Monday, February 14, 2011

Self Reflection

Reading a few running blogs tonight really got me thinking about where I'm at with my running and how I'm living my life.  Running seems to be on my mind an awful lot lately.  I want it more than I've ever wanted it before.  To use my potential and push my limits as a runner.  To break through mental barriers.  Set personal records.  Run without fear.  Push myself through pain.  Feel my body work and see myself reach new heights.  I want to finally just run like I know I can run.  And Run Just For Me!

But I also want to remember balance.  I want to be reminded about the other loves in my life that are equally as important.  It is easy for me to get so one tracked with my mental focus.  I get almost obsessive sometimes about an idea, a goal, or an image of something I want to do with my life.  It is easy for me to forget to be in the present with my life and open my eyes to all the other gifts I have.  All the other things in my daily life that need and deserve my full and present mind.

So, yes, I will continue to be strong with my running.  I will continue to set goals and push myself as an athlete.  This seems like a good time in my life to see what I can do as a runner.  But this is also a time in my life where I am blessed to be given the opportunity to be home with my three children.  I want to make sure I savor this time in my life and don't miss out on these fleeting moments because I have my head stuck in a running tunnel where I'm just thinking about running, reading about running, writing about running, and commenting on blogs about running.

So, my goal:  To continue to work on balance.  To strive to be fully present in the moments I have with my children and to be fully present in my training when I am in a workout. To give my all to my training when I'm training but to be able to shut my running thoughts off when I'm creating memories with my children.  

Speaking of running, I'm taking a few days off because of some pain in my hamstring.  It hurts again right down by my knee on the inside.  Right where it was bruised the most when I ripped it.  Hoping it is just tired and from running hard the last few days.  I'm think that my 6 miler with some sub 7 paces in there in my minimally supportive shoes (still adjusting to them) might have been a little much for my still freshly healed hammy.  Hopefully I'll be back to training again on Wednesday.  I'd rather lose some workouts than be stuck not running at all.

Since it's Valentine's Night, I'll end this post with a few pictures from today.

I woke up early this morning to have time to write to my husband in our Marriage Journal.  Yes, I have one of those too...Good grief, you think I have enough journals?!  

I was pleasantly surprised to find that he had already written to me!  Perfect gift!

I decided to be creative with my message to him.  I'll have to print this picture out and glue in our journal.  Oh, and it says "Love, Jean" because that is my middle name and for some reason we've always used our middle name when we sign our letters to each other.

My Youngest Valentine.  Love this little Man!  He makes my heart smile.  All my kids do!

A Valetine's Dinner at Urban Fondue in our favorite Portland neighborhood.  

Powell's Books...A Must Visit if you ever come to Portland!  One of the largest bookstores in the nation!

Did I say I love Fresh Flowers?!  These are for all the ladies in the house.  The little ladies were so thrilled to hear that they were for them too!  

1.  Seems to be a good week for self reflection based on some of the blogs I've read and things I've heard from friends.  Any big self reflection going on in your life?

2.  What do you do to help yourself "BALANCE" it all?  Work, Running, Parenting, Being a Wife or Husband?

3. Do you have to remind yourself to be in the "Now" or be fully present in your life more?


  1. I find it hard to balance running around my everyday happenings right now. I'm hoping once I get settled in our new home it will all fall in place again.

    I remember when my love came home from deployment last year I found it so hard to get out and do my runs. Not cause I didn't want to, but because I felt guilty. I wanted to be spending that time as a family cause we weren't able to for a year. It took time but I finally found a balance. That's what I was needing, a balance with family time and running time so I wouldn't feel guilty.

    That is so precious you guys have a marriage journal! And those conversations hearts are soo cute!

    Next time we are in Portland we will have to check out that bookstore! My love is a huge book person and usually reads around 50-60 books a year!

  2. You have created a lovely, thoughtful and perfect Valentine's Day post :) I love the pics, the marriage journal (awesome idea), how grounded you are…

    1. Big self-reflection…my difficult post last week really left me more raw than I realized. I broke down sobbing and crying triggered by a song, of all things. But the root was the emotions from that time in my life. Time to reflect on further processing and clearing.

    2. Balancing is super challenging and I find myself struggling with less success than I'd like. Learning patience with myself and others and understanding that I cannot do it all ALL the time.

