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Monday, August 30, 2010

dream

There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.  
~Author Unknown

When I was a child I know I had a lot of dreams about what my life would be like when I was "grown up."  The only thing that really, truly remained consistent about those dreams however was that I wanted to be a wife and a mother.  For a while, I wanted to be the first female President (I think this lasted until about age 9).  Then I decided I would be a Broadway star - I loved acting and dancing on stage.  Until I hit puberty and became seriously shy in front of big groups of people.  In high school I realized I had a growing love of art and architecture and really set my heart on becoming an architect.  I applied to colleges that had good programs and studied architecture during my freshman year at the University of Arizona.  I realized during that year though that it was not for me.  What I loved about architecture was its beauty, not the science of it.  I wasn't interested in all that math or engineering ... bleh.  At that point I felt completely lost and transferred to the University of Virginia.  Since I simply had had no idea what to "be" I majored in English Lit and figured the answer would come around at some point and at least I would get to read lots of good books and wind up with a solid Liberal Arts education.  When  I graduated I got a job in marketing which soon led to sales.  I liked it and I was fairly good at it so it worked for me.  But I was never truly passionate about it.  It was during this time that something really clicked inside of me - I started dreaming.  I began to sense a tiny spark inside myself that believed I could do something that fed my passions, gave me a creative outlet and allowed me to be the wife and mother I always wanted to be.

Well, things are happening in this dream.  It is going somewhere...I have no idea where but I did put the wheels in motion and now they are rolling and I am chasing this dream and having a blast.  There is no destination, really.  It is all about the journey.

If you have dreams, follow them.  Who knows where they will lead...but if you don't try I guarantee nothing will come of them.



What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson



weekend recap

saturday morning i went to my first prenatal yoga class at my very favorite studio, beloved yoga.  it was amazing to be in a room full of other pregnant women, all of us there to connect with ourselves and our growing babies.  the yoga itself was very gentle and relaxing and also quite challenging at times.  moving from downward dog into plank was both soothing and difficult with the extra weight i'm carrying in my tum.  the lunges were awesome and i'm still feeling them in my quads this morning.  one posture we did was called "baby dancer" which inevitably brought a smile to my face.  it was tough to do with the weight of my belly being pulled by gravity but i was amazed at how centered and peaceful i felt balancing in this position.  i am definitely heading back to this class as much as possible and highly recommend yoga to every runner, pregnant or not!

"baby dancer"
i'm not sure i looked this graceful, however!
yesterday was also a great day.  i woke up early to meet my client paul for his first 20 mile run.  this was the farthest he had ever run and i wanted to do the first and the last 5 miles with him.  we hit the trail at about 6AM when the weather was pretty much perfect.  cool and cloudy.  we ran at a steady pace for about an hour and caught up with one another along the way.  after the first 5 miles i said goodbye as he headed out for another 10 on his own.  i went home to greet my family, feed everyone breakfast, rest my legs and get some work done.  at around 9AM i went back to meet paul for his last 5 miles.  he was doing great!  at this point the sun was shining brightly and the heat and humidity had increased.  we hit the trail for our last 5 miles together.  it really was wonderful.  i'm not sure how to explain how rewarding this experience of being his coach is for me.  i am really proud of him and all that he is accomplishing and to know that i'm helping to guide him along the way is just incredible.  i loved being able to run with him for some of his run yesterday and it was neat to be there at both the start and the finish.  if i'm able to, i would love to do something like this with him on marathon day.  i'll be over 27 weeks pregnant at that point but if i can run even a mile or two with him that will make me happy and i think be motivating to him as well.
me and Paul after our first run together (12 miles)
July 2010
today i'm taking the kids to the national zoo, so i'm not sure i can really call it a "rest" day but i am taking the day off from running!!  here's to a good week ahead!

