Thursday, June 21, 2012

Random Life Bullets...HTC, Marathon, Parenting, Concerts...LOTS!

I love writing posts with bulleted lists.  No theme.  No point to the post other than to just get things off my mind and process through writing.
  • I'm an awful blogger lately.  Awful at finding the inspiration and time to write them and awful at reading them.
  • See below about the giveaway I'm hosting. Chance to win $50 to Whole Foods or iTunes for doing nothing more than sharing my giveaway and spreading the word about a truly awesome app!  Not time consuming at all despite the length of the post.  Many options for entries but only one that is required....share the info about Spinning Meals with others.  That's it! $50 at Whole Foods might only buy you a bag of apples and a jar of peanut butter but Hey, it's something.  Ha!
  • Writing a blog isn't about finding time to post.  If I don't have the time, I don't post.  If I don't feel like I writing, I don't write.  This isn't a job or something where I take myself too seriously. Rather, my blog is an outlet for me to process and put what's on my heart out there. Or to share something in my life.  More often than not lately, I just haven't felt a whole lot worth writing about and I surely haven't found the words I need for a lot of the things I've been feeling.  But when I do find myself "called to write", my posts usually WRITE doesn't require work and it doesn't take much just flows.  I miss this.  
  • Had a 20 mile run with my friend Stephanie last Saturday.  Stephanie was awesome to go slow with me so I wouldn't have to do it alone.  It felt awful and I came home a bit discouraged.  An 8:30ish pace felt like a 10 min pace.  However, we did see Shalane Flanagan TWICE on our run. Not sure if seeing her run past us with her perfectly beautiful form made me feel inspired or just kind of blah about my bad form and heavy legs (how I felt on Saturday).  But gosh, she looked so amazing running!
  • I got my Nicole fix the other night.  I've missed this girl.  So proud of her and the opening of her new studio for her business Power Inc.  I was in a bit of bad mood when I got to her open house event but it didn't take long for her to bring the fun side out of me. So proud of her for all the life she's made for herself...such a testimony to the power we hold to make our life what we want.  She just decided that she wanted to do something different with her life so she started doing make up and now she is one of the top make up artists in Oregon (if not the best).   

  • I find myself in kind of a rut lately.  Emotional, Mental, Physical even.  Not a bad rut...just a lull of sorts.  I'm feeling like I'm on the edge of something big or something new.  I like that we have lulls in life....quiet spots that make us think.  It's almost like they prepare us for what's NEXT.  I'm excited to find out what's in store.  
  • I am running a marathon in 2 weeks from yesterday!  Not sure how I'm feeling about it.  A mixed bag of feelings.  But I'm trying not to FEEL too much and instead just go and do what I know I am capable of doing.  Ready to get the job done and ENJOY doing it.  Praying for cool weather on July 4th morning.  
  • After I run a great race on July 4th, my husband and I have tickets to see Ben Harper on July 5th.  Ben Harper is probably in my top three of favorite musicians.  If not my favorite!   Love his music and so much of it has a part in the time that I met my husband, fell in love, and grew into myself...fully and centered.  Several of his songs were at our wedding.  After our first kiss as a married couple, we walked away to Forever and then our first dance was Not Fire, Not Ice.  SUPER excited about this concert.  
  • I've been thinking a lot lately about the gift we have as mothers and fathers to help our children discover their GIFTS.  I've really made it a goal of mine to get my kids more involved in the things that I see them loving...drama, art, sports, etc.  I also believe that it is up to us to encourage and gently push our kids to try new things that they might not know that they are good at. 
  • How did I get to be the mother of KIDS and not babies?? My baby days are behind me...this is weird for me. A little sad but also glad.  Went to bed thinking about all of the transitions that life has to offer and how we change over our life with each new transition. These changes and stages in life come faster than we are ready for sometimes.  I suppose that's why we see so many people chasing their youth down...Moms of teenagers dressing exactly like their daughters, men clinging on to their last strands of hair with a comb over, reconstructive surgery of every kind (at this stage in my life, I'm thinking that's not such a bad thing...ha!), etc.   We can't go back so I suppose the best we can do is just embrace where we are always at and make the most of it.  So here's to being a mom in her 30's with young kids that are no longer babies! I'm thinking that life only gets better!
  • Just found out my team assignment for Team Nuun Hood to Coast!  Super excited to tear it up and have fun too!  I have the same leg as I did last year so I know that I'll already know what I'm in for.  

