Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Run in 2012, 20 miles, Sunshine in Portland!

My entire city was alive today.  Portland, Oregon was awake like I've never seen it before on a December Sunday.  The last Sunday in 2012.  MY Last run in 2012.  And my first 20 miler of this training season.  Couldn't have dreamed up a better kind of day to wrap up a year, finish up a 63 mile week of marathon training, and get in my first 20 miler.

Blue Skies... 8:41

Blazing Sunshine... 8:25

Not a Cloud to be seen... 8:24

Happy Bridges... 8:23

Dogs on Leashes... 8:29

Slow conversations ... 8:11

Smiles exchanged between people in the park.. 8:13

Lovers holding hands and stealing kisses while gazing at sailboats and mountains over water... 8:22

Old couples hand in hand... 8:28

Boats waving... 8:12

Buildings being seen instead of washed away in grey and rain... 8:23

Little kids on bikes... 8:21

A chorus of "On your Lefts" as cyclists zipped through lazy pedestrians with their face to the sky.. 8:15

Water bubbling under bridges... 8:21

Benches covered with friends... 8:28

Women sitting at picnic benches reading their phones and looking off into the distance... 8:19

A party of geese covering lawns and barely willing to share their path with people ... 8:26

A city alive with the gift of sunshine, so rare on a day like today...8:19

Every mile, easy and fully present...8:17

Thoughts focused on what a GIFT today is!  7:57

20 miles.. 8:21 average

I'm so glad for my 20 miler today.  It was easy, enjoyable, and GOSH, what a difference sunshine and blue skies makes!  It is so much better finishing up feeling dry and happy compared to sopping wet and cold from the rain and wind that I had expected to have today.  It also helped that this time I didn't have a few beers the night before like I did with my 18 miler two weeks ago.  I was able to run with a clear head and a strong body. Every mile was easy to just focus on the life around me on such a happy day. When I did find myself getting distracted in thought, I just reminded myself to focus on my Chi principles of breathing, relaxation, body sensing and meditation.  These words or cues always work great in getting me in my happy place with my run.  My goal here was for this first 20 miler to feel easy and to experiment with fueling.  I had water every 3 miles and a gel at mile 6 and 12.  No upset stomach and plenty of energy.  Feels good to not only end a 63 mile week this way but to have this be my last run in 2012 since tomorrow is my day off.

What a perfectly happy and enjoyable run to wrap up this interesting stretch of a year!  Here's to carrying this over with me to 2013!

What has or will be your last run of 2012?  
If you live in Portland, did you get outside today to enjoy this gift of a day?  

A Happy New Year wish in advance my friends!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Slowing Down and Enjoying the Process

Just a couple (of my MANY) random reflections from tonight that really should be posts in themselves but I'm tired, ready for a 20 miler tomorrow and just needing to process a bit before I head to bed:
  • Slowing Down.  I'm convinced that this year has opened my eyes to so so much.  One of the things it has made me so aware of is the power of slowing down before we can MOVE ahead.  I think this is true for running in the sense that I've finally learned the VALUE in the slow running so that I CAN get faster.  But more importantly, I see this being true with life.  Setbacks and slowing down in life can be frustrating and even painful but they bring with them life lessons, tools, reflection, etc.  that we need in order to be our best selves and forge on ahead to becoming who we are meant to be.  I've struggled a lot this year with some things I haven't talked a lot about with too many people.  Some situations that have really given me an emotional shake.  There were times this year I thought that maybe I was broken in my ability to reflect and come back to myself like I've always done quite quickly.  Things just seemed to drag on.  But lessons were being learned, wisdom gained, and my heart and soul getting stronger.  Now that I look back, I wouldn't trade anything for the world.  I've changed.  But for the better.  And I'm so glad I didn't try to plow through it all without taking the time to SLOW down and really BE WITH ME and process.  I'm thankful for the courage to be still this year.  The courage to cry and be weak. To wrap myself up in love. To admit that my heart hurt. The courage to ask for help. And the courage to finally cut some toxic friendships out of my life in order to keep my circle small but safe.  I'm thankful for  just knowing when I needed to slow down and BE.  I've learned so much. 

