Have You Exercised With Your Valentine Today?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My husband, Wayne made a commitment on his birthday in July to walk or run at least 5k a day for an entire year! He has impressed my socks off by sticking with this commitment no matter how busy he’s been directing races, how much snow was falling outside or how cold and rainy it’s been lately! He hasn’t missed a single day in over 7 months!

He has invited me to join him on many of these 5ks and I have to say that it’s been one of the most bonding things we’ve done as husband and wife in our 16 years together.  We have time to talk freely while we walk (often in the moonlight), we hold hands and we talk about what’s going on in our lives.  There have been many tears (and a few stolen kisses) out on our walks.  We’ve enjoyed the snow, the rain, spotting deer and squirrels and discovering new trials together in our neighborhood.

My only regret about these times together is that we didn’t start doing them sooner! Have you taken a stroll with your Valentine today?


Homeschool Recess

I promised the five kids we could visit the park in our neighborhood if they focused and did well on their schoolwork this morning. The older three rode their bikes, the 6 year old held my hand and walked and the 4 year old rode her tricycle. Savannah, the youngest, quickly put me in my place, too, “Mama, I want you to be behind me, ok?” So, that’s where I stayed — hot on the three wheels of her little, red tricycle for the 3/4 of a mile to the park. No matter how slow you think you walk at a comfortable pace, just trust me when I tell you walking behind a 4 year old on a trike is quite a bit slower than that!!!!

Her zest for life was pretty contagious. She said, “Ohhhh, look at the pretty sunshine, Mama! This is a great day for a bike ride!” She’d stop and stare – at the trees, a cat, the dog doo on the trail, the manhole cover, the clod of dirt she was sure was much too big to ride over. 4 year olds are full of questions, enthusiasm and time. They are never in a hurry the way we grownups are.

The kids enjoyed the time at the park and I walked laps around the swingsets before taking a ride on the swings myself – letting the warm sun kiss my cheeks and the light breeze blow my long hair back from my face, my legs pumping hard as I rose higher and higher towards the big blue sky, clear and wide like the ocean before me.

Guess who ended up pushing the trike back home when running sounded more fun than riding? Savannah actually offered to let me ride it myself. I don’t think my rear end would fit in that tiny seat, but it was nice of her to offer…..


Streak Day 17 – Walking With Wayne Under the Moon

Crazy, busy day!!!! Wayne worked all day and was on call all evening. He even got interrupted when we headed out for a quick bite to eat with the kids. There he was standing on the sidewalk outside of A & W while the five kids and I ate our burgers inside. Then, once we got home, we had to clean like maniacs since our landlord was sending over a potential new tenant for our house. I felt like the world’s biggest Nag with the kids and I’m sure the neighbors could hear my yelling from a block away, “Get that room clean! PEOPLE are coming!!!” Arrrghhhh!!!! I think I ended up re-doing every single chore the kids were supposed to do and Wayne’s call continued through it all, so I didn’t have his help – with the housework or the nagging of the five kids – for any of it. I even managed to get the lawn mowed again (even though I just mowed 3 days ago since I wanted to make a good impression on the possible new tenants.)

By the time the couple finally left, it was getting late, the kids were told they could come in from the backyard and eat Oreos to celebrate that we’d made it through the evening and I asked Wayne to join me for a couple of miles (which when he’s on call – means multiple laps around the block so we’re near the house in case he has to jump on the pc to help solve an IT problem for some grocery store. Their company oversees over 2,000 stores so he gets called a LOT!

The moon was a perfect half sphere tonight. It reminded me of being caught way up high on a dark mountain about 8 weeks ago during the Wild Idaho 50 miler when I was totally alone for part of that race —- just me and that beautiful half moon against a pitch black sky. That made me sentimental a little. My races are all special memories for me. Not all of them were easy – in fact, I can’t think of ONE of them I’d describe in that way — but they all left a mark on my soul and changed me as a person just a bit. I think of each and every one of them with a little wistfulness.

Wayne vented about his job and the government – his two favorite topics to grump about and I vented about the kids, the housework and the anxiety of moving our whole household in the next 4 weeks. Thankfully, we were not grumping at one another. It was just the “other stuff” in life today. The two miles flew by and I was glad we’d had that time together. The kids made us laugh, since they kept pressing their noses – all five of them – to the glass of the livingroom as we’d pass the house each loop and Jr even opened up the window at one point and we could hear them collectively calling out, “HI MOM AND DAD!!” – like we were movie stars in a passing parade they wanted to be noticed by. It made me giggle a little. I love those kids – even when they’re naughty and won’t clean their rooms fast enough!


