Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Today I decided to go for a quick easy 3 mile run and since the weather was cool, I invited my favorite furry running buddy, Wrigley. She was thrilled at the prospect of a run through new scents and sights especially since it has been too hot for her to run with me lately. We headed out on my favorite route here in Hill Country. It is 1.5 miles of heavy duty hills out to Lake Shore Drive which is a long gentle rolling road along the lake. It is a busy thoroughfare of bikers and runners every morning. Motorists are aware and usually swerve to the other lane giving the folks on 2 wheels or 2 feet room.

As my pooch and I ran up a slow grade going the correct direction (running towards oncoming traffic) I saw a large SUV approaching. A black Lexus I think. I could see the driver was on the phone and was not sure he saw me and my dog. I moved further onto the shoulder of the road as he approached. I thought at this point he would swerve over and avoid me....nope! His side view mirror caught my right shoulder and I heard it thunk. I lost my balance and twisted my ankle, falling right on my dog. She let out a loud, painful yelp. I skinned my knees and palms. I sat up and checked on the dog thinking the driver would slow, stop or come back. None of the above happened and I was too slow in my reaction to get the plate number. (this fact would upset my husband greatly when I told him later).

I stood up and looked around. No one was around. No one had seen what happened. My dog looked at me with her big brown eyes as if to ask, "did I do ok, mom?". I gave her a good rub and we walked slowly about 500 yards to a house I know that has a drinking fountain out front. (thanks Hal and Rose!) I gave the pup some water and washed up my knees and hands with a Paper towel I found in the pocket of my shorts. I kept looking back thinking that this guy would come back. Soon I realized that he was not coming back...he didn't care. I decided to try to run on my ankle a bit more but slowly. It was hurting but I wanted to continue because I was PISSED!

With a trickle of blood running from my skinned knee, Wrigley and I continued up the road for a bit. We soon turned around and headed back towards our beach steps. I took the steps down and took off my shoes and socks. The puppy started doing her happy dance. She knew it was beach time! We both ran full out towards the water and headed up the beach. As we ran, she tried to catch and bite the water. It is a favorite game of hers and I love to watch her play. So off we went for another mile and a half up the beach. My ankle was starting to hurt a bit more and my shoulder was sore so we turned And headed back. We walked up the beach and I collected my shoes and socks. I was too tired and lazy to put them back on. So we walked the few blocks home together, her all wet and sandy...me bruised, skinned and angry.

My savior!
I have to admit that continuing my run afterwards was good for my mind. I released a bit of my anger and felt better seeing my savior so happy to play in the water. But in the time since I finished my anger grows again. Why do people think that a phone call/text/email is more important than a human life? How does a person hurt another and carelessly disregard the action? Even if the driver had hit someTHING rather than someONE why didn't he stop?

So I am grateful that I returned home with a healthy happy puppy, a bruised ankle, some skinned knees and palms and, most importantly, my life. All will heal and we will run another day. However, the karma that follows that driver ....that is another story.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Being GOTR SoleMate means I have the honor and privledge of spreading Tutu Spirit along with spreading the message of GOTR. What is Tutu Spirit? Tutu Spirit is the embodiment of the spirit of every girl on the run…past, present and future. It is all of thier positive energy, joy, silliness, struggles, faith, confidence, fortitude, power, strength, and all the other wonderful, unique qualites that make up each girl.

Being a Solemate allows me to set an example for my own children, my GOTR and the children I teach. I hope that through my example they learn goal setting, balance, perseverance and healthy living.

Being a SoleMate also allows me to spread the word about GOTR to more people as well as fundraise so that more girls can join GOTR and reap the benefits of this wonderful program.

Being a SoleMate has allowed me to learn and to grow just as the girls in program learn and grow. Being a Solemate has made me a better person, a better mom, a better wife, a better teacher, and a much better coach. Being a SoleMate and sharing Tutu Spirit has changed my life for GOOD! Peace.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Yesterday's run was bad and it took me a while to recover mentally and physically from those 6 miles so I threw myself into chores like installing a new air conditioner. Oh...and now we are officially broke!

Dinner was simple but my husband was home and we shared a bottle of wine while hanging out with the kids. It might seem like a common ordinary night for most families but not us. We are rarely all together. While sitting with everyone I got an email with race photos from the weekend. I took one long look at the photos and realized I was smiling in every one. I was so hot but so happy. That is when it all hit me. The reasons I run.

