Catching up.

You know when you run into a friend that you haven’t seen in a while and they ask, “So, what’s new?”

And you reply, “oh, not much.”

But in reality, a lot is new. Too much time has gone by and too many things have happened to even fit into a conversation. It’s easier to glaze over the details because, really, where do you even start?

If I thought Disney was a time-warp, I was not prepared for adjusting to life back in the real world. An entire week has gone by and I’m just now getting around to unpacking our bags. Yea, that’s a little embarrassing.

And a lot has happened. So much, in fact, that every time I sit down to blog I end up on Buzzfeed instead because ohymgosh I’m tired of typing and thinking and forming coherent sentence.

So.

I’m still putting together our vacation recap but, dang, there was a lot crammed in those 5 days. But I’ll get it up, soon enough.

Until then, here’s life in brief:

Children.

Tomorrow is Em’s last day of preschool. I may cry. Not just because my child is growing but also because I’ve become accustomed to having two mornings each week with just one child. Which is almost the same as alone.

Remember how concerned I was about where Em will be going to school next year? While we were on vacation, I made a call to the school where Emery was #20 on the wait-list to see there was any movement. By some act of mercy or miracle, a spot had opened up for her. Hallelujah! I can’t wrap my mind around how she got in with 20 kids ahead of her but I not questioning it and accepting this blessing. We’ll more than likely have to do this dance again next year for Kindergarten but for now, I am grateful.

When we were at Disney, the girls shared a bed and slept fairly well. Now Emery wakes up ridiculously early every morning and comes into my bed because she says she’s lonely. This wouldn’t be an issue except the girl fidgets. This morning (at 6 a.m.), she told me she wants to share a room with her little sister.

We took a ride on that crazy train last year and it was a disaster. It resulted in mattresses being moved at 2 a.m. and lots and lots of tears by everyone.  But the girls are older now. I’m still hung up on the logistics of nap time but the idea of having a spare room/office is tempting…

Birthday.

I celebrated the big 2-8 last Monday and have solidly rounded the corner to almost 30. And it feels pretty good. This is the first birthday in recent years that I’ve felt content with another year passing. I usually spend my birthday a little panicky and feeling like there isn’t much to show for the year gone. I don’t really know why this year is different. But I’m glad. For the first time, I don’t feel like I’m still 19 and pretending to be a grown up. I suppose I’ve become more comfortable in my skin, my friendships, my marriage. I know what I like, what I believe and that it’s okay to change my mind on both.

Josh did a wonderful job of making the day special. We started with a trip to Fleet Feet where I picked up a pair of Newton running shoes that were seriously on sale. I tried them on in Orlando and couldn’t wait to get my feet in a pair of my own. My Nike Free Runs have been giving me some pain recently so it was time to switch it up. My legs and feet love, love these shoes so I look forward to many miles being logged (once this crazy peroneal tendonitis clears up – more on that in a moment.)

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– We had a late breakfast at The 5 Spot which was pretty tasty. Apparently they are changing up their menu but I hope, hope, hope they keep the biscuits and gravy. Oh, yum.

birthdayBurn, baby, burn. 

While we were in Disney, I though I had sunburn on my right ankle. I’m sure it’s happened before, right? Alas, it was not sunburn. With all of the walking/standing/curb hopping at Disney, my legs and feet were so sore I didn’t notice I strained my ankle at some point. I also failed to notice that my ankle was bruised and clicking. But a slight burning sensation? Noticed that.

It turns out that I developed a mild case of peroneal tendonitis. I paid a visit to a local running store where they were kind enough to show me how to use KT Tape to give my ankle additional support. I don’t really understand the science behind it but I’m just glad it works. Momma’s back in business. I gave it a 2-mile test run tonight and it feels great.

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Alright, I think that’s all of it. Or at least most of it. Or at the very least, the gist of it.

For the school-aged Mommas out there: Do your kids share a room? How was the transition? Do both kids nap?

