nine celebrations for the month of september

Balance, serenity, and focus…that describes my September. Overall it was a quiet month for me, but I have much to celebrate. In no particular order, here’s why I’m throwing some confetti as I say good-bye to September.

  • This Is Us is back on NBC on Tuesday evenings! I don’t watch much television, or should I say television series, but I do completely enjoy this series. I was like a child anxiously awaiting for 9:00 PM to arrive so I could catch episode #1. It did not disappoint!
  • K-cups! I purchased some K-cups just for me. I don’t drink coffee, but I do enjoy Cafe Escapes Chai Latte. It’s oh-so delicious! It’s my guilty pleasure in the morning as I begin my day at school.
  • Books! There are some new books on my radar for the month of September: The Little Book of Hygge (hoo-ga) and Braving the Wilderness. Both books speak to me on different levels. That’s the thing about books, when they connect to you, you just devour them!
  • My Fitbit! I continue to be just a wee bit obsessed with my Fitbit. It’s a good obsession though! I’ve gained control of my hydration and my overall sleep has improved. The sleep issue is HUGE! I’m so happy that more times than not I am finally gaining control of my sleep patterns and the amount of hours I rest each night. There are other perks to my Fitbit, but I’ll spare you the details for now. Truthfully, I could do an entire post just on my Fitbit!
  • Journaling! I received a journal last Christmas from a dear friend. It’s titled Fit Happens (wink, wink!) It’s a gratitude journal and it has proven to be a great way for me to reflect on my day. I’ve been journaling in it in the evening and I think it is a nice way to wrap up my day. I heart the way it touches upon various aspects of my day and it has a well-rounded approach. I just haven’t been able to keep up with my “morning pages” so this allows me to keep up with my writing and reflections at the end of my day.
  • Caps off to new pens! I have another obsession —> my Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel pens. They write oh-so smooth, come in a nice variety of colors, and do NOT smear for this left-handed girl! I heart them too!
  • 1/2 Marathon training! I’m excited for my upcoming 1/2 marathon in October. During September I was able to complete *all* of the training runs that I scheduled on my new plan. It goes without saying that I’m proud of this accomplishment. After the race, I’m looking forward to mixing my fitness up a bit. It’s time to get back into my cross-training routine.
  • Fall is here! The temperatures are finally cooler! This is fabulous for the runner in me. I certainly enjoyed the sunshiny days, but the heat and humidity definitely made my running a challenge, an enormous challenge! The cooler temperatures are so much more conducive to withstanding a 10, 11, or 12 mile run!
  • #mustreadin2017! I only have two more books to read on my #mustreadin2017 list. They are Two Naomis and Wonderstruck. Wonderstruck will be out in the movie theaters in October so it’s down to the wire that I finish it ASAP.

And that’s a wrap for my nine September celebrations!

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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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Slice of Life

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races, races, races!

In August I raced…

who was there: Livvy & Me

what was my time & pace: 1 hour, 25 minutes, 42 seconds @ 8:37 pace

where the race was: York County Heritage Rail Trail

when did the race happen: August 27, 2016

why the race was awesome: I clinched 2nd place for my age group! I won my very own 2nd place beer glass. It’s kind of funny since I don’t even drink beer. And, this was a 10 mile personal record (PR) for me.

how many miles: 10 long, flat miles

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In September I raced…

who was there: Sandy & Me

what was my time & pace: 25 minutes, 13 seconds @ 8:04 pace

where the race was: New Hope, PA (Run Now, Wine Later)

when did the race happen: September 18, 2016

why the race was awesome: It was a *short* race and we were served wine and o’dourves after our race. I ran this race last year and both years I had the exact same time. Just think that’s kind of interesting.

how many miles: 3.1 miles (5K)

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In October I raced…

who was there: Sandy & Me

what was my time & pace: 1 hour, 49 minutes, 25 seconds @ 8:20 pace. Yes, I crushed it!

where the race was: Hershey, PA

when did the race happen: October 16, 2016

why the race was awesome: I set another 1/2 marathon personal record (PR) for myself and came in 13th for my age group! The course was hilly, but I pushed myself and can’t even believe I achieved another PR.

how many miles: 13.1 miles (1/2 marathon)

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And in November I will race again (Turkey Trot 5k),

but in December I will rest!

