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Weekending with Auburnchick

It’s Tuesday, and I’m only now getting around to posting about last weekend.

Yep, school prep is in high gear.

Sigh.

Let’s begin with Friday.  Gambit had an appointment for a bath, but I accidentally slept through it and had to reschedule.

Oops.

Although I didn’t have to go in to work, I was so overwhelmed with an already-growing to-do list, so I spent the day on that.

Lesson planning is extremely time consuming.  We don’t start school until the 15th, which means that we’ll only have a three-day week with the kids, but the planning is still intense even for that short amount of time.  There are so many routines and class norms, even at a high school level, that a teacher has to establish.

I’ve got two preps this year, which many teachers would trade their loads for but which is overwhelming for me.

I’ll be starting out by explaining to each group of students what their respective classes entail.

That’s my Smartboard file, which I create for each week as a visual for the kids and myself.

I worked all afternoon and was tired when I finished.  It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

Yeah, I think I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I really cannot remember.  That could have been the evening we went to Chili’s.  If we did, I changed clothes.  I promise.

On Saturday, I took Gambit to his appointment, which I’d smartly rescheduled for 11am – plenty of time for me to wake up.

He smelled amazing when I picked him up a couple of hours later.

How bad would it be to say that I don’t remember what I did the rest of the day?

Y’all, the struggle is REAL.  I know that I didn’t work because I forced myself not to.  I’m still recovering from my concussion, so I know that I can’t push myself too hard.

Oh, and how could I forget about the mail.  Look what I got . . .

I found the case on Amazon, but there was a card inside from fakemeats.com.  I think this was the actual seller.

And, wouldn’t you know it, but I found two or three recipes that include jackfruit in them in this cookbook, which I purchased around Christmas.

I’ll be sure to post the results of anything that I try.

Sunday, the Mr. had to go in to work.  I’d already elected to stay home from church because loud stuff still makes my head hurt.  He wound up needing to take my car since he couldn’t get into his work vehicle, which forced me to not run errands.

Darn.

I did get out and go for a walk, my first since June and really, my first workout of any kind since hitting my head.

I had signed up for the Half-Giant Half Marathon, a Hogwarts Running Club event.  Sunday’s walk was going to be the first leg of it since I knew I couldn’t make it the full distance.

It was a little later in the morning than I would have preferred, and it was hot as all get out.

I was careful, though.  Although I could hear my pace being announced through my ear buds every half mile, I tried not to let it stress me out.  Yes, I was going slow, but I knew that I needed to reacquaint myself to the whole move-your-body thing.

I had originally told the Mr. that I would only walk a mile.

He should have known that I wouldn’t stick to that.

Truth be told, I should have only gone two miles.  I wasn’t feeling very good when I got home – probably the result of the heat and my head hurting.

It felt good, though, to get out.

You can only put Baby in the corner for so long.

I spent the rest of the day, after I showered, in my pajamas while I binged on my new favorite Amazon Prime show, Bosch, and finished up a knitting project (pictures to be posted eventually).

Catching Up – Part 2 – Virtual “Walks”

I am continuing to catch y’all up on what’s been happening at Chez Auburnchick when I haven’t been writing.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve participated in a few virtual races.

In April, I completed the Unmasked 10 Mile Run for Your Life, hosted by the Hogwarts Running Club.  All proceeds benefited the charity, To Write Love on her Arms.

I had to do the race in three segments because that distance was way too far for me to cover in one stretch.

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Leg 1

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Leg 2

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Leg 3

I was thrilled when the medal came in.  Isn’t it fantastic????

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Look at the back!  The HRC always designs the loveliest touches to its medals.

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In May, Rebecca and I did the Best Friends Forever 5k.

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She had contacted me about doing it quite a few months ago, but my ankle wasn’t nearly ready to undertake that distance, so true to her nature, she waited for me.

We designated May 13th as THE day.

I got out early and wound up with a decent pace time . . .

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I was so excited to add the medal to my bling rack . . .

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We’d done a Halloween run last fall and had a ton of fun sending each other selfies, which we’d put together into a collage.  She created one for the BFF run.

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This gal continues to inspire me.  She NEVER gives up.  She constantly challenges herself and is always willing to try new things.  I am so grateful that God brought us together through this blogging world.

Upcoming Races

I am currently registered for three . . . yes, I said 3 . . . races.

Oy vey!

I’ve got the HRC Sirius Half Marathon.  Look at the artwork for the t-shirt . . .

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Borrowed this image from Booster.com

Proceeds will be donated to Mission K9 Rescue.

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I’ve already started covering the distance and have about 2/3 of it done.  Yay me!

I recently signed up for a local 5k.  I’ll be doing that race in a couple of weeks.  Wait until you see my outfit for it.  Bahahaha!

