The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

Archive for the tag “healthy-living”

Advice for a New Mother

Joyce, my cousin, has always been full of good advice. She and I used to be pen pals when we were kids, (remember “pen pals”, where you actually wrote a letter to someone that lived in a neighbouring town and they would write back and the whole thing would take a couple of weeks?). She helped me through awkwardness in adolescence, was an excellent sounding board about boys and the resulting trouble, and what I could expect in college life.

Her kids are older than mine be a few years and stages in life. One particular family gathering a few moons ago, Joyce and I got to talking about parenthood. I was blabbering about the conflict within me, so grateful and happy to be a mom, but I missed things that JB & I used to do before to having kids. Would we ever hike or mountain bike or play tennis again? Those activities and the resulting enjoyment seemed so far in the rear view mirror. And being relatively new to this whole parenting thing, I was not sure I saw them again on the horizon. Joyce pointed to her kids, then preteens, and said – no, guaranteed – that we would do all those things again and more. She explained how they would be different, as they would become family activities, and added that we may even find new adventures due to our kids’ interests. She told me not to worry. I had trusted her with so much in the past, I trusted these words as well.

Fast forward to this summer. Jaybird and I signed up for two runs this year. All three kids are signed up for various tennis, rock climbing, hockey and mountain biking activities. They are pursuing their own interests, but joining us in some of ours, which makes me happy.

Color Me RAD! was one of the events Jaybird and I signed up for this summer. It is a 5k event. I guess you could call it a “run” or a “race” but really, we walked about half the course and definitely did not race. We had a ball. If I may say so, we were a vision dressed in our white t-shirts, old shoes and blue tutus. I have never worn a tutu while running before. Frankly, I had a conversation with a friend while on a long run about how I just don’t really get the whole tutu thing. In this case, however, Jaybird had noted the tutus were cute and asked if we should wear matching outfits. How could I say no?

We walked and ran the course, getting color-bombed and painted while laughing through the whole thing. Jaybird said she wished our entire family had signed up, as she thought the boys would have enjoyed the event. We crossed the finish line, painted, dirty and feeling awesome. We hung around for a bit, dancing, throwing paint at each other and taking pictures. I made sure to tell her that I love that she enjoys doing these events with me, because I have a blast with her. She nodded and hugged me.

This summer I have my kids to thank for getting me back on the tennis court. I have run two events with my daughter. We have hiked, biked and walked many trails. My husband and I are getting back to activities we enjoyed before we had kids. Joyce was right, we are getting back to all those things we so enjoyed as a couple. She was also right in that the activities are a little different, enriched, as our children are with us and enjoying the activities as well. New adventures await as they grow and it is exciting to see everyone growing in confidence to take them on.



Mother’s Day Run

This is a race that I have been looking forward to for a couple of months. It is a big deal in Calgary, with over 25,000 people participating in either a 10k run, 5k run, or 5k walk. An added bonus is that, for the 3rd year in a row, Jaybird will join me at the start line. While this is her third 5k race, it is special. First, its Mother’s Day and I am enjoying something I love with my daughter. Second, this race benefits the Calgary Health Trust Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, (NICU). Jaybird called another NICU home for the first 9 weeks of her life, so this cause is near and dear to our hearts.

We arrived early to meet some folks from our team. You can read Cori’s race review here. I was hoping to meet up with another running friend, but missed her.. next time. In any case, you can read Michelle’s race review as well, (she did the 10k). Jaybird asked a few times why we had to be there so early. I just told her that its a big crowd and that we want to be sure that we are not rushed. I spared her stories of arriving at start lines about 4am to be sure that the day starts off as smoothly as possible.


The start was a bit of a mosh pit, though we were front and center to see the wheelchair race start out. When we saw that we would not be able to get inside the starting corral until well after the starting gun, we jumped the fence to squeeze in. We talked a bit about pace and water and how to navigate the crowd. Just in case of something completely weird, we also set up a meeting place. The time arrived to start and we were off! We kept up with the crowd, headed out of the mall parking lot and into the residential area nearby. A huge sign stating “We Love Mom!” greeted everyone as we headed up the hill. The woman next to us called out to the 20-something man sitting on the deck, “I love your sign! Great job!” He nodded back and smiled.

