Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Seasons

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls.

I like to have a plan.

When I get a curve ball, I can adjust the plan as needed.  But I still have a plan.

However, once in a while it feels like a bit more than just a curve ball.

It feels more like I'm getting hit by the ball.

Repeatedly.
Seems like that is how things have been going lately.

Lots of things going on.  Some things are totally out of my control.  Others are because of decisions my husband and I have made a long time ago and the timing just makes it hard.

Last fall I made the decision to dial back my training some and just participate in sprint triathlons for the coming season.

I already knew there was going to be a lot on my plate and that seemed like the smart thing to do.

Fast forward six months and I've been struggling with finding balance between all the things I need to do and getting my workouts done for me.

The workouts for me have taken a backseat to everything else.

This totally sucks because I know that when I finally get through all this stuff I will be starting over...again.

When I started running I had this vision of how I would lose weight and feel great.  I had some thoughts to bigger and badder goals to reach by the time I turned 50.  I thought all of these things were totally possible considering the amount of work I was putting in.

Now I am in the year where I actually turn 50.

I have gained back a bunch of weight.

I haven't done any events this year at all and it's already June.

My workouts are practically non-existent.

Not where I thought I would be at all.

Most of this winter has been working my way around to being okay with that.

I don't want to say it's not my fault (because it is).

Or that other things had to become priorities (which they did).

I try really hard to live a No Excuses life.

But sometimes that is just really hard.  (This is being said in the most whiny voice possible.)

I tend to think of my year in seasons, usually starting with fall.  Probably because I'm a teacher and that's when the school year starts.  Fall, winter, spring, summer.  There are beautiful parts of all of those seasons but there are also parts that are not so great.  None of them last forever.  Sometimes it seems like it and then suddenly we are in the next season.

Oregon fall is beautiful.  We tend to nice weather, warm but not too hot, and the leaves start turning.  I love hiking in the fall when the air is starting to have a crisp edge to it in the morning but then it warms up.  But fall is also the time when we start getting more rainy days and it reminders that the damp winter is on its way.
Silver Falls State Park, November 2018
Winter can be lovely in different ways.  It rains a lot in the valley where I live.  I love listening to the sound of the rain on the tin cover that is over our back porch.  I like hiking when it's a light drizzle and everything smells clean and the leaves have a sparkle to them.  We can drive to the coast and watch the waves churn because of a storm or drive to the mountains and play in the snow.  It's nice to be able to change things up when it's feeling a bit dreary.  But it can also be hard to have the relentless gray skies and not have the time to change things up because life gets so busy.
The Sisters, Central Oregon, January 2019
Spring in Oregon is like a roller coaster at times.  Mother nature likes to tease us with amazing days of warmth and blue skies and then slam us with a week of non-stop rain.  Hiking becomes an adventure in spotting wild flowers and baby deer.  It's also the end of the school year and the students are losing their minds and the teachers are losing their patience.
Summer!  Long summer days, sunshine and time for workouts that are followed by naps.  I love summer.  I don't enjoy days where the temperature is over 90 and it's so hot at night I can't sleep.  Luckily we don't get there too often and I know it could be much worse.  My son lives in Arizona and I look at the temperature where he is and think it's just ridiculous!
Much like the different times of the year there are seasons in life.  With each season there are parts that are beautiful and amazing and there are parts that are not as much fun or a struggle.  Sometimes the beautiful and amazing happens at the same time as the struggling season.

This past year has brought on several different seasons in our life happening all at the same time.  As I said earlier, I have felt bombarded and overwhelmed a lot this year.

I have been focusing on all the hard parts and struggles and forgetting to look for the wildflowers.

I was talking with my coach a few weeks ago and he was telling me how I'm going through a season in my life where racing isn't a priority and that is okay.  I need to work at still moving as much as I can and remember that this isn't permanent, it's just a season.

Obviously I have been thinking about that quite a bit.  Funny how the brain clamps onto an idea or word and runs with it.

Two of the seasons in our life that are happening right now are rather significant.  First, we are selling our house and moving.  Downsizing some but getting some awesome features in a home that are going to be exactly what we are wanting in a house for a couple of empty-nesters.

Second, our youngest is graduating high school.  She will be heading off to college in August.  Our other two kiddos are home to see their baby sister graduate.  It has been amazing to have them all home and hear them laughing in the other room or hanging out with us and just visiting.

Graduation is tonight and then Meighan will be off on a trip with a friend for a few weeks.  We will be moving the first week in July, which sounds really far away but I know will be here in no time.

I'm ready for this season to be winding down.

I'm ready to not have so many life changing seasons happening at one time.

I'm ready to take a deep breath and have a moment or two before I regroup and start moving forward again.