Friday, August 27, 2010

putting it out there

life amazes me.  i am trying really hard these days to let go, to be positive and to trust that things will find their way of working out and that all will be good.  this is definitely not always so easy for me, BUT i have been putting myself out there, going to my edge and finding that it is opening my heart to a slew of wonderful possibilities.

we have to get a new car in the next few months.  we simply cannot fit another person (not matter how small they are!) in either of the cars that we currently own.  we haven't had a car payment since i stopped working a few years ago and having to add this to our budget was seriously stressing me out.  i just did not know how it was going to be possible to swing it with our current income and expenses.  well, i decided a few weeks ago that i was just NOT going to worry anymore.  i couldn't...it wouldn't help things to be a stress-freak over them.  then last week i had a lightbulb shine bright in my head and i thought why don't we look into a refinancing and see if that might help?  well, we explored this and now it looks like it is going to save the day and we are going to be able to afford a new car without feeling incredibly stressed!  hooray!  thank you for prayers answered waaaay beyond my biggest hopes.  we are actually going to get a new car AND reduce our monthly expenses by $20!  wow.

there is a space that i can go to when life is feeling out of control...it is a peaceful spot in my being that settles me down and opens me up.  i get there most easily when i am running, when i am practicing yoga, and when i am just out in nature.  sort of "stilling" myself through movement.  i've been finding it more and more difficult to really run to get there, but something wonderful is happening during my pregnancy...i am getting there walking, run/walking, running slower, and doing yoga...and i know it is all going to be ok, probably more than ok, and i am grateful.

on a different note, i'm really looking forward to this weekend.  tomorrow morning i'm going to my first prenatal yoga class and then having a fun day with my family.  sunday morning is long run day for my client!  he is doing his first 20 miler in preparation for MCM.  since i'm not able to run all 20 miles with him, i'm planning to run the first 5 miles with him and the last 5 miles with him.  it's my hope that my company on both ends of his run will help make this run a positive experience for him.  this will be the farthest he has ever run.  i'm so excited to be on this journey with him as his coach and comrade.  it is a true gift!

i hope everyone has a great weekend.  for those of you that are running, i will be thinking of you and sending you happy-run vibes!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

awesome giveaway

I am not the one hosting the giveaway - that will be something I hope to do down the road once I have a few (ok, a lot) more followers - but I wanted to share this news as it is truly great (and it gets me one extra entry to post here!).

So my good friend Dorothy who writes an incredibly inspiring and informative running blog called Mile Posts is hosting an awesome giveaway right now for super-great sunglasses by Ryders Eyewear.

Check out her latest post - which is very "eye-opening" (pun completely intended as I am a dork) about the importance of properly protecting your eyes from the sun. Details on how to enter the Ryders giveaway are included, too!

"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

trying to tune in

I am on my 4th pair of "sport" ear phones for my ipod in a little over a year. I don't run with music often (usually only when I'm on the treadmill) but I am seriously getting annoyed with myself for always buying ear phones that are less than perfect for me. I want some that stay in/on my ears easily, are really comfortable (so I can practically forget I'm wearing them), and that don't get bugged out by sweat, movement, a hat or sunglasses. Is that too much to ask?

If you like what you have, please tell me about them! I could really use some first-hand advice before I waste more money on another pair that disappoint.

Thanks for your help :o)

Surfers Healing 5k

Well, yesterday morning I ran my first 5k since I found out I was pregnant. I ran one the week before I found out, but this is the first race I've participated in since I have been aware of the fact that there is a little baby growing inside me.

I wasn't planning to do the race. I didn't even know about it until about 12 hours before it started. We drove down to VA Beach on Thursday afternoon to spend the long weekend with my husband's family. Friday evening my sister Jodi called me to tell me about the race. She was in town just for the night on her way to the Outer Banks with her family and she was planning to do the race in the morning with one of her friends who lives here. I ran 5 sssssllllooooow miles on Friday and thought doing a 5k would certainly not be too much mileage for me and that I would just take it easy, enjoy being part of a race, and not worry at all about my time.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling tired, slow and puffy. A run might have been just what I needed. I thought it would be nice to bike to the start line which would have been about 4 miles from my in-laws' house along the oceanfront. My 3 year old son had a meltdown at breakfast though (over the color of his cereal bowl!!) and this delayed me too much to fit in the bike ride so I had to drive instead which was no big deal especially since I was feeling so sluggish. The race started at 8am and it was already really hot and very sunny. The route was just up and back along the boardwalk so there was no shade whatsoever. I had fun though. My sister Jodi stuck with me the whole way and we ran around a 10:00 to a 10:30 pace the whole way coming in at about 32 minutes. It was a good experience for me.

