Friday, May 29, 2009

Ending with a Thankful Heart

Somehow I got away from my "Starting with a Thankful Heart" posts. They really are a great way to kick-off a work week, so you can count on me getting back to those. When I find frustration building-up or feel like I'm swimming against the current, I can often turn my attitude around by taking a minute to acknowledge at least ONE thing for which I am thankful.

Granted, gratitude can be a bit like pulling teeth when you have a two year-old screaming in your ear and a four year-old taking apart every last thing he can get his hands on. But it can be done. And when I can latch on to one or two things for which I truly am grateful, I find I can get to the root of the screaming (lately, the arrival of molars and a significant physical growth - as evidenced by the dramatic shoe size change overnight!) and redirect my son's curiosity for good instead of evil (it always helps to address him as a Superhero and give him tasks that can "save the day"). Oh, don't bother asking me about the socks - I really don't know why they're an important part of the outfit, but they are.

In the spirit of those usual Monday posts, here's my "Ending with a Thankful Heart" gratitude list:

1. My husband recognizing that I was ready to hear him say "You can run faster if you want to. I know you can." After plodding along at the same pace for at least 2 years and with a nearly 6 months of strength training under my belt, he's right. I can go faster - because I have the tools to do so. I kicked-off my "I can go faster" mind-set this morning with a tempo run on the treadmill - and, no kidding, he was right!

2. The open arms of the great outdoors. For SO many reasons, but especially since it provides my children with a place to be themselves, full throttle.

3. Pizza. Late-night pizza with my husband after a full day last night and family pizza night with my mom tonight. Is there such thing as too much pizza? I'm sure there is, but we haven't reached that point yet.

4. And finally, as my dad would say, "Cuteness personified." The boundless energy of my children can't be beat (though there ARE days when I could use a second run to get a bit more time to myself - let's be honest here!). They wear me out and they challenge me daily, but I wouldn't trade 'em for anything.

How about YOU? Can you think of at least one thing for which you are thankful this week? Big or small, feel free to share in the comments.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Update Central

I've been away from the blog world, but this time my absence was not due to sick children!

1. Since deciding to do a Half, I really have been running more. My training plan isn't set yet, but a few gals (from our newly-formed Saturday morning running group!) and I have our sights on the Portland Half in August . . . or maybe Seattle in November.

2. I've been putting our YMCA membership to better use and even have our daughter taking a Toddler Sports class (fits perfectly between my run & shower and the time we have to leave to get Mr. Music from preschool - full morning, but awesome!).

3. We took a trip to Yosemite National Park - AMAZING (that's me running through the valley, because I could).

4. We Are Girls Who Love to Run finally has a Facebook page - become a fan - REALLY!!

5. I've joined the world of Twitter (@writingrunner), though I'm still tinkering with it to figure out what it is all about.

6. Though I've been home since Monday night, my brain is still stuck in Yosemite. My only running was once through a meadow with my son (seen above), but you can surely see why I've had a hard time getting back to "real life" once you take a look at these photos (we took nearly 250 in the 3 days we were there . . . and that was just OUR camera - my brother-in-law's fam took just as many with theirs!).

7. Be sure you take the time this weekend to thank a Service Member (former/current and/or their family members) for their dedication to our country and our freedom.
And now I leave you with images from the amazing national treasure that is Yosemite National Park (yes, we took these ourselves!!!):

Monday, May 11, 2009

Community of Runners (Part 2)

Saturday was the official running of the John Wilt Memorial 5K. Thanks to Facebook, I can tell you that John's friends were running everywhere on Saturday - thus far I've seen photo evidence of runners in Manhattan and Tuscon, and have read reports of others running, too. I expect more photos will be posted this week showing those runners in action. My friend Beth, the race's director, reported that the race started with John's best friend, TJ, and her husband (a fellow former Marine, like John) starting out 20 seconds early with the Marine flag. It was a somber start to the race, a true heart-felt and silent tribute to John. But, as John would have insisted, the race quickly picked up energy and excitement once the rest of the runners got going, ending with a post-race celebration with quite a large group of our classmates who were able to attend the race.

I originally thought just a few local runners would join me for my Washington-based tribute run. While my closest running gal friends showed up, I was thrilled that an additional 3 were able to join, bringing our tally to six moms out for an early morning 5K on Mother's Day Eve. Since we started in the parking lot by our local police station, we were able to flag down an officer to take our photo before he headed out on his rounds. The fog hadn't completely lifted yet when we got started, but it didn't slow us down any. With six runners on the course, we were able to comfortably split into two pace groups. One gal sprinted ahead to do a fast final mile (WAY faster than I could maintain - she truly left us in her dust!), but my neighbor and I managed a respectable 28:30 finish and we jogged back to accompany the second pace group to the finish just a few short minutes later. Two of those gals report that they ran PRs! We were truly "Girls Who Love to Run". And, yes, that is me with my yellow hat!

I don't remember the last time I ran with someone else, let alone a handful of women for a group run. I really enjoyed it. And apparently, so did they (not so surprising, based on what I've read on other people's blogs and on on-line running communities, group runs ARE inspiring). They asked if I'd put together some group runs again soon, which I plan to start-up in the next week (and already know of a few others who would like to run with us). And to top it all off, my neighbor and I decided today to sign-up and train for a fall half-marathon together since our pacing is so similar. I guess I AM doing a half this year, no more excuses!!

So, thanks to my friend Beth and our John (and his parents and close friends), for bringing together this little group of women in Duvall, WA for a run on Saturday. It seems their reach of influence far exceeds the John Wilt Memorial 5K - they're now responsible for influencing a Saturday morning running group and a pair of women who can count on one another for half-marathon training support. Aren't runners and girlfriends the best? I love being part of this community.
So what's next on my race plate? I'll be running with an 11 year-old girl for the Duvall Days 5K the first Saturday in June! Her parents won a package the REF auction that included a copy of my book and the chance to have me run with someone at the race. I'm excited!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May - Tracking My Distance

I'm not really a competitive runner. I just like the way running feels, the way it clears my head and the way it leaves me feeling strong. I enjoy races, but haven't been one to push myself toward any goals since having the kiddos. But all that is about to change!

Now that I'm back in my running shoes 4-6 times/week, I'm curious about how much distance I'm actually covering. Before now I think the statistics would have frustrated me since I really couldn't get in more running. But NOW I'm in a groove and I think the statistics will help me build up my distance and encourage me to consider building speed as we approach the summer months and some fun 5K & 10K races.

I know there are fancy things I can do to track my runs (heck, I can do so on my Garmin, right?!), but for starters I've been recording my distances by hand on our family calendar. There's something satisfying about hand writing the numbers. Perhaps June will be the month that I learn to utilize the high tech tools I have - when I'm really getting outside more for my runs and gearing-up for some races.

I look forward to reporting my total for May at the end of the month!

How about YOU? What motivates you to go the distance or pick up your pace? Take a second and leave a comment!

Have a great week . . . and happy running!