Mother’s Day and Beyond

Mother’s Day was nice.  It is one day that I refuse to do any cooking and the one day that I refuse to go out at lunch time because the restaurants are always packed.  Friday and Saturday before Mother’s Day were both very busy, so I was hoping to stay home and do nothing.  However, that did not work out.  I ended up going to a movie with my two daughters, stopping to eat before the movie.  It was a nice day.

I’m now on the last week of my spring Couch to 5K program.  We met on Tuesdays and Thursdays and were expected to run one day a week on our own.  I’ve continued to meet with my Wednesday night running group.  I didn’t know how I’d like running three days in a row, but I have noticed a positive difference.  I’m working on a plan to continue after this week.

This coming Saturday is my first race since March.  If you recall, my April race was canceled.  Even though I’ve been running, I feel out of practice!

On the interstate today, we were passed by a racecar nearly 100 years old!  It was a 1927 Bugatti 35b.  How do I know this?  It was printed on the side of the car!  The man driving it was definitely a lot braver than I am.  Cinderella thought that it looked like, “The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.”  I was driving, so I wasn’t able to take a photo, but check out these images on Google.

Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.  Proverbs 23:25

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A Sentence a Day for April 2018

April is gone, and May is here.  It seems as I get older that time goes by faster and faster.  Earth is spinning so fast, that I expect to go flying off of it at any moment.

April has always been the busiest month of the year for us with October running a close second.  I’m not really sure why.  My guess is that in April the weather is usually starting to get nice, so there are tons of activities to go to.  In October, there are always a ton of activities to go to, and my guess is due to the fact that winter is just around the corner and soon we won’t be able to go anywhere.

As you can see, there are several days that I did not make an entry; and I chose not to go back and try to recreate one.  Life is busy right now and that’s just the way it is.  As the weather gets nicer and the days get longer, that means more time outside and less time inside looking at a screen.  Surely that’s a good thing.

  1. Sunday.  Wow!  A white Easter.
  2. Monday.  I was shocked when I woke up this morning and there was still snow on the ground.
  3. Tuesday.  I was not heartbroken to attend a meeting tonight instead of running since it was cold, cloudy, and very windy.
  4. Wednesday.  It was a beautiful, sunshine-filled day for a four-mile run.
  5. Thursday.  Another beautiful day, but we are expecting snow tomorrow.
  6. Friday.  The warm weather did not last long, and all soccer games have been canceled for tomorrow.
  7. Saturday.  It was cold today but the sun felt wonderful.
  8. Sunday.  Snow again!  When will it ever end?
  9. Monday.  I took Cinderella to see a movie (Big Sonia) about an amazing woman who survived the holocaust.
  10. Tuesday.  Tonight’s run was short, but for the first time in a very long time it felt really, really good.
  11. Wednesday.  I love that running is starting to feel good and that I’m starting to feel like myself again!
  12. Thursday.  I RAN into The Princess at the park this evening while running.
  13. Friday.  I cannot believe that tomorrow’s race has been postponed.
  14. Saturday.  It was a cold, windy and miserable time to sit outside for Cinderella’s soccer games.
  15. Sunday.  Snow for the third Sunday in a row!
  16. Monday.  I stayed home today, did some work around the house, and finished our taxes.
  17. Tuesday.  Running is starting to feel good again!
  1. Wednesday.
  2. Thursday.
  3. Friday.
  4. Saturday
  5. Sunday
  6. Monday
  7. Tuesday.
  8. Wednesday.  This rainy day was perfect for shopping at the JBF Sale.
  9. Thursday.
  10. Friday.
  11. Saturday:  Cinderella is 10!
  12. Sunday:  Fifth Sunday is the day that we, “Go to church and don’t leave until the food is all gone.”
  13. Monday:  A beautiful, warm day to recuperate from the busy, food-filled weekend.

Lesson Learned: Choosing a Race

Today I expected to have an update for you from my latest race.  As you well know, things don’t always go as planned.  Unfortunately, my race was postponed.  The reason we were given was the weather, however, the forecast was calling for cloudy and 50 degrees at race time.  This has been another lesson learned.

April is always the busiest month of the year for us.  Why, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because winter is officially over, the weather is finally comfortable, so everyone wants to get out and do things.  Considering that, I only had one Saturday in April that I could run a race.  After scouring the internet, I found two races in the area for that day.  One was a large city-wide race with thousands of registrants, the other a tiny, tiny race with less than 50 registrants.

We went for the smaller race.  The proceeds of this race went to benefit a family whose child was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago.  This was the 2nd annual race.

