Tips For Backpacking With Kids

Well, hello there.  It’s been a hot minute since I last posted, but I know there’s at least a few of you out there who are familiar with the world of a teacher so I’ll just tell you that we are down to the last six days of school.  Imagine the chaos that has been my life for the last few weeks!

The bright side is I was able to de-stress a little bit by FINALLY getting out into the woods for some backpacking this weekend.  I am ashamed to admit it, but it’s the first trip we’ve been on since our big trip last summer.  Remodeling hell is responsible for that, and I am going to be so glad to get that behind us!  As we were driving to the trailhead, I told John that next spring, when we are in the new house and no longer have to worry about “projects”, we’re hiking every weekend!

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This particular trip was special because we took a group of newbies.  My sister-in-law, brother-in-law, niece, and two nephews wanted to get out and experience primitive camping so we took the group out for a short stretch of trail.

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Mostly the trip was about getting their feet wet.  It was really important to us that we make it a good experience for the kids so that it’s something they want to do more of.  Today I thought I’d share some tips on how to accomplish that!

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1.  Don’t pack on the miles

This weekend we went about two miles to camp, and I am not kidding you when I say they were complaining at the half mile mark.  Hiking can be overwhelming for tiny humans who are not used to it so it’s best to introduce them to it in small increments.

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2.  Keep it light

John and I usually carry about twenty pounds in our backpacks, and I’m fairly certain that’s more than a 1/3 of my six-year-old niece’s weight.  Loading kids down with a ton of weight will not only make them miserable, but it’s not good for their little bodies.  My advice is to let them carry something so they get the experience, but keep it really light.  The bigger boys carried their sleeping bags and an extra change of clothes, and my niece carried a small day pack with clothes.  No one was heavy!

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3.  Camp near water

We camped right near the river, and the kids had a blast swimming.  It provided all kinds of entertainment, and the pure joy on the kids’ faces was evident.

4.  Bring good food

All you backpackers out there know that food on trail is not exactly gourmet.  Don’t get wrong-I honestly like some of the dehydrated meals, and it’s the only time I ever eat Pop-Tarts so I wake up enthusiastic for breakfast.  However, we didn’t feel the kids would be quite as excited about our “Just Add Water” meals.  So instead we packed in hot dogs, baked beans, and macaroni in cheese with marshmallows for dessert.  I’m positive that made a difference in the general moral of the group.

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5.  Give them a job

We told the little boys to gather some firewood, and they attacked the project with gusto.  They roamed all over the woods, and you could clearly see how proud they were they were to contribute.  Giving them a little responsibility really made them feel like they were active members of camp.

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All in all, it was a really successful trip.  Here’s hoping it’s the first trip of many for these kiddos!

The Countdown Is On

Hey all!  I’m checking in way late today, but it’s Thursday and I am in the mood for a stream of consciousness kind of post today!

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1.  I have been ten different kinds of crazy for the last few weeks because we are deep in the middle of state testing.  I administer most of the tests which isn’t necessarily a hard job, but it does get a little stressful making sure all of your bases are covered.  I’m ready to go back to my regular schedule!

2.  However, I probably won’t have much of a regular schedule left.  By the time testing is all said and done, we’ll have about seven days of school left.  Trust me-the kids will be long checked out mentally by then so it will be a struggle to get them focused for those seven days!

3.  I find myself a little more mentally checked out than normal this year, and I can only think of one reason.  Because of the class that I teach and the group that I sponsor, I spend A LOT of time with seniors.  They developed senioritis in about March of their junior year, and I think it’s rubbing off on me!

4.  Enough about school-let’s talk about my favorite subject!  I think John and I are finally going to hit the trail next weekend!  We haven’t gotten to do any hiking in ages since we’ve been deep in the middle of our remodeling nightmare, but we’ve decided to take a break next weekend to introduce some family members to the great outdoors.  It will be a small, low-mileage trip because we’ll have wee ones along, but I am so ready to out into the wild that I’m not picky.  Fingers crossed the weather holds out!

