Sunday, May 8, 2016

Smith Rock Ascent 50k: Reflections and Photos.




Thirty one miles is a long way to run.  Thirty one miles on mountain trails with steep ascents and descents on a hot day in the high desert feels even longer.  I'm not entirely sure what made me want to sign up for another 50k after my first one last May where I said I'd never do another.  We runners are kind of weird like that.  I think I was in one of those moods where I wanted a challenge.  I wanted something to work towards or look forward to but I wasn't ready to train for another road marathon.  I'd heard good things about this 50k.  I'd even written about it for Go Beyond Racing in this post: Visit Central Oregon for Mother's Day Weekend.  After running a couple of the races that Go Beyond puts on (my first 50k, the Trail Factor 50k and the Smith Rock Half Marathon), I knew this trail race would not disappoint.  So, one random mid week evening, I asked my husband  if he wanted to do a 50k in May.  He said "Sure! Why not? Sign us up!"  So I did.  That's how it went.

From there, we both started off with kind of following a plan from a trail running book but by week two, we were simply running when we felt like it and making time for longer runs on most weekends. Very loose training! More than ever before.  Our long runs weren't really according to a "proper" training plan but we still fit in a few 17, 19, and 20 milers.  I ran two 21 milers but my second was a week before this race yesterday so I'm pretty sure it did more harm than good. It was good for my mental game though! Then, since there wasn't a logical training plan, there wasn't a true taper. Really, this race was more like another long run. Exactly as I wanted.  From the start, I knew this would be a race that I wasn't going into with the intentions of competing (with my self or others).  It was a race I wanted to run for the experience.  Finishing and taking it all in with gratitude was my number one goal!  Goal accomplished!  With that being said, I much prefer being in the kind of fitness that allows me to perform a bit better.  I think next time, I want to be more prepared for this kind of thing.  I'm not sure I like the feeling of being out there and feeling depleted with a good half of the race left to go!

My body and brain are TIRED right now.  Every time I try to write something about this race that flows, I get stuck.  So, for the purpose of getting something written, I'm going to do some random bullet points:

  • It was HOT.  At least for a trail race with very little shade.  I think the high was 79 degrees.  
  • This course was beautiful.  I've often said I don't find this area so pretty since I much prefer lush forests with lots of trees to the high desert canyon type terrain found at Smith Rock.  However, I ran on all new trails with climbs that led to gorgeous views!  
  • Such a well supported race!  There were 4 fully stocked aid stations throughout the course and all the volunteers were beyond helpful.  
  • I love this sport of ultra trail racing (although I think 50k is the longest I will ever go).  So much love, support and compassion among the runners out there.  If it weren't for a few of them, I'm not sure what I would have done.  The race is all very blurry to me at this point even though it's only been since yesterday but somewhere between the second aid station at mile 12 and the third at mile 19.4, I started hurting pretty badly.  By mile 20, my back was cramping and I was doing good to walk/hike/barely run for the next 6 miles to the last aid station.  Along the way, I met a man who helped me out so much.  He was having a hard day too and having someone to walk with me and talk to me helped a TON! At mile 25 I threw everything up.  This was scary and relieving all at once.  Scary because I was already light headed, thirsty and cramping.  Before we even got to the next aid station, someone from medic was running down to find me after hearing from another person that I might need help.  Also, when my back was cramping up around mile 19ish, a man who passed made sure to tell his wife and kids to look for me when I came by.  I was brought to tears at all the support.  As soon as the woman told me her husband was in the race and asked her to check on me, there was no holding back the tears.  She gave me a couple fruit strips and I was on my way.  
  • I learned more than ever what it means to be ok with one foot in front of the other!  When I was walking, I was still moving and this was getting me closer to the finish.  I did what I could with what I had.  I gave my all!  No doubts about that!  I walked when I had to (some parts of the course there was no choice) and ran when I could.  
  • This race was HUMBLING!  I don't like the feeling of running a race like this without having trained my best.  I don't like the feeling of having women 10 years older than me (but much much fitter) fly passed me and up the hill in the last half of the race.  I did my best yesterday, yes. But I didn't like how it felt to be unprepared. At the same time, since I had no real expectations, I was ok with it.  I never felt like I was fighting myself.  Always like I was right there with myself...running within.  Grateful to be out there.  Grateful to GET to push myself in this way!  
  • I learned a lot from this experience!  I think my next post or journal for myself will be reflecting on the lessons I learned... about myself, this sport, and life.  
  • Yesterday, I found myself start to say "This was the hardest race I've ever run." or something to that tune.  However, when I really think about it, that's not true.  This was the longest and most challenging course I've ever run for sure!  But not the hardest I've pushed myself on a physical level.  I can think of a handful of marathons where I trained hard and went in with a goal and pushed myself so hard to the very end.  The kind of hard where I had to dig deep in a way I never got to yesterday.  This 50k was hard in a different way.  But I knew at any time during the race that I was ok with taking my time at aid stations, walking, standing, stretching...taking my TIME!  It wasn't about pushing forward for the sake of a time on the clock.  A different kind of hard for sure.
  • Where was my head during this race?  You know, I think I was truly in my moment for almost all of this race!  Very little thought about anything else...future or past.  When I really think about this, this is what makes this kind of thing so INCREDIBLE!  6 plus hours of mindful moving meditation of sorts!  In my moment!  There were a few spots where I'd start thinking about life or some issue and I'd instantly come back to where I was... my breath, footing, the gorgeous earth surrounding me!  
  • Side stitches.  Oh boy, I hate these.  I got one that wouldn't go away for several miles.  So frustrating because there really isn't much you can do other than slow down and breath them out.   
  • I did really good at fueling!  I choked down Honey Stinger gels, made sure to eat and drink plenty at aid stations and drank a lot!  My favorite thing at the aid stations?  Pickles!!!  Oh my, pickles have never tasted so good!!  
  • At the third aid station, mile 19.4, I knew I was in trouble for burning up my leg energy somewhat between aid station one and two.  I was flying down the hills and having fun... and being STUPID.  I have one 7:4x mile in there on a flatter portion.  Stupid, I know.  At mile 19 I was chugging coke and ginger ale ...another thing I've never tried during a race but OH, MY, this was GOOOOOOD and hit the spot!!! As I was stuffing my face, I laughed at the song playing by Nine Inch Nails with the lyrics:  
You're going to get what you deserve
Bow down before the one you serve
You're going to get what you deserve.
  • Yup, I got what I deserved.  I should know better than to not be super conservative in a race like this.  I paid for it.  And maybe the gummy bears mixed with the coke might have had something to do with throwing up at mile 25?  ha!  
If you look closely down below, you can see the switchbacks we ran for our first ascent.  This was taken from the mile 29 spot.  


