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Going Under the Knife

Today is THE day!

It is surgery day!

Yay!

Strange response, eh?

Well, if you’d been in the pain that I’ve been in since last Sunday night, you’d be happy too!

A friend asked me if I was nervous.

I said no but then modified my response to say that while I’m not looking forward to the pain that will follow surgery, I am ready to get it over with so that I can begin my recovery in earnest.

It’s strange to be the one on the operating table.  In the past, it’s always been Chicky.

In the past, it’s been me who’s sat in the waiting room for hours, praying and keeping others apprised of the procedure.

Now, others will be waiting for me.

Showtime is 2pm, a little later than I’d prefer, but a time that’s in God’s hands.

Instead of waking up to a cast, I believe, if I heard correctly, I’ll be wearing some sort of adjustable wrap.

I envision something similar to what Chicky had on…velcro straps to hold the padding and brace in place.

Before I’m put under, I have a few questions for the doctor…

The first one is the most important, in my opinion.

Will I be able to run again?

I know I’m not training for the Olympics.  I recognize that I’m no spring chicken.

I have, however, come a long way in my fitness level from where I was at this time last year.

Super Sis and I recently talked about my 8.5 mile run from last week, and she wanted to know how I’d done it.

I told her that I’d just told my legs to keep going, and they had.

I’d told myself to trust my legs and let them do the work because they were strong enough, and they had.

I’ll admit that I’m nervous about asking the doctor this question.  I’m not sure that I want to know the answer.

He’s a no-nonsense guy.  The man don’t play, as my students would say.

Regardless, I am Auburnchick.  I’m fearless.  I ask all the dumb questions.

Ha!

I sure would appreciate continued prayers for the surgeon’s hands as they rebuild my ankle, for a smooth transition out of the surgery (getting put under has made me sick in the past), and for as little pain as possible afterward.

Also, could you pray for the Mr.  He’s under an enormous amount of pressure trying to balance my care, the planning of Rooster’s rehearsal dinner, and doing his regular not-at-home job.

Please pray for his safety as he travels back and forth from Podunk, USA, to get me to my surgery and then back home to care for our fur babies and eventually back to pick me up and take me home.  I’ll be staying with his parents for a day or two to give me an extra day of recovery before I travel in the back of our car on country roads.  Go ahead and say car sickness and ouchies from bumps and curves.

Thanks, all!!

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.

A Ghoulish Run

A month or two ago, I saw a promotion for a virtual run that was going to be hosted by Gone for a Run.

I knew I had to sign up…because I am Auburnchick…the one who runs for bling.

I tagged my friend, Rebecca, and suggested that we do it together.

She was all in and signed up too.

We set a date to run virtually together.  October 25.  She’d be on vacation, and I wouldn’t have to go in and teach teenagers that day because of an all-day meeting.

I received a text message around 2pm my time…

She was about to embark on her run.

Doesn’t she look awesome?!

Meanwhile, I was sitting in a meeting, doing the teacher-nerd thing…

I wanted to be outside so badly, but I knew that my turn would come.

I rushed home, changed clothes, and prepared to set out.

Rebecca texted me again.  She’d finished!  She sent me pictures to prove it.

Meanwhile, I queued up a podcast I’ve been listening to of late…

I’d loosely planned my route…halfway around my neighborhood, around my friend, M’s, and back to my neighborhood and around a couple of times.

A word about the run itself.

I’ve been doing walk/run intervals.  My BIG goal has been, for a year now, to run an entire 5k.  Because I do not train consistently, I haven’t achieved that yet.

I’ve been slowly increasing my run intervals and had gotten up to running 1.25 miles with .25-mile rests.  For some reason, when I exited M’s neighborhood, I’d hit two miles and thought, “Self, why don’t you try for three?  You’re over halfway there!”

And so my tired legs kept pumping, and I ran.

And ran.

And ran.

I did not stop until I got home.

Y’all, I ran 3.1 straight miles!!!!!

With the random exception of a couple of runs two years ago, I’ve never run (not walked) this far before!!!

Woo hoo!  Now, if I can do this in a real-life race, I’d be thrilled!

I sent my own selfies to Rebecca, and we celebrated together, several states away.

Forget Ghouls on the Run.  This race should have been titled “Girls on the Run.”

Love ya, Rebecca!  Thanks for doing this race with me!

Runday Sunday

I am ever the planner, that I am.

