Thursday, September 27, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy...An Exercise in Happiness

I know, two posts in one day.  What is happening to me?!  Must be in the mood to write.  Maybe that means that fall is setting in and it is the season for writing and reading blogs. That, and I always write more when I have the most to process or express. My friend posted today about things that she liked and things she didn't...just two simple lists but they spoke so much.  I loved the idea.  But instead, I'm just making one list of things that make me Happy...and just the process of making the list is something that makes me happy.

Things that Make me Happy:
  • Crisp fall days with blue skies, sunshine, changing colors, and kids happy to be starting fresh in school 
  • 1.5 hours all to myself two days a week where all three kids are in school at the SAME time 
  • Morning runs where I'm coming back from injury but yet I look down at my watch and see my easy pace faster than expected and feeling effortless
  • Being able to try again when we fail at something
  • Learning and growing from life...the good, bad and ugly parts
  • True Love
  • Friendship with no expectations and unconditional love
  • Seeing my kids try new things for the first time
  • Hearing my middle daughter play the piano
  • Seeing my girls score goals in their soccer games
  • My son's giggle when he is causing trouble and his most joyful laugh when we pin him to the ground and tickle him
  • A clean house
  • Coffee in the morning by myself
  • Wine with girlfriends that can just stop in without plans or only in response to a simple text of "come over" 
  • Even better...a wine date via e-mail  with your girlfriend who lives all the way in MN
  • Friends who will take you to a coffee shop just to listen and let you cry and let you just lose yourself.  And then will still be there the next day and the next to love you as you come.  
  • The same friends that won't think you're bipolar (I promise I'm not...ha!) when they come over only 4 days after the huge cry to find your face shining and smiling and hear you laughing like they remember from before. But instead they will just smile with you and be glad for you to have running in your life again to help you process and pick yourself up.   
  • Fridays
  • My husband and I looking at a house online and both agreeing that it is our dream home even though now isn't the time for it. And it probably won't be that particular house. Just nice to have the same tastes and dreams for our future.
  • The freedom to express myself with words
  • Songs that tell a story or capture an emotion so perfectly  
  • Funny people who make me laugh
  • Laughter
  • Watching my daughter fall in love with writing and reading and LEARNING.  And finding little kid notes and stories all over my house.  
  • Trees
  • Sleep
  • Waking up in the middle of the night to see my little girl so happy and peaceful in her daddy's arms...both of them with heavenly smiles on their lips, obviously so happy to be near each other.  I love this even though she woke me up when she weaseled her way up into our bed in the middle of the night.  :)  
  • Picking up my kinder from school and having her take a running jump into my arms.  I know the day will come when she won't want to do this.  I'm so glad it isn't now.  Sweet days.  
  • New possibilities and always believing in the power of making our dreams reality 
I could go on and on with this list.  Making a list like this has left me smiling. Similar to listing gratitude...such a powerful exercise in helping us change our perspective on things...or just saying THANK YOU for all that we have that is GOOD.  And when we recognize these things with gratitude and love, we almost always get more of them.  

I would love to hear a few things that you love...first few things that just pop into your head when you comment (IF you comment...I know, I know, I've been so so bad at commenting back lately so I'm surprised that anyone still reads this thing).  Love and Happiness are contagious...I love reading what people are thankful for, what makes them happy or what they love.  So, in either a comment or a post of your own.....TAG, you're it!

What makes you Happy??  First 5 things that come to your mind.

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Follow Up to Resilience Comments, Running Again, Injury/Treatment and Steps Towards Boston Training

7:03 a.m.  Kids need to be at school in under an hour now.  So really, I should be waking them up, getting breakfast, making lunch, brushing hair, setting some daily goals, and getting them out the door to school on time right?  Yup.  But as is the case with me these days, I push the envelope a bit and try to hold on to as much of my "ME" time as possible before the wild rumpus begins.  That usually results in an even MORE WILD rumpus when I do wake them up and end up in rush mode because I was too selfish with my quiet time.  But, I think that today it just might be worth it.  Just 10 more minutes.

Thank you for your heartfelt comments and outreach after my very personal last post,  Resilience.  I've felt so much love lately and it is amazing what a difference a few days makes.  I smiled so big yesterday on several occasions and it felt glorious.  Not just a smile but the kind of smile that comes from the very center of you and leaves you with no other choice but to let your face shine.  It was the kind of smile that reminds us just how much lies within us and ahead of us in this life...or more importantly, just HOW MUCH GOOD is right here, right now...right in front of our nose...surrounding us, hugging us, waiting for us to just scoop it up and DANCE with it.  So many things to find joy and love in.   It can be hard to see when we have hurt hearts and deep feelings that seem to come from nowhere (but so obviously have a root), knock us on our backs and take our breath away. But it doesn't take long before we can see clearly again.  Blue skies, perfect fall weather, and going on day 4 of running after a long break...oh, this just might have something to do with smiling too.  Ha!  Even the mild plantar faciitis, sore pelvic bone, and bruises from Graston therapy don't seem to bother me too much today.  I'm still feeling lots of pain but I know healing is happening and I'm mostly just a bundle of gratitude and hope.

Many of you sent e-mails and comments that were so meaningful and just another sign that when we give of ourselves honestly as we come, we receive an equal amount of honesty and REAL.  So thank you.  I wanted to respond on here to just a few of the public comments that jumped out at me in particular since I haven't responded to any of them at all yet (how rude) and my response to them goes along with what I'd like to say today:

"You are so HONEST about it all. Not sure how you can let it all out and not be afraid of who is reading, or what others think."  