5.  Speaking of hiking, I need to fill you in on our summer plans.  We’ve finally nailed down what backcountry trips we’re taking.  We’re going to start it off with Dad and I’s July half-marathon in Colorado Springs followed by a week in the backcountry with Dad, Caite, Justin, and Alex.  Once we come off that of that first week, John, Dad, and I will say goodbye to the others and head to Wyoming for about a week and a half for more wilderness adventures.  It’s been a big topic of conversation in our family for the last month or so which is making me ridiculously excited.

Just a scene I'm looking forward to!

Just a scene I’m looking forward to!

6.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I got a Viviofit for Christmas and I am now obsessed with getting my steps in everyday.  Fun fact:  This is not super easy to do on days I don’t run.  It really shines a light on just how stationary I normally am during the day, and it’s been really effective in helping me change that!

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7.  I tried another new recipe with my Flapjacked pancake mix last week, and it was hands-down the best one yet.  I made these Garlic Cheddar Biscuits to go with dinner, and they got enthusiastic thumbs up.  I have a feeling they’re going to become a staple at our house.

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8.  Let’s talk books for a second.  A few months ago I talked about discovering JoJo Moyes and how much I really loved her novels.  Well, I’ve since read all of them except two, and she is definitely making it onto the list of “Top Favorite Authors.”  Her books are engaging, the story lines are interesting, and the books read in such away that I fly through them in about two days depending on my available reading time.  Bonus:  For those of you who have already read Me Before You, I found out they other day there’s going to be a sequel called After You.  It comes out in September!

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9.  One last thing I wanted to fill you guys in on.  In addition to teaching, a few months ago I started a new venture.  I’m now the area coordinator for CETUSA, a cultural exchange student organization.  I am having a blast placing kids with families for next school year, and I can’t wait to meet the students when they get here in August.  If any of you local folks are interested in hosting, hit me up!

Ok, I’m out of here.  Have a great weekend!

If you could be an exchange student, what country would you want to visit?  Any great new authors I need to read?

Follow The Yellow Brick Road: Garmin Marathon In The Land Of Oz

Hola!  I’m in a particularly good mood today.  I know it’s Monday, but, as of this writing, we have 15 days of school left.  The finish line is near, and I am so ready for it.  This year flew by, but it was a pretty intense one since I added an AP course to my roster.  I am definitely ready for the mental break.

This last weekend Dad and I traveled to the land of Oz for our fourth half marathon of the year, and today I’m going to give you a quick run down of it.

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Honestly, this recap will be my favorite kind-short and sweet.  That’s because this race was fairly uneventful in the best way possible, but let’s begin at the beginning!

Dad and I got to Olathe, KS about 8:00 Friday night.  We had a little BBQ, drove to the start line at Garmin Headquarters to make sure we knew where to go the next day, and then headed to the hotel to crash.  Last week was an especially stressful one at work so I was going into the weekend exhausted, and I had absolutely no trouble falling asleep.

We left the hotel about 5:45 so we’d have plenty of time to pick up our packets.  We had been a little worried about the weather, but, as we made our way to the packet pick up, it looked as though the rain was going to hold off for a little while.

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We took our t-shirts back to the car, pinned on our bibs, and had time to take a few pictures.  We were trying to get a picture with the Garmin sign in the background, but, instead, got photobombed by Jay from Memphis which is how he introduced himself after we took the picture.  He was nice enough to snap another shot.

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We got in the corral around 6:30 ahead of the 6:45 race start.  And, yes, corral is singular.  There were a ton of people, and the race definitely could have benefited from separate corral starts.

We took off right at 6:45, and that’s when things got interesting.  On the Garmin Marathon website, it says “This course lives up to its flat and fast reputation.”  Let’s just say they need to change their website.  Although I didn’t go back and study it afterwards, the course most definitely was not flat.  I swear we did nothing but long uphills and steep downhills for the first 6 miles.  As we ran into hill after hill, I was getting pretty ticked and composing a strongly worded tweet to the race coordinators in my head.

Around mile 5, I felt a slight twinge in my knee so I took the ibuprofen I had stashed in a baggie in my sports bra, and, I’m happy to report, I had no knee pain for the rest of the race.  The course finally started to flatten out around mile 7, and at mile 8 we entered a tree-lined bike path.  This part of the course was welcomed relief from the hills!

