Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Matters MOST

Is it just me or is this time of year just a whirlwind of things to do, promises to keep, lists to check off, memories we think we MUST make but aren't really making because we are worried about so many things that don't really matter?

If I let myself get carried away in all of the things I think I NEED TO DO like Christmas cards and letters, decorating, buying a tree, watching what I eat even though all the gingerbread candy is sitting on my counter and my husband is gone (stress eating), I surely end up missing out on some of the joy of what this season is supposed to be all about.  That's different for everyone but for me I want this time of year to be focused on faith, family, childhood wonder and excitement, giving, and being more aware of the world as a whole.  I DO NOT want the focus to be making long lists of things we want, getting caught up in the rush of all the sales and ideas of new "stuff" we need to start accumulating when half of our nation is in an economic crisis.  Even sending Christmas cards can get out of hand if we let it.  These things by themselves are all fine, great even, but they can certainly become stressors in our life and we end up missing the whole point of this time of year.  It is only as stressful as we let it.

This post is certainly more for me than you but I'd bet that I'm not the only one who gets overwhelmed and caught up in the craziness that the holiday season brings.  As with most things in life, I like to reflect and then make a plan of action for how I'm going to change the things I don't like.  So, here's some of the things I'm going to try to do MORE and LESS OF this holiday season:

  • Tone down the commercial aspect of Christmas.  Yes, it is fun for the kids to make a wish list but I don't want that to be the main focus of this holiday for us.  It never really has been but I can see it getting to that point.  I'm not one of those people that thinks the entire living room needs to be filled with "stuff" in order to have a magical holiday.  It usually ends up that way though but sheesh.  We try to make Christmas and birthdays the main times of year that our kids get some special new toys and things they have been hoping for.  This makes getting new things very special and appreciated.  
  • Keep things Simple. I'm not so good at this.  In fact, I usually complicate things.  I create work for myself.  Christmas lists, decorations, a cocktail party (this one is a new thing I've just added to my list), etc.   When it comes to Christmas cards, I like getting them and I usually send them.  This is fun for me.  So is writing a letter.  However, just logging on to those sites to make a Christmas photo card can be overwhelming for me this year.  So many choices and easy to get sucked into getting the more expensive ones when really, it doesn't matter. They are nice but nobody really stops and says "Wow, they got their card printed on nice card stock instead of glossy photo paper.  I want to be just like them." Ha! Really.  If it is getting stressful then, it is okay to not send one this year. 
  • Look at the World as a WHOLE more and count my blessings.  I think I always do this to some extent but again, so easy for me to lose track of what is important and forget how many people out there are just struggling to make ends meet.  I want my children to grow up with an awareness of others and the needs of so many.  I don't know how well I'm doing at helping them be sensitive, generous and aware of those less fortunate but the seeds have been planted and I'd like to think that they will grow up giving back greatly to the world.  For now, we do this by participating in the food drives at school and church, buying gifts for foster kids, and donating to different funds.  I don't mean to say these things to make us sound like we are saints and "oh, look at us and how good we are"...if anything, we are just the opposite..we should be doing more of this stuff all year and we don't.  But habits start small so even the small things count.  
  • Find little things to make memories.  There are so many fun things to do this time of year that don't cost a lot of money or have to be complicated.  A few of them are: Watching Christmas movies next to the tree with all the lights out, decorating a gingerbread house (the easy kind from Costco or the craft store), baking cookies (yes, more calories), having the kids write Christmas letters, dressing up and having the kids perform plays for the family, thinking of a neighbor who might be lonely this holiday season and taking them cookies or something we made.   


These goals above don't mean that we won't have a Christmas morning with lots of toys under the tree, send out Christmas cards, and get wrapped up in the holiday rush.  However, writing them down, does help take some of the pressure off and remind me of what is most important.  We all have different ways of living our lives and there isn't one right or wrong way.  These are just things that I personally want to make a priority.

Running Running Running

  • Again, last week was 65 miles.  Felt great.  
  • This week and maybe next is a drop in mileage.  Maybe even as low as 30-40.  Then I will start building again.  Thinking that 70-75 will be a good peak for me.  My body seems to respond well to the mileage but I will adjust as my body tells me to.  
  • I was going to start my official Boston plan this week but changing plans a bit and that will be next week or the week following.  I'll explain more later.  
  • Today I did a speed workout not related to marathon training but more to let me know where my legs are at..  2 mile warm-up;  1 mile @6:22 (felt strong); 6x 400's @ 6:15/6:18 pace.  Last one was 6:22 so I could get a feel for that pace.  2 mile cool down.  Felt strong and comfortable.  This is a confidence boost.  
  • Loving the extra time I have now that I am not running as many miles this week but miss the higher mileage.  Surprisingly, I think the higher miles makes me feel more energetic and productive.

Six Year Old Theatrics
In light of what matters most, I thought I'd leave you with a little 6 year old theatrics.  I don't like to include my kids or their names on this blog too much but that is probably just me being silly.  This video made me laugh and it was fun taking.  Just sitting down with my kids last night and putting the to-do lists to the side, felt so great.
Note:

  • At about 1:14ish you'll hear all about Thugs in the forest.
  • Who picks berries before a wedding?  Apparently, it is the thing to do.  
  • The best part is towards the end when my two year old Bumble Bee gets in the action.
  • Don't forget to notice the lovely recorder/flute playing in the background.  This is my four year old.  
  • Kids are so funny!  



