Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fuel Your Fire!!

Throughout my Masters program the instructors have pointed out on numerous occasions that we need to make sure we are incorporating some type of self care into our lives in order to avoid burnout.  This has been emphasized several times this week as we have begun our 11 week practicum.  I wanted to see how the first week went in order to see how best to fit in my self care.

The first week went well overall.  Lots of long days, lots of hours to keep track of, lots of extra things to do and organize on top of the regular stuff I have to do and organize.  But it was a good week and I accomplished a lot and managed to keep a good attitude, even though I was butt dragging by Friday night.

This week I decided I was going to go for a hike.  Two girlfriends are out of the state in warmer climates and one had a commitment this morning.  I just realized that I forgot to ask another one who has been wanting to go along with me, darn it!!  But my beautiful girl and my sweet puppy came along with me and we had a great day.

It was terribly foggy in the valley when I got up.  I decided to wait a bit so that the fog would burn off.  The day was supposed to eventually be sunny and where I wanted to hike has an awesome view on clear days.  We left the house around 9:45 a.m. and I wasn't very hopeful that we were going to get out of the fog.  It was pea soup out there!!  But as we made our way up to the Saddle where we start we could see some blue sky filtering through the trees.
The view from the Saddle.
We headed up the road and got out of the mist very quickly.  I always wait until we get a bit up the trail before I let Bailey off the leash.  She was so excited to run and play!
Filtered Sunshine
It didn't take long to get warm.  I wished I had left one layer back in the car.  :-)  That's a great problem to have in January!  There is a bench on this hike and Meighan always likes to stop and get a picture here.  There are steps going up to it and a embankment right in front of it.  Bailey had a great time leaping off the embankment.
My two cuties!
LOVE that smile!!
We saw many hikers, runners and bikers heading down the hill.  Bailey did a great job of coming to me when I called and then staying in a heel position off leash.  I'm super proud of how her training has gone.  She loves people and dogs and it is hard to stay by mom when she wants to say hi.  But if she is going to be on the trail she has to behave properly so she doesn't hurt someone!  By the end of the hike she was starting to head to me the moment we saw someone up ahead.  We did get a chance to play with two pretty golden retrievers a couple of times with two nice women who were running.

When we were almost to the top we realized we could see the Sisters through the trees.  It picture doesn't do it justice but it was so beautiful!
The Sisters
When we got to the top of Dimple Hill and came around the trees to where you can see the view it was Ah-May-Zing!!!  Wow!!  All the fog that we had driven through was still in the valley and we were high above it.  It looked like a fluffy lake.  Meighan said that it looked like Crater Lake with the small hill poking up the same way Wizard Island does at the lake.
We then walked down the slope a ways in order to see if we could get view of the Sisters without the trees in the way.
A sea of fog with the Cascade foothills and the Sisters in the background.
No hike is compete without some selfies.
So thankful that this beautiful young lady likes to hang with her Momma!! <3<3<3
We decided that we would run the entire way back down the hill.  It was fun to get moving.  We had gotten warm between the hike up and then all the beautiful sunshine.  So we stripped down to our shirts and headed back down the hill.  I was concentrating on making sure Bailey was behaving properly that I didn't even realize that I knew one of the runners that was coming up the hill.  I hope Jeff and his friend went to the top of Dimple and enjoyed the view as much as we did!!  Hi Jeff.  :-)

We had a nice little run down the hill and made it back to the car in pretty good time.  It was easy to see that the fog hadn't really cleared off any below the saddle.  I cleaned off the dog as best I could and we loaded up to come home.
All done and still smiling! :-)
A couple of weeks ago we went shopping at Old Navy to get Meighan some new pants.  Low and behold they were having a sale on athletic clothes, up to 40% off!  Of course we had to get a few things.  My favorite purchase was a new pair of running tights.  I wear my running skirts over them but I love the way they keep my legs warm.  I particularly like this pair because of what is printed on them.
I'm working on having fun and enjoying where I am at.  I'm also working at being proud of what I have accomplished.  I have some thoughts going around in my head about what types of things I want to do on my continued fitness journey.  Things that are fun for ME, things that challenge ME, things that will make me HAPPY!  And when I'm not working on the things for me I'm going to have a blast cheering on all my crazy friends that are doing their ME things.  For whatever reason these pants said exactly what I wanted to express.  I'm fueling my fire.  Right now it is in slow ember mode but once April gets here and grad school is done I'm going to start fanning the flames.

