Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some Beginning Thoughts

So, it's the start of Week #5 of marathon training. This week I up my mileage by two miles (for a total of 17 miles). What are my thoughts at this point? Well, I want this, but I think it is hard, harder even than I had anticipated. Not the planning, I got that, but the actual commitment of doing it. Part of the reason that I want to do this is because I know that I am a pretty good planner--I think about most details in advance. I can gather the things that I need to be adequately prepared. I can do the research to tell me what I need to do.

And I can start.

But rarely do I find myself finishing. I feel like this is a test that I need to pass because it closely parallels another great task in my life. Can you guess? Yep, homeschooling. I can do all the planning and reading and preparing and research, but am pretty scared about actually doing the serious work that will allow me to be successful and complete well.

So I have started training for a marathon. I have completed 4 out of 20 weeks. What are my next steps? Well, I think that I need to actually sign up for the thing, you know, put down the money and commit once and for all. And then, tomorrow morning, I have to gather the will to get me and all the kids to the gym. After I get there, I need to run three miles on the track and lift weights. I figure any more out later.

And I have to contend that this is a serious physical battle. First, I have noticed that while I can have the energy for the runs, I am more tired, much more willing to go to bed at night. I think that running four days a week is taxing and affecting my energy/motivation level for some of the other tasks of my everyday life. I think that I need to adjust the way that I eat more to give me more energy--i.e. more pasta! (I think spaghetti and meatballs tomorrow night!) Also, today is the first day that my body hurts from running--my knees, my feet, my shins. All of them are the teeniest bit upset at me for the strain that I put them under yesterday (they definitely argue when I walk up and down the stairs!). More long runs might produce more similar results. This is part of the fight--not to let these things derail me, not to let little inconveniences be stronger than my desire to complete this marathon.

Finally, I am in the mental part of the game. This is a conscious choice. I have made a decision and I have to stick with it. A fellow marathoner (a friend who has actually completed one) was so encouraging to me today. There is something to be said about talking to someone who has actually experienced this. He told me that this is hard, but it's worth it. That this is a mental game and that I CAN DO IT! And you know what, I think that I might try believing him!

Thanks for your encouragement friends. I appreciate your questions and conversations, for listening to me ramble. Keep it up--that's part of what keeps me going!

P.S. In case you were wondering or if you even care--the bright orange site is in honor of my running tank that I love!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Week #4 Recap

Monday--2.0 miles (20.54 minutes)
Okay, so first day with new shoes and orthotics and. . .none of the previous pain was present. Just new pain of adjusting to having something hard and plasticy holding up my arch. I think that I can adjust to that, although maybe I bruised my arches a little today. My stride felt better and if I had run the whole time, I think I would have had two sub-10 miles. I am sure that tomorrow's three mile run will be both better and worse as I adjust to these shoes, but seriously, it felt (mostly) pretty good!

On an weird note, I had a fun dream last night. I dreamt that I was a runner and I was going to run 20 miles from Calvin College around Reed's Lake (which really isn't 20 miles) but that I loved it and I was fast and I kept passing all sorts of people. Especially lots of cute guys who wanted my number, but couldn't catch/keep up with me to get it. Hmm, I wonder what it all means?

Tuesday--2.5 miles (29.07 minutes)
Adjusting to new inserts is hard, and a little painful which is why my time was as it was today. I had to walk way more than I wanted to because it hurt and I feared that I was doing damage to my feet. Ick, it was frustrating. (Don't worry, I have been walking in my shoes to get used to them--wore them to Meijers and my softball game tonight).

But I realized something, I didn't like walking. It was frustrating--I would have rather been running. This is a change in perspective and I think that I might actually be starting to like running. At this point I don't always like running, but I would rather run during my run than walk--in fact, I would rather run than jog, but at this point I don't have the stamina or strength to run for my whole run. The difference in time/speed between running and jogging is almost 1 1/2 minutes/mile.

Another thing, and this is vain, I like the way I look running. On the way back home on my run, the sun was behind me and I got to watch my shadow run. And to be completely honest, I liked what I saw--not only did I see me run, but I saw my outline, which did not accent any of my perceived flaws or tell me what was wrong with me, I simply saw what was right and good. I saw someone who is challenging herself (it made me want to run through my pain), someone who is achieving something rare, someone who takes care of herself and is healthy and someone who could almost be called an athlete. It made me proud of what I am trying to do and what I have already achieved.

