Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Fever 2012

Friday we celebrated the opening ceremonies with our cousins, Aunt and Uncle visiting from Indiana.  We had a fun time putting the party together.  My sis and I couldn't find any Olympic shirts so we made them- I think it is one of our better craft projects.  

We also had some fun food ideas: fruit kabobs in colors of the Olympic Rings (Strawberries and/or Raspberries, Blue Berries, Black Berries, Green Grapes and yellow apples), veggies in the color of the rings, personal pizza (circular with our ring theme) and as you will see below some yummy decorated cupcakes for dessert.  

Our little Olympiads!

Sis made the fun cupcake toppers.  

These Guys are Gold in my eyes!
Hope you enjoyed the opening ceremonies as much as we did.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Caldecott- "Frog" Books

So I thought it was pretty ironic that the next two Caldecott Books we picked to read and do projects for our summer Caldecott theme both had a "frog theme".

by David Wiesner
Tuesday was about frogs who come out on a Tuesday night and do lets just say non-frog things- like fly around on lily pads.  This book was fun because it let the kids have a chance to tell me a story.  No words,  just pictures, and great stories.  We had a great time making the project for this book.

Here is the picture they picked to recreate in their own diorama.

Making frogs fly is tough work thank goodness for dental floss. 

Then we read "Frog went A-Courtin'".  It is a fun story based on a nursery rhyme.  The pictures are very whimsical.  Since we had more of frogs in this story we did some research on frogs.  Did you know there are over 2,000 frogs in the world.  The largest American frog is a  bull frog.  The kids had fun learning about the life of a frog.  

Again 2 books I hadn't read.2 books that had similar main characters, but totally different stories.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mommy's Project 52: responsible

Being responsible can be a full time job +.  Where do we moms stop being responsible? When we are at a park and I'm sitting with a. a book to read b. a IPhone in the other hand c. good friend sitting on the bench next to me- so is being a responsible mom a. getting up and going to the play structure and help your child cross the monkey bars b. watch your child cross while you stay seated c. don't even notice your child hanging on for dear life because you are more focused on a,b,c listed above.

Sometimes I feel like you have to be "on" 24/7.  I don't want to be a "helicopter mom" nor do I want to be laid back "go ahead kid hang on for dear life- you'll figure out how to cross those bars".  There is a halfway mark isn't there, gosh I hope there is.

Does being responsible just end with safety, you know providing home, healthcare, food, clothes, etc. For most moms and dads responsibility means much more.  When your kiddo is struggling academically, and despite the fact you or your spouse don't have a degree in education/teaching, you still feel responsible to work with them on reading, writing, math, etc.  I feel responsible if they fail.  Being responsible is tough.  Sometimes I wonder if you/I were less responsible would our kids turn out any different.  Now I'm not saying sit back and watch them jump off the roof, but what if you just let them be sometimes and not be so darn responsible.

It would be an interesting experiment.  Pulling away a little and letting them be more responsible.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Training week 7

Week 7 was a good week.  I only ran 3 days due to the last run of the week being the Chicago Rock N Roll 1/2 marathon.  I did get a bike in (8miles) in the early morning hours which was pleasant, because I didn't feel as hot biking as I was running.  I unfortunately wasn't able to get my swim in, because our indoor pool ,I swim laps at, had a swim meet going on Thursday-Sunday.  I let it go and just focused on the race and figure I'll get back in the pool this week.  Although my mileage running wasn't high (20) this past week I feel during the week before a race I keep it lower mileage so that I can kick it for the race. So here is the race recap.

This was my first time participating in the Rock N' Roll Chicago 1/2 marathon.  Me and the coach (aka hubby) went to the expo on Saturday.  I was pretty impressed with the expo.  Hubby thought it was pretty crowded and they should've given expo booths more room.  Brooks was the official sponsor along with XSports at this expo so Brooks' booth was HUGE.  They had a whole backyard carnival theme going on- ski ball, ring toss, etc.  Everyone was a winner- I came away with some kid friendly blue Brooks sunglasses :).

