Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today, and everyday, I am thankful for...

My amazing and supportive husband, who gets my quirks and loves me for me...flaws and all. 

My job. I LOVE kindergarten and I LOVE Walton. 
Obviously I can't post a picture of my kids, but this is
where the magic happen. 

My sole sisters, who share my crazy passion for self-torture. Who are relentlessly positive and always there for me. Thank you. 

Thanksgiving Day 4 Miler

Moose Pond 1/2

The fact that I truly, deeply love running. It keeps me physically and mentally healthy. It has taught me how to survive hard times and persist. It has taught me how to take care of myself. 

Look closely and you'll see a smile! 

My puppies. They are my babies. 

Nightly Cuddles

My family, who I greatly missed this Thanksgiving. 


My cousin Matty, who I also greatly missed this Thanksgiving. Today was hard, reminiscing about last year. Thank you for watching over all of us. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Motivational Monday...

I am totally geek-ing out on motivational quotes these last few weeks (and rightfully so - with the addition of strength training to my routine, and some consistency with cross training, I feel like I have been pushing myself way outside of my comfort zone). I have also decide to commit myself (to the insane asylum) to trying the Hanson's Marathon Method for my Providence training, beginning January 1st. This plan is intense and will require a pretty large time commitment, especially during the already busy school week. I took some time last weekend to make myself a lovely OCD inspired spreadsheet of my running schedule for the 18 week program, complete with the required paces for each workout (Hanson's is VERY specific about what pace you should be running for each workout). I'll admit..I am WICKED psyched to give this a try. I am psyched because this is going to be a HUGE challenge. I know I am going to have to dig deep, and really push myself outside my comfort level...

But, I'm a firm believer in this....

And, let's not forget this...

I have made some contingencies with this plan, just in case I find it to be way too much for me to handle (if it is going to result in injury). But I keep seeing race reports from people who have committed to this plan, and the results are staggering. And, it makes sense. Cumulative fatigue. Doing one long run, once a week, it not going to teach your body to push through the demands of a marathon. So, it's time to take on the challenge. I've already BQ-ed at Hartford, let's see if I can push the envelope and BQ by more. 

So, I guess you can say I'm pretty "run-bunc-tious" about this whole thing...

And just in case this post isn't corny enough for you, here's one more...


*Corny quotes brought to you by Pinterest

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Growth Mind-Set

For those of you who have read my blog this past year, you will know that I am a pilot teacher for mass-customized learning in my school. I attended a conference at the beginning of the year on the topic, and fell in love with the following info-graphic, related to the book Mindset that Nate and I read this summer. It summarized my philosophy as a kindergarten teacher, and as a runner (just replace "intelligence" with "ability," and it really is appropriate to many things).

Anyone who knows me, in the teaching world or running world, knows I am 100% growth mindset oriented. I love to set goals for myself and love a good challenge. I love and appreciate criticism from others (as long as it's done in love) and seriously take it all into consideration. When I see other people succeed, I think to myself.."hey...if they can do it, why can't I do it to?" 

Upon hearing that I have a blog, acquaintances and friends have asked me what it is about. I always find I fail to accurately summarize it. "Well, it's about my running, and cleaning up my diet, and losing weight, and teaching, and, and, and..." And yes, my blog is about those things. But in reality, I think a better way to summarize my blog is that it is about the beauty of struggle. Yep, that's right. The Beauty of Struggle (hmmm...if I ever need to rename my blog, I think I've found a winner). Struggle is how we grow. I've struggled with my weight, struggled to be nourished, struggled to train, to race, and in my teaching. Yet each struggle has made me a stronger, more confident, and healthier person. Each struggle has made me just a little more comfortable in my own skin...a far cry from the girl I was in high school and college. Struggle is at the root of all success. Without struggle, there would be no growth. Struggle, and sometimes failure, is a tool to those with a growth mindset...

In the last few weeks, I've experienced some struggle of my own, not related to running, or eating, or teaching. Some internal struggle. It has not been fun and I'm still working on finding some silver linings...but I already know that I have learned one thing. I am meant to be around those who share in the growth mindset way of thinking. Nate told me the other day - "nothing infuriates the motivated person more than those who don't understand input and output." Um yep (raises hand). That would be me! I simply do not understand people with a fixed mindset. And, sadly, I really have no patience for them whatsoever. 

But my blog is not just about struggle. It is also about positivity. I believe those with a growth mindset are inherently positive people. They believe in their ability to make the best of a crappy situation. When life hands them lemons, they make lemonade and drink it with a shot of Patron. ;-) Through this struggle I've experienced in the last few weeks, I've learned something else about myself...

I. Can not. Not. Not. Not...I around people who are negative. They drain me and suck me in and turn me into a gremlin. And not the cute daytime gremlins. The after midnight this...


I have worked so hard to surround myself with positive people, I no longer have a wall to buffer myself against negativity. Negative people give me anxiety attacks (no joke, that happened more than once in the last two months). They steal my sunshine and my energy. I can tell myself I'm just never going to be around negative people again, but I know that's a ridiculous claim to make. They will turn up in my life, and I need to find a way to deal. I suppose that is my next step in moving on from my "struggle." And, since I have a growth-mindset, I will take this crappy experience I've had, and learn and grow from it. I WILL find a way to buffer and protect myself against negative nellies, and to respond to them, without betraying my values and beliefs. (And this is where all of you who have had a similar experience floods my inbox with recommendations on how to deal, please and thank you). Learning from this situation, and moving on, will be my way to heal from it. And holy crap, I hope that learning comes soon. 