For the runners: do you/have you run through an injury? 

For everyone: Any good recipes to share? I’ve lost my cooking mojo and need some inspiration to revive it.

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Friday Favorites [4.26.13]

I really love Friday Favorites. There are about 15 things each week that I think, “oh! I should write a post about that.” but never do because a.) each post would be consist of about 5 sentences and b.) who wants to read an entire post dedicated to my love of yogurt? and c.) I lately have the attention span of a 3-year-old child (probably caused by raising a 3-year-old child).

But a weekly thought dump? Completely acceptable and passable as a “real” blog post.

Favorite news: Vacation! Vacation!
There aren’t a ton of perks that come with Josh’s job. Except, like, a paycheck. For which I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong. But I found out yesterday that he’s being sent to a training in Bend, Oregon this summer and yours truly gets to tag along. And the best part? THE CHILDREN AREN’T COMING! Yes, five whole glorious days by myself. My incredible in-laws are coming to party with the girls while take a cross-country flight to the PNW to enjoy some R&R, shopping, spa treatments, and sight seeing. Well, Josh will be working so really I’ll just be enjoying those things. My myself. Squeeee!

Favorite read: Born to Run
Admittedly, I’ve just started this book but it’s so good. The author, Christopher McDougall is quite humorous and the story of the Tarahumara is legendary and fascinating. The Tarahumara live in the mountainous region of northwest Mexico and can run amazingly long distances without fatigue or injury. So McDougall, a reporter by trade, sets out on a journey to find the Tarahumara and learn the secrets to life and running.

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My friend Amie and I are toying with the idea of running the Savannah Rock ‘N Roll 1/2 marathon in November so I’ve been trying to be more consistent with my running and increase mileage without burning out. While I love to run, I’m not a fan of racing so I need to get my mind right before making a ($$) decision.

But I’ll tell you, reading this book has put me back in the right mentality.

Now if only I could figure out a way to run when it’s not 80 degrees.
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shades of pink. for real.

Favorite fix: Snap, crackle, pop.
I finally scheduled a very overdue appointment with a chiropractor and had my first visit this morning. Before children, I used to visit the chiro for weekly adjustments but I haven’t been since I was pregnant with Emery. Between pregnancy, having a newborn, moving, and repeating steps 1 and 2, I stopped going.  Big mistake. The physical and mental health benefits of regular adjustments is undeniable and heaven knows I need all the help I can get. Because I’m so tall, I tend to slouch which affects the curvature of my neck which, in turn, causes strain on my shoulders and stresses the muscles across the top of my back. I need to have better posture (as I slouch over my keyboard to type this…) and keep up with regular adjustments to alleviate the tension on my shoulders.

I agitated my neck and shoulder a few weeks ago during a workout and it’s been tender ever since. I swear, as soon as I laid on the table and he adjusted between my shoulder blades – ahhhh. Sweet, sweet relief. I can even breathe easier.

Then the doctor swore he didn’t believe that I am 6 feet tall and weigh 160 pounds.

“No way! You’re kidding. Wow. No, I wouldn’t have put you more than 130 pounds.”

And then I hugged him and promised I’d never, ever stray and he’ll be my forever chiropractor until the day I die. Or leave Savannah, anyway.

But really, that’s muscle for ya, folks. I’d rather have my strong, muscular legs that can carry me on runs than see a lower number on the scale. I don’t do this to lose weight. I do this to be physically and mentally strong.

And that ends that tangent.

Favorite moment: First soccer game of the season
We’re giving soccer another go and last night was Em’s first game of the season. Her team is the Yellow Dragons and despite this league being more organized than the last, it’s still a bit like herding cats.

IMG_5937Her coach wasn’t there so the assistant coach filled in and he continuously called her Emma. She would stop and look at him when he shouted directions but she would then turn and ignore him as she thought he was talking to this imaginary Emma. Since, you know, that’s not her name. So, that was interesting.