I liked this saying- I do power through with trusty Ipod

They had some great back drops throughout the expo and hence I had to take pictures of them- no I'm not trying to advertise for After the expo I read for about 1 1/2hours while hubby ran 9 miles on the lake front.  Then we headed to sister in-laws for the day/night.  We truly appreciate having someone that lives in Chi-town so we can fix our spaghetti dinner in a home and not deal with hotel fees and making reservations at an Italian restaurant.  

Morning of- I felt good and was ready to get started.  Race started at 6:30 a.m. and runners were placed based on time/finishing prediction in gates (the gates/corals were somewhat a joke, because I was in gate 10 and there were people in my gate that had gate marker 20 on their race bib).  OH Well- moving on.  They staged the gates opening about every 1-2 minutes after the elite runners started.  So didn't take me too long to start.

There is good old me at about mile 6.  I felt pretty good now, but about mile 7 forward I was realizing that my PR of 1:58 and even getting under 2:00 hours would likely not happen.  I don't feel bad about my race though because strangely this is one of the hardest run races I've ran.  If that makes sense.  The route was good, but I could've skipped the close quarters at the beginning of the race and the running under buildings and in the hot streets until about mile 4.  It was so hot even at mile 1- the sweat was just pouring off me.  I stayed hydrated throughout the race and ended up doing 2 Gu's to help keep up my energy level.  

Following the race I picked up goodies to refuel- they had plenty!  Couple of chocolate milks, water, Popsicle, and jamba juice strawberry/banana smoothie and I felt pretty good. I don't know that I would do this race again mid training for Chicago Marathon, because the week before the race I step down and the week after is a recovery week due to my legs and overall body being physically drained.  So with those two weeks of step down I feel like I'm a tad bit behind on the high mileage runs, but no worries I will get them in!

So for anyone who can brave the heat I would highly recommend the Chicago 1/2 marathon.  It was well organized, nice goody bag/swag, fun expo and of course great course to run!

I thought this back drop was great for me to remember because I will "journey on" with my training.

Here is the official time info from the race. Again not my best, and actually my slowest 1/2 marathon race time, but I really feel good about my effort, hopefully I can build on this race in prep for October.
Participant Detail
Finished In:

Age: 35 | Gender: F
  • Overall: 3501 out of 14881
  • Division: 195 out of 1347
  • Gender: 1333 out of 8998
  • 5 Km
  • 10 Km
  • 10 Mile
  • 28:43
  • 58:08
  • 1:34:17
  • Pace
  • Chip Time
  • Clock Time
  • 9:24
  • 02:03:04
  • 02:10:24

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mommy's project52: forgetful

Wish I had taken a picture of the following... This morning I was doing laundry, during laundry picked beans from garden, rinsed beans off and planned to blanch these beans and the beans my friend gave me and then freeze them. So got the beans in the pot and started the water and then headed back downstairs to unload the washer, dryer and took clothes up to fold. All the while my 4 year old is on me like a ball chained to my leg asking me to play with her and/or read to her. So the beans are started I'm now upstairs folding and putting away laundry and take just a minute to read a library book to my "ball n chain". Later I go downstairs, mind you no idea how long time has lapsed, and here is the pot of beans at a rapid boil. I had forgotten the beans! I quickly got them off the stove, into cold water, and then into a freezer bag. It will be interesting to see how they turn out. don't think this is the way they freeze beans on the Foodnetwork. So the point.... I think I have lost my memory not due to having children, or lack of focus, or too much adult beverages, or sign of early alzheimers, but plainly and simply because I'm doing too much at once. This is otherwise known as multitasking. Moms are artists at this verb. They should have a championship to see who the best multitasker in the world is, bet it'd be a mom. We try to do so much and our brains are on constant overdrive. I think if we started focusing on simplification of our lives and our family's lives and did one thing at a time we'd soon find ourselves back to some of the most non-forgetful, with-it people in the world. However, simplification is hard and for many of us we walk on the narrow ledge of being happiest when busy (I have always been happy when doing many different things). Sometimes we fall off the ledge because we have just over done it and over committed, or have way to many "balls the air". I like to think just when life starts to get more simple, years to come after the kids go to college,etc there will be a brief time where I will be able to breathe easier and be able to focus more thoughtfully and find my memory to be at the greatest in life. Then unfortunately I'll realize I'm old and start to notice my memory to go and I will become forgetful again. Maybe just maybe I'll for awhile remain in the fairy tale that I'm not as old as I really am and can hold off that friend forgetfulness from reentering my life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mommy's project 52: sad

I can go through a box of Kleenex faster than anyone I know- now does that mean I'm a sad person.  Not quite sure.  I do know that some things are "sad" and some things are "sad" (read it like the second one is the real "sad").

