Monthly archives: December, 2015

Thankful Thursday 12/31/2015 – 2015 highlights

“The days are long, but the years are short” (h/t Gretchen Rubin). Now we’re at the end of yet another year that was challenging in many ways, but still filled with so much to be thankful for.

I’m especially thankful that:

  • I’m still here – whatever the particulars and parameters of my situation, I can and will work to improve my athletic performance and myself – focusing on continuous improvement and defining myself, with relentless positivity and pathological optimism!
  • My DH is still here – after a nasty, scary battle with pneumonia and a long recovery.
  • My sis is still here – after multiple cancers and other medical stuff, my role model and friend is going strong.
  • My various friends are doing reasonably well, despite tough times personally, professionally, and medically for many of them.
  • The technology exists, and is available to me, to help me easily keep in touch with all those who are so dear to me but not near to me.
  • I restarted my daily gratitude list practice – it makes a difference!
  • Every day, every moment, every breath is a chance to choose to be who and how I want to be.
  • I have great tips from Deena and others to help me move toward who I want to be and the life I want.
  • There are so many inspirational people to give me perspective and keep me going.
  • There is beauty, love, joy and kindness to be found in the world, and there are people doing good.
  • I’ve had the opportunity and the ability to help others. I look forward to continuing to do so.
  • I have you, my blog readers and tweeps, only a keystroke away with your support and friendship.

I am deeply thankful and grateful for running. Not just the act of it, a privilege and a gift even on days it’s a challenge, but everything around it and related to it….things I read or listen to, people I meet (electronically or otherwise) or learn about, communities I am or can be a part of, what I learn. It gives me such joy and is a passion for me. It also helps me be a better person and more the me I want to be – I take that into other aspects of my life, which in turn helps me in my running – a virtuous circle or cycle.

Here are some of the running-related highlights of my 2015!

April

2015 Boston Marathon medal

2015 Boston Marathon medal

I got to meet all 3 of my biggest running inspirations and role models, even running with one of them. AND I ran my first Boston Marathon, a dream many years in the making.

  • I got to meet Joan Benoit Samuelson, one of my three running inspirations and running/life role models, at the Cherry Blossom Expo and hear her speak (and also met Bill Rodgers, who was really nice, energetic, enthusiastic, friendly and happy, heard him speak as well)
  • I got to meet and run with (!) Deena, the second of my inspirations and role models (and was lucky to see adn run with Bart again at the same run)
  • I got to meet Meb (my third inspiration and role model) and hearing him speak twice
  • I ran my first Boston Marathon. I still can hardly believe it, but I have the medal and the memories! It was everything people had ever said, and more – here’s my race recap, and related posts about the weekend and recovery

August – I ran Beach to Beacon 10k for the first time (the race started by Joanie in her hometown), and discovered I love Maine! I also got to visit with my sister in one of her favorite places.

Sunrise in Portland, ME

Sunrise in Portland, ME

October – I gutted it out against strained obliques to finish Baystate with a squeaker BQ. I’m proud of my effort and grateful for my health, training and opportunity to race. I met some nice people from the local running group up there and even got to see my sister again.

Baystate Marathon sign

Baystate Marathon sign

November – I stepped out of my comfort zone and ran with a group (in the dark, at 5:30am), and also did a long run on a 1/4 mi track. Over Thanksgiving, I did a virtual race that reminded me to #BeBraveBeThankful and gave me another person to be inspired by, Drea.

Be Brave Be Thankful medal

Be Brave Be Thankful medal

December – I went to the group run again, which that day turned out to be one person…and that one person turned out to be running a race I’ve run. We had lots to talk about, hope we keep getting together. Hard to believe it’s been over a year since my first ultra!

Across The Years

Across The Years

I look forward to making 2016 the best year yet!

As Deena reminds us “Joy is a practice. Our choices build up to be our habits.”

choose joy

choose joy!

Wishing you & yours a great start to a year filled with health, happiness, love, laughter, fun, passion, growth, dreams and goals to pursue, good challenges, and JOY…and of course many good runs!

 



Thankful Thursday 12/24/2015

We’re past the solstice now, so the daylight will be coming back bit by bit! Though we’re approaching the end of the year, the weather here is more spring-like – blooming flowers and holiday lights are a bit confusing, but work with what you’ve got, right?

