Saturday, December 31, 2011

Glad I Didn't Listen

Today I have some glimpse in to what it feels like to be my 13 year old son and my 86 year old grandmother at the same time.

I have been working up my mileage in hopes of running just a wee longer (Marathon?) next year and today I ran 10 miles.  Normally, if I'm not training for anything, I will do 5 or 6 on the weekends.  Those distances are longer than the weekday 3 and don't take much time.

But, today, I ran for almost 2 hours.

And my body feels it.

I am hungry and tired like a teenager and I feel old and creaky like my grandmother might.  I know, from experience, that tomorrow will be slightly worse.  I will do some yoga and take some ibuprofen.  Then by the time I hit the pool on Monday, all will be forgiven.

Today, for the first time, my mind tried to play tricks on me during my long run.  The last mile was hard, and my mind kept telling me that this wasn't worth it, that I was spending to much time away from my family, that I will never be able to run over twice this distance.

I'm glad I didn't listen.

Minor physical discomfort aside, I feel GREAT!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Not Imagining Things

It's funny.

When you run or cycle, it's hard to tell - just by watching - who is a good athlete.  I mean, you can watch a fancily clad cyclist zoom by on an expensive bike and he could have just broke it all out of the package and taken it for a spin.

Same goes for runners.  Even if you watch a person on the treadmill for an extended period of time, it's hard to say if they are a back of the packer or if they are going for a Boston qualifying time in the near future.  Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and a even two professional runners won't have the same form.

Swimmers are totally different.  I don't know a whole lot about anything - but it I know even LESS about swimming.  It's a very technical sport.  The way an athlete grabs and pulls the water, moves his body, and works with the water is like watching a beautiful dance.  The same dance up and down the lane.  Its fluid, efficient, beautiful.

I just started swimming in October of this year.  Yep, just 3 months go.  When I started out, I couldn't make it halfway down a 25yd lane without coughing and sputtering.  Thanks to perseverance and a whole lot of YouTube observation, I can now complete 100yds of freestyle without a break.

This morning I decided to swim at the downtown Y, where I was convinced that all the swimmers were semi-pro/elite/half freakin' dolphin.  I did my little 40 minute workout full of 100's and that was plenty for me.   There were three men in the lanes next to me flying up and down and doing their fancy flip turns (how the heck do they DO that??  I'm afraid to even try!)  I got out and the guard said to me "You trying to get back in to swimming?"  Wow, I totally LOOK like a noob.  "Yeah, tryin' at least." I said.

He was really helpful and told me that if I watched good swimmers form and got some swimming friends I could learn just as much or more than I could with a coach.  Nice guy.  Had me pegged. :)  Oh, and he pointed out that one of the guys swimming there used to swim for Nebraska AND has swam the English Channel.  And those were his friends.

So the people that swim at the Downtown location ARE half freakin' dolphin, it wasn't all in my imagination! But, even if I am as much a novice as they are pro, there was room for me.  No body pointed or laughed (that I could see!) and I even got a helpful hint or two.

Glad I bid farewell to my comfort zone today and did something scary.  I might even learn something!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What I Learned Last Year

Okay, not really.  No body really cares about my year...or not every little detail anyhow.  What really matters as we look back at the previous year are questions like: Did I learn anything?  Did what I went through matter at all.  Did I simply put in my time existing, or did my time on this planet matter?

I didn't save the world or accomplish any amazing feats in 2011, but I did learn a few things.

I learned that I don't want to be injured by running anymore.  Sure, having 1-2 "training halting" injuries each season is lots of fun, but I'm all done with that.  I decided to read some books (yes, I read "Born to Run") and do a little research in to the mechanics of running and the reasons for running injury.  What I found out was that human beings really were created for running, and we don't have to get hurt while doing it.  In May, I started the slow process of re-training my stride and working down from support shoes to minimal shoes and even a little barefoot running.

I learned that my work load limit is 6 full time children with a sprinkling of a 7th.  When that 7th Little Blessing is around Monday through Friday 7:30am to 5:00pm, Miss Andrea is in work overload.  I love being a SAHM, a Daycare Provider, and a Home School teacher!  I learned that I am at optimal performance with less than 8 kids to care for.

I learned that my husband is much nicer than I am, and that I need to learn to be nicer.  David gives everyone the benefit of the doubt.  He is quick to forgive and never judges people.  I spend a lot of my adult life judging and holding grudges.  Knowing my husband and learning from him has been an honor.  I need more of that!

Of course, this is not all that I've learned in 2011 - but these are the "must take to 2012" ones.  These weren't even on my Discovery List for 2011, so bonus!

What did you learn in 2011?  What's on your Discovery List for 2012?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Goals and Treats

What is it about this time of year that makes me want to eat junk food??


I'm still getting my workouts in - but just can't seem to stay away from the junk.  Oh well, trying to push more veggies to balance it out and STAYING OFF THE SCALE until January 1st.