    3. I constantly have to do this :)


  3. I do find it difficult to balance all of life. I just try to "check in" with myself often to make sure all my priorities are straight. It can be so hard, but I try not to beat myself up if I can't get it ALL done in one day. Reading my kids extra books, or snuggling them in more important than doing that last load of dishes. They are only little for so long.

    I love Powell Books! My mother in-law lives in Vancouver WA and we try to get to Powell when we visit her! I could spend hours there!

  4. Balance forms a very important part of my life but I find I have to work at it to make sure it doesn't go one way or the other. Funny enough, the busier I am, the easier I find it to keep balance. Reflection at the moment for me is around my career. I'll need to make some important career decisions this year.

  5. I try to run very early in the morning so it does not take into family time. It seems to work out mostly except when I start to get in really long runs. Work is work - do the best you can in the time allotted but don't kill yourself over it. I used to and it was not worth it.

  6. Since I have been hurt for the past couple of weeks it has caused me some self reflection. I am trying to slow down or be "present." I think there are time that I wished that I would have done this when my kiddos were younger, now that my oldest are 10 and 9 we are on the fast track to craziness.
    I love all of your journals. I have been trying to work on my running journal, but keep getting stymied. you are so creative.
    Happy Tuesday.

  7. Great post and great pictures!!

    Balance....ahhhh! :) I am a work in progress. I still think that I am a better everything since I run. I think my husband agrees. I am soo lucky that he "gets" it and I think he always has really. We have been together for almost 15 years ( married for almost 8) and I have always been on the move.
    I do have to remind myself to just be in the moment. I have gotten so much better this year...your posts remind me to do thank YOU!! :-)
    Rest up that hammie!!!

  8. I don't think I balance it well.. my kids are getting older and I think I let time with them slide because of it. I'm terrible about living in the moment :(

    Looks like we both had fondue!!!!

  9. Great blog! My boyfriend and I used to keep a notebook where we just wrote each other notes daily. I miss that, I think I will start a new one. I guess it was a "relationship journal" of sorts : )

  10. I do have to remind myself to be in the now, but it is getting easier.

    In the program for Michael's memorial service this weekend, it shared a message that he had passed on to many of us in person over the last weeks of his life. He wanted to honor God with his life even in his death and he shared that nothing else matters more than God and His people. Nothing is more important than our relationship with God, nothing should take us over more than wanting to love God and the people in our lives - whether it is our own children or a checker at the grocery store.

    We need to take time with PEOPLE, not things or activities.

    It's hard to find the balance, but I know it is always well worth the effort.
    I love being in the now, because that is when I see the things worth seeing - like a seagull cruising around and around my back yard yesterday, or noticing the first flowers sticking their faces out early this winter to the sky, or actually looking at my children's faces before they are grown and not around so much to look at anymore.

    Love these deep thoughts this week :-)

  11. Wonderful post, Amanda. I love what you wrote for your husband. How neat!! I love the relationship journal idea. how cool!! I have been working on my own balance lately and it's going well. I feel good about it and I feel less stress so I suppose that's a good thing!!

  12. Though I think the Valentine's note is very cool, I'm a bit worried about this ever-expanding journaling empire. Don't tell me you have a bathroom journal to keep track of that as well?

    The balance comes with time.

  13. Wow, I love the idea of a marriage journal. That is really cool!

    And balance? What is that? My house is a wreck, we almost ran out of TP, laundry is piling up...I am finding it increasingly hard to balance training and family duties. I actually mentioned it to my husband last night. I told him thank you for being patient with me as things pile up and I appreciate his support of me while I train. He hasn't complained....yet. =) Beautiful post!

  14. ahhhh...balance, sweet seems ever-elusive, doesn't it?? i think that's the trick to life, in general. i'm pretty sure that's one of the big lessons we're "here" to figure out, so it makes sense that it's such a hard one to master. i'm right there with you. time with my kids is fleeting, but still I'm fretting about getting in enough runs/workouts in a week, having a clean house, etc. etc. i guess living a balanced life is just something that takes constant attention. looks like you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!! and, Amanda, you are a journalin' fool!!! (bet you'll be glad about that later--what treasures to look back on)

  15. Great set of pics! Thanks for sharing.

    You've got it in check, if you ask me. Keep up the good work!