  • Enjoying the process.  Marathon training is going really well.  It is simple and I'm feeling fulfilled.  And each day that goes by leaves me feeling more and more driven and happy to be running again.  As the miles increase gradually and the workouts get a bit harder, I find myself just so happy to have something to work  helps me have a richer life. I'm finding myself quietly confident and trusting in myself and the plans that my coach gives me.  But when I think about WHY I train, I really don't think it is all about the end goal for me right now.  It isn't all about what happens on race day.  Yes, a Personal Best would be awesome.  Yes, getting faster is a plus.  However, that day doesn't take away from all that I am gaining right now. That day won't define me as a marathon runner, an athlete or a person.  Training is a process.  A journey.  Again, much like life when we hear the "Life is a Journey"'s not what happens at the end  but what happens along the way.  I feel like so much of training is about what we learn about ourselves and gain from the process of training.  Training just to train?  Maybe.  Do I think I have the potential to run a much faster marathon than I've run before?  ABSOLUTELY!  Do I feel the drive to do that right now?  Not so sure.  I'm really just happy with where I'm at.  I don't feel a huge hunger for chasing a BIG DREAM or GOAL other than to just continue to stay fit, be healthy, and ENJOY RUNNING while being the best mother, wife and friend that I can be to those MOST IMPORTANT to me.  Gosh, it is such a gift!  The freedom to just be content and, of course, the gift to just RUN!  


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dear Amanda...Letter to Myself

Dear Amanda,

It's been three years since you've started a new journal.  You've filled those pages with so much of your life...your dreams, goals, gratitude, LOVES, heartbreak, prayers, letters to your sweet children and you've included space for your Loves to write to you.  Now is time to start a new book..a new chapter in your life.  There couldn't be a better time as now to begin this new book..a new book literally and figuratively.  

As you wrap up 2012 and get ready for 2013, you move past so much. Lots shared.  But so much private.  Just as you get to leave so much behind, you take with you some of life's GREATEST lessons.  As you move forward in life, get ready for a move to North Carolina and reflect on your past few years, remember the good with the beautiful, with the brave, with the painful and confusing...Remember all that life has shown you.  Look for the magic--the extraordinary in your ordinary--the gifts of lessons that are yours if you are brave enough to see them and embrace them even if they don't all make sense right this second.  They are all lessons for YOU.  All that has come in the years so far has led to MORE unfolding...more love, more life, more...of Amanda. MORE, even when it seemed like less at the time. 

I love you, myself.  I love you so much.  You are worthy of all the magic life has to offer.  Open your heart. You can LOVE so much.  LOVE is always good.  It shouldn't be contained or is free and powerful and meant to be shared.  Don't limit that.  Don't let fear limit you in life.  There is so much to be found when we push past that wave of fear. You have wisdom for what is right. Trust. Dream big.  Love deeply.  Hold your family and Loves tightly...they are GIFTS in the highest sense.  Tell people what they mean to you.  Believe in the extraordinary.   

Get rid of limits us.
              Fear is a liar.


You are capable of whatever you dream of.

       Write your own story.
               Use your GIFTS.

Give back.  

            Open your HEART.

                                       Embrace LOVE.


                               Expect Magic...even when others think you're crazy.  


                           Accept EXTRAORDINARY.  


                You are made to LOVE and be LOVED. 

Live BOLDLY.  

                           Surround yourself with POSITIVE people.  

Never stop LEARNING.

Be the CHANGE.  
                                               See Yourself.  Show Yourself to Others.  LEARN TOGETHER.

Acknowledge EMOTIONS...they are there to teach us and help us grow.  LIVE with them as they come.  

                                              Love Always,

                                             Amanda Jean

Ending one journal.  Starting a new one.  Seems like the perfect time in life to start fresh.  

Kristy from Breath of Sunshine just left the following in a comment.  I love love love it:

Quote from the book Wild:

"Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one woman are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave...Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn't long before I actually wasn't afraid."