The Monday before the race we received via email a race packet.  I did appreciate this since not all races publish one.  It was nice to have everything you needed to know in one place.  It gave the time and location for packet pick up, where to park for the race, the race route, etc.  At that point, everything seemed in order.

On Tuesday before the race I received an email that read,

The timing chips will be unavailable this Saturday. We do not have enough runners to justify the cost. Also if you have family or friends that would like to run with us, shirts are not available the day of the race or at pickup. (For you, the shirts will be with your race packets.)

I was disappointed, but I understood.

On Wednesday before the race we received an email that read,

We are also having packet pickup only on Saturday from 7:45-8:45a before the race. No Friday pickup . . .

I understood why they perhaps wouldn’t want to have a packet pick up the day before the race due to the number of registrants, but at this point I was thinking something might be amiss since packet pick up is usually run by volunteers and has no cost involved.  On Thursday I remember telling a friend that it doesn’t look good to promise a bunch of things and then take them away.  It’s much better to not promise them in the first place.  And, I even said, “I’m just waiting for them to cancel the race.”

On Friday at 11:00 am it came,

The race is postponed due to weather. We will update you as soon as we can.

At this point, I was upset because if the race was rescheduled I probably wouldn’t be able to go.  I was also upset because it appeared that the weather was not the problem.

So, I sent this email knowing that there are usually no refunds on races,

Considering the emails I received earlier this week and that the weather forecast for race time tomorrow is 50 degrees and cloudy, I’m having a difficult time believing that the weather is the problem.  If the race is not held tomorrow, I would like a refund.

I didn’t expect a refund.  I didn’t even expect a reply, but it came,

The team that decided to cancel removed me from any control of the race. Please contact  ******@gmail.com about your refund.

Sorry for the confusion. Please understand that we at **** corp no longer have any say about the way ***** *** Dash will use their funds.

At this point, I am expecting nothing.  I am not expecting the race to be rescheduled and I am not expecting a refund.  I suspect that my money has already been spent on something else other than the race and that it is gone.  So be it.

What’s the lesson?  Sponsorship.  This race did not have any corporate sponsorship to speak of.  Even the small races that I’ve done have had local businesses supporting them in some way.  Whether it be financially or by providing some kind of goods or service, they were supported by local businesses and those business names were prominently displayed on the race website, t-shirts, e-mails, etc.  These businesses provide the support and accountability to make sure the show goes on.  Otherwise, it may not.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Colossians 3:12-13</i>

Water, Weight, and Couch to 5K

Yeah!  Spring is officially here.  For me, the unofficial start of Spring is the beginning of daylight savings time; but now it’s official.  It’s been a cold, gray winter and so far a cool, gray spring.  I’m ready for some sunshine!  I’m ready for warm weather, green grass, and open windows.

My local community center has decided to do a spring Couch to 5K program.  This is an abbreviated version where we’ll be meeting twice a week for eight weeks.  This means we’ll have one day a week where we’ll need to do the program on our own.  You’d think that I’d eventually graduate from this program, but I haven’t yet.  I don’t know why on rough days it’s easy to text your friends and tell them that you’re not going to make it for your scheduled run, but if I’m signed up for a program like Couch to 5K, there’s nothing that will keep me from showing up.

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For now I’m still planning on keeping up with my other runs as well as the Couch to 5K.  We’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.  Four nights a week is a lot to commit to and may not be very realistic once the distances increase with the Couch to 5K program.

We’ve all heard the debate about whether or not to weigh every day.  I’ve weighed myself every day (or at least most days) for quite some time.  I’ve continued to do it because I’ve read over and over that people that weigh every day lose more weight.  Since the scales haven’t been moving in the direction I would like I decided to take a break from weighing myself every day.  When I stepped back on the scale for the first time in several days, I did not like what I saw.  It was ugly.  So, I’ve gone back to weighing every day.  It certainly seems to help keep me on track.

As I wrote in a previous post, I unintentionally took some time off from juicing.  In February I tried Jason Vale’s Super Blend Me! program for 10 days.  It was ok, but for me it definitely is not a substitute for juicing.  For a few weeks, I made some juice and had a juice a day.  I’ve decided for at least the rest of this month to go back to the 5:2 plan.  Five days of eating and two days of juicing.  The 5:2 plan keeps me feeling my best.

