Thursday, August 30, 2012


Some runs are good and some are bad. Just like life....some days are better than others but we get through move forward and move on.

Today's run was one of the really bad runs. I knew it would be before I even started but didn't think it was going to be as bad as it turned out.

Let me back up first and tell you all what has led up to this. I spent the summer working out, running spending my time getting stronger mentally and physically. This month I headed back to work after summer break. At first I was doing really well at getting up early and running before meetings but once school began, that became more difficult.

My day begins at 4:30 and we are out the door by 6:30. The day moves at a rapid pace from that point on. I am on my feet all day and supervise lunch so when the final bell rings at 3 I am beat but that means nothing to the schedule. There are games, practices, homework, dinner, activities, etc.

Tuesday I took my son to cross country and planned to run while he was at practice. I was invited to run with the 7/8th graders so I did. I was the turtle in the back but they pushed me to a rapid pace...way faster than my usual! It was a great run and I was on cloud nine.

Wednesday was a bit warmer and I ran 9. It was not my best nor my fastest but I got it done and it was not horrible.

Today....well that was another story. I drove kids all over and started dinner. I told the kids we would eat once I was done with my run. I had a snack of some trail mix and headed out. I have not been sleeping well (or enough) so I was exhausted and really not feeling the run. It was so hot (90's) so I started slow and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. The hardest part for me is always the first mile or so. Once I find my happy pace I can run for miles. But I never found that happy pace today. As the run progressed I started to feel sick ... Queasy and lightheaded. Not good.

I got about a mile and a half from home and just felt horrible. I was so hot and my stomache was doing more tricks that a circus monkey. I kept belching and ...tasting trail mix a second time was not my idea of yummy . I stopped dead in my tracks and thought I was going to puke. My legs felt like lead. I was drenched in sweat. I thought about calling my daughter to come get me but decided to try to get home. So I did a glacial run/walk the 1.5 home. I arrived back at the house feeling worse than ever. The circus monkey in my belly had turned into an elephant. I could not stand in one place without leaving a pool of sweat ...not a puddle....a giant lake of sweat. I could not cool down so I headed to the shower. I jumped in and began to feel better. Eventually I did feel much better and ate dinner.

Not every run can be great. Today I ran 3 miles instead of 5 but I didn't puke or pass out. I did more than I thought even though it sucked. so even though it was a horrible run...I call it a win. I ran 3 more miles today.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


It's is that time again...time to say goodbye to summer and head back to school. I love summer. I really do. I like the unscheduled time to relax and play. I love the time to watch my children explore and develop as human beings. The time spent with my husband and kids during those long summer days is something I cherish.

I don't like the searing morning temps and blood boiling humidity for my training runs but I keep reminding myself that it is in these runs, I am getting stronger. I don't like running the AC 24/7 not because I don't like being cool but because I know the bill is coming soon enough! I don't like the endless loads of laundry washing beach towels and constant making of pb&js but I do love that my pool is full of kids and friends.

I enjoy the ease of my summer wardrobe...running gear or my bathing suit. Hair care is just as easy ..throw it in a pony tail. No makeup other then sunscreen...

But now it is time to say good bye to all that makes summer good. Now it is time to return to the routines, homework and activities. Now as the kids go back to school, I go back to work. But I do so reluctantly. I adore my job, I just love the freedom of summer. My vocation is being a is my calling and I never forget that is a privilege.

I feel like the wild bronco, the wild horse, of the West. These horses are caught and ranchers try to tame them. Each day the ranchers bring them into the paddock and try to saddle them. Once the horse can be saddled, the time wearing the saddle is lengthened. The horses buck and fight the saddle. They wage war against being tamed and domesticated. After long battles over many days and weeks the horses give in and enjoy the saddle and rider as much as they can. Making the rancher and rider happy becomes enough. I am that bronco. I will get dressed tomorrow for school but I won't like it. It is only a 2 hour day and I have a change a clothes packed so I can change as soon as school is out. The following day is a 3.5 hour day. Again I will get dressed and do my hair but I won't like it. I will pack my change of clothes and happily throw my hair in a pony tail at the end of the school day. The 3rd day is a Friday and a full day. I won't like it at all but I will wear that saddle for a longer time.

With each day, I will give in a little more and get back into the routine of it all. It is good that I recognize this as I have to remember my own children, as well as the children I teach, are feeling the same way. They are bucking and fighting like me...but soon we will all happily be on a trail ride together.


Friday, August 17, 2012


This week I attended a retreat with the staff from my school. It was just for a few hours but it was enough time for me to step back and really think about things. During the retreat we were asked to pick a random stone from a basket. Each stone had a word on it and we were to think and pray on our word for a while. My word was sisters. At first I was a little frustrated. What did this mean? I have no sister.