As we approached a kilometer marker I gasped and teared up a little. As I noted above, this run benefits the NICU and there was a donation bucket along with pictures of fragile premature babies along the route. Once upon a time, that was the girl who was running along beside me. I looked at her, asked her how she was doing and requested we slow down. I meant our running pace was a little fast, but I think there may have been a subconscious voice in there begging her to slow down in every way possible.

We walked through the water station at the half way point. We took stock of our pace and decided that we may have started out a little fast. When we began running again it was at a more practical pace. The course was well-marked and festive. All races have a diverse crowd of participants but this one had a different feel. There were families walking and running together, sometimes up to 4 generations. Spectators lined the course; clapping volunteers were everywhere. When we approached the finish line I heard a man say to his kids, “Mom crosses the finish line first. This is her day.” My heart swelled.

DSC02134Jaybird asked if we could sprint the last 200 meters, (she always does that), but the crowd was too thick for us to race to the finish. We crossed the finish line hand in hand. She was a little bummed out that no medals were awarded, so I called upon a friend and fellow Mom, Brenda Ster, for help. Brenda created a locket for Jaybird appropriate for the occasion. I presented it to her as we munched on fruit, yogurt and chocolate milk provided at the finish line. She smiled and reached out for a hug, loving her new necklace. (If you would like see all the cool stuff Brenda can do, please see her website.) DSC02136

We arrived home to much fanfare with the boys and my husband working like crazy in a flowery kitchen. A Mother’s Day brunch befitting the Queen awaited me, wrapping up a terrific Mother’s Day morning.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those moms out there, (especially mine).

If you would like to support Jaybird and other premature babies like her, please see these links to the NICU in Alberta and the NICU in Milwaukee, WI, where she was cared for by some of the best physicians and nurses on the planet.

News from the Treadmill

With the windchill bringing the temperature to -35C today, I decided to take my run indoors. Initially planning a follow-up to the snark I posted Friday, I looked around a bit while running.

Alas, no snark today. Just a really nice run on the ‘mill. It was Adorable Grandmother Day, apparently, as I witnessed several women over the age of 60 on the ellipticals, walking the track, on and off of treadmills. Right on! And take note, single men over 60, these women had it going ON. I bet they are super fun to hang out with.

A huge “thank you” to the man doing squats in front of me. Yeah, you with the colorful, detailed, inked-up arms. Looking at your tattoos, trying the decipher each one’s meaning kept me entertained on and off during the almost-45 minute run.

Here’s hoping for cleared sidewalks and warmer temperatures!

Three Bikes and a Pair of Running Shoes

When I was a kid my parents worked opposite shifts so either my dad or my mom was always home.  During my formative years, (I guess.. when are your formative years, anyway?), my mom worked primarily night shift and dad worked second shift.  This left a bit of the taking care of my brother and I to my dad during the day.  Enter my dad’s group of friends that play tennis together.  They play almost every day, weather permitting, either singles or doubles, depending upon who is available to play.  As an aside, we used to (respectfully, of course) refer to this group as our own town’s little United Nations.  I think only a couple of the guys Dad hung out with were actually natural-born US citizens.  As a kid watching them play tennis I probably heard swear words in at least five different languages.  Too bad I was not paying closer attention.

Anyway, in the summer my brother and I would hang out with friends, go to the neighborhood pool, keeping close to home.  When it came time for Dad to meet up with his buddies for some tennis, he had a few choices.  He could not play, (unthinkable), find a sitter (also unthinkable, he’s too cheap), or take my brother and I along.  So, you guessed it.  We spent many a summer afternoon tagging along with Dad while he played tennis.  They usually played on courts that were built into a hill, with a huge, tall cement wall on one side.  Dad would instruct us to take our own racquets and ball, hit the ball against the wall and stay out-of-the-way of the grown-ups.

Why am I writing about this?

As noted in many of my posts and a category on this very blog, I am a runner.  I am also a mother of three school age kids that are on summer break.  Temporarily gone are the days when I could do my midday run alone while they attend school.  What’s a running momma to do?  I need to run for reasons such as stress relief, stay healthy, eat ice cream, you know the rest.  I also want to run a fall race, so to stop training after a successful spring marathon was unthinkable.  This is when I recalled those summers of my childhood and hitting a tennis ball against a cement wall.

