Friday, September 30, 2011

A Vlog: Positive Affirmations For and With Your Children; A Powerful Tool for Promoting Positive, Intentional, and Passionate Living!


1. The act of affirming or the state of being affirmed; assertion.
2. Something declared to be true; a positive statement or judgment.

Why a vlog?  It's fun to change things up on here!  And it saves time!  

Why Positive Affirmations?  All my life, for as long as I can remember, positive affirmations have been a powerful part of helping me BE who I want to be.  They've helped me define myself and live an athlete, daughter, wife, friend, teacher, and so much more.  This week I realized:  "Why am I not helping my children make positive affirmations part of their daily life?"

Here a few snapshots of what it takes to get started and where we put our first few "kid positive affirmations".  The video explains it all!

I'll be posting an update on this soon!  Thanks for letting me share this idea with you.  My kids were super excited and responsive. I'm excited to see this impact their life!

What are some positive affirmations that you use in your life?


Your Turn! What Piece Jumps Out and Grabs You?! Cast Your "Votes"!

It's the moment so many of you have been waiting for!  The end to Runninghood's talk of setting your inner child-like artist free!  And the time to share with you all of the creative entries! Okay, so I will most likely continue to share samples of my running journal, personal journals, and occasional vision collages.  And I will continue to share with you how being in touch with my creative side helps me in other areas of my life.  But I probably won't be doing anymore art contests where I ask you to get all artsy fartsy and child like.  Ha, huge sigh of relief to be heard in blog land.   

Even though there were not a ton of people that participated, this was a lot of fun!  I really didn't expect many people to get involved and that is OKAY!  This was all supposed to be fun.  And it was a way to get in touch with my creative side and to encourage you to do the same.  I'm a big believer in the process of just letting yourself create sometimes...without expectations or judgments of "I'm not an artist, I can't draw, I'm not creative." A simple activity like this can change our energy and give us new focus on other things in our life.  When we create, we are using a different part of our mind that we might not otherwise "fire up".   Almost all of the people that participated in this exercise, wrote to me telling me that they had fun or that it was energizing.  This made it all worth it!  

For those that didn't read my contest rules, guidelines, etc., I included some details below.  For more information, you can see the post: It's a Contest!  Getting Back to Basics! Let Loose the Child-like Artist Within and Play Along!

How This Contest Works:
Since this is a blog mostly about Running and Motherhood, I'm going to make that the focus here.  And I'm going to make it easy.  Basically, I want you, you, you and YOU to take out your crayons, cardboard boxes, scissors, pencils, clay, mud...whatever you have to create with (keep it as simple as you want.  Pencil and paper is fine!!).  To participate in this contest you will be able to choose how you want to create.  Here are some ideas:

  • pencil and paper sketch (stick figures are preferred)
  • comic strip
  • diorama (this could be funny!)
  • clay or play dough
  • window art
  • painting
  • one of those flip books that you can do with post-it know, the kind where you draw a stick figure on each edge in the same place and when you flip, it will look like it is moving?  
  • Rock Scene for those of you that remember my rock art.  
WHAT are you creating, you ask??  You have 3 options to choose from:
  1. If you are a runner and a blogger then you know who SUAR is.  Who doesn't?  And if you are a runner and not familiar with blogs, you really should go check out SUAR's blog.  SUAR = Shut Up And Run.  Google it if you are curious and not familiar with the blog world.  As most of you know, SUAR's blog is never dull.  Anything but.  Shocking at times, funny, raunchy maybe, inspiring, etc.  She's quite the character and so she makes a great candidate for this art project.  Your job is to create a piece of art (picture, sculpture, comic strip, diorama, etc) that represents Beth from SUAR.  Maybe it is a scene from a story she has told...pooping, farting, wearing her green bikini or one of the many many images you might have in your head.  She's told some great stories so even if you don't know of SUAR's blog, it would be easy to go to, read for a few minutes and come away with an awesome idea for this creation. 
  2. More Running or Athletic Art! Create a piece of art that inspires you to run, dance, or do what you do. A piece that reminds you of a story from your life as a runner/athlete. Maybe art that represents a race you are proud of or where something crazy happened, etc. Or a collage that helps you focus. 
  3. Mothers!  MOthers who prefer to do some motherhood art instead of running...this one is for you.  What mother out there doesn't have a funny, crazy, or endearing image or scene in their heads when they think of a day in the life of raising kids? Or who doesn't have a memory of their own mother? I'm sure you could come up with a piece of art that shows something we can all relate tearing up the house, fighting, the exasperated mother, torn up houses, kids saying really embarrassing things in front of our friends or people we want to impress (this would make a good comic strip or diorama), spills, etc.  Oh, and there are the good things too.  You know, the hugs, cuddles, family vacations, and all the more peaceful moments of motherhood.  