1. A kid who gets a balloon at a fair or party and walks only a few steps and child accidentally lets go and it flies away- Sad.

2. Seeing a cat lying on the side of the road, presumably dead- Sad.

3. Watching a military person say goodbye to their loved one at the airport- Sad. (I watched this recently in person during my return flight from Oahu'- the girlfriend or wife just couldn't stop crying- not uncontrollably, worse it was just silent, but tears rolling down the face crying).

4. Losing your mother or father to some illness at an early age-Sad.

5. Losing your child before you yourself die- Horrible (to me probable) never ending Sad.

I think I have to stop there because this is just making me Sad. :(

Monday, July 16, 2012

Iowa City Book Festival

I sometimes have to pinch myself to realize where we live is not a fairytale- no really!  I and my family are so lucky to live in such a great town.  Living in a college town gives you so much access.  You have sports, arts, entertainment, museums, diversity, etc, etc.  This weekend was the fourth annual Iowa City Book Festival.  I went with the family last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  My in-laws were here for last year's festival and my mother in-law and I enjoyed it so much I invited them out for this year's festival.  Last year I spent about equal time with the kids and also going to "adult readings/presentations".  This year I was all about me.  Now don't get me wrong the kids still participated- exhibit 1 and 2 below.

 Youngest making some great book marks.

Oldest getting his "stamp on".

The kids also with grandparents and husband went to 2 children's author reads.  We all met up for lunch and then the kids and the two guys went back to our house while my mother in-law and I moved onto more readings/presentations.

I really enjoy listening to people talk about reading and writing and so took some notes throughout the day and here are some of my observations and favorite quotes/ideas from authors I listened too.

Is Memoir Fact of Fiction?
Larry Baker was the author I most enjoyed listening too during this hour.  He talked about how people who write memoirs may conflate, bend, and stretch the truth, but he feels they are some of the most courageous authors in all of writing.  He also talked about how novelists can "create something true that is not real".  My favorite idea he spoke about: "The common denominator for reader and writer is a common life" and that the reader brings to the novel what you have already read (or maybe you could add in their lived).

I then met my mother in-law to listen to Evelyn Birkby.  This "young lady" will be 93 at the end of the month. She has written a weekly newspaper column since 1949 (yep 63 years).  Her column is on home-making and includes a recipe each week.  She then went onto become a part of the radio broadcasting group called Kitchen-Klatter (Radio Home-makers).  She talked about the importance of taking advantage of opportunities that come your way.  Instead of saying no say I will try.  She talked about the importance of keeping a notebook with you always (my mother in-law and I laughed because we both are pretty obsessed with notebooks- my problem is I have too many and really should be better about condensing them down to a work one and home one).  She said these notebooks are good not only for us, but for our children.  She of course discussed food which she feels is such a connection point for women.  Food has been a way for women to share, communicate, comfort, and respond in times of need to other women.  She was one of those people you wish you could bottle up her personality and out look on life and take a little bit each and every day to become a more "alive and happy" person.  

We then went to this publishing talk.  I don't know much about Publishing so I thought it would be interesting to listen to.  It was o.k.  One author was self published and she was very fascinating, soft spoken and passionate about her work.  The 2nd publisher was from the University Press and talked about the mechanics of getting published by a University Press.  The third was this guy who owned his own publishing company.  He was o.k. but I just couldn't connect with his flippant responses and "snarkiness".  

Last reading of the day was Laura Moriarty who is the author of "The Chaperone".  It is a book based on the trip Louise Brooks (silent film star) took when 15 and the chaperone that traveled with her from Witchita Kansas to New York City.  She read two passages from her book and she was just so genuinely enjoyable to listen too.  I enjoyed her talk/read so much I sent her a "thank you" today.  She has accomplished much: 4 books in 10 years, raising an 8 year old, professor of creative writing at University of Kansas.  She was so happy/passionate and totally genuine. She was the type of person you knew had not lost her sense of sense during her year's of success as an author. I wish I could sit in on a class of hers.  