When I got up on Sunday, I knew exactly what I’d be doing after church (admire the good hair and makeup day I was having).

It wouldn’t involve eating.

It would involve doing something about this…

Y’all, those are four racing medals that I have not allowed myself to unpack because I haven’t run them yet.

Sigh.

Hi, my name is Auburnchick, and I’m a sucker for race bling.

And charities that buying race bling supports.

Two of those medals are my Hogwarts Running Club races.  The other two are from Gone for a Run.

Sunday was going to be my Runder the Sea race day.

Originally, I thought it was a 5k.

I think I audibly groaned when I saw the actual distance…

Yes, people.  That’s a 10k…double the distance.

Please note the “suggested” run date.

I was woefully late to the party.

Hey, better to be late than not run at all, right?

See, I like the way I think.

So, I got all gussied up in my race tank and set out.

The weather in Florida is seriously to die for right now.  I started out wearing a long-sleeve top.  By the time I got to the entrance of my neighborhood, I had tied it around my waist.

I’ve figured out a good route for my longer runs.  Whatever song was coming through my ear buds said something about being miles from home.  It was fitting.

There was very low humidity, so sweating wasn’t an issue.  Just my legs, which started hitting a wall around mile three.

Yeah, I know.  So much for being fit.

I have a cardio playlist, but when it finished, I put on one of my new-to-me favorite artists…

I love his storytelling…except for the song that just today I noticed was about a girl stripping for him.

#smh

I love the run toward home.  It’s all downhill.

But first, a side trip through my friend’s neighborhood.  She and I work together and, conveniently, live almost across the way from each other.

Then, I made my way around the perimeter of my neighborhood and back home.

I was really pleased with myself.  I cannot do entire runs as just that…runs.  I do, however, alternate walk/run intervals.  I try really hard to make my run intervals as long as I can.  Yesterday, I was able to run 1.25-mile intervals.  That was huge for me!  My walk intervals were between .25 and a half mile each.

Apparently, my excitement got the better of me.  I ran between 6.7 and 6.9 miles, depending on which app I checked.  I liked Charity Miles’s version…

The Mr. was kind enough to snap a few photos of me…

I love Gone for a Run.  They include fun race shirts, bibs, and pretty medals.

But wait…there’s more!

Lol.

As if that run wasn’t enough, I headed back outside after my little photo session and scooped dog poop so I could mow.

Between the two activities, I burned a little over 800 calories!  I added them with the calculator on my phone.  Ha!

As you can see, Sunday was all about running and definitely not about resting!

Catching Up

I haven’t done such a great job with my blogging this last week and a half.  I have good reasons.  For now, why don’t we just let bygones be bygones and play a bit of catch-up.

I’ve been doing a ton of sleeping…ignoring the alarm I’ve had set for the last week in my pitiful attempt to start getting back into a routine.  I’ve been sleeping late and then, later in the day, squeezing in a nap whenever possible.

The dogs have complied.  They’re rather chill these days.

Of course, their patience does have limits.  Gambit gets all up in my grill if he even thinks I’m awake.

I’ve been doing some knitting.

With beads.

Which I had to order more of because the gal at the yarn store I visited a few months ago underestimated the amount I needed.

I ordered from GoodyBeads, and boy, was I impressed!  My beads came in record time, and I even got a bag of free beads AND a $5 coupon!  I’ll be ordering from this company again!

Do you see a bit of Harry Potter on the TV in the background of the picture above?

Well, in case you didn’t know, Sunday was HP’s birthday! My running club, the Hogwarts Running Club, is currently hosting a virtual race, the Fantastic Beasts 5K, and the suggested run date was Sunday.

Now, let me tell you that I like doing these races.  I like that the money is given to amazing charities.  I use the Charity Miles app to track my mileage.  They partner up with sponsors who donate for distances covered by its participants.  It’s a win-win all the way around.

What’s been bad, though, is that I am behind several races.  A great thing about virtual races is that you can run them when you want to.  You still get the bling.  You’re competing against yourself and your conscience.

Well, I’m behind a few races.  Life seriously got in the way.  I’ve been working out to a grueling Hammer and Chisel program.  I’m five weeks into my second go-round.  My muscles are sore, and it’s too humid in this Florida heat to get out later in the day.

Some of the races are longer, and there’s no way I can do them in one day.  That’s hard too.

My medals have been sitting in their envelopes…race shirts unworn.

I really wanted to do this one since it was only three miles and a special day indeed.

