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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ECSC 5k – Race Recap

“Light tomorrow with today.” ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This morning I lined up for a 5k knowing I’m not in racing condition, knowing that I’ve struggled all summer to find space in my runs, and knowing that 3 miles now feels like a long run. I know all of this, yet I was excited. The timing of this race just felt right. I was ready to test my new running philosophy: accept where I am at today.

But old habits die hard. I did my best not to speculate about finish times, to analyze the few runs I have worn my garmin on this summer to predict my outcome, or to stress that a PR wasn’t a possibility (24:50 for those of you who are curious, 7:59 pace). I only let my brain wander as far as setting a few loose goals for the race outside of enjoying myself and pushing myself on the course.

A perfect day – 27:xx, 8:59 pace (I am well aware that I ran this pace for 10 miles in April. Another true test of my new running philosophy. Could my ego let go?)

A solid run – Low 9s

Crap that sucked – anything over 9:20

I lined up next to a few friends and told them that who ever was having a solid day running was required to run.

Laura and I stuck together for Mile 1. I had previously told her my plan was to hit a 9 minute mile. At some point she kindly told me that if a 9 minute mile was my pace, I was running way too fast. We slowed down, chatted, and had some fun.

Mile 1 – 8:28

In mile 2 I encouraged Laura to go ahead. My stomach was telling me to slow down, but I knew I was in a good spot if I could just hang on. Panicking mid-race has been my weakness this year. When I saw 8:28 on my watch and my stomach started to rumble, I felt panic taking over. My focus quickly become to sit in a pocket that felt comfortable. Don’t panic. Relax. Don’t panic. Relax.

Mile 2 – 9:35 (I may have got a little too comfortable this mile)

Mile 3 was about hanging on. My hip flexors are tight lately. I like to lead with my pelvis when I run. Instead of focusing on the miles or the finish line, I focused on my body. I did my best to keep my hips under me. I did my best to keep my upper body relax.

Mile 3 – 9:16

In the final stretch I found a familiar face. Teresa, the overall female winner today, came back to run me in. She helped squeeze out the last bit of energy I had left in my legs. She reminded me to lift my knees and to use my arms. She took over my thinking since my brain had shut off.

Final stretch – 6:58 pace

Official Finish time: 28:00, 9:02 pace

Finish line fun with some great friends

Finish line fun with some great friends

Am I happy with this run? You bet!

It’s no secret my ego has been attached to my running ability for some time. It’s so easy to get caught up in the race to run further or to run faster. I got stuck in a place that let the pace on a race clock determine my level of success. Today that ego didn’t show up. I hope it’s squashed for good. I ran each mile as best I could. I have happily accepted exactly where I am at right now, not last year, not last month, but today! Coming to terms with this has been hard. My ego put up a good fight. But man, it feels good to kick that ego to the curb. It feels good to enjoy the run!

Today’s run was perfect! It makes me really excited about the fall races I have coming up!

Cheers to a very happy start!

Cheers to a very happy start!

Breathing Room, July Edition

Priorities. Smart choices. Balance. Knowing that I don’t function well when my world feels noisy and chaotic, this month I made intentional choices to use my time to fill my life with things that make me happy. At the end of every day, I have very little free time to give. My energy is given to my family and my work, so I am making sure I don’t fill up every second of our free time. Weekends have been filled with lazy days on the beach. Summer nights have been spent catching fireflies and taking evening runs to the park.

A two-week break from running this month also brought a lot of clarity to my relationship with running. Happy miles are my driving force right now. I’ve done more easy runs with Chet in the stroller than speed work outs with friends. I’ve run more slow miles on trails than speedier long runs on the road.I’ve let go of the structure of a training plan (for right now), and I’m filling my weekly runs with sunrises, friends, and stroller runs. It’s working. I’m feeling renewed.

This month has been a great reminder that I know myself best. I am at my best when I’m trusting my body and my heart.

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Read my other updates too:

June

May

April

March

February

January

This is a joint project with Heidi Calma Photography that was created when we were wondering how we could stay more focused on our words for the year and celebrate them along the way. Check out her posts, too!

Breathing Room (by Room), Summer Facelift

My parents brought a breath of fresh air to my house plans just when everything was starting to go stale. Do to some rearranging in their own home, they needed to get rid of the bed in their guest room. The timing is perfect since Christian and I have enjoyed our cozy full size bed since our lives joined forces under one roof. A full size bed was always perfect. He was always close. It felt cozy and connected. One dog later and a toddler who likes to wander into our room every now and then, our cozy bed has run out of room. We are upgrading. The shift in our room is causing a trickle effect into the boys rooms as well. Cole is inheriting our bed (which also gives us the ability to host guests if anyone is in town), and Chet will inherit Cole’s bed. With all the shifting going on, I’m taking advantage of the time to organize and add a splash of life to our bedroom as well.