Happy Wednesday! Sorry I've been such a bad blogger lately.  Things have been crazy busy and I've had to limit my blog time.  Again, trying to focus on what matters most.  Not that you don't matter.  :)  You do.

Amanda

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cook Train Eat Race. First Runninghood Guest Post

The past few days have been kind of crazy.  The holiday season always feels that way and then you add on a traveling husband, vacation weekend (no school), and to-do lists all over my counter and you get one crazy mama!  I'm so grateful for a routine starting back up again tomorrow.

Quick Running Update:
I ended last week with 65 miles.  Felt GREAT.  Made me super confident that higher mileage won't be a problem for me if I want to go for it.  My 65 miles wasn't all easy miles either.  I threw in a few faster paced runs too so I could get a feel for how my body responded to the mileage and intensity increase.  I'm feeling so strong and I hope that this strong feeling only gets STRONGER.  I've noticed that my "base pace" or natural and comfortable pace is almost always landing between 8 and 8:15.  I'm okay with this...seems like this has always been the case for me.  An 8 minute mile is just that pace that comes when I settle in and just run without trying to hit a pace or run a recovery run.  This is pretty pointless information and I'm pretty much just babbling.  My 14 mile run on Saturday ended up feeling awesome and easy but again, strong.  I didn't intend on speeding up at the end until my Garmin stopped and I needed to delete lap memory in order for it to work again.  This messed my mile 10 split up so I felt the need to pick it up a bit to make up for lost time (like I was in a race or something.  Ha!).  Mile 12 was a 7:10 and mile 13 was a 7:22.  These miles felt relatively easy considering they were miles 12 and 13.  I was very pleased and they served as a huge confidence boost.  My average for the run was right around 8:10 but like I said, my Garmin had some trouble so this throws things off.  Whatever, it wasn't super fast but it felt strong.

I'll give more of a training update in my next post.  A couple of weeks with mileage drops, a possible race, facing some fears, and where I'm at with Boston training.  Until then, I'm going to try to keep from stuffing my face with all the candy I bought for the gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies.  Oh, and the leftover turkey, potatoes, rolls, and a whole slew of other crud that has surely made me gain about 10lbs this week.  Okay, 5.  And this brings me to the topic of how to fuel for marathon training.  Or in my case, how NOT to fuel.

Cook Train Eat Race
Many of you have heard of the blog Cook Train Eat Race written by endurance athlete and all-around awesome guy,  Jason Bahamundi.  If you haven't, then I'd recommend following this blog if you are interested in reading about endurance training, fueling properly and living a healthy and active life. I've found so many of Jason's posts to be useful and informative.  It has been especially nice to read his current posts since he is nearing the end of marathon training and his topics are relevant to what is forefront on my mind. For example, one of his recent posts on healthy snacks, made me think twice about stuffing the peanut butter M&M's down my gullet.  I still ate them but I did think twice.  Those of you that know Jason, know that he is dedicated, passionate, and knowledgable about eating, training, cooking and racing!  In fact, this weekend he is heading to Vegas to attempt a Boston qualifying marathon time.  You've got it Jason! You've definitely trained and fueled properly for it.

A week or so ago I was thinking a lot about what kinds of foods I will need to be putting in this body of mine in order to be fueling properly for marathon training.  I don't think that I was eating all the adequate nutrients when I was training for my spring marathons and I want to make sure I do it up right this time.  In addition to doing lots of research and picking my husband's brain from his research, Jason came to mind.  I've never done a guest post before but I knew that Jason would have a lot of insight to offer.  Plus, he is worth knowing about.  When I asked Jason to write up something for Runninghood, he gladly agreed.  Thank You!

 Below is a little about what Jason has to say about nutrition and fueling for endurance sports.  I hope this is useful to you. It was for me. And please head over to Cook Train Eat Race to wish Jason good luck on his marathon this weekend!




Before we get into the topic of the day, I would like to thank Amanda for allowing me to write a post on her terrific blog.  It is an honor and I was humbled by her request. 

Amanda has asked that I write about nutrition and how to fuel the body properly for training for a marathon. I have to say initially that I am not a registered dietitian nor a doctor and that all my advice is based on my own research and trial and error.

Typically the first question I get is how much protein should I get while I’m training. The answer is going to be different for everybody because of their size, but I also don’t prescribe to the all things protein mentality. As a matter of fact I believe that protein is the third of the three macronutrients that I concern myself with.

As endurance athletes we have a rule of thumb when it comes to macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) and that is ~55%-60% of calories should come from carbohydrates. This is your primary energy source and if this is depleted your body will have to learn to burn fat and protein as fuel. This is not as efficient as carbohydrates and takes time to teach your body.

Fats should constitute ~30% of your calories and finally proteins would be ~15%. So you can see why I say that this is the last of the macronutrients I concern myself with.

Now that you know what your daily (not each meal has to be this way) intake of macronutrients should be, what are those to be composed of. Carbohydrates should be complex, fat and protein should be lean. You don’t want to put junk into your fuel tank otherwise your engine (your body) won’t function efficiently. It is that simple.

For me, I workout in the morning. Very early and the notion of eating anything substantial is not going to work for me. I drink a smoothie that has approximately 150 calories and some coffee. After my workout is when I get a bigger breakfast in. Typically I have another smoothie with Herbalife (carb/protein supplement) along with an egg on a slice of whole grain toast. Other options are oatmeal, especially in the fall/winter. And don’t make quick oatmeal but instead get the rolled oats and make them yourself. They only take about 5 minutes. Add in some cinnamon and some raisins and you are good to go for the rest of the morning.