So hard (impossible) to do this image justice.  After I started that last 5 mile stretch toward the finish, I felt so grateful for the support and nutrients that replenished my body and mind.  After walking for a good 6/7 miles from 19 to 26, and then fueling up at the last aid station, I felt energized to run again but had to stop and take this picture to capture my moment in the last stretch.  Lovely day!  Hard work!  Humbling!  Glad to GET to do this!  




  • At the mile 26 aid station, after walking for lots of miles, I made sure to fuel up adequately.  I spent a good five minutes getting down what I could.  A man helped pour water on my had and showed me  how to bite the salt tablets to get the salt in my body quicker.  At that point, I knew I had 5 miles left and most of it down.  I had it! 
  • The first few miles out from the last aid station were the prettiest parts of the entire course!!  I was actually running again and feeling good!  My mile pace creeped down to the single digits again and I knew I was going to do this!  This was the only place I stopped to take a picture.  Time wasn't an issue so why not?!
  • Miles 29-the finish were BRUTAL!  Ugh!  Steep steep down hill for a good mile.  So much that my quads felt like they were going to burn right off.  Then a flatter stretch with no relief due to being so tired and the final .25ish was up up up up to the top of the canyon.  OUCH!  

Love this man!  My partner in all things LIFE.  

Well earned Fresh Squeezed IPA at the finish.  Took awhile to be able to keep anything down  but once I could, this plus sunshine, good tunes, great company, and gorgeous views made for a happy afternoon.  
  • I was a mix of feelings to be done.  On one hand, I was deeply relieved.  At the same time, I was so depleted, and my body hurt!  It was a very uncomfortable feeling until I took care of myself.  
  • The finish line is in such a cool spot of grass off the trail... overlooking the scenic canyon of Smith Rock State Park!  As soon as I crossed, I came onto the lawn with a group of runners and their families who were already finished.  Renee, one of the race organizers, gave me a big hug and congrats... along with handing me my awesome finisher pint glass (so much better than a medal IMO). Then a fellow runner came to get my glass and filled it with ice water.  Again, such support!  Before I even had food, I grabbed ice to rub all over my legs.  Otherwise, I knew I would hurt so much more over the next few days.  Then, when I could, I ate a huge burrito and relaxed on the grass with everyone else.  
  • I guess I should say my finish time even though time wasn't an issue.  I know that's really all people read these things for anyway, right?  Ha!  6:22!  I'll take it! And I'll remind my ego what my intentions were with this run... I did exactly what I said I would and for that, I am happy.  It's a good hour slower than my last 50k but I am in a much different place with fitness.  What's funny to think is:  I essentially ran an entire school day for my kids!  This was how I put it in perspective for them:  Mommy ran for as long as you are at school... including lunch break!  
  • I'm so glad to have a husband that loves these adventures as much as I do.  A perfect partner for me.  We didn't run this race together (I ran ahead and finished only 20 min or so before him) but we did celebrate together.  And experience together.  Here's to many more trail running adventures for both of us!  
  • Even though our daughter was performing in a big musical in town, we were in no rush to move out of there too quickly.  We still made it back home in time to eat, shower, and make it to the theater performance! Before leaving, we enjoyed a couple of Fresh Squeezed IPAs from Deschutes Brewery, along with music, open blue skies and glorious sunshine!  All but the blue skies and sunshine put on by Go Beyond Racing!  I WILL for sure do another one of their races!!  And if you are looking for a first or next trail race, you can't go wrong with their races.  

Will I do this race again?  I think so.  Next time, however, I will go more prepared!  

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful Mothers out there!  I love this day for so many reasons!  

-Amanda


Friday, May 6, 2016

Completely



"If am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?"
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." 
-Maya Angelou

Last night I ran in the rain.  I dropped the kids off at practice and I did something I used to do daily: I ran in the spring rain.  Rain storms are actually rare for this dry high desert climate.  When I lived  in Portland, I was sick of rain because it would sometimes not stop raining for what felt like months on end.  The rain last night was refreshing and comforting.  I breathed in the cool air and felt the rain fall down... with each step, I felt GLAD to be ALIVE.  To be ME.  To feel strong and free.  And to know I have a voice... in telling my story and sharing my heart.  

I took the above picture last night.  Looking into the camera, happy and hopeful for my 50k this weekend.  My eyes say a lot here.  Content.  Grateful.  Hopeful.  Secure. Relieved.  When I cropped the picture like this on accident at first, I decided to keep it... it reminds me of how we see people in life.  
We really only ever see parts of the people in our lives.  
Pieces.  
If we're lucky, we get close to loving and knowing another as completely as we possibly can as separate human beings.  And if we are really lucky, we get to love and know ourselves completely. 
When I was out there running in the rain, it was pretty clear to me how lucky I am.  
To love and be loved.  ... as completely as I can imagine.   

___________________________________


No more Project Begin Again.  Wednesday was day 38.  But you know, I think I just might keep writing!  This time, with a new voice.  

Gratitude:
  • My husband and I will run the hardest race we've ever run on Saturday!  Tomorrow??! Holy Crap, it's tomorrow!  The Smith Rock 50k.  I've never run the full course.  I have only run at Smith Rock once.  I have no idea what I'm in for other than HARD. And undertrained.  But you know, I am confident I can cover 31 plus miles... even if I hike and walk and shuffle.  Really, the goal is to ENJOY!  Stop, smell the roses.  Oh wait, this is really dry high desert terrain.  There will be no roses or trees or green.  Open rocky canyons with nothing but blue sky and sunshine above.  Please let it stay somewhat cool for morning hours.  Please!  
  • My voice.  My voice and vulnerability to tell my stories even when fear tells me to stuff them. 
  • Running!  Thank you running... for all you add to my life.  
  • I'm excited, truly excited, to train properly for the Twin Cities Marathon!  I haven't been excited about following a plan and training with structure for a long time.  At least not an excited that lasts and helps me stick to a plan.  I've definitely needed this last stretch to be really loose and free with my running... the What Do I Feel Like Running Today?  Plan.  Seasons, right?  
  • My family.  Through and Through.  Last night we all cuddled on the couch to watch past episodes of our favorite show Survivor.  This is my favorite time with all of them where we are wrapped up in each other, sharing in something we all enjoy. Grateful for them.... more than I could ever say.  


