Sunday, February 26, 2012

Long Runs and Long Conversations

What is it about a long run that brings people together?  It amazes me how I can show up to a running club, lock into pace with some folks, and an hour later it is like we have known each other all our lives.  What we do for a living, how big our house is or what neighborhood we live in, even how old we are -- all these things cease to matter.  We are all just runners. 

I showed up to DC Road Runners this morning (with 15 minutes to spare... no parking fiascos this time!) and found three women who wanted to run a 9:00 - 9:30 pace for 22 miles.  We started chatting and before I even realized it we were halfway done.  Had we met any other way, I am pretty sure we never would have gotten past hello.  We were 65, 45, and 33 (yes, one woman was almost exactly my age.)  We were African American, Latino, and Caucasian.  We were a surgeon, a stay at home mother, a lawyer and a music teacher. 

At the 19th mile we decided to split up so we could focus and hit race pace for the last three miles.  I really started booking it, doing the last three under an 8 minute pace, and pulled out a 7:36 for the final mile.  I have no idea where that energy came from.  Run stats here:

I'm not sure what pace I should aim for at the marathon.  I'm not going to try to Boston Qualify because I need a 3:34:59 and I still think that's out of reach.  I definitely want to try to break four hours.  I think I will start with the 3:50 pacer and see how I'm feeling around 18-19.  If I can just hold onto today's energy...

And if I bonk, I bonk. 

I rushed home to have a shower and get my family to a 3pm wedding of a good friend I met five summers ago.  And how did we meet?  Training for the Marine Corps Marathon, of course.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jogging Stroller Hatred??

First off, I am proud to say I got in 9 miles with the kids IN the stroller.  We had our THIRD gorgeous sunny day this holiday weekend and I needed the sunshine so I saved my run for Susanna's naptime both yesterday and today.  She will sleep in there for most of the ride and it is the only way I can get her to nap when she isn't at daycare.  Jack falls in and out of sleep on our runs but so long as he has crackers and a bottle he's the chill, content, laid back little man he always is. 

I decided to avoid the trail today since Susanna has been complaining that it's "too bumpy" so we went from our house past the metro, around Nottaway park and through a couple neighborhoods in Oakton.  The kids were fast asleep and we were on the sidewalk.  I try to be polite when we pass people and will veer off the trail/ footpath if I possibly can. Well, we were on a sidewalk that did not have an easy way to get off, and a woman in flourescent pink gloves was walking briskly in front of us.  She heard us coming and just kept walking.  I paused behind her and figured she would step out of the way.  She did not.  I said "Excuse me, would you mind if we passed by?"  She turns around, glares at me and my children, steps off the sidewalk and doesn't say a word.  I jogged on by and about a minute later my GPS tells me I've hit 4.5 miles and it's time to turn around.  I decide to avoid the sidewalk jam on the way back and so I take the street for the the next few minutes.  I wave to Flourescent Pink Glove Lady as I pass.  The gloves do not return the wave, nor does a smile reach her lips.  She just glares back at us. 

Jogging Stroller Hater.

99% of people are awesome when I'm running with the kiddos.  A few weeks ago a 70+ year old man called out that I was setting a wonderful example for my children.  Lots of people have cheered me on, cars generally will stop for me at streeet crossings on the trails, and people will move out of the way . 

Most people.  But every once in awhile you get a Jogging Stroller Hater like the one above.

Or the woman at the grocery store I encountered when Jack was 2 months old.  I had finished my run at Safeway and was picking up some grocery items for dinner.  I was in an aisle that had a display and a woman (with two kids in her cart, mind you) had parked her cart in a way that I couldn't pass. She says to me "Can you get through?"  I say "No, I don't think we can fit."  (Take note -- we are at the END of the aisle.  All she needs to do is move her cart back a little bit into the main shopping lane.)  She replies "Well then I guess you are just going to have to go all the way around." and points to the other end of the store.

Jogging Stroller Hater.

I was so annoyed with her that I posted the epsisode on Facebook.  Most people commented about how rude she was, but at work the next day, one of my co-workers said "I saw your post, and I have to say, I HATE those double baby joggers!  They take up so much room!  I hate when people take them to the grocery store!"  I looked at her and said "You do realize they take up less room than a shopping cart."  Sheesh!  My jogger fits through a single door.  When I grocery shop I bring a reusable shopping bag and put everything in there.  Pardon me for saving energy by running rather than driving to the store, and for not putting both kids in a cart where my daughter would likely scream to get out the entire time and I would give in and she'd run out the door and into the parking lot. (Oh wait.  That happened last week at Target.)  I am a much less disruptive cusomter when my kids are strapped into a stroller, thank you very much.

