July 02, 2014

contemplating....

I remembered I had a blog today.

It was a fleeting thought.  Part of me thinks the blog ship has sailed into infinite darkness. The other par of me was totally impressed that I remembered my Blogger password.

And part of me needs the outlet.  My journal can only hold so much drudgery and random thoughts. Why not the internet? :)

So I contemplate resurrecting the blog... again.  Not sure it will do much good.  Life is generally uninteresting.

Michael graduated with his 4 year degree.  Ethan graduated from pre-k with a blank piece of paper rolled up to resemble a diploma.  Sydney celebrated the end of first grade with a pool party.  I celebrate all that by working.  See?  Nothing's changed - mama has no fun.

So maybe I'll get back to posting here.  If anything interesting happens. Or not.  More likely the latter, so consider this your warning.

October 29, 2013

freda, football and trunk or treating

Freda is a stuffed frog.

A very big, bright neon green frog.

Freda belongs to Ethan's pre-k class, and each child is able to bring Freda home one weekend.

Our weekend was this past weekend... and it began with Freda scaring the absolute crap out of me. 

I had plans to go to yoga at 6, and killed the hour before it getting some cardio in... so when I walked through the front door, exhausted and well-worked out, the last thing I expected to see was giant, neon green FROG sitting on the back of the couch.

(Yes, the yelp was audible.)

Sydney had Leo the Lion, Ethan had Freda.  Freda visited us on a good weekend. :)

Freda visited Guilford, went to a little bit of a football game, ate at Jams, went to church (by proxy), went to Trunk or Treat, watched us carve our pumpkins, and generally had a good time with us all.

 
Ethan & Freda at the game

 
Freda visits the end zone.  Guilford won.  :)

 
Carving pumpkins.

 
Ethan's tiny pumpkin from his field trip to the pumpkin patch

 
Cinderella and the Fireman.

pumpkin patch

Last weekend, amid the sneezing, ear clogged mess I was becoming, we went to Kersey Valley's pumpkin patch. We went ziplining there last year and some other families had gone there for pumpkin picking, so we decided to go.
OF COURSE it was gray, dreary and drizzly all day. Luckily we missed the heavier periods of rain. But still… what a wet, miserable weekend, weather-wise. At least I didn't have to worry about direct sunlight, right? :)
some pictures…
 
 
pretty sure he was trying football drills amongst the pumpkins

 
the cow train.  coolest thing, ever


 
She was not moving at this point.  Too much kettle korn.




 

thompson family pics

 
I got to shoot some family pictures for the Thompsons a few weeks ago… Will and Charlie were in rare form, but I'm used to that with our kids. :) I think they came out pretty good! (Emily assures me they did… I have issues accepting my own work.)
 




 

October 07, 2013

back in the saddle

I have started this post (and failed to press "publish") about a dozen times now… but back in the saddle we go…

I was trying to think of a clear direction for this blog, but one hasn't come to me… I don't feel like I have the time to really sit down and discuss everything in general with no one in particular (more importantly - does anyone necessarily want to HEAR me?), so I have continued to neglect this space.

I NEED something creative to do. The photography is on hold while Michael finishes school, the running is on hold until my blasted foot and knee get back in alignment, and anything else is on hold due to a general lack of space and/or time and/or money and/or brain power. So you see where I am?

Living life on pause. Again. (The only thing that's missing is crappy, canned elevator "hold" music.)

This frustrates me to no end. And I never really put much stock in astrology until I happened upon something that basically confirmed what I had suspected all these years: When Scorpio's decide they want to do something, it's full tilt or nothing. Which explains 99% of my life. And why living life on pause frustrates me so badly. I'm ready to go. But can't. So I don't. It's a vicious cycle, really.

So… as I sit here, watching The Voice with mountains of laundry surrouding me on either side, here's my fourth quarter goals (since my resolutions fizzled in February):

- I will write. I will write about clouds or an ode to the ants in my kitchen if I have nothing else to write about.
- I will photograph. Even if it's just my kids, I'll take a picture of something every day. I will get better because I will keep doing it. (New favorite photographers: Kristyn Hogan and Kellie Kano)
- I will work out. I can't run because my doctor has ESP and basically yells at me via text to LET MY FOOT HEAL (whatever the heck I did to it). (She's good like that!) Insanity (the work out, not the mental condition), yoga, and the gym are my friends. 12 hour work days are not.
- I will NOT sweat the condition of my house. It's too small, but we can't buy for another few years at least. We have a roof, it's time to purge what we don't need, and dirty dishes in the sink means we get enough to eat and the kids' toys scattered about means I get to work on my agility and grace as I cross the living room. The end.
- I will not compare my life to anyone else's and fret about what I seem to lack. (Big one for me.) I have not missed the boat, I'm just in a different one. Even if it goes in circles, or gets grounded, it's my boat and I have to own it. And maybe ask for some help rowing it if the time comes.
- I will also not make jalapeno poppers for the hubby any more after yesterday. 24+ hours later and umpteen handwashings later, my fingers are still on fire and I have singed my eyeballs for a second time taking out my contacts.

So, there you have it. Time for the rubber to meet the road, and even if I vent for an hour and never hit "publish," at least it's better than the blank journal staring at me from the bedside table, right? Right.

Look, a post and a picture! I tried to take advantage of perfect (indirect) light on Friday, to take pictures of the kids. This is what I get: Moving subjects and tongue sticking-outage. Let's hope the ones I take for the Christmas card come out better. :)


August 07, 2013

Direction

I’ve been neglecting the blog on purpose lately.  I have difficulty writing without purpose, which stems from my college days, when I could write anything on demand about a particular topic that was given to me.  But when the dreaded “topic of your choice” assignment inevitably rolled around, I had one of three reactions:  Panic, Procrastinate, or Plan Incessantly.  I need direction!  I need topics!  Give me something to argue, and I’ll tackle it.  But let me choose it myself?  Pfft.  Indecisiveness is not my best side. (And I get that side dealt to me quite a bit…)

So I’ve been thinking about what to do in this space.  I’m jealous of people who have time to write (and actually post) actual topics of conversation other than “my kid did this today.”  (I love my kids.  Don't get me wrong.  Most days are boring.) I typically have time and material to write on the latter (especially when said subjects are in rare form, as they have been recently) but as the kids get older, I need more material.  Not that things have calmed down by any means, but we’ve reached a state of equilibrium in parenting (we handle the emergencies, they’re balanced by the calm days, peppered with some funny off-the-cuff things that are hilarious at the time but I can NEVER seem to remember) which produces some boring “oh, hey, I went to the grocery store this weekend… by myself” recollections.  Not exactly blog fodder. 
 
So… not wanting to bore all two of you with stories of winery visits, quasi-running or un-successful parenting or equally unsuccessful house decorating or cooking or gardening ideas (I have more fails than I’d like to admit), my goal is to give this thing more direction.  Maybe someone will laugh.  At any rate, you’ll probably feel better about your own life once you hear about ours. :)

Stay tuned...

April 08, 2013

Gate City 8k - or, the course that went uphill both ways.

I think this is my first in-depth "race review" - and since it started out mostly as a comedy of errors, I figured I had to write it down on the internets to remember for all of eternity.






Pre-Race - Revenge of the Nerves

I have an issue with pre-race nerves.  They were bad two weeks ago for the Twilight 5k (another race review I have yet to do), and I think they were mostly weather-related, but this week they were MONSTER sized.  I've run a 10k before, so I knew I could do the distance.  I think it was last year's 10K failure (see: running on broken toe sustained the night before the race coupled with stomach cramps) that had me so nerve-wracked. I want to continuously do better, so when I don't see a steady line of improvement, I interpret that as failure.  The incremental improvements don't mean as much to me for some reason.  I have a host of items preventing me from running regularly or with any sort of force or excitement (husband in class 3x per week, very active 5.75- and 3.75 year olds, balancing remembering everything for Kindergarteners school days and remembering to put the milk back in the refrigerator (happened last week - left the last of the gallon on the counter in the morning, came home that evening wondering why someone would break in the house only to drink milk), work, life, etc.).  And, for some physical reason unknown to me, I simply cannot subsist on less than 6 hours of sleep.  So the early morning runs so many of my friends can swing just don't work for me.  I WANT to get better, I WANT to run faster, longer, etc. but I need to realize that my life right now isn't the best time to try and improve by leaps and bounds.  Eventually, yes, I will get there.  But I need to get comfortable with doing the best I can do wherever I'm at, whenever I am there.  Which for me is harder than just typing it in cyberspace (I have a fear of failure - long-standing, deep-seeded.  I'm working on it!).

So I had "The Nerves" all week (as Sydney (the 5 year old) would say), running in MY city, down roads I travel almost weekly AND running with people I know… and I saw the course elevation and that did NOT help matters.  Someone once told me that if I train in Greensboro, I can literally run any race.  I think I know why.  Roads that go uphill both directions of an out-and-back course - check!  By Friday night I had calmed down enough and gotten to the "whatever will be, will be" frame of mind, we picked up our race materials  (which was anti-climactic.  I think I doomed myself by doing a Rock N Roll event relatively early in my running life.  Their expos tend to beat all expos), and treated ourselves to some pre-race doughnuts (more on that later.)  The Husband, who also ran with me, was complaining about his neck hurting this week.  We chalked it up to tension headaches and moved on.  I am not joking when I tell you he woke me up at 2:30 on Saturday morning sounding like he was dying.  (He is also a sufferer of "Man Colds."  I love him, but man… when he gets sick, he beats the band.)  We both remembered at the same time that a classmate revealed he had meningitis over the Easter break (thanks, Classmate, for not revealing what TYPE of meningitis you had), so I had to do some bedside Googling of "symptoms of meningitis" on my phone at 3:00 am, and convinced the Husband he was probably fine and to just take some ADVIL already, and his headache/tension started subsiding, so I finally get back to sleep at 3:30.  The 3.75 year old wandered in our room at 5:00, complaining that his stomach hurt, so I asked him the usual questions and put him back to bed.  I was up when my alarm went off at 5:15 so I could eat (to hopefully avail myself of the stomach cramps that accompany almost every run).  I go downstairs, force my queasy stomach to accept a gluten-free waffle with some biscoff spread (absconded with from the Twilight 5k - that stuff is crack in a jar, let me tell you) and a banana, brew my coffee, and head back upstairs for some cat napping until 6:00, when we *really* had to get up.  Get dressed, head downstairs, all's well that ends well, right?

Until the “Revenge of the Doughnuts”.  Remember our Friday night run to get doughnuts?  BIG. FAT. MISTAKE.  The 3.75 year old comes downstairs at 6:45, writhes on the couch for a few minutes, so I sit down with him, coffee in hand (finally), and E upchucks all over the couch.  Fifteen minutes before my mom is to arrive to watch the kids so we can go run.   6:55 – E exclaims his hatred of doughnuts (me too, kiddo), I throw laundry in the washer, including PJ's and E's beloved Blue Doggy (collateral damage), find other PJ's that he will be comfortable in, Sydney wanders out of her room, trying to figure out why I'm doing laundry at 6:55, find the carpet cleaner to clean the couch, Febreeze the heck out of the couch, and Mom arrives.  Luckily Mom's had her share of upchucking kids, so since Ethan is now shooting basketball and regaling us with stories of "I throwed up," we figure he's okay.  We start to leave - Husband forgets sunscreen.  (Unlock house, go back inside, grab sunscreen, tell kids goodbye, leave again.)  Husband forgets bib.  (Unlock house, go back inside, grab bib, tell kids goodbye, leave again.)  Husband needs sunglasses.  (Unlock house… you know where this is going. ) This time we actually get IN the truck and leave, whereupon I notice THREE pair of sunglasses already in the truck.  I love him.  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Saturday marked our 13th dating anniversary. :)  (We've been married almost 9.)




Race
We make our way to our preferred parking spot, and find people just parked in the street.  No one going in, no one coming out of the deck, just two lanes of traffic with their left turn signals on, trying to figure out what's what.  We're both impatient at this point, so we find parking elsewhere and luckily it's FREE on weekends in our fair city, so we lock up the truck and get on with it, making our way to the start line to meet up with our friend who's also running the 8K (while running past the cars still trying to get into the parking deck.  WTH?).

Luckily with the parking deck issue, we didn't have much time to get nervous, so once the gun went off and the half marathoners sped away (I'm jealous), we enjoyed the A&T Drumline, went potty, stretched, and goofed off for 20 minutes.  Then it was our time to start… we’re so used to putting ourselves at the back of the pack (since we typically have the kids and/or we're just slow) that we started mid-pack and it was perfect.  I still felt incredibly slow. Going on maybe 4 hours of solid sleep, not enough coffee, and sore legs (note to self: stop cross training two days before events) I was dragging from the start.  I finally shook it out around mile 1, went strong until mile 2, when I stopped to walk at the first water station.  Mistake.  I broke my momentum.  Husband and friend were dusting my doors, but I had to stop for some Gatorade. (Husband left with mid-race fuel in his pocket.  I missed my jelly beans.)  I walked a bit, just enjoying the weather (not paying attention to my left knee, which was starting to let me know of its existence), and picked it up on the backside of the loop around the golf course.  Envious of the pretty houses, I ran out my frustrations on mile 3.  Made my way back to Elm Street, picked it up again and start to hit some resistance at Mile 4… and it didn’t take me long to remember that this is one continuous hill.  [Insert curse words here.]  And that did me in.  Knee hurting, tired, half marathoners now passing me (insert: fear of failure)… when we turned off to go around Fisher Park I found my stride again. I wasn't smashing course records, but I was going pretty good for ME.  I walked through the next water station, the iPod found some good music (KISS, Journey, and my kick asphalt songs), so I tried to just kick it until the finish line.  I finished at a sub-10 minute pace, so I KNOW I CAN DO IT.  It's now a matter of training consistently and conscientiously to get there on a consistent basis.  I was only 2 minutes off my goal time (in the wrong direction), but had this been a 10k, I would have been on course to finish 10 minutes ahead of my one and only 10k time from last year.