Despite all the hills, I was feeling really good.  My legs never really got tired, and I knew we were running for a PR (for me).  Around mile 11.5, it started to sprinkle, and, as we entered the last 3/4 of mile stretch, the wind really picked up.  I felt myself starting to hit the wall, but we were so close!

We crossed the finish line at 2:05:56 which is almost a four-minute PR for me!  Literally the moment we finished, the skies opened up and it started to pour.  We could not have timed it better!

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Despite my annoyance at the misrepresentation of the course, I really liked this race.  It had a really fun feel to it, and it certainly is the current forerunner for best medal.

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I really attributed my better showing at this race to my commitment to putting in the miles since the last race.  I made sure I got at least two 10-milers in the last few weeks, and I hit 25 miles a week.  I knew it would help, but I was a little surprised by just how much!

Now we have number 4 in the books.  Missouri, we’re coming for you!

5 Places I’d Move Tomorrow

I’ve changed a lot in my thirty-one years, primarily in the last ten.  I could write an entire post on the subject, but one of the biggest changes for me is my desire to move to (relatively) faraway places.  When I was younger, I probably would’ve been in the running for “Girl Most Likely To Live In Her Hometown Forever”.  I loved traveling, but I couldn’t conceive of leaving my little Oklahoma hamlet or moving more than ten minutes away from my family.

Oh, how times have changed.  When John and I got together, it became clear pretty fast that our future was in a different part of the state, and I had to get used to the idea of living 2.5 hours away from all of my near and dear.  It was definitely rough-going at the beginning, but now, six years later, it’s just normal for me.

I credit that initial move with changing my perspective, and opening me up to the possibility of moving even farther away.  Over the last six years, John and I have dreamed almost constantly of moving to the mountains, and, though it may not happen until retirement, it is very much something we are planning for our future.

We’ve debated back and forth on which mountain town we’d love to call home, and today I wanted to highlight a few of them that I have been in the running over the years.  I even managed to include one non-Colorado town on list!

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1.  Kalispell, MT

Let’s talk about the odd man out first.  I loved Kalispell.  We were there a few years ago when we took a trip to Glacier National Park, and it is such a cool little town.  It serves as the gateway to Glacier, and the beauty that is that park is just minutes away.  Of course, that means that Kalispell has a lot of tourists every year so that could be a pro or con depending on your perspective.  I don’t see us ever actually moving there because it is very far away, and, let’s face it, I haven’t evolved that much.  However, if the perfect opportunity fell in our laps, I wouldn’t turn it down!

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2.  Pagosa Springs, CO

I have loved Pagosa for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been traveling there since I was a little kid, and its always held a special place for me.  In practical terms, it has a good mix of old downtown charm and modern conveniences.  Plus, it is nestled right in the middle of the San Juan Mountains which just happen to be the best mountain range ever.

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3.  Buena Vista, CO

Just strictly based on the town itself, Buena Vista would be our number one pick.   Other considerations have dropped it down a few spots on the list, but this town is one of the coolest I’ve ever been to.  There’s just a neat vibe about it, and I love that it is almost completely devoid of big chains.  Every time John and I talk about it, we wish those other considerations were different so Buena Vista could be our spot.

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4.  Ouray, CO

It’s touristy, it is far away from everything, and there’s not even a major grocery store.  Not necessarily great recommendations for a great place to live full-time.  But (you knew there was a but!) it is a quaint little town where you really can achieve that old cliché of time-stopping.  Plus, although I’ve never seen it, I have this feeling that when it starts to get late in the season and all the tourists go home, you’re left with a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone else.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that it is surrounded by the most staggeringly beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen.  They don’t call it Little Switzerland for nothing.

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5.  Durango, CO

Put simply, it is my favorite town on the planet.  I love the downtown, I love the old movie theater, I love the Durango-Silverton Railroad, and, of course, it is the home of my very favorite restaurant.  Unfortunately, I’m not the only person who feels that way, and, as a result, real estate is through the roof expensive.  Not exactly the best plan for retirement!

