Sunday, September 23, 2012

Motivational Monday

This put a lump in my throat and a smile on my face.  Enjoy.  Be inspired.

Triathlon Duo

Make Up Your Mind!

If any of you have followed my blog, you will have noticed that I've been absent from my post for quite a long time.   

I am now at that two-weeks to marathon time, and having a bit of a panic.  When I signed up for the Portland Marathon, I didn't have a full time teaching position and had a whole bunch of time to train.

Since I signed up, I got a new job. Hallelujah!  We sold our house.  Hallelujah!  And then…I simultaneously moved a home and a classroom, cleaned, painted, and nested both home and classroom, and then started teaching an eager little bunch of five-year-olds!  Again, can I get a Hallelujah up in here!  This is all tremendously great news, but it put a serious kibosh on my training. 

So – the run is in two weeks and I’ve had a lot of soul searching, and sole searching to do.  I don’t feel ready at all, but I feel obligated.  I said I would do something, and people donated to my cause – the Children’s Cancer Association – in good faith that I would do what I said I would do.  Now I’m sitting in a big old bunch of dilemma. 

I talked to the folks at CCA – and they are thrilled with me already – I have raised the most money for this event of anyone participating.  So that’s good.   They told me I could do whatever I felt necessary.  I could run, walk or drag myself as far as possible.  OR I could decide mid-run to take the turnoff for the half marathon.  OR I could be happy with my fundraising and not do the run. 

That last one doesn’t sit well with me because I have a conscience.  The reality is I may very well end up doing a half marathon instead of the full, but I also know what a stubborn person I can be when I have made up my mind to do something.  So…I may very well walk and drag myself to the finish of 26.2 miles.  I won’t know til I get there.  It will be a surprise to even me.  I know I’m leaning toward pushing through no matter what.

I have signed up for a fun run next Saturday at Portland International Raceway.  The Happiest 5-K On The Planet! We will be in town helping our daughter move, so I thought – what the heck.  I need some fun, and color in my life!  J

The weekend after will be more serious. 

What would YOU do if you were in my running shoes?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Motivational Monday - Find YOUR Greatness!

Happy Monday!
I just got in from a run - shorter than I planned...ooohhh the heat!  I let Lilly jump in the river at the park and I should've joined her!  I've been loving coming straight home and standing in the stock tank - cold water up to my thighs.  Bliss!

Have you been engrossed in the Olympics?
I wasn't at first - I find I get so annoyed at the commentary.  I wished I could have just watched the opening ceremonies like a spectator and not have to have everything spelled out for me like I'm too stupid to see what's happening!  Enough already!

I do love all the stories of triumph and hardship.  And I LOVE LOVE LOVE Oscar Pistorius, the runner with the prosthetic legs!  Oh - good for him!!  If he can be an Olympian, surely I can drag my sorry ass 26.2 miles for charity!

So - as much as I love the Olympics, I also love the ads.  I tear up everytime I hear Morgan Freeman say, "Go World!"

The Nike ads are particularly amazing this year, and speak to me so personally.  In a previous post, one of my first, I believe, I stated how average I am.  I'm just an ordinary person trying to do something big in order to raise money for the Children's Cancer Association.  These ads are two of my favorites.  Enjoy - and get out there and celebrate YOUR greatness!

The Jogger

Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Motivational Monday: Appointments I Intend To Keep

I just read my last blog post, dated July 6.  I guess can't use the same opening line about my absenteeism. 

My summer schedule has just changed…again…and this time, I’m more determined to put myself, and my fitness FIRST.  I’ve always heard the advice that you should write your own self into your calendar or appointment book, and keep your obligations to yourself just as you would anyone else.  Good advice, but it’s so easy to fall into the trap of tending to others before yourself.  The truth is, if I am not well (mentally or physically) my care for others will not be all it can be either.

So – here’s to my first Monday on the new schedule. 

1.    I am done flushing fire hydrants for the city of La Grande.  I had planned on running in the early mornings before work, but that quickly fell away after days spent in the heat and the sun.  I didn’t want any more outside.
2.    We are in the process of moving – our house closes within two weeks, our move-in house is vacant and we have keys!  We’re sort of becoming squatters (but with permission).  J 
3.    I will have new running routes to map out, and far fewer trees and shady places to run. (Note to self: get more sunscreen!)
4.    In August I will not only be nesting a new home, but a new classroom.  I have to keep these in separate mental compartments and only deal with one at a time or I will go mad!  The school is in the process of an asbestos abatement project, so it’s on lock down while all the tiles are removed – I can delete it from my brain for now, but the minute I have the go-ahead, I will go paint my classroom before new flooring is installed.  After the floors are in, I will be a flurry of teacher-crazy as I decorate and prepare for my new little flock.
5.    I spend way too much down time on Pinterest looking for house/school ideas.  I saw something at a rummage sale that was clearly a Pinterest thing that is on my list of crafty projects to make – and I resisted the urge to spend $25 to bypass the craftiness and just buy it already!
6.    I have made a new goal of spending WAY less time on the computer.  I’m even working toward Technology Free Sundays (with the exception of checking in on the Bingham Family Blog – don’t want to miss news of a heart donor for Lindsey!)