Hunger will hit in about 4 to 5 hours and this is key. You need to understand your hunger queues. We eat a lot based on emotion, but as an endurance athlete you need to remove that from your thought process. Eat when you are hungry and there are truly only two ways to know when you’re hungry. One is that your stomach rumbles and the other is that you are not thinking straight. In other words you just had an argument with your significant other about nothing.....chances are you’re hungry. This typically happens every 4 to 5 hours after eating.


At lunch I will have a nut butter and jelly sandwich that is topped with a banana. I usually eat that on top of a rice cake. If I am still feeling hungry I will make another smoothie. You will get good fats and protein from peanut butter. You will get carbohydrates from the jelly and some texture from the rice cakes. The banana will provide you with great vitamins and minerals.

The next time you are going to be hungry will be for a mid-day snack. For me that is usually a piece of fruit (usually an apple) with 1 tablespoon of nut butter. Apples (any fruit) are great for you but they do have natural sugars and once those sugars burn off you will be hungry again. This is where the nut butter comes in. It will take longer to break down and make you feel full for a longer period of time. It is a perfect mid-afternoon snack. Other options are carrots and celery with homemade hummus.

Dinner will roll around and you are wondering what to eat. You don’t have a ton of time and everybody is yelling that they are hungry. As a vegetarian this is easy for me since I can eat vegetables raw. Not everybody is a vegetarian but they can make plenty of vegetarian side dishes to be served while the meat is cooking. Yes, this may interrupt the dinner to have two servings but it can also be fun.

My go to staple when I’m in a rush or don’t even feel like cooking is to heat up a sweet potato in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. This will get it nice and soft. I can then toss it into the oven to brown. While that is browning I will saute all sorts of vegetables and then serve them over top of the sweet potato with a side of homemade guacamole. I get plenty of carbs, fats and proteins in this simple and quick meal. I always walk away full from this meal.

This may seem like I eat exactly the same thing everyday and it is not that far off, but I also adjust based on my training for that day. Anything that is 1 hour or under and I eat a limited amount of calories. If I go over 2 hours then I make sure to continually nourish my body during my workout so I don’t go overboard when I’m done.

My one piece of advice is to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid of carbs or fats and don’t over do the protein. Protein, in my opinion, is the most mis-understood macronutrient and thus people go over board on it because they think they need so much of it.

Don’t be afraid to try new foods. When I ate meat I would get so tired of grilled chicken and never thought out of the box. Now that I have changed my diet I have much more at my disposable in terms of being unique and adventurous.

Do you have any nutrition questions? If so, please send them to Amanda and she will forward them to me and I will answer as quickly as I can.

Thank you for reading.

Jason

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pre-Turkey Leg Shake Out/Tempo"ish" Run and Warm-Up Drill Video

It's about time to get cookin'!  At least brine some turkey and prep some veggies for tomorrow.  But first, I'm enjoying the sound of the quiet house, the taste of a good amber beer and the satisfied feeling of getting in 15 miles today. This feeling is especially nice after a hard start to the day.  I just couldn't get myself out that door to run.  I've never been a morning runner...it has always been hard for me and today I was struggling. 


ELMO HOOKED ME UP
Once I got my oldest to school and my son woke up, I knew it was too late to run again until later. But one good thing about my younger daughter being sick is that she slept in way late and my son was begging to watch some Elmo's Potty Time.  Usually I'm pretty reluctant to turn on the t.v.  I like to save it for when I'm really desperate for a break and 9 a.m isn't one of those times.  But today Elmo came to the rescue.  He hooked me up.  Did me a solid Yo!  I really should pay him some daycare fees or something.  That Elmo..he's a swell little monster.  I was able to hop on the treadmill and get 5 morning miles in with mile 4 @ 6:40 and mile 5@7:30 (7:30 felt so slow after a 6:40).  This five mile morning run got me through a crazy day with sick kids and a wild 2 year old boy. 


Thanksgiving shopping with kids the day before Thanksgiving is NUTS! Not Advisable! 
 I don't ever want to do my entire Thanksgiving shopping with kids on the day before Thanksgiving EVER AGAIN.  It really wasn't that bad but I was stressed anyway.  I made the mistake of shopping at a store I don't usually shop at so I couldn't find anything and it was so crowded that the chances of finding anyone to help me were slim to none.  Luckily, my daughter was in charge of crossing things off the list so that kept her busy.  


The day only got crazier with being late picking up my oldest and then taking all three kids to the germy doctor's office to get their ears looked at.  They all looked fine.  That was a waste of time and money!  


Stress Reliever of a Run
Today sure did make me want to get out there and RUN!  Since I was too chicken to do a Thanksgiving 5k right now, I thought I'd do a little pre-Turkey leg shake out.  Thought I'd mix up my run with some broken up tempo action and then see what happens.  Note:  I didn't follow any plan for this workout and it probably didn't really do a whole lot for me besides feel darn good to get my heart rate up and my lungs feeling it.  Gosh, it felt good to do an "Amanda Workout"  the way I felt like doing it and not because a book told me to.  Just what I needed right before starting a marathon plan on Saturday.  Here's how my second run of the day went:


Warm up Mile
Took a minute to do some warm-up drills (see video below)


9 miles:
7:04
7:04
8:00 (trying to break up my tempos more)
6:40 (I know this was too fast for tempo but darn it felt good)
7:19
Next 4 miles ranging in incline from -3% to 4% on treadmill
8:35 Easy
8:35 E
8:35 E
8:35 E
7:09 (last .25 @ 6:31 pace)


Total mileage today:  15 
Total this week so far since Sunday:  36
Goal for the week:  60-65 
Feeling GREAT!  


