Running Forward

I didn’t write a 2013 recap. I’m working hard on looking forward. However, I can’t look forward and write this post as it is meant to be written without acknowledging something from 2013.

802 Miles!

When I entered my last five-mile-run of 2013 yesterday and pulled up my numbers for the year, my jaw dropped. 802.2 miles? Me? I mean, I knew I ran every step of those miles. I was present and accounted for, minus those times — especially during races — when I looked at the mile marker sign and said, “Wait, what? Where did the last two miles go?” I ran 160.4 miles in 2012. That’s a significant increase. Not one ounce of me thought when I started 2013 that I would run over 800 miles. Eight. Hundred. Miles.

But it’s a new year. And now my running stats for the year look like this.

0 Miles!

Wide open. What am I going to do with all that space?

First and foremost, I’m going for a three-mile-run this afternoon to finish off my participation in the Runner’s World RunStreak. Depending on my leftover tenths of a mile, that will bring my total for the Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day running streak to 61.61 miles. As I said, I ran a lot of one milers due to travel and work and life in general, but I ran everyday for 35 days. Everyday. It just blows my mind.

I feel grateful for what running brought to me in 2013. I found myself somewhere out there on the endless stretch of road, somewhere in the middle of a grueling hill, a long run, a hot day, a frigid wind, an early morning, a dusk run, a thunderstorm, a dance of snow flurries. I saw myself for who I was, who I am, who I might become. Running didn’t just change my physical body: Running changed everything about me. For the first time ever, I caught a glimpse of what my raw determination really looks like, what it can accomplish if put to the test. I’ve known about my determination, my stubbornness, for years — but what has it ever done for me? With real, tangible evidence as to my persistence and grit, I took a long, hard look at myself. And smiled.

Some aspects of 2013 were hard. I struggled to make sense of things that don’t make much sense. I fought for words, for clarity, for understanding, for friendships. I lost some of the battles. But with a greater understanding of who I might very well be am, I came through the thick of it with some semblance of joy and a deep desire to do so much more for others. Running centers me, physically and forcefully reminds me to breathe slow and deep. I like who I am better in the dawning days of 2014 than I probably ever have; I’m not perfect, and some days I still think, “What the heck am I doing? I’ll never get this thing called life right. I’m not worth it.” But then I go for a run, breathe, and remember who I am, who I have been, who I might yet become. I am worth it, whatever it means.

In 2014, I will run my first full marathon: The Pittsburgh Marathon on May 4, 2014. Training started on Monday, and I feel giddy and excited and ready to tackle the hills and valleys — both literal and mental — as I work toward this goal. I chose Pittsburgh for several reasons. Mainly, if I only run one full marathon ever, I want it to be my hometown. I fully acknowledge that the course is challenging, but I can’t imagine marking that achievement anywhere else. I also hope to run the Columbus (Half) Marathon again in October as that particular race just rocked my socks off in 2013. I already think I prefer the 13-mile distance, but I would venture to guess everyone says that before running a full marathon. We’ll see what happens.

Do I have other goals for the year? Of course I do. I’m still shaking out what some of them mean, what they will look like, what I even care to really accomplish personally and professionally. But as I look forward to this blank canvas of a new year, I feel stronger for what I accomplished and endured last year. I can only hope to feel this optimistic at this time next year.

Happy New Year!


Eat Live Be: Rut Rescue 101

Eat Live BeI am decidedly not in a rut, but this week’s theme challenges us talk about ruts and how to get out of them. This is how I got in and out of my last rut: I got really, really sick. I couldn’t breathe or move or eat. I got better. I went back to the gym. The end!

But real ruts are a little more difficult than that, aren’t they? And yes, I was in one prior to the beginning of the year. What changed? Support, a friend willing to meet me at the gym for my gym days and a raging desire to do better by myself. Changing up my workout routine, rewarding myself with positive speak and the occasional treat and generally loving myself for who and where I am at any given time also help me get out of and stay out of ruts.

There’s no concrete advice in that except that whole loving yourself part. It works. It really does.


As I said last week, I’m not checking in this week. Not only am I bloated (yay womanhood!) but yesterday was the Super Bowl. So, pfft. I’m still counting myself -3 total, which is what I was before the weekend. I won’t apologize for my genetic femaleness nor my first real indulgence since the New Year. Yesterday was a holiday for the sports lovers among us. I celebrated. And I hit the gym before 9:00 this morning. Points for me. And I’m going back again this evening for yoga. Points again.

Don’t forget to visit the Eat Live Be Facebook page and check out the other participants. I know several have checked in with progress, so go celebrate with and encourage them.

Sarah at Cucina Bella | Cate at Sweetnicks | Maris at In Good Taste | Chris at Mele Cotte | Faith at Bon Appetit | Kristen at Dine and Dish | Joanne at Eats Well With Others | Casey at The Starnes Family | Patsy at Friends, Family and Food | Claire at Cooking is Medicine | Allison at Sweet Flours| Jen at NJ Epicurean | Jennifer at Lick-a-Plate | Rivki at Healthy Eating for Ordinary People | Sarah at Sarah’s Sweet Creations | Denise and Lenny at Chez Us

Back-to-School: Parties, Resolutions & New Issues

Tomorrow afternoon is our semi-back-to-school day. BigBrother has orientation at his preschool, the one he attended last year with such great success. Due to a scheduling error, LittleBrother will be tagging along. The real first day of school falls on September 2nd, changing our lives yet again.