Team Morning: AfterNuun Delight

Van 1
Tricia – Tricia Minnick: Legs 1, 13, 25
Corey – Schnoodles of Fun: Legs 2, 14, 26
Stephanie – Epicurious Runner: Legs 3, 15, 27
Jess – Blonde Ponytail: Legs 4, 16, 28
Caitlin – Nuun Employee: Legs 5, 17, 29
Ricole Runs – Ricole Runs: Legs 6, 18, 30
Van 2
Erin – Nuun Employee: Legs 7, 19, 31
Elizabeth – Running For Bling: Legs 8, 20, 32
Dorothy – Mile Posts: Legs 9, 21, 33
Amanda  – Runninghood: Legs 10, 22, 34
Jennifer – The Fit Fork: Legs 11, 23, 35
XLMIC – Taking It On: Legs 12, 24, 36

  • If you haven't seen my giveaway for $50 to Whole Foods or iTunes, then seriously, check it out.  The purpose of the giveaway is to spread the word about a really awesome app that revolutionizes the way we do meal planning. There is nothing in it for is just me sharing something I think is pretty darn cool! As busy moms, dads, athletes....seriously worth sharing with others.  The only mandatory thing required to enter the giveaway is to share the giveaway with others to get the word out about Spinning Meals so don't let the length of the post scare you.    I will most definitely be fair in choosing the winner but gosh, I'd love to see some of you that I know WIN!  EASY!!  

So MUCH more on my mind lately.  Seriously a FULL HEAD of big thoughts and feelings here...almost too full to make any sense out any of it.  So, I'll stop with my bullets or I'll be bulleting all day.

Happy Thursday,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Giveaway: There's an App For Meal Planning?? Spinning Meals 1.1! Win $50 Whole Foods and $20 iTunes

See the video and information below for more information.

Meal Planning.
I've always dreaded it. A thorn in my side. Seriously, until now, if I had to list my top three parts of my week that were the most annoying and disliked, meal planning would have been right up at the top.

Those of you that know me, know that when it comes to meal planning and eating, I've kind of just been the type of person to fly by the seat of my mommy pants (or running shorts).  I shop for lots of fresh veggies and fruits, make sure we are stocked up on Quinoa/Red and Brown Rice Mix from Costco, and get a few other staples that catch my eye.  Then I get the heck out of the store before my kids start fighting again or my son succeeds in crashing his little kid cart from Trader Joe's into the backside of some old lady.

This meal planning/shopping method usually gets me by for a few days until I'm finding myself overwhelmed in the kitchen at the 5'oclock hour staring blankly at my kitchen cupboards.  This is usually the "How many different ways can mom cook Quinoa" part of the week/month.  Although we eat healthy, my lack of meal planning organization isn't fun for anyone around here.

I'm not entirely sure why this process of meal planning has always been so frustrating and eye-pokingly overwhelming for me.  I mean, I can cook pretty well actually. It's just the process of being prepared to cook when it is time to cook that is my issue.  I just want someone to tell me WHAT to cook and WHAT to buy so that the thinking part is done and I can just do it.  Otherwise, I just end up making the same things over and over again.  And more often than not, if I end up wanting to try something new, I'm lacking at least one of the ingredients (because I didn't make a shopping list) so I end up spending more time going to the store, which leads to spending MORE money.  And a headache.  

But now I don't have to make the grocery list.  I don't have to plan my meals.  And I don't have to rummage through recipes. I don't have to do the MEAL PLANNING THINKING WORK! It is all done for me AND it is all in one place:  My Spinning Meals app on my phone!  

Yes, there IS an APP for THAT!

When Ryan from Spinning Cook first told me about his app Spinning Meals, I had no idea just how USEFUL and PERFECT for ME this would be once I'm all set up! Besides the fact that I was still an "app virgin", I didn't even begin to believe him when he told me that there was an app that could make this part of my life so easy.