And on that note, a thought to leave you with...

Damn. Freaking. Straight. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Week in Clean Eating

Swim started this past week for me on Monday and Wednesday, and Nate started his 90 day journey with T25, which posed a slight problem for my clean eating mission. Clean eating is great, but it does require planning and preparation. Side note: it is TOTALLY worth it. But, when I get home at 8:30 at night twice a week, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. Since I am on an absolute mission at the moment (see this blog entry) I know I needed a plan.

So, I spent about two hours on Sunday night preparing some new clean meals in advance for the week. I was really pleased with all of them. They will definitely be added into the meal rotation!

1. Roasted Cauliflower - This one was even a hit with the picky eating husband. This seriously tasted like french fries to me. I added one thing to the recipe - I sprinkled bread crumbs on the cauliflower prior to putting it on the oven (ya, ya, ya, I know, I made it slightly less clean...but hey..we are eating cauliflower here! That is a huge step for former mac and cheese junkees). I forgot to take a picture of my version, but it actually looked pretty similar to the one on the website.

2. Quinoa and Black Beans - Ok. This was seriously delicious. And holy packed with protein! A friend of mine made this at our pot luck dinner prior to the MDI relay a few weeks back and I loved it. I *somehow* managed to follow the recipe and make mine taste like hers! (Ok, the truth is I had one failed attempt first...but I fixed it here the second time around).

3. Cauliflower Pizza Crust I was surprised how easy this was to make - cut the cauliflower, throw it in the food processor, microwave, wring it out, add some spices and throw it in the oven. Super easy, and good for pizza night because I ALWAYS forget to take the frozen pizza dough out in the morning. We have been using Portland Pie Company's multigrain dough for a while now, but since I'm not putting in the high mileage of marathon training, I was looking for something slightly less "carb-y."

So as we sat down to dinner and started eating, there was silence. I held my breath and waited for the verdict. And then it came - "Actually, this is pretty good!" SCORE! We both enjoyed this meal. If you make it, DO NOT expect it to hold together like a real pizza crust. We had to eat ours with forks. But nonetheless, it was still really quite tasty. We will be making this one again next week, but next time I am going to double the recipe. While I am not marathon training at the moment, I am still running (and Nate is still doing T25), and we both felt since all this basically is is vegetables, we needed a little more substance to be a meal.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Back at it Again - Moose Pond Half

It's been three weeks since the Hartford Marathon. Foot is still funky and the legs are still is a weird state of recovery. But after last week's debacle (read all about it here.), my mind was yearning for some hard core pavement grinding. I am not one to sign up for a race and not give it everything I've got on race day, but I was seriously wondering how my body was going to hold up for this half. I've run a half 3-4 weeks out from most of the marathons I've done, and it's done wonders to get my head back in the game and convince me that I can, again, return to running and enjoy it. I was hoping Moose Pond would do the same.

We did a very short warmup (.6 miles, oops, way too short for a half), but none of us really seemed to care. The weather was perfect (just under 60 degrees, a warm sun and a cool, light breeze). The first mile or two of this race were mostly flat with some light ups and downs. Right out of the gun I was able to count to see that I was about the 10th woman, give or take. The first hill came at mile 2 and I whizzed by three girls. Another at mile 3 and I took down another two girls. I could see the next two girls running together in front of my about two-tenths of a mile away, when I hit a random wall at mile 4. I felt like I had no energy left and my legs felt like lead. I was about to accept the fact that my body was just not ready for this pace yet when I hit "the hill" at mile 5. A nearly mile long, fairly steep, hill. (Seriously, check out this BANGIN' hill - Moose Pond Half - Garmin Connect). The hill refreshed my legs, and by the top I had passed the other two women. A man on the top told me I was the third place woman, and my brain kicked into it's "GAME ON" mode.

The rest of the course was more rolling hills - a few pretty decent climbs, and a few pretty harsh downhills that hurt just as much as the ups. I got to the mile 10 mark and looked down to see a 7:08 mile. I have no clue where that came from (probably some good downhills in that mile), but still, I knew I was going to pay dearly for that, and I did. By mile 11 I was struggling big time to hold on, but there was no way I was losing 3rd place that easy. I stuck it out to come in at 1:40:33. No PR, but 3rd place female and 1st in my age group. Given the hills on this monster, and the state of my body in the last three weeks, I was extremely pleased with this time.

Despite the bitchin' hills on this course, I really enjoyed it. Out of my 23 half marathons, this was by far the most challenging. But, it was also peaceful and serene. Many miles it was just me and 1-2 other people on the road. The weather was perfect, and the challenging hills were just what I needed to 1) get my head back to knowing that I CAN race again after a marathon 2)grind out some serious built up aggression on the road and 3) focus on future running goals and training, and start moving forward again.

The absolute best part of this race though was the BBQ after. Racing with my trackies is the best...but being able to hang out, soak up some vitamin D and enjoy fabulous company after a blood pumping long run is a therapy of a new kind.

3rd in Age Group - 6th Overall

2nd in Age Group - 5th Overall

1st in Age Group - 2nd Female Overall!

<3 Soaking up the Vitamin D and Trackie Love