On Wednesday, I registered for the We Run Free Because of the Brave 4 Miler, sponsored by Gone for a Run.  This race will benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

So, despite my ankle recovery, which seems to be especially tough right now, I am trying to keep doing my thing.  It’s not easy, let me tell you.  The pain I go through after each walk is bad.  I don’t really know how much of it is normal or if I’m pushing myself too hard.  That’s a conversation I frequently have with my physical therapist.

It feels great to be out and about again, and I absolutely love that my registrations are going to worthwhile causes.  This is definitely a win-win for everyone involved (except maybe my ankle).

Weeks 22 and 23

Oh goodness, but two weeks just flew by, didn’t it?!

I wanted to write last Sunday, but I was so tired that I couldn’t even make myself pull out my laptop.

So, I didn’t.

I want to update you on how my ankle is progressing.

During Week 22, I had to help administer the FSA (Florida’s state reading assessment).  Proctoring duties were staggered, so I didn’t have test duty that Monday and Tuesday.  Instead, I had long planning periods and didn’t see students until 1pm.  It was heavenly!  I got a lot done!

Wednesday and Thursday, I proctored two test sessions each day, which made for a LOT of standing.  There were two other teachers testing with me, and they were great about getting me to sit down as much as I could to rest my ankle.  Still, I had to walk some because just sitting makes my ankle freeze up.

Wednesday afternoon, my ankle was shot, and I struggled in physical therapy.

Strangely enough, I started back, in earnest, with my Piyo workouts.  My surgeon had advised me to work hard on the stretching so I can get back my full range of motion.  So, I started getting up at the crack of dawn to fit in my workouts.

I’m doing modifications where I need to…hence the chair.  I can’t quite do the Warrior 3 position on my right foot.  My ankle isn’t strong enough yet.

We had Good Friday off, so I got out and walked.  I had signed up for another Hogwarts Running Club race, the Unmasked 10-Mile Run For Your Life.  I knew I’d have to break the race into bite-sized portions.

That Friday, I completed the second of what would turn out to be four segments, 2.5 miles each, of walking that race.  I finished it on Easter Sunday before church.

Each day I walked that weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), I improved my pace.

I did have some ankle pain while I walked and made mental notes of where I was hurting so I could keep my physical therapist apprised.

Meanwhile, I was still following my Piyo calendar.

Y’all…that Warrior position…I feel so strong when I do it.

So Week 22 ended, and I kind of felt like I was turning another corner.

And then…

Week 23.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

It was the week of hell for my ankle.

By the time I got to physical therapy on Monday, my ankle was extremely swollen.  Even the gal who wraps it in ice after each session noticed.

The pain didn’t hit full-force until Tuesday.  I could hardly walk into school that morning without a lot of pain…bone pain.

Tuesday was probably the worst day I’d had since February.  I felt like I’d literally taken huge steps backward in my recovery process.

By Wednesday, the pain had eased off a little, but it was still present, and it made me slow down even more.  It was a day that called for a stop at Chick-fil-A on my way to physical therapy…because waffle fries make everything a little better (even at 500 calories).

My physical therapist was a bit at a loss as to why I was hurting so badly.  We discussed what I had been doing, and honestly, it didn’t seem as though I’d done much.

The best I can think of is that my weekend of walking and pushing my pace lower each day had probably put a lot of pressure on my ankle.

As the Mr. reminded me, I’m only five and a half months out from breaking it.

Because of the bad week, which just didn’t seem to get a lot better overall, I decided to take it super easy on Saturday.  I’d planned on going to the pool, but in the end, I stayed inside, sitting on my recliner, catching up on shows I’d recorded.

I had a mini-meltdown at the end of the day, much to the hubby’s chagrin.

I felt useless.

I felt like it was November all over again, when my only course of action was sitting.

It was incredibly frustrating, so I let myself have a pity party.

For a minute or two.

The Mr. told me that most people would not have gone back to work two weeks after breaking their ankle, nor would they be doing half of what I was currently trying to do.

Ahem.

He told me that I was pushing myself too hard and expecting too much too soon.

He’s right.

So, I extended a bit of grace to myself, dried my tears, and kept watching TV.

This morning, I woke up feeling a lot better, got a workout in (no walking though), and took turns sitting in my chair and getting up and cooking for short amounts of time.

Bone pain has to be one of the worst pains there is, and I do not want to make myself have more of it by making poor choices for myself.

This journey of recovery continues to teach me so much.

I have to stop feeling guilty for taking care of myself.

I have to be okay with resting.

I have to continue to be patient during this process.

I might have mentioned, a time or two, that I am a slow learner sometimes.

Ahem.

A Beautiful Hodgepodge

Can you believe that it’s almost the end of March?  Sheesh, but time is flying by, isn’t it!  Let’s slow things down for just a bit as we link up with Joyce for this week’s questions.  Thanks for visiting today!

1.  ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’  What’s something you’ve seen recently that you thought was beautiful?