I'm grateful that I was able to be a part of a race at 17 weeks pregnant. I'm really competitive with myself usually and this pregnancy is mellowing me out and teaching me so much about how to just be in the moment and enjoy what my body and spirit are capable of. Don't get me wrong, I am REALLY looking forward to truly racing and pushing myself to my limits again after this baby is born, but for now this is where I need to be and it is a good thing. I like going to my "edge" and finding out what I'm made of...while pregnant this has nothing to do with speed but rather hones in on my inner strength, self-awareness and respect for my body and the miracle of life.

I haven't decided what to do about the VA Beach half in a few weeks. I emailed the race director and they will not allow transfers or refunds at all unfortunately. My husband isn't even so sure he wants to make the trip back here over Labor Day weekend and after all the travel that we have done this summer, neither am I. We'll see though, I have time to decide and there is no pressure. I'm one of those people that believes whole-heartedly that what's meant to be will always find a way...so I'm just going to let go of it and when the time is right I'll make the right decision!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend and that your runs, races and time spent doing things you love with the ones you love has been renewing and fun for you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

circus act


Every day it seems I am a circus act of sorts. The clown in the center ring, juggling, perhaps? Definitely.

Most days I have a lot of balls (or bowling pins, or fire sticks...) in the air at one time. At several points during an average day I actually catch myself laughing out loud at myself. It is pretty funny to step outside my brain for a few moments throughout the day and just appreciate another perspective of what my life looks like. I think actually the ability to laugh and enjoy it all is my saving grace most days.

Here are the main things I am juggling right now:
  • Being momma to my two hilarious, adorable, sweet, sometimes dramatic and crazy children ages 5 and 3 and three quarters (it would be important to him that I mention the "and three quarters" part of his age!)
  • Growing a new baby in my tum
  • Being a wife to my wonderful husband of almost 8 years!
  • Starting my own business - Sugar Cone - which I am up to my ears in right now trying to scramble lots of things together, a juggling act in itself (sooo grateful to have Debbie my amazing friend and business partner to share this with!!)
  • Interior/Exterior Chairperson on the Board of my kids' preschool. I just started this job this summer...it is so great to be a part of this group of people who care so much about this special school (I went to the school 30 years ago and my teacher still works there!). It is a lot of work though. This week we are renovating the kitchen/art areas of the school and I am in charge of all projects related to the building and grounds...whoa. Yesterday I spent much of the day on a hunt for a handyman to help us with some urgent drywall and electrical issues that popped up.
  • Running. Not just my own, but I became a RRCA certified running coach in the spring and am working with my first client. It is wonderful. I'm helping him train for his first marathon and have been working with him for about a month. It has been an incredible experience so far and I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to work with him!
  • Pilates. I am teaching a weekly class at my sister's studio and plan to add another one to my schedule once school starts. I love it so much.
Not bad, right? Actually, writing it all out and breaking it down makes me feel really good, like it is not too much. These are all things that are important to me - things that I can be truly proud of and thankful for because they all feed my soul in one way or another. I also feel good because I know my children see me doing all of this and they see that I am happy. My hope is that they will learn to fill their own lives with things that are important to them and that they enjoy.

I can't imagine my life without any of these things right now. I'm sure I would feel that something was missing.

The clown in the center ring usually has a smile on her face, right? Well, if so, then that is me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

contemplation and request for advice

Last year I raced my first ever half marathon at the Virginia Beach Rock n' Roll Half over Labor Day weekend.  It was AWESOME.  I love the distance soo much, it may be my favorite.  I was hoping for a sub-2 hour time and came in a 2:00:32.  I actually fell flat on my face at mile 10 and cut up my hand and knee and lost some time there (I am not the most coordinated person at times) and if that hadn't happened I'm sure I would have come in under 2:00.  It was still a great race, though - despite missing my time goal, the extreme heat, and making a fool of myself at mile 10.  Anyway, I've run two other halves since then and beat my PR in May at the Pacers Half, coming in at 1:55:47.  I signed up for this year's VA Beach Half this past winter with the hopes of improving my time, having a blast and NOT falling on my face.

Well, things have changed since then - I am pregnant!  I'm still signed up for this race and will be in VA Beach for it and all along through this pregnancy have been planning to just see how I feel on race day and do whatever pace/distance feels right that morning.  That is my plan even still.  My goals for the race remain pretty much the same with the exception of improving my time.  I want to (1) have fun, (2) not fall flat on my face and (3) set a PR of sorts because this will be my first time participating in a race with a baby in my belly.