As I started to meditate on the word, it's multiple meanings in my life began to come forward. I am a mother of daughters who do not always get along. I know they love each other but I struggle greatly with how they treat each other and speak to one another. I wish they were kinder to one another and to their brother. I prayed for wisdom and grace as well as understanding, in dealing with my girls and their many struggles and battles.

I thought about the fact that I never had a sister. Throughout my life I have I longed for the special bond with another female. I have never had a large group of female friends just a few very close friends that I consider my sisters. If I had to pick my sisters, I would pick these women. I thank God for sending these women into my life to be my "special sisters". I prayed for time to spend deepening my relationships with these women.

I have attended many years of Catholic school but my most formative years in my faith life have to have been my 4 years at St. Mary of the Woods College. the campus is on the grounds of the mother house for the Sisters of Provedence. Many of my professors were nuns. The president on the school used to come and watch tv with us at night in the dorm...hanging with Sr. Barbara is a fond memory. I am a better, stronger, more faith filled, life long learning woman thanks to the Sisters. I prayed for continuing gratitude for my faith due to these women.

After this quiet time we attended Mass. During the Mass, were asked to offer our stone and all of its prayers during the offertory. It was a very moving part of the service as many people had become so attached to the stones and the prayers they represented.

At the end of Mass we were again asked to take a random stone from the basket. Many of us had chosen different stones and that held great meaning for me.

I was shocked when I turned over my random stone and had chosen "Peace". It is my favorite word and something I am constantly striving for .... And what I felt as I left that retreat. The Lord works in many ways and sends us messages in various forms. We just need a little time to listen. Take time to listen.


If you would like your own stone


Sunday, August 12, 2012


As the Olympic closing ceremonies draw  near I am sad. I have spent the last 2 weeks glued to coverage of all kinda of sports such as ones I have always enjoyed like gymnastics and swimming but sports I have never given a second glance such as rowing, open water swimming and archery. I am tired....from staying up past my bedtime watching the coverage...even if I already know the results! I have been drinking in as much of these games as possible!

I watch these athletes and it is difficult to comprehend that at the young age of 16 they are at the top of their sport. The hard work, sacrifice and dedication of not only the athletes but of their familes is awe inspiring.

The fact that there are more women on the USA team than men and more women have won medals is amazing to me. I love that my daughters and girls all over the world are watching strong female athletes that are of all shapes and sizes.  Role models that are not honored because they are beautiful on the outside but honored for their strength and dedication.

The highlight reels will show all the gold medal winners and heroes these Olympics but what will remain in my memory...and what we all need to focus on are the stories of triumph.  Sarah Attar of Saudi Arabia. She is the first woman from her country to compete in the Olympics and finished last in her event.  She  broke barriers. Oscar Pistorius who is the first Olympian to compete with blades instead of lower legs.  He did not win a medal but changed the way we look at differently-abled athletes. He broke barriers. Oksana Chusovitina who competed in her SIXTH Olympics on the vault at the age of 37. Many of the medal winners  in gymnastics were not even born when she competed for the first time. She placed 5th this year! She broke barriers. The German diver who landed on his back, the weightlifter who dropped the bar, the stories of athletes crashing and burning during an event....are things that we will not remember nor celebrate in the years to come but are what I find most inspiring.  They are all just some of the stories that will fade with time.

So while I watch the closing ceremonies tonight with sadness, I hope the Olympic hangover will  last for a long least until the next Olympic games. Peace.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Ever have one of those runs you just know are going to be great from the minute you get up? Today was that day. I had laid out my clothes the night before and got my things ready before bed. I slept fitfully as the anticipation of the run and the fear of oversleeping my alarm were keeping me from getting into the deep 'sleep of the dead' sleep mode.

I got up and dressed and made my way downstairs for some breakfast. After some Chobani and coffee I was ready. I knew it was going to be a good run due to the weather. It was a fine 58 degrees...Mother Nature had finally decided to have some mercy on us Saturday Soldiers. Every other Saturday (and many weekdays too!) the early morning temps have been in the high 70's or low 80's with HIGH humidity at our start. Today's weather felt FABULOUS!

I got in the car and headed off to meet my group. My pace group has been meeting 30 minutes before the rest of the group in order to beat the heat and finish with every one else....we are slower than most!  So it was good to hit the path at 6:30 in the cool morning air. We go out and back for our first 3. I wore a light pullover as it was cool and by mile 1.5 it was off and around my waist. We usually push the pace on the fist 3 but knowing we had a long distance today(15 miles)....I kept everyone right on task.

We all dumped our outer layers at the 3 mile marker,  got water then headed out for the 12...this was 6 up and 6 back. The chatter was often about how far we were running this week and how each in my pace group did not think they could do it....please don't me upset if I need to walk....are you sure I can do this?....I might need to hang back....I might need some encouragement to get through this....