There was even an article in the Washington Post that discussed people's hatred for the bulky double strollers.  They don't want them on the Metro.  They are a pain in the tush at restaraunts.  Parents who think they are entitled to take those big strollers everywhere they go need to think again and be considerate of those without children. 

I think I am pretty considerate.  I wanted to end my run at Starbucks today but the stroller didn't really fit into the sitting area.  So we finished next door at Safeway at the "mini Starbucks" instread, where there was ample space.  Even so, some people still glared at us as I had to maneuver the B.O.B. around some chairs to get to an empty table. 

Remember people.  You were a baby once too.  Just sayin'.  Don't be a Jogging Stroller Hater.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


In every way possible.  My husband took his school choir to New York City this weekend and it was my first time EVER alone with the two kiddos.  It really couldn't have gone better.  I'm a single mom for another 36 hours.... hopefully tomorrow will also go as smoothly.

My marathon training plan nicely coincided with my husband's trip as the "long run" is only 12 miles -- resting the legs for the big 22 miler next Saturday.  My original plan was to do 6 today after Susanna attended a midday birthday party and 12 tomorrow (stoller/ treadmill combo) but after seeing the weather report -- a possible snowstorm tonight, but sunny and GORGEOUS today -- I decided to switch them around.  Jack's childcare appointment at the gym was at 8:30 a.m., so that meant we needed to start about an hour earlier.  So I got up at 6:25, loaded up the car with Susanna's swimming outfit, Jack's baby food, the birthday present, my gym clothes, clothes for me to wear for the rest of the day, and... what was I forgetting?  I am prone to always forgetting at least one important item (example:  running shoes, socks, a bra...)  (Sidenote:  As it turns out all I forgot was makeup.  I can live without makeup.)  Susanna's alarm clock went off at 7 and we managed to get in the car by 7:25.  I had a travel bowl of cheerios and milk for her to eat in the stroller.  Not bad planning, if I do say so myself!

Our gym -- Lifetime Fitness -- is one mile from an awesome trail that is pretty stroller friendly.  I was feeling pretty good (guess I needed the rest day Friday because Thursday's tempo run STUNK!) and the kids seemed to be enjoying the ride.  Then we turned onto the trail and Susanna freaked out.  "Mommy!  I don't want to be in the forest!  The forest is scary!  There are trolls in the forest!"  What?  Where did that come from?  (I'm guessing Dora the Explorer since she is obsessed with that show.)  Every time we went over a bridge we had to look for a troll.  The entire four miles we were in the woods, she would scream every few minutes about trolls and scary trees.  Interesting.  She calmed down when we were back to the road.

So the road to the trail has a very steep hill and I run it all the time when I go to the gym in the mornings and do an outside run/ inside weights combo... never had tried it with the double jogger.  Oh. My. Word.  I tried running it for about 20 seconds and I was huffing and puffing and my heart rate jumped to about it's max.  Had to walk!  Perhaps pushing the jogger up this hill can be a goal for the future...

We got to the gym at 8:55, 25 minutes later than I had hoped.  Since Susanna's swimming lessons started at 10:30, that meant I probably would have to skip out on the hot tub.  Bummer -- it was supposed to be my long run reward.  Oh well.  I got the Jacked changed, checked the kids in, changed out of my tights/ jacket into a tank and shorts, and hopped on the mill at 9:16.  I set the pace for 9:22 (the one Runner's World SmartCoach suggested for my "easy run/ long runs" ) and set my Iphone to a podcast from Another Mother Runner Radio -- Sara Bowen Shea and Dimity MacDowell, the women that wrote Run Like A Mother, the book I read over Christmas and inspired me to really get focused and train hard. This episode was on goal setting and I felt like I was listening to someone recite all the changes I'd made in my routine that have been so positive.  Run early (way early!) in the morning.  Be flexible in your plans.  Log your plans and workouts on Daily Mile or a Blog so you're accountable (Hey!  Seriously, are these ladies following me?) I glanced down at the numbers on the mill when the podcast was over and I was well past three miles.  Decided to crank up a MotionTraxx podcast (highly recommmend it for finding a good foot cadence!) and push the pace.  I did the last mile in about 7:30 and got off the mill in time to take a shower before picking up the kids.

