Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Almost a New Year! #Run1 with Run With Me Kids

It's almost 2015!  As I sneak in just a few minutes here in between family and friend visits in Portland, I'm realizing more than anything how excited I am for a NEW YEAR!  A fresh start!  A time to get more serious with training and goals! Yes, January 1st is just another day and it's not like my old goals and plans disappear, but there's something about finishing up with the holidays and seeing a new year on the calendar that just makes everything feel like a clean slate!  One of the things I'm most excited about for the new year is to continue working with Tia from Arkansas Runner Mom as we kick off the Run with Me Kids community online (www.runwithmekids.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) as well as keep going with our research/writing on building healthy life habits with kids and encouraging families to stay healthy and active together!  
One way we are spreading the word about Run with Me Kids (RWMK) and promoting kids and parents being active and healthy together is to kick off the new year with a virtual fun run: #Run1!  Please join us and help spread the word!  We'd love to see families from all over the globe participating! Here's more info:  
#Run1 is a combination of two things: family & fitness.  We are encouraging everyone to spend time with their family and commit to running or walking one mile together on January 1st.  There is no fee for this virtual run.  You don't need to register or raise money for anything.  Our main goal is to promote kids being active and healthy, and who better than to teach them this than their parents?

We would love for everyone who participates to tag a picture of you with your runners on social media with #Run1 or #RunwithMeKids.  We are on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.  The Run with Me Kids community will vote on a winning photo and the winner will receive a new pair of running shoes for their child!  The winner will be announced on 1/15/15.

Thank you to those who have helped us spread the word about RWMK and Run 1!  Thank you also to Cassie from Run with My Girl for helping us spread the word and sharing our vision for happy active families!  It's been so great to read about what she has done in her community when it comes to empowering parents and kids to get active together with running and life habits!  We look forward to working with you more Cassie!  She also set up a Facebook event for Run1 where she says:
"Mom, Dads, teens, tweens, kids, stroller kids, babes...Kick off 2015 together! On January 1 join us with @runninghood @arrunningmom and @runwithmekids in creating a coast to coast movement with our kids, young, old and in between! 1....that's all it takes! Run/walk 1 or more miles on January 1 and post them with the tag #run1 , #runwithmygirl or #runwithmekids. Post and tag your photos to motivate the active family movement and be entered to win running shoes!"
You can read more about Run 1 on www.RunwithMeKids.com!  
Hope everyone has had such a good winter break/holiday!  We just escaped a big winter snow storm in Bend, OR and are enjoying sunshine and blue skies in Portland (rare for winter here)!  Maybe the sunshine will stick around so we can all Run 1 together as a family before heading back home to winter wonderland!  Even if it does return to typical rain and gray...what's one mile in the rain?!  
Will you join in this virtual fun run and #Run1 with your family?  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Few Words Friday with Pictures and Captions

I have very little time to write a post here.  In fact, I should probably be making lunches, finishing teacher letters, herding kids, and gearing up for this busy last Friday until Holiday break!!  Seriously, not sure how we will fit it all in today.

Lots of holiday fun (and stress) happening for all of us I'm sure.  I just keep reminding myself that holidays should be joyful, not stressful and that I need to let things go!  Like holiday cards...for the third year in a row.  But my husband really wanted to send a small amount of cards out this year.  So, we made it happen in the 20 minutes we had from getting all three kids home from school right before I needed to leave again to drop my oldest off for gymnastics.  It was hilarious actually.  We found the tripod, got dressed semi-descent, convinced all three kids to mostly cooperate and picked up a plan for the dog (we'd use pine cones as his attention grabber...just like his ball).  One problem.  We couldn't find the camera.  I started to get annoyed but before I could throw a mommy/wife fit and go on a rant about how nobody else did their part to be prepared (yes, I'm kind of in that mode the last few days..poor family), my husband had his phone camera taped onto the tripod and we were kind of ready to roll!   The kids were themselves and the dog sat for the timer (really, he sat for the pine cones he was focused on) after lots of orders to "stay" and "sit".  All five of us were shouting the orders so I'm pretty sure the neighbors wondered what was going on.  It was our version of Christmas Caroling.  We only had time for a handful of shots but we got pictures that were GOOD ENOUGH! In fact, I'm kind of digging the imperfections this year...blurry faces, closed eyes, last minute (I mean really last minute...right down the wire with closing time...and way more stress involved than needed) Costco cards with a print that I really don't like but chose because it worked good enough and I was out of time!