So – I ran today.  It felt good, although a bit rusty.  In the time I have been off, though, I have completely reversed the foot issue that I had been having.  (I think that may be a complete post for later).  The dog loves me again.  My muscles are thanking me, and my brain is happy.  I have made an appointment with the road again tomorrow, and it’s one I intend to keep.

QUESTION: How do you manage your fitness when everything going on in your life seems crazy?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Running On Empty

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I’ve been absent from my blog.  I’m feeling sort of absent from my life right now, as the transition from school-year work to summer-work has shaken up my schedule.  My beer-man hubs is up at the butt crack of dawn to make sure the tri-county area is able to toss back a cold one with their summer BBQ’s.  Once he’s up, I’m up – whether it’s 3:30 or 6:00.  So…the days drag on.

In our personal lives we’ve lost two friends, Riki Anderson and Chris Fox Kohl.  I have a school family whose lives are in peril – with two children in a hospital – one waiting for a heart transplant, the other on a pacemaker (Lindsey & Gage Bingham).  All their children have the same heart abnormality, and most likely all of them will require heart transplants.  I can’t imagine it, and it weighs heavily on my mind and my prayer life.

Our house sold in five days, which normally would be a really awesome thing…but now, as we search for housing closer to my work, we’re finding we don’t have much to choose from.  I keep telling myself the right thing will present itself – as it always does, but it still sort of nags at the back of my mind…Oh yeah, we may be homeless!

I know that running is a reducer of stress, but I’m not such a hard-core runner that it’s become that kind of habit.  I envy folks who run every day like clockwork.  I still have to talk myself into it every damn day – and lately, I’ve been a slacker.  I’m not worried about the upcoming marathon, although, perhaps I should be.  I know I can drag my sorry butt over the finish line if I have to, but I also know I have a few more months to prepare.  I also know that I’m gritty and stubborn and I will do it if it kills me…I just would prefer not to die from it – I have work to do! 

I know I would mentally feel better if I drug myself out every morning, but with low-grade depression it’s harder to leave the house.  My sweetie and I have been getting out in the hills, and encouraging each other to get back on track, step by painful step.

Oh – the drawing for donors has been extended.  I need MORE donors – even at a few bucks a go!  Right now, I have more prizes than donors, so I’m going figure out another way to market this thing.  You may see me outside of Safeway hawking raffle tickets, we’ll see.

So today I ran.  I’m in that sweaty afterglow that I must remember TOMORROW when it’s time to go again. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Memorial (Motivational) Monday!

Cancer is a big, stupid, bully - the kind that steals your lunch money, stalks you on facebook and makes crank calls.  (What I really want to say about it contains way too many expletives!)

Last week North Powder School lost one of its own - Riki Anderson, second grade teacher, and woman extraordinaire.  I feel cheated not to have known her longer.  I only knew her while under the ravages of cancer and chemo, and I have to say, I can’t imagine what she was like healthy!  She was such a dynamo – a devoted teacher and mother, she had a wicked sense of humor, and was a positive role model in every way.  She taught through chemo-sickness and hair loss, and kept an upbeat attitude – never wanting the children or her workmates to worry. 

We will gather in grief on Wednesday to celebrate the life of this amazing woman, to share stories, hugs and tears.  Riki was only 42 years old.  She leaves behind three daughters - a senior in high school, a first grader, and a three year old.  AND - many students who loved her dearly.

Cancer is a bully.

My last several runs have been tearful.  The road is where I work out my troubles and try to find balance.  The miles I'm logging are working toward my goal of a marathon to raise money for the Children's Cancer Association.
Today, I ask that you make a donation to one of the numerous cancer programs out there.  Cancer needs to be stopped.  Children with cancer need to grow up.  Children whose parents have cancer need healthy parents to raise them.  Mothers with cancer need to see their children graduate, marry, and have children of their own.  

Let's keep working together to end this disease.

Rest in peace...
Riki Anderson 
Dad (BobWard)
Aunt Carolyn
Keith Tannehill
Suasn Moon
Pam Still
Jack Carey...

Who do you add to the list?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Motivational Monday!

I spent yesterday morning pouring through videos on youtube, trying to find some that were inspirational without being depressing.   I found a couple that really spoke to me.