Friday, December 21, 2012

PMS in My 30's, Training With Kids, and Never Trust a Quiet House

I'm convinced that I shouldn't be allowed to make big decisions on at least 3 or 4 days of every month.  Women in their 30's with PMS are a dangerous and unpredictable phenomenon that should NOT be taken lightly!  I already feel sorry for my husband once our daughters approach the teenage years. And can someone please tell me why it is that women who spend a lot of time together end up having darn near the same cycle?  What is that? And why does this woman hormone thing seem to just get worse with age?  I woke up this morning thinking that I was going to delete my blog.  Not just a post or two but the whole thing.  No more Runninghood.  Yup.  Why?  Hmmm, good question.  Irrational hormonal behavior during this time cannot be explained.  There is no rhyme or reason.  It just is.  And it usually takes me at least 2 or 3 days of swinging around on my hormones, seeing my emotions spill all over the floor and changing my moods as quickly as I change outfits before a party before I realize that I'm wrapped up in PMS.  Gosh, being a woman is so awesome.  So, I'm not going to delete my blog today.  Maybe tomorrow.  We'll see how irrational I get.  Ha!  Instead, I'm going to write a list of random things that come flowing out of my head.  I think that this type of writing helps myself and my family.  It helps me because I process well with writing and connecting with people and I usually feel better afterwards.  And it helps my family because...well, when I feel better, everyone feels better.  Win win.

  • Just finished 10 miles in 1:19.  Had no choice but to do it on the treadmill today and honestly, it worked better for this workout than it would have if I were outside in my hilly neighborhood.  Went something like this:  2 miles @8:20; 2 miles 8:06; 2 miles 7:54; 2 miles 7:42; 2 miles 7:30 at a 1% incline.  
  • Happy to be done with my run today.  It was hard work for me and I realize how far I am from marathon shape.  However, I am going to try to snap out of the negative thinking of how much harder my paces feel now compared to last spring, etc. and focus on celebrating that I am nailing the workouts my coach is giving me.  I need to trust the plan.  
  • Someone asked me the other day if I thought the treadmill was easier than the road.  It depends what day you ask me.  Today the treadmill felt way harder for me.  
  • What did my kids do while I ran? They played with shovels, dug holes in the front yard, and buried grass seed with the neighbors (my treadmill looks out to the front yard from my garage).  They were dreams all day!  LOVED it.  My oldest played teacher with the two younger ones and I actually got a lot of quiet time. This was much better than yesterday when I found myself with a peaceful house.  My daughters were quietly reading on the floor next to me and my son was using the bathroom.  I found myself so relaxed that I was dosing off into a little power nap.  I should know by now...NEVER TRUST QUIET if my son is awake.   Love him.  I do, I do.  He will be successful someday, I'm certain of this.  For now, he is a beautiful boy of a handful.  

And now, this is where I pretend that I've been back here in my room/bathroom showering the whole time instead of leaving my husband with the kids as soon as he walked in the door. Yup, I'm supposed to be be back here getting ready to head out for some family memory making instead of wasting my time  writing a blog post that didn't need to be written and that nobody will read anyway since it is Friday evening during the holidays when everyone is getting ready for fancy parties and last minute shopping...yaddi yaddi ya.  But I feel better to have let my fingers move across my keyboard a little so that counts for something, right?  As for the PMS?  Well, it's still here.  

Happy Friday! 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Silent Night of a Run and a Vlog

Heartbreak changes us. It makes us see things differently.  We grow.  We shift.  Things take on a new light as we breathe in the world around us.  The past few weeks have been somewhat of a quiet reflection for me as I look back over this year and even the past four or five years. This year has changed me.  I've grown in ways I never expected and come to realize things about life and myself that seem so clear now but that I was so far from seeing before.  And since Friday, so much much more has changed.  In all of us.

But Running seems to be a way to help with making sense of it all.

Tonight was one of those runs that was a gift. A time of meditation and remembrance. Eight slow miles of peace.  Calm. HEALING.  At about mile 3 that I found myself on a path that headed up into the hills of a neighborhood away from the streets and it was then I realized what a gift of a night it really was:

The clouds above me were like a thick blanket,
covering me in peace.
The rain that poured HEAVILY over us all day
Had stopped.
Not one drop.
The air was clear and cool.
Christmas lights peeking through the houses, with their backs to me, as I made my way past them,
Quietly observing.
Dinner time,
Families coming home,
Lights flickering on
in the increasing darkness.
So Quiet.
So Still.
I've never run on such an unusually quiet night. On a night that I expected the exact opposite as I quickly threw on my running clothes in preparation for braving some rain and wind. I had hoped to just "get it over with" but instead I found myself not wanting the run to end.   It was as if the world was taking a moment of silence. And yet continuing on as normal with their family time and coming home from their busy days away.
I was an outsider,
Looking IN.
A run
So simple.
But so healing and happy.
Heartbreak far away.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So Random...It's a Bullet Point Kind of Day