For those celebrating Christmas, one of my favorite versions of a carol, from Straight No Chaser

Here are some things I’ve been thankful and grateful for lately, with some photos for you:

  • Walking through Nordstrom on the way to get my hair cut, I saw lovely decorations they’d put up. (I was grateful I’d taken that route – also that they don’t decorate till the day after Thanksgiving) I took pictures rather than purchase more ornaments for home. The pictures mean I get to share them with you! (the last has a bit of info about the artist)
hanging decorations at Nordstrom

hanging decorations at Nordstrom

decorated arch at Nordstrom

decorated arch at Nordstrom

closeup of arch

closeup of arch

wooden horse ornament

wooden horse ornament

wooden heart ornament

wooden heart ornament

closeup of wooden heart

closeup of wooden heart

The next three may remind my sister of something, if she’s reading – a certain peace dove – they reminded me.

wooden dove

wooden dove

dove white on red

dove white on red

dove red on white

dove red on white

A bit about the artist, in case you’re interested and/or like her art

about the artist

about the artist

  • Caffeinated tea is making the list a lot lately, isn’t it? 🙂
  • As is telework, and my boss
  • I think I got my podcasts set up on the Mac, meaning my dead/dying Windows laptop may soon be retired, or at least boxed up for disposal/destruction.
  • Speaking of podcasts, one I really enjoyed lately was Liza Howard on the Athlete on Fire series Becoming Ultra specifically ep 10. She’s on the even-numbered episodes with a coaching client and Ian Sharman is on the odd-numbered ones with his client, both training for the American River 50 Mile race. You can jump into this episode and then backtrack to catch up. If you like endurance sports author Matt Fitzgerald, he’s involved, listen to episodes of FitzUltra – and read his posts – to follow him as he also trains for the AR50. I’d suggest starting from the beginning on that one. (For 100 milers, I’m about to listen to Science of Ultra‘s host let us follow him through his training in his Journey to 100 series.)
  • Waking up in a warm bed – we did have a cold weekend last weekend, and it made me remember how lucky I am to have a safe, warm place to sleep.
  • A cold weekend in the treadmill room!
  • Indoor plumbing
  • Every day, every chance I get to try again to improve myself in as many ways as I can think of so I can be more of who I want to be. It is a lot of work, requiring constant awareness and vigilance, and it’s often much harder than I expect, but I’m lucky to be even able to try.
  • Seeing the darkness outside lit with holiday lights followed by the start of sunrise
  • When friends get massive PRs after working so hard – way to go Tara!
  • Unpacked a couple more boxes. Even slow progress is progress, or so I tell myself.
  • Thankful for people sharing what they know to help others in ways big or small (and that’s in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?) Like knowledge from Sally, whose quick #betterathleteseries exercises are kicking my various body parts – and she keeps adding them! I’m only doing 4 so far, but have noted results after only a few days. May be a few older ones on her IG account. Sally’s tag on race reports: #BeThankfulAlways
  • The privilege of fussing about the Boston Marathon 2016 jacket color – silly, isn’t it? I’m so grateful to be an entrant (for the second time, how amazing!) and lucky to have been able to start my training.
  • An unexpected email from a friend
  • Watching a friend gear up for new running challenges after a tough year
  • Having a friend at work (yay!) send me a job she thinks I might be interested in (no, I’m not looking)
  • Waking up one morning and having a thought that brought back memories of my beloved dog, gone as long now as she was with me – about 17 years
  • The massage I had Sunday helped, and didn’t leave me as sore as usual – and that my massage therapist is also a friend
  • A surprise running-related holiday gift waiting for me from a friend at work when I got in on Monday
  • My chiro
  • A day I woke up and nothing really hurt – sure, stiff and sore, but not pain
  • I pushed myself on some runs – mentally and physically difficult, but I did it!
  • Reminders in the medal next to my computer and in tweets and posts to Just Keep Moving Forward and #BeBraveBeThankful – both from Mere, who’s hosting another virtual race. The first race (and second hashtag) were inspired by  Drea, who when diagnosed with ALS at 33, thought “what can I do?” and then, “what else can I do? to help.

What have you been grateful for this week?

 



Thankful Thursday 12/17/2015

Mid-December….is it flying or dragging for you? Hard to believe it’s two weeks until we change years. I’m looking forward to it!

Here are a few of the things I’ve been grateful for lately….

  • Sharing holiday traditions with DH like our annual visit to the Capitol Tree and Botanic Gardens

 

Capitol Tree

Capitol Tree

Botanic Garden tree

Botanic Garden tree

  • A drive to check out a possible dining set got me views of lovely holiday lights I wouldn’t otherwise have seen
  • Getting a postcard from a dear friend, sent from her vacation far away
  • Clean sheets
  • A lovely holiday card from a friend who always finds the coolest things – the card, which comes apart in segments, had a photo of her (growing-like-a-weed) daughter in kimono on a trip to Tokyo, a detachable gift tag, and detachable message from them
  • Caffeinated tea
  • Deena‘s running the Trials! And ran a terrific performance in the Duo to Rio over the weekend – she and Abdi were the winning team. Her post-race interview is great, she looks so happy and excited. (Thanks to Coach Andrew for sharing their holiday card – another picture is in the background of his twitter page – I’m thinking Piper Bloom is taking after her Dad in height, only 4-ish and so tall next to 5’4″ Deena! But with Mom’s blue eyes.)
  • Lucy Fry‘s book Run, Ride, Sink, or Swim! – funny but also thougthful…felt like some of her thoughts and issues were being pulled from inside my head. Hope she writes a sequel.
  • A decent outside run on Sunday after a decent long run on Saturday
  • The gluten-free gingerbread cake recipe I tried came out well enough, and I took most of it to work
  • DH had a good race, and got home safely and uninjured
  • Veggie sushi
  • Nights when I get decent sleep
  • My chiro
  • Small businesses with great customer service
  • Kabocha
  • Telework
  • My boss
  • Books by or about people doing endurance sports/expeditions – so much inspiration to be found

What are you grateful for lately? 

