Our Daily (G)races

Training to be the best wife, mom, runner, and person I can be each and every day....

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Embracing the Run

Well, I am 3/5 of the way through my hardest week of running ever.  So far so great!  That is such a wonderful thing to be able to type.  I have not set any speed records or shocked anyone with my results, but my running has been steady and solid all week.  I am a super happy running momma at the moment.

Let me start by saying I have added to my running a little.  I started going to boot camp again last week.  It is not a killer hard class.  It is more like "you get out of it what you put into it" kind of class.  Currently, I am working the arms and abs and kind of working the legs.  Too much jumping freaks me out because I worry about a knee injury.  So, strong core and arms it will be.  I am glad I decided to return to class!

On Tuesday I ran 6 miserable miles on the treadmill.  It was only miserable because of the weather.  My treadmill is on the enclosed porch and it was like a sauna.  I stopped at one point because I thought I might pass out from heat.  Yes, it is January.

By Wednesday, the weather had changed and I ran 11 miles outside.  The 5am start time was a little much, but I had to be finished to get Emma and Jonah on the bus.  Running so much in the dark can be a challenge.  I am limited in where I can run so it is lots of loops.  I think it is good training for the drudgery of the marathon middle miles.  One hour and 43 minutes later I finished and was happy to be starting my day energized.

Today was the biggie.  10x800's in the dark and in the cold....yikes.  The last time I did this workout was in October.  I, however, was excited.  This kind of workout is challenging and I am EMBRACING all challenges during this running cycle.  There is no dread because that only serves to crush my spirit.  I used a little reverse psychology on myself this morning.  I did focus on being strong and courageous, but I also told myself over and over again that this was a hard workout.  It would hurt.  I would feel tired and want to stop.  Those statements just helped me run through the beep (on my watch). 

My goal today was to run each 800 between 3:45-3:39.  My actual splits were

I clapped for myself when I finished!  I thought it was a job well done. 
I want to remember how much I love running so pictures it is even if I look like crap!
I could have run another or maybe two.  I probably could have run all of them closer to 3:35, but 10 repeats is tough.  I had to save some energy for the last ones.  Now I know for next time, which will be in two weeks!

Up next is 11 miles tomorrow.  Another 4:45am wake up call.  Another run in the dark...just me and my thoughts.  Saturday is a rest day and then 22 big miles on Sunday.  I am EMBRACING it all!
My "Embrace It All" necklace

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday's Photo Dump

I am pretty happy with all the yummy food I have made in the past few days.  My family has been pretty happy was well.  I thought I would share.

Stuff peppers with ground buffalo and quinoa...recipe adapted from current Shape Magazine recipe
Mac and Cheese muffins....recipe from the current Family Fun magazine
Of course the cake
And, I totally forgot to take a picture of the chocolate oatmeal chocolate chip cookies Samuel, Elena, and I made yesterday.  Yum!  I gave them away because I needed no more sweets in the house.

Then, because no post is complete with at least one picture of my kiddos....

Elena and Samuel hanging out with the stuffed animals at Target
I had lots of computer work to do yesterday and Elena thought I needed some company!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Let the potty training begin

Elena was three in December.  She still wears diapers.  We talk all the time about going on the potty.  I have been trying to encourage using the big girl potty since last summer.  Obviously since Elena still wears diaper I have been unsuccessful.  I am finding this process totally frustrating.  I managed to get three other children using the bathroom by this time.  Why this stubborn child cannot follow that pattern is beyond me!

Elena has several excuses. 

First, "I went yesterday Mommy".  Yesterday to Elena is anything in the past. 

Second, "I am too busy".  She is always to busy.

Third and my favorite, "I am going to pee on the potty when I am 4!"  I don't think so Elena because that is 11 months from now!

As you can see, we disagree on the whole potty training thing.  I have tried bribery....candy for a successful trip to the bathroom.  I have tried buying big girl undies of her choice.  I have tried the horrible parenting move of telling Elena her cousin Leah will only play with her if she is potty trained.  Leah, who is also 3, has been diaper free since she was 2!  Nothing has worked and I have given in to the idea that she will use the potty when she is ready. 

