three choices

May 7th at 5:20 AM…

The alarm sounded. So it was, time to get up, time to lace up, time to race.

But we weren’t feeling it. Matt wasn’t. I wasn’t. Maddie wasn’t. We wanted to stay in bed. We wanted to continue sleeping. Mentally we weren’t there. Blame it on the cold weather, blame it on the chance of rain, blame it on the life happenings at the moment.

We wanted to give up,

but we didn’t. We laced up and headed to the starting line.

7:00 AM…

We stood in the starting corral and we waited and we waited and we waited. Talking was at a minimal. But our mind was speaking, sending us bad vibes even though there was an occasional smile here and an occasional smile there. Snap that selfie. Make it look good for the camera. Our minds told us give in. You can turn around now, if you want.

We wanted to give in,

but we didn’t.

Then we heard those magic words…RUNNERS TAKE YOUR MARK!

7:23 AM…

We were off, off running through the streets of Pittsburgh.

Matt racing in his 8th marathon (26.2 miles),

me racing in my 10th half marathon (13.1 miles),

Maddie racing in her 6th half marathon (13.1 miles)!

We cruised down the streets, up the streets, over the bridges, around the stadiums and there were spectators everywhere! And they were cheering!

Cheering for us! All of us who decided…

not to give up,

not to give in,

but to give it our all!

On May 7th we had three choices: to give up, to give in, or to give it our all. And give it our all we did! When crossing the finish line we were in a state of dismay, but smiles were on our faces. For we knew that when we crossed the finish line, it was so much more than just that. It was the training we completed, the challenges we overcame, and the choices we made.

 

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Matt’s stats

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Amy’s stats

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Maddie’s stats

~~~~~

sol

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the best part of my ( ____ ) world

the best part of my RUNNING world…

Race day! It is right around the corner. As a matter of a fact, it’s Sunday! I will lace up with more than 40,000 runners from 49 states and more than 20 countries to run my 10th 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles). All this will go down in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh. I’ve planned. I’ve complete my training. Some of my training runs I nailed. Some of them I bonked, and some were right where they were suppose to be. What’s left? It’s time to get my mental game on and, of course, pick out which sneakers I will wear.

the best part of my READING world…

Poem in Your Pocket Day! My readers and Mrs. H.’s readers gathered the perfect poems, jotted them down on a pocket, and cut out all those pockets! Our school celebrated by passing out 600+ pocket poems! It was a day centered around sharing and celebrating poetry. Smiles and poetry galore were everywhere!

the best part of my ROCKIN’ MOM world…

This girl! Since we are running in her city, her city of Pittsburgh, I’ll be spending some time with Maddie this weekend. Matt and I will be pounding the pavement and sailing across the bridges as Maddie cheers us on for race day. And, of course, we will try to squeeze in a little celebration for the end of her junior year at college.

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the best part of my RABBIT world…

Story time! Two of my fur kids, Joy and Buddy, enjoy story time. My little Yoshi, on the other hand, decided to just hang back. There’s always one in the crowd who doesn’t participate.

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Joy reading Wally: The Life of a Punny Bunny

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Buddy reading snacking on Wally: The Life of a Punny Bunny

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Yoshi…just chillaxing

So there you have it!

The best part of my world!

Now I’m wondering, what’s the best part of your world?

~~~~~

sol

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What’s Your Marathon?

I’m a runner.

I’ve planned, trained, and completed 4 marathons (26.2 miles). The training plan requires 72 days of training over a span of 18 weeks. It’s an enormous commitment.

And then race day arrives. My mind plays mental games. “Trust in your training, trust in your training,” I whisper to myself again and again. I step up to the starting line and I run. I run up the hills. I glide down them. I use the flat road ahead for recovery.  It’s a roller coaster of emotions and a ping-pong of thoughts the entire time. I exhaust both physical and mental energy. Consequently, this saying that I stumbled upon couldn’t be any further from the truth.

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Enter the Slice of Life Story Challenge. It’s a marathon of writing. Thirty-one days of blogging and sharing life stories during the month of March.

I’ve blogged throughout the year so I’ve trained. I created a rough drafts here, there, and everywhere. I’ve spent time planning what I will write. Some are content rich and some say less but perhaps mean more. Yes, I’ve planned. And I showed up at the starting line on March 1st and have blogged for the last twenty-five days.

On March 23rd I pretty much felt like I was at mile marker 20. I have the topics. I actually have more topics than what I need to complete the challenge. But I’m tired. This marathon of writing is taxing on my mind. I feel like my writing is dead.

Today, March 25th, I feel like I’m at mile marker 22…I’m ready to quit. I’ve told my husband to remind me not to sign up next year. It’s been a balancing act to say the least. But just like running my marathon, I keep.on.going. I keep.on.writing.

