Friday, September 30, 2011

Geared up and Waiting: 13.1

My gear is packed, and I'm ready to go!

Nike Run t-shirt, Saucony capris, Brooks Adrenaline GTS sneakers, Zulu socks, Moving Comfort Juno bra, my new Bondiband headband (The girls I'm running with decided to get different sayings all on navy backgrounds so we coordinate. Aren't we cute?  Mine says "Suck it Up Buttercup"), and my beloved Zensah compression sleeves which I'm saving for after the race unless I feel the need for them that morning.

And the important stuff.. my garmin, heart rate monitor, iPhone for music, armband, sport ear buds that actually stay in, Nuun, honey stingers, BodyGlide and my handheld water bottle!  Oh and Gatorade for afterwards as I hope to ward off the awful recoveries I've had lately.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Taper time: It's all about me.

I totally should be wearing this shirt. I am a ball of nerves. If it's this bad before my second half marathon, I can only imagine what I'll be like when I decide to tackle a full (a feat I've not committed to yet!).

I ran my last 4 miles of training today, slow and easy. I decided to listen to a podcast while I ran and since I'm impatiently waiting for the next Another Mother Runner podcast (love their blog and love the radio show even more!), I tried out a Jillian Michaels Show podcast. Um, she made me cry.

It could be related to the aforementioned taper crazies, but as she was talking to this woman who had lost 100+ lbs but couldn't figure out what she was sliding into old habits, I got teary. Jillian discovered this woman was still dealing with and rebeling against the disapproval she received from her Phys Ed. teacher father while growing up overweight. He's been dead for years now but his legacy, unfortunately, lives on in her head. Everybody loves a good "all I want is my father's love" story, believe me I had my own, but it was more than that. 

Jillian told this woman that this journey, this weight loss, or whatever else you're doing has to be about you. It can't be about your father, mother, sister, or the dog down the road. It has to be about you for it to last, for real, lasting change to happen.

My journey to health and fitness has been a rollercoaster for most of my life. I've had an unhealthy relationship with food for most of my life. I've gained weight, and I've lost it. Any successes I had were simply not about me. They were about fitting in my cheerleading uniform or getting my belly-button pierced. They were about my wedding dress. They were about losing baby weight or fitting in clothes. Whatever it was, they weren't about me. I'm not saying I didn't have successes, learn things and get stronger and healthier. I did, but I always backslid.

Running is different. Running is about me. Yes, weight has come off, and continues to come off, slow and steady. As of today, I've lost 40lbs since January 1, 2010. But the weight loss has truly been a byproduct of running opposed to the other way around. 
Running is not about my depression. It's not about the scale. Sure, it might have started as a way to lose some weight and deal with depression, but it is so much more than that. It's not about my kids.  It's not about my clothes. It's not about society or the media. It's about me.

That's why I run. For the past 12 weeks, I've been selfish, in a really good way. I've taken time to run 173 miles. I've taken time to stretch, listen to my body, learn how to fuel it, and take care of it. In the past 12 weeks, I've wandered through the woods and pounded down the road, with no one but myself covering mile after mile. I've gotten to know myself, my thoughts and my breathing. I've learned that I love to sweat; it makes me feel good. I've learned that some days I don't want to run and that's ok because this is about me. I've learned that when I take my stress out on the treadmill I can bang out miles faster than I thought I was capable. I've watched my body change, muscles being carved out of the legs I once knew. I've learned to push myself meeting goals outside of my comfort zone because I want to.

Source: via Jamie on Pinterest

I know it takes its toll on my family, and I appreciate their endless support. Whose husband yells at her for not buying both running shirts for an upcoming race when she couldn't decide between them? Whose mom plays 15 games of Guess Who so she can squeeze in a training run? Who deals with my ups and downs, emotionally and physically even the days after my long runs where I get physically ill because I haven't figured out my magic refueling formula? Yea, that was even on my vacation. That's my husband and my family. I know why they cringe when I talk about taking on 26.2 someday. This is a team effort. Having the support of that team for something that is completely and entirely about me is incredible and I am filled with gratitude.