She spent the majority of the second half running circles on the sideline chanting, “I’m bored! I’m bored! I’m bored!”

At least she ran out some of her energy that way?

I think we’ll try ballet.

Least Favorite News: Goodbye, goodbye, Mariah
My kindred spirit is leaving me for a great (small) land yonder north called New Hampshire. I’m so sad. We’re meeting at the beach tomorrow to say farewell and I don’t know how that little girl of mine will do saying goodbye to her favorite little man.

Wee babes in 2012.

Wee babes in 2012.

Savannah has a lot of families that are just passing through. Sometimes it feels like we’re stuck in waiting while we watch friends who become dear to us journey on. Before moving to Georgia, we were always the ones who left and I’ve learned how much harder it is to be on the other side of leaving. And it’s hard to teach your kids.

But it’s nice to know that with all the friends we’ve made on this journey, it’s likely we’ll cross paths again with at least some of them when it’s our turn to move on to new pastures.

Happy Friday, y’all.

Fun weekend plans? Do you go to a chiropractor? Anyone have tips on where to visit in Bend?

 

Control.

Confession time: I have this nasty little habit of trying to control everything around me.

As I’m sure most mothers, wives, heck – females in general – do.

Except I really don’t handle it well when I realize things are out of my control. I get a little crazy and go into overdrive trying to control the things I (think) I can control. Only that doesn’t work, either, and I’m left spinning out of control.

I mentally don a pair of worn out, control top pantyhose and try hold it all in and together. Because as long as it looks nice to others, it doesn’t matter if I can’t take a deep breath or sit down comfortably. Because if I do, the seams are guaranteed to burst and all my mess is exposed for every one to see.

And it isn’t pretty.

I’m just as stubborn as my first born so it’s been shown to me time and time again just how little control I have over things. Usually involving my children. Oh, those sweet darlings.

Blair’s milk challenge was horrible.  It took three nurses and myself to hold her down and force milk in her mouth using a syringe. It’s pretty ironic since I spent the past 2 years keeping her away from the stuff. By the time we got to the last serving of 12 teaspoons, she was spitting it out as fast as they could get it in. When she started choking on it, I called it quits. We were there for a food challenge – not for water-boarding.

So I spent the next 2 hours trying to convince a 2 year old to drink something she doesn’t like. I tried bribery, force, threatening, rewarding, demonstrating, discipline, begging, and encouraging. I called in reinforcements. There was nothing I could do. By noon, we were all done. There were 4 teaspoons left but it wasn’t going to happen. She had enough milk to know if she would react, thankfully. But I was spent. Completely emotionally spent.

And then there’s the older one.

I’ve spent months researching and lamenting over which school we’d like Emery to attend this fall. The public schools here are notoriously bad so securing her a spot in a “good” school for preK means she would be set for kindergarten and grade school. The application pool grows exponentially for kindergarten so we were really, really hoping she’d get a spot this year. We applied to four different schools. After the random drawings, she’s number 20, 39, 44 and 46 on each wait list. So, she’s not getting in.

I can’t control everything. Heck, I can’t control anything.

It’s a nasty thought cycle for me to get into. I start grasping at other things in my life to find some bit of order. I nag and pick at my husband. I demand my children listen to me. I obsess over food. I scrub the shower. I throw things.

It’s futile and unhealthy.

I spent the morning by myself. It’s becoming apparent to me that I need to spend time alone and doing nothing. These girls are wearing me thin so I refuse to feel guilty about paying someone else to entertain them. If I’m scrambling then I’m not being the best momma that I can be.

I haven’t been running much lately and I need to. I drove to one of my favorite parks and just ran. I didn’t let myself check my pace or my distance. I didn’t want to race. It takes me a few miles to get to get my brain quiet. I know a lot of people run to work through issues. But I run to quiet the issues. I know they’ll be waiting when I’m done so I just need 45 minutes of not thinking.

