Tuesday, April 30, 2013

30 days of 20 minutes of reading to kids...

I consider myself a pretty avid reader.  I also pride myself in taking my kids to the library almost once weekly if not more often.  However, this 30 day challenge of reading 20 minutes everyday to my kids, who loving being read to, was challenging.  I think it is a sign of something bigger- trying to fit activities like reading to your kids for 20 minutes is a feat with our busy lifestyles. 

I seem to be bogged down lately by projects, errands, activities for myself and the kids, let alone trying to just find time to let them play.  So I guess something needs to change to make sure I'm spending the time and energy on things that are important to me and my family.  Reading is definitely one of those things so I'm going to try and continue with the 20 minutes/day goal- however, sometimes our days get away from us or we have to travel for work, etc- so instead of putting the cap on 20 minutes every physical day- I'm hoping to look at it over a week's time.  7 days/week x 20 minutes= 140 minutes of quality time with my kids!

So recap- I read 20 minutes a day every day this month except when I was gone/traveling for a conference for work/my career, etc.  So to make up for those 5 days I missed I bulked up my reading before I traveled so I got all my minutes in for the week with them prior to travel.  I thought about calling them and reading to them over the phone, but with the time change and my son really detesting a long phone conversation I figured this was the best way to fulfill my commitment to the 30 day challenge. 

I read a lotto them- finished "Little House in the Big Woods", currently finishing "The Doll People" and of course various library books and our own books.  It was a great month of reading, I'm just really still shocked at how I thought I read to my kids a lot, but this past month fitting in 20 minutes/day seemed like a challenge comparable to long runs/mid training schedule of a marathon. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

One of those days- random thoughts from Tuesday

Have I ever shared that I have test anxiety. Yep I do. I'm just not a good test taker. One of my friends said that is just an excuse for people who don't know the material. He's probably right, but he is one of those smarties. I had to take a test today and I did OK but was annoyed because a lot of the ?'s I could get it down to two options and inevitably I'd pick the wrong one.

I have a "to do" list that seems to be growing and growing and growing. There just isn't enough time in the day. I have things at work, home and family stuff it just never ends. When I'm tired my " to do" list kind of overwhelms me.

Lastly, I'm coming up on becoming president for our nurse practitioner organization and I want to do a really great job and again have all these lofty goals/ideas and again feel a tad overwhelmed. So much a leader can do in an organization- good and bad. I'm hoping I'm a lot of the "good" type leader.

So take home from random thoughts for Tuesday- take a breath, go down the "to do" list one by one (kind of like marathon training- one week at a time, instead of looking at the 18 week training plan and becoming discouraged), and lastly curl up with a good book and go to bed early :).

Side note- my youngest just said "mom you can do lower case, good job". She's my little over achiever also felt good to receive pat on back from 4 year old.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Have I told you lately how humbling running can be sometimes?

I am in Florida for a conference and so have this great opportunity to run in warm/sunny weather.  Well even though I've run the last two days, and I don't like to run 3 in a row, if I don't have to, this afternoon was the only time for awhile I could get a longer run in.

So I ate lunch, changed clothes and went out about 12pm to run 6 miles (10 min warm up, 4 x 4 at z3-4 with 3 min rest after each 4 minute z3-4 (70% max) followed by 10 min cool down).  Well first I don't know if I didn't write the right thing down for today's plan or messed up my math, but I finished the 4 x 4 with 3 minute rest period right when I got to about 3.5 miles, so I planned to just run easily the rest.  Then at 4.5 miles it hit me- this hasn't happened for a long time- I had to stop and walk.  I was exhausted, sweaty and thirsty- no really PARCHED! 

So I walked until mile 5 and then ran the last one.  It took me 1 hour 8 minutes to run 6 miles (11:20 minute mile pace).  Not sure what happened other than I was reminded about how I don't do well in humidity and mid day runs are hard for me.  The scary or intimidating thing for me now is because of my conference schedule the next time I can run a long run (10 miles) will be Saturday after the conference ends.  So I will be basically heading back out there to run again around 12 pm. 

This time I will come prepared.  None of this interval training stuff- just run 10 miles.  I'll bring cash to buy gatorade, etc along the way to refuel with and lastly if I walk, I walk- getting the miles in is what has always gotten me far so I'm sticking to it.

Anyways- just thought I'd share this fun humbling afternoon run adventure.  Doesn't matter how many years I've been running or continue to run I know I will have afternoons like these.  I'll keep running though :)!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon

I will never run Boston.  Not because of what happened yesterday or because I dislike Boston.  I am not fast enough. I jokingly say that if I keep running maybe they will let me in when I'm 70.  However, being able to dream about one day running Boston is one of my dreams.  It is still one of my dreams despite the horror that occurred at this totally human event of performance, grit, sweat, and pain.  I can't imagine what the runners from yesterday's Boston Marathon experienced or are continuing to experience. 

I'm leaving today for a conference and at the airport as I was going through security there was a man being interviewed by a local news station about his experience after running Boston yesterday.  There are so many stories out there.  It is like I just can't read enough about what the runners experienced.  Some finished, some almost finished, but were stopped at mile 25.5 due to the finish line being closed, and of course the spectators and those who lost life, limb, were injured- I just can't seem to wrap my brain around this. 

All we can do is persevere, we can live life to the fullest, we can pray, and we can run! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

March Running

I ran 77 miles this March.  I ran a PR- Leprechaun Dash 10K (54:03- last year ran 10 K in Hawaii at 55:10- good improvement).  My farthest run was 8 miles.  The biggest thing- running- this month was that I started my Another Mother Runner 1/2 marathon "Own It" plan.  I have followed Hal Higdon's Marathon plan and 1/2 marathon plan for every race I've ever run.  So it has been different.  Not different bad or good, just different.  I'm doing more speed work and intervals.  They increase your mileage pretty quickly with the "Own It" plan.  They also have a "Finish It" plan, but that one I didn't think would challenge me enough so I went "all out". 