Family Moonlit Walk

Just after the sun had set, my husband and I herded the five children out the door. I held hands with my six year old daughter, my husband held the hand of our four year old little girl and the three older kids ran ahead racing from mailbox to fire hydrant to the end of sidewalks. Each time looking back for permission to keep running ahead and waiting for my husband or I to give them the go-ahead and choose a new goal. It was fun. My six year old said, “I love how pink the sky is Mommy!” My four year old said, “The moon is so big and bright tonight, Mama!”

As the six year old and I were nearing the end, she looked up at me and said, “You like to go running in the night, don’tcha, Mama” “Mmm Hmmm. I do.” “I think all your kids will like it too. We’re all going to be runners like you someday. Would you like that.” “More than you know, baby girl. More than you know…..” <3


Hello Baby!


My best friend, Bertha showed up at my house yesterday with a wonderful surprise — her beautiful granddaughter, Annie, who’s only 5 months old!  I have been dying to meet the baby since she was born, but we hadn’t been able to work it out.  She totally caught me by surprise when she asked if she could just pop by for a visit and didn’t tell me who she was bringing!  I opened the front door and just gasped when I saw that adorable little baby girl!

Bertha and I were like a couple of seven year olds with a new toy, hugging the baby, making silly faces at her, taking her for a walk and giving her baby food for the next couple of hours! It was wonderful! I hadn’t held a small baby since my own were little. My “baby” is now 4 1/2 years old, so getting do cuddle this sweet, warm bundle of joy, who couldn’t have weighed more than 12 lbs or so just melted me like butter! She had the sweetest toothless smile and I got to use my “baby voice” with her, which I’d totally forgotten I used to use ALL THE TIME with mine! It was awesome!

When the baby got fussy, we put her in the stroller and headed out the door. My 6 and 4 year old daughters (who were star-struck by the cute baby) begged to come along, too. The five of us girl strolled around my neighborhood, while Bertha and I chatted and admired the baby.  It was fun!

Stats: 1.5 miles Time: Who CARES?! 🙂


The Rustling of the Cornstalks in the Breeze


I’m starting to feel better. Yesterday, I cleaned the house, deep cleaned the pantry, mopped the floor, scoured the bathrooms, vacuumed and made the bed and even got to work on my fall lesson plans for the upcoming homeschool year. I also didn’t take any pain medicine. It was an improvement! I still struggled with the sciatica in bed when I tried to roll over or adjust positions, but it was better than the day before.

When I woke up today, I noted that my lower back is still sore, but much less sore than a week ago. I decided to go ahead and take a walk today and see how my body is recovering.  I’ve had a lot on my mind (a common problem when I’m not able to run for weeks at a time, since all of those day-to-day frustrations and feelings build up inside and I’m not able to purge them in the usual sweaty way.) I figured a walk would at least clear some of the mind clutter.

Autumn is in the air! There was a gentle breeze as I stepped out the door.  I noticed the leaves on the trees are starting to turn golden and brown. It made me smile. I’m a fall baby! My birthday’s in November and I always feel like the natural world is doing a fantastic job  of decking out the trees and the grass before my birthday in lovely shades of red and orange and brown!

I love the delicious fragrances and sounds of fall! The air is crisper. The local farmers are harvesting their fields.  Harvesting machines are out, humming along, doing their work. Heavy trucks whoosh by me on the road, filled with local, fresh farm produce. When I walked by the peppermint fields,which are now mowed down fairly short, the decadent scent nearly overwhelmed me! I closed my eyes and dreamed of gum and candy canes. As I strolled by the corn fields, I gazed upwards. The stalks made me feel miniature when I’m next to them! I’d say they are nearly 7 foot tall and I’m closer to 5!  The soft breeze rustled the cornstalks and I again closed my eyes and enjoyed the pleasant, familiar sounds of fall.

