40 Day Goals: Say Yes!

 

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This image showed up in my newsfeed a few weeks ago. It instantly took me back nearly four years when this blog was born. Breath of Sunshine was born from a set of 40 day goals. After being inspired by one of the first blogs I had ever read, I followed in her footsteps. I set small intentions for myself to correct some bad behaviors, to create healthy habits, and to let go a little more. No was my reflex answer to everything. Whenever asked if I wanted to do something, if I wanted to try something, if I wanted to experience something new, I always said no. I didn’t always mean No. I was just my go to response. I was protecting my comfort zone. When I saw this image, I got curious. How many of those forty day goals was I still successfully living? How many needed to be revisited? So I went back and I read them all.

Set #1 (recap), Set #2, Set #3, Set #4 (recap), Set #5, Post Baby Goals

There is a theme that exists in all these goals: be more intentional about the time I spend with my family, enjoy running more, spend more time on my yoga mat, and find a new job. I’m happy to report I’ve said yes to all of these things – mostly, almost.

Quality family time – top priority

Enjoy running – absolutely (thank you for coming back to me!)

Yoga – Oops

New Job – Oh yes!!! I finally made the leap.

All of this brings me back to saying Yes – Saying yes to the things I love, to the people I love, and the life that I love. Not overcommitting or saying yes because I feel obligating but saying yes because life feels good when you live it! For the next forty days I’m bring back the YES!

Forty Day Goals – SAY YES!

(October 3 – November 12)

1. Saying Yes to simple dinners at home around the dinner table

2. Saying Yes to yoga even when I’m tired at the end of the day

3. Saying Yes to sleeping in instead of waking up early because I feel like I have to run

4. Saying Yes to running after work with Chet…or Christian…or Alex…or friends because running with company is always better

5. Saying Yes to running further when my brain is trying to give up on long runs.

6. Saying Yes to sharing a drink with friends instead of rushing home to check homework

7. Saying Yes to fun Friday nights with the boys – evening bike rides, beach picnics, frozen yogurt for dinner. This perfect weather won’t last long

8. Saying Yes to trail runs instead of boring streets

9. Saying Yes to sharing the same couch as my husband even if the other boys in my life leave me feeling drained at the end of the day

10. Saying Yes to date nights

11. Saying Yes to the mountains that are screaming my name

11. Saying Yes to getting a babysitter so we can do some fun things with Cole without his little brother – haunted hayride & ropes course

12. Say Yes to saying Yes

13. Say Yes to more breathing room

14. Say Yes to Friday Favorites

15. Say Yes to radiating from my core instead of letting the outside world cast a cloud on me

 “i imagine that yes is the only living thing.”   ~E.E. Cummings

Join me in saying YES! Heidi is along for the adventure too – read her goals to get rid of Maybes here.

Breathing Room, September Edition

“Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it’s about creating an emotional clearing to allow ourselves to feel, think, dream, and question.” ~Brene Brown

These monthly reflections are slowly becoming a favorite. I’ve had moments this month were I’ve come unraveled. I’ve had a few moments when the world was just too much. Work is picking up momentum. Chet is in a difficult phase. School is back in session. Christian is still commuting for work. Something has been off with my body. It’s easy to let those few moments of unraveling define my own perception. I can get lost in my own head. And then I take a moment to look through the photos I captured when I was taking a moment to breathe. There aren’t a few of these moments. There are a lot. They far outweigh the unraveling. It’s just that the unraveling is noisy and demands attention. As the collage comes together and I see all the quiet moments, I realize that I’m actually living my life just right. It’s actually balancing itself out.

The first and most import step for me in September was figuring out my own body. It’s been fighting itself for months. During the beginning of the month, I had my yearly physical. Blood tests were done, and the results showed that I was/am severely deficient in Vitamin D. A supplement has been added to my weekly routine, and I’m amazed how much better my body already feels. Progress.

The rest of the month was about embracing exactly where we are at as family right now. I want to make the most of Cole’s last year in elementary school. As hard as the terrible twos can be, I don’t want to wish away the toddler years (oh but the tantrums can go away!). And there is hope in the near future that Christian won’t be commuting for work anymore.

Another month has ended, and I feel like I deserve a high-five. We gracefully survived the transition back to school. October is here which means cool temperatures, pumpkins, and lots more to fill my weekends.