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Right now moving to any of these towns is just a dream, but we’ll get there someday!  In the mean time, it’s really fun to visit :)

Do you live far away from your family?  What town would you love to live in?

Currently: April

Hey guys!  I’m back!  Last week was really busy between Book Fair, a junior field trip (yeah…), and keeping my mileage up so blogging was down on the list a little bit.  But I’m checking back in today with a Currently post for April so here’s what’s up!

Currently: April

Current books:  Every few years I revisited the Anne of Green Gables series.  They are some of my favorite books, and I love going back and reading all of Anne’s adventures.  I recently decided it was time to do it again, and now I’m on the second book in the series.

 

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Current music:   In preparation for the second movie coming out next month, I’ve been jamming to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack a lot.  You do not want to be in my car with me these days :)

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Current guilty pleasure:   Married At First Sight.

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I know this show is controversial, but I’m always fascinated by sociological experiments and this one definitely fits the bill.  I think it is incredible how you can bring together two complete strangers who are then actually capable of making a marriage work.

Current nail color:   My fingernails are back to plain, but my toes are a very lovely turquoise.  I’ll spare you the picture of my feet.

Current drink:  Tea and water.  Repeat.

Current food:  I had a great mail day this week.

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A new stock of Flapjacked came in so I’ve been all protein pancakes all the time.  In fact, John was out-of-town over the weekend so I may or may not have had them for dinner.

Current shows:   Game of Thrones Season Five started last night, and you know we were front and center for that.  It’s going to be a tumultuous next few months…..

Current wish list:   The main thing I’m wishing for right now is for little elves to come into our house at night, and magically finish all the remodeling projects we still have left to do.

Current needs:   I suppose I need to go shopping.  I’m senior sponsor this year which means I have Senior Tea and graduation coming up in the next month which requires some level of dressing up.  I absolutely hate to shop so this is not a task I’m looking forward to.

Current triumphs:  After last month’s half, I set a goal to get twenty-five miles a week in until my next one.  Well, the Kansas half is this weekend, and I’m happy to say I kept that training up!

Current bane of my existence:  State testing.  If you are a teacher, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Current celebrity crush:  In honor of the Game of Thrones premiere………….

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How hot is Jon Snow?

Current indulgence:  Yesterday I stayed in bed way longer than normal working on the computer, watching TV, and just relaxing.  It was glorious!

Current blessing:  Summers off.  As my husband reminds me often, this is a luxury, and I find myself more and more grateful for it all the time.  I see how hard it is on John to only have three weeks of vacation a year, and it makes me extremely thankful that I don’t work in a field like that.

Current exercise:   Again, all the running.  When this year is over, I’m dialing way back on the running.

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Current excitement:  I have so many plans all the schedule for this summer, and I can’t wait!

Current mood:  Happy!  You guys know I’m not a fan of spring, but this is one of the rare spring days where the sun is actually shining and the humidity isn’t out of control.  That’s the kind of spring I can get on board with!

Current link:  My cousin shared this over the weekend on Facebook so I’m counting it as a link.

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These two are Cordelia Faye Rigdon and Homer Lee Thomas, and they are my great-grandparents.  I absolutely love exploring family history so anything like this makes my day.  This was taken around the time they were married in the early ’30s, and they were together for over forty years until his death.  I never had a chance to meet Pop, but I had my Memaw for the first 17 years of my life and I’m so thankful for that.

Are you interested in family history?  

I Hike: A Review

So I’ve been a big fan of podcasts for a while now.  I have about five or six that I listen to regularly, and I eagerly anticipate the new episodes.  Unfortunately, I was having a real issue finding a podcast that fulfilled my need to be all about backpacking all the time.  A few months ago, I was searching through iTunes to see what I could come up with, and I found The Trail Show.

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This podcast is put on by four hikers out of Colorado who have thousands of miles between them.  It’s a combo of trail talk, beer talk, and general tomfoolery, and I absolutely love listening them.  Some of the episodes are so funny that I’ve gotten a few strange looks while grocery shopping with my ear buds in.