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I Didn’t Want To…

It was Sunday morning…

I didn’t want to get up at 5:00 AM,

but I did.

I didn’t want to eat breakfast at 5:30 AM,

but I did.

I didn’t want to put on my running gear,

but I did.

I wanted to stay in bed,

under the covers.

I wanted to eat a leisurely breakfast,

peruse my book.

I wanted to snuggle with the fur kids,

steal a kiss or two, or three,

but I didn’t.

It was Sunday morning…

I was out the door before 7:00 AM.

I ran and I ran and I ran.

I heard a chorus of crickets,

and the cicadas sing.

I caught a glimpse of a gaggle of geese.

I watched the fog fade and the sun ascend.

Then I spotted Geneva,

pushing her walker,

down her driveway,

smiling,

waving,

yelling, “You’re so fast!”

And then there was Robert with his Golden Retriever, Max,

remarking, “You sure are a dedicated runner!”

So I ran and I ran and I ran.

I conquered those 11 miles.

I didn’t want to, but I did!

Finished, fulfilled, finalized!

No regrets, no ruefulness!

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11 mile training run for Hershey 1/2

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On My Radar

This week in celebrating what’s on my radar of life!

On my running radar:

I will finish week #5 of the training plan for my upcoming 10 miler race, which is on August 27th. My week will round out with me running a total 20 miles in the heat and humidity.  Hopefully, Sunday will be cooler for my 8 mile long run. I can honestly say the temperatures are crushing my pace, but I’ll continue to push through. I am happy though that I ran a 4 miler this week and did break through the brick wall of heat. I also got in some cross-training this week of Yoga, BODYFLOW, BODYPUMP, and CXWORX.

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breaking the brick wall

On my reading radar:

You know it’s a great book when I finish it *fast*, since I’m the world’s slowest reader! Last week I finished Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. It is geared toward the young adult reader and reminded me of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. In fact, I liked Yoon’s book more so than Green’s. This week I’ll be wrapping up to I Will Always Write Back by Alifirenka & Ganda. It’s a compelling true story of a friendship from two different worlds. It’s an awe inspiring memoir that truly makes me appreciate the simple things of my life.

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two must reads

On my rockin’ mom radar:

The countdown is on! Maddie’s summer here at home is quickly coming to a halt – only one more week before she’s back at school. We have been busy shopping for her first-time apartment. I’m enjoying our time together shopping and the time we’ve been spending together at the gym. She’s a great workout buddy too!

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yoga buddies

And that’s a wrap for this runner, reader, and rockin’ mom!

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 Join in each Saturday for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.
It’s a time to celebrate the joy!

thirty days, just thirty days!

So, I said, “yes”! Yes that is to the Whole 30 challenge journey. While it’s been in the back of my mind, I finally decided to make the commitment. The commitment to eat whole foods that taste good and that are good for you-for thirty days, just thirty days. I have asked myself why do the the Whole 30 challenge and honestly I’m not quite sure. So then I replied with a why not. I mean why not do the Whole 30 challenge. Perhaps it’s the fact that Matt will be doing the challenge and I don’t want to be left out. Seriously though, I have nothing to lose and much to gain; I hope!

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What I’m really hoping is that it will help with my sleep, or truthfully, lack there of. I have absolutely no problem falling asleep, but staying asleep is another issue. You see my body only seems to want to sleep for about five hours and then I’m awake, wide awake. By the time I’m ready to fall back asleep, well, then it’s time to rise & shine. Topple that with the fact that I would love to take a nap at about 4:00 pm everyday makes for a very nerve-wracking sleep pattern. That’s my biggest goal for the challenge beside the fact that I want to eat healthier.

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Now that I have said “yes”, I do have some concerns so I want to get them out there. They need to be out there so I can start to wrap my mind around them. My first concern is what am I going to do when I need a quick meal? Pasta is just about always my go to meal when I need something fast and easy. Yes, I LOVE Easy Mac, and I’m not going to lie! I also enjoy cheese and yogurt if I want to pretend I’m making a healthy choice. I’ll be okay giving up bread, um…I think, and I love a bowl of ice cream before I go to bed so I’ll need to find a new night time snack. Perhaps, bananas. I tolerate them but never really look forward to eating them – a bowl of ice cream vs. a banana? Hummm…what would you choose? Well, maybe an apple with some almond butter. That’s a possibility too.