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Race racap: Heart of Ghent 10k

Many months ago, in the middle of my running middle life crisis, my friend and running coach told me that I just need to show up to some races unplanned, unannounced, and have fun. I’m finally listening. It’s exactly what I did this weekend. As I’m slowly increasing mileage for two half marathons this fall, the idea of running a 10k as part of my training run sounded fun. Water stops. Entertainment. Supportive spectators. And the course is a walk down memory lane. So many of my heart whispers started here.

The Heart of Ghent 10k didn’t disappoint. It was the perfect neighborhood race. Wonderfully organized and supported. I loved the course (even if we missed a block this year).

Laura picked me up before the sun was up so we could run a few miles before the start of the race. Our early arrival made parking easy. We ran nearly 2.5 easy miles before the race started hoping we had left some racing ability in them for the race.

Warm up Miles: 2.47 @ 9:46 pace

As we started, I vowed to not look at my garmin. We were running and talking. The course is filled with lots of turns which I love mentally.

Mile 1: 9:14

Mile 2: 9:07

Mile 3: 8:51

At mile 3, I gave in and glanced at my watch. The 8 in the front of my pace shocked me. While my legs were starting to feel heavy, the effort felt easy. Maybe, just maybe, there is hope for some speedier miles this fall.

Laura started having cramping in her back at this point and encouraged me to leave her, but racing wasn’t my objective for this run. I was there to increase my mileage and enjoy time with friends. We walked a few blocks and ran many more.

Mile 4: 10:23

Mile 5: 10:45

Mile 6: 9:53

The finish line showed up just as my watch hit six miles. While the course ran short, my total mileage for the day is my longest run since spring. Confidence in my running is starting to creep back into my thinking. It’s funny how that happens as soon as I remember why I run.

I learned a lot on the road yesterday. Happy miles are what I need right now. Sharing miles with friends is what I need right now. This is the first run in a long time when my brain turned off, panic mode didn’t take over, and I simply ran.

Garmin Time: 6.00, 57:42, 9:37 pace

Race Time: 57:40, 9:17 pace

Almost 8.5 miles for the day! Heart of Ghent, I’ll be back next year. You have become my new favorite 10k.

heart of ghent

Chasing the Sunset

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

As I pulled into my driveway after a busy day at work and a last-minute visit to the doctor (that trumped my plans to go to my first boot camp class), I could see the sun beginning to flirt with the tree line. The thought of seeing the sunset over the river is all it takes these days to get me out the door in my running shoes. Cole, home with a clean bill of health, had an art project to tackle. Christian was grilling. Chet and I decided to chase the sunset. I ran as fast as I could to catch the setting sun. The river is less than a mile from our front door, but leaving for a run with a two-year old never happens quickly. Running while pushing a two-year old never happens quickly. We made it to the river just as the gorgeous reds were leaving the sky.

My running buddy

My running buddy

We missed the sunset, but the river was still waiting. I always let Chet run with me for the few blocks along the river. We bird watch. We check out the crane that is building the new boat ramp. After some begging and pleading (and protesting), he returns to his stroller (or tractor or lawn mower or dinosaur – whatever his imagination determines each night) to take the long way home.

This is why I run. My reasons for why I run change with the seasons of my life. During this season, I run for the sunset and the sunrise. I run to see the world wake up and fall asleep. It refreshes my soul. It hits the reset button.

Running has become less about pace and personal bests and more about connecting with my body. It’s become my way to keep my body, my mind, and my spirit free. It has become a time to explore the wild imagination of a two-year old and to listen to the rambles of a ten-year old. It’s become my way to catch up on conversation with my husband. There are nights the whole family joins me on their bikes. My running can be selfish at times. I run for myself, but my evening hours at home are limited. My time with my boys is limited. So I selfishly bring them with on my runs. I don’t think they mind.

Everything in life has a season. Right now is my season to bask in the glow of sunshine. I want to take in as many sunrises and sunsets as I can. I want to celebrate the promise of new beginnings, and I want to celebrate what has been offered as each day ends. I’m excited about running again for no other reason than I love to run. It’s something I hope I never take for granted.

Fall race season is just around the corner. I won’t be trying to run my fastest times or to push myself to new levels. This season I want to carry sunshine with me on to the race course. I just want to run. I just want to shine.