I told the kids to get on their bikes.  I explained that since they are not quite old enough to be left home alone, even if it’s for a half hour so I can get in a quick run, they are going to have to come with me.  Knowing that I get rather crabby when not able to exercise regularly, they agreed.  Also, I was pretty clear in that they had no choice in the matter.  If my father is reading this post, this is time when he throws up his hands and says two things to my mom.  First, “It really was not a big deal to take them to the tennis courts.” And, “Why am I always right?”

Our first ride/run was a little bumpy.  They were nervous about the trail onto which I was leading them, the hills we were encountering and how far we were going to stray from home.  It seemed that I was constantly reassuring them throughout the first part of the ride/run that I knew exactly where we were and would not take them farther than they could handle.  The first was absolutely true but the latter entered gray area, seeing this was our first try at this. About half way into the ride/run, they pointed like a pack of hounds seeking a fox.  “PARK!”  They asked if they could stop and play for a bit at this new, glorious neighborhood playground we encountered.  I agreed, but only for a few minutes.

Turning up the trail and heading for home, we came upon a couple of cyclists.  “Start them young!” one shouted.  I nodded.  When we got home there were icey-pops and watermelon for everyone.  It was a nice little run for me, they got to be outside and the kids have a new appreciation for the freedom their bikes provide.  All asked if we could do it again tomorrow.  Win!

So, what have we learned?  Yes, my dad is right sometimes and did my brother and I a favor by taking us to the tennis courts each and every day during the summers of our youth.  Yes, you can be a mom with three kids home for the summer and still keep some resemblance to your fitness routine.  Finally, children like to be outside and enjoy exercise, especially when you, their parent, do it with them.  It also helps if there is a little bribery in the form of cool snacks upon the return home.

Would You Lie to Your Kids?

Well, would you?

“This cut is not that bad.”

“The shot won’t hurt.”

“An overweight, gray-haired man goes around the world in one night bringing presents to all children while riding in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.”

“Moms don’t get sick.”

We have all, at some point, told a little white lie, fudged the truth, massaged the numbers, to appease our children. It was an interesting thing when talking with friends, (it really is amazing the conversations we will have while running), when we were talking about nutrition and the lengths we will go to be sure that our children eat healthy.

I sometimes lie to my kids. There, I said it. I try really hard to be sure that they eat well, (not perfect), and work stuff in wherever I can. I purchased a book about hiding vegetables in your kids’ food and shared tricks with my friend Maggie about how to take it further. Maggie, by the way, is the master when it comes to hiding nutrition in stuff. Anyway, I have been known to puree carrots, cauliflower, beets, broccoli, basically any vegetable they won’t eat and can be hid nicely in a specific dish. Carrots are for tacos, broccoli is for meatballs, beets make a pink pancake, (not a winner in our house) and cauliflower in macaroni and cheese (again, not a winner). At first I was sneaky about this. Then, the kids caught me putting the carrots into the taco meat so I had to confess. About the carrots in the tacos. No mention has been made about the broccoli. And it will stay that way, if you catch my drift.

Another example.. I started adding flax seeds to my diet. One afternoon the kids were having some yogurt for a snack so I asked them if they wanted sprinkles. I showed them the brown seeds. Mid asked, “Are those chocolate sprinkles?” How did I respond? “Sure… but they’re so small, you’ll barely taste it.” Bingo. All three had “sprinkles” on their yogurt for a couple of months. It all ended when they saw me putting the sprinkles on my yogurt and read the bag. Darn reading and literacy education.

How we (partly) defeated McDonalds.. The last time we went to McDs for a quick meal on the run, one of my kids was a bit under the weather. I did not think much of it, really, just thought they needed some rest. It turns out he had a little stomach bug, as evidenced by his vomiting later that night. All three of the kids attributed his sickness with McDs. They asked me if it makes ME sick. I replied, “yes, fried food makes me feel yucky.” That, by the way, is not a lie, but when they asked for confirmation as to whether the fried food made their brother sick, I replied, “probably.” We have not been to a McDs since.

So, I was telling my running buddies about my little tricks and our coach asks me, with playful snark,”So, how do you feel about lying to your kids?”  I replied, “I guess, depending on the situation, I am pretty comfortable with it.” I mean, the above are little examples as to how I have gotten my kids to eat better. Moving forward, they are going to ask me all sorts of questions, and will I be totally honest with them? I just don’t know.