During the summer and warmer months, I naturally get thirsty and drinking plenty of water is not a problem.  In the winter and cooler months it is difficult for me to drink the proper amount of water.  I came up with the simple solution of setting alarms on my Fitbit to remind me to drink water.  My Fitbit is always on my wrist and vibrates for each alarm.  The alarms are virtually impossible to ignore yet won’t bother other people.  My first alarm goes off at 8:00 am, and the following alarms are set to go off every two hours until 10:00 pm.  At every alarm, I drink a 16 ounce glass of water.

If I drink a glass of water at every alarm, it comes to 128 ounces or 1 gallon of water a day.  However, there are times that I’m not home or in the car driving and know it’s not going to be a good time to be drinking a lot of water that’s going to cause me to go looking for a restroom.  So, I’ve set more alarms than necessary so that I will drink water at most of them and be properly hydrated.  This has been working great, and I know I’m drinking a lot more water than I would otherwise.

Do you have difficulty drinking enough water on a daily basis?  What is your trick to keeping properly hydrated?

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14.

Spring Update

Right now we have a brief lull in activities, so I’m trying to lay low and take it easy.  Spring is always a busy time, with April being the busiest month of the year, so I know it’s not going to last long.  And this year we have a grandbaby coming in April as well.  In a few weeks, it will be time to shift into overdrive!

I already have an event planned for every weekend in April.  They keep stacking up, so there are some Saturdays that I have three places I need to be.  Ain’t gonna happen!

Last week I ran four miles for the first time since I sprained my ankle.  It was slower than all get out, but that’s ok.  My doctor says it should be healed and he thinks the pain I’m feeling is just from it being stiff and not as elastic as it used to be, so I’m trying to move more and keep it loosened up.

I am definitely loving daylight savings time.  It is so nice to have more daylight in the evening and to be able to get outside.  It certainly is taking some adjustment, though.  Everytime I look at my watch, it’s an hour or two later than I think.  It seems like it’s making the time fly away.

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I unintentionally took a break from juicing for several months.  I just got out of the habit of making it.  I was starting to feel the effects of not having juice in my diet, so I have gotten back to making juice again.  I was expecting it not to taste good to me after not having it for so long.  Actually, it was delicious, and I felt like I had been missing something special.  Lesson learned.

It seems like it has been a longer, harder winter than what we’ve had in the past.  It got cold earlier in the fall than what we’re used to.  I remember going to the sports store looking for winter running accessories in October and the sales clerk telling me that it had gotten cold earlier than usual so they weren’t going to have winter items in for a few weeks yet.  We didn’t have a lot of snow this year, but we had a lot of small snow falls or even sleet and ice.  Our weather wasn’t necessarily harsh or severe, it just made it more difficult to get out.  As you know, once you start slacking off, it’s easy to continue.

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Now that we are in daylight savings time and it’s a bit warmer, I feel like spring is just around the corner.  Time to break free!

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36

Hospital Half and 5K

March’s race was the Hospital Half and 5K.  This is not just a race, it’s an event!  I also ran the inaugural race last year.  This year, it was even bigger and better with more runners and more vendors.  This race benefits the LiveWell grant program, providing health and wellness grants to area non-profits.

This race starts and ends about two miles from my house at my local community center.  This winter, I have continued to meet there about once a week to run with a couple of friends.  I say “about” because the plan was always to meet there, but often the weather didn’t cooperate, so we’d end up not meeting or going to the cave to run.  Since we were not able to meet there nearly as often this year, I did not feel nearly as prepared for this race as I did last year.

Parking was at a premium, and runners were encouraged to park off-site and take shuttle buses, but I was able to hitch a ride with my daughter.

We were fortunate enough to have perfect running weather.  It was about 43 degrees and sunny outside.  There was a slight breeze from the south, which meant it would be at my back at the end of the race and up that big, ugly hill.

At 8:00 they started with the national anthem and then lined the half marathon runners up.  I went out to cheer those runners on as they left the chute.

The 5K started at 8:30.  We lined up and were off to a rocky start as there really were too many runners to go out the chute all at once.  At the start of the race I ended up on the other side of the road with oncoming traffic.

This year, I ran about halfway up that ugly hill and walked the rest.  I didn’t have a great finishing time, but I finished and my time was better than my last race two weeks ago, so I’m happy with that.

After the race, I visited some of the vendors with a couple of friends.  It was almost like going to your wholesale club on sample day except that these were much larger samples.  We had the regular fruit and snacks offered after most races along with chocolate, strawberry, and root beer flavored milk from a local dairy; pulled pork sandwiches from the rotary club; pizza; smoothies; and fresh draws served up from our local brewery.

