Listen while you read.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Blah!

I have stayed very busy over break...catching up on dentist appointments, getting Tuff to the vet for his skin, and running like crazy. I have enjoyed catching up on these things and finally feeling a little caught up, just in time to celebrate New Years and go back. Lori and I will hit the road running as soon as break is over: she will complete a week of solo teaching the second week, as well as begin her teacher work sample in math. After getting the kid's test scores back, all were outstanding, but math...which were good, but not great. A teacher work sample is an intense unit, that is very well planned out with lots of supplemental activities, and taught in a strategic manner. So the students benefit is usually greater than just the average lessons.

When Lori is solo teaching, I will set up a little group area in the hall, and pull students out for some intensive one-on-one teaching in areas that they most need. I am excited about this because it gives me the opportunity to work on those areas where a student may not be grasping a concept. I do not take this opportunity for granted, as I know it is a privilege to be able to have this time.

Oh ya, back to my title. "Winter Blah!" Here I go, wrapping this all back together: as I mentioned in the beginning, running like crazy has been keeping me occupied much of my day. AND it has been really cold here in Colorado. It seems like when it finally reaches over 30 degrees, I feel like it is warming up. It has been a long, cold break. So on an up is suppose to be 45 two days in a row this weekend. I am looking forward to a couple's run in the Garden of the Gods...will take lots of photos, and a run with Halee and the dogs as well. Halee is up to 6 miles this weekend. I hope that we have more of these 40+ days, like last year, and the 30 or cooler days go by quickly. For now, stay warm!

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Car

Catching up with all of the new things seems to happen over breaks. On our way to get our Christmas tree (we cut it down in the mountains), we stopped by the LandRover dealership.

Perfectly dressed in our snow clothes, winter hats, gloves, and boots, we were approached by a salesman. We have wanted a LandRover for about 2 years now, and were waiting for our lease to end on our Volkswagen. We told the gentleman that we would go get our tree and stop back by on the way home. So with our tree atop of our 87 Blazer, and our attractive outfits, we purchased a LandRover. I commend the salesmen for not judging us.

Halee and Her Half-Marathon

Halee is officially training for her first half-marathon. We talked with her Doctor, because she is 13, and a few others...and she is good to go. She has actually been training for about 3 weeks already. It is fun to watch her, but more funny because in all of her 13ness, she doesn't think I understand the difficulty of training. I keep explaining that if it were easy, it wouldn't feel like such an accomplishment. One of my running friends, Tracy, said it perfectly, "If it were like eating breakfast, it wouldn't be a big deal." Her perspective of me and my training is interesting: she believes that since I love to run, it is not hard. On the contrary, the harder the workout or race, the more I feel that I have actually done something. I am realizing that most runners are this way, even the elite. We all change our workouts to fit our ability or level we are at, and they are work.

We all went on Halee's long run with her yesterday, as a family. Marc and I ran with her, and Christian rode her bike. The dogs came along as well. It gives our family, and especially Halee, some great time together. I look forward to several more runs with her this winter and spring.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Finally, winter break has arrived. The last few weeks are very difficult for teachers. Just hanging on by a thread, the world seems to crash down, and the students come with it. From getting in any last instruction before break to district assessments, packed full doesn't begin to describe it. Teachers are usually finalizing grades for 2ND quarter, getting their rooms ready for January, and helping the kids prepare Christmas ornaments (in my case) or decorations to go home. Since my breaks are a time to rejuvenate, I plan on taking this one off from doing school work...EXCEPT for report cards if I get around to it.

In all of the hustle, I managed to disappoint some more people's expectations of me. Because I go to Halee's counselor with her, I took him up on some advice that he has given her, "Write down your feelings when you get upset." Such simple advice, but I tried it last night in an effort to unwind from a difficult day, and yet another disappointment which squeaked in at 3:45pm when I was walking out of school. It really helped.

Have you ever asked the question, "Can things get any worse?" Well, every time I ask that, I know I am dooming myself to more torture, thus my break was necessary to merely survive. Part of my survival plan is to begin training by amping up my mileage. Scheri and I are nosediving into two high mileage weeks. I look forward to this time of talking with a friend that truly likes me just the way that I am. If I have learned anything from life it is to surround yourself with those people. I am sure I will write again soon since I am break, and hopefully I will be able to report some happy thoughts! Until then, hang in there, enjoy the holidays with your families, and get some rest...however your break looks!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boston Marathon

I was one of the lucky people that had that inner voice yelling at me, "Register for the Boston Marathon before it fills up!" I researched when it filled up last year and it wasn't until January, but for some reason, something told me not to wait. So I quickly registered and am verified for the 2010 race. Scheri quickly followed, and is now confirmed as well. Just a few days after Scheri registered, registration filled up and closed.