What is strength?  It can be about the physical body, or the emotional outlook.  I find that these are the two critical elements in training for a marathon.  I know there will times when I doubt my own physical strength and will have to dig deep to find the emotional fortitude to keep moving.

This week's video clips are related, so please watch them both!  They are heartwarming, and I love how they show that small efforts can create such good will and inspiration.

Strong as Iron

Danny is Cancer Free!

I love the line in the first video that says, "A little, given in abundance, is a lot."   If you haven't donated yet because you think you don't have enough to give - remember that every little bit goes into the bigger picture.  I don't have a lot of 'extra' money, but I try to donate something toward my own fundraising goal every month. $5000 sounds like, and is a lot of money to raise, but don't let it deter you from making even a $5.00 donation.  Every raindrop that falls goes into creating the seas!

Be strong.  Go forth and conquer your goals!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

1. My Sweet Baboo!
 Okay – so my sweetie and I are nearing 26 years of marriage, plus 7 years of growing up together as teenagers through middle and high school.  He is my rock, my safety net, my cheerleader, my number one cuddler, and the person I would want to be stranded on a dessert island with.  I am blessed!

2. TYR Durafast Swimsuit
Not as good as a 26-year marriage, but darn close.  This swimsuit is really decent, and by decent I mean it covers everything that should be covered and stays in place.  I hate wearing swimsuits to begin with and I actually don’t feel too bad in this one.  I got it at REI, but I know they can also be found online.  Here's a link to a GREAT sale!  I may even order another since I know I like it and it fits! A good suit is hard to find!

3. Morning Star Veggie Patties
I am not a vegetarian, but I really hate hamburger.  I love all the things one puts on a burger, and I love grill taste, but I think I was raised on too much burger, so the taste & smell of it make me gag.  My hubs likes a grilled burger now and again, so this time, I searched around (and asked Angie in the meat department at Safeway for a recommendation) for a new product to try.  Angie recommended the Original Grillers and the ‘Chicken’ patties.  I haven’t tried the mock chicken yet, but I really like the Grillers.  The patty is 130 calories, and for a bun, I used a whole wheat bagel thin for 110 calories.  Sweet Baboo had his usual burger and was happy, and I was more than satisfied with my scaled down version.  Yay!  Depending on sale price, a box runs between $3.99-$4.29 for four patties.  Around a $1/serving isn’t bad – it’s actually better than beef!

4. myfitnesspal app 

I’m new to the whole idea of looking to see if there’s ‘an app for that’, but after my ODS Health Coach asked if I was using any calorie counting apps, I had to do some research.  Gone are the days of seriously long math problems!  I had no idea!!  Myfitnesspal does it all.  I plug in what I ate, drank, and what type of exercise I’ve done, and it keeps a running tab.  There are several things I like about this.  I can see the actual debit/credit of food and exercise.  In my head it makes sense, but to see it on paper…well, on screen, makes it more real.  I can look ahead, see how many calories are left for the day, and I’ve already found that I’m making calculated decisions about how to spend the calorie ‘cash.’  Do I really want a TB of blue cheese crumbles on my salad? Sometimes the answer is yes, but other times, I can go without.
I really wanted to meet with a dietician to talk about my weight loss goals AND training goals.  My biggest concern was making sure I was fueling my body correctly for marathon training.  My insurance covers Weight Watchers, but NOT a visit to an actual dietician.  I think this is wrong, but I don’t get to make the rules.  What I did find out, though, was that I can have an ODS Health Coach – who IS a dietician.  We email or call, depending on what works best.  At first I wasn’t too impressed, but then once I got really specific about my needs and concerns, we started to communicate better.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  For now, I’m tracking everything on myfitnesspal, and then I’ll have the health coach go through it and look for areas for improvement.  Right now, I’m working on 1200 calories (not consumed, mind you – but after food AND exercise pluses and minuses – the end of the day should equal 1200).  I like that at the end of the day, the app says, “If you ate like this every day, you’d weigh_____in 5 weeks.”  It’s encouraging.  I can see that coming in UNDER 1200 will speed that along.  But…I exercise because I LIKE TO EAT!  (This program is available as an app, AND online, in case you don't have a fancy phone or ipad!)

5. Mountain Valley Therapy & Fitness
I was already a fan/patient of Mountain Valley Therapy, and previously, I wrote about the open house for their fitness center.  They’ve been running a free 7-day trial for the fitness center (still available on their website), and along with that, you can meet with a personal trainer.  I did all that, and wasn’t sure if I wanted to join a gym or not.  I know that I really should be adding weight training to what I’m doing (I’ve got cardio covered!), and I’m not exactly equipped at home to do weight lifting.
I met with Matt for an initial screening.  Yes, I got weighed in front of a boy!  Oh, the horror!!! Anyway, he checked my fat ratio, which is not a good one, and we talked about my goals for living a healthy life, and for doing this crazy running event. 

