A clear day

13 09 2010

It has been a very long time… and perhaps I can’t claim my blog title any longer. I only made it to mid-May. But I learned a lot along the way. Mostly – that I can take more control of my life and what I do with my days. I was determined to spend more time with my kids over the summer. Less work, less exercise. A financial and physical setback, but one that was essential to my feeling like a good mom. And I am proud to say I did that.

And if I learned anything from my half-marathon journey it was to cater to my desires for improvement. Otherwise, I spend so much time feeling guilty and apologizing to those around me. I have given up on the idea of balance — that I could possibly answer all client demands and deadlines, give my family the attention they need AND tune into my health. There may not be a day when all three happen. The balance can’t be measured in days — but in longer periods… weeks seem more realistic at the moment. Maybe months are better…

I had a great summer playing with my kids and appreciating the freedom to have days with them. I squeezed work in — and lots of active days walking the dog, riding bikes, etc. Just nothing I would count as true exercise worthy of recording in my blog or training log.

My kids have been in school now for exactly a month, and I have been heads down working… and working… and working… still not running.

Today I have some clarity. I met with my diabetes doc for my regular 3-month check-in. My A1c level (that measures blood sugar over 3 months) and my weight are EXACTLY the same as 6 months ago — March, when I was running A TON!

But wow – I don’t feel as great as I did then. And this skort is feeling a little tight in the wrong places… I miss the clarity and sweat and pride that came with running and heading toward a goal.

So, in the last hour from my new laptop at a coffee shop I resigned from a board I’ve been sitting on for four years, and I passed off a small client that was eating precious time.

My great friend and roommate in Atlanta and I used to joke that in our simpler lives either boys were good and work was bad or work was good and boys were bad. That was all we had to focus on, and – even then – we could only be REALLY good at one thing at a time.

Now — with a job, kids, just one boy!, and their daily demands, I can only expect myself to succeed at one thing at a time. So less pressure for exercising SO much and trying to do it all.

Today there is clarity. Tomorrow… maybe a run!


Days 138-139 – The Never-ending Celebration

19 05 2010

A birthday gift I will treasure!

Even though I created a blog and drew some crazy attention to myself with this exercise-every-day/half marathon training project of mine, I really didn’t want to make a huge deal of turning 40. I will admit that it’s been a great excuse to have a fantastic few days with dear friends who celebrated and showered me with indulgences — from a pink bedazzled wine glass, a pedicure, total surprise dinner out and, best of all, great catching up time together.

We all get so busy with everyday life, and we see one another several times a week — passing in parking lots and playgrounds and exchanging a few stories and updates. But nothing beats hanging out time when there is no place else to rush off to. Or long overdue phone conversations with favorite lifelong friends. I really appreciate all of you so much and if turning 40 encouraged fun times, I’m glad to have done it. Thanks again to everyone who made my birthday WEEK fantastic!

I feel like it’s been one long great party that started with Cinco de Mayo and kept going…Field day, kindergarten graduation and end of school this week — followed by an upcoming family wedding and vacation — (thankfully) takes me out of the spotlight, but keeps the celebration and fun times going as we kick off the summer.

I will go back to daily exercising — very anxious to take my new Garmin for a trail run — but thinking of a summer vacation from blogging as I maximize the precious days with my kids at home to play. I imagine I will find reasons to write here and there and find articles I simply must share with fellow runners, moms, diabetics and others in this wide world of readers who have found me (never imagined anyone would read my random posts…) and encouraged me.

I will be on a quest for a new goal to keep me going — another run? or something totally different? I’m not ready to decide, but I know I will enjoy the journey to wherever it leads me.
(A photo taken by Jo-Anna at the race of me and Kerrin by the coyote warning sign. No, we didn’t see any in the park!)

Day 136 — 13.1 Miles Behind Me

16 05 2010

A wonderful race day started with a huge surprise. Jo-Anna picked me up at sunrise (5:45 a.m.) — what an amazing friend to be up with me so early and smiling. When I got in her car and we started talking… Kerrin – hiding under a blanket – jumped out of the back seat! I screamed, nearly peed my pants, and still can’t believe she came all the way from Pittsburgh to surprise me. I am so lucky to have such incredible friends — Kerrin and Jo and those who have followed my blog in support, emailed, texted and called with encouraging words and birthday wishes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In short, I met my goal of running a 10-minute per mile pace the whole way and keeping my blood sugar from tanking! My time (by my watch) was 2:10:26. I stopped the clock during two pit stops for glucose checks and refueling and hydrating with Jo-Anna and Kerrin on designated corners.