Honest is the only way I know how to be right now.  Or the only way I want to be.  I spent too much of my life being afraid of saying what I really think...worrying about what others think, putting a filter on myself, etc.  Now, it's honest and "here I am world..take me or leave me".... myself and others.  It is freeing and refreshing.  Finding this in my life in my 30's has been the biggest gift in my life.  The ability to share myself freely, be who I am without caring what others think (still work on this sometimes), tell my story as it comes and not care how much shame might be there (chances are that someone else has been there or is there or needs to hear our stories), and being true to myself has been a freedom like nothing else.   As life goes on, I realize more and more just how short it is...too short to hold on to superficial.  The friends in my life that I love...truly and deeply...will be friends and family that I will be able to be honest with...where I can share the REAL me, vulnerable and I come. And I want to be this way on my blog too. As I am...where I am at the time I write or speak or say "Hello" to someone.  I have found that people will often be to us what we are to them and the more honest, open and real that I am, the more I attract that in my relationships.  This is liberating really.  And what I want.  From friends, life, and experiences...honest, real, courageously true to who they are.  However, I know that not everyone will want to or even need to be as open and vulnerable as I am sometimes...this is OKAY too...we all  have different ways of being real and being true to ourselves.  We are all so different and I value my true friends as they come to me.  I accept those that I love as they are...not as I want myself to be.   

"...a strength and a love for yourself ..." 

Yes, if there is one love that I for sure have a really good hold on by now, it is the love I have for myself. Not in a "full of myself"/arrogant kind of way...but a love where I have patience, respect, and understanding of my own needs and the love that I need.   I've spent so much of my life giving to myself in the way I NEED...comforting and protecting myself in ways that I didn't find elsewhere.  I love my inner Amanda...the little girl, the woman, the teenager...all parts of myself...I love her fiercely and I take great comfort in the love that I can give to myself when I'm hurting.  

"I have no idea what you are dealing with, but if you are looking to make a change, the grass isn't always greener. Sometimes it's better to fix, or make the current situation the best you can rather than change. You are strong and will make it through this stronger and wiser than before for sure. Hope you find peace through it all."
So true. Thank you for this comment...shows that you cared enough to say this.  The situation I'm dealing with right now has to do with some very deep rooted feelings that stem way back to my childhood.  It just happens that it took the pain of parting ways with a very dear person that has stirred up these feelings that I thought weren't such a big part of me anymore.  Tricky how pain can bury itself.  Perhaps it will always be there.  I'll deal with it.  It will pass.  And in the long run, I'm thankful for this current situation that has opened up old wounds that haven't been entirely dealt with.  Like I said, I'm stronger for it.  Dealing with these things, living with the pain/acknowledging them...remembering them and then letting them go...will help me in all areas of my life...mother, wife, RUNNER, friend. The changes that are ahead of us with the possible move to Asheville, NC really don't have to do with running away or trying to find happiness somewhere else.  I'm happy here. Truly happy despite this current stir of deep feelings. The pain in my heart right now will be with me wherever I go.  Even after all of this, we are basing our decisions on so many things that don't have to do with grass is greener but more "Let's experience an adventure and see another part of the country while we have the opportunity." Life is so short. Doors have EASILY opened for us and so many signs point to YES.  We'll be back in a year or two.

Running Training Running Training Injury Be GONE
As I've said, I've been running for 4 days in a row now.  I feel so good compared to how I've felt the past few weeks.  I'm not 100% so I need to remind myself to take it easy here as I get back in.  So easy to want to settle in to a 7:50/8:00 pace for a 4 mile run but I know that it will be WISE of me to keep myself to easy running for a bit here and GRADUALLY build a base so I can start my Boston training SOLID and strong.  This will require lots of things that I have a plan for.  This will be for another post.  Along with a plan for and information about:

  • Current injury/recovering from injury
  • Getting myself balanced with mind and spirit so it can transfer fully to my body
  • Graston therapy yesterday...Woke up with bruises on my butt, hammy, and feet but I'm certain that it all helped me. 
  • Lots of treatment with my sports chiropractor, including a muscle imbalance test.
  • News about the huge ball/knot looking lump in my right hamstring.  The best way I can explain it is to say it is like a hernia in my hamstring.  It will always be like that if it is what he thinks it is...a rupture of the hamstring fascia??  I think this is what he said...the casing of the hammy....I know, I am still trying to understand what he said so bear with me and don't quote me on it.  Good news is that it shouldn't affect me too terribly much with my running.  I might lose some power though.  But hey, if I'm still running and it only looks ugly when I kick my foot back in an unnatural way then I'm okay with this.  
  • Thanks to my friend Stephanie, I've got some good exercises that I'll be doing to keep my hip area strong.  I posted a video about it on facebook and I'll post it again here and then probably in my next post too since this is such a loaded post. 

  • For Boston training, I really want to make a point to do deep water running in the place of one of my recovery runs.  This will still count as mileage but save so much of my body.  I can and will make this happen.  

Happy Thursday to YOU!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012


What's in a blog?  Some of us write for fun.  Some write to log their miles and share their training for something.  There are blogs about cooking, travel, sewing...there's a blog about everything.  You name it, I bet it's there.  Many of us start a blog to share and express what we are most passionate about.  Our blogs give us a voice.  A connection to others with similar interests.  We learn from blogs...reading them and writing them.  And many of us grow in the process of keeping one.

