Monday, April 30, 2012

Smiling!

Okay, so this is an old picture.  But I remember the totally ALIVE feelings that I had on this trail run.  Enough to make me do the trail run happy dance.  I'm doing this Happy Dance today too!

Honestly, it feels like it has been forever since I've run.  Taking two solid weeks off of running and exercise in general has been a much needed break after Boston.  I've embraced it.  Enjoyed it even.  I've indulged in eating some really yummy foods, slept in, lazed around on the couch, read a book, had girl nights with my mom, enjoyed more wine than normal, and tried not to worry too much about what is going on with my pelvic bone. I've taken extra care to just listen to my body and follow the advice from my coach in telling me that we would not be moving forward with training until I had proof that this pelvic pain/discomfort is not from a stress fracture or stress reaction.  He could not stress enough that I needed to take some time off to just rest, recovery, love my body, and seek rejuvenation!  If I hadn't had the pelvic pain and the threat of a serious injury that could put me out for months (oh, and someone telling me that rest was critical to moving forward)  I might not have been patient enough to really pull my head out of the post-marathon cloud and truly rest.  But thanks to the strong advice I was given, the time it takes to schedule appointments and wait for results, and my body's LOUD plea for rest, I surrendered.  I rested.  Completely.

Then today
I
got
THE CALL.

My Doctor.
Telling me that there is
NO
Stress reaction or fracture.

I had obviously hoped for this.  Even assumed that it couldn't be a stress fracture because it didn't hurt badly enough.  But I wasn't willing to take chances.  I only have one body and I have big plans.  I need this body healthy and strong.

This phone call was the green light I needed.  The peace of mind.  The PEACE.  The flag that went off in my head signaling that
I could slowly start back up again.

2.5 easy miles.
Heart rate increasing.
Sweating.
Body feeling springy and FRESH.

And now I can't wipe this stupid SMILE off my face!!  My whole body is singing.  I didn't even realize that life had taken on kind of a dull grey color until now.  There is color everywhere.  Guess I'm a cheap running date.  Didn't take much and now I'm floating on this little, or rather BIG, runner's high.  Off of only 2.5 miles!

2.5 easy miles,
A promise of good things to come.

My pelvic bone is still whispering at me.  Rather than a pain, it is more of a discomfort.  I can tell something is a little off and I'm guessing it is from my abdominal strain that I had not too long ago.  It just feels so good knowing that I don't have any issues with the actual bone.  My doc referred me to sports medicine where I will be able to get further information about what could be causing the pain in the pubic bone after hard exercise.

So, what's next? Well, for now, it is just one day at a time.  A slow and easy build up.  And really, I'm all about waiting for what my coach tells me the plan is.  He hasn't officially given me the green light yet so I won't get ahead of myself.  This next time around, I'm all about listening and being open to guidance from someone else.  I can do the running, he can do the coaching and together we can make decisions about what is best for Amanda.  I like this arrangement. Post note (years later):  This coach, Ray Hauck was so far from being what what best for Amanda.  I should have listened to my gut that was practically yelling at me to stay away....  I should have known that coaching "for free" definitely deserved the eye raise it initially gained.  

In the meantime,
I can't stop
SMILING.

Amanda

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Quickie


  1. I love Friday
  2. I love wine.
  3. I love wine on Friday
  4. I'm going to be a spectator at the Eugene Marathon this weekend.  So many of you running!  I'll be at mile 18.  Look for me.  Let me know if you want me to hold a sign, water bottles, flash you (Ha, kidding), shout a special phrase, etc. I'm there for you!  I'm excited to see many of you but there is a special somebody who has come to mean a great deal to me that I'm specifically driving down for.  Love you girl!  I've got numbers for Meredith, Tasha and Raina.  Would love your number too if you are running Eugene. Not sure what I'll do with them since my phone isn't so "smart" even though it thinks it is.  I'm super excited to be on the spectator/supporter side of things.  I hope you feel my smile at mile 18!  
  5. In all my post-Boston Marathon afterglow, I was honestly entertaining the idea of running the Eugene marathon myself.  Ha!  My new coach put things in perspective for me about that one.  Ha ha.  Not that I could have run it if I even tried.  Not running for 11 days now is a sure sign of this.  What a wise coach who has helped me pull my head out of my a@$!
  6. I had my MRI today.  Results won't be available to me for another few days.  
  7. Honestly, I'm pretty peaceful about things right now.  Things are as they are supposed to be.  I'm surprisingly grounded considering I have had little to no exercise the past 11 days.  If you don't count running around after 3 little kids and being an extremely hyper person that really doesn't slow down a ton.  
  8. The MRI will show what it shows and I'm prepared for whatever comes through.  I don't think it is anything too severe since I'm moving around quite well despite the aching in my crotch (pubic bone).  
  9. So MUCH to be thankful for in this life.  So much possibility.  Even in the moments that catapult us off our desired path.  When one door closes, many more can open.  
  10. So excited about being on the Nuun Hood to Coast Team.  I just know that this will be an experience of a lifetime and I will make some lifelong friends in the process.  I've already learned so much about Nuun that has given me a new perspective and appreciation for the product.  Not only is it environmentally friendly by eliminating wasteful plastic bottles, but it just MAKES SENSE when you think about what the athlete needs to stay hydrated and fully stocked on electrolytes (while still being able to take in carbs separately when needed) for the best possible performance. And it is kid friendly so the little sips that my kids insist on taking won't cause them to turn into some shriveled up blob of not-so-good-for-you.  
  11. As eager as I am to get back into training and try to BQ before September so that I can be in Boston with so many of you next year, I am enjoying this down time.  I am embracing the moments as they come.  And hoping that I don't have an injury that will keep me from running for too much longer.  
  12. Pizza is here.  Time for family movie and pizza night.  One our favorite traditions. 
Happy Friday Friends.  Thank you for YOU.  Each and every one of you has touched my life in some way.  Thank you for all your wonderful and supportive words lately. 