Intentions:
  • Run Happy tomorrow!  I GET to run a 50k on trails with my husband.  Run/Walk/Hike SMART and happy.  Take in the beauty around me and be mindful and present with each of my miles.  Stay within.  
  • Continue to write my heart as it comes.  
-Amanda

Saturday, April 30, 2016

London Marathon Cheater and Runner Dressed as a Giant Shoe

Photo credit from this article 

"TOWIE star Arg's sister has her London Marathon time wiped as runner dressed as giant SHOE says she did duck under a barrier to slash the distance she ran 

  • Natasha Argent, the sister of TOWIE star James 'Arg' Argent, is accused of cheating during the London Marathon
  • Former Take Me Out star being investigated amid claims she ran extremely fast and no times lodged in middle of run
  • Fellow marathon runner Tom Winkler said a friend saw her duck under a barrier to run in opposite direction
  • According to official race statistics, she ran the second half of the race in 48 minutes - less than four minute miles"


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3564386/TOWIE-star-Arg-s-sister-London-Marathon-time-WIPED-fellow-runner-comes-forward-confirm-seen-ducking-barrier-halfway-stage-race-slash-distance-ran.html#ixzz47K6k3kBS

What??!  Ok, let's back up a bit.  I woke up extra early this morning for a Saturday.  I think it was a mix of the sun in my face, and knowing I have lots to get done today (so I'm wasting time writing on here for 30 minutes about something so very dumb. Makes sense, right?  Nope).  After drinking coffee with my husband, I let the random morning wonderings pass through my head while I mindlessly and quickly scrolled through a few Facebook posts.  I thought about how long I will run today, whether to have my friend coach me for Twin Cities Marathon, what to do about the tooth fairy that didn't come last night for my son (we came up with a perfect plan!), what time the soccer game was this morning, the games I will facilitate at my daughter's birthday brunch tomorrow.... 

And then there was an article posted by a fellow running blogger about a woman (apparently not very smart woman) who cheated in the London Marathon.  Something about seeing these headlines in between posts about world news, bombings, hungry children, wars... made me laugh.  No No, before you get your undies in a bunch and think I think it's ok or harmless to cheat in a marathon, I will say:  I do not think cheating is a laughing matter in itself.  Nor do I think doping or any other form of cheating is ok.  However, seeing a post with the above headline and details, along with such fired-up reactions of attack and shaming made me wonder what all the talk was about.  I clicked on the link and read the article.  Then it was even more funny to me.  

  • First off, I don't know who either one of these stars are... the Towie star Arg or his sister.  But then again, I don't  ever really follow mainstream celebratory news.  I'm sure many would make fun of me with how little I know about even the biggest stars in the tabloids right now.  
  • Secondly, from what I'm reading here, this woman cheated her way to a sub 4 hour marathon but I'm not sure she successfully took anything away from any other runner? Not that it makes cheating ok...it doesn't!  This is simply comical in how stupid her cheat was. 
  • I mean,  one of the witnesses for this cheat?  The main witness?  A RUNNER dressed as a GIANT SHOE?  Maybe it was because I hadn't finished my coffee yet.  Maybe it was because I had only days before read a very serious article about a hospital being bombed and the mothers who lost their children in the Pakistan bombing... but instead of feeling outrage, I only wanted to laugh at this part about the giant shoe being the main witness.  
  • It was so very obvious that this Natasha girl cheated, and it didn't take long for them to remedy the situation, take her big bling back, and and adjust the results accordingly.  Oh, and give her some news spotlight (just what she wanted).  
  • If it were me running this race and finishing behind Miss Cheating Natasha in the results, how would I feel?  Hmmm, I'm not so sure I would feel as angry as I would an overall "Are you kidding me??!" kind of reaction.  But that's me.  What someone else did that day doesn't take way from my accomplishments and hard run race.  Again, I know, we all feel differently about this.  I suppose if I was running against her for a podium or age group finish and I found out she cheated and took my spot, I'd  be a bit angry, yes.  Until I read about how stupid her cheat was.  Oh, and the giant shoe witness.  
  • Cheaters are stupid period.
  • Natasha, did you not think at all about how stupid this would look?  I mean, sub 4 min miles for your last half??  ha ha.  A 48 min time for your second half?  
  • I think Natasha isn't as stupid as she appears... I mean, I'm wasting my blog post for the day on her after all.  She's likely getting all the attention she wanted.  
  • Again, cheating isn't ok.  It's not good for our sport or any other sport.  It's not good in school or politics or business.  However, some cheating stories (like this) that, compared to other heavier news topics in our world, are really so stupid in their cheating, that instead of causing outrage and allowing myself to feel negative, I have to laugh a little.  
I know, I know, this is probably all what this girl wanted... to be talked about.  To have people sharing about her cheat.  To give her attention.  Fame. Put her name at the top of google search.  Probably a chance to be on some reality show.  Whatever way you can get your name known, I guess?  Well, being this stupid certainly gets you talked about.  But don't worry cheating London girl, there are more important matters in the world and with cheaters in our sport.  We won't remember you for long.  But the runner dressed as a giant shoe?  I might remember him.  

--Amanda 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 33: A Number That Meant So Much More. "Dear Dad, I'm 33 Today...".

Day 33 of Project Begin Again.  Wow, this number continues stop me in my tracks...every time.  The number 33 holds some pretty big significance in my life when it comes to running.  Well, for several reasons actually.  I've written on this before way back when I was in the beginning years of this old blog.  One post where I mentioned a bit about the number 3 was in reflection of my first marathon (Napa Valley Marathon) and how I was coming to a full circle moment again after injury and kids... returning to Napa Valley to run for a second time and then to Boston again in 2013.  The real reason 33 is such a significant number in my life is that this was the age my dad was when he died.  Growing up after losing my dad as a little girl, I often thought of  him and what he must have been like at 33.  When I finally was 33, and my three kids were around the same age as my brothers and I were when my dad died, I struggled a little.  There were lots of emotions during that year.  Being 33 and feeling so  young and seeing how young and needy my sweet kids were...gosh, it was weird.  It made me think of my dad's death from a new perspective.  That was the beginning of some big healing and processing for me. Lots of heart work for me at 33 and on into 34 and even 35. Funny how we can hold on to our pains and traumas from childhood for so long before we are actually able to heal and face our heartache.  Starting this blog was a huge part of healing..through telling my story... it was a way for me to work through so much of what I held onto as a child...through running, writing about my life and my dad, and telling my heart as it came.  A little bit of background on this:

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


For lack of time today, I'm going to honor day 33 by including an old letter I wrote to my dad on the day I turned 33.  I'll be 38 this year so this was back in 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

Here's to 33.  I no longer carry the pain I once did.  The last five or six years has been good for healing.  I've gone through some necessary work and processes to where my heart doesn't ache the same... it feels whole where it once felt broken.





In Honor of 33,
Amanda

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Hodgepodge of Life Goodness: 50k, Ideas from the Trails, Yoga, Running Shoes, Lovely Book...


We can always Begin Again!  From where we are.  As we are.  Without comparison. 

I'm pretty sure if I'm counting correctly, today is day 32 of Project Begin Again.  I think I must be off somewhere since it was originally a 38 day challenge because I had 38 days until my 50k trail race.  But my race is next Saturday, May 7th so that doesn't add up.  No matter, my challenge to begin again, even if it seems silly to others, has done what I wanted:  It has recharged my life!  Writing every day (or most days) has reminded me we can always begin again--from where we are, as we are, without comparison to others or our old selves.  I've seen myself again.  Writing gratitude and intentions for so many of these posts has generated a beautiful beautiful flow in my daily living.  My heart feels full of gratitude, contentment, and possibility.  The more I write, the more I want to write.  The more I seek and find what I want most in this beautiful life.  The more I hear and see my voice.  And in turn, the more VOICE I have in telling my story as it comes and has been.

4 Gratitude 

  • "Book Club" last night at my house.  I use book club in quotations because book club is only a loose term since we don't really read books every month.  We are a small group of women that come together to share our lives with each other.  It's about sharing ideas, hearing stories, and discussing podcasts, articles, ideas.  We don't meet every month or even every couple months because life gets crazy but I'm so glad we've kept going with this women's group.  I laughed and cried last night.  We talked about death, kids, running goals, motherhood, food... the conversation flowed.  When everyone left, I could feel new energy and inspiration.  I'm thankful for these strong women in my life.  
  • I ran a little less than 9 trail miles with my friend Corie today. If you don't know about Corie, you really should check out her blog:  Road to Ironmom.  I love training with Corie!  The miles fly by as we get lost in conversations on dreams and ideas.  One idea we've both had for awhile is to host a women's retreat here in Bend.  One that would involve trail running, writing, creativity, adventure.  It would be about connecting with other women, digging deep with our hearts and stories, exploring the beautiful mountain trails and lakes (even SUP) here in Central Oregon, and enjoying Bend!  It would be open to all up to certain amount and as affordable as we can possibly make it!  It's an idea I've had for a long time...Corie too.  I think it's time to make it happen!  I know of a few of you I've already heard from that would come.  Nothing fancy but everything meaningful.  So many ideas for this right now... I guess it comes to follow-thru.  That isn't always our strength but nothing that says we can't get stronger with this!  
  • All three of my kids are in gymnastics on the SAME days and darn near close to the same times! I know I talk lots about this lately or so it seems but it is only recent changes that have opened up the extra time during the week where they are all practicing the same day.  Yay!  Last night, I felt so happy watching each of them in different places throughout the gym.  Each of them looking strong and happy!  In my last post, I talked a bit about this, finding balance in life, and how much to push if we do.  I loved the comments and emails from that post!  It made me think lots.  One comment from Lisa had me reflecting on why we are involved so much in this sport....was it because we were going through the motions of "what's next" or what we think we should do?  Or is it because my kids are truly happy and thriving and loving what they are doing?  As far as now, I can see they are happy!  This makes all the money and driving around and time commitment SO WORTH IT.  They are happy and learning lessons and skills that will undoubtedly carry over to the years to come.  Ultimately, I think it comes down what works for each family and for now, this works wonderfully!  My mama heart is happy to see my kids happy!  
  • Yoga on Tuesday!  I have this Tuesday morning yoga class that I LOVE! It's at a place in Bend called The Yoga Lab.  This teacher is the first teacher that has me actually purchasing a yoga pass.  I am not good at going all the time but the few times I have gone... so great!  It is a class that challenges, centers and humbles me.  I leave feeling grateful and deeply inspired. Surrounded by strong women.  I leave knowing I am also strong and able.  I feel welcome to come as I am and where I am... and aware that there is room for growth!  Oh, and I always feel worked! 

2 Intentions:

  • Run my 50k (Smith Rock Ascent 50k) at a steady pace while allowing myself to walk, hike, snack and save my battery.  This race will be about finishing. No time goal.  No strategy other than to take it easy enough so I CAN finish with the training I do have under my belt. It is much much less than any time before, but I know I have the mental focus and muscle memory to do this!   Without a doubt, it will be HARD.  It will feel like death at the end I'm sure.  ha! It will be the hardest course I've ever run.  Also, a different type of terrain than I'm used to with forest trails.  However, I want to be able to recover well and stay uninjured so I can start training (for real) for Twin Cities in July.  Oh, and I might be paying a friend to coach/train me!  She's a friend that knows her stuff!!  And continues to rock as a runner!  
  • Buy new running shoes!  I've been running in my current Pure Grits for way too long!  So, I will be ordering my 4th pair of Pure GritS: The Pure Grit 4.  I haven't tried the 4 yet but I know I've loved my other versions of this shoe.  I still like the Cascadia sometimes too but my last pair wasn't feeling so good and as soon as I slipped into a new pair of Grits, my feet were Running HAPPY!  Thank you Brooks
I'll end this post with a photo and words I shared on Runninghood Instagram today: a book recommendation, as well as the lovely words in the book. 


I AM YOGA by Susan Verde.  Art by Peter H. Reynolds.  What a sweet sweet book for kids and adults. This would be especially good for helping kids find their calm, understand their feelings and place in the world, and continue to grow on an emotional level. It also has yoga poses in the back. The pictures and words are lovely: 

"When I feel small and a world so big, 
when I wonder how I fit in, 
when the world is spinning so fast… 
I tell my wiggling body: be still. 
I tell my thinking mind: be quiet. 
I tell my racing breath: be slow. 
I close my eyes and make room in my mind, in my heart, to create and imagine. 
I am Yoga. 
I can touch the sky. I am so tall. 
I can store among the clouds. I am so free. 
I can sparkle with the stars. I shimmer and shine.  
I can dance with the moon. I light up the night. 
I can sail on the sea. I go with the flow. 
I can open my heart. I feel love. 
I can see far and wide. I am focused. 
I can turn things upside down. I am playful. 
I can stand up for me, I can stand up for others, I can stand up for peace. 
I can be open like a flower. I am beautiful. 
I can carry beauty with me. I am full.  
I can say I've had enough for today. I relax. 
I can rest. I am calm. 
Now the world is just the right speed. 
Now my world is just the right size.  
Now I see, I fit in just fine.
 I am yoga.
 I can be anything!"


Happy Wednesday, 
Amanda 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Motherhood Ramble: Finding Balance and Knowing How Much to Push.