Check it out in the video below:

I'm still getting myself acquainted with all the available features (especially now that Spinning Meals 1.1 is out with new features) but I'd definitely say that this app has life changing potential. I know, strong words but this is a strong app!  It is surely a way to simplify things and help take the thinking/planning work out of life so that I can still enjoy eating good food that is healthy and "just right" for my family without having to go through the traditional meal planning process.  Here are just a few highlights of Spinning Meals (but I don't BEGIN to do it justice):
  • It comes with a few recipes already loaded for you so you have something to start "spinning" with immediately but you can add all of your favorite meals and recipes into the app.  If you're like me and don't cook with a ton of recipes but have meals you make from memory, then you can just enter the meal and the ingredients you need and that meal will automatically be part of your Spinning Meals system.  
  • You can search on the web for recipes from your favorites sites and then capture then so that they are automatically in your Spinning Meals recipes.  
  • Spinning Meals will create a week or more of meal plans for whatever meals you want and then generate a shopping list that will allow you to have all the necessary ingredients for your planned meals.  The shopping list is organized in a way that makes shopping easier and you can easily check off ingredients that you already have so that your list is easy to use while shopping.  
  • Option to customize the menu planning for your schedule.  For example: If you have pizza night every Friday then you can just make that a permanent thing in your menu planning.  
  • Because YOU load the app with YOUR food choices, you end up having a plan for meals that cater to your lifestyle.  For us, this means food that will fuel our marathon training and keep us healthy and strong.  
If you haven't already, you should check Spinning Meals out yourself by watching the video above and trying Spinning Meals 1.1 by downloading it off of iTunes for only $2.99.  It just might be the best $2.99 you've ever spent. 

To celebrate the release of Spinning Meals 1.1 and to help spread the word about it,  Spinning Cook Ryan decided it would be fun to do a giveaway.  Since I like sharing the things I love, I think a giveaway on Runninghood sounds like a fantastic idea!

So here's the details:

2 Winners!
One $50 gift certificate to Whole Foods 
One $20 gift certificate for iTunes 

Here's some options for how to enter (separate comment for each please):
  1. One of these forms of sharing is required:  Blog, tweet, or facebook about this giveaway by sharing this link and then let me know you did. I will also have this posted on Runninghood Facebook  so you can share directly from that link. (1 entry for each way you share and leave a separate comment for each).
Optional for extra entries:  
  1. "Like" Spinning Cook on Facebook (1 entry)
  2. "Like" Spinning Cook on Twitter (1 entry)
  3. Click on any of the links about the Spinning Meals app or this one HERE and leave a comment telling me what your favorite part of this app would be.  I think mine will be the automatically generated shopping list for my meals!  (1 entry)
Please make sure that if you comment and don't have a blog, that I have a way to contact you if you win. 

Giveaway will end next Wednesday, June 27th and Spinning Cook and I will randomly choose two winners.   

When/If you download Spinning Meals 1.1 and get started using it, please let me know how you like it.  I'd also love if you'd share your recipes/meal plans with me via e-mail so that I can get more ideas for recipes to add to mine.  I know that so many of you are runners and parents like myself and make it a point to plan meals that are not only tasty and welcomed by our families, but also good FUEL for our running habits.    

Happy Spinning,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Efficiency and the Mother Athlete

Strength Training
Core work
Eating right
Self Massage

All of these things go into making a strong athlete.  When it comes to being a runner, I speak for myself when I say that it is so darn easy to get to point where all I'm doing is carving out the time for my mileage.  If I don't have an injury and I'm trying to fit in a certain amount of miles per day/week, I tend to forget how important it is to do all of these other things.  They all take time.  But when I cut out one or all of the things from the list, my running eventually takes a hit.  

As a busy mom to three kids (what mom isn't busy?), I have to do a TON of MULTI-TASKING if I want to be good at my job as a mom and still make the other plates in my life stay plates of :


and more.  

Even eating right takes work.  It means slowing down enough to make sure that I'm feeding myself and not just eating off of my kids' plates.  It means taking the time to put together a salad with lots of greens and protein instead of just grabbing whatever is easiest.  

I know that with summer here, some things slow down a bit but at the same time, having three kids HOME and not in school, means less alone time for me and more ON time as a mom.  So that means being creative with how I fit in these important things like strength training, core work, etc.  I can only take so much time during my day that I devote to exercise so I'm determined to find ways to fit this stuff in WHILE doing other things.  