My fourteen mile run yesterday sure does help make these busier days run so much smoother!  Even though I was near tears yesterday with trying to fit everything in with the kids, and the stupid lists (after all the time it took to run), the endorphins were capped off at a nice level!! Oh, and I ran along some of the most beautiful trails I've seen yet since moving to Bend in August so this was SOUL Food!

This spot is around mile 7 of my run yesterday.  Right before I turned around to make my 14.  I'm pretty sure this is darn near at the top of the list when it comes to the most beautiful parts of the trails I've run on since moving to Bend!  I took off at a spot off Hwy 20 near Meadow Camp and ran down to the Deschutes River Trail.  Wow!!  It's almost as if this section had its own mini ecosystem.  More like the lush forests near Portland and down the Oregon coast.  So odd for the high desert Central Oregon trails.  This trail is incredibly diverse..starting at the top and dropping down to meadows, up rocky mountain sides, along the river, and so much more.  So HUMBLING for long run pace...I had my Garmin on for distance and wish I would never look at the pace because it's so so slow!!  My dog was in heaven...he had to have run at least 20 miles to my 14 with all his up and down, back and forth, running off with other dogs, and continuing to run circles around me.  

The starting point to my run.  Much more typical terrain for the trails here in the high desert of Central Oregon.

  Lots of this other stuff going on too:

A beautiful Sunday RunHappy run along the trails at Shevlin Park. This was taken on an icy bridge over Tumalo Creek.

Easiest kid-made ornaments ever.  Air dry clay, fingers for prints to make the heart, a pencil to put the hole for string, and a toothpick to write on the back!  

Thanks to Laura from Mommy Runs Fast, we had a fun recipe for gingerbread cookies.  I wasn't in the mood to do this at all and really kind of dreaded it but as soon as we started, my bad mood faded and I was warmed by the experience!

Final bullet points:

  • Kids made mosaic frames and boxes for their teachers this year along with a heartfelt card.  Note to self, wash the grout off BEFORE it dries!!  It really isn't fun to have to sand it down after the fact!  ugh.  
  • My gift to the teachers this year was a letter from my heart telling them how thankful I am.  This was so EASY with my oldest daughter's teacher.  Wow, wow, wow, and then some.  The whole school and staff, really. 

I'm officially out of time. Maybe even running late.  But if I kick it into warp speed, we will rock this morning and make it a wonderful day!  Oh, and thank goodness the HAT was invented for days I don't have time to wash my hair (um, that might be more days than not).

Wishing you and yours so much PEACE and JOY!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Potty Trained My Firstborn with Raisins. Oh How Parenting Changed with the Other Kids.

Lots of things have changed as my kids get older compared to my ideas of how things would be when I was new to motherhood but in the end, the thing that stays the same is how much I love these guys!  

When I had my first child (and even before), I had a very clear idea of how I wanted to parent. You name the topic and I most likely had a strong opinion: screen time, sugar, cloth diapers vs. regular, breast feeding, child birth, organic foods, potty training, sleep training, etc.  I wasn't critical of how others chose to do things with THEIR kids but I was opinionated about how I wanted to do things with MY kids. I pushed my first born out and was ready to rock it from day one!  And I was convinced I'd carry on with my approaches with all of my kids.  Even with the youngest.  Wow. Oh, how funny this is to me now that I am a mother of three.  Going on almost ten years later with two girls (9 and 7) and a boy (5), and I can see that no matter how good my intentions were, things just change for us as parents as we have more kids and the reality of parenthood and childhood sets in.  My son (third child) is proof of this.  With the third child, we've just become a little more...relaxed about things.  Ok, relaxed isn't the right word because I'm far from relaxed most days.  We've become tired.  Adapted to a more balanced approach to parenting.  Realized that our kids won't die if we slack on a few things.  In fact, they are alive and thriving without fried brains DESPITE the sugar, screen time, disposable diapers, drinking out of plastic cups that may or may not be BPA free, and the fact that they went a few days without eating anything green.