I am thinking of big questions like “Did you ever drink alcohol before you were legal?” “Did you have sex before you got married?” Big stuff. Should I be totally, 100% disclosure honest? Were my parents? (rhetorical question, no answer please) I stand with my initial remark, “Depending on the situation, I am pretty comfortable with it.” Now, it you will excuse me, I am off to bake brownies with nutrient-rich black beans.

So..  would you?  have you?  Discuss..

Race Day Review

“There will come a day when I can no longer run marathons.  Today is not that day.”

I saw the picture on a friends Facebook wall a couple of days before running the Calgary Marathon and it stuck with me, though during the race it needed to be switched over to a more positive tone.   My mantras on race day were as follows, repeated in no specific order –

Just keep swimming.

Today is MY day.

This is fun!

So a few days after the race, my soreness is gone, yet I am still high as a kite.  To answer the question I get asked by non-runners, “Is there such a thing as runner’s high?”  YES, hell YES.

Back to Sunday for a little race report..

Alarm goes off at 4:30AM.  I snooze it, only to be awakened by the second alarm I set for 4:32AM.  I swear and get out of bed.  The night before I had carefully planned my check bag, running gear, written myself little reminders and piled my running outfit in order of how it gets put on, (so as to not have to turn on lights and wake up JB, thoughtful, right?)  After dressing, I went downstairs for the usual breakfast on the morning of a long run.  Bowl of oatmeal, two pieces of toast, apple juice and a banana.

5AMish – pull out of the garage, head to the train station.  I had signed the “Green Pledge” with the marathon.  I agreed to take public transit to/from the event, would carry my own water and nutrition and whatever I carried in, I would also carry out.  Totally easy.  Actually, carrying my own water and nutrition worked in my favor.

5:15AMish – get on train. Now, as many know, (thanks Jim), I am not a morning person.  I don’t like talking with anyone until I have had a run or coffee or both. It’s not like I am mean or anything, I just like things quiet.  I was quite lucky that the woman who sat next to me talked the entire friggin way to the stop for the race.  The whole way.  It was 35 minutes of listening to this woman go on about her half marathon races and triathlons and how she hated to run but needs to as part of her tri training and blah blah..  I was thinking seriously bad things.  I did not want to engage in conversation, which proved difficult, because true to Canadian form, she was so NICE.  Ugh.

6AM – arrive at Calgary Stampede grounds, go inside building.  It was a little cold outside; I could almost see my breath.  I couldn’t resist crossing the building and walking outside to see the finish line.  Returning inside, I was pleased to see many of the people who I have been training with over the last few months.  We chatted, checked our bags and waited.  BTW, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the bag check was terrific.  Highly efficient and convenient.  The first of many good things done by the volunteers on race day.

6:50AM – time to line up at the start line.  We made our way to the starting area and seeded ourselves appropriately.  What does that mean?  As a runner, you have an idea as to your finish time.  You find the pace bunny with that time on their sign and you line up in their general area.  Our training group had a plan as to where we would line up.  We would start together, but more than likely not finish together.  Another word of advice for newbie runners – training with a group is definitely beneficial, but have “the talk” before race day about your individual race goals and plan to run alone.  Our little group had decided that although we were starting together, we would each run our own race and may not finish together.  As it turned out, we did not.

7AM – GO TIME!  The rest is such a blur.  So here are some highlights.

I love Calgary.  The route went through some beautiful areas and I tried to make mental notes of where I was all the time.  Mostly because I saw a house for sale or a restaurant or something, but the city is just beautiful.  I enjoyed the scenery.

Best signs – “My Mom is faster than your Mom”, “I like your stamina, CALL ME”, and toward the end, ala Ryan Gosling, “Hey, Girl, I am at the finish line waiting for you.  And I lost my shirt.”  I also took advantage of every “Official High Five Station”.  It is so fun to run a race and have children hold our their hands for a high-five.  I tried to thank the police officers and volunteers along the course that held traffic for us and generally cheered us on.  As an aside, why are all the Calgary Police Officers so good-looking?

I had asked JB to be anywhere after the 34K marker as this is when I thought I would need his encouragement.   Funny story, as told from my husband’s point of view..