After spending some time browsing around with friends, I decided to walk home.  I was tired, so the walk was a little further than I would have liked.  However, I did see some signs of spring!

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;  Genesis 1:14

Sweetheart Run 5K

February’s race was the Sweetheart Run 5K.  I ran this race last year with my daughter and a few friends and had a great time.  There is also a runners’ expo after the race, so it’s a good time to get discounts on future races, running gear, etc.

This race was originally scheduled for the 10th.  Due to a forecast of incoming snow, the race was postponed to the following week.  We didn’t get the snow that was forecasted, but it was very cold on the 10th, so I was glad for the week’s delay.

As always I was watching the weather forecast so I’d know what to expect and could prepare for race day.  It was forecasted to be about 43 degrees and cloudy at the time of the race.  I would need a jacket, earmuffs, and long pants.

When I got up the morning of the race, I again checked the weather.  It was as predicted, so I got ready for the race as planned and had a small breakfast.  I was ready to walk out the door when my oldest daughter came in through the garage, “You know it’s snowing, right?”

I looked outside.  The ground and our vehicles were covered in snow and there were huge snowflakes falling from the sky.  I was not prepared for snow.

Lesson #1:  Always pop your head outdoors to see what the weather is actually doing while you still have time to make adjustments.

We went on our way.  This race was on the other side of town–further away than most of my races.  We drove through the mist and wet roads.  I remember saying, “I’m not prepared to get wet!”

Lesson #2:  Always bring a change of clothes.

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Race time came and it was cool and breezy, but at least there wasn’t anything falling from the sky.  The pavement was wet, so I was expecting to get wet from the knees down.  Then, as we walked up to the start line I got another surprise:  this year’s race would be run in reverse of last year’s race.

With running being very much a mental sport, this threw me off.  I had checked the route, and it had not been updated in the race information.  I started going through the route backwards in my mind.

In the end it was a good race.  The weather held out, and I did not end up soaking wet.  Most of all, I met my goal:  I beat the girl in the pink pants!

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Proverbs 24:17

Running: The No-Equipment Sport

One thing that attracted me to running was that it was a low investment sport monetarily speaking.  It was nice to think that I didn’t have to go out and spend money on equipment or a gym membership, nor did I have to have a place to store said equipment.  The only thing I needed to get started, so I thought, was a good pair of shoes.  I had already discovered my pronation problem with my feet and invested in good shoes and orthodics, so I was ready to rock and roll.

My daughter came up with the idea that we should run a 5K a month.  I decided to go along with that.  Then she decided that we had to wear tutus, so that was my first investment.  Then there was the ever important armband or belt to carry your phone in, and let’s not forget earbuds for listening.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that there is an entire market out there targeted towards runners.  The first thing that I was told was that “cotton is rotton” and that I was wearing the wrong socks.  I didn’t care.  I liked my socks.  I also had old, cotton t-shirts that I wore to run in.  It was summer, it was hot, I was fine.

Then it got so hot that the sweat would run into my eyes and I couldn’t see a thing.  I got a headband for my birthday, and later ended up buying another one to help keep the sweat out of my eyes.  Then I came across these cooling towels to help keep you cool in the extreme heat.  Yip, I had to have one of those too!

Then Fall came and it started to cool off.  I needed longer pants to keep warm and a jacket.

Then Winter came along.  Not only did we have to deal with the temperatures, we also had to deal with the fact that we were running in the dark most of the time.  For warmth, I now needed long sleeved shirts to wear under my jacket, ear muffs, gloves, and a face warmer.  After tripping and falling in the dark a few times (once I fell on my phone), I decided I needed a light.  I found a very bright LED light that I love.  It was not cheap, but it was a lot cheaper than a new phone.

I invested in a reflective vest.  I was so excited when the package came.  I opened it up, adjusted the straps, and put it on.  My husband walked into the room and said, “What did you do, get a job pushing carts at Stuff Mart?”  My daughter’s friends that live across the street thought that I was a school crossing guard.

Now, I have a whole bag of running gear.  It hangs in the coat closet and I pull it out every time I go running.  The small stuff, like my earbuds and my light go in a small pencil bag so I don’t have to dig around and find them.  Everything else is just thrown in and pretty easy to find.  So much for my little sport that doesn’t require any equipment.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  Ephesians 6:11

Going Underground

Winter is only a few weeks old, and it has been a cold, cold one already.  That coupled with wind and snow has made it very uncomfortable.  The thought of going outside is torturous.  The thought of staying inside and never going outside again is a little less torturous.