Chasing the sunset

Chasing the sunset

Soup-er Sunday: Corn Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chowder

Soup-er Sunday is back. Today’s gorgeous fall weather was the perfect day to try a new recipe that was shared with me from Karen at Fancy Little Feet. Per Karen’s recommendation, I modified tonight’s recipe from The Pretty Bee.

Corn Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chowder

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 very large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 32 ounce container of vegetable broth
⅔ cup quinoa
1 cup water 1 cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 cup frozen corn
cilantro for garnish
Directions:
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil and chopped onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and broth, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the quinoa, cup of water cup of coconut milk, and spices and continue cooking until quinoa is tender (you will see the little ring around the edge of the quinoa loosen), about 15 more minutes. If too much of the water has evaporated, add a bit more. It should be a thick soup, but you should still see broth.
  4. Add the corn and cook until corn is heated through, about five minutes.
  5. Serve topped with cilantro if desired.

(I doubled this recipe to have enough for lunch left overs this week.)

Served with a side of corn bread, tonight’s dinner was delicious! I stuffed in as much as I could, and I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow.

soup

The Magic of Retrospection

“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~Lao Tzu

As a spectator at this years Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, I was in awe of every runner who lined up at the start line. The race lived up to its reputation with brutal heat and humidity. This race is never an easy race.

How did I do? How did I run this race three years in a row?

The summer of 2010 was a typical summer for me. I never ran more than five miles. I only ran when I felt like it. I never trained. I had decided to ignore my race entry. I was going to let the race go because my body wasn’t ready. A few days before race day, I got a call from my aunt. She had breast cancer. I had to run. I lined up with runners not know what to expect. I’d do my best. I had to. I cried through many of those miles, and yet I finished in a respectable time. Somehow I ran that race. I felt weak. I felt unprepared. It felt hard.

I returned to this race in 2011. I was six months pregnant with Chet. As I trudged along on the race course, I struggled. It felt hard. I felt weak.

In 2012, when Chet was a newborn, I trained hard. I ran every Saturday morning. Some nights I only had two hours of sleep, but I always showed up to run. Race day came, and I ran through all the same feelings. It was hard. I felt slow. I struggled.

rnr

The common thread between all these races was my perception: I always felt like I was struggling to make it work. I always felt like I was struggling to balance life and running. I always felt like I was struggling to balance life, motherhood and marriage. I’ve always felt like I’m struggling to stay afloat.

But something magical happens when I cross the finish line. It was all worth it. Today when I look back, I am in awe of myself. I’m in awe of what I was able to juggle. I’m in awe of the balance I maintained. Looking back, I feel like I was a superwoman.

How did I do all of that? How did I balance it all? How did I make it work? Because right now I feel like I’m fighting for that balance. Right now I feel like I’m fighting for that strength. How did I do it then?

While I watched the Rock n Roll half marathon from the sidelines this year, I saw something in those runners. I saw love. I saw passion. I saw sacrifice. I saw so many people who were doing it, and I realized I’ve been doing it all along. It’s the fight for balance and it’s the fight for strength that fuel that love and passion in my life. How I feel today is no different from how I felt two years ago.

I’m doing it today just like I was doing it then. I don’t need to wait two years to be in awe of what I’m accomplishing today. I can appreciate myself now. I can be grateful for what I have right now. I don’t want to find my happiness through retrospection. It’s waiting for me right now. The only difference between today and two years ago is that I’ve already crossed the finish line for the events in my past. I haven’t crossed today’s finish line yet. I haven’t felt the magic of today’s finish line.

When I look back, nothing in my life was lacking. This message applies to today too. The magic isn’t really at the finish line. The magic is in the process of getting there. I doubt the finish line would feel like such an accomplishment if it was easy to get there.

Sunrise on Race Day

Sunrise on Race Day

 

 

 

Breathing Room, August Edition

“Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it’s about creating an emotional clearing to allow ourselves to feel, think, dream and question.” ~Brene Brown

August is ending on a high note, on a simple note. As I’ve stripped away layers of clutter, I’m sitting in the messy, real, simple core of life. Love. Yes, it is still messy. Yes, it is still hard. The difference between this mess and the clutter of life is that this matters. Love matters. It’s not filler. It’s not a bandaid. It’s not numbing. This is life, and I feel like I’m learning how to live my own version.

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