I wish I could remember more details of my foot races. They are hours of pain, images, and exhaustion. I scan the few photos and remember snippets but not a whole story. Lines and phrases only.
Boston should have been joyous but my Opa (German grandfather) had just died, I was written up at work for going to the Boston Marathon because it wasn’t an appropiate use of my grieve time according to the school. Ironically, a couple of months later the teacher across the hall went to Disney when her dad died, but that was appropriate.
I remember the feeling in the first Marathon in Indy. I looked at my watch and knew I would finish with a time I didn’t think was possible.
So many hours I have run. Many to escape where I was. The time gap causes more memories to be forgotten than remembered. I read back to my notebooks and blog posts and the memory is restored for a few moments and I smile…again.
Lately, I have been having trouble running joyously. I go out and move my feet. I am tired all the time. It is painful but in a different way. My heart isn’t in it.
My soul and my body argue on a run now and it isn’t pleasant. They are at odds.
I read the other day if you don’t have inner peace then you will never have happiness. Outside sources cannot fuel it. I believe that to be true. Outside stressors especially are wreaking havoc on my inner peace. The running used to help and now I am evaluating if it has become a stress rather than relief.
Is there something in your life that used to help you that you feel is holding you back now? I would love to hear about it.
Camp NANOWRIMO is a month long challenge to tackle a writing project in a month. For Camp you set your own word count goals. Regular NANOWRIMO is hosted in November where the goal is to write 50,000 words.
I did not win CAMP this year. It was my first go around with CAMP. Regular NANOWRIMO in November was successful but I discovered through writing and gathering my research to write my professional teaching book I need more time. The format still doesn’t seem quite right. The next step is to use the content as blog posts. It will serve the purpose better at the present time. I am still moving forward with the project but it will look different. I am wondering if I should start a separate blog just for the teaching/coaching pieces of my life and keep the writing and reading blog.
I am not gearing up for STORYADAY May and am super excited to have joined the SUPERSTARS group. I am hoping to make some real connections to some other short story writers. I have been collecting story sparks – as always and thinking about the excitement of having a stack of short story drafts by the end of the month.
2. Mindset Matters
Winter is still here in Northwest Indiana. I had to shift my mindset when it came to running this month. I kept getting myself excited about running outside and then the weather would not cooperate. Finally, I had to decide that my running routine will be sprints and HIIT workouts on the treadmill. If the weather is pleasant then I would run outside, but I would look at it as a surprise or a treat rather than the expectation. This has led to much more pleasant gym visits and the workouts are consistent rather than all over the place and me being angry about it.
There has been a lot of planning for PD and formats for next school year. All the planning makes me excited to get started…but I have to wait. I finally had to break down and start a 2018-2019 notebook to make notes for next school year. It is going to be a great year!
Finally Friday…I usually don’t try to wish the week away but this week has had its challenges. Big ones…whew!
After listening to the Being Boss Podcast (#173 Seasonal Work and Life if you want to check it out) I started pondering about what I traditionally do each season. For me, there are beginnings and later parts of the seasons that matter and contain different actions. The Beginning part of “SPRING” (calendar spring) in Northwest Indiana is really winter – especially this year. For you readers who follow me regularly you saw my fire and reading picture the first day of Spring Break!
Today’s 5 on Friday is a list of 5 things I will be participating in LATER Spring 2018:
I am running outside again! Not as much treadmill and more sunshine! I cannot handle wind during my runs which is why I abhor Spring marathons. Windy days I choose to suffer through sprint work on the treadmill but more sun means more longer runs outside. I ran in the Indiana Dunes National Park yesterday and it was beautiful. It did feel a bit like I was rereading a favorite book I haven’t read in years while running. I didn’t remember the details of the story but memories started coming back. There were parts of the trails I felt a deja vu feeling – like when you read a page in a book and you keep thinking it is too familiar and you already read it!
Grill Regularly – this one is a little bit of a cheat for me. I do not do the majority of the cooking in my house – my fantastic husband does. But I whole heartily participate in the eating! I make a killer potato salad that compliments his grilling!
STORYADAY MAY – I am estatic to participate in the official community and challenge this year! If you don’t know her site you need to check out Julie Duffy. I am kicking around joining the paid community to connect with some other short story writers. If you aren’t familiar with this writing challenge, Julie asks the writer to finish a story a day in May. You can play with the rules somewhat of course. The point is to finish the stories. I had been stuck in starting tons of pieces. I challenged myself last October which rolled into NANOWRIMO.
4. It is time to look forward to Modern Mrs Darcy’s 2018 Summer Reading Guide! I do not know when it is going to be released but I am already ready to see it! Check out her website here.
5. It is the time of year to OPEN THE WINDOWS! Of the house, of the car, of my mind!
What are your rhythms for the spring? What do you look forward to?
I am honored to announce I have been nominated by the lovely and talented Cooking with Kids for the Sunshine Blogger Award!
It is humbling to be nominated. Thank you so much Cooking with Kids! She has an amazing blog and you should check it out by clicking on her blog title.
Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
If you would also like to read about my Versatile Blogger award click here.