Why do I keep on going? I keep on going because next week I know I will have crossed the finish line…too tough to kill. Undoubtably, I will forget about the anguish. What I will have is thirty-one days of memories and thoughts captured and shared, always here to relive and enjoy. I’ve come to realize that we all face marathons in our life in one way or another and we keep plugging away. This month, this challenge has been a marathon of writing, a marathon of writing for me. What’s your marathon?

~~~~~

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This Is Me

Ricochet out of bed at 5:00 AM:

Blogger & Writer: I wake up early to proofread my blog post and publish it. Then I spend some time reading other blogs and leaving some comments. I’ll do some journaling if I’m not working on my blog.

Teacher: I’ll read my school emails, take a look at my teaching schedule, and put any finishing touches on my lesson plans.

Mom: I’m a “mom” to my little fur fam. I’m busy getting their breakfast, cleaning their cages, and letting them run around and wreck havoc on the house.

It’s 8:00 AM:

Teacher/Colleague: I arrive at school and step right into teacher mode. Everything else is pushed aside! I’m busy suggesting books, asking my readers what they are reading, fostering the love of independent reading, and teaching readers to be strategic about their reading. I also a support other teachers in the school by addressing pertinent reading questions and concerns.

School’s out 4:00 PM:

Runner: It’s time to put the rubber to the road and knock out a training run or cross-train. This could be anywhere between a 3 mile run to a 5 mile run, depending on where I am in my training plan. Cross-training consists of strength training, core work, or yoga.

Rushing around at 5:00 PM:

Housewife: I empty the dishwasher, put the trash out, place some laundry in the washing machine or put the laundry away, and pay some bills. I’m going to be truthful here, I rarely start dinner. That’s Matt’s area of speciality. If he doesn’t feel like cooking, I just roll with it and we eat leftovers or eggs.

Winding down from 6:00-7:30 PM:

Wife & Friend: I spend this time chit-chatting with Matt about his day and enjoying dinner, usually over a glass of wine. In between I will be texting or Snapchatting with my family and friends about whatever. I usually send a pic of the scrumptious dinner Matt has prepared. Some nights Matt and I might have a date. Our date would be at the gym attending a yoga class. I know you’re jealous!

Back to my little fur fam from 7:30-8:30 PM:

Mom: Once again I let the fur kids out to frolic around and get some exercise. I do my best to capture some of their antics and post it on their Instagram account. Usually, I’m touching base with Maddie too about her day via text or Snapchat.

Winding down for the day from 8:30-10:00 PM:

Whatever Me: You’ll find me writing in my journal or creating rough drafts for my blog. I *love* to make lists, so I’ll probably be preparing a to-do list, an exercise schedule, or a grocery list. Or perhaps you’ll observe me “reading”. (I have a tendency to read with my eyes shut. ~sigh) I catch up on social media during this time too. Best of all, I’m just chilling with Matt.

This is me. Just little ole me.

~~~~~

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The Lies I Tell Myself

I spend a lot of time thinking about my running. I plan ahead what big races I want to conquer for the year, place them on my calendar, and then start mapping out a training plan.  I’ll admit it, I love doing this. I’m a planner. I also analyze obsess over my statistics. I can tell you how I ran the race, where I fell short, and where I shined.

I log every.single.run. 

I analyze every.single.run.

It annoys my family, I’m sure!

My mentality for running the race is just go out there and give it your best shot. You get what you get and you don’t get upset is my motto, most of the time. I show up and while I *never* say it on race day, I’m always hungry for a personal record/personal best.

Since my races for 2017 are already planned, I’ve been thinking about 2018 (I know, it’s only March of 2017!) and what I would like to achieve. The word marathon (26.2 miles) whispers in my ear.

But not just any marathon.

I keep thinking about running a marathon that would enable me to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is the marathon of all marathons that runners strive to race. It has strict qualifying times and even if you qualify there’s no guarantee you’ll get in the race.

But here’s the funny part…I want to qualify, but I really am not that obsessed about running the Boston Marathon. I just want to say, “I qualified!”

Oh yes, I’ve analyzed my stats and I’ve been on the race predictor calculators a few numerous times. I’ve calculated worse case scenarios and best case scenarios. The possibility for success is close; it’s achievable!  I’ve even picked out the race I would run to qualify and I’ve considered working with a coach. So, what’s holding me back?

It’s the lies I tell myself!

  • You are way too old for this! What are you thinking? Give it up!
  • You’re not good enough and probably won’t make it anyway, so why try?
  • You’ll have to do speed work to train for this. You can’t do speed work. You hate it.
  • You don’t like someone else telling you how to train. You will need to be a slave to a coach and someone else’s training plan.
  • You don’t have time for this. You have other priorities you should devote your time to.

Truth be told, we all have lies we tell ourselves.

Those lies can grow like weeds and take over. So why not practice lie management and shift the mindset? A growth mindset that would allow those weeds to turn to bright and beautiful wildflowers. Wildflowers that would takeover, look up and smile at the sun. A mindset that would look like/sound like this:

  • You are blessed that you can get out there and run with those in their 20s, 30s, heck, even those in their early 40s! Go get them!
  • It’s better to say I tried than to have regrets of never trying. If I fail or if I succeed at least I can say I gave it my best.
  • Speed work will take you to the next level. It’s what you need to give you that edge.
  • Hiring a coach will give you the expertise you need, a fresh new perspective!
  • You make time for what you value. You’ll figure it out, you always do.