Amanda

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I've Been Quiet but Happy

The past week or so has been kind of quiet.  Hard to believe that the Boston Marathon was just nine days ago.  Hard to believe that we ran it in almost 90 degree weather.  And hard to believe that I haven't run even a mile since then.  But certainly not hard for me to believe why.  Boston took more out of me than anything I've ever done before. Unlike many of you that ran it, I did not just bounce back right away and start running ten mile runs and training for the next marathon.  My body has taken a hit and I'm trying to be patient as it heals.  Lots of rest, love, and caution here.  I'm desperately hoping that my body is just tired and there isn't anything serious going on.  However, the aching pain in the front of my pelvic bone (off and on since January) is telling me that I need to be extra cautious. I was pretty sore after Boston but the one thing I ended up icing was my pelvis due to the pain. My new coach encouraged me to get an MRI.  In fact, he insisted.  And he has strongly suggested that I rest as much as possible until the results come in to rule out any sort of stress fracture or stress reaction.  I did try to run just a bit yesterday (nice and easy) but stopped as soon as I felt the pain in my pelvic area again. After just a walk to the school today, I'm feeling it again.  Praying that this is nothing and that I can start training again in just a couple weeks.  


Despite, my body being so run down, there are so many positive things going on in life and I'm thankful for this break from running so that I can soak it all up.  I'm thankful for the time I have to just BE.  I have been enjoying the extra moments with my kids and honestly, I've loved not having something on my training schedule.  Having these down times in life are so necessary for me to feel a balance between the intensity of training for a race and the lull that comes with just waking up and planning my day as it comes.  With this comes lots of extra time to be present with my kiddos.  Now, if I'm injured and don't have a choice as to whether I workout or laze around....then there might be some issues!  Ha!  For now, I'm focusing on the positives and "choosing" to be quiet and still.  Being optimistic seems like the best approach.  


Some things that make me smile lately:


Team Nuun
I'm happy to announce (and most of you already know) that I was chosen to be part of the Nuun Hood to Coast team for 2012!  I'm certain that this experience will prove to be a wonderful lifetime memory where I will be able to run my heart out while representing a great company and making some awesome new friendships.  For more information about this you can read here. 







New Coach
Starting Runninghood was a decision that has led to so many wonderful opportunities, friendships and connections.  With each new friendship I make, my life gets richer.  So many doors have been opened. And as time goes by, new opportunities to grow, get involved, and gain strength as an athlete have occurred. Right before Boston, a friend of mine passed on a name of a coach to me that she thought I'd work well with.  One e-mail led to another and now I can officially say that I have a coach.  We'll see how things unfold once I can start training again but just from the phone calls and e-mails we've already exchanged, I'm really excited about things.  We seem to click quite well and he has already given me SO MUCH advice, direction, and encouragement. I'm ready to trust, listen, and work hard to reach some new levels with my training.  For now, we are in rest and recovery mode but I am eager to test "our wheels" together.  Soon enough.  I'm so thankful that he has come into my life. He really seems too good to be true. 


I love how things unfold.  Even during the times where we feel our lowest and things seem a bit dreary, there is hope that good things are yet to come.  



Amanda

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boston 2012 Non-Race Recap and Pictures

I'd like to say I'm ready to just sit down and write out my Boston race recap but honestly, it just isn't there yet. At least not the kind that is a mile by mile recap where I tell you all about start to finish.  Such an interesting experience.  It was like nothing I've ever endured in a race. Definitely puts a new meaning to "endurance sport". When I had my head in my hands and feeling chills on a hot day even before I hit 8 miles, I knew this marathon would be a fight to the end.  

Funny how a marathon experience really can have so many similarities to how we deal with life. Or at least it seems so to me.  When the going got really tough, I pushed through and I didn't quit.  I also got extremely emotional (a lot to do with only 2 hours of sleep the night before too) and allowed myself time to process as I was in the midst of fighting through this race.  I was a mixed bag of patience and love for myself as well as disappointment in myself. I cried. A lot. Yes, while I was running.  This made breathing harder than it already was for me. I found it hard to be in the present and take in the crowds and joy that IS BOSTON because I was trying so hard to come to grips with losing control and letting go of expectations.  Again, similar to my life. I can lose control of the present moments if I get too caught up in the whirlwind around me. Another similarity to this race and my life is the role of friendships in making life so much better. Seeing my friends and having one to be with me to the end was what gave me hope for finishing strong. 

