what’s next?

I have no races on the schedule.
Zero, zilch, nada, none!
And quite frankly, I’m starting to feel lost.

When I finished the Pittsburgh half marathon at the beginning of May, I could not wait to be off of a training plan. I was sick of it! Sick of being a slave to a training plan!

My goal after the race, to enjoying running and have F.U.N.!  The truth, I’m not even motivated to run, not even three miles. I’m going to blame the weather as part of the reason why…too rainy or too hot. Of course, I could always run on the TM, but no thank you.

Now, I will give myself some credit, I have been cross training. I’ve been doing BODYPUMP, BODYFLOW, CXWORX, and yoga.  And I’ve enjoyed them! I’ve really missed CXWORX and I’ve enjoyed the yoga classes immensely.

But this running funk needs to change. What I love is there are plenty of local races in my area to keep me on my toes! We have two summer series that have piqued my interest. The first one is the WellSpan Summer Series. It offers a 1/2 marathon, several 5k races, a 10k, and a 10 miler. I’m actually eyeballing the 10k and the 10 miler. Matt ran the 10 miler a few years back while I unofficially ran a section of the race as a training run with my BRF, Holly. The funny thing is it looked like we were leading the race even though we weren’t in the race. Heck, we weren’t even wearing race bibs! When we got close to the finish line we hopped off the course and wrapped up our training run.

Another series that is local that I wish I could do is the Shoe House 5 miler series. There are three 5 mile races in this series. Somehow the idea of racing 5 miles has become appealing to me. It seems to be the “just right” mileage, not too much and not too little. Just enough to challenge me but not kick.my.butt! While this series is in my back yard and cheap, the bummer is I have plans on all the race days in the series. Oh well, maybe next year!

And then there is the fall! To race or not to race and where??? The Baltimore Running Festival in October is close enough to be considered local. It’s about a 50 minute drive from my house and we don’t need to stay over night. The full marathon has been calling my name, but I just don’t know if I can commit to a marathon training plan. Perhaps the half marathon then?

Some other races I’ve been thinking about are:
Hershey Half Marathon 2016: Hershey, PA (local)
Steamtown Marathon 2016: Scranton, PA (as recommended by my BRF)
York Marathon 2017: York, PA (local, literally in my back yard)
Pittsburgh Marathon 2017: Pittsburgh, PA (this is a definite, just not sure on the milage)

So it looks like I have lots of options! If you have run any of these races or are interested in any of them, let me know! Maybe you can help me decide what’s next!


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The Two of Us

She reads blogs on her iPad,
while he watches the Ravens on Monday Night football;
she likes to work in the garden,
he takes care of the yard.
She sips hot tea in the morning,
but he enjoys a cup of black coffee;
at dinner she likes wine,
but a cold beer for him is fine.
She uses her left hand,
he is right-handed;
she is concrete first, creative next,
flip-flop for him-he’s creative then concrete.
She questions everything,
but he goes with the flow;
she’ll worry if it will be okay,
and he says of course it will be!
But in tandem for twenty-five years,
they have found the balance;
she is the yin,
he is the yang;
together forever,
until the end.
 Left Bank


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a celebration list

I love to make lists. I make to-do lists, grocery lists, exercise lists, lists for projects, book lists…heck, the list goes on and on! I have an app for my lists and I keep lists in a journal. If I complete a task that’s not on my list, I sometimes put it on my list just so I can experience the thrill of checking it off my list…I know, I’m not right.

Well, this week I decided to keep a celebration list. Here are a few of the simple, yet meaningful, celebrations from that list.

Sunday’s celebrations,
sleeping in a little extra longer,
then a shopping trip with Maddie to the new At Home store,
finish the day with Matt making pork fried rice for dinner.
Monday’s celebrations,
seeing and feeling the warm sunshine after a rainy weekend,
running a fast 4 miles followed by a relaxing yoga class,
finally concluding the day with tacos for supper.
Tuesday’s celebrations,
another day of the sun basking in the crystal blue sky,
knocking out a 3 mile run,
starting a new book, The War that Saved My Life.
Wednesday’s celebrations,
a trip to the salon for a fresh new haircut and color,
spending time with family,
dinner out on the town celebrating our *25th wedding anniversary.*
Thursday’s celebrations,
embracing the warm weather that has arrived,
discussing summer reading with my students,
heading out to the gym for some strength training and stretching.
Friday’s celebrations,
getting ready for a three day weekend,
knowing that there is less than a week left of school,
picking up take-out for a quick and easy dinner.
Saturday’s celebrations,
waking up extra, extra early to leave for Lake Placid, NY,
spending seven hours in the car chit-chatting with great friends,
a visit to the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery for some pizza and brews.

celebrate list 2
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Forever Treasure

Forever Treasure

forever treasure 3

My photo and poem, Forever Treasure, was inspired by the purple iris perennials in my yard that were gifted to me in 2014 from a friend who has now passed away.  As you can tell, the purple iris and the peonies in the background will always be a reminder to me of our friendship and his love of gardening in the spring.

Thank you Carol at Beyond Literacy for inviting me to add to the Spring’s Seeds Gallery.


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Let It Be Saturday!