One of my favorite pictures of my girls so happy playing together with no other agenda other than: ENJOY

Today, I am aware more than ever why it's such an art or practice to stay present.  To be in the NOW.  It's a constant balance between looking ahead and behind just enough to plan and reflect so we can make the best choices for our present and then be able to actually LIVE in our present...mindful, grateful, intentional.  That's the goal.  :)

As a mother/parent this can be super hard.  In addition to thinking about our own lives, we are making decisions for our children.  Now think of the movie Inside Out where it shows all the different emotions and feelings and thinking we have going on inside of us... our committee of sorts.  The committee in my head (all the parts of my mind thinking about all the parts of my life past, present, future) is extra crowded when I'm in the thick of motherhood...it's not only my personal committee, it's the committee that helps me understand my children and know the best route to guide them as individuals!  We are their advocate, cheerleader, advisor, and enforcer all at once.  We GET to love them and know them deeply.  We know about their likes and dislikes,  strengths and weaknesses, temperament, who they like to play with, and so much more. We also know when they need a little nudge to do something they wouldn't do otherwise because of fear, apathy, or simply not even knowing what it's like so not caring enough to have any desire to try.  Whether this means helping them try a sport, read a new book that may look too hard, talk to a grown up about something difficult, speak their mind, join a club at school, make new friends.  Whatever the thing, there's a balance with the role we play.  Guide.  Facilitator.  Supporter.  Advocate.  Comforter.  And you know, sometimes we even know our child enough to give them a little (or big) PUSH.  I know, I know... in the name Parenthood PC, we often don't use that word PUSH anymore but why not?  Sometimes our kids do need pushed!  Pushed by someone that loves them and KNOWS they will fly once they are given that nudge to the next step.  I'm a pusher sometimes. Not always but I push when I know it's time... pushing, balanced by all those other roles I mentioned above.  It is indeed a balance.  

I woke up this morning feeling like my motherhood/children/life balance is off a little.  For the next two weeks (while my oldest's theater performance/rehearsals wrap up and she begins gymnastics team at a higher level along with my other kids being involved in sports), I can definitely say we are signed up for too much! Too much for my tastes anyway. There is undoubtedly a balance between guiding our kids and helping them grow learn and challenge themselves through extracurricular activities, sports, etc.  and providing enough free time so they get to simply be a kid and relax!  This balance is different for every single family.  Sometimes it comes to knowing what their child can handle and sometimes it's about money or logistics.  For me, right now, it's about wanting my kids to have just enough involvement in extra classes/sports/theater...whatever...  to where they have goals and feel excited about being involved and working hard, but not too much to where it feels like all we are ever doing is GO GO GO Going.  Right now it feels a lot like that.  Driving, dropping, picking up, scheduling, shelling out $$$, and way too little relaxing as a family and getting lost in play while they are still young.  

I also woke up this morning questioning my decision to speak up on behalf of my son to have him moved up in gymnastics. That's part of the knowing when to nudge and when to let things be.  I know he is ready on a physical level but did I push too soon?  We shall see.  For now, I'm going to trust that he's in his just right place and although our Tues/Thurs schedules will be NUTS, this move will eventually allow for my kids to have at least 2 days a week where they have NOTHING on the agenda!  I want this for them!  I want this for ME! Life is too short and childhood goes so quickly.  They will have the rest of their lives to be BUSY.  I know myself enough as a mother to know that I need this downtime for them probably more than they care or need it themselves.  And that's what this motherhood/parenthood gig is all about, right?  Finding what works best for us as individual families so we can thrive and be happy.  And not judging others for doing life differently!  

Here's to a long, unorganized ramble of a post that is really, a personal journal online.  Here's to nudging (or pushing) my kids a bit.  Here's to giving our kids challenges and opportunities for them to discover new talents and interests while improving in what they've already started.  Here's to knowing how much is too much and how much is not enough.  Here's to finding that balance with all of it...so we don't have so much going on (in our heads and our day to day schedules) that we aren't truly enjoying LIFE!  And here's to not overthinking (easier said than done)! 

Monday, April 25, 2016

I Choose to Be...

I got out of bed this morning expecting to feel way more rough around the edges than I do.  Last night my pelvis and hips were feeling achey after pounding pavement for 13.1 miles at much higher intensity/duration than I have in awhile.  Most my training has been easy running on DIRT with a handful of runs on the road.  Overall, this is how I prefer my running at this stage of my life.  However, like I said in my last post, I am getting an itch to train for another road marathon.  This will mean getting out on the road or track more often. Less dirt + More pavement = a shift in my habits with health.  Running faster paces on pavement will mean being more intentional about all the good stuff like rolling, resting, yoga, and staying balanced.  Road marathon training and relaxed trail running to gear up for a relaxed 50k are two very different processes.  At least they feel different to me.  I suppose they don't have to be much different depending on how I would want to run my marathon.  Take Boston 2015 for example, which was really training for a 50k trail race.  That training was intentional, mostly following a plan, and a good balance of dirt and pavement.  I'd like this again.

One of my favorite sections of trail in Shelvin Park.


Better than any stretch of pavement!

When I can run on dirt AND be with these guys?  Life is good!  No doubts there will be many of these runs this summer.


Out of all the above, if and when I do start training for my October road marathon, I will most definitely want to make a good amount of time to train in nature on dirt.  My trail runs are nourishment for me on so many levels.  A moving meditation.  It's when I'm out on the dirt trails and running through the trees and by flowing water where I feel myself come alive most fully.  I hear my heart.  I pray and listen.  It's when I'm running on single track trail high above the earth below .. when I have views of the mountains and I can hear the birds and feel the wind... It's these kinds of runs that bring me back to myself and fill my life cup full to the rim!  Being out there on the trails is one of the single most important factors in keeping this mind body spirit of mine healthy and thriving.  So, that is something I will not compromise when I train for another road marathon.  My body, mind, spirit all agree.  

This morning on Facebook, my friend Jessica (always love her insights) posted something about how her and her kids each made an affirmation this morning to start their day:  "Today, I Choose to Be...."  
I loved reading the affirmations they made for themselves so as with many other posts, Jessica has written, I'm inspired to take something away from them and apply them to my own life.  THIS is exactly why I love blogs and social media... the growth, inspiration, motivation, connection ...so much...that comes when we share parts of our lives as genuinely as Jessica often does.  

So for today, I will wrap this entry up with my own I Choose to Be affirmations (really, another way of writing intentions). 

Today, I choose to be productive and intentional with my thoughts and energy.  I have a long list of tasks and projects I want to wrap up.  I also want to carve out time to read and reflect on a few matters close to my heart.  

Today, I choose to use my trail run as a prayer of sorts.  An intentional meditation.  No watch or agenda.  I want to only be moving my body at whatever pace it feels up for.  Breathing in fresh air. Noticing the earth surrounding me.  Listening in all ways.  

Today, I choose to NOTICE and LISTEN intently.  I choose to be aware of and focused on my kids... what they say to me, how they look and feel when they wake up,  what's on their mind... 

Today, I choose to be LOVE.  Enough said.  With myself, my family, my thoughts, the people I interact with.  I choose to replace any negative thoughts with something positive and loving.  I choose to listen to any deep seeded hurt or anger and try to let Love be my lens in order to release those weighty feelings.  

Today, I choose to keep my sense of humor tuned in.  I've laughed lots this week.  It's made me remember to find the funny in the ordinary.  There are so many little and big moments throughout the day that are actually pretty hilarious if we notice.  People's behavior, our own habits, things our kids say, pets, reactions... What I'm wearing right now.  

-Amanda
--

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bend Half Marathon. And Fall Marathon Chosen!


Definitely in my top 5 favorite race medals!  Add this race to your list of destination races! 


I've kind of fallen off the wagon again with this Project Begin Again.  I don't even know what day I'm on at this point.  Let me check... Ok, so today would be day 29.  I skipped days 27 and 28.  But who is counting besides me?  Nobody.  

I ran the Bend Half Marathon today.  I figured it was time to run a local race even if I wasn't specifically training for said race.  These kinds of races end up being good workouts as well as giving me a good idea of where I'm at fitness-wise (today was humbling).  Why did I even sign up for this?  Right before I registered, I had just come back from a trail run and decided to hop on the treadmill for some repeat 800's --one of my random attempts to get some sort of speed work into my non-plan for a 50k I'm running in two weeks (a non plan that will likely backfire).   When I started running on the treadmill, my incline was only at 1% so it felt pretty easy compared to the trail hills I was running moments before.  After 800, I didn't want to stop so I sped it up and kept going.  Each 800 felt great so I kept running and speeding up until I ran a 5k in 20:20 and still didn't want to stop!  In fact, it felt relatively easy! I've never had a 20:xx 5k feel easy.  Granted it was on a treadmill so not the same as a road 5k but still... This made me feel really happy considering I've never got my mind to cooperate to break 20 minutes in the 5k no matter how much I've trained and on this day I felt like I could no problem.  I took my excitement, bottled it up, and registered for a half marathon before I changed my mind.  My plan was to actually continue in weekly speed work and a more structured plan so that by the time I ran the half marathon, I'd be able to do more than hang in there. That kind of happened?  Maybe every other week.  As the weeks went by, I knew I'd be running this race for more of a fun workout.  Ok, after today, you can take out the word fun! Ha!  Or fun in a hard work kind of way.  I'll save the long wordy recap and switch to some bullet points:  
I'm not sure an elevation map ever really does a course justice.  All I know is that going from mile 3 to 4 was tough and got my heart beating quite hard.  Then miles 8 to 11 made me want to turn the wrong direction and run home. 
This picture makes me laugh!!  Corie caught a shot of nubby.  My broken Garmin that I held in my fingers the whole time. ha ha.  I did, however, order a new Garmin that will arrive in the mail before my 50k (HOPEFULLY).  Not that I will care about pace on my 50k but I will like knowing distance when I'm out there in middle of nowhere with miles to go! 
One of my favorite race shirts!  At first I thought it would be another tech shirt that I'd toss in a drawer or box never to wear again.  BUT... I love this one!  I love how unique to Bend it is.  And it's comfy because I ordered it in a medium instead of my usual small so it has more of a baggy fit...nice for a change.  

  • I pushed hard at the end.  
  • The first part felt good and easy enough even though the hills at mile 4ish were brutal IMO!  Seeing my friend Lori at mile 4ish made me happy.  What a beautiful smile she has and she's ALWAYS encouraging!  So glad she came into my life.  ;) 
  • This was a hard course!  It felt really hard by the end.  There were many women ahead of me and I know some of them were in darn good shape.  The winning woman didn't break 1:30.  This says something about the course for sure!  I don't remember the last time I ran a destination/popular (even though only second annual) half marathon like this where the winning woman wasn't in at least somewhere in the 1:2x range.  Considering this and where I'm at with running right now, I feel darn proud of my 1:43. In fact, at the start, my friend Corie and Shelley were there with me.  When we talked about what we wanted for this run considering our fitness,  I said I'd be happy with a sub 1:45. Last year at this time, I ran in a half marathon after Boston as part of my 50k training when I was actually following a plan.  I ran a 1:37 and it felt good.  Today, my 1:45 was way more work!
  • The end of the race was uphill for a bit.  The loooooongest .1 I have ever run.  But I out kicked a girl who was wearing a Oiselle shirt.  Ok, so it doesn't matter what shirt she was wearing but her bird and FLY on the back of her shirt was a good focal point.  Even though I got passed by at least 7 women in the second half of the race (totally bonking), passing this one girl in the last little bit made me feel like I pushed myself till the end.  I did.  No, it wasn't about racing but it was about doing my best today and meeting myself where I am right now. A hard workout that I will draw on in the months to come!  Having others in the race with us can be motivating in helping us dig deep.  I think we push and pull each other.  Even though I have no idea who she was, having her in sight for that last mile definitely kept me going.  
  • One of the things I kept reminding myself during this run was to run my own race.  To not let what others were running or what I've run in the past make me feel defeated or discouraged today.  I kept my talk positive even when I wanted to throw up and turn left at mile 10ish to run the 2 miles home to my house.  
  • My splits: 7:30, 7:15, 7:35, 7:50, 7:28, 7:49, 7:24, 7:46, 8:17, 8:22, 8:07, 7:51, 7:22.  If I really do see this as a training run like I had in mind (def not a goal race), then I feel really happy with my run today!  This was a solid threshold endurance run!  yes yes.  It makes me excited to start following a plan again. 
  • You know, a big part of following a plan or training for a marathon or half marathon or whatever... is the PROCESS  it takes to get to the race day.  I miss this.  It feels like a long time since I've had a plan on paper to hold me accountable.  
  • Next year if I do this again, I hope to get sleep.  I did't get more than 2 hours of sleep due to some unexpected events last night.  ARG! But I'm glad I went anyway.  
  • My pelvis aches right now!  Pretty sure my body was shocked to pound pavement for so long after mainly running on dirt trails at a much slower pace this last year! Also, pretty sure I need new shoes. 