I tried my best to run a race I was proud of despite the overwhelming weather that was turning the race course into more of a death march than a running event.  No joke.  So many people seemed to be hurting out there.  We slugged through the water stations, tripping over each other and slamming into the people in front of us that weren't making it back to the main stream of runners in time, and lunged for last dixie cups of ice that people were so kind to offer.  I ran through every hose, grabbed water at every stop (and had my water belt), put ice in my hat and shirt, and stayed to the right of the road as much as possible in hopes of getting even a sliver of the very small amounts of shade being offered.  Even then, I was depleted and left feeling defeated.  Walking no longer seemed like something to be upset about.  It became necessary.  7:45 mile became 8:15's and 8:15's became 8:58's.  Finally, time no longer mattered.  In the end, after my dear friend Ana Maria, joined me at mile 19, I felt myself gain hope again.  It was then that I reevaluated things and set a new goal of wanting to break 4 hours.  Instead of giving up completely, I just wanted a 3 in front of my time.  Ana Maria is a no nonsense type of friend (I LOVE this) and I could hear it in her voice that she thought a sub 4 would be challenging with the shape I was in but she also helped me believe that anything was still possible. I can honestly say today that I am proud of my 3:58.  I'm proud that I was able to finish even. And to finish at a low 7 pace felt even better. Boston 2012 was a BEAST!  My hat goes off to ALL of you that ran it!  And so many of you did such an incredible job despite the heat.  So many of you!  

Boston was an interesting race from the start.  All the heat warnings and people telling us what we should do were a distraction to getting in the zone for race day.  I was so worked up the night before that sleep was impossible and from there it only got worse.  I was running to the start line and barely made it in time for us to take off.  I didn't have time to catch my breath, stretch my left leg that is a problem and get myself focused.  Note to self:  start earlier next year.  

Yes, I said next year.  I may not be gearing up for my fastest marathon to date but I do want to think about running another marathon in the near future.  Something where I can just BQ and then focus on other things.  However, for running a PERSONAL WORST marathon time by almost 30 minutes, my legs are trashed.  It is 72 hours after the marathon and my legs still hurt horribly.  My body took a beating.  Maybe this is due to the 10 plus miles of walking in Boston after the race?  Or because I didn't do anything that I normally do for recovery...little sleep, bad food, no icing (except on my sore pelvic bone), and tons of walking and being on my feet for the next two days.  

Despite the race, Boston was one of the best trips of my life! Even with the race...I mean, what an experience to learn and gain strength from!  A gift really. It was a weekend I'll never forget. I had the opportunity to meet up with some special people, be in the same hotel as one of my best friends Nicole (who couldn't run due to injury:(), eat some incredible food and see some really neat places. I also got to spend a considerable amount of time on the phone with my friend Jenn who wasn't able to be in Boston due to injury.  This made me feel like she was there anyway.  She talked to me all the way up to Hopkinson, the night before, and many other times during the trip.  Thanks for going to Boston with me Jenn. I may not have found a blow-up doll to replace you but the phone did just fine.  :) 

So, there was a bit about Boston.  Not sure I'll have an official race report.  Perhaps.  But maybe not.  The gist of it is in here.  Here are some photos to tell more of the story.  


Nicole and I at dinner the Saturday before.  Trying to be extra positive despite her injury and the heat predictions.  Love you Nicole.  

Nicole and her hubby.  Fun night. 



Love this guy!

My best friend!  Love that he could be here to hug me after the race.




This is one AMAZING woman and friend who carried me home.  And one bad ass runner!  Source 

Focused on the finish line.  AM was counting down for me.  It couldn't come fast enough!! Source

Love you AM!  Thanks for bringing me home!  Source. 

Thank you Nicole for taking this picture!  Running next to sweet AM and Waylon at the top of Heartbreak Hill.  This is where hope came back to me.  


Love Boston.  So much history.  The Old with the  Modern



Right after the race.  So happy to be done!

Beers and fries with Grace right after the race.  She was so fast that she had time to go back to the hotel and shower and wash her scabby knee before meeting us.  Ha!  I was standing on my toes so I could look tall like her.  The guy in back ground is grabbing his chaffed balls.  



I earned this pizza!  Yes, I will eat this all by myself!

I'll be back Beautiful Boston!!!  

Amanda

Monday, April 16, 2012

Post Race Thoughts Boston Marathon 2012

More later....


Thank you SO much for making me feel so loved today!!  At one point in the race when I was having to dig the deepest just to move my legs, there was a girl Caroline who was running next to me.  She slowed down for me to tell me that she loved Runninghood and she shared several other encouraging words.  This meant so much to me.  And then finishing to all of your comments, texts, and posts made me feel SO INCREDIBLY LOVED.  Thank you.  It was one of the hardest, scariest, and emotional moments of my life.  Thankful to finish.  I didn't think I could.  


video

Amanda

Race Morning Thoughts

video


Amanda

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Period, Prick, Pissing on the Playground and Mommy Meltdowns. Calling all Mommy Mantras.