People ask me all the time why I run. Why I like running because it is so hard/hot/cold/challenging ... or whatever. I usually laugh and say I like it because it gets me out of the house and allows me to eat. But I realized last night that it is is much more.

I run for fun. I love the feeling of being silly when I run and making others laugh and  smile.  I run to inspire others. I may not be fast but I am still out there covering the distance and if even one person thinks that they can do something more because of me... That is a victory. I run to spread tutu spirit. I wish to embody the spirit of every Girl of the Run and share that spirit with all that I meet. I run not for the time on a clock any longer. Time I relative. When I started running I never thought I would be fast. . The dream of Kenyan like speed is gone along with my youth. I'm all good with that. As I get older I'm getting slower but fitter. I run now not for a PR on the clock but a PR in my heart and soul. I want ask myself did I give the race/run my best? Did I have fun with it? If not, then why. What can I do to make it better next time?

I woke up this morning with  new resolve to make it a better day. I planned a new route then laced up my shoes determined to relax and enjoy the run.  To have fun with the run. No Garmin. Just me, tunes and a water bottle.

The first mile was not easy...I'm not gonna lie. It was tough to get my head and my body in sync with each other. But soon I was smiling at my neighbors as I ran through sprinklers. I was singing to myself and dancing a bit as I ran. I probably looked like a bit of a lunatic but if I made people smile...it's all good.  I rounded a corner and realized I was so into my run that I had made a wrong turn thus was a little lost. I know my 'hood so I eventually found my way back home but in the process my 4 mile run had become a 6 mile run. Yup. I was in the process of a redemption run and didn't know it!  As I ran up my block the City workman were opening the hydrant. I ran through that water like a little kid as they all laughed. It was the perfect ending to my run! 

We all have bad runs and good runs. We need both. We need the good runs to keep us running. We need the bad runs to help us appreciate the good runs. It is all about balance, redemption and a whole lot of fun! Peace.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


This weekend my worlds all collided. The results were sometimes beautiful and other times disastrous.

After a carefree few days spending time with great old friends in the Northwoods,  we arrived home Saturday afternoon to the first collision. Our fridge and a power outage collided leaving the fridge with no power and full of rotting food. Time for a clean up and throw out of everything. YUCK! Out trusty old window unit air conditioner also collided with the power outage leaving the AC unit clinging to life via life support. It was time to put it out of its misery and I cried.

After a period of mourning,  I prepped things for my race the following morning. I laid out my clothes and Body Glide then continued to hydrate. It took Sleep a long time to enter into my zip code but soon my body and sleep collided. Sleep was fitful as I was afraid I would not wake up in time to run. The alarm sounded minutes after I finally fell asleep...or so it seemed. With 3 hours of sleep under my belt I got up and began my race day rituals. 

Once all the girls arrived, we buckled up Flat Sarah and we were off in the TMI truck to collide with the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. The ride was filled with laughing and joking around as per the usual. I love that we all ride together and release a little pre race stress with laughter and inappropriate conversation. 

We collided with our friends from running group outside the Congress hotel where we used the facilities and said a quick prayer. Soon my Moms running group friends appeared and introductions were made. It always seems to amaze me that runners are so accepting and generous. Runners all get along....no matter your background, if you show up at a race you can find a friend....new or old.

The giant group of us all walked to our start corral together. We chatted and laughed and new friendships were born. We all started the race together but were soon separated by our differences in pace. About mile 3 I could not hold it any more and really had to pee...I collided (really ran into it!) with a Lepre-Can (port a potty) thus I lost my little group. I had told them I would catch up but they sped up after I dropped off and continued at a faster pace. I jumped back on the course and, knowing full well that this stop as well as the heat had slowed me down, gave up any notion of finishing with a PR.

With this in mind I was determined to have fun with this race and make the most of the experience. Time was only a number on a clock and did not matter to me. So, I continued on. I collided with each water stop slowing to a walk and thanking each volunteer I passed. Theirs is not a glamorous job but they do it with a smile and an encouraging word. I collided with each and every band slowing down (not like I was going very fast!!) and stopping to dance. People laughed and cheered and smiled. I read each sign gaining energy from the crowd and soaking up the screams of "Go tutu lady!" like a sponge. When I collided with a hill I just kept repeating "hills make you stronger" as I ran up each and every one.