Now it is your turn!  Some things about the contest changed but I still need your help in selecting a winner.  As you peruse the "art" samples below and read their descriptions, please notice which one "speaks to you the most"!  You know, which piece resonates with you or jumps out at you.  Maybe it makes you laugh, think, cry, or think about something in a new way.  Maybe you like what the "artist" has to say or their piece made your day a little brighter.  Perhaps their piece puts a huge smile on your face or makes you stop reflect.  Or maybe you just love that the artist didn't take themselves too seriously!  Whatever your reason, please comment and tell me what your favorite piece or pieces are. For whatever reason.  The art that gets the most "attention",  "focus" or "votes"  via comments will win!  I will contact you about your art prize at that time. Voting will stay open for a week (Friday, October 7th) so feel free to send your friends and readers over to comment for your piece or another piece that they like. 

Thank you to all that participated!

Here They Are!  Enjoy:

Chris, from C2Iowa, was the first to submit an "art" piece.  It made me happy to know that someone was going to participate in this thing!  This is what Chris had to say about his drawing that he did while waiting for the doctor:
"I was sitting in the doctors office the other day bored - you know how it is - and I just started to doodle and remembered that you wanted some pics. So, here it is. I am not very good at it, but that is pretty much how I see myself running every morning along the fields.  Kinda fun." 

This lovely piece is from Raina at Small Town Runner.  I will link the post that tells of her inspiration for this can see that HERE.  Raina writes this about her art:
"I used scrap booking paper, a gift bag cut-out and glitter to represent the first 20 miler I did after injury and before Boston. It was a magical run. Physically demanding, mentally challenging, and spiritually amazing. I kept visualizing a cross on top of the mountains in the distance, asking myself if I could get there. I had so much doubt about my race until that day, but i felt like I had ridden on the wings of angels afterwards."

Alicia, who just started a blog this week called The Year Before The Year,  sent me this SUAR piece with a message that explained it:  

"Here is my creation from Beth's blog. It is regards to when she ran Boston and read her daughters school homework after the race. As a mother who drags her kids to races and the gym all the time, I sure hope they feel the same way her daughter felt about her. Seeing her run the race and thinking, "go mom, go!" That post brought tears to my eyes!"  
When I found out she didn't have a blog, I asked her to tell me more about herself, she shared this: 

"I am a military spouse and mother to two girls, 10 and 6. I am not a fast runner, but I run. We have lived everywhere from Germany to Hawaii to Arizona. Right now we are in San Antonio. 
Like I said, I am not fast, but I run and I do it for me. Most of the time, I use running to talk through all my emotions. Like right now, running is helping me cope with the fact my husband will be deploying to Iraq for a year. I like to stay strong for my kids, so the trails and streets are the ones that absorb my tears and anger. 
I also use running to set an example for my girls. I work hard, set goals, and let my determination and strength pay off. Last year I ran my first marathon with my sister--our kids were able to watch is finish. The entire time, in my mind, all I could think about was my little one hugging me at the end. 
I really do admire every mom who has decided to run, it really is inspiring and powerful!"  

Please go check out her blog and welcome her to blog land!