  • My impromptu training partner and friend Corie.. so thankful of her!! Such a safe friend.  A friend who is always full of encouragement and understanding.  We are in very similar ranges when it comes to running so I think we make compatible partners when we do train together.  I think we are mentally compatible too.  She gets me.  She understands seasons with life and running and goals.  She knows what it feels like to be in a place with running (for her, biking and swimming too since she's an Ironman) that's different from the past.  And she knows those whiffs of desire to get back in the fitness we know we can be in and the work it will take to get there.  She's good for me like this.  Today, after the race, we chatted for a bit by the trash can I was sticking close to in case of hurling.  We both felt exhausted, happy for the strong workout, proud that we put ourselves out there, and mutually aware of where we are and where we want to be again on a fitness level.  I think having friends like this and goals to work towards makes the other parts of our lives more energized.  I also know that the seasons where we don't train for or work towards any big goals are good for us too!  I'm ready for a goal again.  :)  
  • Proud of my friend Shelley who busted out a 1:37 on this course after recovering from injury, wrist surgery and having so much travel that really hasn't allowed her to train.  She's in a good place to start again too!  She's got some wheels!  
  • My friend Angie had a goal to run sub 2 hours today.  She did it!  1:58 and on this course.  I'm proud of her.  And really glad she's going to be one of the gymnastics moms I will get to travel with this next year.  
  • Would I recommend this race?  Absolutely!  Very nicely done!  It was crap weather today but usually, I would expect this weekend to be gorgeous and not cold and rainy.  I blame all the people from Portland who came down  here.  It's a hard course but a well earned medal.  Best shirts and medals I've seen in awhile too!  Well done Bend Marathon.  


Fall Marathon

I've decided on a fall marathon.  My first Fall Marathon!  As I kind of mentioned above, after a stretch of very loosely training or willy nilly running, I'm ready to follow a more scheduled by-the-book plan again.  I'm not saying I necessarily need or want to go for a hefty time goal but I at least want to put in the work that it would take to run a faster time than I would if I tried to race a marathon today!  My last marathon was Boston 2015 in 3:28.  My PR doesn't really count anymore since it was in 2004 for my first marathon with a time of 3:22.  Other than that, I guess my PR would be 3:24.  If anything, I'd be happy to run in that range again.  

Long ramble shorter, after reading some less than stellar reviews of the Portland Marathon, I've decided to run Twin Cities Marathon on October 9th!  I'm so excited!!  Same day as Portland.  Same Price.  But way better reviews.  And a race I've wanted to run for awhile now.  The biggest reason of all?  My dear friend Jenn is running it too and I will get to see her again!  And what a great place to meet up for a girl weekend.  A beautiful time of year in cities I love with a friend who is truly family to me.

So much in this post.  I'm hoping to get back to an easy gratitude and intentions post next time because I miss the positive energy it gives my life!  In the meantime, I'm out of time!  

Happy Sunday!
Amanda

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day 25 and 26. Portland Marathon? And a Nubby Garmin.

Almost exactly a year ago.  I ran the road half marathon version of the 50k I will be running this year: The Smith Rock Half Marathon (my review and race recap in link).  This was as part of my 50k training for the Trail Factor 50k and after the Boston Marathon so I was so happy with my 1:37 and an age group award! Great way to kick off Mother's Day! This year I will be back to Smith Rock for the Smith Rock 50k!  

I'm so tired.  It isn't even 10pm yet and I only want to crawl into my bed and crash!  But I'm determined to stick with this daily blogging even though I do miss a few days here and there.  Yesterday I skipped intentionally...  because honestly, I wasn't ready to write another post after my amazing day 24.  I wanted the joy and high from that day to last as long as possible. And something about keeping day 24's post at the top of my blog for an extra day made me happy.  I'm still smiling about our mountain adventures.  

I'll start this post with something I wrote today on my Runninghood Facebook page after my run because it had me smiling today.  True story. Awkward too. Note to self: Never trust a butt scratch or wedgie pick on a run unless you know for sure that nobody is behind you.  Otherwise, own the said butt scratch/wedgie pick and run on!  Don't make it awkward by pretending to look at your rear/back of legs for a potential bug bite from a bug that doesn't exist.  Who really cares who saw you?  

"You know, that time you're running out on what you think is a pretty private road... You feel like it's a good time to scratch your butt and pick the wedgie that's been bugging you for a couple miles. Then you realize there's a car driving very slow and quiet right behind you (so as to not scare you when they pass, I guess). You're kind of embarrassed that someone saw you. To make matters more awkward (because I'm always awkward), you pretend to be looking at what could be a bug bite on the back of your legs (as if you were really just trying to get a big bug that might have crawled into your butt) as the said car passes and so you don't have to wave or make eye contact. Then, just to make sure the driver in car really fell for your bug bite theatrics, you look up in the air at your pretend bug flying away and you shoo your hands to brush off any other bugs that might be flying around and take one final look at the nonexistent bug bite on the back of your leg. ‪#‎runnerproblems‬ ‪#‎runchat‬ ‪#‎womensrunning‬"

I feel like I have a ton of stuff floating through my mind.  Lots I could blog about right now.  So, for the sake of time, I think I'm going to go with my trusty friends:  Bullet Points.  