Today was a good day.  Back to reality tonight with some grad school obligations.  But I think my day of self care has been fabulous!

I hope you are fueling your fire and that you remember to take care of yourself!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cascade 10k = Laughing/Fun Times!

Today was a rainy, windy, cold day in Oregon.  Not unusual where I live.  Today I ran a 10k in said rain, wind and cold.  That is a little more unusual.  Especially lately.

But today I got to watch my little girl (okay, she really isn't that little anymore, she is 14) run in her very first 10k.  AND I got to run with my friend Shannon, who a year ago didn't think she could run a 5k.  When she kicked that race off the list last September I asked when she was going to do a 10k and she said she could never do a 10k.  lol  That sounded so much like me!

I talked her into doing this race.  It is a nice easy course I said.  It's flat the entire race I said.  It's just an out and back, two 5k's I said. The weather might be a little sketchy I said.  But that's okay, it will be fun and I will run with you!  I'm surprised she didn't want to say many bad words to me today.

Little did I know when I had this conversation with her in September that I would make a decision to not actively run while in grad school.  While I know it was the right choice it was hard knowing that this race was coming.  I was worried that I would let my friend down by not being more prepared for the race.  I ran a couple of times during the holidays but not the kind of training I really should have done for a 10k.  Here I am worried that I will let her down and she was worried about the same thing.

We both should have chilled out!!

This race morphed from being me and Shannon into me, Shannon, my daughter, my husband and our friends Josh and Wendie.  Wendie just happens to be Shannon's cousin.  :-)  So there was no doubt in my mind that no matter what we were going to have fun and there would be laughter involved.

We arrived at packet pickup which is done in a nice warm gym at Cascade Middle School.  It's always fun to see old friends and get our bibs and shirts.  Shannon is asking about the proper race etiquette for wearing the race shirt and Josh is harassing her about it and telling her all kinds of silly things.  We also got to see an awesome young lady that was promoting the Bend Beer Chase which is put on by the awesome people at Cascade Lakes Relay.  Joe and I were woo hooing about Cascade Lakes and how we are so looking forward to being back this year.  Wendie and Josh will be joining us and they were telling her how excited they are to experience the relay for themselves.  Wendie got a Cascade Lakes bandanna and I got a bottle opener.  :-) Joe's little sister and her family were also running so it was fun to get hugs and pictures before the race started.
Mel, Meighan and Mom (with a photo bomb by Joe)
Miss Meighan and her Auntie Dee Dee
Group Selfie!  Haven't even started the race yet and the laughter is going strong!

We head back to the car and get all situated with our bibs, chip timers, water bottles, Garmins, fuel and whatever else we needed to carry with us.  When I list it all out like that I have to laugh because there really is a lot of stuff to think about before we even get started.

Wendie's dad (who is also Shannon's uncle!) had come out to cheer us off at the start.  He also parked his car along the way and we got to wave and say hi several times.  That was great fun to see him and get a little extra encouragement along the way.
Pre-race hug from an uncle is a pretty great way to start!
Shannon has her Badassery face on!  (Word invented by Wendie Gum) :-)
Here's to getting healthy!  So proud of this amazing lady!
We took off and my first thought was "Oh no, this is going to be ugly!"  But we were talking and laughing and that got my mind off my own struggles.  For me, the priority was encouraging Shannon through this 10k.  After all, I was the one that got her into it.  After the first mile we were setting a steady pace and still able to talk and laugh so life was good.  The rain started pretty much when the race started which was funny.  It had been decently dry for the hour before the race, go figure.

Since it was an out and back we were able to start seeing runners that were making their way back.  Meighan is a faster runner but has to walk a bit here in there so she had taken off ahead of us.
Here comes my awesome girl!
Getting a high five from Wendie.  A wee bit wet but still smiling! 
We saw her when we were getting to the turn around.  She was drenched but still smiling! So proud of my girl!