So, what’s a runner girl to do?  Go underground.  Yes, you read that right, underground!

We have a local university that has a cave on campus that is not only home to some university facilities, but also local businesses.  The cave can be a welcome retreat to runners and walkers alike during times of extreme weather–hot or cold.

So, what’s it like running in a cave?

Sixty-five degrees year-round!  The temperature, of course, is the main reason for going and the advantage that I immediately noticed.  After running in the cold weather, it was hard to keep from overdressing.  Right now, I would call it a balmy sixty-five degrees.  In the summer, it would be considered a cool retreat.  My vehicle was covered in ice and snow, and even though it had warmed up some, I was still having trouble with the locks freezing up.  By the time we were done with our work out, my vehicle was clear of snow and the locks were working as they should.  It was also nice to return to a comfortable car after working out instead of getting in an ice-cold vehicle.

Clean, fresh air.  With vehicles coming and going, the air in the cave is constantly being filtered.  This makes for clean, fresh air in all places all of the time.  I can’t always say this for outdoors with people driving by, mowing their yards, or sitting on their porches smoking.

Dry!  The entrance to the cave had some wet spots, but other than that, it was dry, dry, dry!  This was a great contrast to the conditions outside.  We recently had snow and it was too cold for it to melt, so running outside was treacherous.

Flat.  Overall the course is flat with some slight and gradual inclines and declines.  This is not a place to work on hills, but it will keep you going when the weather is not conducive to running outside.

Well-lit.  I know we think of caves as dark and gloomy, but they have done a great job making it feel just the opposite.  The walls and ceilings are painted white and there are lights everywhere.  There is no need to worry about wearing reflective clothing and lights so you can see where you’re going.  It was nice not to have to put on all the extra gear for running in the dark.  It was also nice to be able to see more than just a few feet in front of you.

Little traffic.  This is not a high-volume area, so there was very little traffic.  We also went at a time that the businesses probably would be closed and not receiving shipments, so there were no big trucks coming and going.  The posted speed limit is 9.9 mph (really), so what traffic there was moved at a very slow pace.

No animals–yet.  I started carrying my mace with me on every run simply because I have often ended up with a loose dog wanting to run with me or after me.  After one big dog put his wet nose on the back of my leg, I decided that was a little too close for comfort.  I’m a dog lover, and I love animals in general, but I also realize that they can suddenly become aggressive.  I also understand the damage they can do in an instant.  I didn’t see any animals in the cave, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bat sometime.

“Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.  Jeremiah 23:24

Battle of the Bean 5K

January’s race and my first race for 2018 was the Battle of the Bean 5K.  The charity for this race was Happy Bottoms which is a diaper bank for local low income families.  Paper products are a great need for low income families as government assistance does not provide them.

Battle of the Bean does seem like an odd name for a race, but the “beans” that are “battling” here are the coffee bean and the cacao bean.  When you register for the race, you choose whether you wish to be on Team Coffee or Team Cocoa.  I never let something as vile as coffee touch me lips, so I went for Team Cocoa.  I rarely drink it due to the sugar and calories involved, but just imagining rich, creamy cocoa with marshmallows on top was enough to put me on the team!

The race itself was sponsored by a local coffee shop.  It was amazing!  Along with the usual coffee shop items, they also had gourmet chocolates and frozen custard made at the shop.  They had samples out for the runners after the race.  The chocolate looked too good to eat, and tasted fabulous.  The custard was the smoothest and creamiest I’ve ever had.

We were fortunate that we had some warmer weather move in a few days prior to the race.  It was foggy and damp, but all of the snow had melted from the roadways.  It was also about 42 degrees, which is perfect running weather.  The first thing I did when we got there was take about 10 steps and step into a pothole full of water.  So, I ran with one very soggy foot.

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As is my custom, I drove the route a few days before the race so I’d know what to expect.  With the cold weather, ice, and snow we’ve had lately, I haven’t been running much.  I knew mile one would be the easiest with a very long descent.  I expected mile two to be the toughest with a long hill to climb.  Mile three was flatter, so I thought it would be a nice break after mile two.

It didn’t take long for me to find out that two miles is about my endurance level right now.  The second mile was my fastest, but I was exhausted afterwards.  The third mile was tougher than I thought it would be, but I still made it with a time that I can live with.

Instead of a finisher’s medal, we got these really nice mugs that commemorate the race.  They are heavy duty and large enough to use for your favorite drink or soup–or maybe even a dessert!  I love that it’s something I’ll use over and over again.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 
I Corinthians 10:31

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(Cocoa not included.)