As I was listening to back episodes, I heard one of the show creators, Lawton “Disco” Grinter, mention a few times that he had written a book all about his hiking adventures.  You guys know I’m a sucker for any book on the subject, and this month when my new Audible credit came up, I immediately added I Hike to my shopping cart.

This audiobook is about five hours long (I could have easily listened to double the stories, Disco!) and is read by the author, which is always my preference.

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While most books about thru-hiking are about one particular trail and organized in a chronological manner, I Hike is a collection of the author’s stories spanning several years and all three of the major long-distance trails in America.

I really appreciated this fresh storytelling style.  Even for a die-hard like me, when it comes down to it, you’re writing about days on end of hiking, and most thru-hiking books can’t help but have a few sections that get a little monotonous.  Instead, I Hike focuses on the people who Disco meets along the way, and some of the more hilarious things that happen to him including eating a gallon of ice cream in one sitting and how it goes horribly wrong and perfecting urination on the go so as not to lose the battle against a horde of blood thirsty mosquitoes.

I Hike isn’t all hilarious mishaps.  Disco shares the heartbreaking, tragic story of his friend who lost his life on the trail, and ultimately inspired him to start his thru-hiking journey.  Towards the end of the book, we hear about Lucky, a thru-hiker missing along the PCT for several days with his friends fearing the worst.  I actually sat in my car for a full ten minutes after reaching my destination just so I could find out if Lucky made it out alive!

This book and their podcast really give you the sense of just how small the hiking community is.  Despite the fact that many of us have never met, you recognize your counterparts, and it reinforces the idea that, every time you step on the trail, you are among friends.

A picture from a hiking trip just because it's my favorite :)

A picture from a hiking trip just because it’s my favorite :)

This particular book gets five stars from me.  I highly recommend you pick it up, and, of course, you must go download The Trail Show.  If you are a lady-hiker, the Red Tent Bonus show they put out is incredibly enlightening and definitely worth a listen.  As they would say on the show, that’s no word of lie.  Have a great day!

Not Natural DIY-ers: A Remodeling Update

So, for those you who don’t know, John and I live in a fairly old house.  It was built-in the ’60s, and, while it wasn’t a wreck when we bought, it certainly needed a lot of love.  We bought our house in 2009 so we were lucky enough to take advantage of the first-time home buyer credit that the government was offering.  When we first moved in, we had big plans to take that money, fix up the house, and live happily ever after.

Then reality set in.  Within a few weeks, we got the unfortunate news that our little house that only needed cosmetic changes, actually had thousands of dollars of foundation damage (don’t get me started on our home inspector!).  That took the wind out of our sails a little bit, and definitely extended the timeline for the remodeling we wanted to do.  When you add in the fact that neither John nor I really enjoy remodeling, and would much rather spend our weekends doing just about anything else, you can see why we spent four years without closet doors.

Fast forward to the present.  We decided in the last six months or so that it’s finally time to move on, and we’ve bought a really beautiful lot in town where we’ll start building our new house in the next few months.  That means, of course, that we have to get our current home in tip-top shape, and we’ve been working endlessly at that for a while now.

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Today I wanted to share some of our progress, and give you an idea about what we still have left to do.  We’ve been in the process of remodeling the kitchen and the guest bathroom, and both of them are tantalizingly close to being finished.

Before the cabinets were gray.

Before the cabinets were gray.

A few weeks ago, John decided the kitchen cabinets needed one more coat of paint, and that quickly evolved into, “Hey, let’s paint the bottom cabinets gray!”.  I’m actually really happy with how they turned out.

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Mom came up last week, and the two of us (mostly her!) finished all the painting in the kitchen.  When we decided to go with the gray cabinets, we knew we couldn’t keep the green walls so Mom and I repainted them a light blue that matches the living room.  I really, really love it.  Our kitchen is partially open to our living room, and just makes the whole area feel open and light.

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We also tackled the soffit above the top cabinets.  It’s now gray to match the bottom cabinets, and it ties everything together.

As you can see we need to finish putting up the bead board in the guest bath, paint it, and then put the mirror back up.  It’s very close to being finished, and we should be able to knock that out in a weekend.