With that said, I still try to put her on the potty several times a day.  Much to my happiness, we have had some success in the past few days.  Elena even agreed to try the potty at church....big steps.  Tonight was the biggest milestone yet.  Elena asked to get out of the bath to use the potty and she did!  I am praying we are on the right course and we can soon be diaper free during the day.

Looking at her book!

 If anyone has any grand suggestions, do share!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Report Card time

Emma and Jonah received their report cards for the second marking period on Friday.  Jonah, who does not lack in self confidence, was pretty sure that he earned all 100's!  That boy!  Emma, on the other hand, was horribly upset with her grades.

I know these are a little hard to see.  Jonah did receive two 100's and the rest were high 90's.  It was a wonderful report card and we told him so.

Emma was very upset because she received her very first B on a report card.  She is in 4th grade.  She received a really, really bad grade on an assignment at the beginning of the marking period.  She knew it would be tough to receive an A.  It was close.  She went from a 67 to an 89.  We had a little chat about B's still being above average and how proud she should feel for working so hard to improve her grade.

In all honesty, this was a great lesson for her.  She likes to rush test taking.  She does not double check her work.  She sometimes skips questions for who knows what reason.  Emma just does not take her time.  She is a very smart girl.  Now she knows that all A's really require work, focus, and attention.  I would rather she learn this lesson in 4th grade than later on in her school career. 

I could not be more proud of both of them.  They are wonderful students and kind students.  They both like school and don't fuss too much about doing homework.  Well, at least Emma does not fuss.  Jonah is another story.  I guess 1 out of 2 is pretty good.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Almost Marathon

This weekend I ran tons of miles.  In fact, I almost ran a marathon...ha!  Saturday I ran 18 miles with the last three miles below race pace.  Today I ran 8 recovery miles.  I thought about running that last .2 just for kicks, but it is not important in the grand scheme of things.  My mileage is climbing and climbing fast.  There are only four weeks and a few days before The Woodlands Marathon.  I have three crazy weeks of running before taper time!  I have already warned Drew that my tired self will probably not see 9:30p at any time during the next three weeks!

About my runs....I was a little nervous about the 18 miler.  I made the awesome decision to go to boot camp on Friday morning.  I did avoid most of the jumping and squats if possible.  I worked on my upper body and abs.  Still, my legs were a little more sore than normal when I woke on Saturday morning.  My new outlook for each run this cycle is that each run will be good.  Running is such a mental game so I have decided ahead of time that goodness will come to me.  So, tired legs or not, this would be a good run.  I was sure of it!

I have also decided to memorize a verse for each tough run.  That will be my focus point with the running gets tough or boring or whatever.  On Saturday it was Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Be strong and courageous...Be strong and courageous...Be strong and courageous...You can run this fast for this long!  

I decided to EMBRACE the slow part of a long run on Saturday and ran the first 15 miles between 9:57 and 9:14.  Time on my feet is very important.   I started to pick up the pace durnig mile 14 so it would not be such a change to the 8:20 or so pace.  Mile 16 came and I felt like I was finally really running.  I was tired, but I still felt strong like I could finish without wanting to die.  
Mile 16 8:24
Mile 17 8:16
Mile 18 8:15

I was happy to be finished.  I felt like I could have run more, but was glad my run was done.  I took three GU and ran over half way with no music.  I was enjoying thinking and just looking around at my so non-pretty scenery.  It was not ecstatically happy like I was last weekend, but this was a good strong run.  I am pleased with my focus and the outcomes so far this training cycle. 

The rest of the day I focused on recovery.  I tried to eat and drink the correct things to refuel my body.  I spent lots of time sitting or laying with my feet up. 
Fashionista that I am...slippers, compression socks and my skirt to hide the compression shorts
I had some projects to complete that required sitting so that worked out well.
I made 11 of these cute things for an event at church
And, I was craving chocolate chip cake so I made this....

which then looks like this and it is so good and so worth every yummy bite!

This morning I had 8 on the schedule.  Phew....the legs were tired, but worked better than I anticipated.  I previously decided this morning was going to be SLOW and all about recovery.  I ran 8 miles in 1hour 20 minutes.  It seemed like the run took forever, but my body was thanking me for not pushing the pace.  Today again is all about proper recovery.