Even though I had a whole bag full of intentions, expectations, and opinions at the start of parenthood, it all went a little differently with each of my kids. One situation that was different with the other kids compared to my firstborn:

Potty Training (and the use of Sugar and Bribery to make things happen!)

All my kids have been potty trained at relatively early ages (nope, this doesn't make me a better mom).  Potty training and sleeping on their own were things I was all about having implemented earlier rather than later.  Having wood floors where they could run around without diapers helped with this.  Oh, and lots of toilet breaks for a read aloud was nice too.  Increase the number of visits to the toilet within the hour and eventually, they are bound to have to pee. Once they see that they did it in the potty and experience the celebration that follows, they usually want to do it again!  Now, what constitutes a "potty celebration"?  This was different for each of my kids.

I potty trained my first born with raisins and joyful claps of encouragement.

Yes, raisins.  These were her candy!  She knew of nothing else. No older siblings to offer her candy or friends at school handing out party bags with smarties and giving extras to the little brothers and sisters.  Raisins were a TREAT!  [now she won't touch them]  Every time she would pee in the potty, she got a few raisins and a potty dance.  This was awesome for all of us!  She was potty trained and we stuck to our no sugar first-time parent convictions.  Win win.

Fast forward to the second and third child.  At this point, my oldest had not only discovered the incredible joy of SUGAR, she asked for it daily.  And she was crafty with the ways she went about getting it.  Forget having to potty train our second daughter...our oldest did it for us.  Her thinking:  If I get my sister to use the potty, I can offer her some chocolate and then of course Mom will have to give me some too!  It was a potty training extravaganza!  She asked little sissy many times a day if she wanted to go to the bathroom to sit on the toilet, drew up posters to put in the hallway that had pictures of toilets next to an equal sign that had candy on the other side (advertisement), and made it her personal job to make sure her sister thought big girl panties were the coolest thing ever!  "Mom will give you some candy if you try to pee!" she'd say.  At this point, I'm pretty sure they only got a few small pieces of chocolate but it was still CANDY!

By the time my son was ready to be potty trained, I might have been giving them all a whole candy bar if he just peed on a tree in the backyard.  But I don't remember that much because those memories are all kind of blurry.

Here's one reason why potty training my son was a blur.  It was never just an easy trip to the toilet.  Heck, even I was ready for a candy bar after this toilet break.  

This little guy.  Love him.  Full of everything spunk.  Being his mother has changed much for me with regards to how I THOUGHT I'd approach parenting. 

Last night at the dinner table after a late night of running kids around to indoor soccer and gymnastics practices and trying to cross everything off the list for the holidays, I just laughed to myself at how different things have become with our kids compared to the ideas we had of how things were going to be.  For one, I never believed all those stories that boys were so different from girls.  I kind of knew this as a teacher but it isn't the same until you're actually raising boys AND girls and see the differences for yourself.   Motherhood over the years has been humbling and enlightening.  I admit, I feel crazy A LOT.  I doubt myself often.  And parenting guilt shows its ugly face more than I'd like. But, I also know deep down that Good Enough is better than driving myself crazy trying to do everything the way I thought I was supposed to.  Now, I choose my battles more.  Let things slide.  And know in the end, my kids will likely turn out just fine!  The most important thing is that I'm loving, believing in, and being an advocate for my kids and that they KNOW this through my words and actions.  The rest is icing on the parenthood/childhood cake!