We have new issues this year, our first real “back-to” school year as last year was the first time BigBrother ever went to school. What are our new issues?

  • Mornings. Last year, BigBrother attended school on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon. We’d eat lunch, hit the potty and take the short drive to preschool. This year? He has to be delivered to school around 8:40. In the morning. Three days a week. Yikes. Now, I know that’s a lot later (and two days less) than some of you. And, yes, I know that BigBrother wakes up at seven-zero-zero (7:00, people) every single day (and earlier on vacation). So it shouldn’t be an issue, right? We’ll see. I spend most mornings doing work in my pajamas. To actually get up, get both boys fed and dressed and then dress myself might take a little getting used to.
  • LittleBrother. Last year, he didn’t ever really notice BigBrother was gone. Late in the year, when I would wake him up from his nap and say that we were going to go get his brother at school, he’d say his name and “cool.” The last few days of school, he demanded that he also wear a backpack to and from school. But, mainly, he napped while his brother was at school. He doesn’t take a morning nap anymore (doesn’t need one with his other amounts of sleep). He’ll be wide awake while brother is gone and likely grumpy about being left out. I will have to combat the grumpies and find new ways to entertain my almost-two-year-old youngest son. Normally BigBrother does the entertaining. I hope I can fill his shoes.

I’m sure other issues will crop up, of course. They always do. Like the Bad Kid who is, of course, in his class yet again. To boot, BigBrother has picked up an attitude over the course of the summer, forgetting to use his manners from time to time. I’m hoping that issue magically fixes itself because I’m so over it.

As for resolutions, I do have a few. Some are for me, some are for the kid going to school and some are for the kid staying home with me.

  • Go to the gym! Our YMCA only offers child care in the morning (9-12) and the evening (4-8). The latter offering doesn’t work with our dinner, playtime, bedtime routine. And as I said above, mornings are rough. However, I figure that since I’m up and out of the house, I should be able to hit the gym at least one (or two?) of those three days, right? That way LittleBrother can have some social time and I can feel more human. Right? Someone say this is a good resolution and that I’ll be able to keep up with it.
  • Work on skills with LittleBrother. Oh, the poor younger child. As I had all the time in the world to devote to BigBrother, he was a bit more advanced in things like colors, letters and numbers. LittleBrother knows some of them but… it’s hard to get one-on-one time with him because someone always butts in and says, “No! That’s green!” How’s a kid supposed to learn? How’s a Mom supposed to find time? While I think some socialization at the gym will also be good for LittleBrother, I do think he’ll vastly benefit from some one-on-one time with me (and FireDad on days he isn’t working). I’m thinking some coloring, painting, dance parties and walks are in our future. His personality is different from that of his older brother so “teaching” him things will have to happen in a different way. Not quite sure how yet but we’ll figure it out as we go. (Also? Potty training? He’s so near it. Soon?)
  • Work on fine motor-skills with BigBrother. He knows his letters and numbers and is basically in the early stages of reading. But scissors? Or gluing small items? Or even really drawing or writing his letters? He’s always in motion so working on those fine motor skills proves to be difficult for him. I don’t ever want to push and pressure and make it the opposite of fun or he simply won’t want to do it and then he won’t ever learn it. As such, I really need to come up with some fun motor skill boosting projects for him. This, once again, is kind of out of my league. I’m not a teacher. I don’t pretend to know what I’m doing over here. But I do recognize that he has a deficiency in this area and I’d feel really guilty if I didn’t do something to help him along. Again, what that is other than cutting something out everyday, I don’t know. Ideas?

So, yes, we have goals for this school year. Also, I will continue working on reading with BigBrother. Every time he learns a new word, he gets very excited and looks for it in everything that we read. This last month and a half of summer have not given us much time to work so I’m hoping the return to a schedule, however early our day starts, provides us with time to devote to those things.

Today, however, we’re starting off the “new year” with a party at my friend’s house. I’ll be honest. It wasn’t my idea. She’s having a “It’s Still Summer” party wherein we plan to celebrate the heat (sadly, it will be 85 today) and use up some of the party stuff from the past year. (Old Halloween crafts, Easter egg hunt and wrapping books we’ll be trading in wrapping paper.) Sometimes it bugs me that my friends are so creative. I am just not. But I’ll mooch off their creativity and have a blast with my kids today.

Speaking of parties, you should head over to School Year’s Eve (which is technically what that is for us today, isn’t it?) and look at the ideas they have for a Back-to-School party for your kids and friends. To boot, you could win $1500 for your local PTA. I’m hoping to get some good shots of the kids today to post for tomorrow (Wordless Wednesday). Then again, I always take my camera to parties for the kids and always forget to pull it out because I’m having too much fun. Hopefully the too much fun someday combines with the thought to utilize the camera. Maybe today?

Next week I do promise to share the gifts that we got for BigBrother for his return to school, the gift we got for LittleBrother to soothe the fact that his brother gets to leave and he’s stuck with Mommy and why I don’t go school clothes shopping until late September. Stay tuned.

(And hey! Are you looking for fire truck backpacks for back-to-school? I just featured three awesome backpacks. Check it out!)