Trying to not beat myself up and the work I'm going to have to do just to get where I was last fall.

Trying to remember this is just a season in my life.

No season lasts forever.

Sometimes that's a good thing.







Saturday, March 23, 2019

Failing with a Smile

Last month my youngest daughter did an amazing thing.

She failed.

It was awesome!

I was and am incredibly proud of her.

Let me explain.

My daughter loves the theater.  She has dreams of acting on Broadway someday.  All of the colleges she has applied to have excellent programs in theater arts. 

This is not a sudden whim to become famous or see her name up in lights, although I'm sure she wouldn't complain if that happens.

Acting has been a part of her life since her third grade teacher gave her a flyer for an acting camp and said that she thought Meighan would have a lot of fun with it.

Meighan auditioned for that camp and got a part.  She spent a couple of months learning the music and her lines before the camp started the week after school got out.  Camp consisted of learning about blocking, choreography, working with a lot of other people and many more things that come with being part of a play.

She loved every minute of it.

She has been in a production of one kind or another every year since then.  Ten years of auditions, rehearsals, laughter, tears, and a great deal of hard work.

One of the schools that she decided to apply to was Juilliard.  If you haven't heard of Juilliard, it's one of the most prestigious fine arts school in the country and it is VERY difficult to be accepted there.  For just the theater program this year they were only accepting 18 students.  Eighteen!!
We traveled to San Francisco so that Meighan could do her audition.  If she got a call back after the first audition, she would have another one that night.  If she got another call back, we would be making a trip to New York for yet another audition.

Juilliard does not mess around!

Now, I think my daughter is amazing and extremely talented.  But I'm also pretty sure that every person who was at that audition was also amazing and extremely talented.

Meighan went into the audition with the best attitude.

She wanted to enjoy the experience.

We did some site seeing in the morning before we needed to be at the audition site.  It was fun to have some adventures before the big part of the day.  I enjoyed making some more memories with Meighan since I know that she will be leaving for college soon so these opportunities will be fewer and farther between.
After lunch it was time to head to the audition.
We checked in at the theater and were welcomed very nicely by the staff from Juilliard.  It was fun to watch Meighan interact with them and get all settled for the experience.

Waiting for her turn.  😍
Watching the other people at the audition was very similar to people watching before a race starts.

Some people were obviously nervous with lots of lag shaking or foot tapping.

Others were sitting a bit apart and reviewing their lines to themselves.

A few were visiting with people near them.

One guy was so wound so tight he was literally bouncing all over the place.

It wasn't long before they asked all the people auditioning to join them for a warm up.  This left a few parents and friend hanging out together.  We could hear the group doing their warm up together and it made me smile because it sounded fun.

Meighan returned with a big smile.  She said it was as fun as it sounded.

The list went up with the order of the auditions for her group.  One person would be auditioning, another would be ready to go on next and then they would let the next person know to be ready to go be on deck.  Meighan was at toward the top of the list so it wasn't long before she took off.

I ended up visiting with the lady who was in charge of admissions at Juliard.  She told me that they might take one person from this group so the odds were not high for anyone moving on.  She told me how she had auditioned when she was 18 and didn't get in.  So she went to a different school and a different program and had a great experience.  Now she is in charge of the admissions process at the very school that she didn't get into.  She loves that her journey brought her full circle.  It was fun to see how she appreciated that journey.

Every time someone came back in the room the other people would ask how it went.  People were very supportive and encouraging.  It was fun to watch them commiserate together and get all chatty once they were done and it was all over.  By the time the whole group had their turn most of them were exchanging stories and backgrounds.  Again, very much like people do after a race.

How did you do?

Nice work!

Awesome!

Good for you!

What's your next thing?

That's so cool!

Not too much longer and they gathered the people who had auditioned together to let them know how much they appreciated them being there.  They took only one from Meighan's group.  They posted the list and it didn't take long for everyone to know what the result was.

Just like that our Juliard Audition adventure was done.

But my girl was still smiling!
This is the smile of a girl who went for her dreams!
She gave it a shot.

She had a fabulous time.

She learned new things and met some new people.

And she is even more excited to see where her dreams will take her.

I'm not going to lie, I'm quite in awe of her.

It's an amazing thing as a parent to look at your children and watch them do things you never would have dared to do.

It's even more incredible as a parent to feel like your children are teaching you life lessons.  Isn't that supposed to be the other way around?

I work hard at having a growth mindset.  I love knowing that I am always learning and growing as a person.

Looking forward to making some new goals, having some new adventures and probably failing at a few things.

But failing with a smile on my face.

I learned that from Meighan.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Trail Therapy

There is something about being out in the woods.

There is something about being out in the woods and just in your own company.

For me, it is definitely a mental health thing.