  1. What are some things that have changed for you as a parent over the years? 
  2. Did you do and think differently with your firstborn compared to your other kids?  
  3. What is one specific thing that was different with your firstborn compared to your other kids?  
  4. Giving my kids healthy foods to eat is one topic I've kept the same opinion on.  My approach is different and I choose my battles OFTEN when it comes to food/sugar, but I still try to help my kids eat healthy.  I wrote on this on Run with Me Kids today and I'd really love your comments on the post if you'd be willing to share:  What are some of your tips for helping your kids eat healthier foods? (You can share that here and/or on the link to the Run with Me Kids post.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

What's Up? Running, Parenting, Life: Goals and Happenings

Training for my May 50k and Boston started this week.  I'm excited to be more focused about my running, goals, and fitness.  With this comes more intention with my diet, strength work, and stretching/rolling/maintenance.  These are things I should have in mind year round but they become all the more important when I'm asking more from my body physically.  My training this time around will be different in many ways. Just a few differences from the past:

  1. Most my runs will be on trails
  2. Less focus on specific times and more focus on effort
  3. At least 2/3 of my runs will be without my Garmin.  I'd like to run based off effort and feel.  
  4. Less focus on a goal time and more focus on my experience and what I'm getting from running overall.  I want to run strong in my races but not make it all about a PR on the clock this time.  
  5. The plan so far is for Boston to be a training run, not a race where I race all out.  
  6. Race without a Garmin!  I want Boston to be about feel and the overall experience without letting my Garmin tell me what I should and shouldn't be running for each mile.  I'm sick of looking down at my wrist every mile.  For Christmas, I asked for a good old Ironman Timex watch just like I used to have.  
  7. Less mileage and speed work and more back to back endurance runs. 
As of now, my plan is to use a basic plan from Relentless Forward Progress where my mileage will be up to 50 miles a week.  In the past I've run between 55 to 65 miles as my general average (my highest weekly mileage at 85...this was too much for me).  I think a lower mileage will be just fine for my goals. I will also pull one faster paced workout per week from Advanced Marathoning.  This will alternate between tempo and vo2max work.  If I'm feeling strong, I might do two a week or incorporate some of the threshold work into a longer run.  It's hard to judge pace on the trails (one reason for no Garmin on most runs) but I'd still like 8 min pace to come easy and natural for me when running on flat.  The other day I did take the Garmin out to see where I was with this and high 7s/low 8s felt just right like they should at this point after building a base. I'll still be keeping a training journal but this time I'm trying out the Believe Journal.  I love so much about this book...the feel, format, font...all of it is inspiring!  I can tell a lot of passion went into putting this journal together.  

I've always kept a training journal in just an ordinarynotebook. This has worked great for me and led to growth and opportunities to reflect, dream, be my best self...my journals are treasures!  Now that training mode is starting again, I'm excited to start digging into this beauty!  Just from my first flip, I love what I see.  It makes me itch to put pen to paper and start writing my goals and plans!  From font to format to feel, it is well composed/compiled!  

We are definitely in a different stage with our kids now that they are well within 9, 7, 5.  One of our main things we are wanting to be intentional with is helping our kids continue to take responsibility and ownership over their learning, family contributions, and daily tasks.  We also want them to learn about the value and management of money.  We want to incorporate an allowance into family life but we don't want it to just be about paying them to do things they should already be doing as contributing members of this family.  So, last night we had our family meeting and came up with a list of family contributions and things we want them to do weekly.  We also discussed the difference between getting paid out of reward vs. an opportunity to learn about money while still meeting their family expectations and contributions. We set a dollar amount that we will give them monthly and as long as they are keeping up with their end of the deal, they get their full amount.  It isn't much at all but we are hopeful that this will teach them about saving, giving, and spending!  This is new to us so we are still finding our way and will see how it all unfolds.  Some of their family contributions and expectations (nothing really new):
  • Keeping their rooms clean.  Not perfect (goodness knows mine isn't perfect!) but picked up at least once a week where they make it look clean and tidy.  
  • Picking their stuff up from the downstairs and keeping their things where they belong.  
  • Doing chores willingly as asked.
  • RESPECT to each other! With tone of voice and actions.
  • Read daily.  This should be a fun habit for them.  They can read whatever they want but we do expect this habit to be in place. 
  • Writing.  We recently started asking our older kids to keep a journal.  The older kids are expected to write two pages a week.  One page is just whatever they want to write.  Again, this can be fun.  A story, rant, letter, poem, list, writing about their day or week or something they are excited about.  Their second page is a list of gratitude.  The goal here is to help them practice some habits that we feel can be beneficial to their lives.  The gratitude lists is self explanatory and we hope they will learn to recognize more things in their ordinary life to be grateful for as they begin this routine.  We've done this before but in the past we have had a family gratitude journal. As for the free write entry, we want this to be a way that they can get more fluid with their writing as well as be more reflective.  Maybe this habit/routine won't last and maybe it will.  For now, the girls have actually had fun with it the last month and they are picking it up on their own without having to be reminded.  
I continue to work on adjusting to life in Bend, OR.  We've only been here since August so I can't expect it to feel completely normal just yet.  Slowly but surely.  The best thing (hands down!) about our home here are the miles and miles of trails outside my door.  I'm beyond grateful for this.  My biggest struggle in life at this time is COMPARISON and letting go.  Not comparison to others but comparison to what I had (and LOVED) in Asheville.  I've been quite stuck some days.  Missing and longing instead of moving on and giving my full energy to making THIS chapter a beautiful one.  So, I'm really working hard on this:  Moving forward with CONTENTMENT and gratitude.  I'm quite positive that when I open my heart and mind and truly give of myself here, I will find community, home, and connection.  So, the walls are coming down and I'm making it a priority to practice gratitude and positive thinking.  