Master Bedroom

  • Queen Size Bed
  • New Sheets and pillows
  • New Bed Skirt
  • Paint walls
  • Refinish bedside table
  • Refinish Dresser
  • Add some character. Fortunately we already have most of the elements I want in our bedroom, so I just need to buy the final touches.
bedroom inspiration via Pinterest

bedroom inspiration via Pinterest

Cole’s Room

  • New Bed
  • New Sheets/Comforter
  • Rearrange

Chet’s Room

  • Bye bye crib/toddler bed
  • New Bed
  • New Sheets/Comforter

While making our bedrooms work for our family will add a huge benefit to our daily living, there is one eye sore in our house I am having a hard time ignoring: our front room/the boys play room. We had great intentions when we created this space (read the Kid Cave post here). Those intentions have never been put to full use. The Kid Cave has never been fully utilized and it has turned into a messy play room/place to drop things when we walk in the door. It’s time to reclaim that space and make it part of the heartbeat of our house.

The Kid Cave is turning into a quiet retreat. With Chet inheriting Cole’s bed, we are left with my dad’s amazing childhood bed frame and an extra twin mattress. I prefer items that have history and are well-loved instead of newly purchased items, so this makes my heart sing! We will be turning it into a daybed/couch. The toys are moving out. The books are moving in. The fish tank is relocating. A desk is taking its place. The train table is staying for now. I’m really excited about what this room can become for our family. I know I need a place that lacks noise, and I know my family needs it too. RIght now every room in our house is filled with toys. We need (I want) a place to read a good book, to practice yoga, to play a card game as a family, and to just relax. I can’t wait to see what it becomes. We already have most of the elements we are looking for, so the redo won’t cost us much money

Front Room Makeover

  • Day Bed
  • Buy bedding
  • Move rocking chair to room
  • Move desk to room
  • Remove all old furniture
  • New baskets for train tracks
  • Rearrange artwork
  • Switch out curtains with sheers we already have, new rod above small window
  • Out with the toys, in with the books! the train table can stay
front room inspiration via Pinterest

front room inspiration via Pinterest

 

Breathing Room, June Edition

Let’s keep it real. June has been a tough month for me emotionally. I’ve felt a little fragile this month. I’ve lost sight of my objective for the year. I think I forgot to breath. The whirlwind of the changes that came have settled nicely into place, and I just forgot to breath. I’ve been a little too guarded, a little too aware of myself, and a little too detached emotionally from the things that I love. Life knocked me out of balance for the month.

This is why setting intentions is good. This is why revisiting these intentions is good. This is why it is important to state out loud exactly what you want. It brings you back. When life sends me spinning or sends me into hiding, my intentions, my words, bring me back.

June has brought with it the end of the school year for Cole and the start of the school journey for Chet. It has been a reminder of how much I value my relationship with Christian. He spent nearly two weeks on the couch thanks to back problems. It has hand delivered some wonderful new friendships, and magnified the friendships I already have in place. I got to watch two of my favorite people say “I do”. I got to run miles with friends who just understand me. I’ve got to see Cole grow into a pretty cool preteen while at the same time Chet has blossomed into quite a kid.

In reality June has been really awesome, I’ve just been emotionally afraid. I’ve been afraid of the vulnerability that comes from allowing myself to be seen. I’ve been afraid of failing on so many levels.

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” ~Pema Chadron

My running coach Ryan sent me my training plan last week with a note attached to it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Perhaps that is what this month has shown me most. I have a fear of failing at relationships, at love, at friendships, at mothering, at running, and finding success in my life. I fear failing, but the only thing that is holding me back from my own success story is that of fear. It is always me that gets in my own way.

“Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all answers in advance, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s time to face July face-first and with full-speed. I do not need to fear failing.

breathing room june

Breathing Room, May Edition

May was a whirlwind. It was the closing of one chapter of life, and the beginning of a new chapter. It was a fresh start. May was a month of validation on so many levels.

The month began with a weekend getaway to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I ran a race and didn’t come anywhere near my goal time.

Validation: I love running even when it goes bad. Life is happy even when a races takes a wrong turn. Not achieving a goal doesn’t make it a success or a failure. It is in the stumbles along the way that strengthen commitment and motivation.

I started a new job with a company that is so closely aligned with my own personal values.

Validation: What I do matters. What I believe matters. Happiness in a job matters. This job has brought so much life back to my world.

Through all the changes, our home life didn’t falter. Dinners weren’t missed. Quality time with the boys wasn’t forgotten.

Validation: I don’t have to sacrifice myself to be a good mother. In fact, I’d argue I’ve been a more engaged mother since I became more engaged at work.

May reinforced that change and chaos aren’t something to be afraid of. They are meant to be embraced. Making the best of every situation is what matters.

may

Breathing Room, April Edition

Oh April! You’ve been good to me. This month had been so alive. It’s so full of hope. Life is changing, evolving and settling perfectly into place.

April started with a family trip to Washington DC. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler was a great exclamation point at the end of the weekend. Good news followed that weekend. I’m making a career change and joining Operation Smile. I’ve been offered a fresh start. The month ended with a big birthday celebration for Cole. Double digits. My baby is ten!

April has been about hope. Hope for positive changes. Hope for my children. Hope for a new chapter in our family life. I don’t think I could ask for more than I have right now. Life is good, and a day doesn’t pass without me feeling grateful for the life I have.

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