighborhood we want to settle down in. Now we are going through the motions with the builder to make everything official. If its God's will, we will be building a house that should be ready in summer 2017.

On the running front, last week I started marathon training for the The Cowtown Marathon! I'm rolling right into marathon training after building up my base all summer for the half I ran in October. I have been running consistently 3-4 days a week with most of my runs on the treadmill because of my parental constraints. Although, the weather in north Texas is absolutely perfect for running right now and a run while the sun is out is high on my Christmas list!

I haven't officially signed up for the race because I'm still trying to convince Brad to run the half (so I can have some company for the first 10 miles of the race). I love the cold weather for running but I don't think that's a motivating factor for him :) I hear that Cowtown is usually very chilly and has a few hills.

After taking off 9 full days of running (coincidentally this was also the time where we were hard core traveling to Austin for house hunting), my legs are feeling back to normal again! I'll try my best to post weekly updates of my training progress, this will help me stay accountable to my runs and check-in with how I'm doing. For now, I have to share a few things that will make this training cycle unique for me:

Split Long Runs - Instead of your typical long run Saturday, I asked my coach to be creative when planning my long runs. Every-other-Saturday I am able to do my long run solo & outside (when Brad is off of work). The catch is the weekends that Brad is working. Our plan is to break up my long run between two days (Friday and Saturday) so I am not stuck doing 15+ miles on the treadmill at any given time... that is just completely unrealistic for me. Friday is a mid-long run ranging from 6-8 miles and on Saturday is the remaining miles split between the treadmill and the stroller. Doing these runs back to back should help simulate the long run feel on my legs come Saturday.

Treadmill Runs - Between the cold mornings in Dallas (temps in the 30-40s before the sun comes up) and those mornings that it's just Joanna and I at home... we are planning for lots of treadmill runs during the week. I'm taking suggestions for Netflix shows filled with drama and suspense!

Strength - I never really focused much on strength in my other training cycles. This time, instead of running 6 days a week - I'm running 5 and putting 1 day of focus on strength. I've been trying to focus 1 day on strength since I started back up running but I haven't been consistent every single week.

My biggest goal for this race is to finish strong. But my second goal is to finish at 4hrs and 45 minutes. I'm hoping this moderate goal will push me to train without putting a lot of pressure on me to PR. I know that I don't have the dedicated time to train and beat my marathon PR of 4:30 but I'd like to definitely finish under 5 hours. I also realize that marathon training with a child is much different than pre-parenthood and so I'm giving myself some grace that I may not be able to make every single run... because.... life.

Let's do this! By March (and my 29th birthday) I'd like to be able to call myself a Marathon Mama!