I grabbed some breakfast while Susie had her swimming lesson and then we dashed off to her friend M's birthday party.  This was the only part of the day that didn't go as planned.  The party started at 11, but since Susie's swimming lessons are at 10:30 (that was the only time they had available that wasn't during the work day, and of course every birthday party she is invited to is scheduled at the same time) I knew we'd be late.  I thought about 25 minutes.  I mananged to take the longest route possible though and we were 45 minutes late.  I felt so bad.  M's mom runs a kid's cooking business (birthday parties and classes) and this was a party where the kids made the cupcakes.  By the time we walked in, the cupcakes were about to go in the oven.  Susie got to play outside with the kids while they baked and decorate them and then it was time to go home.

I met M's mom in my childbirth class for Susanna, and her second is a few months older than Jack.  She is a runner and multiple Ironman finisher (in fact, she was the one that suggested I try triathlons when I broke my foot in 2009 and had to swim and bike to get in some exercise) and she says to me as the cupcakes are baking "Hey, do you want to run a marathon tomorrow?"  DC Road Runners puts on a February marathon and I originally was going to do it but with Jamie out of town I had decided not to.  "You can leave the kids here and they can play."  My first reaction was "Why not?"  If I hadn't already agreed to direct the children's choir rehearsal at church tomorrow, I may have taken her up on the offer.  In the end, glad I had a conflict.  Probably not the best idea 4 weeks before the marathon I've been training like mad for.  And probably aslso not a good idea to do the day after a 12 mile run.

When we left M's house the temperature (take note, it's February 18!) was 58 degrees and the sun was beckoning us to go out and play.  We spent the next couple hours at the playground.  (Sidenote:  I notice that everyone else's blogs seem to have photos.  I don't have any photos on my blog yet.  Since I usually don't pictures of myself exercising.  So here are some pics from today's playground excursion:)

At 4 we had our 10K mile car service at the dealership, and I called my friend who lives close to there - A and B's mom - to see what she was up to.  "We're headed to the Kia dealership to test drive minivans.  We should be there around 4."  Seriously?  'Cause our car service change was at 4 and that meant that A and Susie could play together in the kid room as well and Jack and B (they are 5 weeks apart.)  How crazy is that?  I was even able to watch the four kids so A and B's mom and dad could test drive the van together. 

We headed to Target on the way home to pick up dog food, wipes and dipes.  Susie ate her dinner (grilled cheese) in the cart.  Got home right before Jack's bedtime, nursed him and got him to sleep.  Now I'm watching a Netflix movie with Susanna (although I wanted to watch Tangled.  I lost.  We're watching Strawberry Shortcake.)  Which is about to end.  So it's bath and books time soon. 

What a BEAUTIFUL day!  The house is a mess (and that's fine since tomorrow's weather will be cruddy.  I can clean while the kids chill in the basement.)  Miss my husband, but I feel really proud of everything we got in during the past 14 hours!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Dreadmill and other challenges this week

I just ran 8 miles on the dreadmill.  I think that is the longest continuous run I've ever done on that thing.  Ugh.  The worst part was that the sun was shining and it was warm enough to go out in shorts... ah.  Wednesday is my normal run right after work day, but Jamie had to work tonight and Susanna had ballet lessons at the gym.  Which meant I couldn't even do the jogging stroller since I can't leave the premises during her class.  So...  torture machine it was.  I downloaded an audiobook (total chick lit -- Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsellla) and set the mill for my "easy run" pace of 9:22.  I hung a towel over the console so I wouldn't be looking at the numbers and tried to just get into the novel.  When I felt like I'd been running for eternity I peeked at the numbers.  .64.  Seriously?

I get to 1.91 and feel like this is going to go on forever when my phone rings.  Susie's ballet teacher.  Apparently no other kids showed up for the class today so she had a private lesson and they got everything done in 35 minutes so could I please come pick her up?  Sure.  I head down there to drop her off at the childcare where her brother has been hanging out, and head back up to the mill.  I set it for 6.1 mile and put it back on the 9:22 pace.  At a half mile I decide if I don't do something to break up the boredom I'm going to lose it.  I shouldn't really push the pace since I did 800 repeats at 6:58 yesterday and am still sore.. but maybe some incline training?  So I up the incline by .5% every tenth of a mile for a half mile and then recover for a half mile.  Okay -- I have to watch the numbers but it does make the run a little more interesting.  Eventually I get to the eighth mile.  Finally.  I want to get off.  I am sick of this machine.  So I start to up the pace every tenth of a mile til I get to an 8 minute pace.  I figure that still counts as a recover run.

