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Too Much?

Yesterday I bypassed the Users Center with all of my colleagues because I really want to try and stick with scheduled workouts (and less beer…although that isn’t as important :) ). I hadn’t gone to the gym before I came to work (because honestly I didn’t think about it) and so I knew I would have to go after dinner. So home I went.

Dinner with the family which is an obvious plus to coming home earlier. Bath time with kids. Lucy is now asking questions about Rocky’s “tail” in the bathtub. Uh, yeah that’s his penis. Yes daddy has one too.

After reading some Dr. Seuss, which Lucy is really into these days (fun for the person reading as well) it was off to the gym for me. I did three circuits three times each. Took me about an hour. Not too bad. In the last circuit I do decline pushups which have always been tough for me, but yesterday I was able to do 15 on each set (ok fine, 14.5 on the last one, couldn’t push back up) so that was some improvement

It’s amazing how quickly I can see changes just by making some slightly better decisions and sticking to gym days. It’s only been a couple of weeks but hoping I can keep the schedule going.  I’m pretty sore though today so either I did too much, or my body is just working on getting into this equilibrium. My runs have felt stronger too. I have a 7 miler planned for lunchtime today, so we’ll see how I’m feeling during that.

This weekend workouts are off the table. I have a friend in town. It’s the weekend before my birthday. We have Cubs tickets for Sunday. And the Bears play the Sunday Night game. So in other words it’s my liver that will be getting the workout this weekend.

Run the Ring Running Club

Or as I would like to call it R^3C. Just cause I’m a nerd and that’s how I roll.

Back in January I said that I wanted to start a running club that would meet at 4pm and run around the ring at Fermilab. Why January, because it’s January and that is when you make resolutions and I just wanted to get back to more consistent running. I figured if one other person showed up then I would have to go, and if one other person thought I was going to show up then I would have to go. I had a lot of interest but no one really joined me until the weather got better in April. Now we have a solid crew of about 7-8 people depending on the week and what meetings or travel is going on.

Since starting that I have run almost every Tuesday even if I don’t run any other days during the week.

Since it worked so well I decided to make another 2 days a week of running at the lab. Around lunch time on Thursdays and 7 or 8am on Fridays. A few people have joined on Friday and no one yet on Thursday.

My plan is to make my Tuesday run some kind of speed work, Thursdays a mid week longer run and Fridays an easy run followed by some weight training. Yesterday was a Tuesday and I did 5 mile run with an average pace of just below 8min/mile. The breakdown of the min/mile for each mile makes it into kind of a tempo run [8:13, 8:08, 7:45, 7:34, 8:08].

Tonight it’s back to the LSAC for some kind of weight circuits.

Gym Rat. Nerd Fitness.

Whoa! It’s been forever since I’ve been here. This whole blog started out super lame with me literally just saying how far I ran and where I went. Super. Boring. Shit.

But for me it was just a place to write down what I did and keep track AND keep me honest.

So as I start to slowly get back into shape I want to again document what I’m doing. I’m reading http://nerdfitness.com as well as using a trainer at my gym  to help guide my workouts. In the end I want to be a stronger faster runner.


2x:  Incline press, Incline Row, Single leg squats, Dead lifts

2x: tricep extensions, quick step ups, bicep curls (left, right, both), asymmetric arm lifts

2x: kettle bell squat to shoulder press, kettlebell lateral walk, TRX pushups, row challenge pyramid (1-5, 5-1)

2x: leg lift with medicine ball throw, medacine side to side with feet off ground

1x (because I forgot the last one): superman v-ups.

Clearly I don’t know the actual names for most of the things. But I know what they mean to me. I have the amount of weight I’m doing in a separate spreadsheet.


Growing Up

My Dad and Stepmom watched our kids last night while we went out to dinner at g.e.b. with some friends ours. On the way home I checked my email and my Dad had written the following to us, and I thought I’d share it.


Everyone knows that you can never go home again which really means you can never have that first kiss again, first dance, first drink, first loss, first win. You just can’t. You move on.

So it is a real treat when you DO get to do something again. To have the opportunity to once again read Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel to a little girl is something I never really thought I’d get to do again. It’s just as much fun as ever and quite a good story if you’ve not read it or had it read to you. (In case you’re wondering the moon does NOT make an appearance.)

Then there is the made up story. Making up stories for my daughter is one of our fondest memories. If you’ve not done this I can help. Here’s how they go….