So, I did my H&C workout (two for the day) and then went outside…at 1pm…and walked/ran that sucker.

I hadn’t run since June 13th.  I still managed to do intervals where I jogged .75 mile and walked .25.  More than once.  Go me.

I was sweaty and tired when I finished, but boy was I proud of myself!

Look at that cute Harry Potter picture (top right).  I have SnapChat and use it; however, I didn’t know about filters until I saw something on Facebook.  It took me a little while to figure it out, but once I did, oh man.  There was a HP filter just for Sunday!

Let’s just say that I’ve been having a little too much fun with filters…

Personally, I like the one above.  Makes me feel like I’m back in the 70’s.  And yes, I am a child of the 70’s/80’s.

This week has been all about 4am alarms clocks.  Ugh.  Working out at 4:45 (because it takes me that long to crawl out of bed) is tough.

Yesterday, I felt okay, though, and perked up even more when I saw my bicep in the mirror.  Call me vain.  I don’t care.  I worked hard for that muscle!

I’m really, really proud of my workouts.  I’m getting so much stronger and am going up in weights about every week and a half thanks to my new commitment to log everything on the worksheets I found online.

Yes, that is 25 pounds.

Did you just faint?

I used them last week for dead lifts, which I absolutely love.  They do so much to strengthen your hamstrings which, in turn, help you shape your rear end.  Go me.

I’m also working in the yard…edging after the Mr. mows the front yard on his RIDING lawn mower (ahem)…and using the PUSH mower to do the back yard (ahem ahem).  I wear my heart rate monitor to record the calories I burn.

Almost 400 calories, y’all.  You know where that’s coming from?  Sweeping the debris down the sidewalk.  Talk about an arm and core workout!

Something else I’ve been doing is participating in a Book Love Summer Session on Facebook.

Penny Kittle wrote the book, and I follow her on Twitter.

Her book…her philosophy, in fact…is all about helping students develop a love for reading.  I read her book last summer and felt like I’d found the validation I needed for what I’d been doing (thanks to my wonderful friend, Barb, who first mentored me) in my classroom for the past five years.

I found out, by reading Twitter, that there was going to be a study session, and I signed up.

It’s very low key.  We listen to certain podcasts, because YES, there’s a Book Love Podcast…who knew!  Then, a facilitator posts questions, and we respond.

Ok.  So, confession time.  I don’t really like to listen to podcasts.  I did way back when, but I’m just not good at processing auditory stuff.  I am definitely a tactile learner, but…this podcast.  It’s something else.

Y’all.  I feel like I’ve found my people.  There have been book talks, encouragement, and ideas for fitting too many things in to too little time.

I have cried almost every time I’ve listened to a podcast.  There are testimonials.  There are stories of students’ lives that have been changed.  I see these things happen in my classroom every year, but listening to it online…it’s just so powerful.

Speaking of school, I ordered and received a new set of Kagan mats.  I really like these because I can flip them over and use the other side for something different.  I go through about two sets each year.

I attended training yesterday and today (my reason for getting up at the crack of dawn).  My district uses Canvas, a learning management system that allows students to access class content online.  I used it last year, and my students LOVED it.  It really facilitated things in my classroom.  Students had access to all of my Smartboard files and documents we worked on in class.  Even though I consider myself a fairly advanced user, I learned so much.  The training was low-key, and we were turned loose to create our own pages.  This time allowed me to make much-needed changes.

I’m still debating about which picture to use on the home screen my kids will see when they log in.  What are your thoughts?

Or this…

So yeah.  That’s a big chunk of what I’ve been up to. Ha!

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).

Checking One Off the List

One month and one day.

That’s how long it’s been since I last blogged.

I’m hanging my head in shame.

A high school friend and I had a great conversation a few days ago on Facebook, and he told me how much he enjoyed my posts.  You see, although I’ve been playing hooky from my blog, I’ve been very active on other social media sites.

Anyhow, his kind words reminded me how important it is for me to sit down and write.  It’s one of the gifts God has blessed me with, and I don’t want to waste it.

So, here goes…the first in what I hope will be more regular posts.  🙂

My life has been busy.  Really busy.

I’ve had some things I’ve been working on that I’ll share when they come to fruition.

Soon.  Very soon.

Let’s start with one of the things I can share with you.

You know you’re going to get the back story because that’s how I roll.

A few years ago, I was shopping at Sams, when I noticed a lot of other customers who had colors in their hair, colors on their running shirts and shorts, and were, in general happy.