This hilarious SUAR rendition is called SUAR In Shorty Shorts by Jenn@ Running Sane She writes: 
"Now, I'm pretty sure even though Beth hasn't posted any pictures, that she has a pair of these denim hottie shorts in her closet:) Not sure about the pink furry phone but I just thought it added a nice touch. And although I looked HARD through the box of Barbies under the stairs, I could find NO Barbie sized wine bottle so coffee it is....(For the record Mattel, if you're going to give her double D's and a 12 inch waist, at least give her a bottle so Ken can take advantage of her.....)
Also, Beth, I am apologizing now as I see even though I only gave you coffee, you somehow put your shoes on backwards. Understandable.

Harmony, from Keep On Keeping On, sent me this still life that holds some big meaning behind it.  Every Thursday, or many Thursdays, Harmony writes her Thirsty Thursday posts where she shares her heart in relation to her faith.  She always gives me things to think about.  Here is what she says about this piece: 

" is from my Thirsty Thursday post and how I want to view myself as Christ does.  I titled it FREEDOM.  So thankful for the free gift of forgiveness and freedom from the Muddy junk" that distracts me from where I want to go...RUNNING the whole way!"

Julie, fromThe Finish Line Diaries, tried out two sample of art.  The one above is her second try but you can go to her post and see her first one and her creating process!  She says: "

I have MANY creative friends around me.  I don't consider myself one of them.  

But one night I couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd give it a shot...

I have several blank canvases laying around that I've picked up from Michael's on sale for when I want to wing an 'art project' with the kids.  Go HERE to read more!

Kathy, from Just Keep Running sent me this simple but awesome pen and paper sketch.  She says: 
"Better late than never - you said simple and I think this qualifies! :)  Fun to just sit down and doodle."

This one, done by Super Kate, was the only piece submitted for just the motherhood category.   Talk about  SUPER Woman!  Kate is hardcore with all of the stuff she does.  Her weekends are filled with trail running, mountain biking, adventure racing, and so much more!  This picture represents something all of us mothers will eventually face when our kids grow up.  Thank you Kate!

Okay, so to get the full story on this one you really must visit Katie at Will Race For Carbs and see her entire post and series of pictures that explain her SUAR scene called "Racing With SUAR"!  She's awesome!  Thanks for participating Katie.  You rock! This is what she says before her series of pictures :
"Here is a comic strip of sorts (minus the KAPOWs and SHAZAMs).  It is my "artistic" interpretation of what running a race against SUAR (Beth at Shut Up And Run) would be like."

This creation is from Julie at Tri-ing to be Athletic.  This was inspired by her first impression of SUAR when she saw Beth in a swimsuit with her underwear hanging out.  Sexy!!  

Lindsay, from Chasing The Kenyans, came up with this hilarious picture to go along with her list: 10 Things I Know About SUAR.  You really must go see her entire post but here is her list she included:ten things you will learn about suar from studying this piece:

  1. she wants to have dean karzanseznesy's babies (who can really spell that without googling. it's like matthew mconohognayhey)
  2. she spent a good chunk of 2010 in a boot
  3. which forced her to get her cardio workouts at the pool
  4. sometimes in a bathing suit that was see-through
  5. often with the geriatric's water aerobic class (she has a different name for this group)
  6. she has a one-eyed, three-legged dog named lucky
  7. her mouth is dirtier than a sailor's
  8. as a social worker, she knows her way around the system. she puts the kids to work with their toothbrushes when she isn't grooming sam for his role as the next hugh hefner
  9. scientists try to blame greenhouse gases on cows, but the real #1 contributor of nitrous oxide is suar
  10. she may not have an ass that will swallow up a g-string, but up top, uh, two bee stings*,**
So, what are you waiting for?  What piece or pieces of art do you "like" the most??

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marathon Training Plans, Stickers, and Happy Hump Day!

