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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Learning Curve

I am so excited, because I just learned how to edit an embedded frame for my school website.

Boo-ya!

You want to see, don't you?
I thought so.
Okay.


Pretty rad, right? I am SO EXCITED. And I wanted to share it with the 18 of you that read this blog. Thanks for being there.


Oh -- and about that whole running thing?
I ran yesterday for 1.75 miles in the COLD, and I feel pretty good today. My foot barely hurts at all! But I am really certain that my current cold weather gear is NOT going to cut it. I was REALLY cold on the entire run. I did stop to walk for a little bit in the middle, and I know that I chilled significantly during that time and then never really warmed back up. But the air didn't really bother my lungs, which is fabulous. I was worried about that!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I just learned from one of my SparkPeople friends about an AMAZING event coming up next week.

It is a FREE teleconference put on by the International Association of Women Runners (IAWR), and JEFF GALLOWAY is the keynote speaker. There are so many different speakers/sessions, and most of them are scheduled during lunch breaks (12 PM EST) or in the evening, and if you can't listen LIVE, then you can listen to the mp3 recordings that will be available after the event.

I am so excited about this event!

Go check out the link and sign up!!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

UGH.

I am so disappointed.

I ran yesterday. It was great! It was slow, and I needed to take breaks fairly often, because WOW it hardly takes any time at all to lose your endurance and strength -- especially for a newbie runner like me! It felt so great to be running again!

BUT----- as soon as I got out of the car to pick up the boys from daycare (35 minutes post run) I realized that all of the stretching that I did immediately after did not prevent the plantar fasciitis from acting up. My specific pain is NOT my heel -- it is the end of my arch, on the padded part on the inside of my heel. OUCH. It still hurts today, even after wearing the brace for a bit last night.

So I am walking as much as I can throughout the day, and just trying to become acclimated to the pain. I am seething with frustration.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Running Headbands, Running in General

A person that over analyzes things to begin with being forced to rest to recover is never a good thing. I find myself worrying about getting re-injured if I try to run again too soon. Then I find myself worrying about how well I will be able to run -- or *if* I will be able to run at all. I fought so hard through the Couch to 5K program this summer so to be sidelined with plantar fasciitis, a cold, and now a knee thing, and a second cold. It is so frustrating. I tried to exercise -- doing my favorite 30 Day Shred video, and it destroyed my left knee. It has taken days to get it feeling back to normal. :(

Today I really want to try to get out there, but my cold has descended into my chest. Argh.

Ok.
Now I want to talk about a very controversial topic. Okay. It isn't controversial at all. I was joking.

But, in all SERIOUSness, I was over the moon excited to see sweatybands represented at the vendor expo at my last 5K. Seriously. I spotted the familiar font from across the field, and RAN (maybe even SKIPPED) over there. I picked out a gorgeous headband, and then was convinced to try a different one, because it was "new." That doesn't matter. What does matter is that..... I can't make it look good on me. :( I don't like how it looks with my hair DOWN, I don't like how it looks when I wear my hair UP. I am so disappointed. And it definitely doesn't work like I had hoped in the "sweat soaking" department. So for $18, it has definitely been the MOST expensive piece of running gear (besides my shoes and Nike+), and the LEAST EFFECTIVE. I guess I am going to stay away from the wide headbands, and I am going to support T of Racing with Babes and her etsy shop. Her headbands are absolutely adorable, and more than HALF the price of the sweatybands. We just don't have ANY extra money right now, or I seriously would already own about seven of them. (Especially the pink and lavender one... it is so beautiful.)

And just an update on the home-front--
Soccer Boy (age 4) is snuggled next to me on the couch, and Cuddle Bug (almost 8 months!!!) is rolling around on the floor trying to find anything other than the dozen toys around him to play with. I adore my family!!!



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 13, 14, 15 and 16

Oh my word.
I had such grand hopes when I started this project! "I will become a daily blogger," I said to myself. Yeah. Right. That's worked out well, hasn't it?

Which brings me to things I am thankful for number 13. Humor. I love dry, almost sarcastic, but not quite, humor. I love picking up on jokes that the people who are not paying as close attention miss. If you ever watched Gilmore Girls, then you know what I like. The one-liners -- the obscure hilarious reference. Yup. I love it.


Number 14 -
New adventures. Seriously. Something crazy huge is happening in our little family. (No, I am not pregnant.) It is really exciting, and we are sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting and watching to see how it all unfolds.

Number 15 -
My husband, whose birthday was yesterday. Happy birthday, sweetie! I can't believe that I didn't even write on your WALL on facebook yesterday.... facebook and I spend even less time together than my blog and I have!!