The beach where I live is gorgeous!  I went for a walk on the beach last Friday, while I was on Spring Break.  We have clean, white sand that is easy to walk on.  I used to live on the east coast of Florida, so trust me when I say that the Panhandle really does have the most beautiful beaches.

2.  Our culture and beauty…your thoughts?

I’d like to think that our culture is starting to redefine what constitutes “beauty.”  Sure, there are still size -5 models in ads and whatnot, but honestly, I think there’s been push back, and that natural, more earthy beauty is beginning to be celebrated.

Maybe I’m out of touch with reality and don’t have a clue, but that’s my take on things.

3.  Age before beauty, beauty queen, beauty mark, beauty sleep…which beauty-ful phrase resonates with you today? Why?

I think beauty sleep is resonating with me right now.  Coming off of a different-for-me Spring Break made me crave sleep.  I took a nap Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  In fact, I plan on incorporating naptime into my daily routine once I’m out for the summer.  Life has been tiring, both physically and mentally, since…well…since forever, it seems.

4.  I read here a list of the top ten beasts animals that scare us the most-

alligators, coyotes, black bears, birds (but pigeons in particular), sharks, bats, bed bugs, rats, rattlesnakes, and the black widow spider. 

Which ‘beast’ on the list scares you the most? What is the likelihood of you having an actual encounter with that particular beast? Did a movie contribute to your fear of this creature? Have you ever had a real life encounter with any of the animals listed?

I just cannot make myself like spiders of any sort.  I do not plan on having an encounter with one any time soon, so the likelihood is zilch.  I did not acquire my fear from a movie but from real life encounters such as the time I tried to kill a big spider that was blocking my front door and discovered, when I hit the thing, that it was a PREGNANT mama spider, and all of her babies went scurrying away when I ruptured her baby sack.  I did not sleep comfortably for days despite having doused them all with bleach.  I also had a bad encounter with a humongous spider in my office at a school I worked at ten years ago.  It was hiding behind my tech binders, and when I moved a binder, it came running out.  I radioed for help on my walkie talkie, and the custodian came running.  Even he agreed that it was a big ole spider.

No spiders for me, thank you very much.

5.  Where were you when you last heard a bell ring? Was it alarming or musical?

Y’all.  I am a teacher.  I hear bells ring from 8:20am until 3:00pm each day.  They are neither alarming nor musical, although that 3pm bell is always the sweetest sound of all because it means that I can go home!

6.  What’s your favorite carb? How’s that for random?

I love spaghetti.

7.  Let’s wrap up another month of Hodgepodging and life with an acrostic. Recap your month using the word MARCH.

My
Attitude, like the weather,
Runs
Cold and
Hot these days.

Ten weeks until summer, y’all.  Ten.  Weeks.

But who’s counting?!

8.  My Random Thought

Y’all know I am into the Harry Potter thing.  Every sorting quiz I take tells me I’m a Hufflepuff.  I’m proud of my nurturing, cookie-loving self, let me tell you.

My running club, the Hogwarts Running Club, has updated its inventory lately, and I couldn’t resist ordering a new shirt.

The back is a mantra I repeat to myself often…especially when I’m at physical therapy trying to learn how to balance on my bum ankle or trying desperately to learn how to walk down steps again.

Just.  Fierce.

When You Aim High

Aim low, and you stay stagnant.

Aim high, and you go places.

Literally.

It’s a lesson I try to impart on my students.

I lead by example.

All of my life, I have set goals for myself.

I’m not sure where this drive to succeed began.  I suspect it came from a need to please my mom.

Nothing was ever quite good enough for her.  Not my hairstyle, and not my grades.

I wanted to please people from an early age.

Eventually, I transferred to who I wanted to please from her to myself.

And, perhaps, the employers I’ve worked for over the years, and now, even my students.

Personal goals, though.  They are things that others cannot do for you.

For a number of years, I’ve wanted to be a runner.  I’ve toyed with the idea and made feeble, inconsistent attempts to accomplish this goal.

Last year, I ran my first IRL 5k.  Well, I walked more of it than I ran, but I did go out, among other people, and complete the route.

I joined the Hogwarts Running Club last fall and began earning medals for various distances, but still, the running was inconsistent.

Then this year, I qualified for Perfect Prefect status because I’d signed up for all seven races this year.

That didn’t mean I’d completed them, though.

Life and Florida humidity got in the way.

Until a few weeks ago when I finished my Beachbody program, 22 Minute Hard Corps.

I got serious about running.

Every time I went out, I challenged myself to walk shorter intervals and run for longer ones.

Most days, I was able to do this.  Sometimes, I couldn’t…especially if I wasn’t feeling well.

I didn’t run every day, but I knew that was okay.

I got down to the One HRC House Marathon and had one medal left…the 21k…so many miles…13.1.

Oy vey.

I figured I’d have to do the run in three or four segments.

The first round, I did 5.5 miles.

I ran nearly five of those miles.  Huge day for me.

Then, the last couple of days, I toyed with my planned run for today.

