Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I originally planned to run three half marathons in the span of three months, all neatly spaced, almost exactly four weeks between each run. I would maintain my fitness and not have to train from scratch for each one.


And then.

1) School started, and with it came the soul crushing exhaustion most teachers experience at the start of the new year.  I didn't want to get out of bed at 5:30 each work morning, let alone drag myself out of bed on a WEEKEND for a run.

2) The Napa quake hit, and I didn't run the second of my three planned half marathons

So, the perfect plan? Not so perfect, after all.

Luckily, Skirt Sports, along with Fit Approach (Sweat Pink Ambassadors), began promoting their ten year anniversary run (#10on10) at just the right time.  The goal? Get runners across the country to all run 10 miles or a 10k over the weekend of their anniversary (9/12-9/15) and tweet or Instagram photos of their runs.  In addition to feeling part of a community running event, every runner got some pretty awesome swag (like the Gym Girl Ultra Skirt).

I had never actually run in a skirt before, but the idea of a long run timed perfectly before my next half coupled with cute new gear had me hooked.

It's that time of year when many of us in the valley become what we like to call "harvest widows" (Harvest Widow (n): Someone who has temporarily lost their significant other/spouse to harvest. Term used typically during the months of August through December during the harvest and fermentation of grapes in The Napa Valley.) (Thanks to the Bounty Hunter Blog for the official definition), so that meant that I had a wide open Saturday morning in which to run...but no husband to watch the two-year-old while said run was accomplished.

Since I wrote about how I don't race with a toddler anymore, I felt a bit wonky about going back on that word, but it has been a few months since little man had to spend quite that long in the BOB...and I decided to give it a shot.

Ten miles.

I have to run 13.1 in two weeks, and I needed to know that I could run 10 without melting into a pile of wobbly jelly.  So. Off we went.

Ari monster chose to remain in his pajamas (a decision he regretted later when I would not let him out of his stroller to run, as he had no shoes on), but as I gathered our running gear (water with nuun and Vega Sport Endurance Gel for me, fruit snacks - "snack fruit" - granola bars (unger bars), granola (known as "snack" at my house), pretzels, breakfast bars ("cookies")milk and water for the boy).  Ari picked out some toys - his John Deere tractor and some Legos, for those interested in the most popular in preschool running accessories, and told me, "Let's go, Mommy," and headed to his stroller.

But first, let me take a selfie.

 I knew that, given my sad running history over the past few weeks, and pushing a 30 pound toddler, that time wouldn't matter. A fact so true that I entirely forgot to charge my Garmin.

We jog walked down to our local river trail, stopping for a bit to look at the tractors parked near the entrance.   

 Mile 1 - check.

Then we started out along our beautiful running spot, and as we started, I thought two things:

1) Why don't I run here more often?

2) Why didn't I know about running skirts before?

Running along the river was quiet and peaceful but not lonely - we saw other runners, bikers, roller bladers, and even a coyote.  My Garmin was still working at that point, so I would walk for 1/4 mile, run for 1/4 mile - far from my normal but fitting for this relaxed, refreshing run.

Why don't I run here more often?
 Ari took in the scenery - he loved the birds, the water, the BMX bike training, the boats...

"Where the boat go?"

"Where do you think it went, Ari?"

"I think it go under the wager."

And just like that. Five miles. Check.

The first half of the ten miles kept up at this pace, with this type of discussion, and I realized how much I've missed long outings with just my son.  We get to talk and experience so much together, and I was so grateful that I chose to run with him.

Then...the weight of the list of items I needed to complete (oil change, Costco, clean the house...all before naptime) reappeared. I checked my watch, took a breath, and decided to put more run into this run.

I ran for ten minutes at a time, each time running just about a mile (yay!), walked a smidge, then ran again.  Ari chattered about running, played with his tractor, "Nothing runs like Deere...Nothing runs like a Deere...Nothing runs like a Deere..." and we made it home without a meltdown (and by meltdown, I mean that neither of us fell into a pile of angry floppiness).

We ran "negative splits" on our casual run, and I actually feel prepared for my upcoming race.

So, to sum it all up.  I ran a beautiful, relaxing "race" with my son on our terms and in our own time.  I love the concept of a virtual race now. It gave me the motivation I needed to go out on my long run on the only day in the next two weeks that I had time to run that much, and I feel like I got to celebrate something special.

Ten Miles. Done, baby.

So, cheers to the other mother runners. Cheers to the casual runners. Cheers to those who play hard and train hard. Happy Birthday, Skirt Sports! Let's do this again soon.

Post Race Smiles

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