Just to let you know- this blog is no longer active. I'll be keeping up my 101 in 1001 list until its completion, but will not be writing new posts. You can read the post below if you want the long version. Thanks for the journey to all my friends in the blogosphere!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The End of the Blogging Road

As much as I have loved the blogworld over the past 4 years or so, I think I've come to the end of the blogging road for me.

I started this blog as a way for me to stay accountable with my running and to hopefully help me meet my goal of running for 365 consecutive days. Since then, that goal has been put on the back burner, but I've achieved several other running milestones along the way, including my first two marathons, organizing three 5Ks, becoming a running coach, finding running friends in this little town, and venturing into pregnant running.

I am so grateful to the other running bloggers who have inspired and encouraged me over the past years. I've gotten too many ideas about races, training, and gear to list them all or their sources, but even more than that, I've just been motivated by reading about the running adventures of all of you.

Besides just the running mess, I've loved reading the stories (and looking at the pictures) of all you other lovely bloggers- runners and non-runners alike. I really can't imagine all that I wouldn't know and all the beauty I would I have missed if I hadn't been reading along all this time.

I still plan on poking my head in to read blogs and see what everyone is "pinning," but I just don't feel like my blog is a good fit anymore- for me or for the blogworld. I'm not serious enough about my running right now to maintain a running blog; crafty, creative, or motivated enough to share my cooking, photography, or projects; or enough of an open book to be a mommy blog and share all of my pregnancy/future-baby/family pictures and stories.

The two loose ends though are:
1.. The yet-to-be-completed list of goals I started a year ago: My 101 in 1001.
2. The yet-to-be-completed goal I started with: Running 365 consecutive days.

So, for right now, I'm not going to dismantle the blog. I don't plan on posting, but I'd like to leave my 101 in 1001 list out their on the internet for accountability's sake. I'll pop in every now and then to update the list, and you can feel free to scold me via email if we near October 7, 2013 and I've still got a lot left.

As far as that last goal- the year of daily running- well, I don't know when that will happen. I really should have crossed that one off my list before committing myself to raising a child for the next 18+ years. Maybe that's when I'll get back into blogging- a couple decades from now when I can fully recommit myself to running. I'll let you know if I get back in the game.

Thanks again to all of you for your inspiration and for any of the time you have spent listening to me blabber on! I'll be keeping up with you from the outside!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Running for Two

Yep, as clich├ęd as that title is, I couldn't help it!

You may have noticed I've been pretty absent here (even after coming back from my "break") and that's my big excuse. Since September, I've been pretty obsessed with the fact that I'm pregnant and it's been kind of hard to write any kind of blog post that didn't reflect that in some way.

Now I can finally post my horrible, embarrassing 30 minutes+ 5k times because I have an explanation! (As long as I don't compare myself to all the hardcore pregnant women who barely break a stride after they find out they're expecting.)

I could do a very long "Things I Didn't Expect, Even Though I've Done an Insane Amount of Research" post about pregnancy thus far (and I just may at some point) but I'll suffice to say just one today:

First Trimester is no joke.

I knew all about "morning sickness," but I didn't know realize that even if you don't turn out to be the puking-every-day type, you may still just feel awful and icky...in fact, awful and icky enough that your sassy, confident 8-mile runs the day after getting that positive test might turn into weeks without putting in more than 10 minutes.

But at 17 weeks(!) that is all behind me now! Tomorrow morning, my friend (who due 3 days after me) is coming over for a run and a prenatal pilates DVD. Maybe I'll actually have something to write about again...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Value of Kindness

I know I've been a terrible blogger...returning from a break to then write nothing for a month. And what I'm about to share doesn't have a thing to do with running; I just need to share what's on my heart.

As you may, or may not, recall, I have a new position this year and although I work in two schools and am in and out of classrooms frequently, I don't have my own class to teach. I enjoy the work I'm doing with the teachers, administrators, and curriculum, and feel that what I do benefits the teachers and students in my schools. I have to admit though, I do sometimes miss having my own little class of babies.