Nothing is a as good of a reason to over indulge than an extra pound or two on the stupid scale.  Not. Playing. That. Game.

Moving right along...let's talk goals for 2012.

This year, for the first time, my goals will have nothing to do with the pull of gravity on my body or the composition, thereof.  Here's the way I figure it:

2009 - lost 20 pounds
2010 - lost 20 pounds
2011 - lost 10 pounds
2012 - I'm due for 10 more, right?

Keep sweating, keep working, keep NOT worrying.  I sometimes think that I am the world's slowest loser.  OH WELL.  I lose.

I do have a couple of goals for the new year.  In 2011, I learned to swim and started cycling.  In 2012, I will be completing my first Triathlon, Lord willing.  I've really enjoyed being a more well-rounded athlete (pun intended) and have noticed gains in strength and flexibility.  Not to mention - it is SO FUN!

So I decided that my 2012 goal would be centered around my new love for mulit-sport.  I want to swim/bike/run 1000 miles in 2012.  When you break it down, it looks a something like this:

5% Swimming or 50 miles.
60% Cycling or 600 miles.
35% Running or 350 miles.

I thought this seemed like a pretty good goal until I did the math.  The swimming only works out to 1 mile (1600yds-ish) per week - I currently do that every Monday.  The cycling is only 12 miles per week (which I am doing more than each Saturday) and the running is 7 miles per week (which I crush on my long run).

While the 1000 mile goal would definitely be a S.M.A.R.T goal - it won't stretch me much.


I am a little afraid of the implications of all this. I like round numbers - and a 25% increase would not make nice round numbers...and a 50% increase might not be "A" in the acronym.  Maybe better to deal with oblong numbers.  Like this:

1250 miles in 2012 like this:

62.5 miles in the pool
750 miles on the bike
437.5 miles on these old legs

*shudder*  Those are some U.G.L.Y. numbers.  They are also numbers that scare me just a little.  Numbers that would take some effort to achieve.  1250 miles in 2012 is a goal that would stretch me.

I like it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Today at about 5pm, I was thinking about Pompeii.  Pompeii is an Italian city near Mt. Vesuvius that was extinguished in a few hours in August 79AD.  The volcano erupted and everyone was killed.  Food still on the table, work unfinished.  Pompeii and her sister city, Herculaneum are two of the most important archaeological discoveries ever.  After careful excavation, historians can determine exactly what life was like in the first century.

I wondered what historians would think if they discovered our city under the same conditions.  What would they think that life was like in the 21st century by going through our home?  Do my surroundings reflect what I think is important?  Is it evident what I treasure?

So, I decided to stop what I was doing and take pictures of some of the spaces in our home.  For better or worse - here's what would have been found in my home on this day in the 21st century.

Our room - bed is made! Still hadn't put away nap mats and cribs from this afternoon dirty laundry.

Kitchen, of course - sink full of dishes, every cabinet hanging open.

Living Room, not to all over and general disarray - lots of DUST.

Kids Room - Disaster zone!!  I actually cleared a spot to read books to them earlier!
So, I don't know what my house would tell future historians about our world.  They might think that we didn't have any time to appears that way from MY house.  But maybe judging from all the toys and books and at least 5 visible spaces for small children to sleep - they would think that we valued our children.  Maybe because of ALL the toys and books, they would think we simply valued stuff.

One of my missions during the two week break from school is to de-clutter our home a little more.  If we are honest, there is only about 60% of our "stuff" that gets used on a regular basis.  Another 20% is likely seasonal, and I'd be willing to bet at least 20% of our stuff could straight disappear and we'd never know the difference.

I think our clutter is a sign of pride.  We collect things that we don't even care about, just to say we have it.  None of our stuff is even that good!  I've been systematically ditching a bag of toys whenever I can and the kids have yet to notice.  Something wrong there.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Worth

In my Financial Peace University class tonight, I learned that I should have a life insurance policy.

As a stay at home Mom with a little daycare gig on the side, I've never thought much about the financial impact of my demise.  My income is enough to buy groceries each week and maybe buy a tank of gasoline.

Tonight, my economic contribution was valued at nearly $100,000.00.  While I don't quite believe that figure, I can now see the value of having my life insured.  If I go out for a run and get smacked by a vehicle, my husband is going to bear a tremendous burden.  The funeral arrangements notwithstanding, David would likely take some time off work to deal with a grieving family.  Simply addressing his loss of income from the event, itself, is a responsible choice.

I don't like to think about such things - but FPU has been teaching me that I do need to face things.  I need to make out a will, in case Dave and I are BOTH on a run and get mowed down.  I need to go over our finances each and every month.  I need to review our credit card statement each month to check for errors.  I need to stop acting like an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand.

I'm not a dumb person.  Time to stop acting like one!