I wanted to finish.  I didn’t want to have to use a third day.

There’s a saying I’ve clung to of late…”She believed she could, and so she did.”

I believed.

And then I did.

I got up early on a SATURDAY morning…a day that all teachers live for because we don’t need to answer to an alarm clock.  Especially empty nester teachers who are not slaves to playdates or soccer schedules.

It was chilly, y’all.

I dressed the part…fuzzy hair/ear band and long sleeves to start out with.

I warmed up for the first .47 miles…the distance from my house to the entrance to my neighborhood.

Then, I pumped my arms and began my slow jog…for I am not fast, you see.

I had a tentative route planned out.

That’s what “runners” do, I’ve learned.

I knew I wanted to get the part I loathed out of the way.  It’s a lonely stretch of road.  It feels endless.

I got that done with nary a bad feeling, turned the corner, and headed up to a main road.

As I ran the next segment, I began to reconsider my route.  Dare I go straight at the light and push on up said main road to the next light?

I dared.

It wasn’t bad.  My music and the cars speeding by distracted me.

I turned the corner, intent on my pre-planned, now-altererd route, and I ran past an alternative / technical school, headed for a left turn I intended to make.

But wait!  I considered my soon-to-be footsteps carefully.

Dare I not turn the next corner but go straight, on a path I’d never been on before?

I dared.

This was a road I’d traveled more times, via car, than I could count.  It was the road that Rooster’s elementary school was on.

Daily trips for drop offs and pick ups were my life for a few years.

The distance didn’t seem to bad.

Until I was on my feet running them.

I couldn’t see the traffic light that I knew was at the end.

The road was e-n-d-l-e-s-s.

I had to cross the street where the sidewalk ended; it started over on the other side.

I crossed back when that side’s walkway ended.

And then the sidewalk ended altogether, but I could see the light by then.

I turned the corner.

And then there was NO sidewalk at all…on a heavily-traveled, two-lane road.

Oy vey.

I ran on grass that was not smooth and even angled toward a ditch at times.

I did run in the street when traffic happened to be light.  It was still pretty early for a Saturday morning.

There was no sidewalk for that stretch, but I knew that at the corner, which I could finally see and which I would turn, I’d have my beautiful, safe pavement to run on again.

I headed in a new direction…toward home…downhill part of the way.

The angels sang.

But first, a detour into my friend’s neighborhood.  I knew that it was about a mile around, and I was keeping an eye on my Garmin fitness watch.

I had a goal…a certain distance I wanted to cover.

I ran, knowing the route like the back of my hand.

I left her neighborhood and crossed the street into my own.

I knew how far around I needed to go; I had a mile left.

Somehow, it was the hardest mile.

It was also the easiest.

I knew that I was very close to attaining something I’d been working hard for.

I wound up running FURTHER than my goal.

Y’all, I covered 9.03 miles this morning.  I ran a total of 8.56 miles STRAIGHT.

Once I had left the neighborhood and started running, I had not stopped until I’d gotten back to my house.

I wanted to cry.

I was finally able to finish coloring in all of the boxes on my tracker sheet.

I made the Mr. take pictures of me.

Because I’m extra like that.

He was full of compliments.  “You stink,” he said.  Ha!  Runner’s perfume, I wanted to say.

Besides that, obtaining goals is messy business sometimes.  It definitely isn’t always pretty, as evidenced by my hair.

Later, after he’d left to go to the grocery store (ladies, be jealous), I jumped in the shower and processed my morning.

I thought about goal setting…why I do it.

I thought about my students and the goals they’d recently reflected about.

I teach my kids so much more than reading and writing, you see.

I’d had a tough week at work…namely because someone had suggested that my standards might be too high.

I just didn’t know how to respond to that.  The statement confused me.

The goals I set for my classroom…for my lessons…are the same that the state of Florida sets.

Sometimes, the state’s goals are unreasonable…especially for some of the students I teach, given their learning impairments.

For the other students, the goals are fair, I think.

But here’s the thing.  I set goals in my classroom based on the potential I see in my kids.

I know what they can accomplish, even when they don’t know it themselves yet.

They think the road is supposed to be easy.  Maybe they’ve had things handed to them.  Maybe parents have stepped in when the going has gotten tough and tried to “help” by trying to make the way easier.  Ahem.

Maybe they’ve never had people who challenged them a little beyond what they were used to, so they don’t know how to stretch themselves.

Maybe they don’t have confidence because they’ve never failed, dusted themselves off, and tried again, only to finally meet those goals.

I can relate to every single one of these thoughts.  Except the one about a parent stepping in.  Mine never did that.  Ever.  I didn’t do it for my kids either.  I was not “that” parent.

As adults, we know that life isn’t all butterflies and, dare I say, happy Disney songs.

Today, as I ran, the road was not always paved.  I’ve got the stickers on my shoes to prove it.