Friday--3.44 miles (34.30 minutes)
What's to be said? I woke up early and did this run. And I was proud of it--I never walked and I even kept going a bit after my "required" distance.

But, oh, did I happen to mention that after I got home, Eric and I looked at our training schedule and realized that our 7 mile run for tomorrow coincided with the Reeds Lake Run (10k). So we signed up. The justification: We know we have to run around the lake and we might as well get the support and motivation that comes with a race. So for an extra $50, we get water, Gatorade, some fans, and free t-shirts. Sounds like a great deal, eh?

Saturday--Total running 7.3 miles (10k time 1:06:18)
Wow, I must admit I was a little nervous this morning. I didn't sleep well last night; kept waking up thinking it was time to get up. I guess that I was nervous about running a race I really didn't feel prepared to run, not for a decent time, worried a bit about whether my feet were going to hold on for the entire distance. But at the appointed time, Eric and I ran down to the Reeds Lake Run (10k).

And we walked very little, only some very small breaks for water/Gatorade and to give my feet a second to catch up with me. And we finished with a pretty okay time. Honestly, I was shooting for 1:05, but I guess I'll do with 1:06. But let me tell you, those last two miles were hard. I wanted to quit. It took everything I had to not quit. For part of those two miles we ran with a woman from Holland who was training for a half-marathon--and f0r those two miles I felt like I ran faster than I could handle. But we did it--Eric even managed to get me to sprint the last .1 so we could finish strong. He was a great encourager today. And as soon as we were done, all I could think was "I want to go home." Isn't that a childish response? So we walked home, pretty slowly.

But my mental reaction to this race is making me seriously question my physical ability to run a whole marathon. But I want it, I want to. I am just not sure how to do it--maybe I need to learn some mental self-talk techniques, learn to think about the right kinds of things, not the pain in my feet and how badly I want to quit. I want to like this--especially distances. I am beginning to think that accomplishing this will rank right up there with childbirth as to proudest accomplishments in my life thus far.

Total Week Mileage: 15.24 miles

(Immediate reaction: Holy S$*t--I ran 15 miles this week?!! On target! I rock!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Week # 3 Recap

Okay week # 3, let's see how this one goes!

Motivational Thought for a while:
"So many people choose to quit. Choose to stop living. They're really cheating themselves, you know. I think people don't really understand what they can accomplish if they want to. They have no idea how talented they are. I think you find another side of yourself when you actually put your heart into something. That's one of the things that makes marathoning special. . .it's one of the few times when you actually met the challenge of doing something that is probably the most physically and mentally difficult thing you've ever done."

Monday--2 miles (20.08 [9.59/10.08] minutes)
Okay, running aside, if this is what Mondays feel like--running through soup on wooden legs, well, ick! I am beginning to wonder if I am learning to enjoy the challenge and variety of running outside, because this run on the track was hard.
On another note, lets talk equipment. As in, equipment woes. What equipment, you ask? Well, I snagged a hole in my favorite smart wool socks--and it is already dime sized on the ball of my foot. It seemed that I had a constant wedgie from my cotton undies. And well, It was hot and I was sweaty and my shorts and I were having constant disagreement. As in, I wanted them to stay around my hips, they wanted to sit up by my belly button, which help spur on the aggressiveness of previously mentioned wedgie. My clothes were sticking in uncomfortable ways and really, I just wanted to go shopping then and there for new running stuff.

Tuesday--2.5 miles (35.00 minutes)
Run? What run? How about a brisk walk that followed a brief run with my fantastic running partner? What else is there to say--at least we were moving, even if we were feeling pretty lazy.