I have my biggest week of running ever this week.  Two 11 mile runs, one 6 mile run, 10x800, and a 22 mile run with last three miles 8:23 or faster!  That is tons of miles.  I will hit 60 miles for the first time ever this week and I am pretty psyched about each run.  Attitude is such a big deal when it comes to running. 

I am going to enjoy another piece of cake before I go to bed!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photo Dump

I decided it was time to post some of the random pictures I have on my phone.  Most of them have been on Instagram (kortnilm) if you follow me!  Enjoy the randomness....

Meemaw and Elena painting
I don't think Jonah fits in these carts anymore

70 in January....too hot, but definitely taking advantage of being outside
My new necklace...EMBRACE IT ALL...my theme for this year....I LOVE IT!
Sweet sisters...Elena is also practicing her arabesque
A rip...happens at gymnastics doing bar work. Emma has not had one this big in a LONG time.
Working on his homework
Elena concentrating very hard on typing

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Orleans and Austin

There are so many wonderful things about being a parent.  Then there are the not so great things about being a parent.  I always thought it was vomit, the bickering, the laundry and those things are pretty bad.  I think two kids in the same sport might be worse.  Emma and Jonah are both competitive gymnasts and rarely do their schedules coincide.  Emma competes mainly in the fall and Jonah's meets are in the winter.  Except this weekend they both had a meet in different states on the same day.  Oh, the joy and I am being really sarcastic.  Initially Emma was not going to compete, but New Orleans is fun.  So, Drew and I decided to split the meets, record the routines, and text each other scores.  Thank goodness for the iPhone. 

Drew, Samuel, and Emma left for New Orleans on Saturday.  Emma competed Sunday morning at 8am.  They arrived in time for a very fun dinner.  Drew introduced them to shrimp po-boys, which they both loved.  Being the party animals they are, they all returned to the hotel and went to bed early.  (I was very proud of Drew for taking all these pictures!)

Emma had a good and bad meet.  For some reason Emma will perform her beam dismount in practice, but not at meets.  Hello, bad score.  She did well on the floor (her best score for floor this year) and vault.  Bars and beam were okay and bad.  Emma had to come to the realization this weekend that she is the athlete who must perform the skills, not her coaches.  She has goals to move to higher levels and so she also realized that if she does not do the dismount upward movement will not happen.  I am hoping this was a good learning experience for her.  Time will tell.   It was hard to watch her cry talking about her routine.  Emma knows she should have done better.  It was a tough lesson for her.

heading to the meet
Two of Emma's teammates and Coach Ashley
Emma with her medal
All was not lost.  Drew treated Samuel and Elena to beignets after the meet.  Samuel liked the "beignet powder".  Emma liked to remind him it was just powdered sugar as only a big sister can. 
Samuel loved the cruise ship
Eating their beignets
While they were enjoying New Orleans, Elena, Jonah, and I drove to Austin on Sunday.  Jonah did not compete until 4pm so it was a LONG day.  Austin is 3 hours away so we left around noon.  We arrived in plenty of time to watch Jonah's level 5 teammates receive their awards and then it was Jonah's turn.

Jonah had a really good meet despite two falls.  On the mushroom Jonah completed his circles and then fell.  It was a little silly.  On the parallel bars Jonah was swinging so beautifully.  I was so amazed and excited for him.  Then when he prepared to do the handstand dismount, he fell hard to the ground.  In mommy time I would have sworn he was on the ground for at least 10 seconds.  However, he actually immediately popped up and saluted the judges.   I am sure this will  be one of many moments of me holding my breathe waiting for him to get up!

Jonah placed 3rd overall on vault in his age group and 7th overall in his age group on floor.  He was so excited to be on the podium. 
7th place floor
3rd place vault
Elena was wonderful at the meet.  I had visions of horrible behavior, but no!  She watched her shows, looked at books, played with her babies, had some snacks, and chatted with me.  Thank goodness!
While the boys were waiting for the awards to begin I managed to capture this sweet moment between Jonah and Coach Bill.  I wish I had been closer so the picture was clearer.  They sat and chatted just like that for 10 minutes.  That is a long time for Jonah!

Monday, January 21, 2013

We went swimming outside!