It’s really hard to lie to yourself when you’re sweating buckets and your heart is going to burst from your chest.

I realized that I need to lose control. Life is messy. But I need to stop trying to hold on to everything so tightly that I start to self-destruct. In my efforts to protect myself and everyone I love, I end up hurting myself more.

Yesterday, I came across Proverbs 31:25 not once, but twice.

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I’m not a big believer in “signs” but I do think that God knows I’m pretty thick skulled and need Him to be a bit persistent at times.

Can you imagine laughing with no fear to the future? When I think of the future, I think of planning. And analyzing. And overanalyzing. And praying that God would make it so. Because apparently I think I can control God, too.

So, I need to stop. And breathe. And trust. And keep running. And writing. And stop worrying.

It’s all going to be alright.

Heartbreak.

I’ve been in a mental hibernation. Since the horrors in Boston, I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head and heart around what happened.

I’m confused. And sickened. And heartbroken.

Athleticism is honesty in its purest form. It’s physical and mental strength at it’s best.  There is no faking it in running. It’s one of the only sports where the athlete has nothing to hide behind. There’s no fancy equipment, no riding on the coattails of others. Nothing to blame or credit for your performance.

It doesn’t matter your gender, your race, your IQ, your body type, your popularity, your looks, your income level or if anyone in this whole wide world loves you for you.

When you’re running, it’s just you and the road.

So the attacks in Boston weren’t against Americans. Or solely runners. They were against basic human nature.

After any random act of violence, everyone is left asking “why?”

We aren’t going to understand. We might dissect every detail and look into history but the truth is that we live in a fallen world where evil doesn’t follow rules or make sense. Yes, we should do all we can to try to ensure things like this won’t happen but the awful truth is that it will keep happening.

But there is light in this world. There is faith. And there are good, selfless people.

Hold on to that.

And don’t stop running.

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I’ve read that the Red Cross and Boston hospitals have been bombarded with donations and that is incredible.

If you’re looking for a way to contribute, check out these shirts created by Moms Run This Town to raise funds for victims and their families. There are two design options and cuts for men and women. $8 of every shirt will be donated to the area of most need after some of the chaos settles.

 

A little green.

Did you know that Savannah has the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the nation?

Yea, we stayed clear of that business.

While 750,000 of our nearest and dearest swarmed the historic district for the green festivities, our little family headed away from the crowds to visit our friends at Urbanna Farms.

The Farmer and his wife (and adorable baby boy) recently moved an entire farm to Savannah and we were eager to see their new set up and spend time with our new(ish) friends.

I know a lot of people love getting decked out in green from head to toe, but this is really much more my shade of green.

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We met all of the animals and when we got to the pigs, Blair says, “Hey! Eat! Pig!”

You’d never guess we used to be vegetarians.

We did a fall share in Urbanna Farm’s CSA and are really excited for the spring share to start. It’s a wonderful thing to not just know where your food comes from but also who grew it. It’s not just about good food. It’s about community.

Okay, I’m stepping off that soapbox for the time being.

Savannah actually is a fun place to be this time of year. The weather is perfect and some St. Patrick’s Day festivities are enjoyable.

Last Friday, I got together with some of my fellow running mothers and enjoyed the March of Dime’s Shamrock Run.

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Yes, I am a head and shoulders above the competition.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you know I put was on bed rest when I was 26 weeks pregnant with Blair. It was an incredibly scary time and we thought we might be dealing with a very premature baby. So organizations like March of Dimes are close to my heart. Fortunately, my sweet baby chunk made it to and past her due date. That stinker.

Anyway, Savannah also turns the iconic statue at Forsyth Park a lovely green, which is a sight to see.

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With potty training and preschool, we didn’t get to witness it this year but if you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it every year.

I can’t believe Em was ever that little.

So while we aren’t partaking in any crazy St. Patrick’s Day festivities, I will celebrating my very small sliver of Irish heritage with a glass of my most very favorite beer.