It was a great day and spending it with my mother in-law and discussing the authors and their styles/books made the day that much more enjoyable.  If anything I realize lately how happy I am when reading a book or learning about the process behind writing the books.  Along with running I've begun to realize reading/writing for me is my own daily "happy pill".   

Training week 6

Not overly exciting information to report from this last training week.  I ran 4, 5, 9, and 4 miles.  Due to my husband being out of town I had to stack my run days and ended up doing the 5, 9, 4 all in a row and felt good with that.  This is my step down week before this coming week's Chicago Rock N Roll 1/2 marathon.  My goal with this coming weekend is to have fun, run strong and finish- due to the heat I'm trying to keep my perspective and not think I'm going to go out and PR this one.  I'm looking forward to running this 1/2 because the route is very similar to the full, but of course 13.1 miles shorter.

My four mile track work out earlier in the week was great.  I did 400 meter repeats (400 at under 2 min pace, followed by one 400 at jogging pace, followed by another 400 at under 2 min pace, followed by another jog 400 and then a break).  We then went to start up again and this time the one coach that works with the "beginner group"- that's me- no tazmanian devil yet, challenged me to do back to back miles so the above routine x 2.  I ran well and was successful with running under the 2 min for the 400 meter run laps.  It felt great to accomplish this.

I swam once this past week.  I got the laps in, about a 500, but they were somewhat choppy because the first 250 was with my daughter in my lane in a float device and then with a kick board.  Later I finished with her eating her snack at the side of the pool while I did my other 250.  I don't feel as strong as I have in the past in regard to swimming.  I just can't seem to do consecutive laps without taking a breather, but I'm trying to just move forward and not focus too much on it.  It is such a little part of the upcoming sprint tri that I figure as long as I don't drown in the pool or get passed in my lanes I'll be successful.

The two things lacking from last week's training were: biking and strength training.  I just was too exhausted on Thursday to swim in the day time and then bike at night and then think about getting up for a 5 miler Friday a.m.  The heat is wearing on me so I chose instead to just skip it.  I have a decreased running schedule this week due to the 1/2 marathon Sunday so I hope to have quality pool and bike time this week.

Strength training well that's another story.  Not quite sure why I continue to struggle to make it part of my weekly routine.  I will keep on trying and probably fail at getting it done weekly, but I hope that if I continue to think about it and do it once in awhile then maybe one day it will become like running and part of my weekly routine.

Side note: the no alcohol thing is going well- really not missing it at all. Yep all or nothing!

I'm Back

So the week of being parted with computer (except for work purposes and checking email), IPad, Wii, and TV was a success.  So big that we are continuing on for another week- well sort of.  The kids compromised and got to play Wii last night, but then that's it until this coming weekend.  I'm continuing on without TV- and to tell you the truth- I may continue it for a little while longer.  I feel like I've been UBER productive with my reading and writing and kid time so for now no TV.  I am going to get back in the blogging world.  Today's the day and I'm looking forward to catching up on my mommy's project posts (3), post on Iowa City Book Festival, our Caldecott summer project, and of course good old training and reading posts.  I know I've got some catching up to do with reading posts too.  I'm looking forward to doing that later in the week.

Our week last week flew by and the kids didn't seem to miss the "screen time" at all.  My daughter asked on Sunday about watching a show, but that I think was the only time it was mentioned.  My son even said he thought the week had been pretty fun.  Some of the things that I observed from last week (in no order of importance):
1. The kids were using their play phones to imagine they were texting, playing games/apps.  It was pretty humorous to hear my oldest tell my youngest that he just texted her.  She responded that she was on level of 4 of some zombies game.
2. I thought I'd have all this down time to read, but I felt like the down time flew by.  This may partly be due to my husband being gone at the beginning of the week so I was flying solo and you know that can eat your time up.
3. At night instead of putting the TV on for background noise as I lay in bed I read in silence and I think this helped me enjoy and focus more on what I was reading.
4. I cooked and listened to music quite a bit more- trying out recipes I've never done before and also throwing some old ones in.
5. I got more sleep because I went to bed earlier, because lying in bed after a day full of running literally and physically + our heat wave= tired mama!  TV wasn't there to keep me up- I'm not one to fall asleep when there is a show/movie on.
6. The kids played with toys I hadn't seen them play with in forever.
7.  We went to the library- big surprise- even more during the week and spent more leisure time there.

It was a great week and like I said we enjoyed it sooooo much we are extending it one more week.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A week of no TV, IPad, or Screen time...

That is what my family and I are embarking on starting tomorrow.  We have decided that we will not partake in any watching TV, Wii, blogging/internet (not work related), IPad games, etc for this next week.  I've always wanted to do this, actually I wanted to try a whole month.  However, now that the week is upon us- starting tomorrow- I'm a little nervous about it.  I know it may sound silly, but I like my down time, I like to be able to have the kids watch a show while I make dinner when we get home from a day at the office/daycare/summer camp.  What will I do instead- will the kids be crabby- will that make me crabby?

Let alone the withdrawal I'll have from my blogging network.  I enjoy looking at blogs as another relaxation tool.  I also enjoying doing my posts- it is a form of creativity for me and it helps me stay focused on my goals/training, etc.  Will I still have that focus knowing that no one is expecting me to post my week's trials and tribulations with training, etc.  I know I will survive and 7 days from tomorrow the computer, Wii, IPad, and TV will all still be there.

So I'm making this my last post for a week- that means I will be behind on two Mommy's Project subjects, and need to catch up on training schedule, etc, but maybe, just maybe this week will let me be a little more at peace and removed from the craziness I bring into my life via these technologies.

I am looking forward to filling my "screen time" with books, books, and more books.  I stocked up at the library on Thursday- it was fun.  My kids will be just fine.   I will be fine too.  So "adios amigos" see you in a week!

P.S.  Sorry to inundate you with so many posts back to back, but I had a bunch I wanted to get out before the week mentioned above started.  Read what you want, maybe save some for this coming week- just in case you miss me.

Mommy's Project52: LOUD

LOUD- is a topic I know well.  I get it, because it is me.  I'm a pretty LOUD person.  I blame this on the fact that I had so many ear infections as a child (3 sets of tubes by age 5) that I have scarring on my eardrums/tympanic membranes and thus don't know how to be anything but LOUD.  Ask me to whisper and I can't.  Now the only problem with being LOUD is a lot of people don't like LOUD people.  I think added to my total extroverted nature can sometimes be a total turn off for people.  However, as I am getting old, I'm learning to embrace my LOUDness and who I am.  I just need to try and dial it down sometimes.    

One area I wish I was less LOUD is when it comes to disciplining my children or better yet when asking my kids to do something.  Why is it when asked in my normal tone of voice, which is probably already LOUDer than most people talk my kids don't listen- example:
Please get changed for bed.   (couple of seconds with no response from either kid)
Please get changed for bed now.  (meanwhile both kids running from one bedroom to another)

I've asked you to get changed, please listen.  (I'm doing it I'm trying the pleasant, nice, treat your kids with respect voice- again the chasing each other hasn't stopped and now there is throwing stuffed animals and jumping on beds involved).
GET CHANGED NOW OR THERE IS GOING TO BE A CONSEQUENCE! (Yep- I lost it, no one was hearing me with my nice voice so until I got LOUD and uttered the hated word "CONSEQUENCE" I wasn't heard).
Side note- don't know when I started using the threat of a consequence, but when I utter it for some reason my kids listen.  So I'll probably use that word for a very long time.
Again this is one area of being LOUD I wish I could stop.  I wish I could maintain composure, but when you add being tired to my interaction the LOUDness cranks up quite quickly.  
Tired + Not Listening Kids= Cranky LOUD Mom
So I know what you are thinking- don't be tired- get your rest and dial down the LOUDness.  I will try.  Can't solve the scarring of my tympanic membranes, but can solve the Cranky LOUD Mom issues with some practice.  
I leave you with some great graphics I found when searching for pictures of LOUD on the world wide web.  
I do love when kids sing out LOUD!

I also love to Sing It Loud when cooking or cleaning up the kitchen, or driving on road trips.  I used to have a pretty good singing voice during the good old "choir days" of my youth.  I'm an alto- which I think goes along with my red-headed LOUD nature, so as I've aged hitting the high notes is a little much for me.  Singing out LOUD is great mood booster, I believe for anyone.

Training week 5

This week I felt the "heat"- mentally and physically.  I felt like I was "lights out" by 10pm every night due to just pure exhaustion.  The heat was wearing on me.  I have one more 4 mile run this week, tomorrow after church, but otherwise I just need to go to the gym today to do a little spin workout and my strength/core activities.  It has been a good week, but at times I felt very unathletic and deconditioned. 

Swimming- this week made me feel humble.  Why- well I took the plunge and swam in the competitive lanes/natatorium, at our wellness center.  I had normally done my 10 laps in the 25 yard (which I'm doubting the measurement of those lanes after swimming the official 50 yard lanes in competitive pool).  The length of the competitive lanes challenged me and made me feel out of shape and not well conditioned.  My breathing was off and my body was exhausted after doing 250 yards.  I would swim the length of the pool, stop take a breather, and then swim back.  There were no kick turns or continuous lap swimming.  I didn't feel smooth or fluid, instead I felt like i was barely hanging on and was surprised the life guard never questioned  my swimming or asked if i was "o.k.".  

I'm not a competitive swimmer, nor was a i ever.  I swam quite a bit during my childhood and took swim lessons from about 1st grade-3-4th grade.  I love the water and my mom always called me "a fish".  However, I'm several years older and don't have that activity a young person does- you know the kids who can swim for literally 3 hours straight, diving, swimming, up and down off the diving board (or now up and down off aquatic slides).  

So all I can do is keep trying and be glad that my sprint tri has a short swim in a pool with non-competitive lanes- they are 25 yards, not 50.  It is good to try challenging things like plunging into the "big kids pool", but it certainly can mess with your mental vision of the athlete you thought you were.  

Next week the toughest part is going to be having hubby gone for 2 days for work. I will likely have to attempt some runs on the treadmill then- UGH!  But I will carry on- it is all one can do when training.  I will adjust and move forward.  

This is the pool I swam in this week- they had no walls up so remove the flags/walk way mid picture, and that is the full lap I swam.  I did my 250 yards breast stroke and then did 250 yard with kick board.  Despite not being in the heat for this work out I still felt the heat when I walked outside to my car- I think I was out of it the rest of the day.

June Reads

This year marks the 50th anniversary of "A Wrinkle in Time".  I had never read this book and so thought what better time than this year to read it.  I enjoyed the story and I really enjoyed the main character, Meg Murry.  She is a great female protagonist and to me the book's heroine.  The story, as many of you already know, is about Meg's quest/adventure to find her missing father.  Calvin O'Keefe, a classmate from Meg's school, and her youngest brother Charles Wallace join her on this adventure.  Charles Wallace, what a great name.  It is a name for a young man in an old soul's body.  These three characters all bring different personalities and strengths to the story.  Now the story definitely has one subject I'm not a big reader on: science fiction- especially tesseract (time warp/space warp).  It also has another subject that I sometimes pass over- Christianity in reading. Don't get the wrong idea I enjoy my life as an above average "church goer", "church circle" member, and lover of traditional church hymns, but I've never been into reading about other's views on Christianity.   I noticed the biblical quotes and religious undertones, but I didn't focus on these when reading this book and so didn't get the "message" I was maybe suppose to be getting. I read this book more as a story/adventure and didn't get involved in the science-fiction or religious undertones.  Maybe I missed the greater part of this book, but until I started talking to others who had previously read this book, I didn't know of the "controversy" that is found with Madeleine L'Engle's message.  I prefer to stay in my "own little world" and just enjoy the story for the pure story it is.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who hasn't already read it.

This book was amazing!  My friend, HB, had recommended this book due to my love for historical fiction.  It is a moving novel filled with mystery, action, suspense, love  and overall great plot.  The main character Daniel is a lover of books and this book starts and ends with the book "The Shadow of the Wind".  This book is followed throughout the story and could be called one of the main characters.  The author of the book, Julian Carax, could be called "the shadow".  As the reader you read about him and his life throughout the book, but Carlos Zafon (author) does a great job of holding back just enough so that you feel like you never get to see the real Julian.  The ladies in the book also have strong stories and personalities.  It is a lengthy read, but flies by as I continually tried to figure out who, what, where, and most importantly "why".  This book is a love story too and it speaks to both male and female readers.  So not too mushy and not too visual.  It was a great read and I look forward to reading Zafon's other books "The Angel's Game" (prequel to "Shadow") and "The Prince of the Mist".    I always feel like I just don't do these books justice when I write my little posts on them.  I hope that my summary entices readers to read these books and enjoy them as much as I have.