I thought the interval/speed work would be totally intimidating, let alone the mathematical part of it.  For example- this is one of my workouts: Run 5 miles as 1 mile WU, 1,2,3, 4, 3,2,1, at Z 5 with .25 mile recovery, and 1 mile CD.  O.K. that looked so foreign to me and how was I going to keep track what interval I was at and what did it all mean. (I'm the kind of gal who could never keep track what lap I was on when running multiple around the high school track).  So break down in layman's terms: 1 mile warm up (try to keep it at 10 min/mile-11 min/mile pace) then 1 min at 95% (that's what Z 5 means- zone 5), with .25 mile recovery, and then increase to 2 min at Z5 (95% effort) with .25 mile recovery, and 3 minutes...etc with 1 mile cool down (CD) at the end.  I know for those of us that just go out and pound the pavement even writing this description seems overwhelming and confusing, but... it has worked.  I feel faster- I'm getting either more miles done/week or running the miles faster/week.

This plan also fits in Fun Workouts (pretty much any other physical activity that raises your heart rate up a little- leisurely bike ride, playing b-ball with kids, Wii Just Dance, etc). My fun workout this week was "hiking" WoodPecker trail after school pick up today.   This plan also has cross training days: which has allowed me or forced me into spinning, or yoga at least one day/week.  Still don't understand why I have such a hard time making cross training a priority- I really enjoy both spinning and yoga when I'm doing it. 

So the good: I'm getting faster and stronger.  The bad: I feel like I'm become a "clock watcher".  I guess you can't have it both ways- unless you are uber rich and can have someone run with you and just yell at you when you should increase and he/she could watch their watch and then tell you when to decrease speed, etc.  So for now I will become a "clock watcher" and keep you posted on this more elaborate training plan. 

Goals for April- follow the plan (no skipping assigned workouts or decreasing the amount of miles/workout - you know the old "Oh, I'll cut this one short and just do 4 instead of 5 today").  No excuses, no whining, just get her done! Happy April Running!

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Reads

I kind of felt like I didn't read very much this past month, but then I looked at what I did read and I feel like I read quite a bit. I'll briefly highlight the books below and leave the best for last with some fun pictures.... you'll understand in a minute.

Gathering Blue (The Giver, #2)  This is the sequel to "The Giver" by Lois Lowry.  I liked the "Giver" more, but again was amazed by how writers can come up with some of these fantasy/apocalyptic plots, etc.  As my friend HB says about writers "she writes beautifully"- this is how I feel about Lois' writing.  I was a little disappointed that it didn't continue right away from the end of "The Giver" right into "Gathering Blue", but I'm a little concerned that because I'm not a real "fantasy reader/ end of the world reader" that I've missed something.  So now I'm definitely reading her third one that finishes this series to make sure I haven't forgotten or missed something. 

  Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith  I already posted on this one- Anne Lamott's book was an enjoyable read and thought provoking. I will never forget her line about yelling at her son made her feel like she had just "Bitch slapped ET".  I also thought she gave a more realistic view of faith applied to real life setting.   I tried listening to another of her books on tape- Fiction- and didn't enjoy it that much. However, she has other nonfiction books I plan to read.
  The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5)  I love the Armand Gamache Mystery series by Louise Penny, but this was probably one of my least favorites thus far.  However, I really enjoy her character development and love the people from "Three Pines" so continue to look forward to 4 more books in this series.   

  Fair Weather  I had been wanting to read this young adult fiction about The Chicago World's fair.  This was an enjoyable read and I found the book just another reason why I love Chicago history so much.  Ever since reading "Devil in the White City" I've wanted to read more about the Chicago's World Fair.  This book has been on my "to read" list for awhile and I'm glad I made time to read it.  I think it might be a little slow going for my young ones, but I'll introduce it to them in years to come.
   Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) The kids and I finished the first Harry Potter book.  Now bookies don't kill me, but I really thought it was just O.K.  However, I enjoyed the book more than the movie.  We will continue on to the second one once my oldest is ready to enter the world of Harry Potter again.  He was a little scared towards the end of the movie and even with the suspense at the end of the book.
Last but not least my book club book for this month "Making Piece" by Beth Howard.  I know I've told you before, but I really love my book club.  They are some of the most genuine people/women I know and many of them are my good friends.  This book club night was especially fun... My coworker and good friend Trudy invited us all over at 6:30 instead of our normal meet time of 7 pm with the ploy that she was serving dinner.  I arrived and I knew something was up because I didn't see much food out- and you know me and my love for food- and if you know Trudy she loves to cook/bake, etc so where was the dinner? Well after everyone arrived we had some veggies, chips and salsa and talked about the book some.  Then Trudy announced we were all going to make pie, let it bake while we ate dinner, and continue our discussion.  It was a great night as proof by the fun pictures.  For many in my book club it was a first time event of making pie, but for others they were old pros. As usual I was surprised by some of the reactions to the book and the character, main one in particular- the author. I think that is why it is good to be in a book club.  Because despite how you read a book your fellow Bookies will show you other ways in which a story can be read, understood, loved and/or hated.   I really enjoyed this book and this is one of my favorite book club nights. 

Some were prettier than others.

We had a great mix of expert pie makers and novices.

I just couldn't get my dough to work- thank goodness for good friends.

They turned out great!
I'm forever grateful for great Bookies, Books and Apple Pie!
Making Piece: a Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie