Monday, April 26, 2010
In a nut shell since the 10th, I've:
- Had an amazing book signing with fellow-author, Sarah Bowen Shea (photos to post when I can figure out what "safe" place I tucked them in)
- nursed a sick kid back to health
- hosted my mother-in-law for 4 days
- done the regular "Mom" stuff
- nursed a hurt foot
- traveled to Ojai, CA for 3 days of BodyHoops Teacher Training (ie., hours and hours of hoop dancing/move learning/lesson plan learning/etc.)
I got home from the last adventure sometime after 11PM last night. Based on how well today has gone, I do believe I left my brain in California.
Despite the fatigue and the challenge of getting back into "mom mode" after a long weekend away, I'm really quite excited about things to come. My plan is to arrange several 6-session hoop classes for children starting in the fall. I'll likely organize to hold some adult classes, too, depending upon how things unfold these next few months. First I need to polish my hoop moves, but since I'm now hooping daily, I'm hopeful that my skills will be up to par by the time I get all of the business details worked out (insurance, location, costs, etc.).
I can't say enough about how amazing the weekend in Ojai was. It was the first time for as long as I can remember that I was truly out on my own from start to finish - including driving myself to and from the airport. I'm over 30, but I haven't ever done the rental car thing on my own (either my husband or one of my parents has been along for any rental car excursions with me), driven down a 12 lane highway in California, stayed in a hotel on my own or eaten more than one meal a week at a restaurant alone. But last weekend I did it all. And thanks to my GPS (awesome "little" invention), I navigated from Burbank to Ojai and back without fail, slipping in some dining adventures along the way.
The teacher training (I did Level 1 & Level 2) was fantastic. Diana Lopez, the founder of BodyHoops, was our instructor, and she really has this all figured out. She ran the weekend as a series of mock classes so we could get a true sense of how classes are paced, develop our own hooping skills, and get a handle on the terminology. We had group discussions, she helped us troubleshoot, and all the while worked with us at our own experience levels cheerfully and encouragingly (is that even a word? See? Brain hasn't caught up with body yet). The training manual has it ALL written out so that I can remember it all in a week or so when I'm all caught up with being back home and can really focus on moving forward. I do look forward to practicing every day to get better. Seriously, daily. Can you think of a better way to coax a smile . . . better yet, a full belly laugh, out of yourself at the end of a long than hula hooping? Maybe one day in the not-so-distant future I'll even get my Level 3 license. It is totally on my dream list now! And maybe even fire hooping. OK, definitely fire hooping. Yes, fire hooping. I'm getting in touch with my fun self and I'm loving it.
Interested in learning more about hooping? Want to order your own awesome, weighted hoop (these aren't the hoops from your youth)? Leave me a message and I'll get you a coupon code to save you $5 on your order!
Next up . . . the very delayed run-down of the book signing (which, too, was a positive experience). With that post, look for info about how you can WIN a copy of Run Like a Mother. I'm timing it just right with Mother's Day. So maybe you won't have it in hand for Mother's Day, but really mothers should be celebrated and appreciated more than one day a year, right?
Happy running, happy reading and happy hooping!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I'll likely be too excited to post anything tomorrow night, but I do promise to do a posting ASAP with photos of the two of us and a run-down of the whole thing. I've had a few book signings before, but really folks, this is a big one for me.
If you live in the Seattle/Eastside area of Washington State, come on over to Title Nine in Bellevue to meet Sarah and me, buy our books and have us sign them! Here are all the details you need:
Who: Runners or friends of runners, parents, girls . . . the list really is endless.
What: A fabulous book signing event
Where: Title Nine - Bellevue
When: Sunday, April 11th, 3-5PM
How: Bring a friend!
Why: You don't have many opportunities to meet 2 running authors at once, especially one who wrote for moms and one who wrote for daughters.
Will I see you there? I hope so!
I ran this morning, weeded half the yard (BIG chore) and chased kiddos, but still have plenty of energy. I'm off to put it to good use by getting the books ready for tomorrow and laying out all of the clothes in my closet to see what to wear. I might work on my sister-in-law's wedding quilt some, too, for some distraction. I'll likely "sneak in" a longer run tomorrow morning to make sure I have my jitters out. How appropriate that this whole thing is running-centric.