I passed ducks swimming in the canal bordered on both sides by purple wild flowers. I gazed up at the sky, dotted with fluffy white clouds.  My heart ached. I wanted to break into a dead sprint, push hard for all I’m worth, feel the speed in my legs again, the wind rushing past my ears and face. Give it all I’ve got and run until my lungs burn, my sides ache and my legs give out, leaving me a pleasantly empty shell.  That’s what running can do for me. It cleanses me. It purifies my heart, my thoughts, makes decisions easier, gives me courage when those decisions are difficult ones that need to be made. I’m better when I can run and run hard and fast and long. Sometimes I wish I could just start running and never ever ever stop……..

But, I’ll have to wait for my purification. Today was just a walk in the countryside. I’ll ache and yearn for my back to heal, my IT band to settle down so that I can recklessly run into the arms of my true love again — my stride stretched out, my arms held wide, alive, free, happy and at one with the beauty all around me.  For running IS my true love.  And I will dance the ballet of the the truly joyful.   Mother Nature’s world  a lovely blur as I rush by, delighted and free spirited and happy, shedding all my worldly cares and being the little Nymph I was meant to be – laughing, smiling, twirling on the mountain tops, naked, alive and free.  I miss you running!!! We’ll be together again soon, I hope! I’m just not me without you.



Scoping Out Another Course

My husband, Wayne and I were given preliminary permission yesterday to set up a few races in our town. We went for a little walk on one of the courses we’re considering. We held hands. It was nice.  Got in about a mile.


My First Brick Workout

I was chatting with my pal, Otto, on Saturday about “brick” workouts – where you do one sport and then quickly transition to another (usually biking, swimming or running.)  Last night I decided to google “brick workouts” and get a few more specifics on them. I got the gist and then decided this morning to bike harder than usual for about an hour, jump off and then go for a short run and do it all in the heat of the day (lunchtime with a temp of 86 degrees and full sun for some heat training as well.)

I took the mountain bike out first for the ride and wore my Nathan pack so I could sip water as needed (man I love that thing – so handy!) I pushed myself a bit out there. Most of my rides lately have been about 11.2 – 11.4 mph on the bike, which for me, as a beginner, feels just about right.  My goal today was to push into the 12’s, push really hard at the last half mile and then jump right into the run on wobbly legs to see what it was like.

I could tell right away on the bike that my quads were still fatigued from Saturday’s epic 20 miler in the mountains with Amy and the gang. So, I took it easy on the first 2 miles, letting the muscles warm up. Then, I pushed a bit, feeling really good.  The funniest thing that happened today was around mile 10, when I was riding in the countryside and see Dumbledore (well it looked like him!), holding a “slow” sign. There was no traffic behind or before me, so it felt funny having this little old, gray-bearded man holding up that sign just for me on the bike. He hollered out, “Young lady, there’s new asphalt up ahead. You may have to get off and push your bike!”  “Ok, Dumbledore. Love your movies and books. Sorry you died at the end” No really, I said “Thanks for calling me  YOUNG!” No, not that either. I just thought those things.  I said, “Ok, thanks!” and headed on.   It’s probably good that my Ally McBeal thoughts mostly stay private. I have way too much fun in my head for most people to think I’m sane. 🙂

I rode on for another mile before I finally came to the actual construction crew – a huge steam roller, driving backwards on my side of the road, another construction vehicle head of that one also heading my way and then on the left side of the road, under a shade tree, sat about 6 road workers, in their neon yellow vests munching sandwiches and drinks. I just kept riding, silently praying, “Please don’t let that steam roller smoosh me into a pancake!” His vehicle was SO loud, I knew there was no way he could hear me if I yelled, so I pulled to the left side of the road and just went around him.  I saw the end of the asphalt.  It was new and built up higher by about 10 inches from the right side of the road.  I think I heard one of the workers comment about my bike, “Lucky! I bet it gets sweet jumps!” So, of course, I had to ride for all I was worth and go leaping off the ledge catching some sweet air before landing with a skid on the other side, right in front of the steam roller guy and tipping my hat before zipping off down the road towards home. Or something like that!!!! 😀  And, yes, I made up that last comment. I’m pretty sure many of you will get the movie reference, though. It’s one of my all-time favorites. I DID leap off the ledge and all of those people and machines were there, though. 😀

I picked up the pace and pushed on towards home.  I gave it a final hard push in the last half mile. Total distance: 13.1 miles. 1:02 total time. 12.6 ave pace (YES!) Ave Heart rate: 151.