I originally started my blog in 2010 after a very serious hamstring injury that left me pretty depressed and facing a crossroads in my life.  I wanted more.  I needed more.  I was new to being a stay at home mom and without running in my life, I was missing my career.  I was missing a piece of me and an opportunity to express myself and use my mind on a deeper level than just telling kids to "use their words" or setting up sticker charts and teaching them to use the potty without peeing all over the floor. All good work.  Work that lasts a lifetime when it comes to building a strong foundation for my family.  But it was work that left me feeling so under stimulated in the intellectual and personal areas.  I needed something else...a piece of me.  So, at the suggestion of a friend, I started writing a blog.  Since then, my blog has been a personal journey where I find safety in sharing my heart, goals, snippets of life that touch me and so much more.  And most importantly, writing my blog has given me an opportunity to GROW so deeply as Amanda.  Amanda the runner.  Amanda the wife, mother and friend.  And probably, most of all, I've been able to work through some of the grief I'd held on to regarding the death of my father and the spiritual/religious struggles that have impacted me so deeply.  This blog has certainly been an important part of me where I can be real and vulnerable.  I can be whatever I am at the moment I am writing.  Because of this freedom to express myself as I come, I've made some pretty special connections with some of you.  I've received e-mails from people expressing similar feelings to the feelings I share and thanking me for sharing myself.  This is great validation in the freedom that comes (for me) with being real and sharing my heart.....

So, why stop now?  I surely think there is time for quiet and keeping things to ourselves and this has been so much of my life lately.  I don't share everything going on in my heart.  Especially on a blog.  But if I'm going to keep this blog up, I might as well keep being as REAL as I's what Runninghood is.

What I do know right now is that I'm dealing with some things in my heart and my head that have left me feeling pretty heavy.  My heart hurts.  My head is heavy with a barrel full of questions.  I feel a little cloudy when it comes to what is REAL and what is FAKE.  What is a lie and what is truth.  I feel just a little lost.  But you know, I'm certain that after dealing with some of these current issues that have come up recently, I am going to come out of this

Life ALWAYS works this way.  Always.  With every heartbreak comes a new layer of wisdom.  With every painful moment in life where we are knocked down and lose ourselves, we have the CHOICE to pick ourselves back up and make ourselves BETTER and healthier.  Find us.  It's what gives us drive to conquer new goals and reach for the things we might have thought were unattainable or that we weren't strong enough for.  Because of this, the things hurting me now (and for awhile now), give me HOPE.  As much as I feel awful, I also have an equal amount of warmth wrapped around me that  makes me so sincerely excited for what's to come.  I know that whatever is going on with me right now means that the road ahead is going to be a good one...I know this.   Resilience.  It's what makes the human psyche so interesting.  So much greatness can come from struggle.  So MUCH.

So, here's to the struggles in life as well as the good times.  Here's to the LOWS to go with the HIGHS.   Here's to the wisdom, strength and life hunger that comes from painful circumstances. Here's to the soulful laughter that will replace the cries of disappointment and loss. Here's to the friendships that will be deepened because of saying farewell to the relationships that were no good for us.  And here's to the EVERYTHING that will come from doing what it takes to heal and have a better tomorrow....for myself, my children, and those that I truly LOVE.  For what's REAL.   I'm excited to see what the next few months of climbing up will hold for Life.  Truly excited.  Hopeful.  And this brings me peace.

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you,
pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Christopher Robin to Pooh (by A. A. Milne)

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Confucius

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
Albert Einstein

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Note:  I still haven't been able to connect with the winner of the Endorphin Warrior Bracelet so I will be choosing a new winner sometime this week.   You can also check out my friend Tayarra's giveaway for another really good chance to win.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Endorphin Warrior Winner

And the blog post that I've been meaning to write all day...well, never happened. And this is probably best.

But even better for YOU than that super long blog post....

The Winner of the Endorphin Warrior Bracelet is:

#116 Carla Weinkauf
Please contact me in comment or e-mail with your e-mail so I can send your information on to Eric from Endorphin Warrior.  If I don't hear from you by Monday then I will choose an alternate winner.

Happy Friday,

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Life Balance, Deep Water Running, and Goals

There's a definite ART in balancing art in finding that perfect blend where we can embrace the "Where we are right now" with the striving for "where we want to be".  I'd like to have a healthy dose of both of these things without losing sight of either one.  

These were my thoughts I posted earlier this morning on facebook.  So much in me right now that feels just a little like I'm teetering with my balance in life.  I'm feeling kind of like I'm running back and forth on this life balance board and just when I get to the center and feel stable, I'm too far to one side again.  I don't think I'm alone in this feeling.  In fact, I'm beginning to think that this is just how life is...a constant balance game.  And I KNOW that this balance (that I talk about above) is harder for me when I'm NOT running. 

As many of you know, I haven't run since Hood to Coast at the end of August.  Really, it hasn't been too long.  And surprisingly, I don't feel like I miss running as much as I expected to.  I know that I won't truly know how much I miss running until I go on that first run where everything feels whole again.  I'll  be reminded of why I'm so in love with it and how it brings calm and balance to my life like nothing else can.   