It was a beautiful morning with chill and sunshine — perfect for running in shorts and long sleeves. It was the flattest course I’ve ever run. Sketchy-yet-entertaining areas of Colfax Avenue on the 7 miles east gave way to the beautiful gardens and the canopy of 100-year-old trees in my old Park Hill neighborhood that led to back to City Park and the finish line.

Such a huge help having my friends waiting at 5.5 and 9 miles with bananas, Gatorade and a backpack full of supplies…I couldn’t have done it without you cheering me on. And, of course, heading for brunch and window shopping in Cherry Creek after. Kerrin and Jo-Anna have been my race buddies and close friends for six years now. Ever since we decided (ironically, while sitting at McDonald’s with our kids after preschool) to do a sprint triathlon together. Five tris, several runs and countless memories later, they knew just how to keep me laughing and running today.

More birthday festivities followed, and I had such a good time — maybe in a post-race fog — that I forgot about it being my 40th. I feel just the same today…not older but maybe a little wiser after training for and running this race. Scott and the kids gave me a new Garmin 405 GPS running watch from my wish list… to track all those miles waiting for me on the road ahead!

Days 127-131 – Getting back on the running wagon

11 05 2010

My Botanic Garden Mother's Day Purchases

In the many days since my last post I have hit a wall. Not a bad wall entirely, because it came with a fabulous Cinco de Mayo block party with friends Saturday, Mother’s Day festivities with my family Sunday (Zach’s card says he loves me because I “give him cokes.” That’s supposed to be “cookies.” He had never had a Coke until Saturday night at the party when I wasn’t paying attention.), and the new flowers in this photo — my annual Mother’s Day present to myself from the Denver Botanic Gardens Spring sale Friday.

Exercise-wise I am still in a bit of a funk. Ran 7 miles Saturday (before the party) that felt similar to pulling the wagon uphill with Zach in it at the Gardens’ sale. I stretched on other days and went for a bike ride with Anna Sunday, but yesterday I gave in. No run. No stretch. Busy shuttling to ballet and just decided to take a for-real rest day on Day 130. We have cold, windy weather — even a chance of snow for tomorrow — that is not helping my cause.

The dread of the race has one bright side though – totally making me forget that on Sunday I also turn 40. The whole reason for doing this now seems like an afterthought…making it still a perfect plan that is now only FIVE days away.

Days 116-119 – April Shower Brings May Power?

29 04 2010

This is a marathon week of work deadlines and kids’ performances, projects and sports pictures and practices… I managed to up my IT quotient with a new (i.e., manufactured in this decade) PC monitor, new-and-improved email hosting provider for my business AND helped my daughter with a Microsoft Photo Story program that didn’t run on my Vista operating system (also made by Microsoft — h-e-l-l-o!!).

A quick exercise recap:

Monday — 2 mile recovery run prior to Anna’s late night theater performance
Tuesday — late night Classical Stretch “to open and stretch your hips” after spending the day on the kindergarten zoo field trip keeping up with my group of four little boys in purple dinosaur hats. Didn’t lose a single one of them!
Wednesday — 5 Day Pilates DVD: “P.M. Pilates” is seriously the name to relax your muscles before bed, which sounded perfect at 10:30 p.m. Was a bit short, but better than nothing
Today — a 10-mile run planned, but right now there are SNOW flurries outside my window. I managed to run in weather like this in the winter. But that was WINTER and I wasn’t going 10 miles… Maybe by this afternoon it will just be rain. Is that better?

Here is my favorite quote of the week — from “A Life of Discovery,” a biography my daughter brought home for her next school project. She chose Eleanor Roosevelt because her real name is Anna — who knew? I haved learned so much from the third grade this year.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence
by every experience in which you really
stop to look fear in the face….
You must do the thing you think
you cannot do.”