It was bumpy, and I had to watch for things like cracks in the sidewalk, uneven slabs of concrete, and deep puddles of dirt that begged for the opportunity to twist my ankles.

I was also by myself, music excluded.

I knew, though, that I had a cheerleader waiting in the wings (my sweet Mr.)…lots of them actually, when you consider my HRC Facebook group.

My students are not alone.  They have me, cheering them on, giving them an encouraging word, challenging them to do more, making them re-do work that was shoddy the first time.

I do not want my students to settle for just meeting goals.

I want them to “do to the most,” be “extra,” and reach for higher.

The end game isn’t necessarily a medal, although I will say that I do like each one I get for completing a race.

The result should be progress from where one started to where one wound up at the end of the day.

When my students were creating new goals for the second nine weeks, one of them wouldn’t write down anything.

“I’m doing just fine the way I am,” he said.

My jaw dropped.

“Really?” I said.  “So, you don’t think there’s anything new you can learn…any way to improve yourself?”

“Nope,” he said.

How many of us feel the same way, I wonder?

Aim low, stay stagnant…or dare I say regress.

Aim high, and the sky is the limit.

I practice what I preach.  These are life lessons, not necessarily academic ones.

They’ll get it, eventually, and maybe I’ll get more letters like the one I found on my desk on Thursday from a student I taught last year.

Always give 110%.  Never lower your standards.  Always reach for more.  By doing so, you’ll get what you wanted plus a little more to boot.  That’s never a bad thing.

When It’s Not Easy

After my glowing post about completing the first of four races in the OneHRC House Marathon…the 5k…I thought, “Hey Auburnchick, you’re really rocking this running thing.  Go out on Sunday after church and knock out your 6k…the second medal.”

If only things were that easy.

First of all, it was 81 degrees when I set out.

I really shouldn’t have ignored my early-morning alarm; it would have been much cooler if I’d gone out before church.

Second of all, I decided to try a new route.

My goal was to do at least four miles, which would ensure that my fitness watch and Charity Miles app would record at close to the distance I was aiming for.  They can be off a bit, so I always overachieve and reach for more.

With my new route in my head, I set out.

The first mile wasn’t too bad.  It’s almost a half mile until I get out of my neighborhood.  That’s easy.  The second half mile took me past the kids’ former high school and to a stop sign.

I turned right.

And then…oh golly…the l-o-n-g-e-s-t stretch of road EVER.

Distances can look deceptively short, let me tell you.  When you’re diving said distances, they go by quickly.

Not so much at noon on a Sunday with almost-hell-like-temperatures.

It was brutal.

There weren’t any trees.

I had no idea how far this stretch actually was (I had a general idea), so I kept an eye on my watch.

Oh, and did I mention the actual running part?

It wasn’t happening a lot.  In fact, I figured that out shortly after leaving my house.  I just didn’t seem to be able to run for long spurts.

Those of you who are more experienced runners than me can probably answer this for me:  Is this normal?

Earlier in the week, I’d had a conversation with a science teacher at my school.  She runs more regularly than I do and has even completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon…an eventual goal for me.  She suggested that I use Jeff Galloway’s method of timed interval running.  I need to order one of his books because the plan on the website doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

What did make sense was her explanation.  She told me that the point of the walk intervals is to take in more oxygen, which then feeds the muscles and prevents lactic acid buildup.  That acid is what causes the pain in the muscles.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.

A light bulb went on for me.

There’s a reason why everyone says she’s a good teacher.

😉

BUT, I like finishing my runs quicker.

She answered that as well.

When you’re regularly feeding your muscles with oxygen, you actually run FASTER!

Ok, that made sense, but still.

I like DOING THE MOST and saying that I ran the whole way of such-and-such run.

Ahem.

Hello, I am Auburnchick, Overachiever Extraordinaire.

So yesterday, when I found myself hitting a wall repeatedly, because I am stubborn that way, I finally decided to time myself.

I began running one minute intervals…one minute walking followed by one minute of running.

An interesting thing that I noticed was that my heart rate stayed up because there wasn’t a lot of rest time, but my legs did feel better.

That’s pretty much how I did the last mile and a half of my run.

I finished sweaty, educated, and happy that I’d earned that second medal.

I’m still going to aim for longer run segments, but I am going to extend grace and good old science to help me in that process.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Bandage Up and Go

Y’all, with my renewed focus on running, thanks to a backlog of medals that have been sitting around my house the last few months, I am discovering some of the unpleasantness that accompanies pounding the pavement…

Blisters.

Oh goodness, but one of my toes has a raw spot from where the toe beside it digs into it, and the nail has rubbed off the skin.  No amount of trimming and filing will help.  I ran into this problem last fall when I began doing Piyo.

Then, two days ago, I must have either jammed the tip of my toenail or created a blister on the top of my toe when I ran.

As a result, I gave myself yesterday afternoon off.  I thought that things would be better this morning.

They weren’t.

A couple of things are fueling my current running mojo…the stacked-up medals and calorie burn.