In the meantime, I've been quite content with Deep Water Running.  I've actually come to love it.  So much that I'd like to have at least one day a week of my Boston training where I hit up the pool for a "recovery run".  It has been so easy and relaxing for me to just strap a belt on, get in the water and run...all while helping my body heal without putting pressure on my feet.  Water feels so healing.  And I've found a way where I can just put my iPod in my visor and listen to my music while chugging away.  For those of you wondering what deep water running looks like, here's a video my coach sent me (obviously NOT me.  I prefer wearing a swimsuit top.  You know, out of respect for the other pool users.  :)  )  

My workouts this week:

Sunday:  5 min warm-up; 6x2:30 hard (30 sec easy recovery);  5 min cool down

Monday: 5 min warm-up;  35 min steady

Tuesday: 5 min warm-up; 2 sets of 6x1:30 hard (30 sec easy recovery); (2 min easy btw sets);  5 min cool down

Wednesday: 5 min warm-up; 35 min steady

Thursday: 5 min warm-up; 1min hard - 1min easy 2min hard - 1 min easy 3min hard - 1 min easy 4min hard - 1 min easy 3min hard - 1 min easy 2min hard - 1 min easy 1min hard;  5 min cool down

Friday: 5 min warm-up; 5x5min hard (1 min easy recovery); 5 min cooldown
Saturday: rest

When will I run again and what steps am I taking to recover from Plantar Faciitis?
Our plan is to start running again (EASY) on Sunday.  However, my left foot has started to hurt again today.  Pesky Plantar Faciitis!  Grr.  Some constants in my life right now:
  • Always taping my left foot for support.  Thankful for KT Tape.  
  • Stretching whenever I think of it.  This means random calf stretches no matter where I'm at.  I'm sure people look at me funny when I just start stretching in the grocery store or while standing in line for preschool pick up.  Oh well.  
  • Rolling my foot with a golf ball. 
  • Massaging my foot
  • Icing
  • Always wearing ugly supportive shoes.  So much for my cute sundresses that I wore all summer...they don't look nearly as cute with supportive running shoes.  Good thing it is fall.  
  • Lots of pool running.  Then sauna and more stretching.  
  • Positive thinking.  

Goals for Today:
Off to the pool.  But first, going to list just a few goals off the top of my head so that I have a focus for today.
  1. Be PRESENT with my kids.  Going to try really hard to clear my head and fully focus on moments with my kids (without thinking of other things that have hold of my heart right now).
  2. Write a letter to my husband and show/tell him how much I love him.  Life has been busy for him, work, and loads of responsibility.  But yet, he still is a strength in all of our lives.  I need to remember to NEVER take him for granted.  
  3. Make a gratitude list of all the things that I treasure in life.  Can't say enough about the power of saying THANK YOU for the things working for us in life...the good things.  The Right things.  The gifts in life.  
  4. Say Thank you to MYSELF for the things that I'm doing right and try to put that before the mental list of all the things I feel like I'm failing at.  

Happy Wednesday!  And just two days left to win an Endorphin Warrior Bracelet.  

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Random Sunday Morning Shouldn't Be Blogging Post

I really don't have long to write this blog at all.  In fact, I'm supposed to be back here getting ready for church so that I can help get the kids ready and not end up leaving it all to my husband and then complaining when we rush out of the house at 10:50 trying to make it to an 11:00 service that is 20 minutes away.  Yup, that's how we've been rolling lately.  And honestly, so much of it is because I've been really struggling with where my heart is when it comes to faith related stuff, but yet, I'm still trying to be conscious of how I raise my kids and what I want for that.  That's a blog for another day. Maybe never. And one that is quite personal.  So, moving on to some random bullets:

  • I'm officially registered in the 117th Boston Marathon.  I have no idea how we'll get there, where we will be living (maybe North Carolina), or if I'll really even run it but it is nice to be registered and have the option.  We might be traveling there with the whole family this year.  
  • My feet are feeling good today.  Let's keep them that way, right?  So still no running.  
  • I want to be more active with core work and strength training right now.  Note to self.  
  • I love deep water running.  In fact, I'll be doing it again today.  Love just strapping that belt on and hitting the pool...really does get my endorphins going.  Not like running running, but you know, I'll take what I can get.  
  • Excited to start another training cycle!  But I'm perfectly willing to be patient and do what it takes to get WHOLE now.  Body, mind, spirit WHOLE.
  • Operation Getting Whole is going smoothly.  I do believe that in order for AMANDA to perform her best, I will need to be physically, spiritually, and mentally balanced.  This is going to involve several things for me.  I'm working on it.  :) 
  • Sleep.  I am going to try harder to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.  I've bee slacking here lately and my body, mind, spirit are suffering for it.  
  • Shoes.  Considering some more supportive shoes.  I'm definitely not going to be running exclusively in my Pure Flows anymore.  I'm at least going to alternate.  I have some thinking to do on this.  But I think that the shoe thing, combined with other things of course, is what what has caused my feet issues.  
  • I went to bed last night just really excited to be 33.  I know that isn't 20ish young but I still feel like I have some of my best running days ahead.  This is a good feeling.  And an even better feeling to WANT better days ahead.  
  • Still considering moving to Asheville, NC.  Well, I'd like to say it is pretty for sure but I'm waiting to get some more definite plans in place before I shout that from the roof tops.  If you know anything about the school system/community for kids in Asheville, please e-mail me so I can pick your brain.  Big decisions for a mom.  
  • Prayer.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to carve out time for prayer and meditation.  Even if it is only 5 minutes every morning with NO distractions.  And the kind of prayer than involves LISTENING.  
  • And when the time comes to start officially training again, I am going to trust the plan my coach gives me and put my energy to taking care of this body, mind, spirit with diligence.  
  • Added after posting:  Really running late for church now....or almost there.  Closest blogging is always the best.  Makes me feel like a kid sneaking something.  But, really, a big goal of mine fro the next few months (always really) is to start journaling a list of gratitude daily.  I'll start now:  
Grateful for (only 6 even though I could write 100's):
  • Loving husband that is forever patient with me.  A best friend.  
  • Some of the most loving and supportive friends a girl could ask for.  Friends that are truly THERE and that SEE me and know me and love me for ME.  
  • Motherhood.  Having 3 beautiful, healthy, smart kids to be with every day.  A dream come true.  
  • A healing body
  • A personal relationship with God that has been the same all my life...not changing with religion.  A constant love that is personal.  
  • Seeing my daughter's first official soccer game yesterday...SO awesome seeing her as an athlete.  
My time is officially OVER.  Well, it was 10 minutes ago. And really was 20 minutes ago when I first wrote the 10 minutes ago. Good I'm getting out of the closet and going to pretend that I've been getting ready all along back here.  Ha!  Don't forget to check out the Endorphin Warrior giveaway.  Love my bracelet.  