IMG_5274Ok, so it’s technically a Scottish beer but it’s brewed in an old Irish Whisky cask so that should count, right?

How is your weekend? What are your St. Patrick’s Day plans?

 

Thanksgiving Photo Dump

With a title like that, how could you not read?!

Pardon my lack of creativity. We’re on holiday hangover and the girls gave their Momma a run for her money today.

Last week, J had a glorious break from work and while I could have used the extra time to update Ye Ole Blog, I unplugged for a few days and spent some much-needed QT with J and the girls. My brain has been scattered and jumbled as of late, so sit tight for a massive photo dump to recap the holiday.

Since the Christmas season is officially here, I need to talk about Thanksgiving before it’s nothing more than a distant memory (despite extra three pounds I’m carrying courtesy of the muffins, dressing and apple pie)

We stayed home for Thanksgiving but despite our small family, made enough food for about 10 people. We never learn.

We spent most of the afternoon cooking and sweating up a storm (our kitchen was not designed with the serious chef in mind) so I called halftime and uncorked a bottle of wine. I thought, “why don’t I always cook with wine?!” Because you’d find me asleep on the couch while dinner burns.

Friends came over for dessert and the girls had a blast. We all went to bed with uncomfortably full bellies. Ah, excess!

I can’t properly recap a Thanksgiving weekend without talking about shopping, right? I fully intended to skip over the whole Black Friday disaster but I did find an amazing deal on E’s Christmas gift at Target that I couldn’t afford to pass up. No really, I couldn’t afford to buy it for her at regular price. So we all ventured out around 11 a.m. and J dropped me at the door so I could run in and snag it while they parked. Surprisingly, Target and the attached mall weren’t that busy so we let E take a ride on the world’s most obnoxious holiday train.

 

You know I couldn’t not support Small Business Saturday so after our last CSA pickup we went downtown. I scored an awesome deal on these Livie & Luca shoes at Savannah Baby Co. before heading to Half Moon Outfitters to find a Christmas present for J. Instead, Chunk and I had a photo shoot and J browsed with his little shadow.

Although I love spending time with my incredible husband when he’s off of work, early morning runs may be my favorite part of his vacation days. I love running pre-dawn but it doesn’t get to happen very often. So I took full advantage and ran a few days through the neighborhood with just my obnoxious flashing red light for company.

Saturday morning, I met up with the MRTT ladies for a 6 a.m. run on the Talmadge bridge.

Bridge in Savannah (Panorama)

Bridge in Savannah (Panorama) (Photo credit: Ben Beard)

Two thoughts on running the Talmadge:

1.) Although it’s fewer than 6 miles to run it over and back (from where we started), that      bridge is no joke. I have no idea what the incline is but my legs and butt were sore.
2.) I had no idea the severity of my fear of bridges. I’ve never been a fan of driving over them so I’m not sure what I thought it’d be like to run one with traffic. Needless to say, I will not be doing the Enmark Bridge Run 10K next weekend. I’ll be keeping my feet running on solid ground.

I rounded out my 6 miles at Wright Square which is always a lovely spot for a photo op.

How was your weekend? Any big travels? Tired of eating turkey?

Trail of Hope 5K Recap.

I awoke Saturday morning feeling terrible. I’d been hit hard by this stupid virus. My sinuses were pounding, my throat swollen and my chest afire.

Saturday morning was also the Trail of Hope 5K/10K at Skidaway Island State Park.

This was not good.

I hit snooze twice. J told me not to sweat it; there would be other races. True. But I wanted to run this. It was my first race post-babies. And I paid for the race, which is a big motivator. I pushed myself out of bed and promised myself that if I still felt terrible after a cup of coffee and brushing my teeth, I’d go back to bed.

And as it usually happens, I felt a lot better after I started moving. Not great – not ideal – but better. I dragged J out from under the warm covers and told him the run was on.