Happy Wednesday!  One of the things I look forward to the most about Wednesdays is that Wednesday night is "at home date night" for my husband and I.  It is simple but something we treasure.  We put the kids to bed before 8 and cozy up on the couch to watch Survivor and Modern Family.  We rarely watch television the rest of the week so we look forward to having this time where we just chill out and enjoy something together.

I'm finally getting some of these stickers sent out to those of you that said you wanted one.  Can you say "slacker"?!    

I still don't have addresses and some last names from:
Amanda (Miss Zippy)
Ericka (MCM Mama)
Laurie Higgins
Adrienne Langelier
Julie D--My fault..water spilled over your address

Marathon Training Plan
Mostly likely, I won't start my marathon training until January but I'm trying to choose my training plan now.  My husband is set on using Jack Daniels' Running Formula and I'm trying to decide between that and The Hudson plan from Train Faster.  I loved my Brain Training For Runners book by Matt Fitzgerald but I'm ready to try something new.  

This should arrive in the mail sometime this week! 

Art Contest Update
I can't wait to post all of the creative "art" samples you sent to me.  I'll post them and then let you and your friends vote for the one they are drawn to the most.  Hoping to get that up sometime this week.  One of the most recent entries was sent to me by Harmony from Keep On Keeping On:  

" is from my Thirsty Thursday post and how I want to view myself as Christ does!  I titled it FREEDOM, so thankful for the free gift of forgiveness and freedom from the "muddy junk" that distracts me from where I want to go...RUNNING the whole way!"

Funniest quote from an art entry this week came from Jenn when she was describing her rummaging through Barbie bins under her stairs.  She had hoped to find a Barbie sized bottle of wine for her little SUAR creation.  No such luck so she had to have Beth drinking coffee instead of booze.  "For the record Mattel, if you're going to give her double D's and a 12 inch waist, at least give her a bottle so Ken can take advantage of her....."

1.  Do you have a favorite marathon training plan?  
2.  What is your favorite day of the week?  
3.  Do you have a favorite t.v show?  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Best Dam Run Recap, First Published Review for, and a New Running Journal

I started a new running journal today!  See below.  So excited for the fresh start.  Just another way that life is continuing to unfold.  And it was nice to get creative! 

Energy seems to be flowing, doors opening, and life unfolding so wonderfully lately.  I have always been a big believer in putting your dreams out there for the world to see, believing that they are possible and doing what you are most passionate about.  Living with intention, purpose and passion!  If we do the believing and check our doubts and insecurities at the door, things will happen.  Things will come to us.  

When I started Runninghood last October, I had no idea that in only a year, my life would be so much fuller.  I knew that I wanted to write, connect with the running/motherhood community and plug into new opportunities where I could use my passion for teaching and inspiring others.  Within only a matter of weeks, I started to see things happen.  I made sincere friendships, received e-mails telling me that my words touched them in a positive way, and began to make connections in the local running community.  

The best thing that has come from this blog are the wonderful friendships I have made.  So many of you have come into my life and made it better.  I am blessed.  You know who you are.  This weekend I had the privilege of racing with two of my favorite blogger girlfriends, Raina, from Small Town Runner and Nicole, from I Dream of Running.  If you don't read their blog, you might want to check them out.  They are both super talented runners.  Raina always has something to teach me whether she realizes it or not.  Her running experience, race recaps and personal life stories leave me richer in knowledge and things to think about.  Nicole, so full of passion and big dreams!  She wears her heart on her sleeve, says what she believes without reservation, and makes you want to just get out there and DREAM Big!  

This weekend Raina drove up from Elkton, Oregon to spend the night with me and race The ORRC Best Dam 10k Run in Estacada, Oregon.  She had just raced another 10k last week where she won first place in her age group and this was another chance for her to break that 40 minute 10k, which is fully capable of!  We met up with Nicole and made it a girlfriends' getaway to beautiful Estacada!  We spent our time together talking, laughing, sharing marathon training plans, and of course, Running.  Thank you girls!  It was such a special memory for me.  Congrats to Raina for 2nd woman overall with a time of 40:14!  And to Nicole for her 2nd place age group win and a time of 42:54.  This was after only doing base runs for the past 8 weeks after her stress fracture injury!