Occasionally, I start to feel selfish, not in a good way. I see how hard it is to fit in my runs, to buy my gear, and to have my head focused intently somewhere else. But then I remember how much running gives me and instead of feeling selfish, I focus on that gratitude to the people who make it possible.
With that, I'm one day closer to the OCNJ Half Marathon where I'm determined to leave it all on the course and do what I've prepared to do for me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Calm Rested Ready: 3 days until 13.1

Source (aka where to buy this for me)
 I'm not quite there, but that's where I'm aiming. Calm. Rested. Ready. Tomorrow, I will run my last 3-4 mile training run wrapping up 12 weeks of preparation for the OCNJ Half Marathon on Sunday.  This will be my second half marathon. On May 15 of this year, I ran 13.1 miles for the first time in my life in the Super Hero Half Marathon. It was hard. I did it, and I was proud. But I wasn't thrilled with my performance or the experience.

This time around, I am more prepared, both mentally and physically. Last time around, I ran 112 miles in the 12 week training period before my race, about half of my training plan. As of tomorrow I will have ran more than 172 miles in the past 12 weeks. That's 60 miles more than last time around! That's an increase of more than 50%! And I can feel it. I am faster. I feel stronger. I am less injured though I still have some pain from a tailor's bunion. I trained harder but also smarter this time around. I am absolutely better prepared.

Things I'm doing differently this time around:

*Running with music in addition to my awesome running coach, supporter, and all-around great friend Kristie. Plus, Paula will be running with us too! I do all of my training runs with music, so it only makes sense to have it available to me if I need to zone out to something other than Kristie's fabulous chatter (love ya girl) at some point.

*Fueling MORE! My plan is take water at every other water stop, knowing I can stop on the one in between if I ever feel I need it. (I will pass a water stop 11 times.) I will also be taking 3 honey stingers every 2 miles to start with a few extra on hand if I feel I need them.

*I will be at the starting line super early come hell or high water, as I refuse to miss the start. I think that messed up my mental game more than I realized in May despite knowing it was all chip-timed. It was about the adrenaline, the crowd, and the ready feeling.

*Being sure I have food and Gatorade ready at the finish. In May, I only got a tiny protein bar at the finish because they were out of other food. It took me days to recover. I've been struggling as it is to recover from my long runs but I know I need more calories both during my runs and immediately following.

*I'm ready to push like I learned to do at my recent 5K. I've ran a half marathon before. I even ran a 13 mile training run this cycle. I know I can run this. Now, it's time for me to race this.

I ran my first half marathon in a painful 2:46:48 which works out to a 12:44 average pace per mile. Two weeks ago, I ran a glorious 13.0 miles on my first full day of vacation in the Outer Banks of North Caroline in 2:31. So I've got big goals. 

Excuse my bad iPhone picture, but this is what I doodled while drawing with my kids today. The first goal not listed was to arrive at the starting line uninjured and trained well. I could certainly have tweaked things but I'm proud of what I've done. The next goal is to finish. Then assuming all goes well, I am determined to run a sub 2:30 race. I need to say assuming all goes well, because a lot can happen in a race and I'm not setting myself up for self-loathing should something not go well. 

At the same time, I have my eyes on a sub 2:25. In the spirit of racing faster than you train and learning to leave it all on the course trusting the training I've done, I think this is possible if conditions are good but it's definitely not a given. It's a reach.

So there you have it. I'm busy pulling together gear and making lists to travel down to my in-laws who are graciously hosting us on Saturday night, and my legs are telling me I need to stretch after a cruddy 3 mile run today. Tapering is no fun!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm alive!

Okay, I'm back from vacation and alive. Wow, this transition to Fall has really been kicking our butts. First getting ready for school and then getting ready for vacation. At the same time finishing up half marathon training and getting a new patio put on our house. All really great stuff, but boy, we cram it all it at once!