I am all about burning calories, let me tell you.

I decided to stop being a baby about the blisters and bandaged up.

I covered up the tootsies with my fabulous socks from Gone for a Run (love, love, love this company) and prepared to run.

My goal for the day was to complete a 5k…the first in a series of four mini races within the big OneHRC House Marathon race sponsored by the Hogwarts Running Club.  It’s comprised of four distances and four medals.  The 5k is the shortest run.

The morning was crisp but not cold…sunny but not hot.

I had my route already in mind.  It’s funny how, now that I’ve been running more regularly, I can tell you which routes equal out to which distances.  I am forever keeping tabs on my fitness watch during my runs…monitoring my heart rate and the distance I’ve traveled.

It’s also funny how, now that I’m running different distances, that 3.1 miles doesn’t seem like it’s very far.

I usually start my runs with a half-mile walk, but I am not one who likes to waste my time.  I wanted to get the job done quickly, so I went ahead and started off running.  Not fast mind you.  I am definitely not fast.  I wish I was.

In fact, I was thinking about my speed last night when I attend my school’s football game.  It was a BIG game against our arch rival.  The place was packed.  Teachers lined the track that surrounds the field for an up-close-and-personal-view.

The game went back and forth with both teams scoring constantly.  It was so much fun to watch and a bit unnerving at the end.  My school came up with some incredible plays and wound up winning after a very tense final 30 seconds when the other school had the ball, and we stopped them all the way through their fourth down.

One such play was a fast sprint down the field.  I said, to the administrator standing beside me, that I wished I could run like that…that I wished I had the player’s height and long legs…that I could cover some major ground quickly.  At 5’3″ tall, I have short strides, and I’m definitely not a sprinter.

The administrator and I are friends…have been ever since he coached my kids in middle school and taught Rooster in one of his classes.

He told me something that kept replaying in my mind this morning when I ran.

He said that I had endurance.

He and I are friends on Facebook, and I suspect that he’s seen my frequent fitness posts.

His words though…they encouraged me so much and reminded me not to focus on what I lack but on what I’ve developed over time and through persistence.

So I surprised myself by running the entire 3.372 miles (according to my Charity Miles app..slightly different from my Garmin app).  I ran from the moment I left my house until the moment I returned to it.

All.  The.  Way.

This is the third outing in a row when I have run more than three miles straight.

Proud, I was of myself, as Yoda would say.

I represented both my Rooster /Airman boy and my Auburn Tigers while displaying the medal I earned today.

Each Hogwarts house has its own race and medal.  The medals will be put together, once all races are run, to form a large medal representing the entire Hogwarts school.

The message on the back…

Here’s a closeup of the frame that my running club sent out to hold the pieces together, even though they are magnetic and will connect once joined.  There was a problem in the manufacturing, and some of the medals weren’t connecting, so the running club came up with the idea of the frame as a fix and sent each participant one free of charge!  Is it any wonder why I love my group so much?

If those three empty spots aren’t reason enough to get motivated, that I don’t know what is!  I cannot WAIT to place each remaining piece!

Stay tuned.

Another “Mile”stone

Look who just earned another medal…

You might recall that I finished my latest Beachbody program on Saturday, and since then, I’ve been working really hard to catch up on the virtual races that I’ve had medals and t-shirts sitting around for the last few months.

The Half-Blood Prince Half Marathon was sponsored by the Hogwarts Running Club.  I’ll admit that I was very intimidated by the distance and knew, right away, that I wouldn’t be able to knock it out in one day.

I ran the first leg in June, but then life happened…as in summer life…high temperatures and high humidity, and I just couldn’t seem to get out and run.

Until this week.

I was going to run the final leg yesterday, but my legs were really sore from running Sunday through Wednesday, so I decided to give myself the day off.

Today was the day, though.

I knew I needed to run 4.2 miles to complete the distance, so I set out, a route in mind.

Remember the last race I did…on Tuesday with my friend, Rebecca?  I’d run 3.1 miles straight and considered that a small victory.

Guess how much I ran today?

Out of the 4.5 miles, I ran 4 of them!!!!  I only walked the first half mile to warm up!!!

Y’all, can you tell that I’m a little excited????

I’ve been setting goals for myself, and by the grace of God, a lot of hard work, and a can-do attitude, I’m reaching them!

The Mr. kindly took a few photos of me to capture the moment.

That’s the race shirt, which I wouldn’t wear before finishing this race.  Here’s the back…

He even got a close-up.  He knows I like my pictures.

Here’s the medal up close.

I love that my running club pays attention to details.  Check out the back of the medal…

Even on the mailing labels that accompany each medal, much thought and care is given…

I just love, love, love the message.  Truly, anything is possible.  All you need is the courage to take the first step.

Making a Run For It

I don’t know about you, but I was a busy gal this weekend.

A few months ago, I’d signed up for two virtual runs…runs that would be taking place the SAME weekend.

