Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Vacation recaps

So I had such a good time over the holiday with my family I just had to share some more pictures.  I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone.  This year is truly flying by.  Does that mean I really am getting old?
Pre- Turkey Day Family Fun Run/Walk Stretch session


 Look at these runners- ready for the day.

On your mark, get set, go!

Grandma fun Turkey project!

 Finished Product

Day after Thanksgiving Cookie Bake Off- My daughter was the butter cutter all day long.

Spritz Gun fun with Aunt

One of our best years yet- 1, 163 cookies (if you don't count the 300 pretzel rings we did too.)

We don't eat them all- we donated about 400 to our local homeless shelter.  

Well that is just a bit more of the weekend.  It was a great time and totally what Thanksgiving should be about: relaxation, reading, food, baking, and family fun!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

We started the morning with our 2nd annual family fun run/walk. Some did 1 mile and others did 5K. This year we stepped it up and had bibs. The weather is perfect and everyone had a great time. Now time for some mimosas and brunch after the run. Hope everyone has a wonderful time with family and friends and some yummy food today!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

We started the morning with our 2nd annual family fun run/walk. Some did 1 mile and others did 5K. This year we stepped it up and had bibs. The weather is perfect and everyone had a great time. Now time for some mimosas and brunch after the run. Hope everyone has a wonderful time with family and friends and some yummy food today!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The mother of them all...

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

My next book I'm opening is one I've wanted to read for awhile, but have been intimidated by this work. It is known as one of the world's greatest novels. The one I picked up is the translation by Richard Peaver and Larissa Volohonsky.

I'm intimidated by the size (817 pages), the fact that it is a translation, and lastly because it is known as one of the world's greatest novels. My track history with books that are hyped up or known as literary masterpieces isn't good. I normally don't get why it is so hyped or I can't follow the plot line or just think it is too slow.

So I figure if I post that I'm going to read this novel I will then be held to finishing it, or at least getting as far as I did with "John Adams"- 300 or so pages. I'll let you know how it goes. Happy thanksgiving break reading!

By the way the one pic is me holding the book between my thighs. Suppose to give you perspective for how big book is because it could ewual half of one of my "gymnast thighs" :).

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I'll give you Wiki's take on it first and then add my 2 cents.



The Giver is a dystopian children's novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a society which is at first presented as a utopian society and gradually appears more and moredystopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to "Sameness," a plan that has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of "Receiver of Memory," the person who stores all the past memories of the time before Sameness, in case they are ever needed to aid in decisions that others lack the experience to make. When Jonas meets the previous receiver—The "Giver"—he is confused in many ways. The Giver is also able to break some rules, such as turning off the speaker and lying to people of the community. As Jonas receives the memories from the Giver, he discovers the power of knowledge. The people in his community are happy because they do not know of a better life, but the knowledge of what they are missing out on could create major chaos. He faces a dilemma: Should he stay with the community, his family living a shallow life without love, color, choices, and knowledge, or should he run away to where he can live a full life?
Despite controversy and criticism that the book's subject material is inappropriate for young children, The Giver won the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold more than 8 million copies.[citation needed] In Australia, the United States, and Canada, it is a part of many middle school reading lists, but it is also on many challengedbook lists and appeared on the American Library Association's list of most challenged books of the 1990s.[1]
The novel forms a loose quartet[2] with three other books set in the same future era: Gathering Blue (2000) and Messenger (2004) and Son (2012).

I came across Lois Lowry because I think I was suppose to.  It is kind of like why I read Flannery O'Connor.  I kept on hearing or reading Lois' name.  Her new book "Son" came out this year and so The New York Times had an article about her writing, specifically focusing on the quartet mentioned above.  I had not heard of this book, likely due to my less interest in utopian books/science fiction, fantasy, etc.   However, I kept on coming across her name as an author.  I checked into her writing and found she not only wrote sci/fi or fantasy, but also good old children's fiction.  I read "Gooney Bird Greene" (2002) with my 2nd grader and four year  old.  They thought the book was hilarious.  It helped that the main character Gooney Bird Greene is a second grader like my son.  The book was amusing for adults and children.  Back to "The Giver"- I thought this book reminded me a lot of "The Hunger Games" recently hyped up in our society/media.  However, the premise is less gory/brutal, but parts of the book reminded me of how people could be manipulated by one or a few to live a certain way, behave a certain way, co-exist.  I felt the same way about this book as I did "The Hunger Games" - I didn't really feel like either book was meant for the young "junior high" readers, but more high school readers, but maybe that is because I'm getting old and don't know what junior high readers are reading.  The subject matter was tough at times and although people weren't actively killing each other in a "game" there was still some brutality that tugged at my heart.  