Yesterday, I got out of a meeting early, drove to my former school, and did what I've been desperately needing to do for a while: see and hug my kids. If you don't think absence makes the heart grow fonder, go back to an elementary school you used to teach at and watch their little faces light up. Even students who, by their own admission, were exceedingly glad to get out of my class, gave me hugs and asked when I'd be back.

I think about all my former students and hope they're happy and successful, but the reason I so badly need to see these students from last year is that there is one less of them that I'm able to hug. In my class year, there was a little sweet and feisty girl. She was with us for the first few months of the school year, and her classmates and I were sad to see her go when she transferred to a nearby school.

Last week, that little girl took her own life. Everyone who knew her is heartbroken. I spent the day I found out falling apart- and she was only in my life for a few months. I know for her family, friends, and those at her school that the pain is unbearable. It made me sick to my stomach to imagine her feeling so desperate that she felt she had no other choice.

I keep thinking back to the time she was in my class and to all of the students who I have been so blessed to teach over the years. I used to worry that as a new teacher, I was too concerned with my students as whole and should have been more focused on just the bare academics to get them where they needed to be. Once, after receiving some student test results that weren't what I expected, I confided this in another teacher, crying over how I had failed my students.

What she told me was exceedingly kind and changed my whole mindset of myself as a teacher: "We can work one the test scores. You've taught them the content, you just need to make them take the test seriously. You are a good teacher and your students love being in your class. Everyday, your students go home knowing you love them."

And, honestly, despite all the hoopla about testing and rigor and 21st century skills, that's the most important thing to me- showing my students that they are loved. I knew it the day she told me and last week, it rang truer to me than ever. As educators, as parents, as just human beings, showing love and kindness is the most important thing we can do for any child. I don't think that shows weakness and I know it doesn't run counter to a child's success. (For what it's worth, my kids' test scores went up dramatically at their next test.) I have never regretted the time I took to listen to a child that needed me or for a important class discussion that ran into math time. I wish I had kept up longer each year with student journals where my babies wrote me little notes that sometimes brought me to tears. I'm not just talking about sweetness and sunshine though. Sometimes that love has to be tough love, but being firm and consistent is also a great kindness to a child who needs a guiding hand.

As silly as I might sound to quote J.K. Rowling at a time like this, there is a line that Dumbledore tells Harry that has stuck me with ever since:

Just like your mother, you’re unfailingly kind. A trait people never fail to undervalue, I’m afraid.

Unfailing kind. I'd like to be more like that. I know for a fact that it is undervalued, but the value to one little child might be all that matters.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Race Envy

Despite my big plans back in July and August, my fall racing plans have fallen through for a number of reasons. I can't complain because I've been plenty busy with other things, but I can't help but feel just a teensy bit jealous of all of you gearing up for your fall races.

I did have one race besides my pathetically slow 5K though! I forgot to tell y'all about the triathlon relay I did last month. Before I got married (and moved an hour away from the closest indoor pool), I did sprint triathlons on a pretty regular basis. I've said it before, but triathlons are so. much. fun. When I've got access to train in a pool, I'd like to work my way up to an Olympic distance triathlon and a half-ironman, but that won't be anytime in the foreseeable future.

I had never participated in a triathlon relay though and was so excited to get an invitation this summer to be the swim leg in a relay at the beach in September. (My husband was not as thrilled...triathlons make even less sense to him than marathons because of all the gear and logistics and set-up required. I have to give him credit though because he was trooper and was at the race site at 5:45 a.m. with me.)

The swim was in the channel and I was a little nervous because I had never swam in the channel before, it was a little chilly, and my training had been somewhat sporadic. (Think random YMCA visits while visiting family and going on day trips + swimming laps in tiny hotel pools while out of town.) Once we got in though, the swim was great and I felt really good about it. I guess my teammates had lower expectations because they were THRILLED with my time and that made me pretty happy too.