  16. lovely pics!
    I often have to take a step back if I get 'pushy' about my running - i.e inviting family for dinner on a Sunday when I know I will be bagged from running etc. but those relationships are important and if you don't maintain the end they will cause a lot of grief...

  17. Balance is DEFINITELY the hardest part about running. You can get so focused on running and training and stats and what everyone else is doing that you lose focus on the other important things in life. I struggle with this all the time!

    It looks like you had a fabulous valentine's day!

  18. These comments are great. Thanks! I hope to get a chance to reply to you all later tonight when the kids are sleeping. Thank you to Meg at Meg Runs for the inspiration to do some big reflection!

  19. Balance is ALWAYS my goal. Whenever I write a list, it starts with the B word. Clearly, I have not yet achieved this goal or it wouldn't remain on my list. I also become extremely focused and determined to reach the ONE goal at hand and the others fall to the wayside. I think focus and determination are great qualities but so is the ability to find balance.

    What methods are you employing to find balance? I need help!

  20. Love Powells! Cute post. Like this, thanks!

  21. so the idea of a marriage journal

  22. BEAUTIFUL PICTURES!!!! You two make some good looking babies too!

    I think you found another mantra to add to your journal "Be Fully Present" or maybe you already have this one...but I am adding it to mine!! I struggle with this big time...and my husband and I have o remind each other. With coaching, you sometimes don't know where you will be in the next year or two, so it's important to appreciate NOW in order to prepare for WHEN. :)

    Happy Vday!

  23. Awwwww, love the personalized hearts - you are so very clever and creative.

    I wish I could remember the name of the little Italian restaurant I went to in Portland when I ran the marathon there in '09. My friend (Sarah Bowen Shea, co-author of "Run like a Mother", too me there...btw, have you read that book? You would LOVE it, it's a very comical insight to balancing everything when we mothers run. I'm even in the book .. and of course would be glad to sign a personal autographed copy for you. :)

  24. I am so bad at the balancing...I work full time and then come home and have to cook dinner, want some me time, and hang with the kids - and I suck at it...then once I finally get them all to bed is when I run on our treadmill.

    I find myself looking at blogs way too often when the kids are still awake when I should be present and enjoying the little time I have with them!

  25. Loved reading this. I am such an all or nothing person and I am trying to rise above it. I think anytime our balance gets out of whack-eating, running,shopping--I mean anything-thats when it starts going down hill. Its so hard to always be in balance but in balance there is complete success. Mostly because sucess isnt narrowed down to one area. Its a net cast over all things you work hard at and put balance to. Im also a work in progress but its nice to feel like the key to success lies in moderation.

  26. Awesome! I love the idea of a marriage journal. How cute is that. Wonder if my husband would go for that? I'm afraid it might just say things like. "Hey wifey, go do the dishes" Just kidding. Great post.

  27. One thing I've been working on is balance. I have found that dividing up each night of the week for one part of my life to be the FOCUS and the other parts to be balanced works out. School, working out, my kids, Ryan, my creativity whether in writing, cooking and baking and housekeeping each get a focus night. Doesn't mean the other areas are forgotten each of the other nights, just a more mindful positition one night a week. :) I love the marriage journal you guys!

  28. Balance is hard. It demands work. For me anyway since having the boys it has been very hard. I, like MANY stay at home parents used to put myself dead last on the list, AFTER the DOG. DEAD LAST.
    but in 2009 I got pretty sick and I learned that I need BALANCE and mommy must be in the equation. This is when Running entered my life. That is the answer to MY balance.

    I need to visit this book store one day. I LOVE books, that is my favorite thing. It is the only thing I buy for myself.

  29. Loved the picture of you two at the restaurant...gorgeous!! Marriage journal, I am going to copy you once again. I want your little boy, he is the cutest. I NEEDED this post big time. Girl, I am the worst at balance and so I NEEDED this post. I am pretty sure I have only thought about running for the last week straight. Oops. Thank you for helping me realign that there are many things in life, not just running, to spend time on!!! You are amazing!!

  30. What a thoughtful post, Amanda.

    I love your journal with your husband. You must have a great marriage :)

    The comment from Julie was great too.