I am excited to go. I have qualified before but never felt it worth the trip to go. Now I have a few people that won't let me get away with missing out on it again. Since the race takes place on a Monday, I will have to take time off of work, and that didn't seem feasible for the past few years. Well, this is the year and I am all set. Training begins in just a few weeks, and I have to say i am ready to be back in a running routine. Halee, my 13 year old, is seriously contemplating running a half in spring. I will run with her on Saturdays, and then go do my long run on Sunday. That will be perfect considering I am also doing another 50M this year. A much easier one this time, Collegiate Peaks. Just a short one for today, off for a run in Palmer Park with the ladies.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


In Colorado we have crossed over quickly from summer to fall. I find it interesting that many aspects of our lives has seasons as well. My teaching year follows a seasonal pattern that is quite opposite from the traditional seasons: the beginning of the year is most like spring and the end of the year is like fall. Let me explain. My students are fresh and new, like baby chicks when they enter my class at the beginning of the year. It is my job to grow them, take care of them, and prepare them for middle school. Finally, when they leave, the are ripe and ready to move onto their next adventure in life.

I also find that my running has seasons. Sometimes I am training very seriously, for a very intentional goal. Other times I am resting and running whenever and wherever, and that is the season I am in right now. I took 2 weeks off after San Fransisco, and was so busy with school activities that I wouldn't have had the time anyways. I decided I am a much better teacher when I run, so I met up with my girls group for a fairly difficult trail run last Sunday. Now classified as one of the worst training runs of my life, I am not sure how great the complete rest was for my body. So I decided I better do a short, interval run this last week. It seemed to work, oh ya, including the oatmeal for breakfast, bottle of fluid I brought, shorts I wore (opposite of all of the things I did wrong last week) because I had a perfect run today. So I will keep my running to a minimum, but try to keep it for the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I have tried a family fitness class - which was mostly plyometrics, lots of spin classes, got back to yoga, have tried new cardio machines, and tested out some p90x. It is nice to be without a schedule so I can try new things and see what I like, and what works. For now, I experiment. Training will start officially again in January, for Boston.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Parent/Teacher Conferences

This week are conferences. I decided to take on the challenge, and now I do realize why they are a challenge, of "student-led conferences." It has taken a lot of time having the students get ready for their big day. Tomorrow it will be here, and now it is suppose to snow. In Harrison, the district that I work, many of our parents walk to the school and may not come if the weather is inclement. Cross your fingers that the weather holds off until after they come. Ms. McCoy, my student teacher, and I will teach all day and then do 17 conferences after school...until 8pm tomorrow night.

The kids are sharing three pieces of work, including some writing and a math test, their favorite spot in the classroom, their 1st quarter goals and whether or not they accomplished them, and getting help with writing new goals. Having the students share the portfolio will be something new for me, so I hope they are as excited as I am. I believe it puts a little more accountability on them...something I think some 5th graders need. (My opinion only.)I am also hopeful that some students can take a turn for the positive with the support of their parents and myself!
Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Resting Easy

My busy previous 4 weeks, well 10 months, have led into a rest period for me. It is long awaited. I began training in January for the San Diego Rock-N-Roll. It was my "fast" marathon for the year and I put a lot into it, including a trainer. I did speed 2-3 times a week, long runs, and just a few easy days. It paid off with a 12 minute PR, 3:27. Then I decided to keep my marathon distance over the summer and add in cycling and swimming for my tri. I actually took a swimming class 2 days a week at 5:30am, yes in summer when I was off. The cherry on the sundae was the month of October...8 hours of tri, and 2 marathons, and October isn't even over. I will take about 6 weeks and do whatever I want, which this weekend has meant a spin class, lifting, and trying some fun new machines. I will also have to watch what I eat for the next few weeks and pull off a few pounds. Since I will be going into another training cycle in December, I like to be lean and mean and ready for new opportunities.

Speaking of training...this time it will consist of a marathon training plan (for Boston in April) with a couple of doubles (long runs done back to back for a 50 miler - 2 weeks after Boston), and somewhere in there will be cycling for a 100K in early summer. We also thought it would be a super challenge to throw in 4 days per week of P90X (if you haven't heard of it or done it, it is the one workout that I can't make it through...) PLUS, Scheri and I most definitely plan on going back to do the Newton's 8 hour tri again, and thus, will need to start swimming at some point. As much as I look forward to my break - and doing whatever I want, I am excited to start this challenging new plan.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Best Race Ever - Nike Women's Marathon

Barely on any sleep right now after arriving back in the Springs around 1AM this morning, but I had to write and let everyone know how great the party was in San Fransisco. We arrived at 8am on Saturday morning (after waking at 3am) and quickly picked out our rental car. We were anxious to get to the "expotique" in downtown San Fransisco. Scheri drove with great confidence, and got us there in no time. As with many large cities, the streets all went one way. So we ended up circling the streets over and over, which led to great site seeing! Trolleys, high fashion stores, and lots and lots of people filled the streets. It was amazing and spectacular, and so much fun. We found a parking lot that wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg, and went for it.