The only thing is that I have not been consistent with my running, especially over the last month.  I was running 10-14 mile long runs on the weekends until 2 weeks ago.  The past 2 weekends have been plagued with pregnancy migraines and I haven't run more than 5 miles at a time over the past 2 weeks, sometimes walking quite a bit of those runs. I would love some advice...if I was not pregnant and my training was slacking like this I would be a little concerned but just do it anyway.  My question is, being pregnant combined with not training properly and with the race just 3 weeks away...is it less than smart to do this race?  Should I just let go and look to next year to do this distance again?

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Village

Last Saturday my family and I packed up our car and headed to Bethany Beach, DE for a week vacation with my mom and my sisters and their families.  I have three sisters and among the four of us there are 8 children plus two more on the way.  The oldest is 13 and the youngest is 18 months old.  My younger sister Alissa and I are both pregnant and due on the same day (amazing, right?!).  There are so many kids filling this house - so much laughter and more FUN happening all around than I can possibly describe.

You know how they say "it takes a village"?  Well, this is my village.  Sure, it is absolutely crazy and totally chaotic around this house.  My kids are in heaven with all of their cousins, aunts, uncles and of course Nana.  There is always something for them to do and someone for them to play with.  We are all naturally chipping in with cleaning up, feeding each other, and doing laundry.  I have gone out for a run or walk every morning this week, never worrying or wondering what my kids are up to and when Robert was here (he had to leave mid-week) he even went for a bike ride each morning, sometimes while I was out running.  While on the beach there are so many extra sets of eyes to watch the kids, extra people to take them into the waves, build sand castles, or go to the boardwalk for shave ice...and every act is filled with love.  It is amazing to me.

This is what it is all about.  Family.  My village.  I will be sad to head home tomorrow, but will look back on this vacation with such a warm heart and a big, huge smile.  I can't wait to get all of us together again.

Friday, August 6, 2010

random facts

Abbi at Higher Miles had a fun post today - 10 random facts about herself.  I thought it would be fun to do the same kind of thing since I enjoyed reading hers so much.  Plus, I am not sure what else to write about today!

So here are my random facts, in truly random order:

1. Last summer I chopped over 12 inches off of my hair and donated it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a program that makes wigs and donates them to women with breast cancer who cannot afford to buy wigs for themselves.  It was a deeply meaningful and spiritual experience for me.  My friend Stephanie passed away at age 35 of breast cancer in September of 2008.  She was 29 years old when she was diagnosed and I will never forget how she felt about losing her hair and having to get a wig.  It is not "just hair!"  I cannot explain how much this experience changed me and helped me become a stronger, more faithful woman.  It was HARD and I was scared and I felt so exposed when all my hair was gone.  But I also felt a happiness and peace inside that I had never known...strength and beauty come from within.  I think every woman should do this at some point in their lives, if they are able to.

2. I have a serious need for a creative outlet in my life.  I am always doing things with my hands...drawing, painting, taking pictures, needlepointing...I would go crazy if I did not have a way to channel my creative energies.

3. Since I was a kid I wanted to make a height chart that was a giant ice cream cone.  I got the idea from spending my summers in Bethany Beach, Delaware and going to the old Bethany Beach Ice Cream Parlor (which was torn down years ago).  They had a chart of all their flavors that was a giant ice cream cone and every summer growing up I could not wait to measure myself and see what flavor I was.  Finally last year I painted and embellished an ice cream cone height chart for my family.  It is whimsical and fun and my kids love it.  It hangs in our play room and every member of my family is measured (even my husband and I, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents).  After I hung it up friends and family raved about it and suggested I make more and sell them.  Well...a dream has been born out of it and I have started my own business called "Sugar Cone."  I asked my close friend Debbie to be my business partner and we are now "official!"  The charts have been selling at a shop in Charlotte, NC and we are about to have them in two stores right here in DC.  We're also working on our first catalog, a Face Book page and a web site so you will be hearing more about this soon!  I cannot believe it is happening and I am so grateful and excited.

4.  I have been eating a mostly vegan diet since October of 2008.  Meat pretty much grosses me out and tears up my stomach.  Dairy is mean to me, sometimes vicious.  I do love the way it tastes though so occasionally I eat it anyway.  I always regret it.  Broccoli might be my favorite food and I know that is weird, but it's true.