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Just for fun, here’s a picture of the master bathroom that we redid a few years ago.  I don’t think I’ve ever shown it off!

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So what’s left?  The kitchen still needs countertops and a backsplash, and the cabinet doors need to be painted and installed.  John plans on tackling that particular project this weekend, and the countertops were ordered earlier this week.  As soon as we get all of that done, we’re going to replace the floors in the kitchen, guest bathroom, and living room (I’m way over carpet!).  After that the only big project that’s left to be done is trim throughout.  It sounds like a lot, but we’re hopeful we can bust it out in three or four hard weekends.

I’m so excited to get it fixed up, and move forward on the new house.  I’ll be sure to give you another update in a few weeks, but, in the mean time, make sure you’re following me on Instagram.  Hopefully, by Sunday night it will look a little different than it does now!  Have a great weekend!

Run Rock ‘N Roll: Dallas Edition

Hello, world!  Despite my best intentions, I once again only managed to get one post up last week.  Breaks are tough, aren’t they? ;)  Seriously, though, the week flew by.  Mom came up to visit for a few days, and she helped me do a ton of painting in the kitchen.  It’s really starting to look good, and I owe you all an update on the remodeling which I’m planning (fingers crossed!) for later on in the week.

I capped off my Spring Break week with #3 in our 12 in 12 in 12 quest!  Dad, Justin, and I ran the Run Rock ‘N Roll Dallas yesterday which crossed Texas off the list.

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The three of us plus Caite hit up the Expo on Saturday, and we all agreed that it was the best one we’d been to.  Everything was really well organized, and the booths were spaced out just enough which is really important to me.  I absolutely hate being squished in like sardines anywhere I go, and when you have a thousand runners all trying to look at one rack of socks it’s a perfect recipe for an anxiety attack.

It was an 8 o’clock race start, and the four of us (John had to stay home this time so Caite took over the role of groupie :) ) arrived with about an hour to spare.  After a short walk from the car and hitting up the port-a-potties, we took our spots in the corral.

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The corrals were released every 90 seconds so it didn’t feel like we were waiting forever once the gun went off.

The three of us took off together through three pretty flat to downhill miles.  Honestly, I don’t remember much about them at all!  Justin had originally planned on taking this race slow, and staying with Dad and I.  I could tell that he was having trouble running at that slower pace, and around the three mile marker he left us in the dust!  Homeboy ended up finishing in 1:45!  I can’t even begin to dream of ever touching that!

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Around mile four, we saw Caite, Mom, and Joel.  This was the first half that Mom and Joel have ever gotten to see.  Mom reports that she had a lot of fun watching.  I don’t think a long distance run is in her future!

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Not too long after we ran through Dealy Plaza which is, as you history buffs know, the place were JFK was assasianated.  That was a nice little downhill, but it almost immediately switched to the first big hill.  By the time I got to the top, my calves were completely knotted up.  I have decided that I’m just going to have to suck it up and start doing some hill work.

The next few miles went by pretty fast.  Around mile seven we crossed over the Trinity River.

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This is a fairly new bridge in Dallas, and it is really spectacular.  We never stop to take pictures during races, but this time we had to.

We saw Mom, Caite, and Joel again at mile 8, and everything was still feeling pretty good.  At mile 9, I started to feel like I needed to take a quick walking break, but I told myself to make it until mile 10 before I did.

I walked for a few seconds then got going again, and that’s when my knee started to act a little angry.  From 10.5 to 12, it was aching pretty good.  I knew that this was going to be a possibility going in.  Running up on my toes doesn’t put any pressure on my knee, but since I’ve had to start striking mid-foot, the knee is getting a little more action.  For those of you who don’t know, I was ironically diagnosed with runner’s knee several years ago.  I say it’s ironic because it usually only bothers me when I’m hiking-almost never while running!

We were pushing pretty hard to try and make it in under the 2:09:40 PR I had set in Baton Rouge.  Around mile 12, my knee magically stopped hurting, but, by then, I’d lost a little too much time.  Not to mention, if I’m being completely honest, by mile 11 I had run out of gas.