Today has been pretty successful with this mommy/athlete multi-tasking.  Although I don't want to be multi-tasking all the time, it does serve its purpose when I have a 9 mile run and long overdue core work and strength work to fit in on top of normal house stuff and making the kid/summer/fun world go round.  If I want to end up with some down time, then I have to find ways to fit in the other stuff.  Here are just a few ways I fit it all in today so that I now have ME time for icing, rolling my foot, and writing this blog while my kids have their "quiet time":

It isn't often that I have time to myself to just sit down and write in the middle of the day.  This is usually my running time but things worked out perfectly today and I was more efficient than usual.  

  • While folding laundry, I played a game with myself.  Fold 4 things; Do push ups; Fold 4 things; Do ab work; Fold 4 more get the gist
  • Lunges down the hall while I pretend to get my son.  He thought it was a game.  I got some nice leg work in.  Win win.
  • Do more ab work while lifting my son on my legs and doing read aloud to my kids (goal is to get through a chapter book a week for summer read aloud).  
  • More read aloud while doing various Jillian Michaels' moves that I have in my memory.  
  • Make a lunch for kids to eat as picnic on the front lawn where I can see and talk to them while on my treadmill starting my 9 mile recovery run.  Then they were free to ride bikes, use their spray bottles, and play with friends in the culdesac while I finished my run.  I admit, I was interrupted several times so my 9 miles took way longer than it should have.  But overall, it was fun for all.  And I still had a part in conversations, watching my kids play, etc. 
  • Now my son is down for a nap and my girls get their designated t.v time where they get to watch a couple shows on Netflix.  And I'm taking care of the nutrition part by drinking my Nuun All Day and eating an ice cream sandwich.  Oops, I mean I'm making that salad right after this.  
So many people ask me "How do you do it?!" or my favorite (which I also wrote a post addressing):  "Where do you find the time?!!"   Yes, I'm a mother of three kids and yes, life gets busy but when something is really important to us, we usually find a way to make it happen.  For me, it means being creative with how I plan my day.  There are many days that I'm flying around like crazy and don't get it all done but most days I'm 
Now that summer is here, I can fit in my treadmill time when the kids are playing next to me or with their friends outside where I can see them.  This is awesome.  Even doing dishes can be a multi-tasking chore....calf raises, butt squeezes, squats in between unloading dishes, tricep dips on the kitchen chairs, dropping and doing push-ups after tasks....these things don't have to be done in isolation.  

So now, I'm off to make that salad and still have time for a shower before my precious quiet time is over and it is time to get dinner ready for everyone and still have the evening for quality family time.  I'm making it all happen and this makes me feel happy at the end of the day.  Accomplished.  Healthy.  Fit.  Balanced.  Efficient.  

How do you make it all work?
Where do you find the time to do the things that are important to you?  
What do you cut out of your day to make sure you take time for the things that make you a stronger, more fit, healthier, happier YOU?   


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Morning Writing with Coffee and The Jewel Fairy is Coming Today!

Permission to use this photo from Cher Odum @ ChertheArt

Day #3 of making more of an effort to connect with myself.  This is working out nicely.  Today I actually woke up way earlier than usual since my husband was making too much noise getting his bike gear ready so he could cycle to work.  Then the birds outside my window were just way too loud with their singing for me to go back to sleep.  So, here I am....up early enough to soak in the morning.  
Slowly.  Quietly.  Coffee next to me.  
Sunshine coming in my window (yep, that's right...we have sunshine in Portland today).  A promise of a great day.  

