I run happy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This is real life, guys...

Painting "The Box."
So far it is The Rainbow House.
It has twinkling lights and orange Halloween lights.
It's still a work in progress.
Pretend Napping Inside the Box 

I'm all about being real today.  Today. Last week,   I had a week of parent-teacher conferences that were enlightening, inspiring and also, sad and frustrating.  Be real.  Life isn't easy for some of us right now.  We have our home.  We have jobs.  We have healthy kids.  Not everyone does.  About 4 or 5 of my Pretzels out of 22 are in homes and families that are in some kind of crisis.  These little guys are shutting down at the ages of 4-6.  Their families are struggling financially and it trickles down on the eeny-meenies of our        
society. These EENY-MEENIES are innocent.  One child was afraid to go to the nurse because he thought his mom would have to pay.  The fears are deep, they've been planted and fed over the past two or three years.  These Pretzels have been raised in crisis. It's their "normal."  We need to remember this when we fuss about test scores, PUBLIC schools, and "those" kids.  They really are OUR kids.  They will always be a part of OUR WORLD, our community, our neighborhoods. Be mindful.  Be hopeful.  Reach out.

REALITY number TWO:  Be grateful.

We have so much.  All the way down to the running...what we LOVE to do.  What we "get" to do!

 I had my cross country race on Sunday,  Race NUMBER 4!  It was a hilly 8k which was down in San Diego, very close to the border of Tijuana and San Diego.  The terrain was all trail and dirt with some dry grass and a golf course for much of the course.  All of the courses have been hilly and it has been interesting to see how my body/fitness has changed with the racing every week.  I barely run during the week really.  I do one big track workout which consists of 4 downhill repeats, then 4 1 min. up hill sprints, and ends with 4 uphill repeats.  It is usually about 8 miles of work and a good warm up and small cool down.  The rest of the week consists of a rest day and two short run days at a slow pace.  Friday I gear up mentally with a two mile run and 6 strides at 5k pace.  I am seeing a lot of progress on race day, not just  with my times but with how strong I feel.

Here's where I get real with you...

Pace and time have always been HUGE for me.  I love the numbers.  Not for comparing with anyone else, just to compare how I've been and where I am.  It's almost a game for me.  It's fun.  Suddenly though,  I started to realize with racing every week,  it can't be about numbers.  You have HILLS in cross country.  You have rocks.  Bumpy, wet grass.  Mud.  Dogs. Runners.  Slippery slopes covered with leaves.

It's all about how you feel.  Am I feeling strong?

Now when I'm racing, my mind isn't wondering about the numbers.  This is what goes on and I can be pretty exact with this since I've done it for four Saturdays in a row.

My mind talking to me:

The start:
"How relaxed do I feel right now?  Relax!"

Mile 1:
"How relaxed am I right now?  How settled am I feeling?  What am I noticing around me?  How much fun am I having right now?"

Mile 2-3:
"Hills!  Use your arms.  Relax!  Smile, you love hills.  Ah, down hills.  No, this is what you love, down hills.  Keep it controlled.  Yes, it feels so good!"

Mile 4:
"Flat?  Yikes, this feels weird.  Where's my 64 year old friend who is usually here at this time?  There he is." At this point, he joins me or I join him and we have a friendly, unspoken game of can Meg slow down her breathing to match his.  He's won every time.  Today he spoke to me at mile 4.something,  "See that girl in the red?  Go get her."  Because I'm in a zone and listen to anything anyone tells me at this point, ,  I followed his instructions but never really caught up to her.  His words were like CRACK though, it shot me out of my comfort zone of RELAXATION and zen...and I made an honest attempt to catch up with her though the sandy final mile.

Each and every one of these races has had me crossing the finish line with a smile.  I'd shout and cart wheel if it didn't look SO "NFL" football player-bragger-like.  My smiles and shouts are for me.  I'm just grateful.  My body kept itself healthy and in one piece for another race.  Thank you for that, body.