My half marathon is this coming Sunday! You'll have to forgive me for at least one or two running related posts this week. After that I have some other posts brewing on everything from Unconditional Parenting from a Christian faith perspective to a look at our latest attempts to create greater rhythm in our home (gotta figure what those will be before I can write about it though). Plus, there's a *that* mom's bookshelf post coming soon!

In the meantime, here are some snapshots of vacation to share with you all. We headed to the Outerbanks for a week. It was exhausting and fabulous all at the same time. I loved getting to co-parent with my husband 24/7. It felt so good to work as a team and connect as a family. It was great to see other family we don't see very often - my dad, stepmom, step-sister and her husband. Plus getting to watch my kids play with my nephew all week was such a blast (although exhausting in its own right because of course they didn't always get along).

This kid loved the beach.


Sand angels

Sunset over the Sound from the deck of our house

My nephew enjoying the hundreds of acres of sand at Jockey's Ridge State Park

Happy family

And now it's back to reality... or really at the moment race preparation and nerves!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Links I Love

We leave for a week of vacation in the Outerbanks on Friday so we are very busy getting ready for that, while at the same time sending the kids off to their first day of school tomorrow (which was supposed to be Thursday but was postponed due to flash flooding and more flooding in the school). It's all a little crazy. I have a few posts begging to be written, but in the meantime, here's some reading I've enjoyed and wanted to share with you!

5 Tips to Ramp Up Your Long Runs and 7 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Long Runs @ were great quick reads as I'm gearing up for next half marathon and getting in my last long training runs. 13 miles coming up this weekend and then it's taper time!

Motherhood As Vocation was an interesting read to me as I wonder about my vocation, call to ministry, and goals as a person and mother.

A great how to for making homemade vanilla extract from Kitchen Stewardship. We just got our beans, and I am very excited to begin the process.

Motherhood Brings Me Down @ really captures the way I feel motherhood grounds me.

That's all for now... now I'm off to catch up on my google reader that has almost 200 unread posts waiting for me! Eep!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

the planet robot and all eleven miles: priceless

More posts on the way but in the meantime, I had to share this.  A conversation between my little man (4 years old) and his Daddy at bedtime.

Ben: I love you so much.
Daddy: I love you so so much.
Ben (realizing this is a good game): I love you to the planet robot.
Daddy (having read that children's book and knowing the proper response): I love you to the planet robot and back again.
Ben: I love you to the planet robot and back again and around the house 5 times, no not 5 times, 10 times.
Daddy: I love you to the planet robot and back again and one of mommy's long runs.
Ben: all eleven miles?
Daddy: yes all eleven miles.

And with that, Ben was satisfied that he was loved a lot.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

PUSH: Labor Day 5k Race Recap

I told you about my goals for the Labor Day 5k.  Most importantly, I wanted to push myself leaving everything I had on the race course. After that, I really wanted to beat my times from March as well as last year's Labor Day 5k but also beat a 5K Personal Record (PR) from June 2005.

A recap of the numbers...
Labor Day 5K 2010 - 34:29
St. Patty's Day 5K March 2011 - 33:58
5K PR June 2005 - 32:41

I nailed it. My Garmin time was 30:26. My official clock time (that includes the time before I could make it across the starting line as I stuck towards the back of the pack) was 30:46. That's the absolute fastest I have a run a 5K in my life. My goal was to push, and I pushed.

My split times were:

1 - 10:02
2 - 10:10
3 - 9:39
.1 - :45 (7:17 pace!!)

Yes, that's me sprinting into the finish with everything I had left.