I don't just enjoy my time when I go hiking, I need to go hiking.

Sometimes I forget that.

I haven't been out for a hike in almost a month.  There's been a lot of life happening lately which makes it hard to take the time.  Or I've just been so tired and stressed that I haven't wanted to go.

Saturday I had a hike to do.  Conveniently so did my hubby (thanks coach!)  Joe actually had a three hour run/hike.  Mine was only supposed to be two hours.

We took the dog along. Finn loves his trail time too.  I didn't want to decide where we were going to hike, so I made Joe pick.  He decided that we would park at the Oak Creek gate and hike up to Dimple Hill from that side.  Then when we got back to the car he would run out to the Bald Hill parking lot and I would meet him there.  That way he could get his three hours done.

We don't hike that area as much as we do the trails by the Saddle the most.  So it was nice to see a different part of the forest.

Joe had the dog with him and did his own thing.  He ran parts and then would double back or he would end up behind me and eventually catch up.  So there was a big chunk of the hike that I was by myself.

I usually don't mind hiking by myself.

This hike was different.

I didn't want to go.

I have been so stressed and been really struggling on many levels.   Basically very overwhelmed with a lot of things going on.  Not all bad, just a lot all at once.  Every time I think I have a handle on things it feels like I get whacked with something else.

I have gained weight.

I haven't been as consistent with my workouts as usually am.

I feel out of shape and slow.

So we began to hike and I feel out of shape and slow.  Joe is walking in front of me and I can't keep pace with him.  Or I can't muster up the energy to even try.  Not really sure which.

There was a long chunk of time where I was by myself.  Trudging up the hill.  I had forgotten how steep and constantly up this trail was.  I really wasn't sure if I could get all the way to the top, that's how far down my belief in myself has gotten.

I had all these thoughts bouncing around in my head about all the things going on.

All my worries.

All my frustrations.

All my insecurities.

Suddenly it all bubbled over and I was trudging up the hill and basically bawling.  Not just little tears or me getting weepy about something.  I'm talking snot and a few sobs here and there.  A real ugly cry if you will.

It seemed like I cried for a really long time.  In reality it was only a few minutes.

But it is amazing how much better I felt when I was done.

The alone time and the peacefulness of the woods were just what I needed.

I made it to Dimple Hill at the top of the trail.  Joe and the dog were with my the last 1/2 mile or so.  I had gone from questioning whether I could even get to the top to just making it happen.  I felt more like my old self.  Able to do hard things.
It was good to remember that I need to let it all out once in awhile.  Doing this on the trail has the advantage of not having to burden anyone with the hot mess that is sometimes me.

It was good to remember that the trail is good for my soul.

My problems, worries and stresses do not compare to the vastness of God's creation.

I'll keep plugging away at handling all the things in my life better.  But I will remember that a HUGE part of my self-care is getting my time on the trail.

This girl needs her trail therapy!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Stress Happens...

Life sometimes has a way of smacking you around. Sometimes it is normal every day things that can stress you out.  Other times it's big stuff that is out of your control.  And sometimes it's a really fun combination of both. 

There are lots of different ways of dealing with stresses. 

Mine is food. 

I've done better the last several years keeping a handle on this and using exercise to be my stress reliever. 

I have not done better the last several months using exercise and have gone back to food. 

My pants are complaining about this. 

Actually a lot of my clothes are complaining about this. 

I don't know how other people get inside their heads but mine is kind of a downward spiral. 

  • First I eat because I'm stressed. 
  • I don't work out because I'm tired and stressed.  Instead of exercising, I'm snacking.  
  • Then I am mad at myself because I know I should be working out but I'm so tired (and sad) that I still don't work out.  
  • So then I'm stressed about my workouts and my weight. 
  • Then back to the start.  I eat because I'm stressed.  


It's a ridiculous cycle and I know it when it's happening.  Knowing it's happening almost makes it worse because I feel so weak that even knowing it's happening I don't seem to have the strength or will power to stop it. 

Life is always full of stresses.  Some are just harder to handle.  Right now we have some rather big ones happening.  Health issues that are affecting people I love.  Inability to do more than just be present is really hard for me.  Comfort and prayers are great but I want to DO something to make things better or easier and I do not have the ability to do that.  My yearly struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder where I once again have a classroom with no windows which adds to the struggle.  Youngest daughter's senior year, Joe getting ready to do another Ironman and me starting over again at a new school all are things that add to the stress.  Not necessarily bad ones but they add to the pile.  Basically just a lot happening all at one time. 

I decided that I would take the two weeks of my winter break to focus on getting my workouts done.  To get back into the routine of doing my workouts. 