Number 16 -
New books to read!! Yay!!!!!! I love when the UPS truck shows up with a delivery from CBD! It turns out that the bargain books were kind of a... um... not what I had in mind. At least they were only a dollar or two, right? But, the other books are already making me happy!

Recommitted

"Im not telling you it is going to be easy- I'm telling you its going to be worth it." -Art Williams


My eating has been out of control. Combine that with the fact that my plantar fasciitis has not gone away completely, and now it seems like it is resulting in KNEE pain as well, I have not exactly been active, either.

I am definitely an emotional/boredom eater. Hunger is RARELY the reason that I eat. I eat because it is lunch time. I eat because there is food that I like in the house. I eat because there ISN'T food that I like in the house.

So for me, counting calories can be useful, but it doesn't get at the real problem. The REAL problem for me is WHY I am eating. And the fact that if I am eating when I am not hungry, then..... um.... why the heck am I eating in the first place? There are more implications of a spiritual nature as well. (If I do share, because this is MY blog, it is because this is my own journey. I would never force my beliefs down your throat. Just sayin'. ) So, because I had experienced success a few years ago doing an online study at Setting Captives Free, and I knew that the structure, and grounded theology and accountability were exactly what I needed at this point, I signed up to take the course again. I already feel more optimistic, excited and happy.
The study itself is all about how to have an appropriate relationship with food. Food = fool. So -- yes, it is intuitive eating, but with a spiritual element included.

The hardest thing for me is definitely going to be to wait for hunger -- especially since my classes are right back to back on top of each other, and I usually have to scarf food down quickly or miss my chance entirely to get lunch from the cafe in the teachers room. Today, however, I brought stuff for lunch, so I am prepared whenever I get stomach rumbles. When I actually commit to waiting for hunger, I don't GET HUNGRY. When I am not thinking of it, I feel ravenous around 10:30, which means that it is most likely BOREDOM or ROUTINE.
Interesting.

And... since I am once again BEHIND on my days of thanks posts, there will be a massive thankful post coming up later today.

Ciao!



Friday, November 12, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 9, 10, 11 and 12

OH My-lanta have I gotten behind on this!

Here we go.

Day 9 -- Thankful for being the director of the community band in the town that I teach in. Even though it means that Tuesday nights are .... a region below Earth that is full of fiery brimstone and bad things. Seriously. I leave school, drive home, pick up the boys from daycare, feed them dinner, drive BACK to school. (35 minutes each way!!) However, the people in this group are just SO much fun! They are the breath of fresh air that I need when I am tired of children that talk over me and don't pay attention when I am giving them instruction.

Day 10 -- NetFlix Instant.

Day 11 -- Paid Holidays! For the first time in our marriage, my husband has a job that he has benefits AND paid Holidays! And not just the two or three big ones.... he gets all of them, because he is also working for a school. Yesterday was super awesome because we were together the whole day! Yay! It is so nice to have holidays off together.

Day 12 -- It's FRIDAY!! It has, of course, felt like Monday all day because we had the day off yesterday. So every time I remember that it is Friday, I get a little THRILL! :) Please remember from Day 1 that I truly, truly do love my job. But... I love my family more. Weekends and Holidays mean FAMILY TIME!!! So happy!

Running Update, because I know you have all been on the edge of your seat.

I belong to dailyMile. (If you do too, then look me up -- mdawg722)
I love this site. It is a social fitness site, and has tons of information to help you track your running, biking, swimming, anything fitness goals. I love reading about other people's training, and being inspired and encouraged by people who are both at my beginning status, or those who are out owning the roads in pursuit of BQs. In fact, it was on dailyMile that I first heard about BQ and then researchedwhat a BQ is. I would tell you, but.... a little bit of work never hurt anyone.

Now I started this post on Tuesday, November 9th. I cannot remember why I wanted to start out with talking about dailyMile. But, I did, and I am always on the hunt for more runners to follow, so I went with it.

So the plantar fasciitis is definitely improving. I can wear my regular shoes again. I have been running 2 to 3 times a week. On those runs I can definitely tell that I have lost some of my endurance and stamina. But, I am not going to stress about it. I am just going to get out there and run as often as I can, and if I don't even run a mile? At least I got out there at all. I have a tendency to expect these ridiculous things from myself, based on comparing myself with people that the only thing that I have in common with them are a) I am human, b) I have legs and c) I am on dailyMile.

If I am going to compare myself to people I need to be looking for people a little bit more closely related to my circumstances and situation. For example:

1) Mother of two pre-school age children. (age 4 and 7 months)
2) Obese (GAH! I hate that word!) - needing to lose 8o - ish pounds.
3) Recovering from plantar fasciitis.
4) Living in the Northeast, where it now gets dark at 4pm. Or it will be in a couple of weeks.
5) NEWBIE runner - did C25K program in May/June.