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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Breathe, Believe, and Warrior On! Endorphin Warrior Bracelet Giveaway


These are just a few of the words that can be found on a Warrior Training Bracelet as seen in the photo above.  They are words that stir something within.  No matter what we do in life, having goals is part of being our BEST SELF and it takes focus and strength to reach those goals.  Sometimes when life gets busy and things get hard, it can be so easy to get off track for what we are striving for...whether that be a race, to get fit, make it through a tough time, or accomplish something that we've always wanted in life. And sometimes all it takes is a word or some kind of mantra to evoke the "warrior" within us all.  Words are powerful when they come with meaning and strength.  That's one of the reasons I love my Warrior Bracelet so much.  It's simple.  Strong.  Beautiful.  And all it takes is on glance as the word "Breathe"  and my body and mind feel focused and strong.  The rest just comes flows.

When I first saw my friend with her Warrior Training Bracelet, I Loved it!  And I knew I wanted one too. It's been on my wish list for awhile.   So, when we found out that Eric, the founder of Endorphin Warrior, was giving all of the Nuun Hood To Coast athletes a Warrior Bracelet, I was THRILLED!  I had a hard time deciding whether I wanted the word Believe or Breathe but my heart went with Breathe.  I had no idea how perfect it would be for me until I actually started wearing it.


Something so simple.  
But so powerful.  


I don't know how many times since I've had my Warrior Bracelet that I've NEEDED to read this word.  There have been so many moments since Hood to Coast that I've felt myself needing that extra reminder to just....Breathe.  Just a glance at my wrist brings a FOCUS and CALM that helps me "warrior on".  Running Hood to Coast with an injury and a heavy spirit was hard on me.  But I can tell you that there were many times during the entire Hood to Coast experience that I glanced at my Warrior Bracelet and felt a peace that helped me feel strong and centered...Body, Mind, and Spirit.  

My Warrior Bracelet is something I'm almost always wearing.  I can wear it while running, racing, or just as an every day accessory.  And it has become my favorite gift to give! It is a perfect gift for a woman, man or even an older child in our life.  In fact, last night, I found the perfect time to give my husband his BELIEVE bracelet.  So perfect for him.  For us. He LOVES it.  

Add caption

One of the things that is important to me in life is knowing the story behind the face.  The HEART behind the Business.  And I know that many of you, that read my blog, feel the same way.  So before doing this giveaway, I asked Eric, from Endorphin Warrior a few questions so that I could share the story behind the business with you.  

 "Where did you get the idea for Endorphin Warrior? Where did the inspiration come from? Your "story"? When did it start? First one? Who supported you the most? Your background? "

Below is Eric's response.  I love it.  And it makes his business so much more than a business to me.  Enjoy.

"Hi Amanda,'s a little of the story behind Endorphin Warrior.  I am the founder of Endorphin Warrior.  As a college athlete (football, lacrosse) at some point during college I realized that all of the training I was doing was developing more than just my physical was helping me develop in body and mind.  After the end of college I started long distance running and trail running and this further spurred on my understanding that running was more than running...that it was a way to grow as a person and uncover who you are.  I became very passionate about how physical training develops the "whole" person...body, mind and spirit.  But rather than write a book about it, ala George Sheehan, I came up with the idea to create a brand and product line that expresses this.  One day while on a long distance mountain bike ride, the words "Endorphin" and "Warrior" merged for the first time - I knew this was the company name I wanted - and Endorphin Warrior was born.
We started Endorphin Warrior in 2007 with the idea to create a company that expressed the joy, meaning and value of working out.  Now, after a few years it has also evolved into a brand and product line who's purpose is to help people live stronger in body and mind, not just for training, but for all of life.  My vision is to grow Endorphin Warrior into a company that people look to for products that give them inspiration and strength....for any facet of life, be it training, work, or life in general.  I feel very fortunate to have this purpose in my life. 
On the personal side, I'm 55, and the most important thing in my life is being the best husband and father that I can be (I have a daugher 22, a son 5, and two step daughters 13 and 17).  Next is creating a great company, Endorphin Warrior and continuing to be a lifetime athlete."

So, it's giveaway time, which is rare on this blog unless I really love something. One of you will win a Warrior Training Bracelet for yourself or somebody else.  Thank you to Endorphin Warrior for agreeing to offer a giveaway.

So here's how to enter (please leave a separate response for EACH one).  You will have one entry per comment.

1.  Mandatory:  Visit Endorphin Warrior HERE and leave a comment telling me what word you would choose for your bracelet if you won.

Extra Entries (one comment for each):

2.  Like Endorphin Warrior on Facebook HERE (leave a comment here)
3.  Follow Endorphin Warrior on Twitter HERE (leave a comment here)
4.  Share this Giveaway on Facebook or Twitter (leave a comment telling me you did)
5.  Post a comment on Runninghood's Facebook Wall telling me why you want to win an Endorphin Warrior Bracelet.

This contest will run from September 13th to September 21st.  I will choose a winner randomly and announce it on my blog or facebook page.