Some personal goals:  
  • Let go of the expectations of how it's supposed to be and embrace what it is.
  • Instead of seeing all the things I'm not doing/accomplishing, feel good about what IS being done and what I can still do.  One thing at a time!
  • Break things into smaller chunks.
  • Do what I'm doing because I find meaning in it.  NOT because others are doing it or because I think it's what I'm supposed to do.  
  • Get rid of comparison. Comparison to others or to my past self/life.  Comparison kills joy.
  • Use my love language: Give and love in the ways that come naturally.  For me, this is through words of affirmation: letters, texts, conversation...full attention.  
  • Slow down and make the time count.  
  • Give my kids and husband my FULL attention at least once a day.  It doesn't have to be long to count. 
  • Uplift, support, and love.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Year of Running 2014

One of my favorite races from 2014!  Trail 30k near Asheville. First in AG and an incredible amount of peace and freedom that was found!

Let's see if I can make this post short and sweet!  I'm jumping in on Miss Zippy's Year of Running link up.  I've only done a handful of link up posts since starting this blog but this one is fun and simple!

2014 was a very memorable year for me with running and racing!  I spent most my year in Asheville, NC where I truly tapped into my love for trail running.  I have so many amazing memories from running there and training for Boston 2014.  It was one of my favorite running years that I've ever had. But for different reasons than the past.  2014 also brought an incredible amount of travel where I was able to run in so many beautiful and new places:  St. Croix (a 20 miler on this island in the Caribbean was long and hot but unique in a really powerful way.), Boston (visiting a friend and for Boston 14), Charleston, Savannah, Tennessee, Colorado, and so much more!  Now, living in Bend, OR, running has taken an entirely new page where almost all my runs are on trails and I start training for my first trail 50k (and Boston 15) TODAY!  No personal records with running in 2014 but definitely some personal FREEDOMS with running!  I've redefined what running is in my life and I'm even more thankful for all this sport offers!  

Best race experience?  Even though Boston turned out to be quite rough at the end (what marathon doesn't really?) with throwing up and finishing slower than I wanted, I was proud of my 3:28 and so so grateful to be there with my whole family and some very special friends during such a powerful year for the Boston Marathon.  I even got to ride the bus to the starting line with my dear friend Jenn.  So thankful to have had this experience!   I'm breaking the rule here and listing two races by counting my trail 30k in May: Cradle to the Grave 30k in the Pisgah National Forest outside of Asheville.  I got to do this with my husband and a few friends.  It was my second time doing this race but I was so much more prepared the second time.  I ran most of the race by myself but I think it was better that way.  This race is perhaps the biggest reason why I'm so drawn to trail running and racing now.  Such freedom and peace and joy to be found when you are out there running through such natural beauty.  
After Boston.  This kiss and time with my family was better than any finishers medal.  
Best run?  I'll choose one of my best runs.  Since so many of my runs in 2014 have been favorites, I'm just drawing from a hat here.  My best runs have been about the experience...the scenery...the freedom I've found in soaking up the world around me and truly enjoying the run for the gift it is without putting as much into the time on the clock.  When I was in Asheville, I ran at night a lot.  Not because I couldn't run in the day but because there was such peace to be found running those quiet streets in my small town where I lived.  One night in February sticks in my mind the most.  I wrote about this in Gift of the Run; Beauty to be Found.