After I jumped off the bike, heart racing, and looked down at my feet. Doh! When I dressed this morning, I put on the only pair of shoes I own that sort of look like bikers shoes – my Sketchers!  They’re really relaxed shoes for wearing with jeans or bumming around, but I’ve never ran in them! OH well! I didn’t want my heart rate to get a break, so I parked the bike, switched the Garmin to a run workout and took off, still wearing my Nathan hydration vest (since it was getting hotter than heck and again, I didn’t want to take any extra time to go in and get something smaller like my new handheld.)

I almost burst out laughing when I realized how jello-like my legs felt after riding so hard! It was hilarious! I had read to ease into the run after the bike ride for the first few minutes, so I let my legs settle in and slowly but surely, the run started to feel just fine. I also was pretty amazed at how much  my plain ole Sketchers felt like Kinvaras! I felt like I was running in a racing flat, almost – very responsive, comfortable and light. Huh! Who knew?!

I ran along, feeling good – not great – but not too bad, either. The first mile was 9:44, then I spun around and headed back to the house, intent on getting 2 miles. I picked up the pace for mile 2 just a hair. I saw a pair of power company workers give me a funny look as I went by. I thought, “What?! Haven’t you ever seen a runner in the middle of the day busting a move?!”, and I kept going, ratcheting it up, little by little as I neared home. I went into full sprint mode as I rounded the corner in the last tenth of a mile. Mile 2: 8:41. Best pace: 5:13. Average Heart Rate: 175.

As soon as I got back to the house, I reached up to rest my hands on my head. THAT’S when I realized I’m a DOOFUS! I still was wearing the hot pink bike helmet! hahahaha! No wonder those dudes were looking me over with confused looks! hahahah! They probably thought someone had stolen my bike and I was chasing them down or something! Sheesh! I could have run faster without that hot thing on my head, I bet! hahaha!

Anyways… good first brick workout for me.  It really did feel weird to try to run hard after a bike ride. 🙂 It was fun! I’ll do it again soon just for the heck of it!

Ok, after the bike and run, it was time to cool-down. I headed a quarter mile out and practiced my power-hiking arms for the first quarter mile (a VERY important ultra marathoning skill that I’ve been putting extra effort into lately since my next 50 mile race is less than 2 weeks away and has MORE climbing than I’ve ever done in a run in my life!) In the last 1/4 mile, when I spun around and headed back to the house, I just focused on easing the heart rate back down again.  I felt good! Very proud of myself! Great start to the week!

Looking forward to a couple more group runs this week (a moonlight run on Thursday night where I think the group  is doing 12 and my buddies Amy and Jon are running home from there with me for another 4 miles or so on roads) and then hopefully a shorter, higher altitude, easy trail run on Saturday (one week before my race – FAINT!)  Then, it’s taper time! I’m sure I’ll do lots of other fun workouts the rest of the week, but I’ll figure those out as I go. 🙂 Happy Monday everyone!!! Go get active! And, don’t forget to have a little party in your head while your doing so. Smile! It makes people wonder what you’re up to!

I finished up my workouts with 30 min with the Wii Fit Plus doing Yoga and Strength. Felt good!



Cool Down Walk

Just getting the heart rate back to normal with a little walk around a couple blocks. Felt good!

.50 distance. 9:37 total time. 19:03 pace.


Testing the Legs

I felt it was time to see how my legs felt when I pushed them a little.  It’s warm out today – 69 degrees and the sun is high in the sky. But, it felt good to test out the legs a bit and see how my recovery is going.  I haven’t felt sore in days when taking stairs or walking around, but as soon as I kicked up the pace a bit, I did feel it in my calves, glutes and my right arch. Still a bit sore in those areas.

2.01 mile run.  9:43 – mile 1 as I warmed up. 8:55 mile 2 as I found my groove a bit. The last bit was 6:54 as I finished up.  Average pace: 9:19.  Ave HR: 156.  Felt: Sore, but good.

Cool Down:

I’ve come to realize that when my mind is happy, my body is happy. Music seems to bring out the best in me. I listened to music on the run today and also for the cool-down. I find that Dancing Queen and Kool and the Gang’s Celebration are much more fun when you add a few dance moves (even if the neighbors look at you funny!) 😀

1 mile. 17:26 pace. HR Ave: 129. Felt: Happy