Warm-up Drills
I've been trying to remember more of the drills, strength training exercises and different things I did when I was running for my college team.  Our warm-up routine was always pretty consistent.  Before a track workout, part of our warm-up involved some wall drills that got our legs moving, helped us get the feel for good leg turnover, and also served as dynamic stretching.  For those of you that asked, the following video is an example of part of the warm-up routine that I've been trying to incorporate into my harder workouts.  After a warm up jog/run, I've been stopping and doing these before I do any faster paced runs.  I've also been incorporating lots more core work. I found a good article/information in Running Times that I'll share soon.  


Lucky you!  You get to see our cluttered garage, and my sweaty no-make up after-glow.  And you might just be able to smell my after run stench through the video.  


A VERY Happy Thanksgiving to you!!  And good luck to all of you who are racing tomorrow! A good week for racing. Excited to read race reports.  I've already heard of one good race report today that made me very happy.  


Thankful for you,
Amanda



Monday, November 21, 2011

Why Do We Do It? It's a Struggle Sometimes. But Always Worth It.

Running truly does translate to life.  It makes me strong in everything.  


This morning was one of those mornings that I woke up and just questioned everything. Why I'm training, what I'm doing with my career, and the differences (or not) that I'm making in the world.  As I pulled myself out of bed to run before my kids woke up, I was not feeling any desire or motivation to do it.  It was a battle.  So much of me wanted to just fall back asleep for another hour.  With one eye open, I growled at my husband, "Why am I doing this?  What's the point anyway?  I mean, it isn't like I'm an Olympic athlete or anything so why am I taking this so seriously?"  I know the answers to these questions but it sure was hard to see them clearly as I pulled on my workout pants and tied my shoes.

My husband said something to the tune of :  "You're training because you want to push yourself and see what you can do with this one life.  You're a runner and you want to challenge yourself.  When you do this with running, it translates to other areas of your life and you're stronger in everything."   This really resonated with me.  I didn't instantly jump up and get all perky or anything.  I was still grumbling and feeling like a limp piece of lettuce but it did make me feel better and it got me out the door.  Once I was out there running, my body started to wake up a bit and I was able to use my five mile run to focus on my life, what I wanted to make of the day, and where I'm at with my goals. It didn't take long for me to remember why I'm doing this but it sure was a struggle to get up and at it this morning.

We all have our reasons for why we do it.  Why we push ourselves.  Why we train.  Some of us do it to challenge ourselves and see what we are capable of.  Some do it to escape.  Maybe we do it to lose weight and be healthy.  Others are doing it to qualify for something.  And there are those that start training for a cause that is dear to their heart and then they end up realizing how amazing it feels to be taking control of their fitness and health.

Whatever our reasons for training, there will always be those times when we just don't want to do it.  We'll have those days where we battle with ourselves just to put on our running shoes and get out the door.  I think this is true with any big goal we are working towards. If it wasn't somewhat of a challenge then it probably wouldn't be a goal, right?  But when we push ourselves and stick to our goals even when they are hard, IT. FEELS. SO GOOD.

Today I'm THANKFUL For:

  • Getting out of the door this morning for my 5 mile morning run.  2 of them were at 7:30 pace with the last quarter mile at 6:31 pace. Just getting my legs used to moving faster.
  • Afternoon 6 mile run. 4 of them @ 7:30 with .5 of that @ 6:59 and an 8:00 mile to end.  Felt strong.  Ready for some more structured workouts.  
  • 20 week marathon plan starts on Saturday.  Yes, decided to do the 20 wk plan.  
  • Thanksgiving is this week.  My favorite holiday.  I love that grandparents, cousins and so many more family members pile into our small home to eat, give thanks, play games and just BE together.   
  • Being a mother!  I am absolutely certain that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.  Although there are times that I miss teaching and going to graduate school, I know that I will have this again someday if I want. My doctorate can wait. Right now it feels good to be right where I am.  
  • Movie night with my husband tonight as soon as the kids go to sleep. He has been working so hard the past few days so it will be nice to just be together without other things to do.  
  • Friendships
  • Good food.  
  • Feeling motivated and excited to train for Boston.

Choose one.  Or all.  I love to hear from you.  
1.  What do you tell yourself when you are struggling to stay motivated?
2.  Why do you train/run?  
3.  Please share one of your big goals that you are working on.  Running or other.  I would love to hear.  
4.  What are some things you are thankful for today?  


Amanda

Friday, November 18, 2011

Passing Time on the Treadmill and Keeping Up With The Gouchers

Fitting in the miles for marathon training when you have young kids can be tricky indeed.  Lots of evening runs and pushing around a heavy double jogging stroller was how I trained for my marathons earlier this year.  But now that I have a treadmill in my garage, an entirely new world has opened up to me!  I'm able to be way more efficient with my time and fit in my training runs and everything else before dinner.  This makes for a much more relaxing evening.  