I appreciate that there is no joining fee at Mountain Valley.  If you’ve got the bucks up front to pay for the whole year, you get a discount (not me!), but I joined anyway.  I love that it’s not the gym of my twenties!  The average age in there is over forty!  I love seeing some of my older friends in there lifting weights, possibly for the first time in their lives.  It’s not a big-muscle-head-sweaty-smelling-gym.  It still has new gym smell!  And the locker rooms are lovely and clean!

 Matt set me up on a circuit weight training routine, and I’ll do that for a few weeks and then pay for another session to regroup.  I’m discovering sore muscles that I didn’t know existed.  I should be a Greek Goddess in a few more weeks.  Okay, maybe not, but I’m definitely getting one of those olive leaf crowns!  J

Monday, May 28, 2012

Motivational Monday - and Memorial Monday

I was going to say 'Happy Memorial Day,' but if you have lost loved ones, you may not be feeling too happy today.  Loss is tough - we can mourn the folks who are no longer sharing this daily walk with us, AND we can also remember them fondly and laugh over old memories.  

It's only fitting that I'm doing this marathon in support of a cancer organization.  I lost my father, my aunt, and a dear friend to cancer.  They were adults - and while that doesn't make it easier, I know there's got to be so much frustration and a feeling of unfairness that goes along with having a child with cancer.   When I look at my little kindergarten friends and think about our friends, Will and Julie, who lost their son at the age of 6, it just makes me weepy.  No child should die before the parent – I know my grandparents wrestled with this when my 51-year-old father was dying.  I didn’t really get it–the fact that we are always our parents’ babies, no matter how old we are.  

Oh yeah, this was supposed to be motivational.  How’m I doing? 

I had recently heard on the radio that Kelly Clarkson’s song, Stronger, had become an anthem for folks undergoing cancer treatment.  I can see why!  It’s upbeat and motivational.  My sister Cherrie sent me this video clip – just as I was beginning to ponder the Motivational Monday blog.

And of course - the making of the video is just as good, or better!  :-)

Think good thoughts of those you’ve loved and lost.  Keep fighting whatever battle you’re fighting.  We’re all in this together! Now get out there and kick some booty!

OH - and I just got a big fat donation from the ladies at Bodywork Spa & Skin Studio - I'll post more when I have more details, but it's a good one!  Don't forget to donate any ammount before the drawing on June 30th!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Motivational Monday

Every accomplishment starts
with the decision to try.

It's Monday - the day that it seems like the alarm goes off way too early!  I'm a little more organized today, since I spent time yesterday preparing food for lunches/dinners.  I aspire to live this way all the time,'s hit and miss!

If you're anything like me, we have days when the workout seems too hard.  It would be easier to come home from work, change into sweats...and just lounge in them.  Sometimes inspiration comes from seeing the struggles of others.  This video clip particularly touched me.  I think this guy is awesome.  If he can change his life and health - so can I!

Enjoy -

Never Give Up

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Drawing for Donors!

Drawing for Donors is officially underway!  This is an un-raffle raffle, because if I had an actual raffle, then your donations to The Children's Cancer Association would not be tax decutible.  So - this is a thank-you gift giveaway - a way to show my apreciation for your donations toward this wonderful organization.

I'm filled with gratitude for the folks who have donated items for my Drawing for Donors!  I was feelig a bit disheartened at first, but through social media, friends have rallied to donate items to make this giveaway really fun.  I so appreciate this community!

I'm still gathering items, but this is what I have so far.  

Drumroll Please:
1/2 Hour Massage from Angie Miller!

$25 Gift Certificate from El Erradero!
                  This could be yours ~ from The Potter's House!

Matted art print from local artist, Denise Stone

$10 Gift Card from the Sub Shop!
Yummy bath stuff and body butter from Whispering Pines

My sister, Cherrie Ward donated all these necklace/earring sets!  Thanks, Cherrie!

I (Karen Tannehill) am donating a few baked-goods: 
*Huckleberry Cheesecake,
*3-Layer German Chocolate Cake, and
*Cookie of the Month - That's Right:-12 months of cookies!

There will be more prizes announced as they come in.  I have a few mysteries yet to be revealed!
Please share this post with your facebook friends.  I have just edged over the $2000.00 mark on my way toward raising $5000.00!  I would love to reach that goal, and dare I say, even pass it!