Completely random:

  • I know I'm not alone when I say that I've felt somewhat raw since Friday in hearing about the shooting in Connecticut.  At the same time that my heart hurts, I've been touched deeply by the beautiful demonstrations of loving humanity.  So many have come together, reached out to others in ways they haven't before, and there is an understanding that connects us all.  We hurt.  We hope.  We look ahead with love.
  • Marathon training is starting to pick up.  With that comes more mileage and starting to add some threshold and marathon pace in the mix.  I've done very little of these things.  Next to none actually.  My main focus has been easy running and getting my first 18 miler in.  
  • I was certainly sore after my 18 miler on Sunday.  And I was a big whiner about it as I walked around like a duck yesterday.  My body was just a little irritated with me but it has forgiven me today.  
  • Always learning.  I'm one who really just likes to run without thinking too much about data, heart rate, etc.  It is hard to gage "Easy" pace without analyzing some of the data.  Easy can feel easy but really be too fast for optimal training.  I'm going to try to keep my easy pace just a bit slower than what I might think is easy.  I know, that doesn't make much sense.  But it does to me.  And since I'm really the one that reads and writes this blog, it works.  
  • My feet feel a tad "off".  Could be from running the 18 miles in old Pure Flows.  
  • Today I broke out what I thought would be my very last pair of Brooks Launch, my favorite Brooks shoe.  But then I saw that Brooks is bringing the Launch back!   Great news!  
  • Workout today:  10 miles in 1:20:50.  Mostly easy miles with some threshold miles thrown in there.  Felt great.  4 miles @8:34 to 8:42; mile @7:09; .5 easy; mile @7:09; .5 easy; mile @7:09; .5 easy; mile@7:09; finished until 10.  
  • I was very happy with the way a 7:09 feels right now.  I would have expected it to feel harder.  Especially considering that yesterday my legs were still pretty sore.  
  • With increased mileage and still being a busy mom, things get tricky.  This is especially true with winter break coming up.  2 weeks with kids home all day means very little time for me and I have to be quite creative to fit in my runs.  Oh, and goodbye road...hello treadmill...all of the time except weekend. But, I wouldn't trade any of this for anything else.  I love my life and love that I have the choice to train for a marathon.
  • Obviously , I could choose to get up super early like  5 a.m to run outside and be back by 7 in time for my husband to leave for work.  But, I choose not to make that choice.  Running doesn't take top priority in my life.  Training is actually a ways down the life totem pole right now.  I like sleep and my 6:30 coffee/writing/quiet time way too much to give it up in exchange for running outside in the dark, cold, wet morning.  Kudos to those that do this.  
  •  Marathon training has taken a new place in my life this time around.  You know, a PR would be great but to be so honest, that's isn't what this is about for me at this point in my life.  My training has become so much more of a process for outlet.  It is my "something" to work towards to keep me on track for being my best self.  Yes, race day will hopefully be wonderful.  Fast.  Happy.  A chance to see so many pieces come together.  But no matter what happens on race day, it is this time leading up to race day that really matters to me.  Training gives me more drive for every other area of my life.  
  • Winter with kids while living in a small house can be a little crazy for me.  There aren't a lot of opportunities to go outside and run and play with all the rain we get so a lot of our time is spent trying to be creative with things to do and places to go. I do admit, the television/screen time is used way more often than I prefer.  It still isn't on very often at all but when I have to fit a run in and my kids are going stir crazy, I have that in my back pocket as an option. 
  • There are so many other options that are WAY better than T.V/shows/movies for kids.  Some of our favorites:  stringing beads on pipe cleaner, painting rocks, making forts, READING to and with your kid so that they will want to read by themselves, playing with a tub of rice or beans on the kitchen floor, blocks, legos, drawing, etc. etc.  But gosh, sometimes a mom just gets TIRED and needs a piece of the day without a child making noises, messes, causing fights, asking for snacks, spilling water, or needing you.  
  • Sibling Fighting.  Are my kids the only ones?  Please tell me it isn't so.  Ugggh.  Enough said.  
  • Change.  Lots of changes coming.  Lots of changes already taking place.  Lots of changes this year.  In my heart, how I see things (perspective), where we will live soon, and so many other things.  Good and Bad.  But mostly good.  In the end, even the bad turns out to be good because we learn from experiences.  And wow, I've learned a lot this year. 
  • As the time for our move to Asheville, NC quickly approaches, I am reminding myself to take life one day at a time.  I'm trying to live for the present moments and do what I can when I can on the day I can.  So each day I am trying to tell myself to break it up and focus on :   "Today I Will... "