5. I love nature and doing outdoor things like hiking and camping, but I am a serious WIMP when it comes to bugs, snakes and spiders and I am always looking out for them when I do said activities.  I live in the woods - my backyard is practically a forest - and I love it sooo much but am also freaked out by it a bit.

6. When I was in 4th grade my class went on a camping trip and we went fishing.  A girl in my class named Astrid hooked ME - in the NOSE - when she cast her line.  It was mortifying and it hurt.

7. I believe things always happen for a reason and when they are meant to.

8. My sister Alissa and I are less than a year apart and she is my best friend.  She is pregnant right now too and we are both due on the same day!!!!!  When she was pregnant with her now 18 month old son, I was pregnant too and due a few weeks after her but I had a miscarriage and then my husband and I eventually decided we were done having kids.  The fact that we are both pregnant at the same time again is amazing, a miracle really.  It is so fun to be experiencing this together and to know that our children will grow up together.  We believe this is completely in God's hands.

9. To say I love the beach is an understatement.  One day I will live on the ocean.  I hope sooner rather than later, but I know I will get there when the time is right.

10. I believe that pain makes us stronger and better people, more real and more connected to what truly matters.  Nothing in life worth living for ever really comes all that easily in my book, or if it does it is a lot of work to keep it there.

Well, that's it!  I would love to read your random facts, too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

revived!

Yesterday's fog has been lifted and I am so grateful and happy!  Other than feeling the average "car-sick" nausea this morning (which is usually remedied by breakfast), I am feeling on top of my game and ready for the day.

I take the kids to camp this morning from 8:30-11:30 and rather than lying in bed I'm heading out for a much needed solo run.  I want to take advantage of feeling good whenever I can, and to fill that time with things that I enjoy and that will renew my spirit and energy.  A run is the perfect thing.

Have a happy day, everyone!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

headache...

Today I am in a fog.  A headache hangover.  Yesterday was the pits and today I am trying to feel normal again but...I just don't.

Yesterday morning I woke up with a pain over my left eye and I felt sick to my stomach.  I somehow managed to get the wee ones off to camp in the morning and came home and climbed right back into bed.  I tried to rest, but couldn't.  I took some Tylenol (the only OTC pain medication that is safe during this stage of my pregnancy), but it just would not stay in my stomach.  I went to pick the kids up from camp around lunch time and had to pull over on the side of the road to throw up.  It was pathetic.

When we got home I seriously could hardly stand up, the pain was so bad.  I could not keep a thing in my stomach, not even ginger ale or any fluids at all.  This went on for hours.  I took hot showers, put ice packs and heat packs on my head and curled up in bed with my kids.  They had pop corn for lunch - in my bed.  They watched 2 movies and countless t.v. shows, and listened to me get sick to my stomach pretty much every hour of the day.  My mom came over around 5pm to help with the kids and my husband came home early from work.  We called my doctor and he prescribed Zofran, and anti-nausea medicine that I can just put on my tongue (rather than having to swallow a pill since I could not keep anything down).  Once that took effect he had me take Vicodin, which is a narcotic medication for pain. This totally freaked me out...but he assured me it is safe for the baby.  One thing about me is that I HATE to take medicine (pregnant or not) and I only take it when absolutely necessary.  Well, yesterday it was just absolutely necessary.  My doctor said that if I woke this morning with a headache he will have me see a neurologist.  I am just getting these headaches so frequently and while it is common for pregnant women to suffer from migraines, this is a bit extreme apparently.

So, this morning when I woke up I still had a headache.  Nothing like yesterday, but it was still there.  I took two Tylenol right away since I wasn't feeling nauseous yet and hoped they would stay down long enough to do something for me.  Hooray - they did.  That was 2 hours ago and I am headache free now, but have a foggy brain.  The kids are at camp so the house is quiet.  I will call my doc soon to talk with him about it.  I really don't want to go to the neurologist...I just want these headaches to go away!

So one thing that is on my mind is this...could running long have anything to do with it?  I ran 12.5 miles on Sunday.  During the run I felt great and strong and hydrated, but I woke the next day with a headache.  The same thing happened last Monday after my Sunday long run.  I don't know what the connection could be, but I can't help but wonder if there is one...

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