Raina made me peach cobbler after the race!  What a gem!  It was/is SO good!

I'll include my stats but I hope you also check out the review I wrote for the local Run Oregon blog.  I was really excited to have this opportunity to write this review (thanks Nicole!) and I hope to do more in the future.  I know it is small to some but it is the first published review I've done for an online news source.  It is one more step in the right direction for me.  See, things are unfolding nicely.   

My race goals:  To have FUN! To run this race as a good tempo workout.  Since I have not been training seriously for a 10k and I've only had 2 weeks of solid half marathon training, I wasn't sure what I was capable of.  

Garmin Stats/Same time as official time.
6.26 miles
6:53 average

6:19 pace for last .26

*  Consistency!  Very even splits
*  Felt strong the entire race
*  I know I can keep this pace for longer distances
*  The writing opportunity that came from how life is unfolding
*  Time with girlfriends

In my recap on the site, you'll be able to read about my crazy start to this race.  Seriously almost missed the start...but who was running out of the port-o-potty and up the hill towards the start just as the announcer was counting down?  That would be me.  I had to be going at a good 5:30 pace.  Talk about being winded.  

The review I wrote was fun to write but what made it so worth it for me was when I got the following e-mail from one of the race directors after he read my recap:

After a very exhausting weekend where all you hear are the could haves and should haves, it seemed to make it all worth it to read your blog this afternoon.  I hope to see you next year.  THANK YOU!!"  

and then I received the following e-mail from the race director:

"Hi Amanda.  I just read your blog article on OregonLive.  Thank you so much for the kind things you had to say about our race.  You were even very nice to us when pointing out our deficiencies!  I'm glad that you had such a good time.  With the weather so nice and that naturally beautiful course, it is hard to do many things wrong.  After having late race starts for the last two years, I was determined to get this race started on time.  I hope to see you again next year.  I also hope that you have a more restful start next year!"  

I couldn't pass up the Composition Notebook sale at Target today.  I figure that a new notebook was a great excuse to start a new running journal for this new season of training.  A fresh start.  Starting a new running journal is also one way to get my creative energy flowing.  And this always helps me in other areas of my life.  

All I needed to get started

The back of my running journal

The cover.  I covered it in clear tape to keep it strong and make it last.

Speaking of Creativity...
Tomorrow is the last day to send me something for my art (term used lightly since art is all relative) contest.  Remember it can be a drawing, cartoon, photograph, poem...whatever.  Just keep it simple.  I will include your pictures and blog link on my blog sometime this week and then people can vote for the one that "speaks" to them the most (makes them laugh, strikes their eye, reminds them of something important, etc). 

Here are two three most recent ones that were sent to me:

Sent to me today from Alicia.  She wrote: "Here's my creation from Beth's blog. It is in regards to when she ran Boston and read her daughter's homework after the race.  As a mother who drags her kids to races and the gym all the time, I sure hope they feel the same way her daughter felt about her. Seeing her run the race and thinking "go, mom, go!" That post brought tears to my eyes!

This was from Kathy at Just Keep Running.  She wrote: "Better late than never--you said simple and I think this qualifies! :) Fun to just sit down and doodle!"

This creation is from Julie at Tri-ing to be Athletic.  This was inspired by her first impression of SUAR when she saw Beth in a swimsuit with her underwear hanging out.  Sexy!!  

Happy Monday!  I hope to find time tonight to respond to all of your comments on my last post about my Running Story.  Thank you for your words! Sorry I've been so bad at responding lately.  Life has been busy.  


Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Running Story

This "story" was actually written for something else but I decided to include it on my blog as well.  I was asked to "tell my story" "running story".  So here it is....It's been a long journey, and one that doesn't just involve me.  
"The bow tie told the world how pleased he was to be alive and how much he celebrated his profession, which he called "my romantic and passionate pursuit." --From Cutting For Stone

Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” Shel Silverstein

When I think of my life, how I want to live it and what I want to remember from it, I want to look back someday and know that my days were extraordinary and beautiful. A story of celebration and dreaming big. I want to know with every part of my being that I lived with passion and intention. That I changed my world for the better. I want no regrets. No should haves, would haves, could haves, or shouldn't haves. I want to know that I found beauty, hope and meaning in even the hardest of times. That I embraced all that was given to me and made my life a masterpiece! Running has always been a part of my life story in some way. It is part of what gives my life inspiration and energy to create and be the the best mother, writer, friend and teacher that I can. Running is part of what gives “my story” color.
If I'm going to tell “my story” as a runner, I must take you back to the story of my father. So much of my running story is about carrying on a dream, realizing my gifts, healing, and connecting to a man I never had the chance to know. A man that I am only told stories about. Stories of how much he loved me. How I was his “little princess” who could do no wrong. Stories of his love for the Colorado mountains and being free to create his own life the way he wanted, away from the expectations of others. My life has been filled with stories about his passion and determination to run. How he came back from having his body crushed in an accident where he was told he would never walk again. How he not only taught himself to walk, but to run again. I heard stories of his dreams of qualifying for the Olympics and how much he loved deeply it filled his soul. And I was told the story of how he died young. In an excavation accident. He was only 33 and he left behind my young mother and three children, ages six, four (me) and one.
I may not have many memories of my father, and besides some of his running medals and pictures, I don't have much that belonged to him. I have his stories. So many stories. And I'd like to believe that I have his legs, his breath, and his body running with mine. There is one thing I know with all certainty and that is that I have his passion, determination, and love for running. And it is when I run that I feel him and know him. So much of my running goes beyond just exercising and training. Running is part of my soul. My blood. It is part of “my story” and with t, I also continue telling His story.

Growing up, I knew that running was a part of my family history. My grandfather, who ran races until he was in his 70's, filled my summer with stories of running. He took me to see my dad's mile record at the high school he attended in the 1960's and he was proud to let us know of all the people in our family that ran. I remember how much joy he would get from taking all of us grandchildren to race near his home in Dallas, Texas. I was only around nine years old but even then I remember knowing that running held a special place in my life. I'd run my little heart out, tired and pleased with my 7:00 something finish. I knew that I'd find running someday but it it didn't happen for many years. It was always my older brother that was the “runner” in the family. He'd run up to ten miles a day sometimes. Always training for something, missing out on his childhood. Always running. Or running away from something. I would often make fun of it just to tease him. Little did I know, soon running would be what opened my spirit to life and allowed me to start a process of growing, grieving and discovering myself. It would be what would wake me up and allow me to feel loved, love fully, and make my life what I wanted it to be.

High School
It wasn't until my freshman year of high school that I made running a part of my life and began running competitively. I was home schooled. I hated it. And I desperately needed a direction in my life. So, when my brother suggested I join the cross country team, I jumped at the chance to do something new. He bought me my first pair of running shoes on loan and he took me for my first 5k run before practice started on Monday. As soon as I started running with the team, I realized that running was something that came easier for me than most. It was natural. And I was pretty good. Soon I was running as first on Varsity and my coach told me daily of how much potential he saw in me. He believed in me more than I did myself and he wanted me to be what he knew I had the gifts to be.
But it wasn't my time. I had way too many fears and pain in my heart. I could only do so much with the emotions that I was carrying around. I ran good enough to keep me placing at meets, qualifying for state meets and holding my spot on varsity. But it was nowhere near what I knew I had in me.
Although running came naturally for me, competition was a different story. My stomach was constantly in knots and my heart was heavy and brimming over with sadness, confusion and anger. I didn't realize it at the time but running and competing were digging up buried emotions that stemmed from my dad's death. So much holding me back. I wasn't ready yet. Wasn't ready to fly the way that my coach believed that I was capable of. As the years went by, I was able to see small glimpses of the runner in me trying to soar. But still so many feelings that I needed to sort through. So much in me that I needed to figure out. Pain that needed healing.