But what does one do to pass the time when running mile after mile in a garage?  Why watch youtube of course!  And what a great way to learn and be inspired.  So much to watch about nutrition, racing, inspiration and even get a peak into the life of elite athletes.  Today, as I was watching random running stuff while I ran, I came across several videos about Kara Goucher and then I found these videos showing us a bit about what life is like for Adam and Kara.  This surely beats Keeping Up With the Kardashians!  




Thoughts on this episode:

  • Kara and Adam are so stinking cute!
  • Couple ice bath...awesome to see them both struggle with it just like the average person.
  • How wonderful to be able to be as good as they are and have the coach they do.
  • Adam and Kara pretty much train and do workout stuff all day long.  Obviously...it is their job.  Truly.  And they LOVE it!  
  • It takes a lot of work to be as good as Kara. Talent or no talent...she works her butt off!  This isn't any new news or realization but this video made me realize just HOW MUCH she does.  Drills, weights, more drills, test, train, train, train and then train some more.  
  • Injury happens to everyone and if you want it bad enough, you will get back there!
  • Pretty neat for Kara and Adam to be married to their best friend and share in such similar goals.  "Living the Dream" as Kara said. 
  • How cool to have a sport where we can push ourselves to OUR fullest and still feel amazing and proud even if we are not an elite runner.  
Keeping Up With Runninghood
Although my running isn't nearly as exciting as Kara Goucher, I have had a great week!  I don't plan on doing every run on my treadmill but I'm in love with what it allows me to do and the extra time I have for the rest of my life.  

This week:  I should hit 60 miles after my 14 mile run tomorrow but this is what I have so far:
Sun: Off 
Mon:  A.M 10 miles @ gym (before we got our treadmill) 2 easy; 6 @ 7:53 with 1-2% incline; 2 @ 8:34 (last .5 @7:23ish)
         P.M 3 easy
Tues:  5 easy 
Wed: A.M 3 easy
         P.M (afternoon) 6 easy
Thurs:  A.M 4 @ base of around 8 min pace
           P.M (afternoon) 1 mile warm up; 10 x 400 @ 6:40 pace with 400 active recovery (high nine min pace) in between; 1 mile cool down.  7 miles total
Friday:  A.M 4 easy
            P.M 4 easy (varying inclines up to 4%)
Sat:  Goal: 14 miles 

Goals for next week:
  • Continue to listen to my body and build mileage
  • Last week before I start incorporating more of a structure to my training.  Will probably just start with a 20 week plan in Run Faster by Brad Hudson but still thinking about starting official training in January.  
  • Possibly 65 miles if my body says Yes!

1.  Do you watch inspirational and educational stuff on youtube?  I've never really watched stuff on youtube except the occasional video posted by a friend.  I'm loving that there is so much out there to entertain me while I run.  I've already learned so much and been INSPIRED!
2.  Non-runner and mother readers, I did post an motherhood idea this morning if you are sick of the running talk.  I know, 2 posts in one day!  Wow...just like old times!  
3.  Check out Jill's Runner Bloggy gift  exchange!  It was fun last year.  Simple. Inexpensive and a great way to connect with someone you might not otherwise connect with.  
Amanda

The Rock Vase. Encouraging, Supporting, and Celebrating Gratitude, Love, and Positive Behavior.


Incentive jars are nothing new.  I've seen the marble and token jars in classrooms that are used to encourage positive behavior and help with management and I've heard of parents using this same system with their kids. I've always been a sticker chart girl myself but it is time to try something new! 


What?  Our Rock Vase


Why?  I'm noticing more and more fighting, arguing, four-year old tantrums, two-year old hitting and not listening, and just an overall need for some positive reinforcement and goal setting.  My hopes are that these kids of mine will take charge of their own behavior, choices, and attitude.  And they will feel good about working towards a goal.  


How?  I want this vase to be about more than just correcting or managing behavior.  I also like the idea of using it to embrace and demonstrate a spirit of gratitude.  Whenever my kids are "caught" making great choices that demonstrate that they are working towards their goals and showing love, consideration, and care for themselves, me, and each other, they will be able to put a rock in the vase.  In addition to getting rocks for working towards goals and demonstrating positive behavior, they will each get a "gratitude rock" at the start of the day and they can put it in the vase after they share something specific that they are thankful for.  We talked about "cracking open" generic statements like "I'm thankful for my mom" and instead saying something specific that they are thankful for like "I'm thankful that my mom cuddled with me in bed last night".  


Purpose?  As the kids see their vase filling up with gratitude, love, and personal growth they will hopefully feel pride and motivation to keep improving!  


What Next?  Once the jar is full we will choose something FUN to do together as a family.  We won't get prizes or "stuff" but instead share an experience that will be memorable for everyone.  Perhaps this will be an extra family movie night or going to the movies.  Maybe even a trip to my least favorite place....Chuck e Cheese.  


So far?  It felt so great to see each kid holding on to their rocks this morning and expressing gratitude before they put their rock in the vase.  It was beautiful to see their little rocks start to accumulate.  So much more than just rocks...they are symbols of gratitude, love, and positive behavior.  And by keeping the vase on the table, it is visible to us all day and we are reminded of our goals, gratitude and love! 


