Get Inspired

Searching for inspiration is tough when ho-humnity is the name of your game, and your job is to write things that people want to read.

It’s better, then, to turn off the part of the brain that refuses to cooperate and focus on the activities that generate tidings of comfort and joy.

Here is the plan:

1. The kids and I browsed Pinterest this morning and found a graphic designer named Sarah Walsh whose aesthetic interests (pins) spoke to my brain on the side that doesn’t use words. The kids became so inspired by Sarah’s Illustration Station board that they are currently, quietly content at their own art table creating what I know will be framable works of art.

Somewhere in this messy house of mine is a beautiful set of art pens (hidden so the kids wouldn’t use them, but where could they be?) that I must (MUST) find today. Expression through art is necessary in this time of angst (divorce, divorce, divorce).

2. Outside my windows is a dark grey sky; the kind that makes me wonder if the sun is ever going to rise. No matter, I will be bundling my bod (from top of head to tip of toes) as I exit for an early morning run.

It will probably be brutally cold, hurt on a cellular level, but the results will be warmed blood, a regenerated system, and hopefully some adrenaline to push me through my day.

3. Later today, I’m taking my kids to vote. The lessons that I hope they’ll learn will outweigh the irritation that might occur from bored kids pulling on my clothes or the uncomfortable squeeze and tight proximity of three inside a voting booth.

“Women have rights, girls. They have the right to choose who they think should be the boss of America.Once upon a time women weren’t allowed to vote. People with different colored skin weren’t allowed to vote. Ridiculous, right? I don’t know who is going to win today, girls, but I pray he is able to do a good job. We are lucky to live in the United States of America. We are lucky and blessed to have freedom.”

Freedom. The ultimate inspired thought.

What do you do when you are struggling for inspiration? Do you change your focus or just plow though?

M.

Sophie’s Girl on Swing.
Advertisements

The Modified Marathon Plan

Monday is the big kickoff to my 18 weeks of marathon training. Instead of doing too much running this week, I am instead mentally preparing for what is to come and also giving myself a tiny break before the big works begins.

I have modified Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 to suit my needs.

Here we go…

Week Mon. Tues. Wed. Thur. Fri. Sat. Sun.
1 Rest 6 Rest 5 Rest yoga 8
2 Rest 6 Rest 5 Rest yoga 9
3 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest yoga 6
4 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest yoga 11
5 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest yoga 12
6 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest yoga 9
7 Rest 8 Rest 7 Rest ? half
8 Rest 6 Rest 9 Rest yoga 15
9 Rest 6 Rest 9 Rest yoga 13
10 Rest 8 Rest Thanks! 6-8 Rest 17
11 Rest 9 Rest 9 Rest Rest 18
12 Rest 9 Rest 9 Rest Rest 13
13 Rest 5 5 5 Rest Rest 19
14 Rest 5 8 5 Rest Rest 12
15 Rest 8 Rest 7 Rest Rest 20
16 Rest 7 Rest 7 Rest Rest 12
17 Rest 5 Rest 6 Rest yoga 8
18 Rest Rest 5 Rest Rest 2 RACE!

After filling out the tables on my plan I am surprised at the massive mileage I will be expected to run over the course of the next eighteen weeks (even though I’ve done it before).

Of course, I will constantly be checking in, giving myself breaks when needed and/or modifying based on schedules and sick kids and all the other life issues that infringe on my running time.

Note that I have accounted for  the City of Oaks Half marathon (week seven), Thanksgiving (week 10) and also for the final weeks of training when I have a feeling I will want to run shorter mid-week distances more often (weeks 13 and 14 for sure, 11 and 12 are tentative).

Are you in training? What does your plan look like?

Anyone running Miami and feel like being a virtual buddy? 

XOM

My bib from marathon #1. Can’t wait for Miami’s.

Running Shameless

I woke restless (4:23 a.m.) from a dream that Zach McGowan from Shameless was my running partner for today’s scheduled eight miler.

There wasn’t anything tawdry about the dream. He was telling me to hurry up and get my belt. Urging me to tie my shoes faster. Handing me my coffee.

He wasn’t wearing a shirt, though.