We had a crazy busy weekend.  Emma had a gymnastics meet in New Orleans.  Jonah had a gymnastics meet in Austin.  Yeah....those two cities are not near each other at all so Drew went east and I went west.  Jonah, Elena, and I got home so late last night that today was all about resting and catching up.  Well, except for swimming.  We went swimming outside at our friend's pool today.  Eileen heated the pool and we enjoyed the 68 degree day in Houston.

Elena...totally independent with her arm floats.
Jonah can never do a "normal" jump
Jonah, our host Patrick, and Samuel
Samuel doing his best to belly flop, but somehow he did not.
Emma and her friend Ashlynn
The girls
It was a lovely, surprising way to spend a January day.  I guess it is a perk of living where it is warm.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Coming up for Air

Every week I run 5 days.  This has been my pattern since marathon training began way back in August.  Coming off my broken toe and hip injury, running was hard.  To run in the heat of the summer made most runs awful.  In the fall I had a few good runs.  Some runs I would even deem as great.  I ran 18 miles on October 28th and it was a great run.  The 5 mile race on Thanksgiving Day was a good race.  I had some great 8 mile runs in October.   Other than that handful of runs, running was hard.  It was drudgery every single time I walked out the door.  Honestly, I really did not like running.  I was running to check it off my to-do list....to follow my plan.  There was no joy in it for me. 

After the marathon on January 1, I decided this would be a good, if not, great training cycle.  I had to have a better one than I did in the summer and fall.  Last week was not very encouraging.  I was not still feeling 100% from my cold and my body was still not 100% from the marathon.  It was a hard week of running.  It was the continuation of drudgery.  Again, I decided this week would be better.  It had to be!

I was excited all week for today's long run. I knew the weather would be great (35 degrees when I started).  I knew I would be running totally in the daylight. I was planning on wearing my new shirt!  I just had a good feeling about it all week.  Today did not disappoint.  The sky was a beautiful "good morning" when I went outside.  It was streaks of bright pink, white, and blue.  It was brilliant.  It was God's sign to me that today would be beautiful!  I ran 16 miles and it was a flat out amazing run.  I wanted to smile the entire time.  I was so happy.  I was totally overjoyed to feel great while running.  It felt easy and not like work.  It was a life giving run.  This is why I run.  To be filled up and encouraged.  I felt like I was finally coming up for air.  I could breathe again and I was just so freaking happy!

I did not look at my watch often.  Mostly I looked just to keep track of the miles.  That was a freeing feeling...to not care at all about my race.  I just ran what felt easy and what made me happy.  Today was all about feeling happy!

1- 9:31
2- 9:36
3- 9:30
4- 9:10
5- 9:02--GU
6- 9:03
7- 9:02
8- 9:00
9- 9:05
10- 9:19--GU
11- 8:59
12- 9:00
13- 8:57
14- 8:59
15- 8:57
16- 8:49

I was even happier when I saw how consistent my splits were.   The times just reaffirmed for me how wonderful and encouraging today was. 

I know every run will not be this wonderful.  But, the great thing about today is that I know what it feels like again to have a great run.  Instead of drowning the entire time, I was floating.  I can feel that feeling again and I know it will happen again. 
My face and my body language just screams happiness to me.  Despite being cold, I was happy!  I asked Drew to take a picture, but I wanted a permanent reminder of this run!

EMBRACING the run in 2013!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Day Off

The kids did not have school today.  It was such a blessing for this tired momma.  I slept until 8am!!!  I love having older children who can fend for themselves when they wake.  It was just great!  We had a lovely relaxing morning before heading to Target and the park.  We played and walked around the park for 2 hours!  Drew met us at lunch time although I did not pack a lunch....oops!  That was not part of my relaxing morning plan so we just had Goldfish instead.  Of course, I took pictures, but I had to stop after Emma declared she was going to "die of flash photography!"  It was a pretty dramatic moment for Emma.

Today Elena braved the big slide.  She went down with Emma at first and then on her own.  She loved it and squealed with delight.  It was so much fun to watch.

And, any trip we take to the park must involve handstands, cartwheels, and other gymnastic skills.

After two hours Elena was tired and she fell asleep on 8 minute drive home.

 I do love the cold, but brisk 60 degree days in January are pretty awesome!