Archive | August, 2011

Hood to Coast: Part 2

29 Aug

There is really no possible way to describe Hood to Coast. It is just something you have to experience for yourself.

For me it was . . .

Two vans of 6 runners each – many of whom were strangers at the beginning and friends by the end.

Driving to the top of Mt. Hood before the sun rose as a thunderstorm pounded down rain and hail drenching the earliest runners we passed.

Rolling down a window and cheering for your teammate before you drove away to meet them at the next exchange.

Running seven miles down the highway and trying to remember the wise advice you were given to “relax and go with it” and sending up a prayer to please, please let my leg stay pain-free.

Counting the people you pass while racing and adding tally marks to the back window of your van under the word “Roadkill.”

Recounting race stories and running adventures as you drove.

Slapping the H2C bracelet on as you started a leg.

Running the hottest, most intense 4.25 miles you’ve had in a long time (without water because that distance is just lovely in the coastal climate you are used to) and wondering how you’ll make it to the end.

Passing on the H2C slap bracelet after finishing that brutal leg as your teammates hand you 2 waters: one to dump on your head and one to drink.

Using more portapotties than you care to remember.

Eating and drinking from a cooler for 2 days.

Sleeping for a couple hours (or at least trying to) in a field under the stars as dew collected around you.

Putting on a headlamp, reflective vest, and LED flasher because it’s 2 AM and you’ve got 3.75 miles to run.

Jumping out of the van a mile before the exchange with the official stopwatch and jogging to the start because the van traffic wasn’t moving and the teammate you need to meet just ran by.

Vans and SUVs and runners for days and days and miles and miles.

A big beach party with not only the rest of your team, but the thousands of other finishers, followed by a quiet, sleepy ride home.

A test of physical and mental endurance.

One of the best experiences of my life.

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Hood to Coast: Part 1

24 Aug

In April I set a goal of completing the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon. I printed a training plan, taped it to my fridge, and I ran and ran. I stretched. I strengthened. I started feeling like myself again. I ran down 101. I ran hills and trails and beach and bayfront. And as I’ve mentioned before, Abigail was my #1 training partner. But a toddler is not going to text you or call you when it’s time to go for a run. If I didn’t feel like running the only person I was letting down was myself.

I was a faithful runner, but about halfway through my plan, when the mileage increased I started to have pain in my right leg. I got discouraged. I cried. I called my sister vowing that I was giving up. It was stupid to think I could even accomplish this in the first place. But Emily wasn’t having any of that nonsense. She gave me a routine to help strengthen my leg and made sure I was stretching enough. I took 2 days off and when a new week started I was back to running. My leg felt okay, but I still had pain. I started biking and stretched even more and my leg surprisingly took a turn for the better. I was still very nervous about the 13.1 miles I had committed to run the first weekend of September. I was glad I hadn’t really told anyone I was doing it because at this point I didn’t know if I could. There is nothing worse than that feeling of failure.

And just when I was ready to give up on the half marathon something pretty amazing fell into my lap. The doorbell rang and there was opportunity with a smile on its face. I was being offered a spot as a replacement runner in a local Hood to Coast relay team.

Um, excuse me. Hood to Coast. THE relay?!

The two events were back to back. Hood to Coast one weekend and the Half Marathon the following. I wasn’t sure I could do both. I was going to have to choose. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was no way I was saying no to Hood to Coast.

My team and I are heading to Portland tomorrow afternoon. At 3:30AM on Friday morning we will drive to Mt. Hood for our 5:45AM start time. Over the course of 30 hours the 12 runners of Team Platypus will collectively run 200 miles until we reach the beach in Seaside, OR.

I’m running legs 4, 13, and 25. Mileage is 7.18, 4.18, and 3.75 respectively. Will I be running the half marathon the following weekend? It isn’t likely. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball that you get to knock out of the park. I’m glad I did all of that training because I was ready. Which makes it feel like this was the race I was supposed to do all along.

I’ll be back on Sunday with a full report, and if I’m not it’s because I’m still sleeping. Because something tells me I’m not going to be getting much of that…

Go Team Platypus!