I would be lying something awful if I said that I was a getting an A+ in Mommyhood this week.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm getting a major FAIL of an F.  I can't tell you how many meltdowns and Mommy Tantrums I've thrown in reaction to my kids and their meltdowns and tantrums.  I may or may not have even thrown a few things across the room in the midst of my "Do as I say, Not as I do" moments. This morning's tantrum-toss happened to be a bottle of kid vitamins that didn't have the lid all the way on.  So then I was a mess of mommy sobs as I crawled across the floor with a runny nose and blurry eyes, picking up colorful gummy bears as my kids watched and learned how to throw a fit like a master.  


Why am I such a mess?  Honestly, it really doesn't have as much to do with the fact that the Boston Marathon is in four days, we leave in the wee hours on Saturday morning/Friday night, I have to pack for myself and three kids (who are going to the Grandparents') and myself, and still get kids to appointments and school activities.  This is nothing.  The thing that really has me in a mess is the fact that my almost three year old son has been nothing but AWFUL this week.  Granted, he has been sick, but OH MY GOODNESS!!!!  Maybe he has something going on that I can't see...like a little bug up his butt that keeps biting him? He is argumentative about 
every
SINGLE 
little 
THING.  


If I give him a bowl, he demands a plate (for soup).
If I give him a small spoon, he wants the biggest dang spoon I own.  
He finds a toy that requires teeny tiny batteries that we don't own and he WILL NOT believe that we DON'T HAVE BATTERIES.  So, he throws his little 2 year old weight around and lets out his 2 year old wail of a yell.  
I sat next to him for dinner last night and told him I loved him.  HOLY CRAP, you would have thought I told him he was getting a shot.  He screamed and screamed and screamed.  Then (yes, I know better people...really, I know the parenting tricks...I just don't always use them) I screamed and screamed and screamed.  We had a scream party.  


Okay, so here's the thing.  I know my child is 2/3.  He is a bit under the weather.  He is probably picking up on my stress or distance that comes from getting ready for a big trip and the race of my life.  Perhaps he even has an ear infection that I don't know of.  Poor little guy.  I love my son.  Dearly.  But it doesn't mean that it is easy to be around him this week.  Or really for the past, um, 6 months.  He's 2.  He's a boy.  He's redefined parenting for me.  


Prick
This week, the best thing that came to my mind when a preschool parent asked me how I was feeling today so close to the marathon was.  "Ah, I'm okay.  My chest is a little tight with stress because my son is being a little PRICK."  


Oh, the look on her face.  Her thoughts (most likely):  "Did this woman just call her son a prick?!!"  What she said with a small forced smile:  "Oh, you mean a little turd?"  
Me:  "Um, no, pretty sure I mean Prick"  


Okay, now where did the word prick come from anyway?  I rarely use it.  However, in looking at the definition of the word itself, I would surely say that my son's behavior has felt like a million little "pricks" with him being one. BIG. PRICK.  Good thing Pricks don't hurt for too long.  



prick/prik/

Verb:
Make a small hole in (something) with a sharp point; pierce slightly.
Noun:
An act of piercing something with a fine, sharp point.



Other Preschool Parenting Moments


That Period of a Storm...makes sense to me. 
Now, I'm pretty sure that most of the preschool parents like me.  However, I'm not quite sure that some of them know how to take my lack of verbal filter or weird thoughts that I find the overwhelming need to share with them.  Like the condom I found in my purse yesterday.  I could have just noticed it, wondered how it got there, laughed to myself and drove off.  But instead, I felt the need to yell across the parking lot at a fellow mom and share with her my funny find: "I always knew my purse was full of random junk.  Look what I found?  I mean maybe my husband put it there since we are taking off to Boston for a weekend away!"  She laughed and seemed to be fine with me.  


The parent from yesterday? Hmm, she surely didn't "get" me.  We had both just arrived late to preschool (typical for me).  I was actually all prepared to arrive ON TIME.  It wasn't raining, I was ahead of the morning routines, and I was so happy to be heading to the car. Just as I was stepping outside....the sky opened up...and it began to POUR like I have never seen.  A gush of water just flying out of the sky.  There was no way I was making my way to the car with two pokey kids in that storm.  I'd wait and be late, thank you.  The first metaphor that came to my mind was to see this rain storm as Portland getting her Period.  And since I'd just got mine (another reason for my meltdowns), it just made sense to think of this nasty downpour in the same way.  When I saw this parent at school, I half joked that I would have been on time if Portland hadn't decided to get her Period all at once.  Okay, yes, this doesn't make much sense and is really random.  Odd even.  However, this parent was NOT enjoying my metaphor AT ALL.  When I explained (which I always feel the need to do), she just smiled politely and told me to have a great day.  Oh, and I think she was one of the parents that heard me call my kid a prick today.  


Playground Pissing
I think I surely needed something at preschool to just top this week off.  And my son was there to represent!  Thanks Son.  We played on the playground for a bit after preschool today. At one point we all moved out of the fence to the grass to pick flowers and run around in the sunshine.  Just as I heard my friend Annie laughing so hard, there he was.  My little guy.  On the playground...just peeing as if it were an every day affair.  Lucky for me, there weren't a lot of people around.  Yep, there's that MOM again.  