Happy running & happy reading!
Monday, April 5, 2010
A Closet of Her Own is having a Virtual Grand Opening this Wednesday, April 7th! You can win the grand prize (which is amazing, folks - you'd have your whole year's gift shopping done for one special little girl) or one of four fantastic smaller prizes. Go check it out!
Happy running & reading & contest winning!
Monday, March 29, 2010
My mom (my business partner!) and I were honored that a local runner approached us about using the book to help her with her fundraising for Team in Training. She sold enough books that we were able to donate over $150 in her name (and a few of her teammates sold a few copies, too). She was thrilled that she could use the book to spread her passion for running while raising money for a good cause. We're happy to work with others who are raising funds for non-profits.
Happy running & happy reading!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I think my self-perception stems from two life experiences:
1. I married a man who is 6' 4" on a short day. Just hanging out with him makes me feel tall, except when he reaches the things on the top shelf for me.
2. Runners who pass me tend to be tall. Including that tall husband of mine. (Or at least, he USED to pass me.)
So now that I'm becoming a stronger runner, I'm feeling taller. If I'm passing runners who are tall, then I must be tall, right? It FEELS that way to me. Until I get home and see in the mirror that I haven't grown at all, except for the improved posture and more confident twinkle in my eye. Yup, running makes me feel tall - and I like it.
Some of you were wondering how the Mercer Island 10K went on Sunday. Birthday Girl Christine and I didn't quite make her goal, but considering we underestimated the power of the hills (climbs at the start of each mile - AND, here's the kicker . . . a final climb to the finish line!) our finish in under 55:00 was strong. At an average pace of 8:45, I can't complain. And after today's 4 miler in the sunshine where I kept slipping into a 7:30 pace . . . Holy cow, did MY legs really do that? . . . I think that race was a good base-line for the season. And since I'm taller now (haha), I should be able to keep up the speed, right? We'll see in June when I do the Duvall Days 10K.
How about YOU? How does running make YOU feel?
Saturday, March 20, 2010
This is my first race of the season, and the race that will let me know if a half marathon really is a realistic consideration for 2010. Last year's race season was a great one - I ran consistently faster and even broke 25:00 for 5K. This year I've built up my mileage base steadily and my legs are feeling strong. I'm feeling ready to run!
Will my story be the same tomorrow? Not sure! There are a few things that have me feeling a bit uneasy (but not bad, just anxious I guess):
- Today was a sunny day with temperatures in the low 70s. Not bad for the 1st official day of Spring! Tomorrow is another beast entirely with the high forecast to be in the mid-50s and a 70-80% chance of rain all day.
- Christine and I previewed portions of the race course this afternoon after we picked up our packets. Let's just say I'm glad I did some hilly runs with her. *gulp*
- I'm not quite sure what to wear. Capri pants for sure, but the sleeve length is still up for a vote. Injinji socks (rainbow with toes!) were another easy choice, though - they are festive & comfortable.
My goals should put everything in perspective for me, though:
1. Have fun. This is a birthday run, after all and I'm there to support my friend and make sure she starts off this next year with a bang!
2. Settle into a good pace. This will take some steady breathing and some strong reminders for my controlling brain to BACK OFF and let my body take over and go for it. I know once I settle in that the run will be a good one. I have trained pretty well for this and need to put faith in my preparation.
3. While Christine has a definite time goal in mind, I'm approaching this as the starting point for my season. It'll be my baseline for the 10K I run in June. If I finish too fast in this race (say, under 50 minutes), I'll just get myself all competitive and crazy for June so I need to remember that this is the start. If I can keep going with Christine the whole race, I certainly will. But if I sense that she's ready to push a bit harder and I'm not . . . I'll wave her on with a smile and be happy to see her again at the finish line.
Get set . . . GO! Happy running!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
And representing the next generation of strong women:
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Now I'm asking YOU to make your own list. Or just feel free to leave one or two of your favorites in the comments below. I'd love to see lists from my fellow redheaded gals (who count for #5):
Celeste of The Freckled Forest
Beth at A Sweaty Quest for Enlightenment
Erin C of The Connolly Clan (who I just now realized hasn't blogged in over a year . . . seems Facebook is her new fav. But she still makes my list because I wouldn't be where I am without her!)