17 days ’til my half marathon, a 10-mile in the rain, intimidating technology, a swirling schedule — I can conquer these things I think I cannot do…thanks Eleanor!

Days 111-112 – Happy 40th Birthday Earth Day

22 04 2010

I didn’t realize that just weeks before I was born in 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated. How are you celebrating?

This New York Times article: On 40th Anniversary, Earth Day is Big Business talks about the irony in the commercialism Earth Day now inspires. Like the banner ad I saw: “Celebrate Earth Day with Sun Chips!”

I don’t remember knowing about the holiday in its (and my) early years — even though I grew up with quite “earthy” parents. So at least now — probably because of the marketing campaigns jumping on its band wagon — my kids know about it — and how it relates to recycling, planting trees and turning off the lights (but the last one scares them).

If Anna wasn’t dressed in a Colonial Times costume today and it wasn’t raining, we would walk to school in celebration. If Zach didn’t have a kindergarten concert tonight, we might have a “garden dinner” instead of fast pizza. And if I didn’t work from home, I swear I would bike to my office!

I do plan to run 8 miles (on legs still sore from yesterday’s Exhale Core Fusion DVD), transplant dozens of daylillies from my neighbors overflowing beds and spend time working on a project for my solar client.

As luck would have it, Earth Day and I are both Taurus — an Earth sign. About.com says of Earth element people (also Capricorns and Virgos):

“Those with Earth signs often seem to inhabit their physical bodies which can be described in new-age terms as ‘grounded.’ Whatever their ground is — whether it is a high-rise office building or rural cottage — they’re sending out feelers through the senses. One expression of Earth sign qualities, and I’m envisioning a hippie chick here, might be someone who is easy-going and languid, aware of the local flora and fauna, often have leaves in their hair or dirt on their hands. They’re intimately attuned to the dance of nature, and love to spend time outdoors…Earth signs are here to shape, manifest, cultivate and revel in Earthly delights. Their gift to others is bringing form to ideas, making them a balancing partner for an idle dreamer with potential. They tend their own garden, and inspire others to make the most of theirs.”

As we both get older together, I hope Earth Day and I can influence my children to be the planet’s best inhabitants. Surely if I just plant enough daylillies and buy Sun Chips they will get the message!

Day 108 – Don’t try to outsmart the coach

18 04 2010

I had big plans today to get to 11 miles. I self-edited my Runner’s World SmartCoach training plan (it’s a free online plan you customize for your goal, speed, etc.) to try to up mileage to get to 13 for a few runs before the half marathon. Always feeling I need to practice the whole run (including the .1) to see what my blood sugar does with that distance.

I’m not sure where Sundays go and why they go so fast? All day long I had low blood sugars whenever I was close to finding a near-2-hour window to run. We spent many hours planting and transplanting shrubs. My friend was digging up several from her yard and I was adopting them, so they had to be planted in the ground asap — causing a chain reaction of moving other shrubs from the front to the back, etc. Scott came up with a new show to pitch to HGTV a la “Trading Spaces” In “ER Garden,” neighbors will rush down the alley with plants that need a new home before their roots bake in the sun.

Whenever I thought I could sneak away, Scott needed my help in the dirt or the kids — who were having their own block party in the alley with about six other neighbor kids — needed snacks, help, sunscreen, popsicles, bike helmets, sandbox emergencies, on and on.

So finally I ran at 5:45 — before dinner. I decided to do just the 5 miles the SmartCoach told me to do today. Maybe she knows something I don’t. Afterall, whoever created that program must have a reason for dropping the mileage in week 12… Does she know that is when the weather is perfect for transplanting shrubs? Or that after 21 miles total last week my blood sugar levels would drop in protest for several days? Or that I might just be too tired after 11 miles today to face a frantic week?

I’ve trusted this computerized coach for 11 weeks, so I let myself off the hook and stuck to her prescribed 5 miles. Even those had my blood sugar sinking and begging for dinner.

This week, SmartCoach takes me up to 22 miles total (with just a 10 mile Sunday). For much needed inspiration, my top 40 countdown song today — #32 — is: Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life” …keep on movin’ don’t stop…