I collided with an old running friend who told me he had been inspired to lead a group of high school students through training for this race. He was running with a few and I was so honored and proud to join them for a mile. Soon they left me in the dust but I was doing ok and still having fun.

I was so glad to have my running friend, Flat Sarah, with me for these 13.1 miles. I talked to her, danced with her, laughed with her for the whole distance. She was a constant source of inspiration and encouragement as I could hear her voice in my head..."don't give up!" "You got this" "Run, Bitch, Run".
See, last week Real Sarah and I ran together. It was not an easy run for me and she kept me moving. I thanked her at the end of that run and she told me she was just paying me back for all the difficult runs I had gotten her through. Well, she did it again....I was almost to the finish.

So together Flat Sarah and I crossed the finish line ...tutu and all! I was treated to a cold, wet towel, a smoothie, chocolate milk and water. YUMMY!  Sweet Rewards!

I found my friends and we all collided with one another back at the hotel where our adventure had begun. We shared stories of funny signs and funny people along the course. We shared adventure tales of our race experiences...and what an adventure in the heat it was for all of us! We shared sweat with the sidewalk!

Soon we parted ways and one group returned to the hotel as the other group returned to the TMI truck and headed for home...and a shower!

Later in the evening I was lucky enough to collide with 2 of my dear running pals that live out of town. We collided with enough food to feed an army...and the carnage left was not pretty!  It was so good to spend time with these ladies. They are such a big part of my life and I am blessed that our paths collided long ago...and even more blessed to call them friends.

Monday I picked up one of these ladies and we went to lunch...yup...more food!  I have spent the last week not falling off the weight loss train but taking a running leap and flying off as far as I could go!  Time to collide with that train again!

We went down to Taylor Street for pizza strudel and spent much needed time together, chatting about life and catching up. Back into the car and off to the airport we went. It was a sad to watch the last of my friends depart for home. We did not SAY goodbye though...we said see you soon...as in October. We will be together again for the Marathon in October...when worlds will collide again.  Peace.


Just wait til it cools off!
Then people are gonna eat my dust!
Today I ran 6 of the suckiest, hottest, sweatiest miles of the summer and perhaps of my running life. I went out thinking it was the right day to long a longer run as it was going to be the coolest day of the week. I got dressed and ready while I waited for the storms to pass. As soon as the rain let up I headed out. I was sure to take water with me even though it was cool.

It was hard to find my 'happy pace'. I struggled with each step and after mile one was ready to turn back. I walked for a bit and decided to try another mile. I picked up my feet and started to run again but each step felt like I was getting stuck in quicksand. It was difficult to keep moving forward but I live by the motto Forward is a Pace...so as long as I was moving forward it was all good.  But it was not good. I suffered through the 2nd mile and then slowed to glacial pace. I walked for a bit again and decided to try another mile. Each step was painful. My legs rebelled worse than a temper tantrum throwing toddler.  My muscles ached. I kept telling myself I was just sore after the Half and things would get better...my legs would loosen up. I could calm that toddler with a little slower pace and sweet talk. Mile 3 and 4 were brutal. i was hot and miserable. I was tired of crappy runs and the heat. I was angry at the weather and humidity.  Sweat poured from places I didn't know I could sweat. I decided to turn back and head for home. I walked for a bit and then I started to cry. Mile 5 was all about water...tears, sweat, thirst... I started to cry because it was such a bad run and I was so frustrated with my body and myself. Then the tears really began to flow as I felt stupid for feeling sorry for myself. I was out here and had just run over 5 miles. There are people who struggle to walk 5 miles. There are people who can't walk. There are people who would trade places  with me and my sucky run in a heartbeat. The tears of pity turned to tears of anger. How could I be so silly and selfish? I was so angry at myself for allowing me to travel down self pity street that I did not realize that I was almost home. I had run the 6 miles. I finished. I did not quit.

I always ask runners what they learned from a run...good or bad. What was the lesson in the run today? So when I got home I started to ask myself that question. What was the lesson in the run today?

Today's lesson was about mind over matter and perseverance. Today's lesson was about the heat. Today was about learning how my body rebels against the heat and how I deal with that rebellion. I do not give in. I am not a quitter. I AM a rock star. I am a cheetah in waiting...waiting for the weather to cool off so I can unleash my anger and reap the benefits of every sucky, crappy, difficult mile run in this heat. I am not getting slower. I am getting stronger and tougher...mentally and physically. I am not slow. I am not a turtle. I am a cheetah in waiting....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I am never really alone. I can go places and be by myself but I am rarely alone. There are always people around.