Good luck,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Condolences to My Country

Condolences to My Country
I know no noble words to lift you into light
When Sorrow's shadow falls across your frozen heart
Let quiet candles melt away this wintry  night

Tomorrow, Time will call to play its chosen part
And through your tears you'll see your spirit slowly mend

Remember, then, to stay as open as a shrine
Where visitors can come to feel a glow again
Because your precious people's quiet candle shines
   ~R, 9/14/2001

9/11.  For most of us, this date will never again be one that blends in with the rest of the September calendar.  It will be remembered.
As a day our country was hurt.
Deep loss.
So many of us Remember.
Some more than others.
Most of us have a story to tell from that day.  We remember where we were.  What time time we heard the news.  How we felt.
Clear Details.  That stand apart.

For me, it was my first year of teaching. I walked into my third grade classroom ready to greet my students during their second week of school.  They came in with stories to tell, drawings of planes and the towers, and many of them mirroring the reactions of their parents. Wearing adult feelings but not understanding them.  Just like the rest of us, they were trying to make sense of their 8 year old world.  And I, practically a child myself at 22,  was trying to do the same.

9/11 is a day to be remembered by all of us. But there is no way that I even begin to understand what that day was like for those that lived IN and NEAR the city of New York at that time.  Or those that had family and friends there and lost loved ones. I can only listen to their stories and feel a small sliver of what that day must mean for them and what it felt to BE THERE.  LIVE THERE.  And have so much of their HEART there.

So, today I remember what I can.  All of us do.  And my love goes out to those that were wounded most deeply on this day.   I listen to their stories and wrap my arms around then in spirit.

Words are really all we have sometimes.  I saw so many touching posts this morning on facebook and online.  But the words below, written 11 years ago by my coach in New Jersey, is one of the most beautiful things I've read in regards to 9/11.  It is most beautiful to me because of the picture of hope, love and human resilience that it paints.  And because I've heard parts of what this day was for him, a person that not only lived and worked THERE but had family and friends that were there.  I'm so glad he agreed that I could share.  I think you will find beauty in his his words from 11 years ago as well.

Condolences to My Country
I know no noble words to lift you into light
When Sorrow's shadow falls across your frozen heart
Let quiet candles melt away this wintry  night

Tomorrow, Time will call to play its chosen part
And through your tears you'll see your spirit slowly mend

Remember, then, to stay as open as a shrine
Where visitors can come to feel a glow again
Because your precious people's quiet candle shines
   ~R, 9/14/2001

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Monday, September 10, 2012

A LOADED Post: Love, Listening, Guilt, Goals, Boston, Not Running, Jumping into Jeans and MORE.

It's official.  I can't get my jeans on in a normal way.  No running, combined with eating whatever I feel like and drinking one too many beers on a warm summer evening, means that I now know what my friend means when she speaks of jumping off her dresser into her jeans to get them all the way up.  And even then, I can just...barely...button them.  And when I do, I kind of walk like a duck with them on.  I suppose this could have something to do with the DOMS that has come from a new weekly routine of getting on the exercise bike.  Oh, my BUNS!

But even with this jean predicament, I'm actually pretty happy today.  Just another season in life.  And besides, I like having challenges.  New Goal:  Stop eating and drinking like college Amanda so that you can fit in your jeans without walking around like an overstuffed suitcase.  It's ON JEANS.  Bring it!  I don't mess around when it comes to goals.  Ha!

Speaking of goals, I think it is time for some new ones.  But first, just a bit of random to kick start this Monday:

  • Sometime this week (probably tomorrow), I'll be doing a giveaway for an Endorphin Warrior bracelet and telling you about how much I LOVE mine.  I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear the good things I have to say since there have been many of you who already have one or have read about them recently.  The thing I'm looking forward to the most is sharing with you the story behind the WARRIOR....I plan on telling you a little bit about how Endorphin Warrior came to be and about the man that created the products.  As most of you know, I rarely do giveaways or reviews on here...I try to save them for when I really like something.  And as with most things in life, I care about the heart and soul behind the face so I really enjoyed learning more about how this company came to be.  And I think you will too.  