Such beauty greeted me on my run tonight. Lonely streets, 
snow covered ground, 
little footprints and happy snowmen winking at me with crooked grins, lopsided hats and carrot noses -- signs of the joyful life that graced another snow day.
Small town charm surrounding me as I passed churches and little bungalows with red doors... 
The sky lit up with the sun peeking through for a glorious sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It stopped me in my tracks. 
     in awe at the beauty that is there for us when we slow down to take it in. 
I ran on with the perfect song in my ear, my heart feeling big and wild 
       passing field after field, 
street after street 
Then there it was...the bright and full moon leading me home, 
smiling down on me while I counted the first stars of the night...feeling blessed and beyond grateful to be living this life and to have the gift of the run.

Best new piece of gear?  I didn't get much this year when it comes to running gear.  A pretty simple year with regards to material stuff.  But I did buy a few new Oiselle items.  My red Oiselle distance shorts have been WELL LOVED!!  I also started running in a new/old pair of Brooks Cascadias.  These shoes.  ROCK!  Next piece of gear on my list:  a simple Ironman Timex watch like I used to run with before I got a Garmin.  Excited to run Garmin-free for much of my runs and perhaps all my races.  

Pretty sure I wore these red shorts almost daily this summer.  Don't judge.  I washed them too.  

Best piece of running advice you received?  Hmmm, this is hard.  I think this goes back to an email I received from someone after a post I wrote near the Boston Marathon in April.  They said something to me about staying within myself with my goals.  These words stuck with me so powerfully!!  I thought on them lots and actually wrote one of my favorite posts about it and how it applied to RUNNING and LIFE. You can read that here:  Stay Within Myself.  

Stay Within Myself 

Most inspirational runner?  How the heck do I answer that?  Gee, so many inspirational runners.  I'm inspired daily by so many of you.  I'm going to say my friend Jenn.  Love this girl so much.  She used to write a blog called Running Sane and that's how we met in 2010.  Since then, she's become one of the most special people in my life.  A sister.  Friend.  Truly family.  We've shared so much of our lives together through daily emails, training logs, trips across the country together, skype chats, and so much more.  A constant in my life. The mostly unlikely of friendships considering she lives in northern MN and I've been all over from Oregon to NC, but a friendship that is beyond special.  I've had the joy of sharing my training with Jenn through several training cycles and I've been lucky enough to hear about several of hers too.  Even when she's not training for anything specific, she inspires me with running (and life in general).  Seeing how she focuses on a goal, digs deep,  and has fun with her running in off season (but yet still seeking some sort of excellence) makes me want to do the same.  Above all, I'm inspired by how she continues to find strength and balance through running.  As a mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend.  Even though we are often different with our goals with running, when I hear about her goals, workouts and races, something clicks in me and I find a hunger and strength that might have been a bit dusty.  She doesn't have much time to train in the winter (and have you ever heard about a northern MN winter? ha!) because of having all three of her kids in competitive hockey (So much involved! And these kids are TALENTED!) and working beyond full time but she still makes time to be her own personal bad Ass with running!  Just the other day she wrote to me about her treadmill run (short but sweet) and it made me want to get out there and push myself a bit more than usual!  Thanks for inspiring me friend!  Looking forward to riding the bus together again in Boston 2015!

Riding on the bus to Hopkinton with Jenn before the Boston Marathon!  The most fun I've had in athlete's village.  Laughing before a marathon was energizing!  

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?  FREE.  PEACEFUL

Your turn.  What were your Bests of Running with 2014??  Answer here or link up with Miss Zippy with your own Year of Running 2014 post.