Thursday--3.0 miles (32.30 minutes)
Barely three miles, while pushing a stroller. Not bad--I will say, though, that it is a little harder to push a stroller and run: my legs are a bit achier, my shoulders and arms get an unexpected workout, and my back is a bit more sore. But it's not bad. And there are very cute parts about pushing OG for three miles--like when she insists that I am running "too fast, mama" and at the end of my run when she gets out and runs ahead of me. It gives me a little reminder as to why I am doing this.
But, I keep questioning my ability to do this--running feels like hard work and getting four runs in a week is a challenge. And I am beginning to wonder if I am going to have to do this on my own. Eric is running into some major calendar scheduling issues with the actual marathon itself. I am not sure I can do a 20 mile training run without support. Also, because of the work that he does, his schedule is a bit hectic anyway, I am not sure that he will be able to get in the running he needs to do without sacrificing more than he already has to. How will this all work out? I don't know yet. . .But the cutoff for the beginning of training is soon--most experts agree you need at least 16 weeks to prepare for a marathon--and I am on week 3 out of 20. We'll see!

Nope, didn't run wasn't supposed to, but learned something. I checked through my running schedule tonight and realized that I am short a mile this week. Horror! What ever shall I do? (No stress, really, but also took the time to read some great and inspirational "I am a marathoner" stuff!)

Saturday--6.00 miles (1.05.30)
Wow, I ran for 6 miles, for one whole hour. And it was rotten because my feet hurt, almost the entire time! Starting after a mile or so, I get an aching in my arches, just a "I'm tired of being used" compliant. After another mile, I get another nag at a very specific point next to my ankle. This usually lasts for the duration of my run. Usually, after I stop, my feet protest loudly about the agony that I just subjected them too. Add to that that today, Eric surprised me with a little hop across some one's lawn and across the street and that really tweaked my ankle. So it was decided that I would get new shoes!
And so it came to pass that we travelled to Gazelle Sports where the lovely and knowledgeable people there helped me find new shoes (since mine were 1 1/2 years old which is old in the running world but seems pretty short in the life span of adult clothes) and some wonderful feeling arch supports (officially called orthotics, which sounds like something old people need). I took a test run on the sidewalk outside and it was wonderful! I expected some protest from my feet, but nothing! They felt great--in fact they protested when I took them out of the shoes and put my sandals back on again.
So here's to hoping that any soreness is behind me, because honestly, if my feet hadn't of hurt like they did, I could have kept going (not that I wanted to--6 miles was a pretty good distance for today!)

Week Total--12.5 miles

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Homeschool Fun!

Okay, so for many school just ended. But I am already starting to gear up for our upcoming Kindergarten year. This week, we purchased our main cirriculum and have started collected the stuff that we need to go with it.
Our main cirriculum is called Five in a Row. Essentially, it takes wonderful children's picture books and creates lessons covering science, applied math, language, arts, and social studies from it. Some of the books that I have already collected for our year include Madeline, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, and Clown of God. I have already found things and great books I would have otherwise never known about. I am thinking that I might give it a go already in July, after I have collected enough stuff.
Also, I am collecting books for our read-aloud list. Right now, titles include The Hundred Dresses, The Wizard of Oz, The Boxcar Children, and Five True Dog Stories. This list of books is being complied from many different sources. J is also loving the Magic Tree House books, so we just picked up a bunch of them off ebay for a great price. This reading list is so much fun and I can't wait to read all these great books with my kids--It seems like a lot of these books are ones that I never read, so in a way I am reading them for the first time too! (But we love to read lots of books, so willingly take suggestions!)
After that comes math and for that we have found a fantastic and rigourous math program out of singapore called Singapore Math. It gives the kind of learning in math that I want for the kids, but will hold up academically. (Math is sorta important in my family. I want my kids to be well-versed in this area.)
After these basic things there still comes some other stuff--the Handbook for Nature Study and outdoor study, handwriting and dictation, and basics like time, dates, manners, basic characteristics of God and the actions of a good kid.
So we're cruising right along. Can't wait for the fun to start. . .

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Today I feel crappy and unmotivated. The kids have been at each other all day (although they are all three coloring together right now) and I haven't gotten a lick of anything done, not that there was anything that I wanted to get done--but a lot of things TO get done.

I guess that I would love to hear from you how you do it--how you force yourself to do that which you don't want to do; how you stay up with all that needs to be done; how you are not bored with the routine that you have. Lately, if I am completely honest, I would say that I am mind-numbingly bored with what I do and am having a hard time finding something that excites me. There is only so much "fun" that can be had cleaning and helping all day. I think I am at a point where I need to accomplish something tangible (I can't get exctied about finishing the dishes or folding the laundry), but can't think of what in the world that could be!