  • My post on Friday was about Listening. And mostly about listening to the children in our world. They truly are wise and I believe with my whole heart that God speaks through them in special ways.  The next few weeks I'm going to keep working on making it a habit to really listen to the things my kids are saying instead of that tired "Yes, honey" that comes with lazy listening.  And listening but not HEARING because of the clutter in my head.  
  • About this self-work that I've been referring to lately.... You know, the work I DIDN'T ask for?  Do we ever?  The work that has just started to unfold even though I thought that I'd done more self-work than anyone could possibly do.  Apparently there is more.  And Goodness, I AM SO THANKFUL for my ability to reflect and process in words.  Without that, I'd be a ball of all kinds of confusing feelings and mountains of thoughts that would bury me.  I'm realizing more and more that my ability to communicate my feelings with writing has been up there with the greatest gifts in my gift bag.  Thank you for this Gift is so freeing for me.
  • One of the things I know that I've always struggled with (and many of you have seen me struggle with on this blog) is being WAY TOO HARD on myself.  Feeling guilt for not doing things as good as I think I should...motherhood, friendship, etc.  And not always feeling WORTHY of RECEIVING LOVE.  These are BIG things that I'm processing and working on right now and you know, I'm so HAPPY to see them coming to a head in a way that I've never seen before.  They have come from all sorts of things:  Religious abuse, having a father die, relationships, etc.   Although I've always known that I'm too hard on myself or that I feel guilt for things that I'm really doing better at than I give myself credit for, I haven't been able to change that.  And I haven't truly been able to RECEIVE all the love from myself and others even though I do mostly.  But something is different today.  Or this week.  but really, big INSIGHTS last night and I woke up feeling kind of different today.  Certainly HAPPY.  This bullet will be an entire blog post someday.  Maybe a book.  Maybe I'll finally write MY book.  And maybe this big piece to the Amanda puzzle that I'm kind of filling you in on (but not really), is just what I needed for everything.  More later.  
  • Where's the RUNNING RUNNINGHOOD?  Oh yes, running.  Hmmm, well, I'm being SMART here.  My left foot seems to go on and off with good and bad days when it comes to the discomfort I've been feeling.  I know how out of control Plantar Faciitis can get so I'm just keeping a level head about this.  I'm not going to just run through it and hope it goes away because that could keep me out of running for MUCH longer.  Rather, I'm sitting out until my foot is 100%.  I'm trying to remember to stretch, roll, tape, and send happy thoughts that way.  Ha!  I've been trying to get on the bike at the gym so that I can at least sweat and keep some fitness, despite the fact that I won't be fitting in my clothes in another week.  :)  Teasing.  I just need to find the balance between burning fewer calories, gaining MUCH fewer endorphins, eating appropriately, and doing the small things that REALLY ADD UP:  core work, stretching, icing, rolling, positive thinking and keeping my eye on the goal to get healthy.  PATIENCE.  I'm convinced that injury ALWAYS makes us stronger when we come out it.
  • Boston Registration.  I've officially decided to register for Boston 2013.  I won't be able to register until Friday since my qualifying time was only 7 minutes under.  So, I'm hopeful that I'll get in but if I don't, I'm okay with that too.  A few weeks ago, I wasn't going to register because of most likely moving to NC and not knowing what is in store for me with this Plantar Faciitis, etc.  But you know, I think I will kick myself if I don't at least TRY to get in and have the option to go.  I know myself...I can change my mind easily.  
  • One good thing that comes from no running:  I write more.  I used to say that running gave me the motivation to write.  But you know, not running much at all has meant so much more writing for me.  In my journals, on here, in e-mail.  The energy that would go into training has gone to my spirit and mind.  All sorts of ideas are rolling around up there in this head of mine and as long as I can get some exercise, I think this could be a good thing for my writing.  

I hear my son waking up.  Man, I got lucky.  He slept until 8:30!  And the girls are already at school.  And I got an entire blog post written even if it was just a bulleted ramble of random. But I'm beginning to see that my random rambling posts are often the posts where some of the biggest nuggets of treasure (my insights for myself) are buried.

  Some quick goals for this week and some for always:

  1. Listen (and look).  To life.  To the Universe.  To my Children.  To Messages/signs given along the way.  And to my inner voice.  
  2. Allow myself to FEEL LOVE.  Really and Truly.  Love from others and love from myself.  I. AM. Worthy.  Again, this goes deeper than just what I write here...another post for another time. But some BIG insights lately.  yay!  
  3. Get rid of GUILT!  Life is too damn short to always be feeling guilty about something.  Guilt for not exercising enough, guilt for not being a good enough mother, guilt for not eating the right foods, guilt for not writing that Thank You card, guilt for not ________.  Fuck You guilt.  And I'm not feeling guilty for saying that either.  Okay, maybe I'll come back and delete it.  Ha ha!  But not really, I think in this situation, with as strongly as I feel about this, the F word  is the perfect word to use.  And those of you that are offended, well, I can either hope that you can see that I have other sides and don't typically throw the F word around or maybe this isn't the blog for you.  
  4. Eat healthy, Be STILL more often (yoga, stretching, prayer), and find alternative ways to exercise.  
  5. Continue Being Open to Change and RECEIVING what comes my way.  
  6. Express Gratitude to the people in my life.    

Happy Monday!


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Friday, September 7, 2012

Wisdom of a Child. Listen and We Will Learn.

This has been sort of a crazy week.  School has started, I just returned from a trip, we're all adjusting to new schedules that involve less sleep and more GO GO GO, and my husband has been out of town all week.  Being the only parent around means that I've been just a little desperate for an escape.  By the time soccer practice is done, books are read, teeth brushed, bodies washed, jammies on, and kids are FINALLY in bed, I am DONE with KIDS. Okay, let's face it, not having my husband around all week to help out means that I'm pretty done even during the day when the kids are awake.  I zone out more, find myself checking e-mail more often because it is nice to hear from other adults, and I sometimes feel like I'm always "chasing a break" when I'm not chasing my children or running them around.  This can mean tuning out and MISSING out on the little life around me.  

After picking my middle daughter up from Kindergarten, we made our way home for lunch and some quiet time.  As I was cooking, I heard her say "Mom, don't you think the mistakes make it pretty?"  I was so glad that I was listening to her because I admit, I don't always really Listen even if I hear her. Sadly, so often my own head is so full that I'll respond with a hollow "Oh, yes!"  or an "That's cool honey" but the words just float over me and I never really slow down enough to absorb what she says.  But today I heard her words and they reached me. Fully.  At the time, I didn't know she was talking about her friendship bracelet she had made...the mistakes made it pretty.  I'm glad I didn't know exactly what she was talking about initially because her words alone really are so wise in context of life in general.  

Yes! Yes, the mistakes DO make it all prettier.  Without the mistakes and the imperfections in life, we'd never truly learn and become our best selves.  It is these flaws, stumbles, and failures that make us come out stronger in the long run.  It is our mistakes (that really aren't such "mistakes" after all) that make us grow and make life so so BEAUTIFUL.  I wouldn't trade my mistakes for the world.  