I’m in the 45-49 age bracket and Boston says I need this:

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My race predictor calculator says I should be able to run this:

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~~~~~

My race predictor believes in me more than I do.

I guess it’s time to grant myself some grace and stop telling lies to myself.

~~~~~

SOL

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Marooned in the Margin & Caught on the Curb

True confession…I haven’t been writing. Well, I have been writing, but barely. And honestly, I haven’t felt like writing. I guess you could say I am…

marooned in the margin.

The ideas are there. There is no shortage of them. But, I just haven’t had made time to write. Yes, I am …

marooned in the margin.

And then there is the Slice of Life writing challenge. Just around the corner in March. Some days I’m all in ready to accept the challenge. But then on other days, I know I am just going to shy away from it all and throw in the towel. Yes, I am…

marooned in the margin.

True confession…I have barely been running. My weekly mileage is at an all-time low of about six miles per week. I guess you could say I am…

caught on the curb.

I have been cross-training though.  Mixing it up with a little yoga, a little core work, and a little strength training. But the running, well, I’ve found an excuse here and an excuse there to legitimize skipping a run. Yes, I am…

caught on the curb.

And then there is the Pittsburgh half marathon. Just around the corner in 12 weeks. I’m finding it difficult to get motivated to complete my training runs. Yes, I am…

caught on the curb.

But then I stepped forced myself on that treadmill and I ran.

It was magical!

I fell into my own little world.

My running world,

my writing world.

And while I ran, I wrote.

Yes, I write while I run, in my head anyway.

After 3.1 miles, my run was complete and my piece was written.

I bounced off that treadmill.

The words spewed out from mind,

to my fingers,

to my computer.

My run was complete.

My piece was written.

Marooned in the margin,

caught on the curb,

hopefully, no more!

sometimes the most difficult part is just showing up! and sometimes just showing up is enough! ~me

SOL

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What Worked for Me in 2016

It’s that time of the year when reflections are in full swing! I’m usually reading reflections of others, but this year I decided to write and share my own. So, here they are.

  • Journaling & Blogging: I ordered an Erin Condren journal at the end of 2015. I really didn’t have high aspirations for it when I purchased it. I just knew I wanted one. As I moved through 2016, I started to dabble in writing morning pages. Once I saw how rewarding my journaling was, I decided to challenge myself and fill the entire journal. While finding time to journal can be difficult and perhaps a deterrent at times, I always enjoy going back and rereading what I wrote. I even branched out and added some cute little doodles here and there in the journal. I’ve found it is a great way to capture those magical moments and celebrate all that is marvelous in my life. Likewise, blogging has worked for me in 2016. Not only do I enjoy reading the blog posts of others, but I have enjoyed sharing “slices of my life” right here on my blog.
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Erin Condren Journal

  • Essential Oils: Yes, I love them! I was originally introduced to them by a dear friend who is no longer with me. He would always be telling me which ones I needed for this or which ones I need for that. I’ve since expanded my collection to include a diffuser and a wider variety of essential oils. I love to use them at night for a peaceful rest or if I feel a cold is lurking inside of me. I also enjoy using my diffuser in the bathroom. It gives it a “spa-like” feel and well, makes me feel special!
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My diffuser and doTerra essential oils

 

  • Volunteering at the SPCA: In 2016 I spent more time volunteering in the Small Animal Room (SAR) at the SPCA. The SAR houses mostly Guinea pigs & rabbits. My work in the SAR pretty much consists of cleaning the poop out of the cages and feeding the animals. And while this may seem minuscule, it means a world of difference to the animals who have traveled a challenging road in their short life. I’ve also had the opportunity to volunteer for the Meet & Greet adoptions sessions at our local PetSmart. But the most rewarding part…the kisses and loves I get to give to these precious animals!
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SPCA

  • Instagram: This is my new social media go-to or should I say time-waster! One of the main reasons I have enjoyed it so much it the positivity of my IG feed. I enjoy the many positive quotes I capture, the inspiration from others, and the book recommendations that are posted. Oh, and yes, I adore following all those crazy rabbit-loving folks that share countless photos of their fur babies!

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  • Running & Cross-Training:  While my milage in 2016 was a bit lower than the previous two years, I actually participated in more races and managed to squeeze out two more Personal Records (PR).  Perhaps I can accredit this to the Yoga/BODYFLOW that I have incorporated into my weekly exercise routine. I’m not sure how or why I am able to accomplish what I have, but I’ll just say it’s working and I’m good with that!
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cross-training

 

  • My One Little Word: For the last three years a One Little Word (OLW) has chosen me. In 2016, my OLW was “practice”. This has helped me maintain some sort of balance in my life by allowing me to focus on what is most important for me and for my family. I’m forever grateful that Matt is always there by my side by supporting me in my endeavors. Stay tuned for my OLW of 2017!
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2016 OLW: practice

What worked for you in 2016?

I’d love for you to take a moment and share!

~~~~~

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SOL