Once upon a time there was a little (girl/boy) (doing something like walking in the woods) all. by. (him/her) self. Then something scary happens threatening the well being of said (girl/boy) and perhaps some woodland creatures. The little (girl/boy) then come up with an amazing solution and (he/she) and various woodland creatures live happily ever after.

This works over and over again. Trust me.

Now, as adults and sophisticated appreciators of fine literature we truly treasure a book that touches us. That puts us in the scene. That harkens to universal truths that our own lives have touched upon. It’s true for little made up stories as well. . .

Tonight’s story started thus..Once upon a time there was a little girl sailing in a sail boat all. by. her. self.

Lucy’s eyes light up and she sits up in bed. “Was her name LUCY?”

Indeed her name WAS Lucy!

Lucy already gets that all stories are about her as all classic novels are always about us.

Eight! We Ran to the Burbs!

So, ok fine, maybe it’s not that impressive that we ran to and then through Lincolnwood considering that it’s a town of like 12,000 people and the fact that we live pretty far north in the city so it wasn’t that far to go.



We ran 8 miles. We ran through a suburb. Touched a light post at Touhy Ave. It was raining pretty hard for 3/4 of our run and when we turned around we realized we felt so good as the gusts of wind and rain were now in our faces.

I don’t know the last time I ran 8 miles. I’m pretty sure it was before Lucy was born and like way before as right before she was born I was enjoying most nights drinking beers and eating burgers at Sheffields…I might have on 8 mile run in there when I was running last summer, but I think those were all about 6 miles.

Didn’t time ourselves. Thanks again (seriously I don’t know how many thank yous I can say, I must do something bigger) to my Dad and Sue for watching the kiddlets while we were out running. I forget that these long runs take…well a long time. Nice to be able to run together every once in awhile.


Hit 20 miles for the week last week, and two days at the gym. Loving the working out…not loving how exhausted I am. But I know that it will pass and the running/gym time will become as normal as that cup (or 5) of coffee in the morning.

Racing and Lifting Heavy Things

Over the past weekend Jason and I ran a 10K race. I know I ran a 10K way way way back in 200…? 3? Something like that. The first time we did the Indy mini there were like training runs you could sign up to do and so we did the 10K and the 15K. My point is that I don’t really have a PR for a 10K and I didn’t really know what to expect. I set my goal at averaging 8:30 miles.

The race was a lot of fun. it was a great course along Chicago’s lakefront path. It was a smallish race (just over 400 participants in the field) and so when we started it was like, ok ready go! and I was like..uh, wait…I’m not ready! My stepmom watched Lucy and Calvin while we ran (my dad ran too and did a great job even though he might not think he did..Hi Dad!), and we got to see them at 3 different points along the race. The first time was just after the start and I ran over to Lucy and gave her a kiss and a hug. By the  last checkpoint with them I was just like, let’s just make sure it doesn’t look like mom is dying.

I was keeping track of my miles via my timex watch. We were going roughly 8 min miles per mile (the first was slower around 8:40). The last 0.2 of the course was long which to a data nerd like me was annoying. It took 2:25 to run the last 0.2 and I know we didn’t slow dow that much if at all. I measured it out on google maps when I got home and while I don’t know the *exact* start and finish line as they were just in the park, I’m pretty close and the distance came out to 6.35. ANYWAYS. Our time was 51:35 (8:18 min/mile for a 6.2 course). Which is totally awesome. We are going to do a 5K next month and I don’t yet know what my goal is for that.

I’ve been very very consistent about training. I go to the gym on Monday and Wednesdays and I run, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I think going to the gym has made a huge huge improvement in my general “feel goodness” when running. I had a trainer and so I have two “programs” that I do. The first consists of two circuits a total of 8 different exercises. I do each circuit three times. The second program has three circuits with a total of 12 different things…including decline pushups, which I have a really hard time with…but getting better.

I have one more session with the little evil genius that goes by the name of Pam and so I’ll get one more circuit of things to do. I’m considering getting some more sessions with her just to get different things to do. But I will probably wait for a few months to do this as we get some money things sorted it out.

Work is going ok. Working from home a few days a week really helps the situation.

And just because I can’t help it. One of the latest funny pictures of the Calvin Kid:

He noticed the Star Wars t-shirt Jason was wearing and realized he was being raised by nerds.

First Week Back

Well we managed to stay on the schedule for the most part. But the part that didn’t stay on the schedule was because we aren’t yet at a place where we can work out 7 days a week. The plan that I outlined in the last post worked out well and going to the gym at 8:30 pm is a fine solution to not having any other time those days to go to the gym. It’s not that crowded and nice after a long day to get an hour to myself. On Tuesday and Thursday I really enjoyed working from home and running to pick Lucy up worked out really well. My Dad met me with the car at the daycare with Calvin and then I was able to just drive home instead of dragging Lucy onto the bus with me all exhausted and sweaty. Plus Dad gets home a little earlier those days.

On Thursday I ran 4 miles and it was the 6th day in a row of working out. I didn’t think the run was going to go that well, but I averaged 8:42 miles with my last mile done in 8:12. Was this a fluke? Probably. Can I really run sub 9 minute miles? Probably not comfortably, but I treated that run like some kind of speed workout and just wanted to see what I could do. Nice to still be able to run fast!

Being back at work is going well so far. Having the flexibility to work from home is definitely a bonus.

Also most of the schedule wouldn’t be possible without the help of my dad. Being able to do my runs as I go pick up Lucy is huge and so as always we thank him for his help!

Today is a short and slow run and tomorrow it’s long at 5 miles. I’m running a 10K in 2 weeks! No real goals, just like having a race on the schedule to keep me going.


The Plan

So after lots of, “But wait, what about this” conversations I think I finally have a plan that will incorporate all the things that are important to us: Family, Work, Exercise. This is probably not that fascinating for most of you, but I’m just putting it down here to have it written down somewhere.This is obviously assuming everything goes perfectly which as anyone with kids and a full time job knows, it probably won’t most weeks….BUT  having a plan is a good start,

Mondays: Jason goes to the gym around 6am and goes to work from there. I take Lucy into school and go to Northwestern. Jason picks her up, well all meet back at home around 6. Dinner, kids to bed and then I go to the gym around 8:00 or 9:00 pm.

Tuesdays: Jason runs in the morning. I work from home and start the day very early (5am). Jason takes Lucy to school. I run in the late afternoon and end the run at her school (this right here is where my brilliance shows) then somehow get home. Meet Jason at home, dinner and kids to bed and we get a down evening

Wednesdays: Fermilab day for me. Jason will have to go the gym and come home instead of going straight to work, grandparents over earlier so someone is in the house with kids. I pick Lucy up in the car on my way back home. Meet Jason at home, dinner, kids to bed and then I go to the gym again around 8pm.

Thursdays: Same as Tuesdays

Fridays: We both go to the gym in the morning. I take Lucy in, Jason picks her up. Then Friday night free for all food wise.

Saturdays: Run for both when we can

Sundays: Run for both when we can.

Some things to note about the schedule:

  • Dinners together as a family happen every night. We aren’t foresaking those moments for the gym. I’m pretty strict about dinner time, I think it’s important to have the, “How was your day?” conversations. And while those conversations aren’t *exactly* happening right now (well with a stubborn two year old), I want to have the idea of that happening in place.
  • Jason and I do either the drop off or the pick up and at reasonable times, which is important. I don’t want to get into a situation where we are working out and getting all fit but then Lucy is at daycare from when they open to when they close or hiring one of the teachers to bring her home or whatever. With this schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays I should be able to get her early-ish. And the other days will be normal days for her.
  • This one is a big one and when I have gotten busy in the past it helps to use this trick. Runs can very easily be used to run your errands, especially for those of us that live in a city where things are accessible. Have a dentist appointment? Run home! Need to drop your rent off? Run in it (we did this when we were running a lot and did a 10-11 mile run on a Wednesday night and dropped the rent off on the way). So I can do my runs and just end them at her daycare, which deletes the time to do the run, come home and shower, and THEN get back to lakeview to pick her up. I have to run anyways, so if those 45-60 minutes are done and I’m there to pick her up I lose absolutely nothing. Although the people riding home with sinky me on a crowded train might lose their minds. Hence the “get home somehow”.  I have ideas of leaving a small back with a clean shirt at her school or showering at my Dad’s, or having my Dad drive the baby to the daycare since he lives right next door. Then he’s home and I have the car to get home in.
  • My workouts mostly happen in the evening, or later afternoons which while breastfeeding is the better plan for me so I’m the most comfortable and don’t have to pump anymore than I absolutely have to.
  • Clearly a lot of the plan is banked on having the support at home early in the morning from my dad and sue. This is mainly true on Wednesdays when Jason has to go to the gym and I’ve already left for Fermilab as well as Fridays although we can manage that one I think.
  • This plan has us working out 7 days a week which I think is doable because it’s not running every day or lifting weights every day but switches it up. Right now I’m not at 7 days a week so it’ll take a few more weeks of work to get to that point.