This is the day to sleep a little extra longer,
not rely on the subtle chime of the alarm.
Snuggle under the blankets,
allow the sun to rise in the sky.
Let it be Saturday!
This is the day to go for a run,
add a change of scenery
as my feet pound the pavement.
Get those miles in,
without worrying about rushing the run.
Let it be Saturday!
This is the day to make my own agenda,
sprinkle in some errands,
a quick excursion to the grocery store,
maybe cruise into T.J. Maxx.
Then grab a bite for lunch.
Let it be Saturday!
This is the day to bask in the sun,
with a book in my hands,
turning the pages,
getting lost someone else’s journey,
meeting people whom I’ll never meet.
Let it be Saturday!
This is the day to celebrate,
time with family
a special dinner on the deck
as the sun sets
or an evening outing
to a best-loved restaurant.
Let it be Saturday!
This is the day we all need
to unwind,
to chillax,
to just slow down.
Let it be Saturday!
 Join in each Saturday for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.
It’s a time to celebrate the joy!

small steps

I’ve been taking small steps since I wrapped up the Slice of Life March challenge. Small steps in my classroom that is. After finishing the challenge, I decided I would torment myself try blogging with some of my students. Small steps, hopefully leading to big leaps.

The first thing I needed to do was decide on a blogging platform.  I looked at Kidblog and the free version of Edublogs. I actually set up an account at Edublogs, but the free version just was not robust enough to do what I wanted it to do.  Then after I thought about it, I decided against Kidblog because if I was going to pay for a platform, I would just use Edublog because it is similar to the WORDPRESS that I use for my own blog.

But then a change…enter Blogger! I almost feel like in the blogging world it’s WORDPRESS vs. BLOGGER, just like COKE vs. PEPSI, or APPLE vs. PC! I mean I love WORDPRESS, but I decided to give Blogger a try with my students. Yes, I crossed over!

First off, Blogger is *FREE*! My students all have a GOGGLE account which made set-up easy to establish. While it might not be as sophisticated as the paid version of Edublogs, it certainly is manageable. We didn’t spend a lot of time picking templates, colors, fonts, etc. I pretty much set the site up on my end and then added my students as blog authors/contributors. This was easy-peasy and worked out perfect since I was pressed for time. The end of the school year is right around the corner!

We modeled our first post after a series of poems that Amy Ludwig VanDerwater did in the month of April called “Wallow in Wonder!“. It was just brilliant the way she connected poetry to the ever-engaging articles of Wonderopolis.  If you haven’t been to their sites you need to finish reading this post and GET.THERE.TO.CHECK.IT.OUT!

I decided on our first article from Wonderopolis, Why Are They Called Killer Whales? Wonder of the Day #1651. And then, I modeled the framework of the response. I have to admit, when I saw Dana Murphy’s post,  Create Your Own Text: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts, I was like, yesssssss, I just did that with my kiddos.  Here is the link to the mentor text that I created: Oh, Mr. Killer Whale, what if we met? The students then worked on creating their post and drew a graphic or added a picture.

We are currently working on our second post. Once again, I choose the article from Wonderopolis, Why Do Some People Chase Storms? Wonder of the Day #779. I didn’t give my students a formal mentor text, but I did give them some possible titles for their post. They could decide on their own title or choose from one of these:

  • Today I’m Chasing a Storm
  • My Dangerous Hobby
  • When I Grow Up…
  • I’m Just a Storm Chaser

Once they finish the storm chaser post they are going to explore Wonderopolis on their own and create their third post. I’ll be anxious to see what they find and what they create! I hope you have time to take a look at our site.

You can find us at gr8readersgr8writers.blogspot.com.

If you do hop on over, feel free to leave a comment!


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The Best of…

I love the city of Pittsburgh. I had never been there until we went college shopping. Now Maddie happens to go to school there, so I get to visit more frequently.  Quite simply, we have the best of times in Pittsburgh and this past weekend was no exception.

the best city for shopping:
We kicked off our visit with a quick stop at the Pittsburgh Marathon Expo. SO.MUCH.RUNNING.GEAR! Matt bought a new pair of sneakers and a running shirt. Then it was off to Shady Side on Walnut St. Maddie had birthday money so we stopped at Pandora and then went to Lululemon to buy her some running shorts for our 1/2 marathon the next day. We topped it off our trip with some delicious gelato from Mercurio’s.

the best city for dining out:
Saturday evening we had a delightful dinner at LeMont. The atmosphere and the service were excellent. And the view! It was spectacular.  Matt ordered a crab cake, Maddie a fillet, and I had sea scallops.  Dessert was on the house since we were celebrating Maddie’s birthday so she couldn’t resist the chocolate mousse cake.

the best city for running a race:
Sunday was race day! You know we are a family of runners.  Isn’t there a saying that says the family that runs together stays together? Well, maybe I made that saying up! Anyway, this was our second year of racing in Pittsburgh. Last year Matt and I ran the marathon and and Maddie ran the half-marathon. For as hilly as Pittsburgh is, the course is surprising kind and somewhat non-hilly!  This year Maddie and I tackled the half-marathon. The weather was so temperamental on race day and it really played with my mental aspect of racing. We weren’t sure if it was going to rain, thunderstorm, have cold temperatures, or even be a warm day.  One thing we were pretty sure…the sun wasn’t going to shine…and it didn’t. It ended up being warm and drizzly. So much so, that I was actually overdressed for the race.

the best city for site-seeing:
After the race Matt and I headed to Mt. Washington to get a view of the city.  It was magnificent! We could see the finish line of the race at The Point, Duquesne University, and the whole way down to the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Look at those skies though! Now you can see why the weather had me worked up and in a tizzy for the race.  Believe it or not, it only actually drizzled on and off. I can only imagine what our view could have been if the skies were clear and sunny.

the best city for casual dining:
We love to visit South Side Works for casual dining. Matt’s a fan of the Hofbrauhaus House. Me, not so much. But I did enjoy some post-race carb loading (if there is such a thing) and ordered the Hofbrauhaus pretzels and bier cheese for an appetizer. Lunch was a chicken salad sandwich on a croissant-nothing German about that! Matt had the Wurstplatte. Basically it was a sampling of Wursts. He was happy!
So today I’m celebrating the best of Pittsburgh, the time we have spent there, and the memories we have created.
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It’s a time to celebrate the joy!