It will be interesting to see when I introduce this book and the other to my children.  Or will they go out on their own and find these wonderful books and be mature enough to get the story and deep meaning.  Lois Lowry is a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading the other three of the quartet.  So if you haven't picked up one of her books and you are like me in your late 30's or older- do so now!  

Thanks again for supporting World Run Day!



Wanted to send a picture of the food that I picked up thanks to you awesome donators for the Coralville Ecumenical Food Bank.  Also raised almost $100 for the food bank too.  Thanks again for supporting my running and charitable giving cause.  I also appreciate all those runners who participated in World Run Day.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Natalie

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy World Run Day!


What a great day to honor running and what running can mean to someone personally through bettering their physical and mental health. Also this day allows runners to show how community can be affected positively by running through charity donations.
Thanks to all of you who have donated and/or run today. As a runner I've become aware of just how much running can do for a person and a community. I hope to continue to reap benefits of running for many years to come Happy Running! -----
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Monday, November 5, 2012

October running recap

I'm really not quite sure where October went.  I can hardly believe that about a month ago I was finishing the marathon training schedule and racing in my 5th Chicago Marathon.  No idea where the times goes.  So here is what October was like for me and my running shoes and of course my favorite quotes/comments from that great book " The Runner's Book of Daily Inspiration" by Kevin Nelson.

October total mileage:  53 miles
It was strange to just type that number because I haven't been that low on mileage all year, the closest I came to it was March with 66.  I'm a little disappointed, but I just didn't have the humph to put in more mileage after the marathon.  Part of me really wanted to keep running right after the marathon, but the other part of me was kind of intimidated or scared to.  I've always taken off such a decent amount of time after the marathon I didn't trust myself to be o.k. with a quick return.  I would've liked to have had at least 60 + miles for the month of October, but would've, could've, should've.  I'm moving on and already have 13 miles in for the month of November.

October 5th  "Running is a kind of play. When you are moving well, you feel like a spectator enjoying this movement of your own.  If there is a great crowd with you, you are moved."- Joshua Kimeto, runner
This is why I love Chicago Marathon, because you are definitely moved by the crowd participation.  Some people don't like the distraction, but I do.

October 8th "Records don't mean much.  Racing is about people and not clocks".  Steve Ovett, middle-distance runner

I find it a little amusing that this quote came the day after I did the Chicago Marathon.  I was kind of fixated on if I hadn't taken a pee break I would've been able to get a better time, or if I had done something different in my training could I have cut some time, etc, etc, etc. So it was good to read this quote so soon after the race and get back to reality.

October 9th "athletics, because it enables one to move to a better state of being, can be viewed as a branch of medicine, but one which fortunately finds room for spontaneity, ingenuity and judgement." 
Paul Weiss- philosopher
 More profound was what Kevin, author, wrote in regard to the above quote- here it is:
There is that side of running- the one that requires discipline, will, self-restraint, constancy.  But if you emphasize that side too much, you will kill your desire to run.  You've got to be willing to let go, too.  Take all the "musts and "shoulds" out of it.  Running can't always be associated with obligation, duty, self-denial.  It must feed your soul as well as your body.  There has to be fun and pleasure in it.  When you run, there has to be an element of play to it.  

I think that text could be applied to many facets of life, but the running one hits home.  Sometimes I lose sight in the playfulness of running and the enjoyment I get out of it.  When that happens I need to take a step back and likely take a break.

October 11th "Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion." Martha Graham, choreographer and dancer

The author I think sympathizes with us and realizes that we may be reaching the end of our running year and start feeling burned out.  This line reminds me to do things I love with passion and that will be a greater life than those who are so "by the book" that they lose sight of the potential to be happy/passionate.

October 23 "Only two rules really count; never miss an opportunity to relieve yourself; and never miss a chance to rest your feet." Duke of Windsor

Yep this is right up my alley.  The author goes onto talk about how if you are preoccupied with the fact that your bladder is full that you are likely not able to run as well and fast and hence "relieving" yourself is very helpful.

October 28th "Breathing is like etheral drinking.  It is a luxury simply to exist." Henry Ward Beecher- writer

Kevin has an interesting take on the above which I found to be beautiful:
Breath is life.  Life is breath.  If you have any doubts about the truth of those two sentences, stop breathing for a moment.  Life ends when breath ceases...It's said that few people really exercise their lungs when they breathe.  They breathe shallow as a rule, never exercising their full capacities.  They never take the gift of breath for granted.  Not runners.  They know its sacred importance... Live life, breath deep and run. 