To be honest, I am so freaking proud of myself. I trained well despite setbacks. I focused on my goal. I pushed myself to a place I've dreamed of being for six years. Six years ago when I ran my first 5Ks (three of them before quitting until last year), I dreamed of running a 5K with a sub 10 minute mile. Done.
As I was preparing mentally, I kept reminding myself to push. In previous races, I ran like I did in my training runs. I didn't understand the idea that you should race faster than your training times. I figured I got my body to do something, I practiced it, and I replicated it. I like consistency. In reality, during races you are supposed to pull out every ounce of strength you have conditioned into your body through consistent training and run faster than you ever have.

As I psyched myself up, I argued whined about this push thing (which at some point starts to sound a little too much like childbirth as my husband noted, but indulge me.) Push like I haven't pushed before? But I feel like all I do is push. I push to do more and more. I push to fit more into the day. I push to find more patience than I have. I push to meet everyone's needs at all possible times being the perfect mom, wife, board president, and everything else I can't possibly be all at once. How could I possible push more and why should I?

I could push more, and I did beause this was about me pushing me. I spend a lot of the rest of the time allowing myself to be pushed and pulled in this direction and that. Pushed to fit more into my calendar, into my day, and into my head than is healthy. I am pushed to my breaking point emotionally, mentally, and physically by the strains and drains of every day life. I have to lead this, volunteer here, learn this, be that, and so much more. Pushing myself in this run was about taking the control back and choosing how and why I wanted to push myself. When I take back the control, when I do the planning and the preparation, and when I decide to be the one making the priorities and sticking to them (with the loving support of my family), that's when pushing is both successful and rewarding.

I am loving pushing myself to go the places I want to go and to be the person I want to be.

And now for some gratuitous cute pictures of my kids who ran yesterday, too!  This was Ben's second year running this race and third race overall. He really wants to do a looong run, so I am working to find a mile race and start running with him. This was Elijah's first race which was totally cute.

All the runners, post race with our ribbons.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ready to Race

Monday morning I will run the Warwick 5K for the second time. Last year, it was my return to running after more than 5 years off (and having barely been a runner before that).
Finishing my first 5k in 5 years - Labor Day 2010
I am ready for this race. Since I ran last year, I have run my first 10k, another 5k, a marathon relay, and a half marathon. I weigh 15lbs less than I did last year for this race. Last year's time was 34:29. I ran a 5k in March in 33:58. The fastest 5k I've run in my entire life was June 2005 with a time of 32:41. That is my time to beat. Speed isn't something that comes easily to me as I've focused on building distance over the past year of learning to run, but I've spent some time working on it this summer. Regardless of whether I PR (runner lingo for set a personal record), I'm determined to run hard and leave it all on the race course. 
Tomorrow I'll run 2 easy miles to loosen up my muscles because they need it after a killer workout last night. I was stressed to the max and had given up on my workout. My husband was finishing up dinner and in a moment of calm in the chaos told me to go run. Just GO. So I did. I hit the treadmill in the basement as a result of the insanity, but it was way better than skipping the workout. It was a huge stress relief, and man that stress lit a fire under my, well, you know.
 Excuse the fuzzy picture, but that would be 5 miles in 50:22 with a 1.0 incline (so slightly downhill). I felt awesome! That's faster than my 5k goal race pace!!! Holy moly!
I am also psyched to run with a kick-ass playlist. As I've been working on picking up the speed, I've been realizing the difference the right music makes. This is the first custom playlist I've made for the purpose of speed and getting my through this race. I've never raced with music before because I like to be able to talk to other runners and enjoy the atmosphere, but Monday is all about focusing on my goal. If music helps me do it, I'm all for it.
5k Race Playlist 
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
Run the World - Beyonce
Real Gone - Sheryl Crow
Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne
Where Dem Girls At - David Guetta -
U and Ur Hand – Pink
We R Who We R - Ke$ha
Raise Your Glass - Pink 
Fighter - Christina Aguilera

So what do you think? Do you run to music? What do you like?