Today was just one of many days where I hear such wisdom come from children. I immediately wrote her words down in her special book that I keep for each of my children. It is filled with stories, pictures and other quotes from her wise little self....a treasure indeed! As a teacher, a mother, and someone that has been drawn to children all my life, I believe so deeply that God comes through children...their words, insights and the way they see the world.  If only we all were more child-like in wisdom and wonder.  If only we all (myself included) slowed down more often to truly LISTEN to what children say....the world would be a wiser place.  

Happy Friday,

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lessons of a Lifetime, Learning from Ourselves, and Receiving Others

Just a bit before 7 a.m

Seems like the kid dust has barely settled.
and yet it is almost time to stir them up again.

But I'm determined to make today a good day.
Sitting down for Breakfast and looking inside little eyes/souls.

So, in the minutes before my
"Good Morning Sunshines!"
I so desperately had hoped to do some writing that actually comes out flowing.

But...  Again, as is true with the last few days, every time I come here to write, I stumble over my words, things get stuck, and too much comes out of this head of mine.  Good stuff.  Fine stuff.  But LOTs of "stuff" in this head.  Seems like it has been that way for several months now.  My universe is shifting indeed.  Change is everywhere.  My eyes have been opened to new things.  And Running is on hold.  Until further notice.  I suppose this could have something to do with the writing/words not flowing....not having running in life changes lots of things.  But, you know, even then, good things come from it.  It's like I'm forced to slow down and put that energy into other things.  Just another season in life, right?

Yesterday, I woke up feeling like a huge carpet of possibility was stretched out before me.  So many possible changes coming up.  And a heart full of hope to go with it.  Excitement really.  A readiness like I haven't felt too many times before.  And with these feelings comes lots to process.  This can be emotional, as I've seen with myself over the last few months.  I can feel myself being stretched in ways that I didn't expect and certainly didn't go looking for.  I've been led to do some work within myself that I didn't know was even there to be done.  Good work.  Hard work even....the kind of work that involves the heart and soul.  And I can feel myself growing by the second.  Pretty cool feeling.  I'm grateful that Life waited for a time when I had some pretty special people in my world to be a part of it all.  People that have so fully and unconditionally wrapped themselves around me with love, appreciation and acceptance in a way that has left me feeling SAFE, challenged even, to unfold and take off another layer of Me.  Thankful for them.  Gifts in the highest sense.

As I tried to put things into words yesterday, I finally put it away and decided to wait.  Maybe just trying to write is processing enough. Even if what comes out is only a mountain for words all jumbled together.  At least it has led to some personal reflections that have been GOLD to me.

As part of my reflection, I am aware that the changes taking place in my heart/world are bigger than usual but changes are always taking place in our lives. Things we don't even notice.  Progress.  Growth.  Challenges.  Lessons.  New opportunity.  I've done SO much of my personal work (emotional, mental, spiritual) through my writing on this blog over the last two years.  It's been a piece of me and I've taught myself through my own words. This has been priceless to me.  I've written what I needed to know.  Even when what I needed to know wasn't going to be until days, weeks, months or years down the road.  Life is cool like that.

So, before I end this ramble and get my kids moving here, I'll end by including an excerpt from the piece I wrote for Sparrow Magazine about the Boston Marathon this year.  I do believe that this experience was so much more than a was one of the most powerful moments of my life.  One of the hardest for sure.  And it taught me lessons of a lifetime.  It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life...and I see that now.  LOTS has unfolded since April.  LOTS.  And Boston was only the beginning...but a necessary part to what is next.  It was comforting to me to go back and read the life lessons that I wrote about then....not knowing THEN that they would be lessons for me NOW and probably many times through the years.  Glad to reread my own insights:

They are life lessons worth remembering:
  • We are stronger than we think we are. When I get to those moments in life where I doubt there is anything left to give, there is always more.
  • We are not alone in life. Faith, friendship, and support of others around us will help us get through the difficult times. Friendship is one of of life’s richest blessings. There is great beauty and value in the support of a community.
  • Being REAL is a gift to ourselves and to those around us. When we share our heartbreaks and struggles and allow ourselves to admit that we feel broken, we reveal the human sides of ourself that so many can relate to. We open the doors to be loved.
  • We can always change and set new goals. Letting go of goals and changing expectations can lead to new possibilities. When one door closes, there are more to be opened.
  • Hardships make us stronger. Life doesn’t always go as planned but each new opportunity allows for growth. Every time we are tested with challenges, we rise stronger than before.
  • It’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to stop and be still. We don’t always have to be rushing from one goal to the next. We don’t always have to be climbing and soaring. Rather, there  will be those times in life where we just need to pick ourselves up and wrap ourselves in gentleness, acceptance, and the reassurance that it is okay to just “be”.
  • There are things we can control and things we can’t. What we can control is how we choose to react to the cards that are dealt.
The process of training for a marathon is so much more than just getting in shape so that we can make the distance of 26.2 miles. Training for a marathon doesn’t just start and stop. It changes us. We cross the finish line stronger, more determined and with a greater appreciation of what we are truly capable of. We test limits. We discover the depth of possibility in ourselves and in the life we have before us. Our goals aren’t always reached. And the doors we want opened the most, are sometimes closed and locked tightly. But in the end, there are always lessons to be learned and new doors to be opened that surprise us. I will forever be changed by what I learned in the Boston Marathon 2012. And I am only stronger for it.

I hope my spirit is always open to change.  It really is a beautiful thing to be at a point in my life where I can truly and fully, vulnerability, possibilities, relationships and lessons that were meant just for me.  And Then use them to grow.  Grateful for the possibilities that will always be stretched out before us if we are open to receiving them.   


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