Today I went for a run alone. Really and truly alone.

I got up and dressed early and prepared for another warm morning run. As I walked outside our cabin I was struck by a strange feeling. I was cold! Really cold. I shivered and thought I had better get moving to warm up. I took off out of the camp and headed out to the main road. I wanted to run about 3 miles. Just enough to stretch out and feel like I did something!

I was wearing my headphone...yes, just one. I always only wear one so that I can hear things around me as I run. But as I continued on, I took even the one earbud out and listened to the sounds of the world around me.

As I ran, I realized that I was alone. All alone. Even when I run alone at home I am never alone...there are people passing and I run in pretty residential areas. Today I was alone. Just me and my thoughts. My only companions were the 2 deer that crossed the street and the eagle overhead. Yes, a bald eagle. Up here in the Northwoods there are eagles. I counted the cars that passed me...4 ... and one truck. The truck was a logging truck and I was glad not to have my headphones on as I could hear it coming. I stepped off the shoulder as it passed and could smell the intoxicating strong scent of Christmas. A logging truck full of pine had just flown past me.

I looked at my GPS and realized that it was time to turn back. I wanted to go further but my sense of security told me that I should stay close. So I headed back to camp with the sound of the rustling of the breeze in the trees and my breathing keeping me on pace.

As I reached our cabin I was greeted with people again...the camp was beginning to wake up and I could smell coffee and bacon. The time alone this morning coupled with the cooler temps were good for my run as I was faster than I have been in a long time. This run was about nothing but a run. 5 miles of time alone to think, reflect and just be. I may not have found any people on my run but I did find something...my running mojo. Peace.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Sometimes a simple spark can ignite a huge fire.  That is what happened last night. With one question, "Hey mom. What cha readin'?" my son sparked a blaze.

He came into my room and asked what I was reading. I told him the title and he asked what it was about. I am reading Becoming Odssya. It is the story of a young woman's quest to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone...or pretty much alone.

So with that one question, my son and I dove into the the black hole that is the internet and looked for information on the Trail. We learned the entire distance, the states it crosses, the time it takes hikers to complete the distance, etc. We watched videos of hikers and the trail as well. We learned about lean-tos, tents and hazards of the trail.

My son knows his cousins are avid hikers, climbers and one even writes for an outdoor publication. But it just seemed to all click last night in his 9 year old brain. I saw the light in his eyes as each question and subsequent answer lead to more questions and additional answers. We talked about what we would do and how we would attack the trail, what we would take for food, and all kinds of other details.

He made me promise that one day he and I could at least hike part of the trail. I may never be a thru-hiker but I will hike part of the trail with him. I know that one day before I leave this planet, I will keep that promise to my son.  I can see it in his eyes....it is not something he will let me forget. Sometimes a simple question is the spark that ignites a blaze.  Peace.

To learn more about the author of the book:
Her blog on Tumblr
Her company

To read an excerpt or purchase the book

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


This last few days I have had a few minutes (during my runs) to reflect on time. Last week we were away for a stay at my parents home and being away from the day to day tasks was good for me. I stepped back and allowed myself to be in the moment. I got to watch my son skip rocks (and he is pretty good at it!), teach him to swim a bit better and watch him make friends...something he does effortlessly.

I got to observe 12 and 13 really play and laugh...something they don't often have the time nor freedom to do....time for the really good belly laughs that are music to a mom's ears.

I watched 16 and her BFF relax and just be with one another for endless conversations about everything under the sun.

My husband did what he does best...fix things and play like the kid he is. Time with his kids is something he doesn't get a lot of but when he does....he makes the most of it.

Coming home I tired to hold on to a little of that 'in the moment' mentality. It often gets lost in the clutter of home and I need reminders to dig it back out again. So yesterday my son and I went to the trail for a run/ride.  It is something he and I like to do together and have not done in a while. He rode his bike while I ran behind carrying the water. We got to a point on the trail where there in a strong dip into a ravine...a good down and up hill climb. What a blast for a kid on a bike but a real workout for Momma. Hill repeats are not my thing (read: I HATE them!!) but I went up and down 3 times before quitting and watching him glide on the downhill and struggle with the up a few more times. It was nice to just watch him be a kid, working the uphill  .... laughing as he flew down without a care in the world. I thought of how much that was a metaphor for life. We struggle with the uphills of life and glide through the downhills....we forget that the downhills are fun and we should enjoy them before arriving at the next uphill.