I loaded the pockets of my running jacket with about 60 tissues and a comparable number of cough drops.

As we were making the 30 minute drive to the park, a funny thing happened. More “funny/uh-oh” than “funny/ha-ha.”

I was driving, trying not to think about my runny nose when J said, “So, a trail run. That’s pretty exciting. The trails out there are really gorgeous. I’m sort of jealous…”

He went on to talk about the state park its great campsites but all I heard was “trail run.”

Wait, a trail run?

Apparently I missed the whole “trail” part of “Trail of Hope.”

Not a big deal. But it suddenly seemed like a huge deal. A typical 5K road race isn’t much when you’re used to running six or seven miles but trail running is an entirely different beast. The surface is different. There are roots and tree limbs and sand just waiting to trip you.

This did not feel like a good idea.

But there was no turning back.

The kid’s run started at 7:45 a.m. and we arrived around 7:30 which gave us plenty of time to park, pee, say hello to familiar faces and get two very sleepy and cranky girls situated.

A very cold 47° for this southern blood.

Even though E is feeling much better, she’s still a bit “off.” She’s lethargic and feeling a bit emotional. I wasn’t sure she’d be up for the kid’s run but she was really excited lined up.

Kids Fun Run starting line. E was waaaaay in the back

This lasted, oh, maybe 50 feet before the rest of the pack pulled away and E was left behind. Tears ensued and daddy caught up to rescue her. She was devastated that she didn’t get to go across the finish line. Melted this Momma’s heart.

There wasn’t much time for coddling because the racers were called to line up. Last minute announcements were made along with a special reminder to us novice trail runners to watch for roots, stumps and gravel. Duly noted. No nerves here. No sir.

Waiting. Not nervous. At all. LIAR. Preparing to fall on my face and be trampled by the masses.

With that, we were off.

The race wasn’t overly crowded and I placed myself solidly in the middle of the pack. Even so, there was a lot of bobbing and weaving around other runners before I found a comfortable spot and pace.

The first half mile or so was through a quiet campsite and a few campers came out to cheer and give an encouraging smile. We turned onto the sand/gravel trail and the group thinned significantly. For the most part, I started and finished the trail portion of the race with the same runners.

I was repeating to myself, “do not fall, do not fall, do not fall” as I navigated over raised tree roots when the runner in front of me took quite the tumble. She wasn’t injured and actually fell quite gracefully but it still messed with my head. But you do what you do, and you just keep running.

The trail was pretty narrow and wasn’t marked well at some points. I tried not to over-think it and kept my eyes on the few feet in front of me. The trail took a strange turn down another short trail before runners turned around a sign and head back to the main trail and back to the paved road. Strange, but mileage is mileage.

Can we talk for a minute about how hard it is to blow your nose when running? Not so much the actual act but the juggling of tissues, the separation of clean and used tissues –  all while being careful not to drop cough drop wrappers on the trail. I felt rude not high-fiving race support but, trust me folks, y’all don’t want to touch my snotty, slimy hands.

Back to the course.

Once I hit the road again, it was around 2.6 miles and I was relieved to have survived the trail portion. The trail slowed my pace my almost a mile at some points so I was eager to pick it up.

When I came into the home stretch, I saw J and the girls waiting and cheering for me. I started waving and yelling like the crazy Momma I am. It was so good to see them.

I run so fast, I can’t be captured on film (or by iPhones).

When I made the final turn towards the finish line, E was going nuts. She was so excited. I remembered how sad she was that she didn’t get to go under the arch and cross the finish line with the other kids, so I waved her out to meet me and we finished the race together.

Having E finish with me slowed my time by maybe 15 seconds but I didn’t care. She had so much fun and having my girl experience that was more rewarding than a better time.

:::Cue sappy music and notify the Hallmark Channel. Made for tv moment right here.:::

E got the sweetest medal for the kids run and she is obsessed. She calls it “her gold” and will not take it off her neck.