Getting Started:  If you want to do something like this too, it is EASY!  
1.  Go to the dollar store and get a vase and a bag of rocks.  
2.  Set some goals with your kids. Keep it small.  Maybe even just choose one big thing for them to work on.  For my four year old it is simply to start having a more loving attitude and controlling her anger.  
3.  Practice gratitude daily and encourage them to think of specific things.  Even as simple as "I'm thankful for the warm car this morning."  
4.  Notice positive behavior OFTEN.  If you go too long before catching your kids working on their goal, they can get off track and get discouraged.  When we recognize their efforts and celebrate in their small steps, they take pride and ownership of their choices and it is exciting for them.  
5.  Keep the rock vase visible so everyone can see their progress. 


More about running and nutrition for runners coming soon.  I'm having an excellent running week and finding this new treadmill to be the best thing that ever happened to this running mama's training.  So much time has opened up and the time I have with kids has been more quality because of it.  I've even been getting myself up and running by 6:30 for my first run of the day! 

Happy Friday!  Good luck to those of you who are racing.  I'm so excited to be a virtual spectator.  
Amanda

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pre-Ejacupublishing, Treadmill, Winner and Other Stuff!

Some of you might have noticed that there was a post from me this morning or late last night but NO new post.  Well, that would be because I didn't mean to publish my post last night.  It was an accident and I'm so thankful that I had a few comments come through from the late nighters or morning folks if you live in Australia (Char).  These comments were quite funny and they also alerted me that my tired brain had had a fart and published my blog in its skeleton form.  When I don't have time or the desire to write a blog but I have a list of things I'd like to write about for when I do find the time, I start a new post but just list some of the things on my mind. The Bones of a post. Usually I remember to "SAVE AS DRAFT" but last night I hit "PUBLISH" and the following post was up for about 20 minutes (you'll notice the first two or three comments in this post are referring to my mistake):

*  got treadmill
*  delivery guy said it was heaviest...asked me why ?  Kara Goucher
*  10 miles in a.m 3 at night.  13 mile day
*  Treadmill has way too many bells and whistles than necessary but it is a fun new toy and I won't complain
*  Got tickets to Boston.


winner
Amanda

So yes, Char, it was a great Monday!  And Raina, I included this "skeleton post" just for your amusement.  Thanks for the laugh ladies.  



  • Yes, we got out treadmill delivered yesterday!  Wahoo!  And yes, it does have WAY more bells and whistles than necessary but my husband convinces me that if we are going to have something for many many years and use it all the time then we might as well enjoy it and have some perks.  Perks it has!  I'm not entirely sure all that it can do but I'll keep you posted.  All I know is that last night I ran some where in Hawaii with some sexy man talking to me every mile or so.  It was beautiful and if it wasn't for the cold, dingy, cluttered garage, I MIGHT have actually believed that I was running in Hawaii.  Let's just hope that it lasts a looooong time!  
  • Yesterday I ran 10 miles at the gym in the morning and then I couldn't resist getting in an easy 3 miles on my new treadmill last night.  It made for a 13 mile day but my legs didn't feel right last night.  So, today I'm taking it EASY.  
  • We are in the process of creating our running zone.  As many of you might expect, I'll be creating some vision boards and really making the space around my treadmill be filled with images that inspire and motivate me!  Most likely I'll put up my goals and pictures that make me feel strong and focused.  If I'm going to be staring at my garage wall for mile after mile, I might as well be focusing on some good stuff!  Yes? Yes!  
Space in progress! 
  • When the delivery guy was unloading this baby, he seemed rather surprised that it was for me.  He said that usually people ordering treadmills are trying to lose weight.  When I told him that I was training for a marathon and like to run but it is hard to fit it all in with small children at home, he told me that he had just delivered some goods to Kara Goucher.  Sweet!  Kara and I share a delivery man!  Too bad we don't share the same speed. When I called Kara up to tell her that we share a delivery guy, here was her reaction: 
Kara is excited that we share a delivery guy!  

  • I bought my tickets to Boston two nights ago.  Stupid me though.  I wasn't really thinking clearly when I bought them and I didn't see that there were nonstop flights that get us there much earlier.  And as so many of us know, once you buy your flights (especially from Travelocity), it costs an arm and a leg to change them.  Even with travel protection.  Apparently, according to the fine print, you'd have to be deathly ill, have someone die or you yourself die in order to change or cancel your flight.  So really, next time, the travel protection plan?  Not worth it.  We won't get into Boston until 11:30 p.m on Saturday.  At least the time zone difference will still allow us to get a good nights sleep since we can sleep in on Sunday and just take it easy.
  • Motherhood.  We are all stocked up on library books for the month.  Our count is 30 books.  Yes, I have to keep count and make sure that the library books stay together after we read them but it is worth it.  It is always so fun to stock up on library books.  So fun for all of us!  And especially nice for me to read something different for a change.  We ended up getting more than usual this time because I included the books that I will use for the story hour I'll be doing next month.  I LOVE Libraries!  

True Random Number Generator  26Powered by RANDOM.OR

Congrats Jerilee!  Please contact me and I'll get you connected with Keeping the Faith Creations!  

Oh, and I'm convinced that a rolling pin is way better for me to roll my legs (IT Band, calves, quads, hammies) out rather than using my roller.  Seriously...no joke.  I went to have coffee with my mom this morning and this baby did the trick!  




Off to get a light run in IF my son ends up falling asleep.  No such luck yet.  PLEASE do the nap dance for me.  I'm quickly running out of time here. 

1.  Do you own a treadmill?  How do you feel about running on a treadmill?  
2.  Moms, do you "stock up" on library books or just get a few?
3.  Bloggers, anyone ever accidentally publish a post that wasn't meant to be published?  How long was it up before you noticed?  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eugene, Elliptigo, Running With Raina and Fighting Over Elevator Buttons!