We finished our 5 miles and headed home. Our time together was over and it was time to get on with the tasks of the day. Back to the schedule for both of us. This is one of the many reasons I love summer.  Summer allows me to be 'in the moment'.  Summer gives me back my kids. Summer gives me back what I lose during the school year...time. Peace.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


When was the last time you took a good look at the world around you? When was the last time you looked inside yourself?

Look out at the world and smile. There is so very much goodness be seen and experienced. Look into your heart and see the beauty that lies within.

Look around at the details of this very moment, and see all the possibilities present. Look back at all the good things you’ve done. And imagine how very much more you can do. Look at the lives of the people who fill your world. Find new, beautiful ways to connect with each of them. Look with wonder and gratitude at all there is in your life.

There is so much to see when you really look. Peace.


Old School 5k

The 4 dawned hot, sticky and humid. I got up, dressed and ate my usual yogurt before donning my tutu and heading out the door.

I arrived at the old schoolhouse just in time to write down my name and pay my $5. This is a very small town low key race.

We lined up behind a chalk line on the pavement and after a basic instructions from Higdon jr. we were off at the sound of the air horn.

I took off at my snails pace towards the golf course and 2 nice downhills....that are tough uphills coming back. The course travels through a lovely golf community of homes and I was annoying the scenery. A young boy of about 8 passed me running with his dad. He was thumping along and having fun. That fun soon withered about mile 1. He was walking more and dad took off. He commented that he just needed to catch his breath and wished he had water with him. Mom mode kicked in. I am never without a squeeze bottle of water (easier for sharing) so I asked if he would like water. He brightened and said yes. I told him his only goal was to stay in front of me and I had water if needed. He was struggling and his dad was no where in sight. I was worried. We got to the turn around and he told me he was to wait there for his mom who was walking the 5k. Do I leave this little boy sitting on a Rock at the turn and kept going? I was worried but knew the bike sweeper was behind me and would find him if his mom was not there. I decided to let him sit and wait on his own.

I continued on quietly thanking those wonderful residents who had already turned on sprinklers as I ran through each and every one of them! The cool water felt like heaven on my skin. I rounded the last turn and headed back towards the golf course and those hills. I was spent and drenched. I walked up the 2 consecutive hills and then took off toward the finish. As I was closing in on the finish I saw the dad of this boy coming towards me. He had already finished. I yelled out that I had given his son water and left him on the rock waiting for mom. He grunted and looked away. Really? Are you kidding me? You left you kid running alone on an 80 degree/88% humidity morning with no water and you can't say thanks, wave or even smile?

I let it go and headed to the chalk finish line. I did a little pirouette as I crossed and was given my certificate. No bling but a certificate of completion and the opportunity to choose a T-shirt from the Higdon family collection.

I waited to see my little buddy cross the finish line. Mostly to make sure he was ok but also to give him a high five. Eventually he ran across that line just in front of his mom. I walked over to high five him. Then began to head home. I heard his mom ask who I was and he responded, "that nice lady helped me and gave me water. I think she is a mom"

"Well honey. Don't talk to people you don't know. You don't know what she was giving you."

I walked away deflated, frustrated and angry. I know that we live in a different time now but for this woman to chastise her son after both she and her husband had left the kid running alone on a hot, sticky morning. This community is like Mayberry RFD. No one comes here that does not know someone and everyone knows everyone's business. Plus most people are related!

Lesson learned from this race: we are only as free as we allow ourselves to be. Peace.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Baked Oatmeal Casserole
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar (I used a bit less)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut pieces (I also added pecan pieces to make a full cup)
1 cup raspberries (I used blueberries but any berries work)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted (I used a bit less)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices

Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 10-1/2 by 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray. (I used a smaller pyrex baking pan)
 In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the nuts, half the berries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of berries, nuts and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal).
In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract. Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining berries, nuts and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. 
I topped this with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt for some protein and added flavor. It was AWESOME!  My kids all loved it and it was gone in a flash...the whole pan!
 Next time I would like to try it with peanut butter, bananas and chocolate chips. Let me know if you try it and what you think!  Peace.