We (JB and my 2 boys) took the train to downtown so to be close to the 35K marker.  Arrived at our preferred vantage point a minute before the pace bunny Erika had told us she would start with approached.  SCORE!  Pace bunny and group passes, no Erika.  I told the boys to be patient, that perhaps Mom fell back a little and was with the next pace group.  Next pace group comes and goes.  No Erika.  I then told the boys that we had to run back to the train station and get to the finish line/Stampede Grandstand area as we missed Mom.  This was either really good, meaning she was ahead of her anticipated pace, or really bad.. didn’t want to think about nor tell the boys about worst case scenario.  We ran to the train station and arrived in the Grandstand area near the finish line just in time to hear it announced that Erika was coming into the finish.  Luckily, we were right at the finish line to watch her come in.

Okay, back to me.  I felt great almost the entire run.  I had checked my pace band several times, consistently in front of where I wanted to be.  This was scary and exhilarating all at the same time. About the 40K marker, my feet started to feel heavy, like I had lead in my shoes.  I welcomed the uneasiness and gave myself one final pep talk.  My plan was to do 10/1 intervals, run for 10 minutes, walk for 1 minute, and this kept my legs going and my breathing steady.  I stuck to the plan of taking a hit of nutrition and water on each walk break.  Huge fan of the 10/1 intervals.

Upon hearing my name being announced at the Stampede Grandstand, I had to take a deep breath and my eyes watered.  There is something about running into a grandstand with people cheering and feeling great that just kind of gets to you.  As adults, we don’t get many opportunities to work toward a goal and see the culmination of our efforts with a big event and celebration at the goal’s completion.  Think about it.  As kids, we have piano or dance lessons, which result in a recital.  We have sports practices that result in games, tournaments and trophies.  As adults in the workforce, we work hard on projects for promotions and accolades, and at the completion of those tasks we are rewarded with.. more work.  Perhaps the promotion and accolades as well, and those or both really good things, but there is new work that comes with it.  Sorry, I got off topic.

Anyway…  Luckily I composed myself enough for this picture, taken by JB as I came through the corral after receiving my medal.

It was a great day for many people.  I am so thankful for the running group and new friends I have made through training for this event.  I will be back!

One my favorite running quotes.. “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not the beat the other runners.  Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan

Never quit, my friends, never quit.

The Big Question

The last few clinics have been about strategy for the upcoming Calgary Marathon.  At this point, as any marathoner knows, physically, we are pretty well-tuned.  We have run miles and miles and miles.  Now, it’s all in our head.

So, the question becomes..  Why am I doing this?

It’s a good question.  And one every runner must answer prior to lining up at the start line.  Trust me, you do not want to be searching for meaning at mile 23 on a marathon course.  You will cry.  You will possibly walk off the course and quit.  Good advice I received from marathoners prior to my first race and now I am passing it on.. know why you are out there.

A little background..  I got started in this marathon thing thinking that it was a “bucket list” item.  I imagined JB and I sitting around when we are old, listening our smartypants grandchildren going on about their accomplishments, when their mother/father says to them,  “you know, your grandmother ran a marathon.”  They will immediately bow at my feet, ooing and aahing, in awe of my prowess.  And then ask how I got so old.  So that ridiculous daydream, inspired by a Chicago Marathon poster on Michigan Avenue, is how it started.  From there, I met Jennifer.  She had a marathon medal and some pictures in her “office” ( I put office in quotes because it was really a tiny cubicle only befitting a Skinner mouse) and I asked what they were all about.  Jennifer proceeded to tell me about The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team In Training and the marathon training program.  It sounded like a good charity, good program, so I looked into it.  But I wasn’t quite ready.  At that time, I had never run more than a 5k and truth be told, it had been awhile.  Jennifer suggested a half marathon in Madison and handed me a training program. We trained and ran the Madison Half Marathon in spring 2009.  After completion of my first half-marathon I was hooked.

I proceeded to run two marathons with Team In Training.  The fundraising for cancer research and patients was rewarding, as were the friendships that came out of training for those races.  When we moved to Calgary last fall I continued to run and exercise.  I wanted to run a spring marathon, but did not know where to start.  Also, training can get lonely.  So I took my own advice and reached out, enrolled in a “new school” and made some new friends through the Running Room.

Back to the recent clinic and the issue at hand.  Why am I doing this?  I have been pondering the question a bit during my solo runs.  Here is what I have..

1. I am running for me.  This sounds selfish and I say it a little sheepishly.  I have run for charity and felt great about it, but this time it’s just me.  I have a finish time goal in mind and it is a number that has been on my mind for about a year.