Drawing to be held Saturday, June 30th!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Friday Five: True Confessions of an Average Gal

I've really been feeling frustrated about my physical condition.  I have been working really hard at strengthening my core and then, on Sunday, I popped out my lower back.  Argh!  These are the moments I feel my age.  I know it’s just a minor setback, and I trust all my medical professionals to get me back on track.  They’re all pulling for my marathon success, and they want me to be healthy and strong. 

Still…one little lift (that I SWEAR I used my legs for!) and my week was shot to Hell!

Oh well – here’s to another Friday, and another chance to get back on that horse and ride!

True Confessions…

1.  I prefer wearing yoga pants for eating and lounging, rather than yoga.  When I was in Vegas, I referred to them as “Buffet Pants!

 2.  I’m somewhat envious of people who have workout buddies.  It seems like a great idea, but I can’t imagine actually working out with someone else.  Maybe I just don’t play well with others.  I like the freedom to take off when I feel like it, and run as long, short, fast or slow as I feel like.  I think I also really appreciate the time alone in my own head.  I communicate with people all day at work, so my workout time seems like something special, just for me.

    3. I'm starting to worry about reaching my financial goal of raising $5000.00.  You would think I’d be more worried about running 26.2 miles, but no – it’s the money.  I know that nothing bad will happen if I don’t get there, but I will feel like I’ve let down the organization (Children’s Cancer Association).  I can only donate so much, so I’m hoping for either a whole bunch of little donations, or a couple more REALLY BIG ones!

 4. I know that no matter how much I read and learn about running a marathon, nothing will truly prepare me.  I just have to listen to my body and keep working at it.  I’m concerned more with the mental part of the marathon than the physical part.  The more I hear about hitting ‘the wall’ the more I am concerned with finding way to power through it.

 5. I am almost done with the school year, and I’m looking forward to having less things competition with my time.  I can really focus on cross training and building my stamina.  I hate when work gets in the way of my playing!

Stay tuned - I'm just about ready to post about my giveaway:
Drawings for Donors!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Some Thoughts About Mothers...

This blog, and my marathon preparation are the tools I am using to raise money for the Children's Cancer Association.   As I was running this morning, I was thinking about what it would be like to be celebrating Mother's Day when you have a seriously ill child. I can't imagine.

Baby Alli - the picture of health!
I'm not trying to get all Debbie Downer on ya, but really, if you are a parent, you know what that bond means.  We want our children to be happy and healthy, and when one of those elements is missing, it's missing for us too.  Our hearts break when theirs do, we cry when they do, we ache when they're ill, and we lose sleep (sometimes grudgingly) when fever strikes, or the vomit misses the toilet, or the diapers overflow know the drill.

I was thinking about my own mother.  She is not an adventurer AT ALL, but she wholeheartedly supports my adventures.  She is the one who has pledged $1000 for my run!  She is my strongest supporter, in big ways, and in small.  She has shown up with groceries when times were tight.  She has taken all our laundry, and our baby, when we were both sick.  She has replaced our pillows or dishrags when she saw they were worn beyond what is useful.  Her graciousness continues to be a lesson for me.  She shows up and offers.

I was thinking about my mother in law.  You will find no mother in law jokes here - I have been blessed by the woman who raised my tender hearted husband.  I have nothing but respect for her.  She is a wealth of knowledge, but waits to be asked.  She IS an adventurer!  After being a lifelong swimmer, she, at the tender age of 79, tried the slide at the swimming pool for the very first time.  The other 'swimming ladies' followed, saying they had always wanted to try it too.  She now slides at least once a week, and on her 80th birthday, she went down the slide four times - since it was the fourth!  She bravely undresses in the locker room, showing her mastectomy scar.  I don't know if I could do it.  She has attitude and spunk, yet she, too, is quiet like my mother.  You would never suspect that underneath the granny gear, she is a student, a teacher, a lover of romance novels, and a try-er of new things.

I was thinking about my friends, Will and Julie, who lost their sweet son at the age of 6, to brain cancer.  I don't know how you put one foot in front of the other and pick up your life after that.

I am filled with gratitude for my health, and the health of my daughter and her cousins, and second cousins.  I made another contribution to the CCA - $5 each for Robbie, Joanna, Alli, Rebekah, Elizabeth, Clarissa, Marissa, Hannah, Ava and Ethan.   I can pledge, and I can run.  And for those who can't face the day - but must do it for their children, I can pledge more, and run further.
My child got to grow up - now, that's a gift not to be
taken for granted!

Hug your healthy kids.  Celebrate your motherhood, and think of those who are struggling with loss - either of mothers, or chidren.
1 year old Travis and his chemo-pal, Kim Martin
Luke Jensen and his chemo-pal, Ryan Foote


Friday, May 11, 2012

The Friday Five: True Confessions of an Average Gal

How did it get to be Friday already?!  I went out of town for a few days of family business, worked two whole days, met next year’s kindergarten class, and called it a week!