Eugene, Oregon.  Track Town USA.  Yep, pretty much a running mecca around there.  The whole family traveled down to Eugene from Portland to be with my husband on a work trip. What a great place to be if you're a runner.  We happened to get lucky with the weather so I was able to explore the city a bit, meet up with dear friend Raina from Small Town Runner (and her kids), run several times and visit some cool places in Eugene.  I saw many hard core looking runners EVERYWHERE I went.  Seriously, on our trail run this morning while pushing my double jogger and following my daughter on her Pinkalicious bike (I know you want one), I saw so many fast looking runners. The runners that looked like they probably get paid big bucks to run. I definitely felt like I was on some sort of fitness/running planet.  I even saw this one lady run by us with her friend who was on an Elliptigo...google this and you'll know what I mean.  It was the first time I've ever seen such a thing.  These people are serious about their fitness!  






Running

  • This week was one of those weeks that I needed to truly do as I said I would and listen to my body and pull back a bit.  Instead of the 55 miles I had wanted to hit, I will probably end up with about 43 or so.  In the beginning of the week, my feet were just not feeling right.  I spent a couple days really babying them...icing and rolling with the golf ball.  I ran a very light 3 miles on the treadmill on Tuesday and then started picking back up a bit.  Amazing what just a small break will do for your body!  Listen to your body folks...it will tell you what you need to know.   
  • On my birthday morning I was lucky to find that the hotel fitness room was Empty.  The kids sat on some workout equipment and watched Sesame Street (kind of) while I celebrated 33 years of life by doing 3.3 miles on the treadmill, 1 set of 33 pushups, 33 sit ups, 33 lunges, 33 calf raises and I only got 33 grey hairs from yelling at my kids to stop fighting. 
  • My birthday night brought with it a meet up with Raina and her family for pizza.  Raina and I even got to get away on a nice almost 6 mile run at a good conversational pace.  It was so nice to have the opportunity to run together and have so much to talk about.  I feel like I've known her forever!  Thanks Friend!
  • We ended our trip in Eugene with a family run on some of the trails and then I took off and ran some miles on my own.  What a gorgeous place to run! 
On my run close to Pre's Trail




Motherhood
  • What is it about kids, hotels and their knock down, elbow jabbing, hair pulling fights over who gets to push the darn elevator buttons first?!  Or be the one to use the key to the hotel room?  We had several melt-downs this week.  All of us.  We finally had to figure out a system where we decided who got to do what BEFORE we left the room or came into the hotel.  
  • I'm pretty impressed with my oldest daughter (6 years old) and her ability to ride for many miles on her  bike so that I can get my runs in.  She kept up quite well this week!  The other kids did a good job hanging out in the jogger stroller.  
  • This weekend we have a holiday photo session with her our favorite photographer.  So, of course, this was the week that all three of my kids got some pretty big blows to their face!  My oldest had an accident with a massive plastic swing and ended up slamming both her lips so hard that they were quite beat up.  They are still swollen and she has some red scabs on the top lip.  My son slammed my younger daughter into a table corner right as we were leaving to meet up with Raina at the Science Factory. This brought on quite the bump. JOY. 
  • Is there such a thing as the Frightening Fours?  Forget the Terrible Twos or Threes.  My four year old daughter is having some huge TEMPER issues lately.  This too shall pass but WOWZERS...can we say temper tantrum?  This is new territory for me.  She can also be the sweetest kid I've ever seen. Let's just hope that this is normal for four and not a split personality issue.  
  • One of the great things about spending so much time with Raina this week is that we each have three kids almost the exact same ages.  She has some pretty amazing kiddos and they all played together quite well!  We miss them.  
This picture is the best I could get at the end of the day.  One kid is missing, one is roaring like a lion, and who knows what everyone else is doing.



1.  What about you?  Have you ever seen an Elliptigo?  Would you ever want one? I actually think they look kind of silly.  I don't think I would ever want one nor would I have the desire to take one of those things around my neighborhood.  If I need an elliptical, I'll hit the gym.  
2.  Have you made some real life friendships through the blog world that you never expected?  
3.  Who is racing this weekend??  I know of a few and I can't wait to read race reports!  

Amanda

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Dad, I'm 33





Dear Dad,


You've been on my mind a lot lately.  I went to bed thinking of you last night.  It was my last night as a 32 year old and I thought of how you were only 33 when you died.  So young.  All my life, until just recently, I thought of you as the age you would be if you were still alive. Older, wiser and set in your ways. A father...my father... as I am now...not when I was four. I imagined you as the age of my friends' fathers.  Always growing as I grew.  But now here I am...33 years young today and I see things from a completely different perspective. 


You were so young when you died.  You were just starting to run again after your accident where you were told that you would probably never walk again.  


To be able to RUN again. What peace you must have felt before your death.  
Resolution.
JOY
Calm.
Victory.


As I begin my 33rd year of life, I think of you and how your life ended at 33.  I still wish that I would have known you.  How I would love to go on a run with you or have you join me in a race or two.  Maybe even Boston. But even though you are not here physically, I feel you from time to time when I am running. I know you're there.