E and her gold.

My official time was 29:30 which was 32nd overall, 12th female and 6th in my age group. Not amazing but I was pleased with my time considering I was so not prepared for a trail run and I was running while sick.

My pace was all over the place. My splits were 9:05, 10:00, 9:31 and 8:39. I’m just a portrait of consistency. I blame the trail.

Regardless of it all, I’m really glad that I had the chance to run this race. It was the perfect size of a race and the course was beautiful. Covenant Care Services does amazing work and I’m glad I was able to support them. All of the volunteers were incredibly helpful and the post-race snacks, coffee and information was excellent.

Next up is the Color Run on December 8 and the Reindeer Run on December 15. That’s probably it until January unless Santa and his elves plan on sponsoring some additional races.

How was your weekend? Any must-run races in the southeast?

Running fevers. And a race.

We’re now on day 5… or perhaps day 6… of the most stubborn virus in recent memory. E was feeling better yesterday so she went to preschool but apparently was having downright violent coughing fits throughout the morning and developed another fever by dinner.

Not one to sit in the shadows, B joined in on her sister’s antics and showed up to the party with a fever of her own along with a matching cough and runny nose.

Everyone is grumpy and stir crazy and I’m certain we’ve logged a record number of hours watching Netflix.

At one point today, I became so desperate that I actually Googled, “how to entertain sick preschoolers.” Results? Not so helpful.

“Sick boxes” with special, quiet toys. My grumpy, fevered children would promptly throw the quiet toys at me until I turned Arthur back on.

So we made puppets out of brown bags, drew pictures of scary monster-like Santas and collected every single puzzle piece we own in our Easter basket. Momma is going to have lots of fun cleaning up that mess.

E will miss her last soccer game this evening. I’m sort of relieved. Please don’t tell me that makes me a bad mom.

I’m hoping and praying and resting so that I don’t get hit as hard with this sickness. I’m running the Trail of Hope 5K/10K on Saturday benefitting Covenant Care Adoptions. I was regretting registering for the 5K since my weekly long runs have been over six miles but I’m relieved I underestimated myself with the tightness in my chest.

**It’s not too late to register for the Trail of Hope event on Saturday – registration closes at midnight tonight. This benefits a wonderful organization that gives hope to both pregnant women and families looking to adopt. There will be activities for kids and a children’s fun run. If you’d like to register or donate via PayPal, click here.**

Early Rising.

I’ve always loved getting up really, really early. There is an excitement in the early morning rising, a day full of possibility and opportunity. To accomplish more before the sun rises than some do in an entire day. Maybe it stems from my childhood on a dairy farm and the pre-dawn milkings each day.

My mind is quiet, although perhaps a bit sluggish with sleep, and the house is still while everyone else sleeps. I tried to convince J to join me on these early morning adventures for the first several years we were together with no luck. The boy goes to work incredibly early so he treasures his Saturday morning slumber.

So it’s usually just me and my coffee while it’s dark outside.

I’m a chicken about running when it’s dark out and I never run before dawn on Saturdays. But this weekend, a few members of Savannah’s Moms Run This Town were running downtown. I met them at a MRTT social hour on Tuesday and they were all completely normal not crazy really pretty so I planned to run with them.

They planned to do 6 miles which was admittedly terrifying for this solid 4-mile girl. But they followed Jeff Galloway’s method of interval running with scheduled walk intervals. I’ve never seriously ran intervals before but that Galloway guy may actually be on to something. The pace was a little slower but I felt so good that after 6 miles on intervals, I added a quick seventh mile to top off the run.

Thanks for the picture, Natalie.

I felt surprisingly good afterwards except for a gnarly blister that’s been developing on the bottom of my left foot after longer runs. I wore moleskin on it during Saturday’s run which helped but it still looks bad.