I finally figured out that they had done The Color Run that had been held earlier that morning.

The seed was planted.

I knew I wanted to do that some time.

Life got in the way; time passed.  Still, I harbored that desire.

I’ve tried a number of times to do 5k training.  I’ve usually given up for one reason or another.

This past summer, Super Sis and I had a chat, and she mentioned doing The Color Run, which was going to be happening in her city in October.  I checked my calendar and saw that the weekend would most likely be free, so I agreed.  I completed my registration on July 2 (I looked back at my confirmation email).

I was committed now.  I’d paid money…ordered my registration kit.

I was excited because she would be doing it with me, but with the start of school quickly approaching, I pretty much put it out of my mind.

One afternoon, I got a package in the mail…

Oh my gosh.  It was the stuff I was going to need for my race…my very first 5k!!!

I called Super Sis.  We got excited together.

I stuck it in my car even though the race was still over a month away.  I didn’t want to take a chance that I’d forget it.  I’m a little over the top in that way.

About a week before the race, Super Sis called me.  Her husband and son were going to be at a baseball tournament the weekend of the race, and she wanted to know if I wanted to do a sleepover.

I had planned on staying with the Mr.’s parents who live a couple of streets away from Super Sis, but her call changed that.

Super Sis and I are very close.  I treasure her more than I think she will ever know.  Knowing that we would have an entire evening and the next day to giggle as much as we wanted, be dumb blondes (she’s not blonde, but she acts like it a lot), and just do the things that our husbands, brothers by the way (we hail from Alabama where this sort of thing is actually normal), find annoying was too much for my heart to take.  I was anxious for the weekend to arrive.

I packed on Thursday night…

The next day, I wore my super hero shirt to school…motivation to power through the day…

One of my students asked why I was dancing through my lesson…why, in fact, all of the teachers seemed to be dancing that day.  Hello, can you say Friday?  Kids aren’t the only ones to get “turnt” at the end of each week.

:::rolling my eyes:::

Anyhoo, I left straight from work and listened to my playlist on my phone the entire way…

A couple of hours later, I arrived.

I saw Super Sis, through the front window of her house, run eagerly to the front door when I rang the bell.

We hugged.

It was Girls’ Night!

I made her the Tofu Scramble that I love so much…

She actually liked it but claims she’ll stick with regular scrambled eggs.  Still, I opened her eyes to how delicious Turmeric, one of the spices I use, can be.

We spent the evening chatting lazily.  We also, funny enough, happened upon a PiYo infomercial on TV.  I’ve just started the last week of this program and am a HUGE fan of it (you’ll be reading about this soon).

She wound up ordering it!  The deal on the TV was pretty good.  She’s interested in the exercise part, not necessarily the eating plan.  She’s very thin as it is but wants to be stronger and more flexible.  I can’t wait until she starts!!!

We went to bed wayyyyyy too late for people who were going to be getting up the next day to race, but when you never, ever get time to talk without having to worry about dividing your time between husbands and children (even though both types of our humans are grown), you take advantage!

The alarm went off way, way, way too early for a Saturday.  I did my First5 devotion and began getting ready.

I had read that if you have highlighted hair, you should put coconut oil in your hair to prevent the dye from staying.  I didn’t want oily hair, but I didn’t want to run my new highlights.

Super Sis and I decided to braid our hair.  She did mine first…

I did hers afterward.  I had flashbacks to high school when I braided her hair.  We won’t discuss the arguments we had over “bumps” in her hair.

Ahem.

We added the hair bands…

Ever wonder how long it takes to get ready for a 5k?  Apparently, for us, hours.

Some girls get ready to go clubbing.  We get ready for races.

Ahem.

We had to take a few more selfies because…well because we could…and we didn’t have our guys rushing us…

Before we left, Super Sis looked for her pup to make sure she was settled in.

Oh she was, all right…right on the couch.

This is Gracie, and her health has been declining the last few months.  Please say a prayer for her and for my sister’s family as they prepare to let her go.  In the meantime, she’s getting lots of love and was, if I remember correctly, allowed to stay on the couch while we were gone.

We took a couple more pictures…

We finally made it to the car.  Super Sis drove.

See that tattoo on her leg?  I had one to match…

We were both also sporting tattoos on our faces…

After about twenty minutes of navigating downtown streets, we finally arrived.