Oh, and Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. We read Fox in Socks and The Sneeches in your honor tonight! His books make me happy, too.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Here's my son, doing what all 5 year old boys think they should do to retrieve the yummy goodness from the top of this tree when shaking it with all your might doesn't pan out.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
I read the entire Twilight series in 2 weeks. My husband caught me reading in the kitchen while "making dinner" - or rather, just hoping dinner would make itself while I devoured the book. Thankfully he's a voracious reader, too, so he just gave me the "I knew this would happen when you started those books" look and started getting out the ingredients while I oversaw the preheating of the oven. He also let me take charge of holding down the couch while he did dishes.
Thankfully I finished the series and my obsession with reading isn't quite as lustful. Now I'm pacing myself by heading to bed early to read The Art of Racing in the Rain. My college roommate (now a vet) warned me I'll need tissues for this one - hopefully not as many as when I read Merle's Door, but I'll have them handy, just in case.
The reading thing was catching for our kids. We always read several times throughout the day, but with a mom who is unwilling to put down a book at breakfast for conversation, my three year-old and kindergartner turned to books more frequently, too. Stacks of books started appearing around the house and various corners turned into book nooks with pillows and blankets and stuffed friends.
Mr. Music, as you've seen me call him, is a strong reader who could sit down and read The Magic Tree House series on his own. If I read with him, he's willing to read the entire thing in one sitting. If he tries it on his own, he gets frustrated 3 pages in. That was the case until yesterday when I channeled my inner teacher.
We've been reading Marvin Redpost Kidnapped at Birth together for the past 2 days and I noticed that he gets frustrated when his eyes pick up words from the line beneath the one he's reading. This doesn't happen with EVERY line, but often enough that it slows him down. This kid wants to know what comes next in the story, so any obstruction or distraction is upsetting. Following the line with his finger (or my finger) isn't enough to nip the problem, but I'm a former elementary school teacher, so I whipped out the good 'ol bookmark trick.
Holding the bookmark horizontally to underline, or isolate, one line of text at a time immediately improved his fluency. With the bookmark in place, the words from lower lines can no longer jump up into the line he's reading. Words from upper lines on the page were never distracting, so we don't have to worry about covering them. He glides smoothly through the sentences now, even adding inflection.
Initially I was worried that he might see this simple tool as babyish (his term, not mine), but when I asked what he thought about it, he remarked, "That's great! I LOVE bookmarks!" And so tonight he and I sat down to enjoy the conclusion of Marvin Redpost (4 chapters worth) without so much as a "Can we stop now?" or "Let's just read it tomorrow." Come to think of it, I believe his exact words were "Let's keep going so we can see how it ends!"
As I type this, our night owl daughter is "reading" to herself in her bedroom. We gave up fighting with her to go to bed at the same time as her early bird brother. Now she has a choice: read quietly in her room or go to sleep. She reads for a bit and then comes to get me to tuck her in when she's ready. This solution has made EVERYONE happier. Our bedtime routine is now struggle-free and she gets lots of book time. This is every author's dream, right?
My wrist is still in a brace (slowing me down considerably), but my writer's block is lifting. The new found consistency in my running (a steady 15 miles/week now) is also encouraging. Those things, combined with all of the reading happening in the house, make for a very content me. Let's see how long this period of balance lasts! Even if it doesn't last long, I can revel in the fact that it DID happen.
What are YOU reading now? Something good, I hope. Let me know!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The next day rolled around and before I knew it I had slept past 8AM (RARE!) - a full hour past when I planned to wake to knock out those easy 3 miles.
By 9:30 I had consumed the delicious big breakfast my husband so lovingly made. You know, the works: eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, toast, & OJ. Clearly the run wasn't going to happen before noon after THAT.
A post-breakfast shower and afternoon outing with the family made this "easy" goal further and further out of reach. I'm a morning runner, without a doubt, and by 4:30 when we dropped off the kiddos for an overnight at their grandparents' house, I still had not laced up those Brooks.
Rounding out a wonderful day of food, my husband and I had an actual date at a Thai restaurant. It was quite possibly the best Thai dinner we've ever had. I was pleased to have some to take home with me for lunch the next day, but my stomach was definitely full. Clock read 7:30 when we got home from our outing.