Oh well, I guess its back to the kitchen to finish dinner dishes and then on to the ritual of bedtimes.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Week 2 Recap

Monday--2 miles (19.45)
So I ran at the gym today and ran two sub 10 miles. Perfect. Except for some achy arches, it was pretty great. I think that I like flat running courses. I'm not too good with hills yet! But I do have two challenges for myself. First, after reading last week's recap, I realize that my attitude, for lack of a better description, sucks! If I expect to complete this marathon, I'd better work on changing this. Besides, I want to do this, no one is making me run a marathon, I guess that my attitude should reflect this. Second, I need to work on my song mix. One dear friend sent me a great playlist, but I haven't had time to purchase and download it. So I am going through my playlists and am finding that there are definitly great running songs and not so great running songs. But at this moment, I am not so good at remembering which of the songs were the best to run to! Oh well, I'll get there! (P.S. I'd welcome any song suggestions out there--I'm a pretty ecclectic listener!)

Tuesday--3 miles (0.0)
Oh, was I supposed to run today? Maybe that should have been mentioned to the three kids who all were up in the night--and the two who slept in our room.
On a great positive note, I found myself a new running shirt that I want with the words "see mommy run" That's part of why I do this--becuase I want all of my kids to see the strength that comes from having a goal and the work it takes to complete it and the pride and joy that result from completion. I want them to know that mommy is strong and fit and healthy.

Wednesday--3.2 miles (34.00)
With a passenger--I'm pretty proud of me. I did the same run Eric & I did, but while pushing Olivia in a
stroller. It was hard because I was pushing her, but it was good. I stopped less than I did with Eric and felt good
about my accomplishment AND OG fell asleep halfway through, so I didn't have to try and figure out her
continual narration while running! Sweet!

Friday--.6 miles (7:22 minutes)
Nope, not a typo--but just the reality of this life. I wanted a run, I needed to get in a run, but had three kids and couldn't find 30 minutes worth of childcare (I tried). So after some encouragement from Manda, I decided to push one in the stroller and have the other two ride their bikes. Great Idea! They had both ridden their bikes to Jersey Junction and back with little help, so how bad would a little bike/run with mommy be? Worse! J decided that he had to stop and walk his bike across many of the intersections, K stopped randomly to get a goldfish snack. And everyone needed frequent water breaks! So we got to the church parking lot and I started hearing "Mommy, my legs hurt." I encouraged some push-through. Then 50 feet later, you guessed it, "Mommy my legs hurt."So I gave up and turned around, but still trying earnestly to jog a little. (I had been timing in vain hope against hope). Then K got off her bike and started walking it--becuase her legs hurt.
That ended my attempt at running with my kids. Maybe next time I will push two girls in the jogger and have J bike--he was having a great time and didn't really want to go home. But for now, I will just work a little harder to stick to pre-arranged childcare schedules. It's just easier that way!
Tomorrow--childcare arrives at 8:30 and I take my first 5 miler! The route is set. But I have to do it alone, Eric knows he'll be working, So--off I go!

Saturday--5.2 miles (55.24)
I did it! My longest run ever in my whole life. And I did it on my own, in the rain with a pretty decent time. I am proud of me and now even more determined that I will run this marathon.
Oh sure, 5 miles isn't much compared to 26.2--but in my life, I like a good, serious challenge (someone I know once called the Big hairy goals). I think I can do this and enjoy (most of it) it and be so proud of myself after.
What is also fun is that the kids are in on this too--This morning I was telling K that our babysitter was coming over and she was asking me if this is my long run race or just a practice long run. They are excited to see a new face and that gives me great motivation to get up, get ready and get out the door.
This is exciting for me! I hope you can hear that! And your encouragement along the way is so helpful (hint, hint). Oh and the marathon is on October 18 if anyone wants to mark it on their calendars to see me through to the finish line!

Total Mileage--10.4 miles!

Friday, June 12, 2009


So here it is--the real frustration. I actually want to go on a run, but can't. Why? Well there are three kids in my life and I don'thave childcare for a quick run--and can only take one with me. What do I do? I want to honor the commitment I made and I know that if I don't get in enough little runs I will collapse on the big runs! Today I need three miles--but feel stuck! AHHHHH!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Thanks Rebecca, all fixed !!!