The first one, the Umbridge 13k (aka “The Final Inaugural ‘I Must Not Tell Lies’ Dolores Jane Umbridge Run 13k…Or Until It Sinks In”), was sponsored by the Hogwarts Running Club that I’m a part of.

Guys, seriously.  13k.  Like, I had to look that up to see how far it was.

8.1 miles.

The most I’d done was five miles.

Virtual runs are very different from in-person runs in that you do them kind of when you want.  There’s always a “suggested” date, but ultimately, you pay your entry fee, which usually goes toward a charity, get your bling, and then whether or not you actually run is up to you.  It’s you versus your conscience.

The suggested date was the weekend of April 15th (aka Tax Day…when it hurts).  I had planned on splitting up the run into two days, with four miles each, but I procrastinated, and then it rained, and then I had a good hair day, and then it rained some more.

Yeah.

I didn’t really want to run.

Saturday was the day, though.  I slept in and then headed out around 11…still sort-of planning on doing it in two days.

Sometime during my first quarter mile, I decided that I’d go for it, and instead of turning left in my neighborhood to do my usual route, I turned right and went out of my subdivision.

I had an idea of where I wanted to run…past the fire station, up to the light, past an elementary school, and through a neighborhood I’d driven through once or twice.

I kept a close eye on my Garmin watch and wound up doing about five miles before I headed back toward home, passing the fire station again.  I still had a little over two miles to go when I decided to go into the neighborhood across the street from mine.  I have a good friend who lives there, so I’m familiar with the layout.  This was about two hours into my run, and by that time, I was dying of thirst…could literally taste icy water.

It was bad, and I considered calling the Mr. to bring me water.

It was at that point that I happened upon my friend’s house, and her CAR WAS IN THE DRIVEWAY!!!

I rang her doorbell and could barely utter the words, “Water” before she let me in.  She was a gracious host and didn’t bat an eye as I guzzled down two bottles of water without stopping.  Water was dripping down my face and off of my chin even.

Once I had recovered and caught my breath, we chatted a few minutes before I headed out to finish the last two miles.

By the time I got home, I’d put in nearly nine miles!!!  I did them with half-mile intervals of walking and running.

I felt so empowered.  I had not run for a number of weeks.  I guess my most recent workout program had done its job of making me more fit aerobically.  The biggest thing that motivated me was thinking about Rooster.  I figured that if he could do all of that PT in basic training, I could crank out a run.

I passed by soccer fields my children used to practice on. I had a few tears in my eyes. It was a bittersweet moment.

On Sunday, I made sure I was up early enough to do a second run…the Run Dog Run 5k, sponsored by Gone for a Run, another neat running organization.  The suggested date for this run was the 17th.

Now, let me tell you that after eight miles the day before, I knew that three miles would be a piece of cake.

I took Gambit with me, and we set off.  Once again, I did half-mile intervals, and he kept up quite nicely.  He’s still quite young and has a lot of energy.  The weather was a gorgeous 61 degrees.  My time wasn’t great, but that was because I was training Gambit not to trip me, and I did stop a couple of times to take pictures.

Man, did I feel good when I finished, but my hips…not so much.

I still managed to get ready for church…early in fact…and then spend the afternoon at the pool.

Life wasn’t all too bad in these here parts (when I wasn’t crying randomly because something reminded me of Rooster).

Mini-Vacation Time!

A couple of months ago, when we began getting to know Rooster’s girlfriend, who, by the way, is a pure delight, I learned that she and I have a few things in common.

Namely, we both love Harry Potter.

She’s from Alabama, so she hadn’t done all things Florida, including Universal Studios…aka Harry Potter World.

The Mr. decided that this was a situation that needed to be remedied, so he did his homework and secured park tickets and a lovely hotel suite.  The plan was for Chicky, who lives about thirty minutes outside Orlando, to join us.

We left last Friday.  The week had been hectic for me with first semester exams, grades to input, and new lesson plans to tweak, but I got everything done and packed Thursday night.

Yes, I am 45 years old and own my own interactive wand.  You know you’re jealous.

Friday morning, I got up early and did my TurboFire workout.  I didn’t want to get too far behind my schedule, and I figured that because I’d be stuck in the car for a number of hours, moving my body first thing in the morning would be good for me.

The drive down was easy; I napped a little bit.  Before I knew it, we were there.

Not wanting to waste time, we hurried on to the park shortly after checking into our hotel.

The Mr. had a grand plan that first evening, and we struggled to keep up as he made a beeline to the first ride he wanted to get on…the Jurassic Park water ride.

It was dark by the time we got on; the lighting was so pretty!

We were the only ones on it, so we sat in one of the back rows.  Our logic was that we wouldn’t get as wet if we weren’t sitting up front.

Let’s just say that we were wrong.  Very wrong.

The Mr. got the worst of it; his entire sweater was soaked when he got off.