Gratitude and Goals

Thankful for:

  • Being up early enough to write
  • Having an e-mail from a dear friend waiting for this morning
  • Friendships that challenge, encourage, and inspire me to be better in all areas of my life...athlete, wife, mother, friend, professional.  Finding friends like this is such a gift.  
  • Last day of 1st grade for my oldest.  I'm putting together an informal after school party.  The Jewel Fairy is even going to visit.  My oldest daughter is starting to think that I am the Jewel Fairy.  ME!  What?!  Hmmph!  I have to put an end to that.  Maybe I'll do the jewel fairy dance with them and have a neighbor put the little gems under the tree this time.  I'm not ready for this tradition to end.  
  • Friends coming over for dinner.
  • A small house that is easier to clean and makes me get rid of clutter/junk/"things" that we don't need.  It helps me live simply.
  • Flowers.  I love flowers.  I love buying flowers for my home, having potted flowers during the summer, and seeing all the color that they bring to my world.  
  • Running.  Running.  Running.  Running really does help keep life balanced, centered....SIMPLE.  
  • Coffee.  Mornings are just better with coffee.  I didn't start drinking coffee until after my third kid but now I enjoy a cup or two every morning.  Such a treat.  
  • My husband being my best friend and someone that has similar goals and wants the same things out of life.  I'm also thankful that he sees my job as a SAHM equally as important as his job if not more so.  He has always made it clear to the kids that together, we make this life and earn money for our family. 
  • My treadmill. Again, not ideal training but necessary for me for part of the week.  And it works so well lately.  My kids sat on garage floor/driveway and painted birdhouses for Father's Day yesterday while I ran my 9 miles.  They painted and together, we chatted and enjoyed the afternoon.  
  • Race photos to show me how completely awful my form can be.  Not always but definitely enough to make me KNOW that I'm not going to be very efficient if I don't make some improvements.  
  • My kid journal time and nature time with my kids the other day.  Not every day will be like that but it was a nice reminder.  And thanks for those of you who shared the airplane mode tip for my phone so that I can use the camera but not get notifications!  This will help me truly unplug. 
  • Being on the Nuun Hood To Coast team this summer.  I'm really looking forward to this opportunity.   
  • 20 miler on Saturday and I get to run part of it with a friend!  
  • My July 4th marathon is coming up so quickly...excited!  
Goals for Today:
  • To make this short so I can get my daughter up and make this last morning of school an AWESOME one!  
  • Be Smart with my body and really listen to it.  I DON'T want to end up injured again so I might be switching my 1k repeats with a slower easy run and then do the repeats tomorrow. This depends on how my left leg/groin feel.  They feel okay but I can tell that they are a bit tired and I've been slacking on the strength training, rolling, etc.
  • STRENGTH training, CORE WORK and things like icing, rolling, massage...these things are so so so easy for me to put to the back burner when things are going good.  But they are the most important for me to keep up if I want to keep feeling good.  I need to take time for them daily.  
  • Enjoy the sunshine and jump on the trampoline with my kids this morning.  
  • Spend 15 minutes or so where I just read, chat, cuddle with my younger kids WITHOUT getting distracted with other things.  Yes, 15 min is short but if I know the day is going to be busy with getting stuff done, 15 minutes of solid focused time goes a long long way.  
  • Get my daughter up Right NOW!
Happy Wednesday!  Happy Last Week of School for those of you on our schedule around here.  

Do you do anything to celebrate the last day of school?

What is a goal you have for today or this week?  Any goal...big, small..?  Flossing?  Trimming your toe nails?  Running?  Cuddling with your kid?  Getting all dolled up for a date night?  


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Operation Reconnect

It's always neat for me to see how my daily life changes when I set my mind to MAKING the CHANGE.  There is so much power in putting our goals and intentions out there.  So much to say about taking control of our life and making it what we want it to be rather than wishing it was different.  Ever since I wrote my post the other day about turning my autopilot off and waking myself up so that I can be more intentional and present with myself and my kids, things have just felt fresh.  It's like I cleaned my self-windows.  A film of sorts has been cleared and I feel just a bit more alert and awake to the life around me.  

This mental freshening-up or "snap out of it" exercise feels good.  I've missed the quiet time with myself.  I've missed reflecting and starting my day with my journal and coffee instead of waking right up to chores, e-mail, to-do list, texts...all those things that can end up sweeping us up and taking us swiftly through our day only to be at the end of it and ready to start all over again. I'm thankful for the reminders and awareness to put on the breaks a bit and just soak the important stuff up. At the same time, I'm thankful that we do have the option of life autopilot where we don't always have to be actively seeking out some magical moment in life.  Ha!  Sometimes it is just nice to zone out and tell your kids to disappear to the backyard for awhile so you can check you e-mail and write a blog.  Right?!  