The rain had tapered off, which was great!  But when we headed back towards the finish line we realized the wind was now in our faces.  That made things a bit colder.  But being the badass women that we are we kept plugging away.
Running into the finish! *Photo credit Joe Van Veldhuizen :-)
Done!! Photo credit: Joe Van Veldhuizen :-)
Yay!!!  Photo Credit: Joe Van Veldhuizen
After race hugs are the BEST! Photo Credit: Joe Van Veldhuizen
The smiles say it all!  Photo Credit: Joe Van Veldhuizen
It was so much fun to finish this race with Shannon.  This race was my very first 10k too so I still remember how excited I was for going farther than I ever had before.  I had so much support and encouragement when I did it for the first time (Joe, Dwayne and Faylene!!) and today was about paying that forward.  It was my turn to support and encourage!  SO. MUCH. FUN!!!
One of the best encouragers in the world!!  Love this guy!
This trio had a ton of laughs today!  Epic day with fabulous, badass women!
Beyond proud of this young lady!!
I have been working really hard the last few months in getting my head into a better place and not get so discouraged and not compare myself to others.  I feel like I am doing a MUCH better job of this.  That doesn't mean that I don't occasionally take a step backwards.  Friday I went on a field trip with an amazing group of 7th and 8th graders.  We had a total blast visiting a local college.  At the end we had a picture taken of the whole group and the two teachers.  The first thing I noticed when I saw the picture was how big I looked and how my stomach had big rolls.  It was really hard to look at the picture and see anything else.  I am so very thankful that we had this run today to help remind me that even if this is my forever me I can be as healthy as possible and have a great deal of fun along the way.

So although it is not a picture I like, I am including it here so that others can understand that this isn't an easy journey there are a lot of amazing things that happen along the way.  While I may not see the physical changes I want, I am certainly making a lot of mental changes that will be nothing but good for me in the long run.
Little blurry, I had to crop the students out.  :-)
I'm still running in place and getting nowhere fast in a lot of areas.  But I'm kicking ass in a whole bunch of others!

Nothing else for me scheduled right now until summer.  I start my 11 week practicum on Tuesday and that will be my focus for a few months.  Once grad school is behind me I am looking forward to setting new goals and see what adventures I can come up with.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Friends, Fog and Fun

Went on a hike today.  At first I was going solo, well me and the dog anyway, but then my friend  Faylene texted and wanted to know if I wanted to go hiking.  So I told her my plans and her and her hubby decided to join me.  The plan was to do the Vineyard loop.  Joe and Tony had taken off earlier to run up to the top of Dimple Hill.  Then they would run the loop and catch us.

I brought Bailey and Dwayne and Faylene brought their sweet girl Annabelle.  Dwayne and Faylene had never been on this trail and it was fun to show them a new route.  The dogs had a great time.  Annabelle tolerated my puppy very well.  She kept running up to Annie, licking her face and then taking off.  It was so funny.

It was misting pretty badly on the drive to the saddle so I was anticipating a wet walk today.  It was foggy but it wasn't raining so that was great.  The temperature was not too cold either so overall it was a pretty good day in January for a hike.

Faylene and Dwayne have been my number #1 supporters in this up and down journey I have been on to being a healthier me (other than my wonderful hubby).   I treasure their friendship more than I can even begin to say.  They have never been anything but encouraging and supportive, even when I have been a miserable, whiny mess.  I'm sure there have been times where I was difficult to be around and yet I always know that I can call either of them and they will drop everything and be there.  I am very blessed to have quite a few of these types of friends to call my own now.  But other than my sweet friend Sheryl, who claims me from forever ago, these two are at the top of the list.  Thank you both for sticking with me in the ugly times as well as the good times!  Looking forward to a lot more memories and laughter with the two of you!!
Two amazing people I get to call my friends!
I felt really good on the hike.  Didn't have to use my inhaler once.  Was able to keep a good steady pace and never really got to a point where I was hurting or felt like I needed to stop.  While I haven't been doing much running, the weekly hikes have been good for me.
We got above the fog for awhile.  It was eerie and cool looking.  
Joe and Tony caught up to us with about a mile and a half left.  We could hear them behind us but couldn't see them for the longest time in the fog.  Bailey knew daddy was somewhere but couldn't figure out where.  She kept circling us looking for him.  When they caught up Joe stayed with us and walked the last bit.  Tony took off to finish his run.  After we got done we headed to the Market of Choice for a coffee and a late breakfast.  Got to have a fun treat of seeing two more of our running peeps who had done a different run that morning.  Always good to see smiling faces!  Just adds to the day.  :-)