So here I am again at the Friday Confessional, which will now be The Friday Five…because last week I learned that ten was too much!

1.  I only worked out twice this week and I’m feeling really guilty about it.  I can't really count walking alongside of a four year old as she rode her trike, but believe me, I encouraged her to keep going...maybe a bit longer than she would've liked.  Sorry, Ava!
Oh well, there are still three days left…

2.  I found a swimming suit that FITS!  Hallelujah!  That’s really outstanding news, but what I realized, though, is that I really didn’t even take time to see if it’s remotely flattering.  All I know is that it pulled up all the way (over my apparently, freakishly long torso!) so that’s where my observation stopped.  Perhaps I’m not so ego-based that I’m worrying about how I look in a swimming suit.  I didn’t even turn around in the dressing room to check out the butt-horror!  Maybe this is a sign of maturity.  What’s more likely though is that it’s just a sign of pure laziness!
This is the type of suit I would really prefer!


    3.  After several days out of town and a couple long car trips, I feel the need for a major colon cleanse!  Why is it that spending six hours sitting on my butt in the car makes me feel like I should be in constant snack mode?  On the drive home, I had two lattes, a box of Red Vines, a snack sized bag of Gardetto’s, and an 8 oz. bottle of water.  I should’ve had a V-8!  What’s done is done.  I can only reclaim my colon and start over.

           4.  I’m getting really excited for my second turn at being a Foodie Pen Pal!  I was able to shop for mine at Saturday Market, and World Market while I was in Eugene, so I have some really fun stuff to send.  I also can’t wait to receive a foodie box in the mail!  This is so fun!   (I address this in my other blog.  If you’re curious, visit, and look at the April Foodie Pen Pal Reveal.)

5.   As the school year winds to a close, I know how much marathon work there is ahead of me this summer.  I am determined to keep it fun, playful, and varied.  Even if I’m walking or swimming, I know it’s all adding to my fitness level and using different muscles. I’ll get ‘er done a mile at a time!

Stay tuned – I have a Drawing for Donors in the works, and there are some fun prizes!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Confessional

I am a reader of many health and fitness blogs, and an equal number of eating and cooking blogs. One thing many of them have in common is a daily theme, like What I ate Wednesday, or Fitness Friday. Cassie, at Back to Her Roots,, does a weekly confessional of personal oddities. The thing I really love about it, is that her quirks make me feel normal. Wait. I don't think that came out right. What I mean to say is that reading about her dirty little secrets makes me realize that I'm not alone in mine.

So in an effort to help y'all feel less weird, I'm going to hang out some dirty laundry, with the inalliterative title, Friday Confessional.

Here goes:

10. Sometimes I eat candy for breakfast. While I can be proud of myself for never starting the habit of cigarettes and coffee, I do enjoy sugar and coffee. NOT sugared coffee, mind you, but coffee with some sort of sugary treat. I always plan on granola or a decent person's brakfast, but, really, is there anything better than a Reese's Peanutbutter Cup and some Starbucks?

9. I've got some Justin Beiber in my running playlist. I'm not a creeper, I promise.

8. I really love shoes, and I'm not proud of fitting the stereotype of women who love shoes. I'm no Imelda Marcos, or Carrie Bradshaw, but I might be on my way.

7. I'm already thinking that ten confessions is too much. Don't want to let my crazy out all at once!

 6. I love getting real mail - not bills, but actual hand- written notes. It's a lost art with texts and emails. I just joined a foodie pen pal program because not only do I get to send and receive a food package in the mail once a month, but one of the components of the program is that you have to write something!

 5. I wasn't one of those parents who allowed our baby/child to sleep in our bed. That being said, I have a four year old border collie who takes up residence in the middle of our bed each night - not long ways, but sideways so she can kick us equally.  I've gone soft, what can I say.

 4. I love singing to really loud music in the car. I try not to get caught at it, but I'm sure other drivers think I'm nuts. Even moreso if I'm singing show tunes!

 3. I've definitely decided ten confessions is five too many.

2. I cry in the movie Stuart Little when that little Michael J. Fox mouse says he has an empty place in his heart, and at the first 20 minutes of the movie, Up, and in Toy Story Three when the big boy goes away to college. I cry when a child says (and discovers), "Teacher, I can read!"  Gets me every time. Yep. I'm a sappy crybaby.

1.  I LOVE being a teacher.  Yes it's hard work. There are kids I want to take home and feed, wash, and lavish with Christmas presents - and that breaks my heart on a daily basis.  But it's the job that is my heart's true calling.  When things fall off the rails in my daily life - teaching is the thing that always makes sense to me.  I know I belong to a community of others who show up every day to shape little people into big citizens.