  • I ran 8 miles today.  My route was a mix of trails and road but mostly road.  I've really been loving the change up lately. As much as I love my trails, I've been enjoying getting out on roads where I can track my pace a bit more.  This gives me a good idea of where my fitness is. Yesterday, before I could get out on my run, I got called in to teach so I fit in what I could.  I had time for 3.5 mile run  and did it in around a 7:40 average pace.  Nothing special in the big scheme of my running but it felt energizing and GOOD!  Not super easy but not hard either.  I was a sweaty happy mess and finished wanting more.  Today's normal feel 8 miler was around 8:15 average and was consistent.  Tomorrow I will return to my mountain trails UNTIMED. A good mix this week.  Yay!
  • My 50k trail race is in something like 12 days!!!  What?!  It's a hard course too.  I'm a little scared because I feel so less prepared than I ever have been going into a race like this.  I've only run one other 50k but with that one I had some really great endurance runs under my belt.  Boston 2015 was one of them.  This time, I'm going to be much slower.  That's ok.  I'll hike lots of portions and run what I can. And then dig way down deep to finish!!  
  • My Garmin is a pathetic stub without any band.  The original band broke on both my Garmin and my husband's and I can't figure out how to get the stupid new one on without losing my mind.  An old blog friend/Instagram follower even sent me a special tool with a band replacement and I can't figure it out.  Seriously, I think they make them this way... to break after a certain time so that people will end up buying a new one even though the old one works quite well from a mechanical standpoint. The same is true with every basic Timex Ironman watch I buy.  I'm a practical, cheap minimalist when it comes to running.  I don't care how stupid I look carrying my broken Garmin (or what my outfit looks like when I'm training...Ok, I kind of care).  However, I DO care that my fingers start to hurt from awkwardly holding my Garmin without a band.  Grrr.  So, it's either find a way to rig up a new band, get the new band on, or buy a new one.  
  • I'm going to run a half marathon this weekend for fun.  I'm NOT by any stretch in race half marathon shape but I think this will be fun!  I think it will be good for me to take my nubby band-less Garmin and push myself a tad for a good effort half marathon.  Which might mean barely breaking 8 min miles knowing where I'm at right now.  But it might also mean running slower or faster.  I know I won't be running under 7:30 pace, that's for sure!  
  • I'm considering registering for the Portland Marathon that is in October!  I've never run a fall marathon.  Mostly because training in the summer is harder for with since I've always had young kids who are off school, I've never been much of an early morning runner (ok, not at all when it comes to super early), and waiting till the evening to run in the summer can be hard because of heat, family stuff, etc.  My kids are older now and I think this just might be a good summer to train!  I've got the desire creeping back in!!   I'm excited to feel excited about training more seriously again.  I'm excited about shooting for a goal even if my main benefit is the process in getting to race day!  Oh, and my friend Jenn is running Twin Cities Marathon on the SAME day so we'd kind of be running together!!  :)  That would be special in itself! 
  • I've paid for the Portland Marathon once back in 2010 when I had decided I wanted to run a marathon again after having kids.  I wanted to go back to Boston and this was going to be my qualifying race.  BUT life had other plans and I tripped in forest park and tore my hamstring completely at mile 9 of an 18 miler.  My first serious injury even after competing through high school and college.  Ugh!  I was so sad. However, it was this injury that led to being really sad and frustrated that led me to start this blog Runninghood!!  I started it at a time I was dreaming big and determined to get back to running so I had something for myself after giving up my career to be home with my three littles.  So glad I started Runninghood.  
  • I had a meeting tonight about my oldest daughter moving up to the competitive team for her sport.  It's going to be expensive and a big time commitment for sure but I'm feeling really excited for her! I think having this opportunity to be on a team is an experience that will carry over to her life in so many positive ways.  She gets to grow in camaraderie with her teammates, build character, work work hard for goals, have something to be proud of, and so much more.  Plus I like the parents I'll be spending so much time with over the years and I love their kids! After the meeting I had a really good conversation with her and we both agreed that if we do this, we do it together and she needs to really want it.  She will contribute or "Pay" for it by working hard and doing her best as a student, athlete, and the overall loving human being she is. And babysitting for free when we ask.  :) Score!  This won't be hard for her because she already works so hard and has such a good attitude.  I have no doubts she will continue to live whole heartedly.  Proud of her.  Proud of all my kids.  Love being their mother.  
  • I'm feeling so grateful right now.  My heart is full.  I feel energized and ready to dream big again.  I also feel HOME more than I have since moving here almost 2 years ago.  It's taken awhile and that is due to many things but today, I can honestly say I have a root system and my whole self is feeling the nourishment!  Life. is. beautiful.  
As for my typical Project Begin Again posts?  You know, I think the whole point of this project was to begin again so I would want to blog again.  It was a way to jumpstart my writing.  Now that it has been fired up, I'm going to go with it and blog whatever I feel like.  If I can't think of something or if I'm dragging and I'm trying to continue to do this for 38 days, then I will revert to my gratitude, intentions and be the change.  I'm not up for writing more tonight so I'll end here.  

For any of you that do still read this and know anything about the Portland Marathon, please tell me about it.  Have you raced it?  Do you like the course?  Do you know someone who has raced it? 

Oh, and anyone have any luck changing the band on your Garmin??  So hard!  Any tricks?  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Day 24 is the Best Yet! Snowshoeing, Mountains, Handstands in Snow, and a Day to Ourselves.



I have a confession to make.  My kids have never been skiing.  I know, I know... we live in the ski town (granted, we've only been here for about 2 years but still...) of Bend, Oregon where Mt. Bachelor is only 30 minutes away and my kids are those kids that don't know how to ski.  I'm blaming it on traveling (not a real excuse).  This last November/December we went on a three week trip to Thailand as a family.  So, instead of spending money on ski passes, rentals and lessons, we paid for plane tickets and adventures in another country!  Totally worth it.  However, no more excuses.  Next winter will be a winter of skiing LOTS. In fact, Mt. Bachelor has a killer deal called Ride in 5 where you can get 5 lessons, rentals, passes, and then upon graduation, a season pass and 50% off a season pass for the following year.  Gosh, can't beat that!  I don't really like downhill skiing (it feels like paying to be cold, scared, and out of control) but I think that having my kids learn how to ski is something you do if you live here.  It's a cultural literacy if you will.  At least that's how I see it.  After they've been exposed, they can choose for themselves.  Maybe they will be like me and find snow shoeing, cross country skiing, and snow trail runs to be far more fulfilling of winter sports than downhill skiing.  

We may not have taken the family up to ski this season, but I have had some really breathtaking days of snowshoeing and winter running!  Today was one of those days.  Probably the best day I've had all year.  Truly. Definitely a RARE week day kind of treat where I happened to mention to my husband that we take some time to snow shoe together since he's been working so much lately (on weekends and nights too sometimes) and we hardly ever get a weekend day where we aren't running kids around.  Lucky us...it the stars aligned and the day was all ours! 


Love him to the moon and back!  He's been my rock and so much more.  


It's a GOOD GOOD day when you get to snowshoe hike up a mountain (Tumalo Mountain) with the love of your life on a blue bird spring day!  It becomes an even better day when you get to enjoy panoramic views at the top of the mountain while drinking a favorite cold beer (and yes, this experience was worth breaking my efforts to NOT drink beer during the week...a beer never tasted so good) without another soul in sight.  It then gets even better when you have a partner that will tear down at top speed (we were practically skiing on snowshoes) so you can make it in time for lunch in the sun before picking the kids up from school.  Life feels so so good.  

I think one of my favorite parts to this story is the part that reminded me just how lucky I feel to live here.  When we got up to the mountain, we noticed two things.  We didn't have our snow pass to park and there were signs everywhere saying that no dogs were allowed.  We needed to drop our dog Ashe off and get a pass so we drove back to town, dropped the dog, got a coffee and a pass and headed back up with time to summit, come down, get lunch and still have time to get the kids.  I can definitely take where I live for granted some days but today was NOT one of those days. 


OH, you know...just drinking a beer on the top of a snowy mountain with my shirt off.  ha ha...this picture makes me laugh but for real, it was HOT after climbing a mountain in record time!  



My heart is spilling with gratitude today.  Gratitude, love and JOY.  I love this man I married.  He's the very best kind of man and today was a reminder of why I fell in love with him in the first place.  I think we really do need these special times to be alone and reconnect with our partners.  It's so easy to get stuck in the every day motions and "to dos"... day in and day out... carting kids around...paying bills...work...chores... So easy to push these kinds of times to the side for another day. So glad we didn't push it off today.  I don't think we need these kinds of dates in order to love each other and have a wonderful marriage but I am so grateful for this time!  It gives our relationship a sort of recharge.  

That's all for Day 24.  Plenty of gratitude and intentions and making the world a better place in this one post to where I'm scraping the Project Begin Again format.  

Happy Tuesday,
Amanda