So we just kept putting one foot in front of the other as we chatted away the miles. We stopped for our water  breaks and people took on gel/gu/etc. Me? I prefer AccelGel. I tried orange and vanilla today...both agreed with me so well (and I think got me to the end strong). I did one at mile 5 and another at mile 10. I drank only water today too which helped.

As we 'entered new territory' as I like to call it on the path there was a lot of excitement. My group did not realize really how far we had run and the new landmarks along the way helped them comprehend it all. As we reached the turn around and water, the group was so thrilled. We had run amazingly well so far. No walking. No complaining. No whining. Only positive, encouraging words and fun discussions.

We turned around and headed back. This was going to be the tough part for them. So off we went and continued to find any number of things to talk about. It is amazing that for several hours we can just talk about any and everything.

After water at our mile 12.8 there is a bridge. We call her Wanda. Long story but some days Wanda can get the best of us. She is a hell of a hill/bridge. We ran her on the way out but  after water we walked up her this last time only because people were still hydrating (and I really did not want to kill my group today!). At her crest we took off on that downhill and enjoyed the momentum as we crossed into new territory...the distance after 13.1 was new ground for my group. Many have run half marathons so this was new ground.

I kept telling them that with each step they were running father than they had ever run before. We continued that mantra for the next 2 miles...every step is farther than you  have ever foot in front of the other....every step is farther than you  have ever run....

As we got close to the finish, I could feel some of the girls start to push the pace and told them to take off...I knew they felt good and were excited. We ran the whole distance. There was no walking or slowing down. They maintained pace...something that has not happened in a while due to the heat. We ran every hill (save Wanda on the way back) and did not slow down. It was wonderful!

As I watched each runner cross the line at the end of the run I was overcome with pride. Seeing each of these people exceed their own expectations and accomplish something they were not sure they were capable of was awe inspiring. What makes me even happier is that this is only the beginning of exceeding expectations for this group. Crossing the finish line of the marathon will change their lives....

This is one of the main reasons I run...moments like this. I did not get to where I am alone. I stand on the shoulders of all the runners who came before me and helped me see my potential. We all have others to thank for where we are in our running and in our lives. We did not get here alone.

'Forward is a pace' is my personal motto in running and in life. However,  as I move forward it is my job to turn around and offer my hand and heart to those who follow. It is my hope that in doing this, we all learn to turn around and to 'pay it forward' by helping those who follow us. Peace.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


If you didn't see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears, don't think it with your small mind and spread it with your big mouth
- Unknown

Gossiping about another person only shows your jealousy, ignorance and insensitivity. Gossip is so hurtful and painful not only to the person being gossiped about but to the person who is gossiping.

Two of my daughters came in to my room last night to confirm/deny something they heard about a friend of ours. It upset them that girls were talking about this person and they did not want to believe what was said. We had a long talk about truth and rumors and gossip. It was an interesting discussion that made me not only happy that my girls confide in me but also sad. Sad that they have to deal with issues like this and sad that people feel the need to say nasty things about others.

The girls told me they felt the need to defend the honor of the person being gossiped about and that made me proud but they also said felt they didn't really know what to say to make it right. I wish I could tell them the right thing to say. many adults, including me, don't always know nor do the right thing.

I guess the bottom line is that if it not going to build someone up or make life better, then don't say it. It is a difficult lesson that many kids and adults need to internalize. Peace.

Monday, August 6, 2012


The Dash
There was a man who stood to speak At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came her date of her birth And spoke the following date with tears
But he said what mattered most of all Was the dash between those years
For that dash stands for all the time That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own; The cars the house the cash
What matters is how we live and love And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard. Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand The way other people feel.
We'd be less quick to anger And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash Might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read With your lifes actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say About how you spent your dash?
Because that dash stands for all the time That you spent alive on earth
And only those who loved you Know what that little line is worth
It matters not how much you own The cars the house the cash
What matters is how you live and love And how you spend your dash
What matters is how you live and love And how you spend your dash.
~Linda Ellis
This poem was read at a funeral I attended this morning. The funeral was for a young father whose life was cut short by a tragic accident. 
When I arrived home, I needed to be alone for a bit to process my emotions.   I needed a run.  I could solve all the worlds problems on a good long run. There are days I am angry. There are days I just breathe. There are days I feel sorry for myself. The time out on the road gives me a chance to work through whatever I'm feeling. So I laced up my shoes and hit the road. 
I try learn from my past. The past has made me who I am in this minute. But I can not go back. I can not move backwards. If I live in the past and I will be full of sadness, anger and guilt. I need to continue to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. I can not focus too much on the future. It is not here yet. If I live in the future my life  will be filled with fear, worry and anxiety. I can not worry about what is to come. There’s nothing I can do about what has happened in the past, and the future will be empty unless I commit to living in the present.  I must live in the present. I must take each day as it comes and live it to the fullest. I can not long for the past or put off my life until the future. The time to live my life is now.
I want to spend my Dash well. I want my Dash to mean something.