PROS:
-  I found a pre-race nutrition plan that works.  I had no GI issues this time.  Hallelujah.
- I was tired, but kept going, despite my mind telling me otherwise.  The Negative Committee in my head needs a "sit down and shut up" note for the next race (or indefinitely).  It was my first 8K race, so I'm calling it a PR.
- My Garmin was 30 seconds off the time clock (what the what?).  So my Garmin time was 1:01 and change.
- The course.  It was challenging, yes, but that was good… and bad.  Since we live here and had driven the course on Friday, I knew where my problem areas were going to be (in short: HILLS.  All 45 of them).
- The weather was ah-mazing.  I am still in awe it was snowing on Thursday, and clear and warm on Saturday.
- The A&T Drumline.  Nothing gets you going up that last (continuous, mile-long) hill when you're by yourself, complete strangers are cheering you on, the drumline is going, and some strange Metallica/Journey mashup is blasting over the speakers. (And you see your husband and realized he finished ahead of you -- again!)
- My favorite beer/brewery at the finish line.  I never thought Chicken Marsala and a Guilford Golden Ale would qualify as breakfast, but it did on Saturday!



CONS:
- I walked entirely too much; more than I wanted to.  But I listened to my body this time and walked away with no injuries.
- Hills.  Hills are my weakness. I need to work some hill repeats in at some point. (Dear God, I just said that.)
- Parking deck fiasco.  I realize that's more the City's problem (seriously - what was UP with the Bellemeade deck?!) but luckily we knew where to park otherwise.
- My left foot is killing me today, but my knee is not - probably means I was striking wrong on my left foot.  I need to watch my pronation next time.  (When I zone out, I really zone out - didn't even think to monitor my stride/strike on this run.  Ouch.)

Overall:
- I so want to get on that sub-10 minute mile wagon.  But I finished with a 12 min/mi pace, which for some people is dismal.  But it's MY time, and considering just a year ago I was struggling to keep a sub-14 min/mile pace, I'll take it. 
- Running IS MENTAL.  The minute I started doubting myself, it went downhill. I need to train my brain as much as my legs.
- I did okay for ME.  Hubby beat me by two minutes, friend by 8 minutes.  But I did okay for ME.  It's MY time.  I have to own it.
- Hills and I need to become friends.  Stat.
- I loved running in MY city.  Outside of the Women's Only, this has been my only event on the open roads of Greensboro.   It was awesome.

Post-race - we napped. :) Seriously, getting old sucks.  We wore our medals out to lunch and earned a $5 discount so… win-win? 

I really, really want to do this one again. I hope it does come back in 2014 with the same course so I can see some sustainable improvement.  I also really, really, want to keep that goal of a half marathon, but the husband and I have figured out we can't really adequately train for one until the 2014/2015 season (you don't just muck around with training for 13.1 miles. 13. POINT 1. MILES. Two years ago I thought THREE miles was astounding). We both want to do VA Beach again.  If the RNR Raleigh marathon adds the mini or relay option, we may do that next year.  (I may still volunteer anyway.)



Next up is the Rugged Maniac in Asheboro on the 20th, and then an extended break.  We’re foregoing the 10K this year to focus on other things, so hopefully I can keep up the training, with some small runs/events to keep us on our toes.

I just need to learn that I have to do this for me.  I can't do it for anyone else.  And I have to realize that while a 12 min/mi pace is abysmal for a track and field champion, it's awesome for me, someone who was never, ever considered a runner.  A few years ago, I'd rather have pounded out kettlebell squats in the gym than run a mile (and some days, that's still what I'd rather do!).  But I challenged myself to become a runner a few years ago, and I've made some progress.  My life is a slow uphill crawl at this moment, and apparently so is my running - but the key now is to not become worse.

And life lesson #2 is to stay the frack away from doughnuts the night before a race. :)