Done.  Done done done.  A workout of mental toughness.

This weekend Jamie is out of town.  Luckily that coincides with my "dropback" week in terms of long runs -- I only need to do about 12-14.  I'm thinking I will do this OUTSIDE with the jogging stroller but may break it up... perhaps 6-7 to someplace where the kids can run around and then back.  Either that or I could do 6 on the trail and 6 on the treadmill... or something like that.  I will report HOW I get my runs in this weekend.   I will not say IF because I am bound and determined to figure it out.  Between the daycare at the gym and my wonderful double jogger, there are possibilities.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lottery Results = NOOOOOOO!!!

The Bull Run Run -- the 50 mile trail race I entered the lottery to run -- posted the results today.  And my lottery number = Total Loser.  I am 156th on the waitlist.

Here is the annoying thing.  They keep the waitlist rolling along until April 3.  The race is April 14.  So that would mean I could find out whether or not I get in, oh, 11 days before the race.  Because you can really cram and train for a 50 mile trail race in 11 days, right?

Ugh.  So do I just take myself off the waitlist and call it a wash?   I'll have a better idea on where I stand in a week or so as people who were selected can choose to withdraw, and those not selected can choose to stay on the waitlist or give up.  If things aren't looking good I guess my options are:

1.  Withdraw and concentrate on the Ironman training -- get going on the bike and allow my body to recover from the March Rock N Roll USA Marathon .  If I don't break 4 hours in March like I want to, it also gives me the option of doing another marathon 6 weeks later.   THEN register for the JFK 50 which is in November.   

2.  Withdraw and register for the Glacier 50 miler just north of Pittsburgh on the same day.  Really not leaning towards that option.  Too far.

3.  Stay on the waitlist, train like I"m running it, and hope for the best.  That means 50-70 miles per week in late March and early April.  Do I really want to train like that and then risk the possibility of having nothing to run?

Logically #1 seems like the best option.  Might do better with the Ironman training if I'm not recovering from a 50.  And the JFK 50 will coincide perfectly with the fall marathon training schedule.  Still, really had my heart set on Bull Run....    boo for the lottery!!!  

Friday, February 10, 2012


... my new awake time.   I have been a night owl all my life, but I have found that getting up before 5 has made me SO much happier.  I have energy for the rest of the day.  I have mental clarity and focus.  Why didn't I figure this out years ago?

I joined a masters swim team two weeks ago that meets MWF and I actually look forward to the early morning torture sessions.  There is no way I'd do this to myself without the coach or peer pressure.  For example today we did 200 meter sprints with 200 meter recoveries.  Three times.  If no one was watching and that was in my training plan I'd probably say "Whatever" and just do them all at a mediocre speed.  Instead I'm thrashing to get to the finish, out of breath

Swimming is different than running in that you can't talk to anyone.  Which frankly at 5:30am I am quite happy about.  I always have to jump out the pool and into my car as soon as the whistle blows to make sure I'm back for Jamie to get to work, but today he didn't have to leave until 8 so I chatted to a few folks.  Most are triathletes.  Almost all have kids.  One woman told me she has 8 kids.  8 kids!  Here I am thinking I'm so crazy doing tris with 2 kids, and she's got 8!  

Running happens before or after work.  This week I'm up to 30 on only three days of running.  Supposedly 16 in the morning (I'll see how far I can get before Jamie goes to choir festival.)  I have Jack booked into the gym childcare at 9:30 and my rule is I can only get in the hot tub if I get all 16 in.  I guess finish with the B.O.B. stroller if I have to.  OR the dreadmill.  We'll see how this goes. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feeling the "Energizer Momma" tonight...

It is 10:30pm and the Energizer Momma is still going.  And going.  And going.  But let's start from the beginning.