Balance.  Change up.  Seasons.  Not always being content with SAMENESS.  These are key for me.  

So, in my intent to reconnect just a bit with myself and my kids, I forced myself to leave the house yesterday.  Staying inside can just be too distracting sometimes if my computer is on and my phone is beeping and ringing.  Oh, and then the constant mess from living with kids....too easy to want to just start picking up and "getting things done" instead of spending time playing with my kids.  Before I know it, hours have gone by and I've gotten nowhere...just cleaning.  But there is always more mess.  

So we took off on a "nature walk" to the park.  And I left with one big intention:  UNPLUG.  


I tried to only use my phone for my camera and to ignore the chimes telling me about an e-mail or text.  This is harder than it sounds.  Talk about an exercise in self control and being present.  

It ended up being an hour and a half that definitely made an impression on my kids. 

They will remember it.  They will remember that Mom was present and excited about being WITH them and doing what they were doing instead of just being there while they play.  I was playing too.  


Stopped to see bees on flowers,
Watching the bees

Picked up all the interesting leaves, pine cones, flowers on weeds, small rocks 
Added to our Nature Collection for a collage.
Gave attention to the the things we usually rush past.

My daughter
taught us all about spit bugs and the different kinds of trees.  She shared with me the many facts she has learned from being so in love with nature.  

Spit Bugs...Thanks to my daughter for pointing this out.  

My son
rode his bike and carried our nature bag on the back as he picked up on our energy and got so excited about everything he saw. "Look at that! Woah, look Mommy!  Look at the tree and the bug and the...."  

Everything was a treasure on this Nature Walk

Then the park. 
Again, I played instead of my usual watching.  
I got on the swings and felt like a 9 year old again. Swinging so high that my stomach felt like it wasn't in the right place.
My daughter learned to finally swing on her own to where she was really gaining some speed.  
She even conquered the little rock wall and climbed in 3 times!  
My son found a broken toy helicopter that was discarded in the grass.  Left as junk. But it became treasure.  We fixed it the best we could and one happy little boy carried it home in his bike as if he had just bought a new toy at the store. 

When we got back, I was exhausted but just hearing my daughter's words made me so so glad that I gave that time to them.  And myself.  Without other distractions.  We walked up the driveway and she said:

"This was a good good day!  A good day!"  

Later on after lunch, having a day off of running gave me a little extra time to spend in the journals that I keep for my kids.  It was nice to WANT to and have the energy to write them each a little note...a snapshot in time.  I don't write in these journals as often as I used to but they are some of my greatest treasures to look back on as they grow up.  These are the second journals for each kid.  I started one for each of them when I was pregnant with them and it lasted several years (still have many pages to fill of the first one of my sons).  They even write in them on occasion and it is cool to see their writing skills develop over the years...from just a hand tracing, to scribbles, to their first wobbly letter, and eventually their names and thoughts.  These journals are a perfect place to write down those little things that kids say that you never want to forget but you somehow always do.  I have lots of quick short scribbles in these journals where I just write the date and the funny sentence one of them said.  For example, my son is big into saying the phrase "by the way" lately.  So last night at bedtime he shouted from his room to say good night.  After I said goodnight back he called out in his little voice: "Oh, by the way Mom....I love you."  Now, that went in his book.  

Taking time to write in their journals.  This isn't a daily thing but they fill up eventually and become a great treasure...for me and them.

Happy to be feeling more alert lately.  I'm so glad that we hold the power to make changes in our life when we see it going a direction we don't like.  I'm excited to keep climbing and see where life continues to take me...I think I'll enjoy it a heck of a lot more if I make a conscious effort to keep setting goals and trying to be a better me.  This has so much to do with keeping myself present, my self-windows clean, and staying connected with ME so I can stay connected with others.  