So even though it is already nearing 5:00 and the day is nearly done, it is still Today and Today I Will:

  • Cook something for dinner.  Probably chicken and quinoa again.  :)  
  • Multi-task while cooking and clean the house up really quick to make it look like I've been slaving away all day.  Ha!  No, really, I have.  
  • Give some very focused and Intentional love to my son who is about to kick his sister's Lincoln Log cabin over and cause any kind of havoc he can because he wants some attention.  Oh, this child of mine.  Love him so much.  But gosh, raising him is the hardest thing I've ever done in life.  But rewarding beyond belief.  What a little fire cracker.  
  • Turn up some favorite music and have the kids dance for me while I cook dinner.  
  • Continue my house and neighborhood search for when we move across the country.  
  • Tell my husband how much I love and appreciate him when he gets home.
  • Write/e-mail 2 to 4 friends or family members who I haven't had contact with in awhile and tell them I love them and what they mean to me.  We aren't doing Christmas cards this year for the first time in 8 years so I'm feeling a definite need for connecting.  
  • Roll my feet out and massage my legs.   
  • Cuddle up with my current novel and a cozy blanket after the kids are in bed. 

Now, how about that dinner...

Happy Wednesday,

Sunday, December 16, 2012

18 miles, Brooks ID, and Time in Portland

And here is one very cold and sopping wet pile of running clothes.  The remains of a very rainy 18 mile run.  My first 18 miler of this training cycle.  8:12 average.  It was the longest I've run since July 4th for the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon.  Same shoes, in fact, and these shoes had their last run today. They are officially "mileaged out".  I don't keep track of the miles on my shoes but from the looks of the bottoms and considering that I ran my last marathon in them, I'd say they are ready for the big box of shoes going to recycled shoe heaven.

My 18 miler today wasn't anything fancy but it was an important run to get under my belt.  It was just supposed to be easy miles.  And for the first 15 or so, it did feel pretty easy.  But those last 3 miles didn't feel so good. And I certainly can "feel" the fact that I took so much time off running.  Perhaps it was the fact that my entire body was cold to the core, my feet throbbing and feeling on the verge of blister city, or my stomach nauseous from the gels and sports beans I tried (and the few beers I may or may not have had at the Christmas party the night before), but it is done!  18 done and in the bag.  Somebody please assure me that by March I will want to run a marathon.  Because I feel so far from marathon shape still.  I mean, I could complete a marathon but to actually feel ready to race one?  That's a different story.  I suppose that's what training is help us keep getting stronger.  And today was a big run for me in getting into marathon shape. Especially with having those last 3 miles to push through even though I wasn't feeling well.  

Splits from today (all easy except the last 3...they didn't feel easy):  8:14; 7:59; 7:58; 8:13; 8:10; 7:55; 8:17; 8:06; 8:05: 7:56; 8:06; 8:08; 8:05; 8:20; 8:19; 8:33; 8:22; 8:50

Brooks ID Program

I'm super excited to share the news that I will be sponsored by Brooks Running again for 2013.  I'm honored to represent such a great running company through the Brooks ID program.  This news has certainly helped me continue to RUN HAPPY.  Thank you Brooks!  I can't wait to try out the new Brooks Pure Flow to replace the purple ones in the picture at the top.

Portland Cello Project 

On Friday night, we took the whole family to see the Portland Cello Project perform a Beck the Halls concert at the Aladdin Theater here in Portland, Oregon.  My son didn't last very long but he managed to sit through the first half.  By that time, all three of the kids were ready to go but I CERTAINLY WAS NOT!  So, my wonderful husband took the kids to the car and waited for me so that I could enjoy it a bit more.  I allowed myself to get lost in the music and let it wash over me...over all of us as we grieve over the recent shootings.  It was a time to enjoy the music but remember and pray.