When I got back to my car, I called J to let him know I was still alive and heard this on the other end of the line:

“E, do not put your sister in a head lock! B, get off of the kitchen table. Lu! You poop outside! Hon, are you on your way home yet?”

It was only 7:30 a.m.

And that is why I enjoy waking up before everyone else. To have that piece of quiet before the storm(s).

And I’d like to clarify, I’m referring to waking before 5 a.m. by my own choice. Being roused from slumber by crying children or a neighbor’s car alarm is not energizing – that’s cruel and torture and grounds for an entire day of whining and chocolate.

Are you an early riser? A night owl? A bit of both?

Kicking it Minimalist Style.

Forget politics – it appears runners feel even stronger about their shoe brand and style. And it’s understandable – it is all about the shoes. A good pair and you’re floating on air (I’m a poet!). A bad pair, for me, means a bad run.

I’ve been a loyal Acsics wearer for years. So when I began running last year, I continued the trend. They’re good shoes that are well made and can easily last over a year of heavy cross training.

When J switched to barefoot running – with the “barefoot” shoes, he’s not hoofing it skin to asphalt – last December, he was stoked and I thought he was nuts. All the videos showed these really intense runners who were logging somewhere upwards of 60 miles a week on their bare, mud-stained twinkle toes. I have enough intensity in my life, barefoot or even minimalist running didn’t need to be on that list.

Fast forward 9 months.

My calves have hurt pretty consistently since I started running. It didn’t matter if I ran one mile or three or if I took off running from the front door or spent 20 minutes stretching. I tried rolling and compressing. I tried inserts and re-lacing my shoes. Nothing helped my achy breaky calves. Eventually, I just accepted the fact that my calves would always and forever be destined to hurt.

I noticed each time I hit two miles into a run, my feet began feeling like cement blocks. I felt like I was clodhopping along. What was supposed to be a natural movement felt forced. Then I saw another runner post a picture of her worn out shoes next to a new pair for comparison. The tread along her heels was gone, entirely worn. I looked at mine. Pristine. As the heels looked barely worn. The midfoot, however, was worn nearly flat.

Could it be? Noooo.

I have a midfoot strike. Despite my annoyance towards the intensity of hardcore mid-foot strikers, I was one of them.

I can’t run barefoot. Period. And the last thing I wanted to was to don a pair of those creepy toe-finger shoes. Thanks, but no thanks. J is fanatical about his barefoot trail shoes. But even they seemed too minimal for this stability lover. As usual, the folks at Fleet Feet to helped a sister out.

Check out my new kicks.

Sweet, right? They’re the Nike Free Run 3 and when I run, it’s like little cherubims are flying along side of me, adding a little lift to my step. Only I’m still running, which is hard and tiring and sweaty but my calves feel so much better.

These, like most minimal shoes, have a 4mm heel drop which you can feel as soon as you lace them up. Instead of a stacked heel giving support, your weight automatically falls to your midfoot. Since I naturally have a midfoot strike, I didn’t have to adjust my running form drastically but experts recommend that everyone, regardless of skill level, spend several weeks transitioning to minimal shoes (or actual barefoot, if that’s your thing). It’s no joke, my hamstrings were wrecked for a week after 2 miles the first time I wore them. I went up an entire size and have a comfortable amount of room in the toe box.

Do you know what else is crazy? You can create an entirely customized pair of Free Run 3s on Nike’s website. Granted, there is a 4 week wait period but, dang, I could get shoes that are entirely black, grey and beige to match the majority of my wardrobe.

So after three weeks with the shoes, I can definitely say I’m a convert to the minimalist shoe movement. My distances are increasing and I’m feeling stronger. I suppose I should never say never when it comes to barefoot running – maybe some asphalt-stained tootsies are in my future?

Maybe my new blog tagline should be “Life simply, run simply.” Catchy, right?

What do you think about “barefoot” running? Are you a forefoot, midfoot or heel striker?

For more information of barefoot and foot striking, check these out (because I really have no clue what I’m talking about):