October 29th "Nobody running at full speed has either a head or a heart." W.B. Yeats

Kevin goes on to talk about how we all are so very busy and how slowing down and using running to "help reset your internal clock. I truly believe in this because on the days I don't run I just don't feel as well as morning run days.  He also talks about how taking time to run, even during very hectic periods in your life it will benefit your body in so many varied ways

So a short running month, but I needed the recovery time and now with  a nother goal in my head (1,000+++ miles in 2012) I move onward to some more great runs.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Blog updates and some things I've found...

while sitting with my mom, sister and dad over the past couple of days. 

I've been at home with my mom and dad since Wednesday in prep for my dad's hip replacement that took place yesterday.  He is doing great and I'm totally impressed with how fast you come back after getting your hip replaced.  So since I've been spending a lot of time sitting I'm catching up on one of my favorite past times: blog reading.  I know so many of you are just as busy as I am and keeping up with all those blogs/posts can be well- unreasonable- so to save you some time here are some great posts I've read over the past two days:

http://anothermotherrunner.com/2012/11/01/runningdepression/ This one is so insightful.  Gives you a picture of what running can do for one person, but really for so many of us.  Awesome story.

Remember back this summer when I went to that running store in my home town and ran with that girl who was running across America BAREFOOT well here is her most recent post : http://raesrunacrossamerica.tumblr.com/ .  I'm amazed that she only has 18 days left.  Super impressed and she is so right that it is so much more mental than physical.  Maybe she'll write a book about her adventure.

Plant Springs Bulbs Now http://maryannscountrygarden.blogspot.com/ This post written by my friend Skeeter's (nickname- not her real name- she reminds me of Skeeter from "The Help") sister.  She has a great garden blog, but has a lot more than just gardening in it- check it out if you like to read well written posts. 

Book Marks by Kim Baker http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/book-marks-by-kim-baker/  This is a great post reminding me that I'm not the only weirdo out there who gets all teary eyed or loves to walk down memory lane when thinking back to all those books from childhood.  It makes me all warm/fuzzy inside to think of those great "book memories".  Plus you have to click on this post just to see the picture of Kim as a child in her library- the shag carpeting is like a flashback from my own childhood. 

Well that's all for now.  Happy reading!

Time to GIVE THANKS!


This coming November 11, 2012 I plan to run 8 miles in honor of World Run Day! Now I know that 8 miles isn't 26.2 miles, but taking a little break from the longer mileage and thought 8 miles sounded reasonable.  I recently read about this "day" and was intrigued to see it had so many things about running/life I love.  It is all about promoting running, raising someone's awareness of a charity in need and helping get running into the community.  The charity I've chosen to run for is the Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry. World Run Day comes at a perfect time of year- the month in which we GIVE THANKS.  So if you would like to GIVE THANKS and join me in my fundraising RUN you can do so by doing either one or all of the following:

1. RUN with me or by yourself in honor of World Run Day (You can run as little or as much as you want) on Sunday November 11th 12 pm- 8 mile run total out and back from my house
2. writing a check and donating funds to the Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry- address to send check to noted below or I'm happy to take checks in when I drop off donations.
3. Donate food noted on the "Food Pantry Wish" list.- I will pick up food from your home or you can drop off donations to my house. I will drop off donations the week following the run.   

The following is a little more information about the Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry and also World Run Day.  If you have any questions about the RUN or the food pantry donation please don't hesitate to email or call me.  Hope everyone has a wonderful November full of GIVING THANKS!   Natalie


The Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry (CEFP) offers temporary food assistance to residents who live within the Coralville city limits. Comprised of a group of volunteers from six local churches and members of the community, the CEFP focuses on meeting the needs of the local hungry.  These volunteers have been serving the needs of our community since September 2009.  It is the mission of the Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry to engage our community in feeding our neighbors.  Our goal is to foster collaboration with all Coralville residents, businesses and organizations to end hunger in our community. We are thankful for a community which stands by this mission by providing ongoing support.  Those in need of food assistance know they can always depend on the Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry.