Night in our OWN City

My husband and I took the kids to spend the night with their Aunt and cousins last night so that we could head downtown for a cruise on the waterfront for a work Christmas party.  I knew I had 18 miles ahead of me the next morning so I had a water, beer, water, water, beer, water pattern going on.  Probably for the best that I didn't drink more than a couple drinks since I usually end up sticking my foot in my mouth.  Well, I do that anyway.

It was so nice to just enjoy our alone time without kids and have a hotel in our own city even though we only live 7 to 10 miles from downtown.  It made us wonder why we don't do this type of mini-vacation more often.  This morning we had a leisurely breakfast and then a walk to a coffee shop where we read and watched people out the window.  It was like being in our 20's again ...before kids!

Spanish coffee, city lights, a hot date....perfect!  The Spanish coffee wasn't mine though...but I had a few sips.  

It was so cold and windy!!  I could barely stand there for the picture...pretty sure my knees are knocking together and why they look so funny in the picture.  Brrrrr!

I had a long list of random bullets that I was thinking about today but apparently, I'm tired from my 18 miles and/or no longer needing to process any of them so I'm thinking SLEEP sounds like the perfect recovery step after a long run and an emotional week.

Love, Peace, and Healing to all who are hurting right now. I've seen so many of us come together the past few has been a beautiful reminder of all the GOOD in the world that continues to give us all hope and comfort.


Friday, December 14, 2012

There Are No Words Great Enough...and Yet We Try. It's What We Have.

There are no words for today's news.  There are no words that can possibly express the full grief and pain that has washed over all of us with the news of what has happened in Connecticut. If you use any kind of social media at all, you can't help but notice the outpouring of voices.  Crying out. The moms, dads, grandparents, teenagers...the people, like you and me, that have had their breathe taken away today.  Yes, there are no words that can possibly explain such devastation and heartbreak.  Such senseless violence.  No words big enough.  No words strong enough.  But yet, words are what we have. Words are what seems to bring so much of us some sort of comfort or connectedness. I'm thankful for the words that do come.  I'm thankful for the words that give us words when he don't have any.  For the words that wash over me like an embrace and a kiss on the cheek when I'm thinking of my own children, my own kinder who is at the school behind my house.  For the words.

The words from you,

That made me 

There are no words great enough.  And yet we try.  It's what we have.  

I'll end this post with the words from a good friend.  His words weren't easy for him to write..showing a side of himself so raw. But his words gave us words today and I was thankful for them in addition to so many others that gave my weeping heart a voice.  

"As I sit here with my arms wrapped around my 3 year old and 8 month old grand girls, watching the unfolding news from Connecticut, I am filled with unspeakable sadness and despair. My heart goes out to those parents, Grandparents, families who are experiencing such senseless and profound loss. I find myself weeping, not able to explain to my grandchildren why grandpa has tears. At the same time I
am consumed with an astounding anger. If I were in the presence of the killer(s), I would beat them senseless. Without hesitation, without remorse, I would kill them with my bare hands... Then my brain and my heart meet where the tear traces down the cheek and I chose to love, to be in control, to live by a moral code that allows us to live together in community, seeking both justice and reconciliation ..."

My heart goes out to all of us who are hurting.  Especially the people who have lost a child today.  The teachers and school staff that lost beautiful shining souls of students. The surrounding communities close and far that grieve and feel fear and loss.  There are no words.  But yet, we try. And this brings comfort.   


After note:  Just as my friend quoted above had no words for his grandchildren at being caught off guard by what he saw on t.v, I'm sure many of you have been caught off guard as well.  During this time, I think it is so important for us to remember that our children are...children.  They are young, fragile, sensitive and they don't need to know the details that even we are having a hard time with.  Our anxiety and the way we talk in front of them certainly affects them in more ways than we realize.   So, t.v is off and I'm keeping this topic under wraps.  I think it is okay for our kids to hear that we are sad about something in this world...for them to see our tears...but I do keep reminding myself just how young my little ones are.  A helpful link on what to tell our kids:  Connecticut School Shooting: What to Tell Your Kids.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Real Deal Wednesday. And a Shoe Problem? Nah!

