Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Too much temptation?

Things were going so well.  He had a good first race in Arizona.  He signed up for a marathon for later this year.  He was getting accustomed to his new running spikes.  He even got special accommodations for evening access to a track so he can get in his Wednesday track workout over the summer after the kids are in bed.  But then yesterday we saw it while we were getting gas.  The shopping plaza near our house has been undergoing a complete makeover since we moved last summer and we have noticed a few new places pop up.  Until yesterday none of them were ones that might threaten Matt’s ability to make the U.S. Paralympic team.  

The building we thought was going to be a new bank is in fact the drive-in portion of a brand new Wendy’s.  Matt loves Wendy’s.  It is his favorite of the fast food chains.  The gravitational pull towards Wendy’s might be stronger than the gravitational pull towards Sheetz when we drive through Breezewood on our way to Pittsburgh.  Matt has never been in walking distance to a Wendy’s so this could be a game changer.  He probably has a few more weeks at least until it is open for business, but he is already nervous.  We might need to find an alternate route home so he isn’t tempted.  It is bad enough that Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s, and frozen yogurt are already in the shopping plaza.  If a Chipotle or a place that gives away free cookies opens up then Matt might as well throw in his towel and running shoes now. 

We'll see how he handles the temptation.  Stay tuned. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

I am in Paris for work missing Father's Day, but more importantly, missing my family.  So in celebration of the day and in keeping with the running theme, I would like to say ... 

Happy Father's Day, Matt! Whether holding Marisa in the big dentist chair, doing dragon toes with Emily when she got stage fright, or holding Zachary most of the night when he had an ear infection, you have been an amazing daddy and a rockstar in your children's (and wife's)eyes. There is no one else I would rather share this run we call life.  

There have been the long training runs we just had to get through (aka the month before Zachary was born), the trail runs that were exhausting but completely fulfilling (aka the first few weeks with twins), the marathon after months of training (aka Marisa's surgery and recovery), the track workouts that build our strength (aka most days), and those runs at lunch together that feel like luxury (aka those runs at lunch together that feel like luxury). So although I am thousands of miles away right now, I am smiling just thinking about all of our future runs that we will run...together.  I miss you.  I love you.  Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Run faster, Daddy!

As I mentioned last week, Matt registered for a last minute 5k and he ran it on Sunday.  The race, the Star Kid 5K and Family Fun Run, was a well-organized charity race in Fairfax to benefit the Inova Children’s Heart Program.  As a lot of you know, one of our twin girls was born with a congenital lung disorder requiring major surgery, so running to support any cause that helps children with childhood illness is a cause worth running for!  Matt hadn’t run the course before so he didn’t know what to expect.  We had intended to drive the race course on Saturday, but by the time we made it over to pick up his race packet after ballet and lunch, the kids had reached critical and needed their afternoon nap.  We decided that since it was only a 5k that hopefully there wouldn’t be too many tough or easy to miss turns.  We got to the start a little early and could see that it was going to be a tight first mile with several quick, sharp turns.  Matt decided to take the first mile out fast so that he could get through those turns without a lot of people around him so he didn’t run into anyone.  There were a few kids on the starting line and he was worried he might not see them.  Unfortunately, Matt didn’t have a guide for the race.  With the exception of a couple of rolling hills in the back half, it was a pretty easy course.  Matt tuckered out in the last mile since he had to go out hard, but still ran the race in 18:33 and placed third OVERALL! 

When we can, we stay for the awards ceremonies.  Zachary fell asleep in his carrier and the girls watched a balloon artist make a bunch of different animals, so we were able to keep everyone happy for the 45 minutes or so until the awards.  I’m sure glad we did because Matt won $150 in cash!  We weren’t expecting such a generous award since it was a charity run, so we were very pleasantly surprised.  That covers Matt’s new running shoes he got on Friday!

I only got a couple of pictures of Matt at the beginning of the race, but I thought I’d share them with you.  Since I made fun of him for wearing the same thing to every race, he decided to wear a different pair of shorts.  But really, do they look that different than the usual pair?!

Happy running!  

Matt in the first quarter mile

Matt passing us

We were keeping ourselves entertained
at the three mile mark waiting for Matt to come back in. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Doughnut anyone?