But with it still so hot and humid outside, certainly that’s all that was about.

Off again I go into the blackness of early morning, this time made brighter by the lingering dreaminess of that man.

What are your motivators to move today?

XOM

p.s. So sorry for not attaching a photo, but every single picture was copyrighted. How’s an upstart blogger girl supposed to give her readers the full picture if not for the attached photo of him running with his dog? Now go and google…

I tweeted the fabulous Zach McGowan to which he replied and said he liked the post, used a smily face emoticon, and gave me permission to grab a photo off of his instagram. Nice and dreamy… a super combination!

On the Train Again

The whole purpose of beginning this blog was to document my marathon training while living this crazy place called Mommyland.

It’s with relief that I am now coming full circle as training for race number two officially begins on September 24th.

In the space between the last marathon and now I have worked and re-worked the plan making educated and experience based substantive decisions, which I will do my best to follow.

1. I will again be following Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 schedule, but instead of three-day mid-week runs, I will be combining the mileage to run only two. This will mean that those mid-week runs will be longer, but I’ll have more days in between to rest and recover. I am hoping that exhaustion from too many successive runs in a row (which was an issue last time) will be resolved with this plan. I will also use the Galloway system of strategized walking, as I do believe it works and will help me go farther with more control.

2. I’ve agreed to help out my most favorite yoga instructor on Saturday mornings by checking in her students in return for a free pass to her phenomenal class. Last marathoning go around I was so consumed by the run that I neglected my yoga, neglected a huge piece of what grounds me to my life. Agreeing to be at the studio every Saturday will ensure that my yoga practice is built into the schedule. It will also give me an opportunity to re-build the dusty resume and re-establish the fact that I am consistent and committed and pretty competent at tasks in which I’m given.

3. Long runs, then, will have to happen on Sundays or Mondays (last year I ran long on Saturdays). The most gratifying runs are the long ones, for me. I am looking forward to those hours and hours on the road, out there on my own two feet, floating alone inside my own busy brain.

4. I’ve been off of sugar for twelve whole days, off of Diet Coke a week longer, and I’ve been much more careful about the overall contents of things like cereal and yogurt and so-called healthy snack bars and drink supplements. An ongoing process, I am sure there will be much more written about my emotional connectedness to food as it’s the one part that I still haven’t fully figured out. I should mention another change, too. I will NOT be getting on the scale anytime in the near future. More about that to come.

And so I am ready to go.

The last factor (of which I have no control) is with mother nature.

Yes there will be days in the next months that I will have no choice but run in the drizzle and/or rain and/or the early morning freezing cold. I can handle all that. It’s part of the challenge.

This heat, though, needs to go.

September marks a new beginning for me in so many ways and the muggy humid air has gotten very very old.

What races are you running? What will your training plan look like?

XOM

ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon. Joanna, from Poppy’s Style and I are running it! Anyone else want to come to the party?

Galloway Run Two

Adrenaline is coursing after a four mile run with the Galloway Group.

Today we ran one mile before an 80-85% push toward another mile marker.

I clocked my time at @9:15, slightly faster than I’d expected, probably because the last half mile was down hill.

I’m fairly certain that the 10.5 minute per mile group is the right one for me and I felt good (even up hill) with the group.

When I returned home the girls were just sitting down for breakfast with their dad.

I joined them and though probably should have refueled with a piece of Ezekiel bread and peanut butter, couldn’t resist the strawberry pancakes that Brian had already plated. Unfortunately, my fork couldn’t resist the sugar-coated lemon cake under cover in the center of the table, either. It, too, was begging to be eaten.

By the way, as I waited for the run to begin I spoke with two of the ladies from my group; Maria (the pace leader) and Kellie (e?) her marathoning partner. When Maria saw my name tag she turned to me and said, “Are you the blogger?”

“Yes, yes I am!”

She remembered my name from the post I passed on to the WannaBeasts group through facebook .

Recognition for the blog and a fantastic four mile run all before 8:30 a.m.?

Perfect start to this perfect day!

Pinned Image
Right?!

Taper Brain

I have taper brain. I’m scattered, anxious, nervous, tired, hungry and unable to make too many decisions.