I was a little luckier, but the top part of my shirt got pretty wet, as did my face and hair.  It was as if someone had thrown a bucket of water directly at our heads.

What fun though!

After we got done with the first ride, we headed over to Hogsmeade.

I wish you could have seen Rooster’s girlfriend’s face.

Her jaw dropped open when she saw the streets lit with lanterns and the snowy roofs of the various establishments.  I think I had as much fun watching her experience everything as I did the first time I visited Universal.

We did a few more things…rode the train over to Hogwarts and looked around before walking through the rest of the park.

Then, we grabbed dinner and headed back to the hotel for the night.

I used the down-time to register for the Molly Weasley Ugly Jumper Run, which the Hogwarts Running Club is hosting.  Isn’t the medal fabulous?  I paid my entry fee AND ordered a t-shirt.

Ahem.

The next morning, Chicky met us at the hotel, and we headed out.

The day was GORGEOUS and actually warm for mid-January.

I took this picture of Rooster and his girl…

Yes, they are very cute, are they not?  🙂

Boy, was I glad to see Chicky!  Even though we had recently gotten together during Christmas, any time spent away from her makes my heart hurt.  Reunions are sweet.

We did all things Harry Potter.  The kids got Butter Beer, which I can’t have because of the dairy.  I got the fizzy orange drink with cinnamon and brown sugar rimmed cup.  Delicious!

We did other stuff besides Harry Potter.  Rooster, Chicky, and I rode the Rock It roller coaster.  A random kid sat beside Chicky, and the video of his facial reactions was absolutely hysterical.

We also rode the Dueling Dragons roller coaster.  This is such a fun ride!

Shockingly, the Hulk had been dismantled for maintenance.  Its absence felt strange.

That night, we ate dinner at the Cowfish, a favorite of ours when we travel to Universal.  The food is divine; the portions quite large, as evidenced by Rooster’s burger, a peanut butter/banana concoction that he says tastes great (although he’s not a fan of bananas).

Chicky ordered a couple of things and took enough food home to treat her roommate.

It was a wonderful evening.  Saying goodbye to my girl was hard, and I actually shed a few tears when she drove away.  For some reason, this time got me…probably because we’d had such a great day.

We were whooped, and everyone hit the hay a little earlier than the night before.

The next morning was cold and misty.

See the sky behind me?  It was the perfect backdrop for Hogsmeade, but word, it kept the temperature chilly!  In fact, I’d left my jacket at the hotel thinking I’d be too warm with my thick sweater.  Wrong-O!

N, Rooster’s girlfriend, had worn a short-sleeve shirt, and she was also cold.  Our first order of business was to find something warmer to put on.

I scored with a zip-up hoodie.

N got a thin, long-sleeve shirt.

Oh, and do you see my wand?  I finally got up the nerve to practice my spells and jumped up in jubilation when my first one worked!  Rooster was not amused.  I was more excited than the little kids around me.

Ahem.

Fortunately, as the day progressed, the sun pushed out the clouds, and the temperature climbed a little.  The only thing that kept things cooler was the wind.

We ate lunch at a newly-opened restaurant, the Grill & Brew, and watched Cam Newton’s team beat Seattle.

N and I left during halftime to do more Harry Potter exploring.  This time together gave us a chance to chat.  She’s a very calm and quiet young lady…very mature…with a gentle spirit.  I adore her!

We had a lot of fun shopping, and we talked each other into getting rather expensive *ahem* Molly Weasley sweaters.

We took them to the bridge and photographed each other in front of the castle.

I will tell you that when I took N’s picture, someone rudely said, while walking by, “Oh look.  Let’s take a picture of a sweater.”

I’m afraid I showed my butt and responded, quite loudly, “That’s a very special sweater!”

The nerve of that other woman.

Sheesh.

They should have taken her ticket away…such lack of respect for a fine piece of fiber art.

Here I am sporting it at school today…

But wait…I’m getting ahead of myself.

The sweater is 100% wool and was made in Scotland.  It was also quite pricey.  Fortunately, the Mr. didn’t pitch a big fit when he saw how much I’d paid for it…two days later.  *Ahem*

We met up with the guys after their game ended…coincidentally as we were finishing our shopping…and headed back into the park to take one more stroll through the super hero island.

Then, we went back to the hotel to relax, eat a late dinner, and prepare for our departure the next day.

The next morning, I got up extra early and put in a little over four miles on the treadmill before the rest of my crew got up.

The ride home was uneventful; I slept much of the way.

I was more than ready to be home.  The dogs were extremely happy to see us, as evidenced by the picture below.  Gambit took advantage of the ten-minute stretch video I did after my forty-minute TurboFire workout (because I’m overachieving like that).  I was the perfect height for him to give me kisses.

My evening ended with a glass of wine and Downton Abbey, which I’d recorded the night before.  Whoever invented DVRs should win some sort of prize.

Props to the Mr. who generously treated us to this wonderful mini-vacation!

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