Missed a few people today, but life happens.  I selfishly like to see all my people often but since we are all so crazy busy and do have other people in our lives that like to spend time with us that isn't always possible.   Hopefully those that are sick will get better fast and those that were busy had fun with their other activities.  :-)

Next week we will be doing a 10k.  It will be the first 10k for my youngest and also for a friend of mine.  I'm already so proud of her for being willing to try it.  Last spring she started training for her first 5k and rocked that in September.  Then she let me talk her into signing up for this 10k.  We are going to have so much fun at this run, no matter how fast or slow we go!  It's been good for me to be able to encourage and support her in her journey just like so many have supported me.

Looking forward to having a great time, getting a fun new shirt, and laughing a lot!
Appreciating the people in my life who have been patient with me.  :-)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hangover Run 2015

We have done this run for the past five years.  It is a 3k (1.86 miles) trail run down gravel roads, through some woods and a couple of orchards.  They have had to start limiting it to 100 people and is always a great time.  Run Wild Adventures always puts on a great event.

Once again we were joined by fabulous friends.  This year, in addition to our youngest daughter, our oldest son and his buddy both came along.  They were looking forward to participating in their first Beer Mile.

The day was cold but the sunshine was gorgeous!  The laughter and the fun was even better.
Love these fabulous people!!!
My youngest and my oldest being silly.  Some things never change!  :-)
Me and my fabulous husband.  Love this guy more than I can say.
Joe always sports a fun pair of boxers for the Hangover Run.  This years choice is funny.  
The boys are ready for their first Beer Mile.  
Joe is ready to go!
The Beer Mile 2015 crew
The boys after the run.  No one puked.  :-)
Changing after the run.  
Age Group Winners!  Our crew represented well!
Age Group Winners + Selfie + Photo Bomb  :-)
The group after the races.  Still smiling!  
My baby girl, my friend and me.  I love this picture!
I was looking back over the results from previous year's Hangover Runs.  They seems to reflect the ups and downs of the journey I am on.  
  • 2011 82nd out of 95 Total time: 24:22 Avg. pace: 13:06  My wonderful husband ran with me!
  • 2012 98th out of 101 Total time: 26:43 Avg. pace: 14:21
  • 2013 110th out of 117 Total time: 28:30 Avg. pace: 15:19
  • 2014 113th out of 146 Total time: 23:35 Avg. pace: 12:41 My wonderful friends Faylene, Wendie and Josh ran with me!
  • 2015 92nd out of 112 Total time: 25:47 Avg. pace: 13:52

And it is interesting to look at these numbers and realize that they don't really match up with how I felt about the race or where I was at.

Last year I was a month into taking a new medication.  I had wanted to have an average pace of 11:anything.  I really struggled to run and it didn't come easy.

This year I haven't really been running in months so I figured whatever I did would be a bonus.  I felt great.  Breathing was a bit hard because the weather was so cold.  I wish I had worn my buff to put over my mouth, that usually is just enough of a filter to warm the air that it really helps.  Other than that I felt great.  I ran the first mile at a 12:06 pace!  Wow!  I ended up walking at about 1.25 miles for a bit and then running the last quarter mile.  Considering that I walked I ended up with a decent time.  Not my best time but certainly not my worst.  Last year was my best time for this race and I remember it as yucky.  This year was ranked third out of five races and yet it felt better than any year before!  Probably because I had the best attitude yet.  :-)

The best part was that I had fun.  I didn't give a shit what my final time was.  No beating myself up because I should have done better or been faster.  I was out there.  I did it.  Yay me.  And I had FUN! Did I mention that I had fun?

Can't think of a better way to start off 2015.  Good friends, family, laughter and FUN!!

Don't know what I want to accomplish in 2015 yet.  I will start thinking about that more in April.  Right now, the focus is on finishing grad school and trying to squeeze some fun in along the way.

Happy New Year!!