Mommy Mantras
We have mantras for running.  You know, a phrase that gets us through the race and keeps us focused.  Well, I need some better mantras for motherhood.  Something to remind me to act like the adult and not the tantrum of a two year old.  So, please share your motherhood mantras.  Make one up.  Let's do this together and I'll post a Motherhood Mantra post. Let's see:

  • Breathe Deep.  You're the Mother, not the kid.  
  • Model, Model, Model
  • What you do, they do. 
  • Your tone will come back to you
  • Act the way you want to be treated
  • Eat some bread, not your kid
Misc.
  • Thank you for your comments on my last post about Boston.  I'm super excited and feeling pretty good.  I went to see my chiropractor for some work on my hammy today.  It is really tight but he will work on it again tomorrow and I should be all set! I had a MP run yesterday and felt so strong.  My legs are back after my peak weeks!  Wahoo!  
  • My Boston # is 10681 for those that asked.
  • Super excited to be written about on the next Follow That Mother post at Another Mother Runner.  My twitter following just skyrocketed so now I need some lessons in twitter so I don't look like a big boob on there.  Really, I just don't get twitter yet..still prefer facebook. I'll get the hang of it.    

1.  Okay, tell me I'm not the only one that screams at my kids and has pathetically irrational tantrums.  Please.  Lie.  
2.  Tell me a Mommy Mantra for me to share on my next Mommy post!  Funny, serious, one that works, or one that will just make me think twice.  Make some up people.  We need some Mommy Mantras to get us through the tough days.  Just like with racing.  
  
Amanda

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ready to Put a Bow on it! Eight Years Newer and Brighter.

Boston, Boston, Boston.  Yeah, I'm sure some of you want to poke a sharp stick in your eye if you hear anything else about the Boston Marathon.  Ha!  I promise I'll return to talking about candid motherhood moments and quiet reflective journal time where I bare my soul and talk about all my fails and goals as a mother.  Soon.  I just have to make it 6 more days.  Six!
Count Them.  1...2...3...4...5...6!  


So, How am I feeling?
Excited
Hopeful
Anxious
Prepared
Ready
Emotional
Thankful


I'm a bit more guarded with my marathon goals this time around.  I might not be setting my time goals as high as I did last year but my main goals are not time related. I feel like I'm at a good place with myself as a runner and my confidence doesn't depend on a time on the clock.  I want a strong race...mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I think if all these things come together then the time will match.  And don't get me wrong, I have a very specific time goal in my mind that I want to meet. But I think that no matter what happens with this race, I will learn from it.  


There is surely some emotion in this race for me. Going back to Boston post-kids and stronger mentally and physically than when I ran it in 2004 feels pretty awesome!  I think back to when I was training for the Portland Marathon in 2010 when I tripped in the forest and tore my hamstring completely. I had hoped of running a 3:15 and qualifying for Boston 2011. When I found myself on the couch and unable to run, I felt lost. Here I was new to this whole stay-at-home-mom gig and not only did I not have my teaching job that I was so passionate about, but I couldn't run.  Running was my outlet.  It was the part of my life that was just for me. I was devastated. Frustrated.  Emotional. Stubborn.  Stupid.  And hating every second of not being able to get off my couch. 


But 
it 
was 
the best thing 
that ever happened to me as a runner.  


With my injury came a HUNGER like never before.  I started dreaming BIG and realizing just how much is possible if I set my mind to it. And It led to me starting this blog Runninghood in October 2010. 


So, I may not have made it to Boston 2011 but I'm so glad I didn't. If I never would have tripped in the forest and hit that low in my life, I never would be where I'm at today. I wouldn't have the friendships I have now.  I never would have started to truly tap into my potential as a runner.  I probably wouldn't have ever even considered a blog since I didn't even know what a blog was. Life just wouldn't be what it is now. And chances are, I wouldn't be nearly the same runner, person, mom, or friend as I am now.  My blog has changed me.  It has helped me grow.  There is something about sharing myself in such a personal and real way that has made life so rewarding and rich. 


Now here I am.  In 6 days I will return to Boston for the first time since 2004.  And I can honestly say that after having three kids, experiencing my first major injury and being 8 years older, I feel SO MUCH Happier than ever before.  I feel prettier, wiser, stronger, more fulfilled and confident, and so much richer in the relationships I have formed. I've grown into ME! I'm so thankful for the turns that life brings, even if they seem like the end-of-the-world at the time.


I know that no matter what happens on April 16th, this trip to Boston will be extraordinary. Unlike my first time in Boston, this race will be more than just for fun.  However, I'm almost positive that there will be plenty of fun involved in racing my heart out.  And I'm almost positive that my dad will join me for the last stretch and carry me home down Boylston street.  After all, so much of this race will be for him.  Thirty-three years may have been when his life came to an end, but it is certainly the age I feel my life just taking off. 




I hope to feel this same JOY after finishing Boston again!  
  