So the stretch from 10.5 to 13.1 was physically and mentally challenging.  With a few hundred yards to the finish, we saw the family again, this time with the addition of my step-mom and stepbrother, and seeing them all cheering gave me a boost to get to the end.

We crossed the line at 2:10:48, and, all in all, I’m very happy with this race.  I had ABSOLUTELY NO FOOT PAIN!  You guys know what a victory that is!  Although I did struggle with some knee issues, the pain was completely manageable, and didn’t start until late in the race.  I’ll take that over foot pain from mile 1 on any day!

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Our next half is April 18th in Kansas so I have just under a month to tweak a few things.  My number 1 priority is incorporating hill work.  I don’t like it so I don’t do it which means I suffer during a race.  That’s  no bueno.  I’m also thinking I need to incorporate more miles per week.  I shouldn’t have been as gassed as I was toward the end of the race so I need to build up a little bit more.

Regarding the knee pain, I’m deciding whether or not to give the kinesio tape a try.  Does anyone have any experience with it?  I’ve heard both ends of the spectrum on it, but I’m thinking it can’t hurt to give it a try.

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So #3 is in the books, and we have nine more to go. Kansas here we come!

Hometown Racin’

Hello, Monday!  I am not particularly sad to see this Monday as it’s the beginning of my Spring Break!  I hate to rub it in to all you non-teachers out there, but, if it makes you feel any better, just picture what my paycheck looks like compared to yours.

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We kicked off my week of freedom with a trip home to see the family.  John actually had a fire department training to attend close to my hometown, and I was signed up to run the St. Patrick’s Day 5K with some familiar faces.

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Mom, Joel, Caite, and I all took to the streets Saturday morning, and I was really excited to run in my hometown.  It feels familiar in a way that only the town that watched you grow can, and sometimes I miss it a lot!  It was also great to see so many people that I hadn’t in awhile.

The race was scheduled for 8:00, but, lucky for them, they had an enormous amount of people registered so it took longer than expected to get through the pick-up line.  We finally took our marks at 8:30, and when the gun sounded we were off down a hill for the first quarter mile.  I took off way too fast, but I luckily realized it in time, dialed in my pace, and settled in for the run.

My hometown is A LOT flatter than the part of Oklahoma I live in now so I new the race wasn’t going to be particularly hilly.  After the short downhill at the start, we stayed flat for about two miles outside of a few small inclines.  We made a turn at around mile 2.3, and started a long slow uphill to the finish.

For most of the race, I had a pretty good idea that I was running about second in my age group.  With around a half mile to go, another woman I judged to be about my age passed me.  She was running at a strong pace, and I knew better than to try to match her or I was definitely going to gas myself.  Around the same time, another woman came around me, but I was able to stay with her for a good stretch.  Unfortunately, with just a hundred yards or so to go, she surged ahead, and I just didn’t have enough left in the tank to do the same.  So I ended the day at 4th in my age group with a time of 27:29.

Last week I alluded to some thoughts I had on a 5K I ran the week before this one.  Since that post never happened, I’m going to throw them in quickly here.  I ran both races with my new and improved mid-foot strike, and I am happy to report that I had absolutely not foot pain either time!  I’m so relieved, and let’s just hope that my next half (next weekend!) goes as well.  It’s also worth noting that I set a PR in last week’s race with a time of 27:28!

Mom, Caite, and Joel all rocked the race with placements in each of their age groups.  Joel came in at 28:59 (2nd Place).

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Caite clocked in at 29:56 (2nd Place) which was a PR for her.

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And Super Mom came in at 30:41  which earned her 1st Place!

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It was a really great race, and I’m hoping I can make it an annual tradition!

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The four of us cleaned up, added Grandma and Tace to the group, and spent the rest of the day celebrating Joel and Tace’s birthdays which included P.F. Changs….

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….and catching McFarland, USA at the matinee.

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As a side note, if you haven’t seen this movie, do so immediately.  It was actually the second time I’d seen it, and I loved it just as much this time around.  It is so so good!

Ok, I’m off to enjoy Spring Break!  Catch ya later!

 

Life Currently!