After high school, I went on to Graceland University in Iowa on an academic and athletic scholarship. I was wide-eyed with wonder, anticipation and joy at being given the opportunity to LEARN, discover life, and RUN! And I was getting paid to do it!
Being away from home and having a change in scenery proved to be good for me on many levels, especially running. Having a college coach, competing with talented athletes from all over the nation and learning new things about my body and athletics helped me grow and improve mentally and physically. My times got faster and I regularly placed in meets. But I still wasn't free of the emotional baggage and fear of competition that weighed so heavily on me. I found myself dreading practices and races.
At the same time that I dreaded competition, I found myself falling in love with running in an entirely new way. I began discovering running for the simplicity of just....running. Running by myself became something that I craved. Something I needed. Something that proved to be healing. I spent many nights running alone under the big Iowa sky and through the moonlit cornfields. It was during these runs that I felt my dad running with me for the first time. It was as if he was right there, stride for stride. Telling me that he loved me. That he was always there. That he believed in me. And that everything would be okay. For the first time in my life, running became my PEACE. Things made sense to me when I ran alone. Life was balanced and I could feel myself, Amanda, growing into who I knew I could be...emotionally, physically, spiritually. Running was Hope, Healing, and Peace.
Once I went to New Zealand to student teach during my senior year, I could no longer compete on the track and cross country team even though I was officially still getting my scholarship. I had just met the love of my life in Oregon over winter break and I could see everything that I had ever hoped for spread out before me. It was mine if I wanted it. I can remember so vividly, the joy and freedom I felt running by the sea in New Zealand. Free to be running just for me. And knowing that things were unfolding just as they were meant to be.

Running After College
After college, I continued to run. FOR ME! All ME! For the first time in eight years, I was done completely with running on a team. I didn't need to show up at practice at 4:00. No two-a-days. No pressure. The nerves and anxiety were gone. No racing spikes, starting blocks, batons to pass, or speed shorts to wear while running around and around an indoor track. I was free to run on a trail in the forest and feel the wind in my hair and the coolness on my skin. I felt weightless. And whole. I felt Loved and Able to Love. Fully. Running became such a JOYFUL and fulfilling part of my life. And I was faster that I ever was before. I was no longer scared. But excited for the possibilities.
I ran my first marathon in 2003. Napa Valley. I had never run a marathon and didn't have a clue what it was even all about. I grabbed the first marathon plan that I found on the internet, taped it to my fridge in our small city apartment, and half followed it. No pressure and reveling in the freedom of training alone. I finished 2nd in my age group with a time of 3:22. My friends told me that I had Boston Qualified. “What's Boston?”, I asked. I had no idea that the marathon world would be so exciting and promising.
I decided to go ahead and run the Boston Marathon in 2004. Why not? I was young, newly married and life was ripe with opportunities to snatch up before we lost them. I trained but mostly I just ran. And ran. For the joy of it. I didn't have too big of a goal. Mostly just to have fun and see what this Boston Marathon was all about. I ran a 3:32, qualifying me for the next year if I so wished to run.
I may not have set a personal record, or come close to comparing to the elite athletes, but I came home feeling like a twenty-five year old champion. My third grade students and elementary school staff welcomed me home with cheers and stories of how they tracked me. In their eyes, I was a winner.

I continued to run for the simple pleasure of it and for the outlet it provided for me. My husband and I raced a few half marathons together without paying too much attention to time goals or training. One of our half marathons was a 1:31 on a pretty challenging course. We ran relays like Hood-To-Coast and we were part of weekend trail runs. I was just thrilled to be running without being on a team or having the pressure of having big goals to meet.
Once children came, running became more of an outlet than anything but it took a back burner for awhile. Three kids...three beautiful gifts! 2005, 2007, 2009. Becoming a mother was a dream come true. Giving birth and meeting my sweet babies was the greatest part of living. They are so much of my story. So much. They are such a big part of why I am so determined and goal driven. Making my dreams come true and striving to be the best that I can be is perhaps the greatest gift I can give to my them, my sweet inspirations.