Now-- you tell me. Do those criterion seem to line up at all with those who have been running for several years, and who are training for marathons, and are in peak health?

Nope.
So, I have been giving myself lots of grace, and freedom to just get out there and run, and to stop qualifying and quantifying everything. Just get out there, and ENJOY it. Because if I can ENJOY it, then I will CONTINUE to run, and while I am losing the weight and firming up, I can be slowly building up a base that will prepare me for 10Ks and beyond.

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 8

Love.

I am so thankful that my boys know that they are loved. Soccer Boy has the sweetest heart. (He also has a typical 4 year old "I can do that if I WANT to" attitude sometimes, but no one is perfect.) He often times will stop playing and just look at us and say, "Mommy, I love you." He shows affection to us, to his brother, to his friends. It is a beautiful thing to know that we have broken the cycle of the violence and indifference that characterized my husband's childhood. Every day this summer, at dawn's first light, Soccer Boy would RACE into our room and ask, "Mommy? Is Cuddle Bug awake?" (Of course, the nicknames are a new thing. So he actually just said his brother's name. You know, just going for accuracy here.) " Can I see him?" Oh it melted this Mommy's heart BIG TIME.

And then don't even get me started on the look on Cuddle Bug's face as he is watching his older brother. It is just PURE adoration. It gives me chills, and happy goose bumps. :) And makes me feel like rainbows and sunshine.

Parenting is such an awesome (and by awesome I don't mean "dude, that is totally rad." I mean "wow. I can't believe that I am in charge of molding a human LIFE." You know. Like FULL. Of. AWE.) responsibility. I wish that I was a better mother. I wish that I wasn't so impatient. I wish that I loved to cook, and loved to keep our house clean. I wish that I was good at thinking of art projects and creative things to do. But what I am good at? That is pretty important too.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 6 and 7

Day 6 --
I am so completely and utterly grateful for lazy Saturday mornings. We haven't had one here in months! Well... Not as a whole family, anyway. My husband works an evening shift. He goes in at 2pm, and is done at 10:30pm. Most times I am already in bed, and dead asleep by the time he comes home. You know, the whole having an infant that doesn't sleep through the night and having to get up really, really, really early to go to school and all that stuff. So for real, it feels like there are weeks that my husband and I don't even get to talk to each other until the weekend. ESPECIALLY if I happen to be busy during the two breaks that he gets during his work shift, and I am not available to take his call. That happened two or three times this week. :(

Being a single mom in the evenings is hard. We have a pretty good routine right now, but I wish that I had the energy and desire to do better meals for Soccer Boy and myself. Too often I stick to what is easy, which has led to him becoming quite a picky eater. Oh well... One thing at a time, right?

Anyway. Weekends are precious, and wonderful, and always, always, always go by too quickly. But I am thankful for them!


Day 7 --
I am thankful for Mexican Food. Well.... truthfully, I am thankful for ethnic food. I love all types of Asian food: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese/Sushi; Indian (like India the country, not Native American), and European Food: Italian, Greek (hold the olives, please), even German and Austrian food. And if we are being honest, I really just am a fan of all food in general.

I love food.
That is why I find myself with the daunting task of needing to lose 80-ish pounds. But you know what? Even though I lost my mojo a bit recently, I will find it again. When I am again able to run regularly without my plantar fasciitis flaring up, I know that my head will be in the place that it needs to be in to make healthier choices and to have a bit more (well, any at all would be an improvement) common sense regarding portion control.


So to recap:
Day 6 - Thankful for my weekends.
Day 7 - Thankful for ethnic food, and all food

Friday, November 5, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 5

Classical Music

Romantic and Post-Romantic Period.

There is nothing that can soothe my ruffled/stressed/tired feathers like a Hungarian Waltz by Brahms, or a String Serenade by Dvorak. Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony heals broken places in my heart, whether I realized they were there or not.

I used to play trombone with a local (and by local, I of course mean an HOUR AWAY since I live in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE) semi-professional orchestra. I gave it up after Soccer Boy was born, when at a dress rehearsal for a concert I looked over and saw him screaming in the infant seat and I couldn't even HEAR him because the music was so loud. And this was a child that LOVED music -- but even this was too much to ask of my 3 month old little person. I finished my obligation for that concert series, and then resigned from the group.

The beautiful thing is that one month later I was asked to play trombone for the Maine State Ballet Orchestra's production of the Nutcracker. I have been doing it ever since! It is two weekends a year, and it ALMOST fills the orchestral music performing void in my life!

I got my music for this year in the mail this past week. Yay! I am so excited!