 Lastly, this book was not read, it was listened too.  I'm not an audio book person at all.  I struggle with listening to books  on tape because either the narrator drives me nuts, I can't focus on the story and so end up rewinding to find what I missed, or the content isn't appropriate for my kids to listen too when in the car, which is where I've tried before to listen to books on tape/cd.  Well enter long solo runs training this year and I'm trying to find ways to keep me mentally sane while running- Enter Pat Conroy.  Pat Conroy is the author of my all time favorite book "Beach Music".  I've read the book once in my 20's and once in my 30's.  It is an amazing story and  I enjoyed it both times.  So when I found this nonfiction audio book at the library the other day I thought I'd give it a try.  Each chapter is titled and follow a different subject in Pat's "reading life". I have, of late as an old lady reader, enjoyed reading books about what other people like to read.  It gives me more books to add to my "to read" list and I enjoy hearing about how these books have impacted that particular reader's life. Pat Conroy stated that since he was a freshman in high school he has minimum read 200 pages/day.  He has read a lot of classics and a lot of southern authors.  By reading this book he has added more authors and books to my "to read" list.  To add to my enjoyment of this audio book Pat Conroy himself narrates the story.  His southern voice, aged but experienced, made listening to this book all the more enjoyable.

Listening to this book on many of my runs this week made my runs in the hot, humid summer weather a little more tolerable.  Plus I thought it appropriate to be listening to an author's life of reading in the South, primarily, during hot weather when I started sweating the minute I walked out of the door.  I liked the book so much that I discussed this book with my mom and told her to read it.  Funny- we are too alike- my dad had just finished reading it last week and she was starting it now.  I look forward to discussing this book with my father and get his perspective.

So if I had to choose I'd probably recommend reading this book, because that is "how I roll", but listening to Pat read it himself was enjoyable and who knows this may be the start to another way in which to get more books "read" in a month and stay sane during my long runs.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Last week training: 4th week

Well last week's runs, bikes and swims went great.  I did it all and felt good about it.  The other thing I had planned to do last week was keep track of what I ate for the week and share it with you.  Well I did pretty good writing down every little thing, including keeping track of fluid intake for the week.  I planned to share it with you, but no offense looking at all I consumed is pretty boring even for me, who consumed the food, so I didn't think you'd get much enjoyment out of it. So here is a paired down version.

The reason I wanted to document my eating for a week was to look at what I put into my body on a daily basis and make changes that would potentially help my training and really help me get a grasp on this thing I love- EATING!  I've never been good at monitoring my input because, well, that just isn't any fun.  So long story short I won't list everything I ate, but will give you a few examples:

Breakfast- grande misto skim milk, vanilla Starbucks
1 cup fresh fruit
1 morning roll Starbucks

Snack a.m.- 1 cup fresh fruit

Lunch- PBJ on 12 Grain bread
barbecue chips- lunch bag size
1/2 cup cantaloupe
decaf diet coke

Snack pm- 1/2 cup cantaloupe
During work day total of 3 8 oz glasses of water
16 ounces H2O on 14 mile bike ride

Dinner- 3 reduced fat crescent rolls wrapped with ham and sprinkled with cheddar cheese
salad small
1 cup jalapeno chips
2 baby dills

So looking at the above- I eat quite a bit throughout the day.  I drank quite a bit of fluids, so am staying well hydrated.  However, the morning roll and barbecue chips, jalapeno chips are "no no's".

After 5.4 mile run had breakfast- 2 cups coffee
1 glass crystal light
1 slice 12 grain toast with 1 1/2tbsp PB

Lunch: 2 1/2 flour tortilla filled with 5 bean mix (think black bean salsa), shredded lettuce, 2 % cheese
1/2 cup watermelon

Snack after work- 1/2 cup jalapeno chips, 1 Miller Lite

Dinner (side note- my hubby surprised me with a congratulatory dinner for finishing under 2 hours in the 1/2 marathon at beginning of the month so had a dinner planned- this isn't our typical mid day week fare)
Steak, green beans, 3 pieces garlic bread lite butter, new whole potatoes grilled, corn on the cob, and 1 cup chocolate brownie ice cream, 2 margaritas

Overall that day drank 24 ounces of H2O at work, and 2 8 oz glasses at home

So assessing above- during the day did great, too much empty calories at night with "adult beverages", and probably only should have had 1 piece not 3 of the garlic bread.