A few things I'm thankful for right now as I approach this very exciting race:

  • Recently I've come in contact with a coach that has so wonderfully taken me under his wing and shared with me some very helpful information on fueling, pacing and other things related to this marathon.  Not sure how things aligned so well that he came into my life at such the perfect time but I'm very grateful for the role he has played in such a short amount of time.  
  • Following a training plan and sticking to it!
  • Although I've had a few minor setbacks, I'm pretty healthy right now.  
  • More mileage than EVER before with my peak weeks being at 70 and 75 miles.  
  • My Brooks Sponsorship that came sometime after training started.  This is just one of many things that have come from starting this blog. Grateful and honored. 
  • Friendships.  I know I've said it before but I've made some REAL friends through this blogging process.  Friends that I consider some of my nearest and dearest.  The kind of friends that you find yourself talking about and then realizing that you've never actually met them before.  Hard to explain to people that haven't experienced it too.  I used to make fun of my husband for this when  he'd go on trips with his friends he had met in the virtual world. But now, I get it.  


Amanda

Monday, April 9, 2012

Boston Information FOR You, FROM You! And Treadmill Contest Nuun Winner!





Almost two months ago, I asked you all for your Boston Marathon advice.  Since then, I've received comments and e-mails about all things regarding the marathon, sightseeing, and places to eat in Boston.  I'm sure so many of you could add to this list, but as promised, I compiled a list of all-things Boston for those of you that were interested.  Thanks to Adrienne from Running in Hingham, I was able to add to this list a ton!  


The Race:

  • Miss Zippy:  Heartbreak hill isn't that big of a deal!  I remember having to ask someone if it was really heartbreak b/c it didn't seem like it could possibly be.
  • Raina:  Wear shoes with room!
  • Jenn:  One thing that worked for me well but is different for everyone is how I ate because of the late race start. I ate supper-pasta bread at 6:30 on Sunday night-not a ton-just a normal amount and then I ate half of a bagel at 3 am and then ate the other half of a bagel with peanut butter and a banana and coffee at about 7 am and then ate part of a powerbar in the start corral. I never felt like I had a ball in my stomach and I felt perfect! 
  • Ana-Maria:  About the course--don't expect any flats.  It is all up and down.  Don't expect to run 26.2, you will run at least 26.5 (the course is actually measured long--there are some articles online about how this happened).  Don't break on the downhills.  Heartbreak hill is nothing compared to the hill at mile 15-16?
  • Jim: Respectfully disagree with the Zipster.  HB hill just about killed me, it was legit!
  • Jill:  Good place to stay is Marriott Copley Square.  It is a direct shot to the expo and over one of those enclosed bridges and therefore you never have to go outside to get to the expo.  Sooooo convenient. And the Marriott has a couple of nice restaurants.  LOVED taking the bus the the start.  LOVED meeting all sorts of cool people and their stories of how they got to Boston.  You miss out when you rent a private bus.  
  • Nota:  Post race bag: flip-flops, first aid, peppermints to settle stomach, wet wipes

Food Suggestions:

  • The Otherside Cafe--at the top of Newbury and Mass Ave.  Cute, funky place with good beer and good food.
  • Bukowski's across from the Sheraton has good beer
  • Stephanie's on Newbury--great for brunch
  • Down near the expo, there is a Legal Test Kitchen that has great food.  
  • If you're looking for an easy meal the night before the race, Joe's American has the full standard American classics.  
  • In the North End of Boston, go to Modern Pastry (not Mike's). Mike's is good but Modern is better.  A Boston Secret.  
  • The South End (near the finish line area) is a good place for food.  Coppa for breakfast, Stella for dinner, Myers and Chang, a bakery name Flour...it is all good over there!
  • Mallory says that a good lunch spot is Boloco.  They have the BEST burritos there and they are super healthy!  There are a ton of them in the city.
  • Ana-Maria: Good food:  White Elephant in Cambridge.  Any restaurant in the North End for authentic Italian food. Emma's pizza in Kenmore square.  Anything on Newberry Street.
  • Katie: Mike's pastry: "They have amazing cannolis. Near Fanueil hall is an Irish pub called the Black Rose that I love."
Sightseeing:
  • Top of the Hub or the Prudential Sky Walk for the View
  • Stroll through the Public Gardens, at the bottom of Boylston bordering Arlington
  • Harvard Square!
  • Gracie:  She shared links:  Here and Here of a past Boston trip.  
  • Jill:  If you have time before or after, take a trip to the North End and tour all the amazing history, such as Paul Revere's house. Be sure to stop and get a red velvet cupcake for $1 (and the size of your entire hand) at MIke's Pastry!!
Treadmill Contest
So, yesterday ended the treadmill stories contest.  I loved your comments!  Here are some of my favorites that were in the running for winner:

Marjorie (XLMIC) (Funny): 
I rarely run on a treadmill, though I have a few times in the past couple of weeks, so I'm not so competent as others in the "help pass the time" department. What I do to stay sane is sing. I turn my iPod up and sing. Usually I don't sing out loud, but sometimes I do...and that gets some really strange looks, I'll tell ya. I don't sing too well, but I do sing LOUDLY :P 

Petra (biggest OUCH and the rest of her comment about swearing like a sailor made me laugh!):
The dumbest thing I've done? Caught my shoelaces in it, been knocked down and banged my head into the mill. Nice move. Thank god the mill stopped...