A Blog About Blogs

24 Aug

It’s kind of a strange world. Ryan would be making fun of me if I said blogosphere, which is actually the real name of the blogging universe. So I’ll whisper it, blogosphere.

I love reading other people’s blogs. Some blogs are people I have a personal connection with, like Lindsay. We used to eat lunch together in the teacher’s lounge, then we both had babies and moved.  Because of her blog I still get to “eat lunch” with her, it’s just at the computer.  I have a couple of big name bloggers that I follow because, well, I like their point of view. One of those bloggers is Jennifer. I wrote her an email once after I read a post she had written about a big move she made with her family. I had never done that before but she wrote me back the next day and then I loved her blog even more. I’ve also found really good bloggers from reading one random post they’ve written, like Kelli. After reading that, I kept going back. Read it yourself and you’ll understand why. So the *whisper* blogosphere happens to be this kind of quirky place for connecting and sharing that I think is pretty terrific.

I love writing this blog complete with bad punctuation. I’m not the best at grammar and my mom is probably trying to not chase this post with her red pen, circling and crossing out and telling me all about hyphens and colons. But I write in spite of those shortfalls, it’s allowed me to stay in touch, record moments and milestones, and perhaps, allowed new friends to get to know me a little better. You know, connecting and sharing. The added bonus is that sometimes a random soul will find you out there on the world wide web and appreciate your efforts. That happened to me today. I got linked for the first time by Anna. I couldn’t believe it. And while I wanted to give her a high five and a “Thanks, blogging friend!” I settled for a quick little jig in the kitchen. It made my day in a totally unexpected way.

PS:  If you want to imagine me doing another silly dance in the kitchen you can click on the link below to vote for my blog as one you enjoy. We will now return to our regularly scheduled posts about things other than blogging…Jiggity Jig!

Vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs

 

 

 

 

Striving for Consistency

23 Aug

When I was younger I was a dabbler. I seemed to possess the inability to stick with my interests. I’ve never liked this quality about myself. It made it hard to feel like I had a talent or was good at something, which sounds awfully pathetic when I write it out like that. I don’t think that’s true now, of course. I realize my self worth is not tied to a sport or musical instrument or GPA. Thank goodness for growing up. But my New Year’s Resolution just happened to address this very thing. What I wanted out of this year was consistency — finish what I start and practice the things I enjoy so that I see improvement.

And whether you like it or not, what you choose to be consistent about really defines who you are to other people. Can people depend on you? What do people ask your advice about? How do they remember you? What makes you special in their eyes?

I could write a list of the people in my life and what they do consistently that matters so much to me, but right now I just want to talk about one. My aunt. You can call her “E,” we do.

In a blue square GAP box, in carefully sealed ziploc bags are 20 handmade Christmas ornaments. For years, my sisters and cousins and I received a new ornament each Christmas Day. Even back then we realized what a treasure they were. All of the best branches on the tree were reserved for “E” ornaments. Every year we counted them before they went on the tree and we counted them as they came off. When I needed this box the other night, there was no digging involved. I knew exactly where it was.

Last fall the idea came to me that I should try to carry on this tradition for Abigail and my sister’s children. I talked with E a lot about making felt ornaments. She was confident I could do it if I managed my time well, working on them little by little. (When she was making them she had to work on them ALL YEAR LONG because she had so many to make. I can’t remember the exact number, but it was enormous.) Talk about consistency.

I got my first kit in the mail and texted her pictures of my progress. True to my nature, I finished my sister’s children’s ornaments and had them shipped early. But then we found a new rental house and the time slipped away leaving Abigail’s ornament unfinished. The ornament kit that I had planned to make for Abigail sat and sat and sat. I was annoyed that once again, I hadn’t followed through with my plan.

A few days ago I decided to get out the supplies for Abigail’s 2010 ornament. It was the end of August and if I didn’t get started I wouldn’t have a 2010 or 2011 ornament for her. I was making her the same pajama bear ornament that had always been my favorite. When E made it for me, 27 years ago, she added a snip of my blanket. I had found the exact same kit online. I pulled out my old ornament to use as a guide. And as I looked at each tiny stitch and tried to mirror them on Abigail’s ornament I knew these ornaments were about much more than Christmas. They were about connecting. Each time E worked on an ornament for me she was thinking about me. Each time I see a felt ornament I think about her. And round and round it goes.