Numbers can be good. Being strong can be even better, it carries you farther, lasts longer.

Have a great week!  Be grateful.  Reach out to a child who looks like they just need a smile. Work towards being STRONG, inside and out.

 Our Class Marble Jar Party...
Donuts on a string, hands behind backs.
Thanks to Clifford's Halloween for this idea!


Sunday, September 18, 2011


Lots and lots of recovery going on around here.  First off, from ORANGE DAY.  My last post explains the whole fiasco.  Moving on to purple tomorrow, I'm sure I'll be able to keep it off the floor, the faces and the clothing...NOT!
One of you requested a photograph of the whole ordeal.  Uh, no.  Can you imagine the parents watching me cackle as I took a picture of the poor innocents with paint dripping off their noses?  They'd have me shipped off to one of those "teacher" places where old teachers give themselves paint facials and sniff Elmer's.  I know.  I've seen it.  Anyhoo, I did get this picture for you on Friday. See?  Still caked into the rug.  Sorry Emmanuel.  This is YOUR spot.  Sit here.  Right on the orange paint your teacher threw at you.  

This week, after the abc's, the 123's, the please and thank you's,  we'll be decorating this refrigerator box which literally touches the ceiling in my classroom. 

 We DO refrigerators BIG here in California.  Vaulted ceilings, remember?  All the NEW houses have them, even mine.  However, I have a normal refrigerator...I'm only teacher but hey, I AM GRATEFUL for my job!!! That's what our principal says we should tell ourselves every morning and I DO!  I know I sound sarcastic right now but I AM thankful for my job.  Anyhoo...I have a vague idea of how we'll "use" this box in my classroom. ONe parent suggested I put the bad kids in the box.  NO WAY, I don't have any bad kids this year.  All angels.  Next idea?   Any creative ideas on your part?  I'm going to plan with the kids tomorrow and I'll keep you posted.  Any random ideas are welcome!

Now that I've tricked you into thinking I'm a balanced woman,  I'll hit you with the real reason I write this BLOG...running!
Yes, still an obsession interest of mine.
Besides my job, which by the way,  did I tell you I'm grateful for?
I am.

My third race in a row was yesterday, our fourth in a series for the Dirt Dog Cross County series.  It was a 10k, the longest in the series.  I was not planning on racing it all out as I am still recovering from the last three races...that's what you do when you're 46 and racing every weekend.   You recover.  That means that I am taking more days off, doing less mileage than I should and doing a speed workout with hills and a little tempo run once a week.  I wish I could do more but I truly feel like the racing week after week is enough.  We'll be going into late October with this kind of schedule so I'm conserving energy and muscle fibers as we speak.  
I won a pair of these awesome recovery socks yesterday, the orange ones!  They are so tight and really felt great on my feet, ankles and calves.  I think I'm going to buy the calf sleeves!  
I used to be a ZOOT girl, I still love their stuff, however, these CEP compression socks are even better!

Interestingly,  I'm going to start training for my January marathon in October...we'll see how that cuts into the recovery schedule AND the November Cross Country Championships in November.
It's all about recovery.

Finally, here's the recent video of my SUPER SANDY POCKETS playing football...
If you are still reading this,  you have a minute to see the cutest boy in the WORLD.
Humor me!!!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A CRISIS in ROOM 105!!

I got to school early, dressed all in ORANGE, since today was ORANGE DAY in the kindergarten.


I was setting up a painting table so that my Chili Peppers could express themselves through all things ORANGE....
and I accidently left the cap off the paint bottle.  Later, distracted by the Chili Pepps,  I placed the top ON the bottle, neglecting to twist it.


20 minutes later with 23 little Peppers surrounding me,  we hunted for orange things around the class, I picked up the bottle of paint on a tray,
it fell
and fell
and fell,
hit a tree stump bench
and imploded.
Pegging the legs of about 12 Peppers.
Other parts too.