 

 

 



Thankful Thursday 12/10/2015

Here are a few things I’ve been thankful for lately….

  • Holiday lights – mine and the handiwork of others, like at the Alexandria Boat Parade last weekend or on houses I drive past
  • Books! New (The Gratitude Diaries, Run, Ride, Sink, or Swim) and re-reads (A Life Without Limits, The Ultra Mindset)
  • Telework…every time
  • Birdsong in the morning light
  • Kabocha – some really good ones lately, from Trader Joe’s which has suddenly started carrying them (and thanks to DH for noticing the first time, as we’re rarely there and they weren’t with the produce)
  • Role models like Ann Trason (new short film by Billy Yang here) who I hear is working with Jill Homer on a memoirQ (enjoyed Jill’s other books) If you like this film, check out Billy’s other films, like Western Time with Sally McRae about her Western States race last year (post-show Q&A) or his own Western States journey this year. States is on my mind lately, with the lottery just last weekend.
  • My Be Brave Be Thankful medal for the virtual race – it’s pretty, and a good reminder in many ways, so it’s sitting next to my computer.

Be Brave Be Thankful medal

Be Brave Be Thankful medal

Thanks Mere for the organizing and Andrea for being the inspiration and for your attitude and efforts in such a tough situation, diagnosed at 33 with ALS.

  • A friend at work stopping by for the sole purpose of giving me good news about a colleague’s new baby
  • Brown rice
  • Gluten-free Chex and Glutino pretzels
  • Some improvement in runs, for whatever reason (new chiro treatment, exercises….who knows? I almost don’t care, as long as it keeps going) – everybody knock wood with me now!
  • Sunrise
  • Turkey – real, cut-off-the-bird turkey breast in a package from Whole Foods….I’d been craving it after Thanksgiving, and DH found this, saving me from having to cook a bird myself!
  • Getting myself up and out at oh-dark-hundred – or as one tweep calls it “stupid o’clock” – to go for a group run (so dark we needed lights, new for me) where only one other person showed – who turned out to be a fellow marathoner and ultrarunner doing a race I’ve done, so we had lots to talk about!

Be brave, be thankful.

What’s on your list?

 

 

 

 

 



Thankful Thursday 12/3/2015

Here we are at the first Thankful Thursday of December! I hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving at the in-laws – the “curiosity” food collection….NOT our meal, my MIL would want me to assure you!

odd flavors of popcorn and Stuckey's pecan roll

should we eat it or just talk about it?

I supplied the popcorn, BIL the Stuckey’s pecan roll (after we saw one on the way down and neglected to pick it up and told the family about it). The popcorn was actually quite good! Who’d have thought pumpkin pie spice, dill pickle, and stuffing could be rendered well in popcorn flavors? (Almost makes me wish I’d gotten the gravy flavor….almost)

Thankful….

  • In-laws who are gracious hosts and pleasant to talk with, nice people with a sense of humor who love DH
  • Safe and pretty speedy car travel to and from our holiday visit and good weather the whole time
  • Pretty trees, fall in its many stages at different points on our trip
  • Hotels with working treadmills, and rooms with kitchens for me to make my tea, breakfasts and snacks
  • Several yummy restaurant meals, one in Durham at a 100% gluten-free restaurant, two at a place near in-laws that has a solid GF menu, terrific BBQ sauces and good iced tea
  • Visiting an indie running store on the road
  • DH got some of his favorite foods (Mom’s mashed potatoes, biscuits from fast food joints)
  • My friend who had cancer surgery recently is home, is able to eat some regular food, spent Thanksgiving with loved ones, and got “good” test results (only one kind of treatment, maybe less sessions) – he’s even gone back to work
  • My sis’ latest test results are good
  • Starting and finishing new running-related books – now need more!
  • New veggie “sushi” at Whole Foods on the trip
  • Two good runs on the trip
  • Friends keeping in touch while one or the other of us is on vacation
  • Discover catching fraudulent charges quickly and taking care of me well
  • Whole Foods gluten-free cornbread is pretty good – I could have some once in a while, with some of our yummy BBQ
  • DH’s patience with me
  • The glow of our holiday lights (on timers) greeting me in the morning when I get up and the evening when I get home
  • Plans over the next couple weeks for holiday activities we enjoy
  • Ostrich and baked fries night
  • That every moment, every day is a chance to start over again – and I need those chances!

What have you been thankful for this week?