Donna G (Most embarrassing and then funny afterwards): 

My treadmill story is kinda scary and funny. It was a Sunday morning and I was at the gym because the weather was crappy, so I hopped on a treadmill and was determined to do 10 miles I think. Half way through the run, I really had to let one "rip" so being a lady, I tried to hold it in for the sake of others around. Well, that only worked for a few minutes until I decided...maybe I can blame it on someone else. In the process of letting it go, I literally thought I pooped myself because I felt something down my leg. I nearly screamed and hopped off the mill so fast, only to realize it was sweat dripping down. LOL....what a scare!


Sunny 2 Runner (Most Inspirational to me):

I had to do a 16 miler once on my treadmill. In order to get through it, I took a pad of post it notes and wrote mile numbers along with a motivational quote to get me through that mile. When the mile was done, I would peel the note off the pad and throw it across the room.


Tia (Scariest):

2.) Worst thing to happen on a treadmill- One event comes STRAIGHT to memory and I feel sick to my stomach even thinking about it. (Basically every running mom's worst nightmare.) Last spring on my very first run back after having Ashton we had a very traumatic treadmill incident. I was on the treadmill finishing a run and my kids came in the room. I told them NOT to go near the treadmill. They were sitting on the bed watching a show and one second later I hear SCREAMING and my 4 yr. old son ran out of the room hysterical. He had touched the belt while it was moving and burned off the skin on two of his fingers. It was awful. I had to deal with him and clean and bandage the wound. Looking back I probably should have taken him to the emergency room but I thought I could handle it. (It took one month for his fingers to heal. We had to change out bandages a few times a day.) Fortunately, Ashton (4 weeks old) slept through it all. This was also the day Anna (age 2) decided to cut her own hair with scissors while I was busy with my son the burn unit victim. All around very bad parenting day. Not a good first day back into running at all. I should have known my Boston training was doomed to failure!
That treadmill day was the WORST. After that we made a strict rule- NO KIDS IN THE ROOM WHENEVER I'M ON THE TREADMILL!! Of course, after that incident they didn't want to go anywhere near the treadmill!

Honestly, if I wasn't about to get on a plane and head to Boston where I will surely be spending way too much money on hotel, eating out, etc., I'd send you all a little something.  But as with most contests, there has to be a winner.  Right?  So, I'm going to go with the one that stuck in my head the longest and the one that I kept coming back to when I thought of this.  The winner is.....

Sunny 2 Runner!  I liked her passing the time trick because it is something that I know would really work for me.  I love the idea of having quotes, collage cards or mantras on a sticky note to read every mile.  Having that visual...you know, something to focus on for each mile just sounds powerful.  Useful mental work too!  I like the idea of even writing different goals or affirmations on each sticky note.  Thanks for the inspiration girl.  Please send me your address and full name so I can get you your mail.  Oh, and include favorite Nuun flavor and maybe your favorite energy bar, racing fuel, etc.  

I hope taper time is going well for everyone who is running Boston.  And it is almost time for taper for all of you Eugene Marathon runners too!  So exciting and maddening all at once.  

Anyone have a suggestion for a good place to have a casual blog meet up sometime on Monday evening??  The kind of place where we can just pop in, grab a beer, say hello and maybe eat something if we feel like it??  IDEAS WELCOME.  Otherwise, I'm just going to meet up with Miss Zippy and friends right after the race at McCormick and Schmick's and call it good (planning on that anyway).  


Amanda

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Connections and Relationships...Thank You

If there is one thing I miss the most about teaching, it would be connecting with students and building relationships.  Having the opportunity to make a difference in a child's life by simply letting them know that I KNOW THEM and that I care for them as a person, a learner, and an individual.  It is after this kind of relationship has been formed that the real learning was able to take place. I miss the reward that came from seeing a child finally "get" something in their own way.  Or when 25 out of my 30 students are lost in their writer's notebooks and let out a sigh of disappointment when I tell them it is time to line up for lunch.  I miss knowing that I not only taught to the individual learner but that I connected with them.  Taught in a way that doesn't get forgotten.  


When I started writing my blog, I found myself not only sharing my most personal and vulnerable reflections and feelings with those of you reading, but I found a reward in being able to truly connect with others out there.  I was surprised to discover how much I came to care about so many of you.  And it was such a joy to read about your life, comment on your posts and respond to e-mail.  


I miss this.  I miss having this time to connect.  And when I do find the time lately, I'm fitting in a run or telling myself that I MUST get to sleep.  


Running, training, writing and connecting with others.  These are big on my list.  I know that there are seasons in life and that with those seasons come different priorities.  I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you that continue to support and encourage me despite the fact that you might rarely hear back from me lately.  It isn't for lack of desire or appreciation for you.  Your comments always brighten my day and make me feel heard.  Thank you.  I promise I'll catch up one of these days.  


Until then, I promised myself I'd be in bed before 11 since sleep is so crucial right now. I'll leave you with a sentence I wrote (in response to a question someone asked me for an interview of sorts) that made me feel horribly old (good thing I truly believe that age is a state of mind):


"In all sincerity, Brooks shoes are the best I've ever worn in almost twenty years of competitive and noncompetitive running." 


What??!  How did this happen that I can write a sentence like this and use "in almost twenty years"??!  I mean, I still think of myself as 20 something (even though I'm 33). So weird.  And I suppose I took several years off in that 20 to not run in races so technically it is more like 15 years.  That's better.  And that gives me more time for this body to set some big PR's. Right?  