It would be wonderful to be able to write something substantial describing the past few days, but it’s too much of a challenge.

All I want to do is run. I dreamed of the race last night.

It was sunny with a sideways drizzle and I realized I needed the long running pants I tried at Lululemon on Thursday. I didn’t buy them, because of taper brain; the making decisions part. I’m going back today to complete the arsenal of race day gear.

It’s early now, but I think it best to dress and go.

Eight miles are on the agenda for this Saturday before the Expo.

The kids will be with Peach today. The husband and I have a date.

I hope we don’t kill each other. The last time we tried to enjoy each other’s company ended in a yelling match. He thinks I love the marathon more than him. I tried to explain taper brain, but it’s hard for people to understand who haven’t experienced it. It’s hard for me to explain and I’m going through it.

Nine days to go.

I can’t think in a straight line, but one thing is clear. I haven’t been this excited for anything in a long long time!

My Top 8 Favorite Bloggers

It turns out that one of the nicest pastimes for a mom at home with kids is blog surfing. It’s cheaper than Internet shopping and fills that lonely place inside that vies for adult conversation. I wished I’d discovered it sooner.

In honor of some of the fabulous bloggers who have inspired my own posts, made me laugh out loud, and sent words of encouragement based on things I’ve written, I decided I should list my favorites.

Here they are:

1. Acoursetothefinishline.wordpress.com Theresa writes about training for a marathon while working in education and struggling with infertility. We have a lot in common, since I myself survived the last two. It turns out that she is a bit ahead of me on the marathon training front (we both are using Hal Higdon’s Novice 2), so she’s been a real asset with tons of good advice! Also, I love love love her wit! As I continued to read and we began corresponding a bit, I’ve found that she is also a super girl. My first blogger friend! I think we should all send her positive sticky baby vibes…. she is ready and deserves one!

2.  Losingweightinthecity.com Theodora is one of the first bloggers whose posts I ever read. She had me hooked from the beginning with her story of initial weight loss while living in New York City to her running adventures, most recently with the New York Marathon. I love her writing and also live vicariously through her, since my own time as a young woman in NYC ended over 12 years ago. Scary how time flies!

3. Littlebittybakes.com Liz is adorable! A runner and a baker, she blogs about her life and her recipes. I love her pictures and her passion for what she does. For me, a true disaster in the kitchen, I feel like her recipes are do-able; not too hard for the average bear, like me. I am dying to make her Chai Spice Oatmeal Crispies. Also, could her URL be any cuter?

4. Monicarodgers.wordpress.com Monica is one of two bloggers (on the list) that I actually know in real life. We grew up together during our Summers in Maine, but I put her on my list because I love her voice, her writing, and her take on life. She is incredibly talented in so many areas, most especially as a mom, which is evident throughout her blog. Check out her car seat covers, her photography, her musings. She’s amazing!

5. Examiner.com/running-in-new-york/lora-johnson How could I not include Lora? She is the main reason my readership has gone up and writes her own terrific blog full of really great running information. A lot of her information is regarding area specific (Brooklyn) races, but she also has written some terrific pieces about helping women runners stay heathy and (one of my favorite topics) cool running gear.

6. Aliontherunblog.com Ali’s writing cracks me up. She is a runner who lives with Crohn’s disease and has raised money through Jack Rabbit Sports’ organization called Run For The Rabbit. She was chosen to represent them and her charity is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. One of my oldest/dearest/bestest friends in real life lives with Crohn’s, so I feel strongly about Ali’s cause. Plus, she sells adorable I Heart Sweat running shirts, with the proceed’s going toward the charity!

7. Cleaneatingchelsey.com Chelsey has the most positive and healthy relationship to food that I’ve found in a blog! As her URL proclaims, she eats clean, but her good habits were spurred by a corn/gluten/lactose intolerance. Despite it, though, I never get the feeling that changing her diet was/is a chore. She loves food and doesn’t eat stuff out of a box! One day I hope to be more like her. Until then I’ll keep reading her blog for motivation and hope that one day her philosophy might rub off onto me and my not so great eating habits.