At this point my Type A personality started to twitch. Not only had I set the 15 mile goal for myself the previous Sunday, but I had bragged about it to a fellow runner (and dear friend). The goal was out in the world, ready to be reached. I made a deal with myself that if I just cranked out 1 mile, I'd be satisfied. So I laced up.
And I ran 1 mile. And my Type A personality reared its ugly head. I picked up the pace and made my way through a second mile.
By this time there was no stopping me. And my husband began laughing. "I knew you couldn't run 'just one mile,'" he poked.
That's when I smiled sweetly, blew him a kiss and went another mile and a half. He was right, clearly. Once I set my mind on a goal, anything less than 100% just doesn't feel right. And sometimes it feels good to prove to yourself that you can make it just a smidge further, hence that bonus half mile.
Funny, but up until that night I've been apprehensive about night running. At some point in my running life I had trouble calming myself after evening workouts and found it hard to sleep. But I found that at this point in my life the satisfaction of reaching a goal and staying true to myself was *just* what my body and mind needed to have one of the best night's sleep I've had in a good month.
Last week I ran into a morning that had no room for a run, so I got it in that evening. Same thing - the sense of accomplishment satisfied my spirit and I slept well.
This opens the doors WIDE for this runner gal. Knowing that my body and mind are now willing to go "the extra mile" anytime of day really gives me a boost. As a mom I treasure this new found flexibility. And as a wife whose husband is returning to the world of running after a bit of a break, I look forward to making running part of our date night experiences without worrying that I'll have to pay the "consequence" for running with my best friend in the evening with a sleepless night.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Sunshine (and warmer temperatures, too!) + both children at school = TRAIL RUN!
With new shoes and a new long-sleeved running shirt on, I was ready to head out for my first trail run of the year promptly at 9:40AM. Apparently my mind, legs, lungs, and spirit all had a different start time in mind, because for the first 3.5 miles of my 4.4 mile run, they were all out of sync. Big time. And my self-pity whining kicked in, or "st-run-ggling" (a play on "struggling", ya know?) as I decided to call it.
"I haven't run the trail in a month. I'm slower than I run when I'm with the group on Saturday mornings. I had to stop and walk. My left hamstring is tight. I should have stayed home to fold the mountains of laundry waiting for me. If I can't run well today, what makes me think a half-marathon should be in my plan for the year?" . . . on and on the excuses and complaints went. And on and on my body and mind fought.
I nearly turned around at the 5K half-way mark, but my brain tricked my legs into staying the course.
At the 2 mile marker my brain was ready to give in, but my spirit took over and noticed that the sun was shining and I had the trail to myself. It would be a shame to give up and not make it the last stretch to the 2.2 mile turn around point (a major Roundabout that leads to "the city") when no rain was pelting my face and no children were whining.
At 2.2 miles I had no choice but to run another 2.2 miles back to my car, so after quick hamstring stretch and a deep breath, I got going again.
Somewhere between mile 3 and 3.5 I came to the realization that how I felt about this run was up to ME. So I began asking myself some important questions:
Why do I run? (It is time for myself, it makes me feel strong, I'm less stressed afterward, it is the only time that I feel beautiful while sweating)
Why did I choose the trail this morning? (The sun was shining, I wanted to test out my new shoes on the trail, my children were at school)
Why am I whining? (FOR NO GOOD REASON!!!)
And with that, everything fell into place. I found my stride, I lifted my chin, my steady breathing rhythm hit and off I went to finish the remaining 0.9 mile stretch.
When I reached the end of the trail and checked my watch, I realized the joke was on me. Despite the fact that I felt slower, stopped to watch some ducks duke it out in the river, took a stretch break and took several walk breaks . . . I still finished in under 40 minutes, which put me at under a 10:00 pace. Not bad considering all of the mental commotion.
So if someone asks me about my run today I can now say that it was a sunny, eye-opening run filled with self-reflection. Not my best run, but definitely not my worst. And now that I've faced my whining demons, I'm sure my next run WILL be a good one. It is all about perspective.
What do YOU do when your body-mind-spirit are out of whack on a run?