The really, really cool thing? I know-- this is too much to bear. My cousin will be dancing in ALL OF THE PERFORMANCES this year!! Her first year, 3 or 4 years ago, she WAVED TO ME FROM THE STAGE. During BOTH PERFORMANCES that she was in! Oops. At least she was cute, right? She is getting fitted for her toe shoes this year!!! I love that she and I have this in common! (She is in 5th grade this year).

So- to review.
I am thankful for classical/symphonic music, the Maine State Ballet Orchestra, and my cousin K who I will get to see a lot during the Nutcracker weekends, and classical radio stations everywhere!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 4 (a day late)

My brain is nearly completely fried.
Last night my school hosted auditions for the 7th and 8th grade honors music festival.
It went very well, and I learned an awful lot.
I am really, really glad that it is over.

Yesterday was chaos in preparation, and I did not get home (with my two sons!) until 10pm last night. I slept through my alarm this morning and haven't had any coffee yet.
I am working on the solution to that last one right now!

So.
What am I thankful for?

Being able to cross things OFF of my to do list.
I am grateful for the abundance of help that we had last night.
I am grateful for my high school students that came over and helped and took over in areas that needed it. I am grateful for the parents that baked yummy treats, and for my friend Sharon for taking ownership of the concessions part of the evening.

Did I mention that I learned a lot? We have hosted the actual festivals before, but not auditions. They are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. We had WAY TOO MUCH FOOD. :( Oh well. Learning experience. I just hope that at the end of the day we even made a profit!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 3

My Sister, Stephanie!

You were the most adorable little girl. You had white blond curls (after Aunt Fonda gave you a perm) and you were so much fun. I did really love you. At first. And then you stabbed me with a fork, told me my french horn playing sounded like a cow, hit yourself really hard and tried to make Dad believe it was me... (the list goes on.) And in turn, I did what any older sister is SUPPOSED to do... I tried to make your life equally as miserable.

One of my favorite memories is when I was working on a school project with two guy friends and you were running around the house, vaulting onto the couches in headstand fashion. They thought you were really funny.

Then I remember when you were in middle school. It was the first time that we actually started getting along on a REGULAR basis. I think that it was because I FINALLY GREW UP. I am so sorry that I was such a brat to you for your formative years. I love you so much, and I treasure your friendship now. You are an amazing woman, and a fabulous Auntie! I have loved watching you with my boys, and seeing how much they love you back.

Have a WONDERFUL birthday today, and a great year!
SO much love,

Meredith

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 2

SEASONS

I absolutely adore living in a part of the country that has seasons. I love each of them! Living in New England, I see the beautiful colors of fall, and then in Spring I see eleven different shades of green! This world is a magical place!

Becoming a runner has helped me to appreciate the world around me more. I have become more aware of my surroundings. It helped me to really enjoy the summer, where before I used to hole up inside out of the heat. This year I was plugging away at C25K, even on some of the hottest, most humid days of the year. However-- I still love the seasons, but now I am scared to death of running in winter! I don't have the gear for it -- and can't really afford the cool stuff. I have my big Michelin Man jacket, and I think that will just have to do! And that is okay. Besides.... next winter I am hoping to be much leaner (but NOT meaner)!

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 1

Middle Name Marie, of Always a Reason to Run, is starting her 30 Days of Thanks for the second year in a row. I was inspired, especially since I haven't been exactly a ray of sunshine lately, and have been getting discouraged about the whole "not being able to run" thing.

So, I am about to embark on my own "30 Days of Thanks" journey. I would love it if we could start a movement! If you decide to do this as well, let me know, and stop by Middle Name Marie's site and let her know too! It is amazing to be inspirational to someone!


Day 1.
I am SO very thankful for my job, and the people that I work with and for, and my students.

I am the band director for a small oceanside community in Maine. I teach grades 5 - 12, and I truly love my job. The teachers that I work alongside are amazing, and the administration is fabulous. I feel blessed every day!

One of the many perks? That the high school brings a physical therapist to the school twice a week for the athletes, and the staff are encouraged to go and see him if we are in need. I have been to see him twice since my plantar fasciitis flare-up, and with his guidance, I have been doing stretches, and using a very helpful instrument of torture ankle brace that keeps my foot in flex position so that the tissues supporting my arch (the plantar fascia) don't shrink, and in theory I am able to walk in the morning.

So many things to be thankful for about my job and workplace alone -- I could probably come up with 30 from there alone!

And then there is the whole having a degree and actually using that degree, and that I was able to find a job IN that field right after I graduated college. That is becoming an increasingly rare event these days!

Wow. I can already tell that I am going to LOVE doing this. Thanks for the inspiration, Middle Name Marie!