So here we go!
Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in in January of 2016 because I wanted to connect with other teacher coaches and writers. Several friends had encouraged me to start a blog because they enjoyed my writing. I started and then took a hiatus but have come back with an intent to grow as a writer and a blogger. I regularly participate in the Two Writing Teachers blog Slice of Life weekly challenge and the March challenge.
2. What is your favourite food? And your least favourite?
My favorite food is pizza. I really could eat it everyday! My husband makes really great spaghetti too!
My least favorite food is kale. I hate me some kale. It always tastes like dirt.
3. What do you do in your spare time (apart from blogging?)
I read a lot. I always have a book on me and on my phone on my Kindle app. I also run. I like to spend time with my family too. We have a lot of fun.
4. If you had a superpower what would it be?
It is a toss up between being able to fly and to read faster!
5. What is the best place you’ve ever been to and why?
Park Rapids, Minnesota
My husband and I love this place so much we want to retire there as soon as possible! It is beautiful and there is so much to do. Our family loves to be in the water too.
6. How do you relax?
Reading and running.
7. Should pineapple go on pizza?
Nope. However, spinach and lots of cheese totally belongs there!
8.What is your favourite TV programme?
I actually have several. I love Survivor and Big Brother.
9. What is your proudest achievement?
I was in a situation where everyone kept telling me to go against what my heart was telling me. I went with my heart and have not looked back since! That decision has caused a lot of people to not be in my life anymore, but that is ok.
10. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?
Too cold. You can always add more layers, but there are only so many clothes you can take off!
11. You’ve won the lottery! What’s the first thing you do?
Travel to Germany for a month!
Which opening line suits you best: Once upon a time… or It was a dark and stormy night...?
What is the earliest reading memory you have?
If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them? Don’t overthink – what do you think would be FUN!?
What is the most treasured item you possess?
Where do you write normally and where would you ideally like to write?
What is a blogging tip you can share?
Mountains or beach? Why?
Coffee or tea?
How do you recharge?
What is your favorite book and why?
If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would you dine with?
I wasn’t going to run today. Some internal nudge made me check the weather application at 4:45 a.m. I had already been up for over an hour and had my necessary coffee elixer. There was very little wind and the temperature was pleasant so I really had no excuse.
My footfalls were lit by the full moon and the stars. I wore a new workout shirt gifted to me by a friend at work. It smelled of morning and fabric softener. The run felt good. The air felt fresh and I was able to listen to a writing podcast I love that comes out every Friday.
Today’s planned miles is 6 so I still may run after school to get the last 2 in for the daily count. I have mileage targets for this weekend. Time only allowed for 4 miles this morning before the commute.
I recently read Cheryl Strayed’s new book Brave Enough. One quote that resonated with me was on my mind as I ran:
Alone has always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.
I often think of running this way. As a place. Alone is much different than lonely. Something I know about myself is that I need to be alone to recharge. To replenish the well especially after the peopling and the draining day I had yesterday. The run is the action I turn to stop the thinking that swirls in my head.
There are physical places that replenish me too. Libraries and bookstores for one! Sometimes the car. Alone is part of who I am as a person.
I think that’s why I felt the need to run this morning. It’s part of a replenishing ritual that I do almost automatically. I’ve learned to listen to those internal nudges.
Where or what do you do to replenish? I always love to hear!
My attitude has changed over my lifetime about naps. As a toddler, I am sure I fought naps like everyone else but needed them nevertheless. As an adult, there are seasons I welcome the mid-morning or afternoon siesta.
I started to adult nap when I started running back in 2010. I went from zero running to a Boston qualifying marathon in 11 months. I needed the extra sleep! I would go to a race on the weekends, and then nap afterward on the weekends.
I used to think naps were a luxury or a symbol of laziness, but I don’t feel the same now. I welcome the nap!
I typed NAP in Google and this popped up:
A short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep. Your sleep environment can greatly impact your ability to fall asleep.
My sleep cycle has changed in recent years. It is typical for me to sleep for 4 to 5 hours, be awake for 1 to 2 hours and then take a nap in the afternoon. This doesn’t always work with my teaching schedule. I sometimes “catch up” on sleep on the weekend which I realize is a controversial idea anyway. There are some camps that do not believe you can “catch up” on sleep really.
I do find the 4-hour sleep cycle is better for my body and energy level. The nights I do sleep straight thru I often wake up groggy. A standard time for me to be up is 3:30 am. Which was also the time I would wake up when pregnant with my son who is 14 now!!!! I didn’t realize there were documented types of sleep cycles until 2 years ago when mine seemed to change. There is even research about how the 4 to 5-hour cycle can be beneficial to your health.
Last week I started running again in the morning. I have been setting the alarm for 4:55 am in order to get out the door. Running in the morning means that I have to run a shorter distance, but I run every morning. The consistency is better for my fitness and motivation.
I have found the running is easier in the morning. I am trying to figure out if it is the change in the schedule. It could be that my brain is still asleep. It could be that it is dark and my eyes and brain are confused as to just how far I am running.
The temperatures have been cool and comfortable. I am glad to have the run done before my day actually starts.