8. Cafeganesh.com Jennifer is the second blogger that I actually know is a real person. She is a yoga teacher in Raleigh and a Lemondead (Lululemon girl to my non-Lulu obsessed readers). I have been lucky enough to attend two of Jennifer’s classes, but haven’t been to more, solely because this marathon training is a real time sucker. When I saw her last (at the store) she reminded me that I really should come back, and she is right. Until then, I’ll keep reading her blog which is filled with fantastic posts like Pull Your Head Out of Your Asana! She has a great voice; knowledgable about her work and hilarious, too.

Hope you enjoy these writers as much as I have.

Happy reading!

Happy Thoughts From the Road

Mr. Higdon’s Novice 2 (week 3) long run, was like throwing this girl a bone; a relatively easy six miler, but run at long run speeds, 45-90 seconds slower than race pace.

I happily ran with the bone, fully aware that next week will begin the slow climb into, “Oh God, can I really run (fill in the blank) miles next week?” territory.  I took it as an invitation to slow down and enjoy myself, and I embraced the opportunity to notice my surroundings, while high-fiving every endorphin.

Here are some of the happy thoughts that kept me company on my run:

1. Every other house was decorated with hanging wreaths in the windows. Light up Frosty’s dotted door steps and mailboxes were wrapped in ribbon. How could this not be the happiest time of year?

2. I ran slowly enough to mess with my itouch. Usually I’m so consumed by my pace and mileage that I hate to fuss with it, and prefer to listen to the “recently added” playlist. Today I listened to some of the songs that don’t get enough play. A little Journey, some disco, Michael Buble, Johnny Cash, and a lot of Gaga and Mary J. Blige.  A mish mosh, sure, but all talented artists with something to say.

3. Running up the tallest hill of the day (Sawmill to Lead Mine, Raleighites?) I had my shadow ahead of me. This was an opportunity to do one of my favorite things while running; dance with myself. Here’s a little tip for non-runners, or runners who don’t consider their running to have anything to do with dancing at all. It starts with Swan Lake arms.

Here’s what you do:

  • Open your arms wide with elbows slightly bent, aiming toward the ground.
  • Connect your middle finger and thumb into a Om (and say it too, just to get that sound of the universe vibrating through your bod). It helps to see it in your shadow as confirmation that you really are doing this.
  • Release the fingers a little and feel the wind coming up under your wings.
  • Let your hands fly free, whichever way they choose, and move to whatever music is in your ears or in your head. My fingers like to do their own little dance, like conductors in an orchestra. A more accurate description is what I call,  “Mariah Carey fingers.” Quick moving digits, straight and long, tapping the air like keys on a piano.

As you run, as you move, you will know that your are free and strong and that your soul is in on this pavement pounding experience. I swear, too, that anyone who catches sight of you will smile, because who couldn’t smile at a person with dancing arms and piano fingers running up a great big hill.

4. My final two miles, I listened to (probably) the greatest break up album/cd of all time; George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice. I am sure some folks’ eyes will roll at the thought of my vote for greatest break up album, but let me tell you, if your were 19 and breaking up with the love of your life, and you listened to this over and over again for more than a year, you’d think the same thing. Interestingly, I revere those songs like old friends. Of course, I thought a little about the big old jerk who caused the album to carry such weight in my life, but it’s not a negative thing anymore, rather a realization of the life I was meant to lead and how far I’ve come. There’s a reason most of us don’t marry the guy we dated at 19, right? I mean, really!

5. I was dressed perfectly for the cold. My long sleeve Dash top over my Lulu running jacket (zipped up over my chin) was perfect for the blustery wind. Even my toque didn’t make my head too hot (one of my biggest winter running pet peeves). My shoes were laced perfectly, loose near the toes, tighter (but not too tight) in the middle, and just pulled enough at the top to allow my ankles to be secure without cutting off circulation. I like running in all kinds of weather (except heat), but this mornings’ 32 degrees filled my lungs and made me feel alive. It also made my nose chilled to the touch, which believe it or not, is one of the silliest joys of winter running for me. Having my whole body covered and comfortable, with my nose sticking out like a little thermometer, I was reminded me that (yes), it really is this cold.