This was definitely a moment I felt you on my run.   I




I will probably always feel that catch in my heart when I talk about you to others or when I think of how much I wish I would have been able to know you and grow up with you in my life.  For many years, I felt embarrassed to grieve over someone that I couldn't even remember.  I felt silly to be sad about a father that died when I was only 4.  I felt like I didn't have the right to feel loss.  Like I should suck it up and deal with it because others have it far worse.  It took me until I was almost 18 to really acknowledge the pain that came from losing my dad, a man I once adored and waited all day to wrap my arms around.  And now so much of this blog has been about processing my feelings, being vulnerable, telling my story, forgiving and sharing my reflections.  So much of my strength and resilience is a gift from you.  Thank you. 


Thank you for giving me life.  It has been an extraordinary one and only continues to get better!  I wish I would have known you but in a sense, I guess I do.  So much of you is in me.  Perhaps you really will be running with me in Boston.  I'll listen for you. 


Here's to 33!  Hope this is only the beginning of a long and happy life.  


I love you,
Mandy

Other related posts that relate to this story:
Passion Determination and The Will To Run
The Deepest Part of My Running Heart--Running For HIM
October 19, 1982--A New Perspective of Death, Motherhood and Children

The last paragraph of one of my last posts above would be fitting right now too:
"I'm not feeling sad today.  Just thoughtful.  And Thankful.  As I process this powerful moment in my life yet again, I realize just how different my almost 33 year old perspective is from my almost 4 year old perspective.  Wonder how I'll see things differently in the years to come. "

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview With Myself

Thank you so much for all of your stories about favorite races!  I do plan on taking the time to sit down and reread each and every comment and get back to you in some way unless you have no link to e-mail or blog. This might take me a few days but I'll get there. It was so energizing to read all of your stories.  


I'm feeling really great with my base building.  Most of my miles have been in the range of 7:45to 8:45ish so I've been keeping them easy and just focusing on building up some mileage before I start with an official Boston plan.  I've had plenty of miles to reflect on my plan, mileage and staying injury free.  Several of you have asked questions or sebt e-mails asking about my training so I thought I'd put some things out there for people that have training questions.  This is my self-interview. Ha! This is how I am entertaining myself in my short 30 minutes of ME time today.  


How many miles did you say you wanted your peak weekly mileage to be?  80


Where did you get that number from?  I pulled it from my butt.  Seriously, it was just a number out of the sky.  It wasn't based on any research, thoughtful consideration of data, or wise understanding of training.  


What kind of mileage are you running right now?  The last few weeks have been in the 50 mile range.  Last week was 50 and the week before that was 49.  I'd like to shoot for 55 this week. Possibly 60 the next.   


Do you still think you're going to do 80 as your peak weekly mileage?  Ha!  Can I do it?  Yes, probably but it would mean that I'd probably have to slow down a bit with a lot of my mileage.  This is where I have to consider quality vs. quantity.  I'm not so sure it would be wise for me to try to hit this number AND still hit all of my quality workouts. 

What is a more realistic goal?  Taking the advice of a very wise friend who knows her stuff and combining it with my risk-taking and dreamer of a self, I'd like to think that 70 is a more solid and realistic peak weekly mileage for me. She advised 65 so I may very well follow her advice and stick with that.  We shall see.  

What does 70 peak weekly mileage mean?  This means that I will certainly NOT be running 70 miles every week of my training cycle.  The goal is to have some higher and lower weeks so that your body can absorb the training and not take on too much every week.  I plan on doing lots of LISTENING closely to my body and increasing wisely and gradually.  I might only have 2 weeks at 70.  This seems okay right now.  I will reevaluate if necessary.  


Where do you find time to workout with your motherhood duties and blog keep up and everything else?  There are definitely things that will need to be cut out of my life.  It is all about prioritizing.  My life will not always be all about training for a marathon but this is a time in my life that I'm going to dedicate to training hard for a marathon.  To some, this might seem silly but it is important to me and I'm willing to put other things on the side for a few months.  We recently purchased a treadmill and this will help tremendously with the time issue.  I will most likely have to get my lazy bum out of bed early on some days and find time to fit in around quiet time/nap time when my oldest is at school.  It is possible to fit in the mileage that you want and still be a great mom, wife and friend.  However, it just takes knowing what you want and making the time for the things that are MOST important.  Not everyone will understand but really, you can't please everyone.  


What kinds of thinks will you have to cut out if you are going to be serious with mileage, training, and self-care?  Reading my book club book, seeing friends as often, staying up late, responding to comments, facebook, e-mail, reading blogs and probably a few other things. When I start worrying about not getting to everyone and not being able to be there for everyone all of the time I will consult the Dr. Suess: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those you mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."  Of course this is all within reason.  Obviously I will still take time for those that I love but my friends will hopefully understand when I am just not up for going out and staying up too late or when I have to bail on a social engagement like book club or girls' night out.    


What things are most important to you to maintain during training?  The quality time with my kids and my husband, self reflection time, eating healthy, and spiritual time. 


What are you most excited for with this upcoming Marathon training?  I'm so very excited to take my training to a new level of commitment.  I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do with this one body and one life that I have when I give 100%.  Now is as good of a time as any!  Bring it!  My main goal is to improve and feel STONG!  I'm also excited to be training at the same time as some very dear and wise friends who I continue to learn from every single day!  I'm excited to encourage and be encouraged. Inspire and be inspired.  You girls know who you are!  


My quiet time is officially over and this means that self-interview time is up.  Hope I answered some of your questions that you've e-mailed me with.  


Happy Monday!
Amanda