Alarm is set for 5am but I somehow wake up at 4:45 and can't get back to sleep.  I need to be on the treadmill by 5:20 at the latest to get my Yasso 800s (10 half  mile repeats) in so I decide to just get up and go.  Running clothes are on, about to walk out the door and realize Jack hasn't eaten since about midnight.  I either have to pump or feed him -- no way I can do a tough workout like this.  So I wake him up, get him fed, and hop in the car.  I'm on the mill by 5:35 -- not enough time for a warm-up and cool down so I abbreviate and do 3 minutes instead of 10, then start the repeats.  First one at 6:58 pace.  I don't even feel tired so I crank it up to 6:52 for the next 7.  I'm still feeling good at the end so I do #9 at 6:40 and #10 at 6:30 (I DID feel tired at the end of that one.)  I want to get in a one mile cool down but there isn't time. So I improvise when I get home right at 6:45 (my absolute deadline for when Jamie has to leave for work) and finish the workout by running up and down my street with the baby monitor for the last half mile. I'm back in the house at 6:59am, just in time for Susanna's alarm clock at 7.  Good to have the day's workout completely out of the way.  From 7-8:10 we're able to relax a bit and enjoy the morning before I have to get to work.

I'm a music teacher so there is virtually no sitting in my day.  On Tuesdays I teach 9 classes of children from K-6th grade.  On the days I don't exercise in the morning I always feel like I'm dragging but the days when I do really tough morning workouts I feel like I'm on a high - go figure.  I don't know how that works.  Anyhow between teaching, photocopying, scanning, and pumping I can't get everything done when I want to - I stay after work to finish some stuff up, grab the kids from daycare and praise the Lord that there is no traffic on my way home (no traffic in the DC metro?  Sometimes the stars are aligned.)

I walk in the door, stick the food in the oven (thank you Dinner Done - every month I sign up for a 3 hour kitchen session where I make 24 meals and freeze them.  Without that my family probably wouldn't eat the majority of the time.), and realize there are about 20 things we need for tomorrow at the grocery store.  So it's out the door again.  I knew there was a reason we bought a house next to Safeway.  If you count the number of trips I take a week...

Jamie calls me while I'm at Safeway and says Jack needs to eat.  So I rush out of there, feed the baby and put him to bed, get dinner on the table, and relax for the first time all day.

Except then Susanna starts screaming.  She pulls out a true temper tantrum.  Seriously.  I've never seen this before.  Wailing for almost an hour.  Doesn't want to eat her chicken strips.  Doesn't want to take a bath.  Doesn't want to go to bed.  Wants to watch a TV Show.  The child has been up since 7 and barely napped. However, she has no desire to go to sleep.  After bath and books I hear her turn her light back on and start to play with her trains.  10 p.m. and she is still going.  Perhaps she is the Energizer Baby.

Now I've got to get ready for tomorrow.  So... Susie and Jack's bag gets packed, four lunches packed, coffee set to brew, kitchen (somewhat) clean, my bag packed, kids and my clothes out, alarm set for 5am.

11 p.m. and I'm still not asleep.  I always seem to get a second wind at about 10:30.  You can make the night owl get up early but I'm sure you can take away the night owl tendencies.

Tomorrow will be much of the same adventure, except I'm swimming in the morning, I teach choir before school so I have only 20 minutes to get the kids up and dressed, and I'm (gulp) running 11 miles after school.  Crazy advanced marathon training plan... what was I thinking?

I think the batteries are just about ready to be recharged.  Until next blog... goodnight!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

50 running miles....

... in one week. This is the first week I've ever done it. Have to say I'm pretty proud. I even felt like I could keep going after my 20 miler on Saturday.

I plugged in my most recent race time to the Runners World SmartCoach program tonight and it says that I should be able to run a marathon in 3:35. It also gave me the training paces I should be using and apparently I've been doing my easy runs a little too easy... alright a lot too easy. It says long runs should be at 9:27 and tempos at 8:04. So I think 3:35 is more than a long shot. And it wouldn't BQ (Boston Qualify) me this year anyhow -- I get to "age up" in September and can BQ with a 3:39:59, which could... maybe... possibly... happen if I got really strict with my training. But this year, the goal is just to break four hours. My plan is to start with the 3:50 pacer and see how that goes.

I think I did a pretty good job of getting mileage in this week without sacrificing kid/ family time. I also added in swimming (yes I need to add cycling but I'm going to wait a few more weeks on that one) 3 hours a week. Morning workouts are key. I joined the CycleLife masters swim program (more on that in another post) and that meets MWF. I found that if I want to swim and run on the same day it's not too bad - I just have to have everything ready to go the night before. If I can get the kids in the car by 7:15, I can be at work in time to get an hour's run in before the day starts. So for example on Friday I wanted 6 miles easy plus the swim. Didn't quite get to work by 7:40, but I DID get there in time for 4 miles. Then I ran 2 right after work and still got the kids in plenty of time. So some of my easy runs might be split -- whatever works.