My mom made a comment to me the other day about how all the pictures I post of my house make it look so clean and beautiful.  She was suggesting that maybe they don't quite paint the REAL picture of how she sees my house when she visits.  Ha!  So, this morning was a normal morning for me:  waiting until 7:30 to wake the girls up for school so that I can have just a few more minutes of alone time and then trying to fit in the following before getting them out the door at 7:55:  pick out outfits, help girls get dressed, feed them breakfast, make lunches, look up schedules on the computer, help with hair and teeth brushing, write notes, find a joke to send them to school with and still try to help them make a goal or leave with something positive to think about.  And this picture above is pretty much how my kitchen looks once I've closed the door after waving goodbye.  The REAL DEAL.  Here you go mom.  This is why I don't cook...I'm just a trail of open cabinets, unsealed containers, lids off whatever I used, random crap all over the counter from all my multitasking..ridiculous! I'm thinking the vaseline, socks, tape, toys, and brush are things that most people might have on a kitchen counter?  Hmmm.  At least I had the broom out and ready to clean.  This image is kind of similar to what it might feel like  being inside my head. But I work well with this.  And most of the time I'm rather efficient, thank you very much.  To think this kitchen was half clean 15 minutes before the picture was taken.  But the kids left smiling, with clean teeth, a kid joke to tell at school and feeling loved.  Score.  Winner.  Now comes the aftermath.  

And in addition to my kitchen issue, I just might have some shoe issues.  If you're a runner, you will agree that my problem isn't in the amount of shoes I go through.  After all, each shoe only has so many miles before one should replace them.  My problem might just be the fact that I have such attachment issues with my Brooks shoes and can't bring myself to get rid of them right away.  The picture only shows half of them.  Good grief.  When you spend so much time with a shoe doing something you love so much, your shoe kind of tells a story.  I can tell you something about each of these shoes...what I was going through in life, who gave them to me, what race I ran in them, what certain marks are from, etc.  But alas, I must get rid of things before our big move so time to make decisions here.  And I keep thinking I can squeeze out a few more miles in them.  Can you tell what my favorite Brooks shoe is?

1.  What is your favorite running shoe?  Do you have lots of of old shoes around the house or are you good at recycling them when you get new ones?  
2.  Would love to see some of your real deal house photos that show your real life...the part that nobody else sees.  I think we'd all agree that we are not is nice to see that others don't always have a Martha Stuart looking home.  So, if I get enough of you to send me some REAL DEAL HOME photos, I'll post them all together...come on , snap a picture of your bathroom, bedroom, play room, kitchen, etc....just as it is.  Make a girl feel better.  


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Being STILL with Marathon Training, Life Memories, and Photos From Girl Trip

Marathon Training.  12 weeks to go.  My typical Tuesday would involve me lacing up my Brooks Launches or Pure Flows, pulling on some running tights, slapping on a stinky hat to cover my so-not-meant-for-public face, dropping off my preschooler at 9:00, fitting in a good workout of up to 10 miles at max before jumping in the car and heading to pick my kinder up at 10:30.  Then home to shower, feed her something, and make it back out the door to pick up my preschooler by 11:30.  Fitting in marathon training as a busy mom who also wants to be "ON" in the mom department, means MULTI TASKING and being EFFICIENT.  I can't miss a beat or my windows of opportunity are gone.  But sometimes those days come (like today) when  it takes just as much drive and good sense to let a workout go and allow myself to just "BE STILL".  Just as I rarely regret a workout and making myself get out there and get it done, I also know when my body and spirit are needing some down time and I won't regret giving myself that either.  It takes strength to give ourselves this calm time and skip a run when we need to. It is a definite art in knowing ourselves as athletes...individuals...and meeting our own needs.  There is a time to be driven and "ON, ON, ON", nailing every agenda and feeling like we are ahead of the game and a time to just wrap ourselves up in a warm blanket of "just being" without having to do anything at all.  This is equally as important to a good training cycle as meeting every single workout on the plan just because it is written down.