I'll also be racing with my fancy schmancy new Garmin Forerunner 305 which I am still learning to use but is totally fun. I cannot wait to come back Monday afternoon and post my race results and recap for you. If you're impatient, I'll get immediate results up on Twitter (@hippypastorwife) and Facebook.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to School

It's Back to School time around here.  I know many of you this time has come and gone, but our kids start back in just 6 days so we are working to get everything ready for a great school year.

My boys attend a nature-based Montessori school that's just on the other side of our church from our house. We love to walk through the woods to school. They attend Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9-1pm. We love the school with its home-like atmosphere, Montessori program, organic garden, and farm animals. In return for a discount on our tuition, I watch a class during the lunch break on Tuesdays and Thursdays and my family takes care of the animals (3 goats, 1 sheep, and about a dozen chickens) on one weekend day and half of the holidays. It's a wonderful community of which we are glad to be a part.
Road and school grounds flooded during Hurricane Irene
Right now, that community is struggling as the school sustained a substantial amount of damage from Hurricane Irene with their lower classroom and basement storage areas being completely flooded. The community is rallying to get things repaired and ready for the start of the school, but it has been heart-breaking and stressful for the director and staff.

Beginning clean up - the process of removing everything from the flooded rooms
In the meantime, I am still working to get our boys ready for school. I have two main goals when it comes to Back to School shopping. First, buy as little as possible. Second, buy as safe as possible.

First on my list is always lunch gear. Another thing I love about our school is that they ask us to provide no-waste healthy lunches (including cloth napkins for cleaning up and for a place mat because they eat outside at picnic tables weather permitting) and even compost any food scraps. Last year we used Goodbyn lunch boxes, and they were cute and simple. I even got a great deal on them. I don't plan on switching out lunch boxes and backpacks every year as I think that is unneccesarily wasteful if they products are still in working condition, but I am continuing to minimize our family's exposure to plastic especially around our food, so the Goodbyns would have to go.

After some research, we decided to get SugarBooger Zippee! Lunch Totes. They fit my criteria of being BPA, Phthlalate, Lead, & PVC-free plus they were cute and not too pricey. We also invested in Kleen Kanteen water bottles for each boy's lunch so that we wouldn't always be searching for their other water bottles they use in the car and when out and about. They were a great price, too!
I also ordered bamboo sporks for each child's lunch box so utensils would be simple. We already have lots of cloth napkins, so I will designate and label two napkins for each child. For the rest of the food storage, we'll use some of the reusable storage bags, stainless steel or glass containers that we already have. Then we fill those lunch boxes with healthy, homemade food. We avoid processed and prepackaged snacks. We do yogurt, fresh fruit, veggies and dip, homemade crackers or granola bars, sandwiches when we have homemade bread, wraps, pasta dishes, or leftovers from meals.
A spork! Fun, right?
What else do they need for school? Well, our kids need slippers! When they get to school they take off their shoes and put on their slippers keeping the home-like classroom nice and clean and encouraging the children to comfortable. My little guy fits in some hand-me-down slippers, and my big guy fits in his slippers from last year. In the interest of buying as little as possible, they will use those until they grow out of them mid-year when I will replace them. This will mean the next pair will last longer than if I bought new automatically for the beginning of the school year. I love to buy my slippers on etsy supporting handmade artists. I got my first son's first pair that my second son will be wearing this year for $15 including shipping!

They are these except brown with green guitars  from Scire4's Etsy shop. (Photo credit).
As far as clothes, I'm waiting to go through the things that don't fit and take them to a resale shop near here,  then using the credit to fill in the gaps in their sizes and seasons. I try to be as frugal as possible, while buying earth and child-friendly. I'm looking to replace many of our fabrics with organics at the same time. I'll also be using the last of Mabel's Labels to help label all our gear. Luckily, we're good with backpacks this year, but I'll be doing my research this year for when we need to replace them.