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shutting the Autopilot Off, Reconnecting, and a Joyful Weekend of Running

The past few weeks have kind of felt like I've been on autopilot with my life. Not in an entirely bad way either.  Just kind of a fog of motions. I guess that means that my life has been going along smoothly enough to where I can go on autopilot.  But I don't really like this feeling.  I hate sitting down on nights like tonight and realize that I've been half here. It has almost felt like I'm seeing my life through a cloudy bubble.  I hear my kids.  I smile at them. But I don't fully soak them in.  I zone out to my e-mail, facebook, or books that are stacked around begging me to read them.  I cook dinner.  Clean the house.  Go on my runs.  Shower.  Kiss my husband hello.  Enjoy hanging out with friends. Break up fights between my kids.  I make sure I read to my kids daily, help them with their homework, and put tooth paste on their tooth brushes.  You know, all the usual stuff that life has to offer. Good and Bad.  

I'm doing a fine job with things.  More than fine. 
 Life is good.  
But I just haven't had the same passion or color in my life.  The kind of alertness that makes me marvel at the things that are so easy to go just hasn't been there.  

Yesterday was the first time I picked up my personal journal or journals to my kids in months!  I opened my journal and honestly, I felt like I was having tea with a stranger when I tried to write something. Those of you that know me from this blog know that my journals and writing are one of the biggest ways I connect with myself and stay grounded and present in my life. It was weird being alone with my thoughts and coaxing myself to do some reflection.  

It was work. Work to connect with ME.  Work to be still with my thoughts and think about what I'm really feeling and where I'm really AT with LIFE.  Right now.

We don't always have to be doing this work.  Life is busy. We get tired.  And truthfully, sometimes is is nice to just go on autopilot and zone out.  Just be.  Not always be thinking.  I just don't like going too long living my life just going through the motions before I turn the auto pilot off and start being a bit more alert.  Reflective.  AWAKE.  In Control.  For me, this means taking more time for writing personal writing and even my blog writing.  Not the kind of blog posts where I do product reviews or tell you what I ate for breakfast and what kind of shoes I'm wearing. But the deeper stuff.  The kind of posts that help me grow and process. The kind where I share my life, thoughts, ideas, REAL. I've missed that kind of blogging.  I miss the connections and relationships that come from that kind of blogging.  The moms I meet via e-mail that write to tell me their struggles as a mother or trying to find ways to balance fitness/health with every day life.  The comments where people share similar stories and advice. 

I think there are many cycles/season in life and we don't always have to be doing the same thing or enjoying the same activities and outlets.  That's what is cool about life.  But I do know that lately, I've been thinking it is time to get my writing/journaling/vulnerable side moving again.  Blowing the dust off this week I think.  

In the meantime, this weekend was pretty epic in terms of RUNNING!  

Yesterday (Thanks to Tasha from Healthy Diva), I ran the Helvetia Half Marathon as marathon training run. This was not a race. The goal was to hit goal marathon pace for the first 10 miles so that I could get a feel for it off of my treadmill.  Then I had the last three miles to do whatever I felt like.  For the Sauvie Island Marathon (July 4th), my goal marathon pace is right around 7:38/7:40 so I was trying to come as close to this pace as possible (even on the downhills).  Here's how it went:

Avg Pace

And here is the elevation profile of this BEAUTIFUL course that runs through the Oregon countryside.  Definitely a monster hill in there.

Overall, this was such a JOYFUL run.  I got to run with Stephanie from Soggy Runner Girl from mile 8ish on. Thank you Steph! Your energy and love for running is CONTAGIOUS!  I got to finish feeling strong and happy.  Happy that the first 10 miles were so easy, as they should be if I'm going to run a marathon at that pace. For the first time in training, I feel so so confident that I can nail this 7:38ish range without much effort.  And I know that after this July 4th marathon, I can and WILL start training for other things that will only lead to getting faster, more confident, and accomplishing things I might have never imagined.  High hopes here.  I'm so thankful that I've been smart in recovering from this injury.  I've been patient and okay with keeping things slow and steady.  Because of this, running has been pressure free and full of JOY.  That's the way it should be for me right now.  

To top the week off, I ran a slow, easy, and beautiful 4-6 mile (wasn't keeping track) trail run with my Husband.  Yes, that's right, we are going on running dates again!  Our favorite kind of date.  His plantar fasciitis is doing so much better.  I couldn't ask for a better way to end my running week.  It was WELL WORTH paying a sitter so we could go together.  

This run in the forest with my best friend was certainly a start in reconnecting with myself and shutting the autopilot off.  I feel refreshed.  And Happy!