Hey, hey!  So I know I’ve been dropping the ball on the whole blogging thing recently, but life has just been busy!  Remodeling, racing, and regular ‘ol stuff to do has been taking up a ton of time.  That said I miss chatting with you guys so I’m determined to get back into a regular schedule.  I actually owe you all a recap of a 5K I did on Saturday because I have lots of thoughts about it, but I until I can get that summed up enjoy a little Currently post for March (really?!?!)!

Currently: March

Current books:  I’m letting my history nerd out to play a little bit.

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The Anglophile in me is very happy :)

Current music:   You guys know I’m a huge fan of music from the ’60s and ’70s, and, as such, I’ve always liked Bob Dylan.  However, I think I’m turning into a super fan.  I’ve been listening to this song on repeat.  So good.

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Current guilty pleasure:   It’s Bachelor season so you know the answer to this one.  I have no idea why I continue to invest time in this show, but I do every single time.  Now that the finale is over, perhaps I can spend my Monday nights in a more productive way.  You know, until The Bachelorette starts.

Current nail color:   I had a day out by myself on Saturday, and I actually got a manicure!  I dig pedicures, but almost never touch my fingernails.  However, the place I went for my pedicure was running a special, and I thought why not?  I really love this color, but, as you can tell, I’ve already messed up several of my nails.  The embarrassing part of that is, it happened within minutes of leaving.  I just do not have the patience to wait until they’re completely dry!

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Current drink: My Diet Dr. Pepper habit has reared its ugly head again, but I swear I’m going cold turkey.  I really, really need to get it under control.

Current food: Flapjacked Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Tops

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I tried a recipe last weekend from Flapjacked, and was so happy with the results.  They tasted like a very cakey chocolate chip cookie.  It was super easy to throw together, and there are just a few ingredients.  I highly recommend!

Current shows:  I’ve been binge-watching Parenthood on Netflix during my treadmill runs, and I am loving every minute of it.  How did I not get on board with this show from the beginning?  I’m almost done with Season Five, and I have felt every emotion on the spectrum!

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Current wish list:  I need to find some running shorts.  We’re getting into the season in which in will be too hot for me to wear my capris.  I have never been able to stand running in shorts because I spend the whole time digging them out, if you know what I mean.  I’m on the hunt for some that will actually work!

Current needs:   I need to get my house back in order.  The kitchen is still a work in progress, and Sunday we decided the cabinets needed another coat of paint.  That meant dragging everything back out.  I got a lot of it put back up last night, but there’s still a good deal all over the living room.

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Oh, and did I mention we decided to pain the bottoms gray?  That literally happened just a few minutes before we started adding another coat of white.  Nothing like last-minute decisions!  I’m actually really happy with how they turned out. And don’t worry-the wall is not staying green!

Current triumphs:  I ran a 5K last weekend, set a PR, and felt great!  I owe you guys a recap later in the week on this!

Current bane of my existence:  Mud.  All the winter weather we’ve had over the last two weeks has made every not concreted surface a landmine of yuck. On top of all that, it has been raining for the last 24 hours.  Mud for days. There’s only one little guy I know who loves it.

Current celebrity crush:  For some reason, I had the urge to re-watch The Notebook a few weekends ago so I’m back on this guy.

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Current indulgence:  I guess my day out on Saturday counts!  I took in a movie, and just wandered around with no schedule.  It was so nice!

Current blessing:  This guy.

Complete with cute firemen ;)

Complete with cute firemen ;)

Days out by myself are nice, but I love that he’s the reason I don’t have to do it too often :)

Current exercise:  All the running.  I’m determined that my next half is going to be great.  However, I really need to get back into strength training.  I’m not good at doing body weight exercises in my living room.  I always revert to cardio for my daily workout because it’s what I enjoy.  Any

Current excitement:  Spring Break is only a week away!  My mom is coming up to spend some time, and I’m very excited!

Current mood:  Sleepy. Right now, me and the time change are not friends.

Current link:  Let’s do current app.  I recently downloaded Duolingo on my Kindle, and I am having so much fun with it.  It’s a language learning app, and you can choose between French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and English.  Each lesson only takes a few minutes so you can get one in whenever you have some down time.

What are you reading these days?  What has you excited today?

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