The best part about all the happy thoughts and rushing endorphins is that they didn’t end with the run. I came home, showered and got dressed, and went out to do errands all by myself. I hit up Lululemon (had to see Paris Pink in person), bolted through Trader Joe’s (ate half a box of delicious peppermint cookies on the ride home), and meandered though Joanne’s Fabrics collecting the necessities required for my attempt at crafty Christmas gifts (for the ones whom I love).

Here’s hoping that your day, whether you ran six miles or not, was as full of happy thoughts as mine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love and Pain

My attempt to run zen-like yesterday turned into a 9.6 miler. It occurred to me, while on the road, that running and yoga only have so much in common. One of the biggest differences is with yoga, if it hurts, you stop. As I hit 5, and then 6, parts of my body spoke out to remind me that they were there, and they needed a little attention.

I like the pain. I often think that people who run long miles must be masochists.  When my right hip said, “OH, HI!” I was forced to acknowledge that familiar flexor who is usually the first to scream.  I always slow down a bit when a new pain surfaces and am surprised when said pain subsides.

Pain when running happens (unless of course it’s an injury, which is totally different). I haven’t read a single marathoning blog, book or magazine article that suggests one can run that far without some discomfort.

As soon as I noticed my mind moving onto other things, and that my hip wasn’t so bothersome, I wondered who was next?

Throughout my 9.6 yesterday I was reminded that I had toes, a right shoulder-blade, quads (Holy quads), a left calf, and a left inner thigh (who says I must never run long miles in a skirt again).

The funny part that I have learned to love, is that as I keep going, as the pain in the parts subside, it turns into strength that helps to motor my body forward.

Yesterday I accepted (what for me is) a new truth. Yoga and running are way different. And like my children, I love them both for being exactly who they are!

Meet The Osmundsons

I’m meeting my Grandparents this week.

It’s as crazy as it sounds.

Since I was adopted as a baby it’s taken forty years to meet my biological kin.

Just last February my mom got a call from Gabrielle who said she thought she was my birth sister. Thanks to Facebook and all of her uploaded pictures, there was no doubt she was right.

I spoke to Gabby that night and to my birth mom the very next day.

It was the first time I’d heard the story the story of my birth; the giving up of me.

In the months that followed Gabby came to visit twice and on my birthday surprised me by flying to Raleigh with her children, whom I had yet to meet.

Being with Gabby is easy. We look and talk (a lot) alike.

We’re both stubborn, love clothes, eat too much ice cream, and needed each other in our lives more than we realized in that first conversation.

We’re different too, but meeting Gabby answered many questions that unadopted people take for granted; knowledge about nationality, siblings, body type and personality were finally confirmed.

My birth mom died last August. She was suffering from cancer when Gabby found me and passed away six months to the day after we first spoke. I had been nervous about meeting her in person, but Skyped her a few weeks before her death. It was sad, but I was glad to have a face to face even though she was so sick.

My birth mom had never told the family about me. She kept her secret her entire life only sharing my existence with a couple of people that she trusted.

Gabby only learned that she had a baby sister by the slip of the tongue (she then searched for 14 years).

Not only am I meeting my Grandmother and Grandfather for the very first time as a 40 year old (they are 89 and 90), I’m also meeting aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews (my other sister Danielle’s children), spouses, and (I’m certain) friends of my biological family. Once my birth mother died the secret slowly came out. The grandparents were the last to learn.

Adding to my anxiety about the whole thing is figuring out what I’m going to wear?

I actually do know what I’m going to wear, but the Libra in me will probably change her mind that morning and try on everything else in the closet, before settling on the first thing I’d chosen. It’s my way.

The whole thing is an overwhelming experience and it’s going to take a lot of processing. I hope they like me. I hope the experience is not painful for them.

When my husband awakes I’m going to get ready to run.

After my last run on Friday, I got a lot of feedback about listening to my body and being kind to myself. Instead of going out determined to do the 10 miler that’s on the plan, I’m going to attack my run like a yoga practice; go in with no judgement, setting my intention at the start. It’s not exactly tough marathon training where I must complete a certain mileage, rather a kinder way of being that will help me manage the uncertainties of this coming week.

The first day we met in person. Pure joy!
The Summer visit. Also, my very favorite picture of us!