Hitting the hay,
Amanda

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Completely Random Crazy Mom Stream of Consciousness Bullet Style

It is what it is.  This post.  No fun title.  No theme.  No paragraph to suck my readers in (well, that doesn't happen often anyway).  My head is FULL.  So, this is my blog and I suppose I'm about to use it to take a big Mental Dump.  But maybe, just maybe you'll find one of my bulleted points to connect with. 


These Pure Flows just in!  The shoes that will do the honor of getting me from Hopkinson to Boylston.  

  • Mommy guilt is the WORST.  Nothing like sending your kid off to school directly after throwing a major adult hissy fit due to 6 year old dilly dallying and then only having 100 yards from the house to the corner to make her feel loved and believe that her mom is not really a crazy freak out of a meanie mom.  
  • I'm working on a post for Boston where I will include all the information you local Boston peeps and Boston Marathoner veterans have shared.  Places to eat, things to see, Boston Marathon tips and suggestions, what to pack, etc.  
  • Taper is weird.  
  • I'm emotional lately and overly sensitive but level headed and focused all at the same time.  This is all a good place to be I think.  
  • I'm feeling confident in the work I've done.
  • I'm ready to make a racing plan that involves pacing, fuel, etc.  However, I'm probably going to use this plan as a general backbone but still let my body tell me what is best on race day.  I don't believe in being too married to a pacing plan.  
  • I'm being realistic with my marathon goals.  Boston doesn't have to be the best racing time of my life.  I want to PR and know that I ran strong and confidently.  
  • I might be working with a coach for the first time since college.  This is exciting for me.  Exciting to think of just putting the thinking in someone else's hands and just being willing to follow the plan, trust, and work my butt off without second guessing my decisions with my plan.  Having someone to analyze my workouts and give me a plan tailored to me sounds awesome.  More on this later but I've been in contact with someone and I'm looking at a couple different options.  
  • Although I'm considering a coach, I really don't know what I want from running.  On one hand I want to just run for fun and make my main focus my kids, my writing and just my every day passions. But can I do this and seriously train for something at the same time?  I don't know. I will have to seriously reflect on this. Honestly training hard for a focused goal race or goals in running seems to take a bit away from my energy to give to other things.  This is for me personally.  If I'm completely honest with myself I would say that I'm not as attentive of a mom lately.  And my inspiration and creativity with other areas of my life is a little dulled compared to when I'm just running for fun.  But training in the summer would be a lot different.  Longer days, better weather, less Treadmill, more time with my kids, etc.  Just thinking out loud here and trying to decide what is best for me.  
  • I believe that we are meant to use our gifts in life. And I do think that one of my gifts is running.  I think that good things come when we are using our gifts...so many good things. We energize ourselves, inspire others, and our life is usually richer for it. We only have one life to see what we are truly capable of.  And this body of ours is such an amazing thing.  It is capable of SO much.  And darn it feels good to have a goal and to challenge myself.  
  • Being present with my kids and creating a magical and memorable childhood for them is one of the most important things to me right now. They will only be this young once.  I have time ahead of me when they won't want anything to do with me and this would leave me with plenty of time to hit the road and run my heart out! Again, a personal reflection here.  Sometimes I struggle with my lack of energy and the fact that I often have so many other things on my mind (like running and races and goals) that I miss out on them. This doesn't have to be that way.  The first step is being aware of it so that I can be conscious of making my time with them count.  I know moms that work full time, train hard with running, but yet the time they have with their kids is focused, rich and attentive...more so than if they were home all day. And they are darn good parents! I know I'm doing a good job with this but I have to stay on top of it or I slip into a trap of the "Blahs" where I'm constantly "chasing the break" instead of savoring the time.  
  • I'm really excited about Boston but there are so many things to think about still so instead of thinking about them (arrangements for my kid when I'm gone, packing, hotel stuff, etc.) I'm writing a blog post while my kids watch a 20 minute show.  Winner!  Ha!
  • Ever since my Nuun HTC application video, I can't find my black lululemon tank anywhere!!  This is my staple.  Does this mean I'm supposed to go to lulu right now and get another one in a few different colors to make up for it??  Yes? Convince me so I can convince myself.   
  • Speaking of Nuun Hood To Coast, I really hope I get on the team.  Would be so fun. And an honor!  
  • Oh, still haven't nailed down a Boston Blogger meet up but I'm working on something for after the race on Monday but with time to hit the showers, take a rest, ice, eat, and make ourselves feel pretty.  :)  I've gotten e-mails from many of you about this so I'm working on it...just don't know the area. But it is on my agenda.  Miss Zippy (Amanda) had mentioned meeting at a McCormick and Schmick's directly after the race.  This might be fun just to go grab a Sam Adams, say hello and "cheers" and then head on our merry little ways.  Thoughts?  
  • Loving your comments on the Treadmill Contest.  They are funny, scary, and all-to-relatable.  
Okay, off to make some lunch, have some focused mommy time (maybe we'll make some Easter Eggs), and do some Amanda journaling time.  


Amanda