2. I am running for my family.  I would simply not be able to do all the training, etc, if not for the support I receive from JB and my kids.  I miss weekend breakfasts, stretch while I help them with homework and they always are there to listen to my running stories.  The kids are even willing to help me roll out my legs when needed, (for the going rate of $0.25 each).  So I also run with thankfulness for JB and our kids, my parents and parents-in-law and all those in my family that support me through this masochist adventure.

3. I run for a lot of friends.. some listed here.  Jennifer, who first told me I could run a marathon.  Mike, who probably thought I would not take him up on an offer to be a running partner when the mileage got upwards of obnoxious.  Seth, who is running his first full marathon on the same day as me, though a country and time zone away.  In my mind, I will be running with him.  Rick, who I roped into a couple of half marathons and is running his first marathon this spring.  Lisa, a friend from long ago.  Her mom told my mom that she started running after seeing that I had done it, (we are from Lake Wobegon :)).  She is running her first half marathon this spring and I am proud of her.  For so many other running buddies.  Jess, Dione, Dano, Lori, Captain Efficiency, Mike, Dayo, Paul..  Other friends that, while not runners, are stronger than I can imagine.  Lisa, who is battling brain cancer.  Cheryl, who is battling breast cancer.  Leslie, who battled and WON the battle against breast cancer.  All the other folks fighting battles that make the fatigue/soreness/delirium we face at mile 23 seem so insignificant.

Five days and counting.  I would say that this will be my last marathon, but who am I kidding?

Bring on the Taper!

Saturday brought snow to Calgary.  Soccer games were canceled.  I made soup.  It was an inside day.  Which made me antsy, because of what was on the schedule for Sunday.  Sunday (today) was IT.  Weather forecasters talked of a great spring day today.  I hoped and prayed for a nice day.  Thankfully, the weather forecasters were spot on.

Any marathoner knows the run.  The longest run of training.  The last run before the taper. For our group, it was 34 kilometers from our usual training spot to a park, where we would complete the run and congratulate ourselves on doing so with homemade treats.  I was psyched.  I feel really good this training cycle.  The usual aches and soreness, but nothing major.  It’s hard to believe my spring marathon is only three weeks away.  Where did the winter go?

Three week taper?  I do a doublecheck.   I am accustomed to a two-week taper and this program calls for three weeks.  Hmmm..

My short runs have been great.  They’ve been fast (for me), a slightly uncomfortable pace a little quicker than race pace.  It has built some confidence in my legs that, if pushed, I can go a little faster for a little longer.

So, the run.  Our group started out on the trail in the usual manner.  It was a brisk, clear morning.  The sky seemed to promise good things, though.  As I should be, I was a little chilly at the start (and don’t make fun of me for always being cold, everyone was a little chilly at the start).  We started off north along the reservoir.  Around “the res” is always windy.  We usually joke about it and just brace ourselves.  Since training started in February, I have experienced both windburn and sunburn this training cycle, both from running around the reservoir.  True to form, once we head away from the water I have not a clue as to where we are.  Coming home to upload my Garmin is always a treat, as I take a look at the area of town that I just explored.  In any case, we followed the river, winding north to City Centre and then turning west.  The first part of a long run is always jovial, we recap our weeks and talk about how we recovered from the previous week’s long run.

We even felt playful enough to alter our plan a bit, adding a little distance, to run over the Peace Bridge.  The Peace Bridge in Calgary, a beautiful structure designed by Santiago Calatrava, is for bicycles and people only.  Consistent with what I learned from Calatrava’s project in Milwaukee, (The Art Museum), the Peace Bridge was over-budget and opened behind schedule.  The conversation about whether we should run over it brought political debate (it’s a hot topic in Calgary) and our pace quickened.  Thank goodness for a leader reminding us (almost constantly) to RELAX.  We stopped for brief group photo at the bridge and continued.  I am glad we made the little change to run over it.  It was a fun little diversion during a long run.

About the half way point, the conversation seems to naturally turn one of two ways..  food or sex.  Since it was decided that it was too early into our run to talk about food, well..  you get the idea.  I don’t think this conversation needs to be revisited.  Again, our pace quickened and we had to be reigned in to keep a slow steady pace.  Funny how there are always three things to get the juices and conversation going.. politics, food, sex.

Closing in on the end of the run, we started to talk about food.  I imagined my energy gels as cheeseburgers and another spoke of cinnamon buns.  Pace quickens.  We are slowed.  Do you see a pattern here?