Facts and Figures:
  • CEFP has helped more than 500 Coralville families in need of food assistance
  • CEFP had a total of 3646 client visits in the last 12 months*
  • 150-180 different families are served each month
  • 1227 unduplicated clients (433 children) were served at least once at CEFP in the last 12 months*
  • CEFP distributes between 7,000-9,000 lbs. of food per month, with almost 85,000 lbs. distributed in the last 12 months*
  • The average family visits CEFP twice a month and receives about 46 lbs. of food per month
  • The number of families served each month has increased 50% in the last 12 months*
  • 94.1% of CEFP annual expenses are food purchases
*12 month period from 7/2010—6/2011

You can send a check made payable to: Any size donation welcome!
Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry (CEFP)
P.O. Box 5523
Coralville, IA 52241
$50 Contribution allows us to help a family of four with groceries for one week
$100 Contribution allows us to help that family for two weeks
$500 Contribution helps purchase meat/chicken for all families for two weeks
$1,000 Contribution buys fresh vegetables for all families for four weeks

Food Pantry Wish List:
We would appreciate all donations, particularly:
  1. Monetary Donations
  2. Canned meats or fish (tuna, chicken, beef or sausage)
  3. Peanut Butter (creamy or chunky, any size)
  4. Stews Or Meals In A Can
  5. Beans (canned Black, Pinto, Chili)
  6. Beans (dried)
  7. Rice (all sizes and varieties)
  8. Hearty Soups
  9. Canned Fruit
  10. Canned Vegetables
  11. Crackers (all types, saltines, oyster, snack crackers)


World Run Day was founded to celebrate the sport of running worldwide. Our mission is to broaden and promote the health benefits of running while also encouraging runners to donate to their own favorite charity on this special day. We support our mission by providing free tools to either individuals or groups who are interested in hosting a World Run Day event in their community. Through a combination of communications to members of the running community, the running industry, and various media outlets, we plan to bring awareness of the event internationally. Our belief is that by gaining attention through a worldwide celebration, we can educate others of the health benefits of running and secure a healthy future for both young and old. World Run Day’s programs and activities are guided by the following goals:

Promote Running — World Run Day works with partner organizations to promote the health benefits of running for all citizens young and old. Recent emphasis has been placed on running as a solution to end childhood obesity. Partnering with running organizations, schools, corporations, and charities occurs throughout the year.

Promote Charitable Giving — World Run Day is committed to having an international day of charitable giving as part of its running event. In many instances there is a lack of funding to help unfortunate people in their circumstances. The running community can help others who are the victims of natural disasters, disease, or any worthy cause embraced by the runner. We specifically request charities to partner with us to celebrate the run-for-charity concept.

Mobilize the Running Community — World Run Day reaches out to partners in the running community that hope to elevate the sport of running in their community while also promoting the benefits of running and providing locations for people to run locally.

Create Event Director Tools — World Run Day creates tools for local event directors to use (free of charge) which help produce a World Run Day event in their location. World Run Day also provides links to other resources that can benefit the event director.

Inspire and engage college students to become running leaders — World Run Day’s campus outreach program is intended to inspire members of a younger generation to lift the torch for youth runners around the globe. Getting runners within colleges and universities to participate is a goal that can combine the efforts of community service with local charity.

Support World Run Day Celebrations around the World — World Run Day November 11, 2012.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Goals: they are good for me...


It is the 1st of November and I only have two months left to finish my 1,000+++ miles of running for 2012.  I really have done a lot of running, for me, in this year 2012.  However, when I look at other mother runners I follow- blogs or daily mile site I really don't run that much.  Now granted one of the women I follow is likely 10 years younger than me and not married or with kids, but a couple of these ladies are moms with kids and some even full time jobs and yet their mileage weekly blows my weekly mileage out of the water.  I know, I know, I'm just having a 20 second pity party. But lately I've been starting the prep for next year thinking what else can I do, should I do, could I do better or different to help me a. stay healthy b. continue running races and c. maybe, just maybe get faster- every runner's dream :).  Before I move onto next year big plans I need to finish this year's goals.

Back to the topic at hand.  I have run 831 miles this year and with just two months left  I need to run another 169 miles over the next two months.  So- 84.5 miles in November and 84.5 in December.  I don't know why but this is kind of freaking me out.  That means about 20 miles/week and that just sounds like a lot to me right now. 

So why would 20 miles/week sound like a lot to a runner like me- not quite sure.  Maybe without having a race I'm training for that makes me less efficient with my running and feeling a little lost.  Maybe it is the post marathon blues and feeling a little like I've done it, I want a break.  However, I haven't really felt like I want a break I really have been wanting to run, but that first 1-2 weeks after the race I just didn't feel "right" running.  I felt sore, dead legs, and like parts of my legs hurt inappropriately- shin pain, hip pain, ITBand tightness.These pains made me think I was trying to come back to soon and was causing injury.  Well throw in a couple of trips/travels and my running has been off. 



So- you know me, well maybe you don't, but likely you do and know that a goal is a goal and so I will move forward.  I will plot a plan/schedule to finish my goal for 2012.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes- maybe that will give me more incentive to finish.