What does any of this have to do with getting ready for a marathon? Not a thing, except that now you know just how average I am. I'm not an Olympian with a great training regime, a personal trainer, and a dietician.  I'm just a 46 year old, who trains despite my love for junk food, who is trying to raise money for families who do not have the luxury of time.

I can continue to put one foot in front of the other, giving thanks for my health and the health of my beautiful daughter.

I can keep lacing up and hitting the pavement...a mile at a time.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

     I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself for the past couple weeks.  After logging 27 miles one week and feeling like I was gaining on my stamina, I was plagued with soreness in my hips, back and feet.  I kept thinking that maybe age was creeping up on me and that this wasn't such a good idea after all.

    Instead of throwing in the towel, I've seen some medical professionals.  I'm having orthotics made for my very flat feet - which should help a lot of the other problems.

   After several unsuccessful chiropractic trips, I went to my massage therapist, Trish Zennie  We concurred (intuitively) that it seems as if my pelvis is twisted.  I went to Mountain Valley Therapy to visit my buddy, David Ebel, and he agreed.  I have both a tilt and a twist in my pelvis, rendering my right leg to about 20% efficiency, and my left about 50%.  While I was feeling that this was really bad news, David was really optimistic for me.  He feels that this is perfect timing - with the marathon 6 months away.  He says I will feel as if I have wings on my feet, once my efficiency is 100% in both legs.  I can live with this outcome!
Sure wish I looked like that in a suit!

So - I'm grounded to the pool or the eliptical for a bit.  I just ordered a couple of suits on line - I'll keep you posted on how that turns out.  Trying on swim suits is such a humiliation that I prefer the privacy of my own home.  No matter how big they SAY they are, I always feel like I'm trying to fight my way back into the womb!  If all else fails - I'll wear a jog bra and shorts.  I'll do some pool running, yoga, and eliptical and see how it goes.

Meanwhile...Lilly thinks I'm cheating on her.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mountain Valley Therapy Fun Run

I used to be one of those people who found the term fun run to be oxymoronic.  The two words just didn't seem to fit together.  My mother in law and I had that conversation just the other day.  She said no one can convince her that running is fun since runners all look like they're having an awful time.  I thought about that this morning.   I was having a great time.  Our valley is lovely and it was a perfect day for a run.  I don't know what my face conveyed, but I was happy on the inside.

Lilly and I after the run
Now that I've become a running convert, I have to say that I totally enjoy fun runs, even if I don't really socialize on them.  I'm not great about running with other people.  My running buddy has four legs and she's always available.  I don't have a training partner to get me out the door each day or to hold me accountable, but in the end, it's really my own responsibility.

Even though I participated in this fun run - which was in celebration of Mountain Valley Therapy's new athletic facility - I still ran with my dog and my ipod.  I must say, I do enjoy being in the vacinity of other runners, as I know we have that one thing in common.  I love seeing couples, sisters, friends, and families out enjoying the spring air, and not sitting at home in front of the tube.  I appreciate knowing I'm not alone in the quest for health, and that's what this fun run was celebrating - healthy choices in Union County.

I'm happy to report that Mountain Valley Therapy was packed for their open house!  I finished the run, ran Lilly home (to get in an extra 3 miles) and then came back with my camera.  The pool is lovely, and the room is WARM!  I hate being wet and cold!  The locker rooms are awesome, and the workout equipment is amazing.
A nod to our aquatic friends!

The suspension room has me captivated!  I want to know about this!
Congratulations to Mountain Valley Therapy!  Your community loves you!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cross Terrain-ing

My winter running shoes!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after living in Eastern Oregon all these years, it’s that you have to make peace with the weather.  This week was no exception.  March came in like a lion, and went out like a cranky lion.  April snow showers will delay May’s flowers.  The weather can wreak havoc on one’s psyche this time of year.  One morning, I was all dressed for spring, then, opened the blinds to find a fresh blanket of snow on the ground.  Change of plans, and change of clothes.

Tuesday afternoon I ran in shorts and a t-shirt after work.  It was a balmy 64ยบ.  We had snow showers the rest of the week.

My hubby and I had made plans for a walk on Mt. Emily Thursday afternoon.  I have a four-day work week, and Thursdays are my Fridays.  I came home feeling tired and ready to collapse in the recliner and call it a week.  My sweetheart, however, was already changed into play clothes and hiking boots, had gathered our snow shoes, and was ready to go as soon as I got changed.  I brooded to myself as I changed clothes and prepared for a death march.