Week 1 Recap

These little blurbs will be written the day I run them and then posted together at the end of the week--you know, so everything is fresh!

Monday--2 miles (which took way too long 10.33/10.21)
Seriously, is this how my training is going to start--feeling like I have a ton of bricks in my head, a raw nose and legs that don't want to work. The last thing I wanted to do this morning is run--sudden onset of allergies last night really knocked me over. My run felt that way today. Only two miles, but my legs were tight and I was just plodding along. I finally found some sort of rhythym on the last lap, but by then I was mentall done. But I did it. However, If all of this training is going to feel like this, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make it past three weeks.

Tuesday--3.19 miles (34.00 minutes)
Okay, so today was my first serious outdoor run. And really it started out cold and windy. This is so not what I signed up for--I signed up for ease and fun and . . .I guess that I should then make my reservations for Jamaica! It wasn't too bad. I am learning that it takes me about 1.5 miles to warm up and before that warm-up running feels brutal and hard. Eric is a good encourager, although he tries to be funny when I don't want to hear funny. But that's part of why I love him! We finished with a seriously fast sprint (at least it felt that way!) and I expect that the sprint will get longer and faster as well as our overall pace get faster too!

Tuesday night--I'm tired and really hungry. Could these be related to my running? Hmm, I will ponder this a while with some beer and mozzerella sticks and get back to you.

Thursday--2.18 miles (24.30 minutes)
Yesterday, I seriously considered giving up running for life--I was achy, didn't want to move and generally creeked with every movement. But today, no complaints! Becuase of a change of plans, I ran outside on my own and discovered something. I feel much slower outside than I do on a track--but remarkably, am not as slow as a turtle. I will get faster.
And one thing I figured out--I will never run and then not stretch again! I am still trying to work the stiff & tired out of a couple muscles.

Saturday--4.92 miles (1.00 hour)
Yikes! Today's run was on the beautiful Mackinac Island. However, the run was not beautiful, or even pleasant. It was possibly some of the hardest running that I have ever done, certainly the furthest that I have ever run. The first mile us UPHILL! Did you hear me, UPHILL--through the center of the island--up steep paths that I don't even like to bike up! AHHHHHHH. Eric and I kept comparing how far we thought we had run (we later marked it on bike) I felt sure that we had gone at least five miles--how could it possibly take me so long to complete anything less than five miles? Maybe, I thought optimistically, we almost went 6! Nope, not a chance! not even 5! But I made it--and I am trying to remain positive.

Total Mileage for week--12.92. Not bad for a first week! Only 19 weeks left.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fun in this Life

So the past few weeks have actually been a lot of fun here. And it culminated this weekend in three major happenings.
1) The garden is completely planted. In our small space we have strawberries, rhubarb, and onions oregano and chives thriving. The peas and potatoes are coming along. The green beans sure are taking a long time to sprout. But the soup beans look fantastic. I am excited about what I can do with those this fall (Thanks, Meika).
We planted 3 types of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, green and red peppers, basil and head lettuce seedlings. And I finished by putting in a bunch of carrots (ha, ha).
I can't wait to see what will work and what won't in this garden. Now, if only I could keep the weeds at bay.
And in another Sammy Homemaker moment, I finished another dress for K--it's super cute and maybe I'll get around to posting a picture of that too, but that would mean that I need to take a picture of it first.

2) J finished his soccer season. The level of improvement we've seen in him has been phenomenal. He went from not knowing where the ball was to actually being able kick the ball, in the direction that he wanted it to go. Anyway, here are some cute pictures of him.

3) K had her very precious ballet recital in which she danced to Wonderful, Beautiful Savior (which is now her favorite song). We got to watch lots of super cute dances by all the preschool classes at Hearts in Step. Really, we have 10,000 (a slight exaggeration) super cute pictures of the little princess, but because I know you don't have quite the emotional attachment I do, I'll just show you two. Her outfit is very, very pink, so I called her cotton candy or pink bubblegum. (She preferred cotton candy!)

And 4) And because I feel bad that I have no pictures of OG up here, because frankly she is only two and not yet into these kinds of things, here are two random shots of the little one.
(What kind of mother lets their kids play in the mud like that?)