Looks like I told you about Matt’s love of doughnuts too early – today is National Doughnut Day!  Matt intends to stop by Dunkin Donuts after his run for a free donut.  What a nice treat on a Friday.  So back to running…

Matt has been doing his long runs on Fridays.  He works from home on Fridays so he can arrange his hours such that he can get in a 13+ mile run in during the day.  That frees up Saturday mornings so I can run.  Last Friday he ran 14 miles.  Today he is only planning to run about four miles since he signed up for a 5k race on Sunday (the Star Kid 5K that benefits the Inova Children’s Heart Program).  He’ll be doing that race instead of a Father’s Day race that he intended to run next weekend (and one that he placed third overall in last year).  I’ll be in Paris so it is logistically impossible for him to race while I am away.  I’m a little sad I won’t be here for Father’s Day, particularly since we didn’t really get to celebrate Mother’s Day because he was flying back from Arizona.  I know, I know, there are plenty more Mother’s and Father’s Days ahead of us.  That doesn’t make missing one any less of a big deal.

He will be running without a guide on Sunday so he got a copy of the race map from the race organizers.  The race is only a few miles from our house so we’ll drive the race course on Saturday so that he knows where all of the turns are.  Sometimes in smaller races like this one, the turns are either not well marked, or the volunteers there don’t announce the turn.  On more than one occasion, Matt has overshot a turn or completely missed a turn, both of which impact his time.  We checked out last year’s results and the top finisher ran a 15:10 (that is 4:53 minute miles).  This is his first road race since February so we’ll see how he does and whether he places.  Send good luck wishes to Matt!  

In the meantime and returning to the wonderful subject of doughnuts, I’ll leave you with a quote from Homer Simpson and a picture of my girls enjoying doughnuts!

Homer Simpson: “Donuts.  Is there anything they can’t do?”  

About 17 months old and enjoying their first donut.

Emily has everything she needs -- crackers, a shoe, and a donut with sprinkles!

Marisa enjoying a donut.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Are you a runner or a jogger?

I read an article the other day talking about runners v. joggers and in it the author admitted that he was a jogger.  I won’t regurgitate the whole article (though here’s a link because it is amusing:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/25/jogger-not-runner-stuart-heritage1 ) but I will say it got me thinking about some of the differences between me and Matt when it comes to running.  

Matt is squarely in the runner category.  If you go by the author’s definition, I’m a runner, too, but probably a little closer to the center on the jogger-runner spectrum.  Don’t get me wrong, I have run 20 miles in the pouring rain just to get in one more long run before one of my five marathons, but I draw the line when there is a foot of snow or ice.  Matt doesn’t draw the line at any weather condition when it comes to running.  Sometimes my alarm goes off and I roll over, but not Matt.  He would have put his clothes out the night before to prevent any sort of excuses.  I carry water and food for anything over 10 miles, but Matt only carries water if I force him to.  

I could go on and on, but instead I’ll just focus on one big difference—food consumption.  It is impressive the amounts of food that he can consume without thought or care that his pants might not fit.  When he is in hardcore training mode he probably runs 60-80 miles a week.  He’ll sometimes wake up in the middle of the night hungry and go make himself a sandwich.  It is probably fair to say that his daily intake when he is at a training highpoint for something is twice what mine is.  Have you seen Matt?  He’s 5’11” and weighs 150 lbs (about 145 when training).  The last time he got his body fat percentage checked he says it was about 4 percent.  That crazy metabolism follows him around in the “off season,” too.  Sometimes it really annoys me.  When we first started dating one of his dinner staples was a meal of chicken nuggets and smiley fries.  Most of his meals required heating rather than cooking so not exactly the healthiest.  I will say that he has always been big on salads (though his ranch dressing and croutons do make up most of the salad’s composition).  The quality of his food consumption has improved since we got married, but the quantity is unchanged and he still eats at least two cookies a day and eats doughnuts at least once a week.  

He has passed on this love for treats to our girls who are always willing to help him eat a cookie as soon as he gets home from work or make a stop at Dunkin Donuts just because.  My guess is that as soon as Zachary learns that there is more than pureed food and puffs, he’ll want cookies and doughnuts, too.  I hope they grow up to be runners with awesome metabolisms, just like their daddy!