So what am I missing? What are your favorite back-to-school buys or gear? What's important to you when it comes back-to-school shopping?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What Do You Need for Your Journey

Last night, I had the opportunity to preview Dawn Trautman's new webinar she'll be hosting this evening, Thursday Sept. 1, at 9pm EDT, Smooth Travels: 10 Essentials You Must Pack for the Journey to Your Next Big GoalFrom the registration page,
You know what to pack for your next road trip, but what do you pack when your "journey" is toward a big new goal? Embark on your next big adventure equipped with these 10 essentials.

If you are launching a new program at work, entering a new phase of life or pursuing a lifelong personal goal, find out what you need to "pack" in order to be organized and prepared in ways that increase your chances of success. Learn specific, action-oriented techniques as well as new ways to think about your goals.

This free 60-minute webinar includes real-life stories, high-impact tips, and exercises for you to complete on your own. Your time is valuable, and this may be among the most valuable 60 minutes you invest all week. 

I've talked a little bit before about Dawn as I've taken her eCourses: Personalize, Organize, and Realize. Dawn is a board certified life coach (one of the first!) and writes a blog full of juicy nuggets from travel tips to new perspectives on your day to day life. One of the things I've enjoyed about the eCourses with Dawn is how she breaks things down into manageable pieces so something that seems really vague and like it might not helpful to your life is suddenly very applicable and you can see the real life results. Her webinar was no different.

Last night Dawn said something that struck me, and I hope she wont mind me quoting it here. She it said in describing what she does and where she comes from as a life coach - "I live, work, and volunteer completely within my passions and gifts and believe you can, too". There is great power in that, in aligning your goals with your gifts and passions so that you can spend more time, even all of your time, doing things that make your soul sing. It can be hard to imagine, but that's what Dawn does. She helps you imagine just that and then figure out what you need to do to get there.

So last night, after a chaotic day around our house (well a chaotic couple of days including hurricane prep and storm, road closures, lack of power, and flooding all over our area, and my mom hurting her back), I scrambled to be ready for the webinar. I made it just in time.

Ready with my computer, pen and paper, and a glass of something yummy
The webinar was fun to listen to, but I also had to do the work. She's not kidding when she says have your pencil and paper ready. The beauty of that was that you get a take away. So many things like this are all theory or vague ideas so that once the session is over, it can be difficult to implement them into your life. Or sometimes webinars are just a big commercial keeping you from the real content until you sign up for courses or services. This wasn't like that at all! 

Dawn walks you through the process of really thinking about a specific goal of yours unpacking "what you need to pack" for the journey to that goal. She provides you with skills, tips, and processes that can apply to any goal at any time meaning these are lifelong skills. Plus, this is an opportunity to get a glimpse at how Dawn works and what she's all about for FREE (plus you get a few discounts at the end in case you decide you'd like to work with Dawn on a more regular basis). It's like a little taste of life coaching. But let me reiterate, it is not just one big commercial. Even if you have it set in your head that you have no desire to work with a life coach or take an eCourse, there is content that is useful and fun in this webinar. It's definitely worth the hour of your time! 
I am in the middle of training for my second half marathon. I have a training plan I'm following trying to prepare mentally and physically. During the webinar, I had a few realizations, but I'll just share one with you. I realized I need to stop letting other add-on goals squeeze their way in making my real goal less manageable. If my goal is to run my second half marathon in the same or less time as my first, then that's it. I can't make qualifiers about feeling a certain a way when I finish, or losing a certain number of pounds before race day, or continuing to shave time off my goal time.  The more I add to my goal the less realistic it becomes. When the game is always changing, I can't plan accordingly or stay focused.

So check it out. It's free, and it's a great excuse to tell the family you're taking a little you time, grab a pencil, some paper, and your beverage of choice (a nice cup of tea would be lovely, but I went for a glass of wine), and think about how you are going to get to where you want to be.

The Fine Print: I received a discounted life coaching session in return for previewing the webinar to test out the technology. This post was not part of the 'deal'. It is simply my desire to share the opportunity with you. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.