Last year, 2010, I made the decision to start running, really training again. I registered for the Portland Marathon and I was more determined than ever to come back strong and train hard for the first time in many years. I was ready to push myself and believe. My goal was to run a 3:15 or faster and it was so exciting to see my body responding so well. I was in the best shape of my life at the time and could feel my entire body buzzing with inspiration and passion for living. It was during this training that I tripped in the forest during an eighteen mile training run. I could feel myself as if it was slow motion.
Legs Splitting,
Hamstring Tearing.
Tears Falling.
For a few days after my fall, I was in denial that anything serious had happened. I iced and took ibruprofen but I was stubborn. I told myself things were fine and that I would run through it. I tried to run but couldn't lift my leg. It wasn't until I finally admitted that the bruising/bleeding on the back of my leg wasn't “okay”, that I went to get seen. After an MRI, I knew that it was a complete tear of one of the hamstring muscles. There was no running. No walking normal even. So much pain. So much frustration. And depression.
Injuring myself like this was one of the best things that ever happened to me. As a runner, a writer, a dreamer. I had hours to sit on the couch and dream. I realized just how short this life is and how much potential and possibilities for greatness is within each one of us! Sitting there with my leg up, painful therapy twice a week, not being able to play with my kids the way I was used to, no running in the jogger stroller or whizzing around the corner to pick my daughter up from school...all of left me with an insatiable hunger. A hunger for life and living it the way I wanted to be living it. In every way. I wanted to be running again. Really running. Not just getting by and seeing what happens but I was ready to finally dig deep and see what I was capable of. I started dreaming big. Asking myself “Why Not ME? Who says I can't do______?” I found myself visualizing running that sub 3 hour marathon. I even found myself believing for a short time that I could qualify for the Olympics if I really really worked hard enough. The only thing stopping me would be myself. And this holds true.

Runninghood/New Inspiration
It was during this time last fall that I wanted the most from my life. More than ever before. As a runner, writer, teacher, wife and mother. This is what motivated me to start my blog Runninghood in October 2010, almost a year ago. Runninghood became my voice. It was a place where I could share my dreams, my life and my journey as a mother and runner. It became a place where I could connect with other runners. And LEARN! And did I ever Learn!! I became immersed in reading, writing, listening and watching all things running related. I learned about new workouts, training plans, races, gear, strength training and so much more. I reached a new level of inspiration and my living became so much more intentional and passionate. It was and still is wonderful having Runninghood as a place to share my life thoughts, training, and insights.
Since my injury, I've went on to run two marathons, several half marathons, and other races. I've yet to run my 3:15 or set my sights on that sub 3 hour marathon but I'm confident that it will happen when the time is right and when I decide that it is right for me. My last two marathons were in June and July 2011. They were both Boston Qualifying and so it was just recently that I found out that I am officially registered for the 2012 Boston Marathon. It has been eight years, three kids, a serious injury and lots of personal growth and I will be returning to Boston for the second time. Only this time, I won't just be doing it for fun. I want to go for something bigger. I am ready. And there is nothing holding me back this time.
Full Circle
This year when I return to Boston, I will be 33 years old, the same age that my father was when he died. Running was over for him at 33, and it is now that I finally feel like running is truly beginning. It is a “full circle” kind of feeling. I'm certain that my dad still runs with me from time to time. He's there in the most unexpected of places. At the end of a long run, a race, or when I am alone in the mountains. And I'm certain he will be there in Boston.
At this point in my life, I can say that I've worked through all of those emotions and confused feelings that held me back for so long. Life has worked it's magic on me...the years have proven to heal. Love continues to flow abundantly in so many ways. And I continue to be so very thankful to be ALIVE, doing what I love and celebrating my “passionate pursuits”...Running, Motherhood, Writing, and Learning.