I also want to find time to run with Jason either with Lucy in the jogging stroller, or just the two of us, or both if we can enlist the grandparental units to help out.

I like being busy and having a schedule helps because if you look at the above without a plan you would go, well when the hell are you going to fit in running? Or Work? Or picking up dropping off the kids? I’m sure this plan will morph, I just don’t want it to morph to nothing.

Suggestions? How have you found time to get in workouts with a busy and hectic schedule?

A Game for Lucy

We have been having some two year old stubbornness happening around these parts. And so every evening was turning into a power struggle and tears on her end. I don’t want to lose to the two year old but I don’t want to have fights every night. Bedtime was becoming an issue because she won’t go to sleep and she shares a room with Calvin and so ….

…. oh for godsakes. Diaper blowout…..must pause.

Ok, I’m back, right bedtime was an issue and just in general two year old crap. Lucy don’t do that. Looks right at me, grins and does it anyways, that kind of shit.

I talked a bit to one of her teachers and she suggested just maybe some one on one time with us since everything was becoming too routine, come home, eat dinner take a bath go to bed. So try to change it up a bit with a game or a walk or something. So I wanted to come up with something different and fun for her to do.

So as I was walking to the farmers marker a few days ago I just started taking pictures with my phone of neighborhood things. A stop sign. A flower. A fire hydrant. Some things I thought she might recognize like a bush on of of the streets that she calls The Dinosaur, or our friends house down the street, or the fountain in the square. Then some other more abstract pictures, a tree trunk, leaves etc etc.

I have a little Epson picturemate printer and so I imported the photos, and printed two per 4×6 page:

Then I went to Walgreens and got a memo book for $0.49 along with some circle label stickers. I made a cover for the book when I got home and just taped (two sided tape) one picture per page of the book.

When she got home I gave it to her and told her how to play. When she found one of the pictures in the neighborhood, she could put a circle sticker on it.

(That’s right one of the things to find was the liquor store. Shut up. I totally get points for making the game up….so what if one of the things is a liquor store :) ).

The game was a big hit although we had to end it at some point and then she was sad. But it’s fun that the second she saw the picture of our friends house she said, “AHH STUART AND MARY’S HOUSE”  same with the “dinosaur” bush. Would recommend this for any one. Super cheap and fast if you have a little printer. The making of the book probably took me 30 minutes or less. I think is great for this age but could go up to older kids as well. You could be more specific with older kids. Find *this* tree instead of just any tree, etc.


As I prepare to go back to work next week this was the conversation that we had last night:

Leah: Ok, so wait, if we run on Tuesday and Thursdays, then we can run Saturdays and Sundays and get 4 days in but only ever run two days in a row

Jason: So then, go to the gym in the mornings on Mondays, Wednesdays and maybe Fridays?

Leah: That works right? Oh wait…so I’ll go to the gym at 5?

Jason: Yeah, then I’ll go as soon as you come home and go to work.

Leah: Ok that works. Oh wait. I don’t want to go at 5am because I’ll have to get up at 4:30 and pump before I go.

Jason: Oh yeah…ok, well I’ll go first and then you can go.

Leah: But that doesn’t make sense because the gym is right on the way to work for you and you have to leave at 6:45 and I wouldn’t be back by then. But my Dad or Sue might be here by then so maybe?

Jason: True.

Leah: Ok what if I take Lucy to school, come back to this neighborhood, go to the gym then go to Northwestern. OH that doesn’t work either unless I want to get to work at like 10:30. Although if I can work some hours in the morning that *could* work. But that is so out of the way. Although if we got the all access pass I could hit the gym by Lucy’s daycare *or* the one in Evanston.

Jason: Ok, well that’s just an extra $10 to add that.

Leah: I want to make sure I’m going to use it before paying for that.

And so on and so forth went the conversation. I’ve had lots of different schedules in my life and lots of different options and so I’m sure a good solution will pop out at me. I think because of the pumping for now I will have to go to the gym at night after kids go to bed OR the option of going in the morning after Jason. My Dad or Sue will be here in the morning so he can leave before I get back as I really don’t like working out at night, although it can be a nice release after a long day with kids and work. So there is that to think about.

As for running I’m planing on working from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays (although that might change fairly quickly) and so if I am doing that, I can run in the middle of the day. We are both enjoying working out and running a lot and so it’s important for both of us that we don’t lose that when I go back to work.