    I have to admit I really struggle with balance. Blogging will be the first to go in the equation if I am keeping MY priorities in check. So if I disappear for a while, you know that I am probably spending more time with my kids or reading my Bible.

    Sorry about your hammy :( Hope the rest helps it. After my post yesterday, my foot has been acting up. Not sure why, but I don't like it.

    Have a great week!!!

  31. Balance is tough...I am forever striving for it!
    You have a beautiful family!!!

  32. Thanks Amanda :) ...just want to make sure you know that is just for myself- you might have a completely different set of circumstances.

    I love this: To strive to be fully present in the moments I have with my children and to be fully present in my training when I am in a workout. To give my all to my training when I'm training but to be able to shut my running thoughts off when I'm creating memories with my children.

    :)) Stealing it!

  33. Balance...I'm always searching. Double edged sword...I need the running to balance me, but at times the running causes me to fall out of balance. I try to keep it in check but I can get way too caught up with the blogging, running, THINKING about running etc. Satisfying the desire to be better, to be faster, to connect with other like-minded people without letting it consume me.....These are the most precious years of my life-I have less years left at home with my oldest than I've had her-I can blog forever...I really love your idea of just being FULLY present in whatever it is that you've committed to do at the time. I really need to work on this! Thankyou for the reminder!

    You obviously have a great marriage. Love that your husband took the time to write in your journal. VERY thoughtful! Love your creative message as well although it's making me want to go raid my kids Valentine treat bags....

    Your little guy's buzz-SO cute! Glad you had a great date! You guys look great-love the pic!

    Another great post with another unproofed, babble, marathon length comment:)Have a great night!

  34. looks like you guys had a great v-day! i love the marriage journal idea. have you always kept one? umm writing on the candy hearts seems like a pain in the butt though, lol. one day your kids will find that journal and be like ... uhh, mom? who's jean and (husband's middle name)? :)

  35. Balance schmalance. You can have the balance, I'll take the bragging rights as the first one to 3:20.

    Kidding. I seriously don't know how you "married with children" people can keep up the training, blogging, parenting, working, etc.

  36. Look at you Chris! Hmmm, let's make that 3:15 then...I'm taking this competition one step further! ;) Well, maybe not with the way my hamstring feels right now...but the only reason you'll win is because you're competing against an injured mom of three who doesn't have time to train as much. so there. :)

    We find time. If anything, it is our sanity!

  37. What a fun Vday!! I love that you have so many journals! When you are old and (i almost said wheel chair bound, but let's be'll be 99 and running marathons still!!) anyways...when you're older you're going to love looking back at all of your awesome thoughts, memories, dreams, and everything else. So great! Those flowers are beautiful too! This week has definitely been one of self reflection for me. I'm trying to find the balance of being dedicated, and not over doing it. I want to be able to be strict and stick to my regimen, but not beat myself up for being normal every now and again. It's hard!! When I find out the secret to all of this I'll let you know, k? :)

  38. Love this post! I am not reflecting on much lately. I am just trying to make it all happen with work, training, family, house, dogs, craziness. Balance would be nice....someday.

  39. I LOVE the idea of a marriage journal. Sooo sweet. Really looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  40. Marriage journals are amazing! You are so smart for doing that. We just started the "love dare" book which includes a journal. So much depth, self reflection, and more go into it! Thanks for sharing this beautiful post!

  41. Cuteeeee Valentines!!

    I constantly have to remind myself to live in the now. I think it's because I don't have much control over big parts of my life due to the military. For example, I spent about 4 hours the other day online looking at houses in an area we "might" move this summer. Time suckage and a wasted morning for sure! Setting time limits on things I know absorb my time (Ironman thinking, blogs, FB, internet surfing) helps me clock in & out and gets my mind back to focusing on THIS MOMENT.

  42. YOU MAKE ME LAUGH SO are incredibly mature:) The tower of terror made me pee my pants too ha! Hope you are having an amazing day!! LOVE YA!

  43. Love Urban Fondue!! So glad you had a wonderful date there.
    Thank you for posting that you are taking some time off from running. I need the inspiration because of my aches and pains and to know that it's okay, get better now and come back strong.

  44. That candy letter is so creative!! What a lovely evening you had!