And so my week went- I'd have a good day, and relatively o.k. night, but then Friday hit.  My kids were with grandparents for the night and so my hubby and I planned to make from scratch Mexican meal: home made tortillas, from scratch salsa, guacamole, and steak fajitas.  Along with many "adult beverages".  It was great home made food, but again too much consumption of food and beverages.

So now what- well I plan to make it a priority to stay hydrated with water, low calorie juice or milk throughout the day.  Hydration is vital to keeping my energy up, especially during the heat wave we are having.  I need to push the fruit and vegetables, which I do enjoy, just need to make it a priority that I meal plan these into the grocery shopping for the week.  Lastly- after this coming weekend I've decided to take a sabbatical from "adult beverages".  I've done this before and not enjoyed it too much- I get cranky, but I think to feel like I'm giving this coming Chi-Town Marathon my all I need to not question what things I could've, should've, would've done differently.  I know, I know, what's the harm of a little vino or a cold beer, but my problem is I don't want just one, now please don't sign me up for AA- this is how I am with a lot of facets of my life- "all or nothing" and no control over doing things in "moderation".  The same thing happens with sweets, which I also plan to curb this training season.  I'll keep you posted on how the above changes go.   I'm hoping that these changes will give me more energy and help me stay healthy and fit for this training season.

The heat is really wearing on me the past two weeks.  Even though I have no problem getting up early to run I still struggle with the heat in the early morning.  Until it cools off I'm running with my water belt even for 5 milers.  The water is needed and makes me feel more safe in my runs.  I'm also icing, and wearing my compression socks to aid in rest and rejuvenation of my "dog tired" legs.  Already into the middle of my 5th week and so far good week despite the heat.  Intimidated by this weekend's 12 miler, just because of the heat, so hoping for some good legs, rest, IPod tunes, and hydration to get me through.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June running

Well I can't believe it is already July 1. Where did June go to? I had a good month of running. I ran a total of 83 miles. My longest was 13.1 (sunburst 1/2). Punching the numbers I'm a little surprised to find that I have 6 months left to meet my 1,000+++ miles in a year goal. I would need to run 92 miles/month for the next 6 months to meet this goal-kind of overwhelming, but I've learned best to take it one week at a time. There weren't too many quotes I connected with this past month, but here they are ( taken from the Runner's Book of Daily Inspiration by Kevin Nelson June 1st: "No yesterday's are ever wasted for those who give themselves today."- Brendan Francis, writer June 13: "There are many ways to be successful as a distance runner as there are athletes. You have to develop a training schedule of your own"- Craig Virgin, champion distance runner I found the timing of this quote perfect because I was in the midst of stressing over my marathon training schedule- in the end with hubby's help I saw the light and stayed with my plan (adaptation of Hal higdon's novice 2 marathon training schedule). June 19th: "Strenuousness is the open foe of attainment. The strength that wins is calm and has an exhaustless source in its passive depth." -Rabindranath Tagore, philosopher This entry was all about finishing strong and not going out too fast, otherwise known as negative split. I have recently just started paying attention to this. It will be interesting to see if I'm able to succeed with this in the marathon. June 25th: "People today tend to overdo. This applies especially, I think, to distance runners and the training they do. What you should do is develop a training program that suits your physical makeup, your stamina, and your ability as a runner" -Gayle Barron, marathoner Another reminder to me to work on my own goals and improve on my weaknesses, while not losing site of myself or my abilities. June 29th: "At bottom no one in life can help anyone else in life. But that isn't as bad as it may at first appear. It is the best thing in life that each should have everything in himself; his fate, his future, his world." - Rainer Maria Rilke,poet It's all on and within me, no one else. No matter what the excuses- the way we act, perform and live are up to us and us alone. I'm in charge of my destiny, my life.