We loaded up the dogs and the camera and headed up the hill.  We walked uphill quite a distance before we reached the spot where there was more snow than road, and we put on our snow shoes and the workout really began.  Snow shoeing is a really great workout.  It’s fun, but – boy, is it a butt-burner!  No matter how cold it is, your body heats up in minutes, and before you know you’re shedding layers of hats, gloves and jackets.

Besides the workout, we got a big ole dose of peace and calm.  The dogs frolicked, and Annie enjoyed a snow bath.  She especially loves it when the snow is hard and crunchy.  The valley below us was a beautiful patchwork of colors.  Although we grieved some of the logging that’s being done on ‘our’ mountain, we were able to appreciate new views of the valley through the newly opened landscape.

Our goal was to hike until we reached a spot where the snow run-off creates a lovely, babbling brook.  We could hear the rushing water from a distance (it will slow to a babble in late summer).  We continued upward until the sound was deafening.  We stood quietly, inhaling nature, and exhaling the work-week.  There’s something so calming about the sounds of the earth.  We just stood there, grinning at each other, watching the dogs play, and filling up our souls with goodness.

I haven’t run much this week for a variety of reasons.  I have to make peace with that.  There’s always next week, and the week after that.  As long as I keep leaving the house in the pursuit of  physical activity, I know I’m building a base…a mile at a time.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


It's funny to think of how many times in my life I've said, "I will never..."  It's a habit I'm learning to break.  It's also a habit that I'm learning to forgive myself for by giving myself permission to grow, and then change my mind.
Some things I swore I would never do:
- watch 'reality' tv shows
- wear yoga pants (I prefer to call them 'buffet pants')
- have acupuncture
- get a tattoo
- own a gun, and learn to shoot it

and most pertinent to this blog...
- NEVER be a runner
Then as I started running...
-NEVER participate in organized events
-NEVER do a half marathon
- NEVER do ANOTHER half marathon
and now,

To be clear - I've only been running for a year.  I'm a naturally fast walker, so the progression to slow runner was realtively simple.  I started running because I had heard it was a great way to lose weight.  At this point, I had lost nearly 20 lbs. (see bio re: all things buttery!) and my weight loss had plateaued.  I wasn't willing to spend MORE time exercising ( I was working out 6 days a week for 1 1/2 - 2 hours between eliptical and yopi - I was also unemployed at the time!) so I wanted something more efficient.  I looked up the Couch to 5K program ( and found that I was too advanced for that - I was already off the couch.  Then I ordered the book Run Your Butt Off (, and found I was somewhere in the middle.

Unbeknownst to me, I began implementing the Jeff Galloway Run-Walk-Run method (more on that later!).  I would run until my heart rate was making me crazy, walk until I regained my senses then run again. [Consult your physician - I'm NOT recommending this - just reporting it!]

I was totally self-conscious when I started running.  I thought maybe real runners woud see me and ask me to stop muddying the name of the sport.  I felt like an imposter.  See, that's the thing that can keep people from trying new things - that inner voice that says 'you don't belong here.'  As I've grown older, I hear the voice and recognize that it's not my own.  It belongs to the mean girls from high school, or the overly competetive kids in PE or track.  They are nothing more to me now than bad memories.  I'm the one in charge.  I'm the one writing my own story.

So - back to my list of nevers...
I began run/walking, or wogging, as another blogger put it  ( in March of 2011.  In a book or running article, I had read that signing up for an event was one way to keep your running goals on track.  I could see the logic in that.  I began to look for an event -- maybe a women's event where I might feel like I belong.  I found one in the See Jane Run series ( called, I Run For Chocolate And Champagne, and I knew I'd found my people.  The event was in Boise, ID - just two hours away.  I signed up for the half marathon - which was eight weeks away.

My husband seemed worried.  He actually was worried.  He asked why I hadn't signed up for the 5K or 10K instead.  Honestly, it hadn't even occured to me.  I wasn't going to drive two hours and pay money to run 3-7 miles!  Nope - half marathon or nothing.

I looked up training guides on line and found that I was exactly where I needed to be in my training with the exception of adding longer weekend runs.  On June 12, 2011, I completed my first half marathon in 2:54.  No whirlwind pace, but I enjoyed ALL of it. I talked to people, encouraged those whom I passed, and accepted encouragement from those who passed me.  I stopped for drinks and restroom breaks, with the mind-set that this was all about me - my comfort.  My pace, my race.

My husband thought I had lost it because I was grinning from ear to ear as I crossed the finish line.  I had just completed 13.1 miles at 45 years old, and I was ecstatic!  I had done what I said I'd never do.  I wasn't fast but I had trained well enough not to be suffering.

I came home and immediately began to look for my next event.  That was four events ago.  At least this time, I've given myself 6 months to prepare instead of 8 weeks!