My teammates invited me to swim with them again in Beach to Battleship Half-Ironman that's today, but I wasn't able to do so, which is why I guess my case of race envy is kicking in now. Oh well...maybe I should at least get out of my pajamas and channel that envy into a run!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's easy to get an age group award...

...when you're the only one in your age group!

In my experience, most 19-24 year-olds are still in bed at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings and the those who do run are racing in college and not worrying about little 5Ks and 10Ks on the weekends. Therefore I've been able to get several age group awards while I was still in my "early twenties."

Fast forward to my "late twenties" and the field seems much more competitive. These women are college runners who are over being burnt out and ready to run again, mommy-runner fanatics who can outpace me even pushing a giant stroller, and hardcore workout fiends who wouldn't dream of sleeping in on Saturdays.

They didn't show up to my race on Saturday though! I was able to stroll right through at a leisurely pace and still take home a medal. Is it pathetic that I'm still excited about my only age group award this fall?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Making Runners Instead of Running for Myself

Well, I'm back from my blog hiatus and all, but I'm quickly realizing I don't have a lot to talk about in the running sphere right now. As I mentioned, I'm not really training for anything in particular right now, and even though I'm running, there's not a whole lot of adventure going on with that.

In fact, when I look back over the course of this year, my running theme has definitely been geared towards making new runners.

Since January, I...
  • Attended Girls on the Run training.
  • Coached a Girls on the Run team of 26 third, fourth, and fifth grade girls.
  • Convinced 4 other teachers at that school that they liked running enough to get trained themselves and they are now coaching our county's first STRIDE (boys running) teams.
  • Helped two good friends get through their first long runs and 1/2 marathons.
  • Ran alongside my college roommate in her first marathon. (Although, technically I was not beside her as she finished because she's much more hardcore than me and was done a good 1/2 hour before me....)
  • Organized the second annual Farmers Market Run/Walk 5K at no cost to the participants.
  • Talked another 3 coaches and 1 school into Girls on the Run.
  • Started an informal Saturday running club.
  • Started coaching our county's first Girls on Track team at a new school.
  • Somehow, some way, got talked into organizing another local 5K....
Actually, I'm really excited about this 5K we're planning for December because it's cutesy (we're thinking about ordering a few of these...
), there are other people who are really excited about this event and helping to plan it, it's going to be so exciting for all our little running teams to get together, and we're raising some funds to help pay for our spring teams!

Suddenly, I feel don't feel so pathetic that I haven't had any PRs, tackled any new distances, or lost that weight that's been slowing me down this year. (Okay, that still sounds a little pathetic.)

One of my adorable little middle school runners asked me the other day, "Why did you want to start this running club with us?" Well, because I love running and I want that little girl, her teammates, and anybody else I can convince to love it too. It's not too much to ask, is it?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weak Ankles...

I've mentioned before how fortunate I've been to have a mostly injury-free running career thus far. This can probably be mostly attributed to the fact that, even when I've been marathon training, I've never been nearly as hardcore as most of the runners I envy.

Besides a few minor knee incidences (solved just with rest), my only other issue is that I have pathetic weak ankles. It is not usual for me to step funny on a foot and roll my ankle for a second. Usually, this is remedied by the old "walk it off," and it's fine.

Well, yesterday, at Girls on Track practice, that strategy did not work and I felt pretty stupid. During one of our relays, I rolled my ankle, proceed to tried to jog on it, and then got light-headed, unable to finish instructions for the next activity, and had to sit down in the grass. I knew I would be fine in a second (as long as I didn't try to keep going....did I mention I gave blood the other day? I really didn't want a repeat of this.)

This is the difference between elementary and middle school girls. My elementary girls would have freaked out, covering me with their little hands and asking if I was okay. My middle school girls looked at me funny. One of them asked, rightly so, "Umm...how are we supposed to run if you are in the way?" It kind of cracked me up.

Anyway, I can't complain because my ankle didn't even swell- it's just a little sore and I'm going to stay off it a few days. Well...at least until run club in the morning.