I hope one day Abigail will open her own box of felt ornaments and proudly show her children before she hangs them on the tree. But the real joy of this experience has been something beyond sequins and slip stitches. It’s helped me see that being consistent is about doing what touches your soul. And that’s how I know I’ll be sewing ornaments for many years to come.

Filled Up

21 Aug

This weekend was full…
Of counter waffles and stolen chai.
Of giggles and reading.Of impromptu first ice cream cones and sea salt caramels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We chose to leave the camera pretty much alone except for a few “blurry” moments. It felt nice to be free in that way. Kind of like a secret weekend with most of the moments tucked away only in memories.  The camera didn’t get filled up, but we did.  Hope your weekend left you satisfied in that “I can make it until Friday way!”

Free to Be

19 Aug

I find myself looking at the back of Abigail’s head a lot as she runs ahead of me to see the world. I like giving her that taste of freedom. Because she should be free. Free to become who she is without her parents or anybody else pigenholing her into being something she’s not. I want her to be happy and kind and to feel loved. So I try when I can to just let her be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When she builds a precarious tower of nesting blocks turning the bigger ones so they stack on top of the smaller ones, I’m trying to resist the urge to tell her that she’s going to be an engineer like her daddy. Or when she hugs Hank and oohs and aahs at every dog she sees I’m trying to stop myself from thinking she’s destined for veterinary school. Today she loves building towers and playing with dogs, but tomorrow she may not and that’s okay. I want her to like lots of things, jump into many puddles and splash around. Try what she wants to try and see what she wants to see.


I want to be a mom that’s okay with her taking off one of her blue shoes and putting on a sandal instead because she was crying desperately to wear them mismatched on our walk. It didn’t matter which shoes crunched along the gravel road. She was happy. She was free. She was Abigail.

Bragging, Books, and Belly Laughs

18 Aug

I never thought I’d be one of “those” moms. But right now I totally am. It’s been a rockstar of a week. And I think the reason I’m so pumped up about this right now is mostly the fact that it’s naptime and I’ve already had a shower, but let’s just roll with it.

First of all can I please say that I’m pretty sure Abigail can tell Hank to “lay down” complete with pointing to the floor action. This would be her third and fourth word respectively. I mean real words, not sounds with inflection and body language that I pretend are words. The reason I’m sharing this is that I find it really hilarious that her vocabulary is mama, dada, and “aay dahn.” I couldn’t be prouder of the fact that I think this apple is falling close to my tree. I do a whole lot of bossing Hank around. She learned it from me I’m pretty sure. Hank is thrilled.

Second, I love Henry and Mudge books. (So do beginning readers if you are interested.) I purchased a lot of these for my classroom library because my students liked to read them. If you aren’t familiar with them, Henry is a little boy and Mudge is his big dog aka Mastiff. The stories are sweet and told in 3 “chapters.” The real star of these books is Mudge whose big dogness is done perfectly. Today I opened one up and asked Abigail where the dog was and she pointed to Mudge! I hadn’t even told her who Mudge was — she found him all by herself. Isn’t that just amazing? I was so excited that I kept turning the page and asking her “Where’s Mudge?” She found him every time and I knew it was because Mudge was so big just like Hank! Then she started reading to me. Just kidding.
If you are still reading this without rolling your eyes here’s the last thing I wanted to brag about, I mean, share with you. We received this book as a gift for Abigail from a sweet family I worked with. It’s called The B Book. It’s a book where every word starts with the letter ‘B’ and a bear, bull, and baboon get into quite a bit of trouble from biking backwards! Ryan and I realized yesterday that Abigail thinks it’s pretty funny. I just had to show you.

So there you have it. My “that” mom moment. Although come to think of it every toddler everywhere is just the smartest, most interesting, most special little being that ever existed. At least until they almost rip their favorite page out of Potato Joe. Actually, it doesn’t matter. They are still all kinds of wonderful.