Orange pants.
Speckeled faces.
Streaks of orange hair.
Spotted orange shoes.

The carpet.
The rugs.
The teacher.

Parent helpers just looked at me.
Kids cheered.

It was offically ORANGE day, let the fun begin.

The true test in being called a patient person is being able to laugh, brush your shoulders off(or wipe them off, in this case), and move on with your day...despite the 2 foot wide pool of orange paint sitting in the middle of your circle/carpet area.  

Have I arrived?  Only slightly.  I'm still stewing about it obviously.   However,  it didn't ruin my day.  Now I'm off to RUN TRACK and be a normal person.  That's the beauty of my life!

What's really important?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Starting Fall Afresh...

It's already mid September???  

August 6, was my last post.  Where did the summer go?

23 kindergartners marched into my classroom a month ago and continue to stay, and stay and stay!  After many poop problems(the kids, not me), I can officially say, we're ready to start having SOME FUN!  Bring on the juice boxes, the baggies of milk from the cafeteria!  Bring on the ABC's, the people colored crayons, the GLITTER, LOTS OF GLITTER(I love that commercial)and the sniffles, lice and wobbly teeth.  KINDERGARTEN has begun!

My healthiest vice/respite/escape/drug has been my 5k/10k cross country training.  I'm mixing it up with some **FUN** 40+ masters runners and have found that their speed and inspiration only fuels me to work harder!  I've never been a part of a running team, it was actually a little scary to try something new like this.  I shy away from too much competition in this sport.  Would this group of women have the maturity, strength, compassion, fortitude and WILL to put others above themselves?  I've seen groups of women in other competitive situations and it wasn't pretty.  It gets petty.  It can get ugly.  I didn't want to commit to something that would be DRAMA with a capital DDDDDD.  That being said, I know these athletes and they are all STELLAR women.  Big hearts, enthusiastic 40+ women who are out for speed, FUN and the chance to be there for one another.  

Our first three races have NOT been a disappointment but rather, a privilege.  It's going to be a NEW season for me for running, a new adventure.

I feel like a high school runner again!!!  Even though I didn't run in high school.

The San Diego Track Club Dirt Dog Series 

Race #3 for the team was last night, the SUN DOWNER.  The CHANCE to run under the light of the moon for 3 plus miles over grass, along dirt paths, along the street and back onto the grass.  JUST LIKE HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTY. Loved it.  My training has been much, much lighter this summer/fall, as I had decided NOT to run a fall marathon.  I'm following a cross country running schedule which gives me the speed work AND the flexibility to throw in hills and more farleks if I feel like it.  I'm down to a 12 mile long run on the weekends...just might skip it today though.  See?  I can be flexible like that now.  Love it.

I was determined to run this 5k all out.  My present PR is 20:18 and I knew the hills in this course were too much to even expect a personal best out of this race.  HOWEVER...I was EERILY close...somewhere in the range of 20:20 or so.  Since I ditched my GARMIN so that I could run by heart and feel,  I'm not sure how I really did but let's just say I was ECSTATIC to cross the line so close to my PR, having worked the hills as I did.  Still ecstatic.  Even today.  

The BEST part of the race though, was watching those in front cross the finish, hear the announcements from the director as I ran all over the hills in the dark and being there to see other friends cross.  Our team should STILL be in first place this week...most had terrific runs last night.  Those that couldn't run came to cheer and one, in particular, I hold in high regard.  As I crossed over the street and neared the finish, I heard these particular words...and remember,  to a 46 year old women, these words are NEVER taken lightly...

"You look awesome!  You look so strong!  You could run like this for 10 more miles!"  Oh my gosh, you are rocking it!"

We are all there for each other.  The good times and the bad. A team is like that at times, a family.  

Thanks for making this 46 year old feel like 17 again, if only for 20 minutes or so.  I think that's just enough time.  

Have a happy week, missed you all. Keep looking for new adventures...