Because I know that setting goals helps keeping me going in the right general direction, I have made a few goals to get me through the next month.  Then I will see where I am at and how I'm doing and make new goals. 

  • Do all my workouts, even if I don't do them 100% or they aren't pretty.  I have to at least TRY.
  • Count/track my calories.  Because I snack I know that I eat more than it seems like when I'm stressed so counting my calories will help me be aware of just how much I am really eating.  
  • Drink all the water in my 40 oz. Hydroflask twice a day.  
  • No sugar!  Too much holiday snacking.  Time to clean out the system.  It will suck at first but I know it my body will thank me later.  
  • Support my family members in the best way I am able, whatever that may look like.  And be okay if it doesn't actually feel like I'm doing anything.  Comfort and prayers do matter.  
  • Cut myself some serious slack if I do not do all of these goals perfectly every day.  I am only human after all.  
This is a very doable list with things I CAN control.  (I will have to keep reminding myself of this!!) 
 






Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Just Because...Beautiful Oregon

I am very fortunate to live in the beautiful state of Oregon.  My husband and I have traveled to many other amazing places in the world.  But when it comes right down to it nothing compares to home, at least in my mind.

We live in the Willamette Valley which lies between the Coastal Mountain Range and the Cascade Mountain Range.  We are just a little over an hour from the beach and can also be in the mountains in about the same amount of time.  There are trails everywhere!  All kinds of parks and ways to have adventures in order to spend time in nature.

So this post is short on words and long on photos.  I just thought I would share some of the amazing things I have seen while out on my adventures.  I hope that where ever you are and what ever you are doing you find a way to go out and appreciate the beauty that is around you!

If the picture doesn't have a specific location indicated that means it is just on my bike rides or runs near my home in Albany, Oregon.

January 
Blue Pool Hike
Blue Pool
Sahalie Falls
Salt Creek Falls
Salt Creek Falls Trail
February
Powderhouse Trial-MacDonald/Dunn Forest
East of Albany, Oregon
Bike ride east of Albany
Peavy Arboretum-36 tra
Peavy Arboretum-36 Trail
March
During a run near my house
School field near my house
God's Thumb Trail, Lincoln City
God's Thumb Trail, Lincoln City
God's Thumb Trail, Lincoln City
God's Thumb Trail, Lincoln City
Lake Marie.  View from trailer at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Lake Marie
Sunset at Umpqua Light House
Umpqua Lighthouse
Evening view on my street
April
Daffodil in my yard, I love spring!!
On a run south of Albany
South of Albany

Bike ride east of Albany
May
Florence, Oregon
Florence, Oregon
Florence, Oregon (and finish of the Oregon Dunes Triathlon...at the top)
June
Sunriver, Oregon
Sunriver, Oregon
Bike ride, east of Albany
July
Walk near my home.
Mulkey Trail, Corvallis, Oregon
Mulkey Trail, Corvallis, Oregon
Mulkey Trail, Corvallis, Oregon
Mulkey Trail, Corvallis, Oregon
Mulkey Trail, Corvallis, Oregon
Sunset from my front yard.
Foster Lake, Sweet Home
Dimple Hill, Corvallis, Oregon
Dimple Hill, Corvallis, Oregon
Dimple Hill, Corvallis, Oregon
Cottage Grove Resevoir, Cottage Grove, Oregon
Cottage Grove Resevior, Cottage Grove, Oregon
August
Duffy Lake, Oregon
8 Lakes Basin Trail, Oregon
8 Lakes Basin Hike, Oregon
Joren Lake, Oregon
8 Lakes Basin Hike, Oregon
Duffy Lake, Oregon
Three Creeks Lake, Oregon
Sisters Mountains, Oregon
Foster Lake, Sweet Home, Oregon
During a walk, near my house
Near my house on a walk
Near my house on a walk
September
Foster Lake, Sweet Home, Oregon
Foster Lake, Sweet Home, Oregon
Sunrise at my school

October
Sunrise at my school
East of Albany during a bike ride.
Bald Hill, Corvallis, Oregon
Bald Hill, Corvallis, Oregon
Leaf suspended in the middle of the trail by a spider web, Bald Hill, Corvallis, Oregon
November
Silver Falls State Park, North Falls
Silver Falls State Park
Jetty in Newport, Oregon
Yaquina Bay, Newport, OR
Yaquina Lighthouse, Newport, OR
Winter Falls, Silver Falls State Park
South Falls, Silver Falls State Park


Bald Hill, Corvallis, Oregon
December

Shellburg Falls, Oregon
 
Lower South Falls, Silver Falls State Park
South Falls, Silver Falls State Park
South Falls, Silver Falls State Park

I am so grateful that I choose an active life that helps me see these beautiful places and beautiful places that I visit outside of Oregon.