At the end of the run, I let out a cheer.  Our group shared treats made (or bought) with love.  JB brought me a cup of coffee, (isn’t he great?) and I enjoyed a stretch in the park while the kids played at the playground.  It was a good day.

I am ready.  Bring it.

Get it together, woman!

I am having a bad week.  You know, not like a terrifyingly tragic life threatening week, but I just can’t seem to get my poop in a group, (as one Jess would say).

Monday was Tax Day, so naturally Sunday evening and Monday were a bit stressful.  I also had sore legs on Monday, (thankful for rest days when training), due to a run in  the Saturday AM, Soccer Coaches Clinic Saturday afternoon (who would’ve thought they would have the coaches running like MLS players for 3 hours?) and wrapping with a 29k run on Sunday morning.  I am tired again just typing it.  The usual laundry I do on Monday did not get quite done.

Then Tuesday came along and I had the opportunity to do some work in Apprentices’ class.  It is always fun to help out at school, but I gotta tell ya, it throws off my whole week’s rhythm.  So the laundry that was waiting from Monday did not quite get finished, and the cleaning that I usually do on Tuesday also did not 100% completed.  I know, at this point you are all “screw you, these are not problems”, but stay with me here.  Contributing to a perfect storm of scheduling difficulties, JB had a work thing into the evening on Tuesday (11pm, but who notices?) which meant that I was not able to meet my running buddies for the usual Tuesday evening run.  No problem, I thought, I will just run during the day on Tuesday.  As noted above, Tuesday was not the productive day I had hoped for, plus it poured all day, so the run did not happen.  Runners, you know how missing a workout totally screws with your head.  But I digress.

Wednesday I flirted once again with entering the professional world and interviewed for a job.  Still on the fence about that.  However, having to be all presentable threw me off yet again and I failed to get another run in on Wednesday.  So there I was, waiting for the kids to come out of school on Wednesday, having not run in 3 days, but totally ready for Girl’s soccer practice.  I felt like I was in the twilight zone.  As I relived the last few days in my head on Wednesday, I decided that I do not like being the fly, much prefer being the windshield.  So there.  After Modern Family and a Vodka Cranberry, I went to bed, determined that I would be the windshield on Thursday and get my shit together.

So today I come to you a satisfied woman.  I finished all the crap I started on Monday and Tuesday around the house.  I ran.  OMG, I ran.  For those of you that do not run, it is really tough to explain how running makes you feel.  It was a great run on a cool, cloudy day.  I had a nice steady pace for a 10k run around the neighborhood and simply felt GREAT afterward.  I had shaken this “meh” that had been plaguing me in the beginning of the week.

My point, and I do have one, is that when I feel like I have to get it together, I run.  Some may say that I am running away from all that I am responsible for.  I would argue, (successfully, I may add), that running helps me to focus.  While on my run today I mentally prepared the rotations for the girls in their first soccer game.  I (mentally) arranged dinner preparations for the rest of the week.  I (mentally) wrote this post.  Running clears my head, helps me to get things in order.  There are bumper stickers and such that say sweat is your fat cells crying.  For me, it is stress leaving my body, defeated.

My advice to anyone that is willing to listen, is when you are stressed, feel the need to just “get it together”, go for a walk.  Go run.  Get out there!

Gratitude for..

I have a potpourri of things to be thankful for this weekend.  In no particular order..

Regarding the kids.. I was able to go on Mid’s field trip this week.. very fun.  I blogged about it in Field Trip!  Also, I volunteered in Apprentice’s class and got to know a few of the kids.  Nice children, to be sure.  And let me tell you, Grade 1 Math is WAY easier than Grade 5 Math.

Regarding my own activities.. In talking with some running friends during our 23k this week, I have some new goals to ponder. To which, thankfully, JB responded, “Well, I am not going to stop you.  Go ahead!”  Seriously, what a guy.

Vitamin C.  I was a little under the weather this week and I am thankful for Vitamin C.  I drank it in the form of orange juice, ate it in the form of fruits & veggies and took it in pill form.  Along with rest, I am back to my old snarky self.  woot!

My friend Jim made my day earlier this week as well when he forward a little blogger award to me.  I am thankful for his friendship and support in my new venture in the blogosphere.

Here’s to a great week!



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