So, yes, I'm off today.  I have my jazzy holiday music on, the heat turned up, my favorite coffee mug filled with hot coffee, and snuggled up in quiet.  I'm not answering the phone or returning text messages for a bit and I'm letting everything go except my time with ME.  Lots to process for me after such a rich girl trip this weekend. A trip that was impulsively planned and one I needed greatly. I went to see a very dear friend who I actually met through this blog in 2010 but grew to know on an entirely different level in a very short time.  She has now grown to be one of my best friends.  Almost more like family really.  Someone I consider to be a life gift.  In returning from my weekend of being just with her, I'm feeling a little sad, a lot FULL in a soul sense, and just quietly contemplative about life, friendship, goals, etc.  It is surely a time to Be Still for me.

Random Bullets: 

In my Stillness, which often (for me) means writing, I might just break out the bullets here since I have to pick my daughter up in fifteen minutes.

  • My time in Minneapolis was LOVELY.  Girl time with no agenda.  Sushi, nice hotel, snow!, running through the city and around the lakes, good beer, sharing my deepest thoughts, and just feeling loved and loving back.  
  • Marathon training is going good.  Steady.  Conservative.  But I'm glad for the low key so far.  Easy pace is getting faster but still easy. :)  Love that!  Seeing lots of 7:45's creep in there (and feel comfortably easy) but still trying to keep it all around 8-8:20.  I have plenty of time. 
  • The big goal for this week is to have a recovery week of sorts with the 18 miler this weekend being my key workout.  
  • No big goals right now really.  My biggest goal is just to keep on running and feeling good.  It is the process for me this time.  Not so much what will come with a marathon time at the end.  I honestly can say right now that I'm not focused on a number goal.  
  • I'm starting to really get scared about moving to NC.  Just so much ambiguity.  I know I will feel much more brave when I can start finding rentals and seeing everything fall into place.  My husband keeps convincing and reminding me that this will be a good change.  I know I'll make friends find ways to get involved.  Change is scary sometimes! We are such creatures of habit.
  • Thankful. For so much.  Especially inner strength and the voice of reason that comes to me when I need it most.  Thankful for safe friends who let us crumble and are there to help us up.  
  • ICE CREAM Memory.  So, a friend shared a very special memory from her childhood with me about how her parents surprised her and her siblings one night with a surprise trip to ice cream.  This memory stuck with her always because of how they grew up poor and didn't get to do that sort of thing.  I am always thinking about special things to do for and with my kids to make special memories.  I realized that they rarely get to just go to ice cream.  We just aren't a "go to ice cream" family.  So last night I told them to get their jammies on and get ready for bed.  Then I very seriously told them that they needed to get their shoes on because we were going to ice cream.  Ha!  So much better than Disneyland (no joke)...they were jumping and screaming and so beyond excited just to be doing something that they rarely get to do.  My oldest daughter kept thinking that she was dreaming. Ha!  So funny to me because I never really think that something this simple can be so big to them!  I'm so used to saying no to things...especially things that involve eating junk.  I even let them get the big sprinkle cones that I would usually say NO to...just to say no.  It was truly a  magical memory being made.  And it made me glad that we don't do that sort of thing all the time.  So simple but so special to them because of how rare we do it. To think we could have saved that money we spent at Disneyland and just went to ice cream!  Last night will truly go down as one of our favorite family moments and it was so so simple and inexpensive.  
Some random pictures from this weekend:  

My firs time in the Minneapolis skyways...The whole downtown is connected by these skywalks.  Whatever you call them...I thought they were pretty cool!  Although it was more fun walking outside in the cold and snow.  LOVE.

LOVE HER!  So much joy and laughter here.  We may or may  not have been on the hotel hallway floor.  Hmmm.

Oh look, I can blow on the windows and write!  Doesn't always get cold enough in Portland for this.  

Jenn pretending she can use a map effectively! Ha! I suppose I was no better though since I tried to get us lost in a blizzard on Saturday night.  

Beautiful Jenn.  Love. 

Not the best pic of me but this was one of the only running shots we got.  9 slow miles through the city at night.  We were dressed almost identical in our Brooks gear (unplanned)...all the way down to the red Brooks Launches.

And this one?  Not sure what it was all about.  But I do remember laughing.  

Thankful for this time to be still and process my thoughts.  Glad to know myself enough to know when I need the downtime that is unscheduled.  Glad that I can give myself this time....freely.   Such a full heart today.  Happy.  Content.  A little raw here as I am climbing out of some sensitive months but so glad for today and new beginnings on the horizon.  And especially thankful for FRIENDSHIPS that have become family to me along the way.

Happy Tuesday,