There’s a reason why this race uses the hashtag #happiest5k.  We could hear music blaring from large speakers even before we got out of the car.

People of all sorts…runners, families, single-tons…everyone was wearing either tutus or other running attire.  It was like the world had converged in this one area…the colors were bright and cheerful.

We donned our bandannas, something I’d had people say would be helpful to prevent the powder from entering my nose and mouth, and waited for the race to start.

Music blared.  People danced.

We.  Were.  Pumped.

A deejay counted us down, and before we knew it, we were off!

My form.  It’s not great.  My upper body is too stiff.  I’m researching how to correct this so I don’t expend unnecessary energy.

Still…I was running a 5k…with my sister!

I looked over at Super Sis, the excitement oozing out.

“I’m running a 5k,” I told her.

She smiled.  She’s done two or three of them.

It didn’t take long before I realized a small problem.

We were running on asphalt.

I was used to running on smooth sidewalks.

I looked over at Super Sis and said, “This is actually kind of hard.”

She smiled.

She’s been training on and off for about a year.  I could see how much stronger her strides were, and I offered to let her go ahead.  I knew I couldn’t run for long stretches and would be alternating what I like to call running (my version of it) and fast walking.

She’s a wonderful sister and told me not to apologize.

We grew excited as we neared the first color station.  We wanted all the colors.

We ran through together, holding hands.

Disappointment set in, though, as we exited that station without one single drop of color on us.

Say what?

We ran on.

We walked.

There were hills.  I struggled.  Podunk, USA doesn’t have hills like these.

Thankfully, my PiYo kicked in because my legs had actually gotten stronger through the seven weeks I’d been working out.

I conquered those hills with the encouragement of my sister.

We neared the second color station and made a new game plan.  We decided to run on both sides of it where the volunteers were lined up with containers of colored powder.

We looked like bandits as we approached, bandannas pulled over our noses and mouths.

I threw my arms in the air as I ran though…why, I’m not sure…but it felt good.

I wound up with orange powder all over me…fitting because I was wearing an old pair of blue Auburn shorts.  Orange and blue…college game day…get it?

She didn’t get as much, but we ran on.

We passed a few people.  Super Sis looked over at me and said, “We just passed someone.”

I smiled.

She continued, “She was pushing a stroller.”

My bubble deflated.

heehee

It was all in fun.

We approached the blue color station, and some lady we’d passed earlier passed Super Sis and ran ahead of her through the station, stealing some of her color.

I ran through on the opposite side and saw a volunteer reach over my head and pour out color.  Super Sis laughed when she saw me.  She said the back of my neck was covered in blue.  It had gone down my shirt.  It was in my hair.

I was even more excited.

This was my first race, after all…something I’d wanted to do for years.

We ran on.

I think my form improved as my body warmed up…

Super Sis completely rocked it…

Please admire my mad photo-taking skills.  I ran backward, uphill to snap that picture.

Anyhoo…

We ran.  We walked.  We took a picture or two along the way.

And then we saw the finish line.

We heard the music.

We ran one more time.

I wish I had a picture of it, but my camera was in my running belt.

I cannot tell you how emotional I was as Super Sis and I went under the Finish sign, color thrown on us and bubbles blown around us.

There was a loud crowd cheering.

Tears welled up in my eyes, but I kept them at bay so I wouldn’t smear the paint on my face.

Hey, you do what you’ve gotta do to look pretty.

We got packets of color and our medals when we went through the finish line.

I had done it!

Super Sis had done it!

We had done it together.

We were sporting every color of the rainbow…

On every part of our body…

We took a lot of pictures as we prepared for the color party…the party after the race where racers throw color everywhere.

I think that the next picture is probably one of my favorites from the day…

I bought a few souvenirs…the bumper sticker being my favorite, I think, because this truly was my first “real” 5k.

Before we left, we got blown off…with leaf blowers.  I might have enjoyed this a little too much.

It was finally time to head back to Super Sis’s house.

We had taken a “before” picture in her car before we started the race.  Now, we took the “after” picture.

I was so pumped after the race.

I’d set a goal, and I’d accomplished it.

I’d had one of my favorite people in the world by my side.

The race was so well organized.  It went beyond what I’d expected to experience for my first race.

I’m even more motivated to get better at running…to keep on pushing…so that when I’m actually running a timed race, I’ll see improvement.  In fact, my goal is changing now.

I want to actually run an entire 5k.

I have some work to do.

I’ll have these fun memories to keep me going.

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