Back to the pacing -- I'm going to try to be better about following the plans, but I also feel like running is a place where I've met some of my best friends, and if I worried about pacing that never would have happened. I do the marjority of my runs alone, but the really long runs (18+) I've been doing with the DC Road Runners and it's great to just have people to run with -- no headphones, just conversation. I usually just jump in with whomever I'm close to when the group starts out.   I had a 20 miler scheduled for this weekend and I left my house in time to roll on up right at 7:58am or something. There was no parking. Anywhere. I drove up on a hill and started searching, finally found a spot about a half a mile away and by the time  I made it back to the Iwo Jima Memorial, there were no runners in sight. Well darn, I could have just run outside my house, right? Enough whining, it was a beautiful day in FEBRUARY (can't beat this mild winter) and the sun was shining.  I headed off towards Rock Creek Park. I made it to the waterfront and noticed two runners head the wrong direction. They soon emerged back and asked for directions.   I started talking to them and it soon because clear that we had a lot to talk about . The woman had taught in Kenya, which is where my father lived, taught medical school, and still spends a great deal of his career. They live right by the school where I work and the girl runs a tutoring business.  They both are edurance athletes and like to run on trails. I guess the woman's boyfriend wanted to pick up the pace so he left me with her. We finished slightly over a 10 minute pace which is about 30 seconds slower than I wanted to aim for, but... I had a great time and the 3 hours we ran together flew by.

This week the training plan is also high mileage, but instead of spreading it out over 6 days, they give you longer runs more often and no real short runs. It will be interesting to see how I get these in - especially since Jamie is working all of Friday evening and Saturday day.  I rest my running legs Sunday AND Monday -- my first two days off since December.  I am getting a sports massage Monday night.   Woot!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Preschool Dilemma

We are so lucky to have found a wonderful caregiver for our two children while we are at work. Connie has raised five children of her own and now watches her baby granddaughter, Jack, Susanna and two other children. She has cared for Susie since she was 5 months old and Susie loves her like another grandma. BUT Susie is turning three and so excited to learn and it is time to enroll her in preschool in the fall.

I visited five preschools while I was on maternity leave and narrowed it down to two schools. St. Luke's is right next to Connie's (where Jack will be) and has the same hours (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.), lunch is included in tuition, and has small class sizes. Holly Brook has terrible hours for our work schedule (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. giving me only 30 minutes between drop off and starting work and only 20 minutes between ending work and pickup), higher tuition, is a 10 minute drive from Connie's house, and doesn't include lunch. Also their school year only goes through the first week of June rather than through June like the other school. No brainer, right? BUT Holly Brook is a Montessori school. I was a Montessori girl and I loved it. And Susie is much like me. A deposit for the waitlist was due before I went back to work, and I signed her up.

First month's tuition is due soon and I am totally having second thoughts. The hours and the calendar are the biggest issues. I have nothing to do with Susie the last three weeks of June. Jamie will NEVER be able to drop her off since he has to be at work by 7:10 a.m.. For the past four years I have done many before school activities with the kids at school -- choir, musical, 3-6th grade running club. I wouldn't be able to do these anymore. Also at least once a week I find I need to stay a little late to get things done at work -- not possible with the Holly Brook schedule.

And goodbye quick runs after work. I will often throw on my running clothes right when the kids leave, jet out the door for a quick 45 minute run, and still am able to get the kids before 5:15 p.m. Or I'll drop them off at 7:30 a.m. and do a quick run before the day starts.

I've talked this over with lots of people and the response all seems to be the same. While Montessori is a great program and worked fine for me, my sanity and Jamie's sanity is important too. I worry that the rush to and from work is going to cause problems in my job. I don't want to stop my before school programs. I want the option to be able to drop off earlier or pick up later and do those extra things at work that just don't get done during the school day. Or be able to go to the grocery for a quick trip BEFORE I get them, rather than try to shop with two kids.

Jamie's response? "Put her in St. Luke's. The fact that you like Montessori isn't worth the stress of the hours and the schedule."

So why do I feel so torn? I want to do what's best for my child. I guess it's just because I know Montessori worked for me. But I never tried traditional preschool, either.