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What else is on my mind? I guess I’m worried about what do we will do when friends want us to go to out to eat. I know… invite them over to eat at our house is what we’ll do. That would be a good alternative. I know that our saving grace will be Matt’s culinary skills. I am so fortunate to have a true chef that studied the culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America. As Matt and I go through our Whole 30 journey, I’ll be sure to share his creations here on the blog!

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Then there is the fact that I do have a conference scheduled only three days into my Whole 30 journey. Thankfully I have some time to think about this and plan accordingly. Also my friend Holly has already completed one round of Whole 30 so I will be seeking her guidance and expertise for those initial days and throughout the thirty days.

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The last issue on my mind is meal prep. As I alluded earlier, I’m concerned about what to do for quick and easy food. This is where meal prep will be important. It will help when when I think there is nothing to eat and it will help me for when I need to eat something quick before a workout or before a run. I’m thinking Sunday, of course, to make sure snacks are prepared and to make sure meals are planned for the week. Breakfast will be easy and Matt will be able to whip something up for dinner lickty-split. I’m just not sure about lunch yet, but I still have a lot of reading to do so I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

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So it’s official! He said “yes” and she said “yes”! The start date for our journey is July 11, 2016, and our journey will end on August 9, 2016. We got this…thirty days, just thirty days!

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we got this!

you can do hard things! yes, you can!

I have lots of catch phrases, or mantras if you would like to call them that. I’ve picked them up along the way from here and there. Maybe it was a line I lifted from a book or something that somebody said that just stuck with me.
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Today I am celebrating doing hard things. I wish I could say I owned the celebrations, but I don’t. They belong to Matt – his dedication, his determination, his achievements.
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Last weekend we embarked on a trip to Cambridge, Maryland where Matt competed in his fourth half IRONMAN. A half IRONMAN consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 run. It’s no joke. These are serious endurance athletes going out there for a total of 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running. Then top that off with extreme summer heat and some wind gusts and you have to remind yourself that you can do hard things.
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We were up at 4:00 AM to be race-line ready for the day. You know you’re an IRONMAN when you go to bed the night before and it’s still light out but you wake up and it’s dark! It’s crazy, but you can do hard things!
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pre-race photo op

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He promptly started his swim on schedule at 7:32 AM. The water and sunrise was absolutely breath taking, but it was a sign that it was going to be a hot one for the day. The goal, swim as fast as you can to get to the bike, as fast as you can.
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The bike course is flat, flat as a pancake. Some may say that’s great, no hills to climb, but that also means no hills to coast – peddling, peddling, peddling for 56 miles in the scorching sun. Topple that with riding straight into a headwind means little relief. Matt crossed into transition with sweat flinging from him, but he crossed safely ready to tackle the third and last leg of his IRONMAN – the 13.1 miles of running.
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wearing a smile

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At this point in the race it was now about noon and the sun was burning bright. Again, the course is flat and there was little shade if any. It was a loooong 13.1 miles. But, he did it!
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IRONMAN finisher!

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Now the celebrating doesn’t end here. A year ago Matt decided to embark on a running streak. His streak was to run, at least two miles, everyday for 365 days. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! That meant NO.REST.DAYS! Fuse the running streak with strength training, 1/2 marathon training, triathlon training, and life and it makes for quite a challenge! But again, he did it and I am so proud of him!
running streak
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I often wonder why we are brave, why we put ourselves out there, and why we would purposely decide to do hard things. But, I know. I know why. It’s the crossing of the finish line, whatever finish line you may choose to cross. After the finish line is crossed, the anguish dissipates. For it’s only a matter of time before you accept the challenge again.
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So today I celebrate Matt.
What the mind can conceive, the body will achieve.
You can do hard things!
Yes, you can!
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 Join in each Saturday for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.
It’s a time to celebrate the joy!