I am hoping the writing ideas flow. It will allow me to sort through the organization of the day especially when I am presenting.
What is something that you do consistently that makes a difference in the process?
I feel my feet on the pavement in my ears at the exact moment my forefoot sole makes contact with the asphalt. The thinking drawers I have open in my brain are amounting to a massive number. I am rehashing conversations. I am practicing the professional presentation I have to do later today. I am thinking about the goals I have for the day and my life . I am praying. I am revisiting memories – especially of a time I have run that route before and what I had been thinking at the time or the song I have been listening to. I think about books and who I am going to be recommending books to. I am thinking all these topics at the same time.
I do not warm up. I do not stretch. I get dressed, put my shoes on, and go. My legs feel heavy and it feels like I must put forth a lot more effort than necessary to move one leg in front of the other. Is it my shoes? Is it my attitude? This often happens. On short 5 miles runs it can take up to 3.5 miles to feel like it should. After the 3.5 is when I find the rhythm and my brain can stop thinking about the physical act of running and hum along. When I find this sweet spot I feel like I can run forever.
I often find myself in the same physical spaces on a different run. In these instances, I can suddenly recall with alarming clarity exactly the song I had been listening, who I was running with, or an emotion that I was engulfed in. It is a surreal sensation.
Suddenly without warning, my thoughts will empty and my mind is clear. I am in moving meditation now.
When I am afraid I will have nothing to think about I assign myself questions almost like a writing prompt for my journal. I give myself these questions as an assignment to busy my mind.
I am a happy runner girl when I can run 10 miles a day. It is the gravitas I have from these days that is like a light that beckons people into it. People do not know I have run that many miles. They just know there is something about me and they feel the need to comment on something. Usually my hair or my outfit. They are compelled to say something.
I am nearing the end of the route and my thoughts turn toward what I want to eat when I am done running. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ice cream sundaes with whipped cream and chocolate sauce are favorites. As soon as I put my foot in the door of my dwelling I don’t want those foods anymore. The most amazing and common occurrence is when I am not hungry at all. I have stood in the glow of the refrigerator and eaten an entire jar of squash pickles because they look good as I think that pickles do not have many calories so I am safe and I have no undone all the running I just endured.
There are everyday runs and there are memories of races that are ingrained into the muscle memory of my legs. Never to be forgotten completely. A run or a phrase will trigger the emotions and the pain and the joy all at once. Almost sensory overload but since I was there my brain can process all of it at once. I am not sure if it is like this for other people or because I am used to having so many thoughts at once. They are in my mind in a file that hopefully will never be deleted.
Runners have quirks. I had quirks and was odd before I became a runner. I suppose I was always a runner but had not opened myself up to that part of myself yet. I have special running socks and my students notice. There are shorts I will wash three days in a row to keep wearing them.
I have gotten up at 3 am to run, never to be repeated.
Some runs are so cold and I have so many layers on for warmth, it takes one load of laundry to get them clean again.
At the HUFF race at Chain of Lakes park I ran in waist deep water – in the winter…the ice rattled around in my shoes as I exited the puddle up onto the frozen mud and leaves.
Food has never tasted so good after a hard run or race. A shower has never felt so good. I have been so tired that I almost couldn’t eat. I have run myself into a trance and running is the only thing that can turn my brain off to overthinking. I ran so far I started to see things that weren’t there. Spiders and silos in the woods. I am always striving for the effortless running zones.
I play mental tricks to keep me sane during a long run or a race – esp when I realize in the middle I am over it.
I trained hard for the flying pig marathon and I woke up that morning missing my running friends and not wanting to run.
My first marathon was magical. It wasn’t terrible as many other people have experienced. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I was so ready for that run. I had trained myself well. When I realized as I ran over a bridge and checked my watch that I was going to finish under 3:30 I started to have a hard time breathing because I started to get emotional. I had to pull myself together. I started to not be able to breathe and slowed down. Then I thought of all the preparation I had endured and how it was paying off. I did not want to ruin it within the last mile. It was almost over and it felt so much shorter than any training run. I felt energized and amazed. I finished and then stopped running. I had my medal and this mylar blanket. I had stopped. My legs had stopped and I couldn’t figure out what to do. I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t sit. It hurt to lean. Suddenly all the pain from the entire 26.2 miles started to seep into my body. I was cold.
I talked to myself during the race. Steak and Shake chili had never tasted so good. My mind was numb and I was thinking almost no thoughts. Just observing what was around me in the tent that was shielding the wind. I don’t recall moving from the finish line to the tent to sit.
At the Fox Valley Marathon in St. Charles, IL I was the 12th woman finisher. I was so excited. It rained, as most of my marathons. I was so tired but had PR’ed by 5 minutes. I had prayed my feet would go numb. I had racing flats on which lowered my time but the soaked shoes and the pounding of my feet even with my light frame had crushed what little cushioning to nothing. I was in agony, but would not walk.
I measure my life in the miles I run.
I run less now because I am not training for anything and I do not want to. I run with my daughter. I run with friends. I am back to running on the treadmill which is how I started.