The "expotique" was nicely put together. After experiencing race directing, I have a huge appreciation for the big and little things that go into a race. I can't even imagine how pleased this director must be. From the bouquets of flowers that were color coordinated with the races colors this year (purple, yellow, and reddish pink) to the enthusiastic volunteers to the Tiffany designed necklace (haven't taken mine off), all of the details were well thought out. We rode bikes with blenders that had smoothies in them, took pictures, and grabbed freebies. The weather was great, and we actually had beautiful sunshine. We headed over to the "wall" on Niketown that had every runner's name on it. (I will add pictures later, after Scheri downloads them.) We decided to eat breakfast and then hop on a trolley. The funny part about this is that I laughed at a family because they hopped on and pulled out some passes...I thought, "Silly people, you don't need passes!" Scheri and I were posing, and hanging off, it was like we were in a movie. Only to find out that the trolley takes you to the bottom of all of the hills, dumps you, and IF YOU DON'T HAVE THAT PASS, you have to walk back up! We ended up stumbling across the ticket booth and found out they were $11. Yikes, we decided that was enough trolley riding!

We thought it would be fun to check out the race route. So we jumped back in our rental, and went for a drive. It began in downtown, went north for just a bit, the wrapped around the edge of San Fransisco (by the water) heading south. The route went past fisherman's wharf, had views of Alcatraz, up some hills (ouch), along the beach, up into Golden Gate Park, views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and back along the beach some more. It was the best course I have ever ran in a city! After checking out the course, we headed over to Janice's house, our friend Val's aunt. She was so accommodating and had an amazing house and garden. We took a short nap and were ready to go again. She drove us to the world's crookedest road, Lombard Street. We drove down it. That evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner with Janice at a local restaurant within walking distance and went to a local market. Finally, off to bed for some sleep and preparation for race day.

Bright and early on Sunday morning, or not so bright, we were out the door. Janice was kind enough to drive us to the start. Scheri and I were doing this race for pure fun, and pure fun was what we set out accomplish. Enjoying the course every step of the way...taking pictures, talking, and laughing, we had a blast! The race itself was perfect. We were anticipating a 3:45, but decided it would be more relaxing to slow down and actually soak it all in, so we ended up doing a 3:55. Coming into the finish with NO long run pain was a plus in addition to the Tiffany designed necklaced that was handed to me by a gentleman in a tuxedo. (Did I tell you how much I love the necklace? A girl runner on it with the saying "run like a girl.") We walked over and got a massage, went to the stretching tent and did some great stretches, and finished it off with a walk on the beach and leg dip in the waves! There are some goofy pics to come of me still running along the beach, joking with Scheri about how I could do more running if I had too. We decided to take the "Muni" back to Janice's. This is public transportation, on a track, but not really a train. We met so many people during this ride home and found that San Fransisco people are some of the most friendly people we had ever met. Always moving and going, we showered and got dressed as quick as we could to go to a street fair with Janice. I got some cherry blossom socks, Scheri some souvenirs for her kiddos, and some to-go dinners to take to the airport. Zooming back to the airport around 6PM on Sunday, we arrived just in time to eat and catch our flight. The second the plane took off, I closed my eyes and didn't open them until we arrived in Denver at 10:30PM. Drove to Scheri's and then to my house, and crawled into bed for a few hours of sleep. My birthday is today, so Scheri made sure to wish me a happy birthday at 12:01AM, and I couldn't of asked for a more perfect birthday weekend - or 35 hours, except to have my family or minimally, Marc with me. There is always next year! (Of course I want to go again.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

San Fransisco - Here we go!

Off to San Fran for the weekend. Leaving at 3:50 in the morning and returning late on Sunday. I am running the Nike's Women Marathon. I can't wait. of course I will write and update you all!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Teaching, Running, Teaching, Running...

That is kind of how my schedule has been lately, but definitely MORE teaching! I am in a great place, because I am not really training for anything in particular right now, so I can really focus on teaching. I love to run because it gives me time for myself, to clear my head and come up with great new ideas for my students. These fresh ideas keep teaching fun and exciting. So my point in blogging this was to show that my life is NOT all about running.

This last weekend the weather was horrible, crazy Colorado weather. It is also a 3 day weekend, yippee. So I am getting caught up with school stuff. On Saturday, I wrote my lesson plans and my formal observation that is coming up this Wednesday, then I went for a run on the treadmill. I did a little spin interval and came home. I finished working on some school stuff and then headed out for the night with my family.

Sunday, again, woke up and worked on report cards and an SCR writing packet, then went for a run with the dogs and Scheri...pretty windy and a balmy 22 out. Came back and did more school stuff.

Today, I woke up and went for a run with a group of ladies, went to breakfast, and then came back to work on more report cards. As you can see, my life would be pretty boring if I didn't throw in those occasionally, social, runs. I come back refreshed and ready to work a little more. No, not all of my weekends look like this, but the rewards of putting in a little extra time definitely pay off in the classroom. The kids feel the benefits, as well as I do. I think every teacher should have something physical they do to clear their minds.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Xterra Marathon - Colorado Springs

Me-Pink Shorts, Scheri-Aqua Shorts

Last weekend I ran the Xterra Marathon. Scheri and I decided to do this marathon as part of our training for San Fransisco. A little background: I have always wanted to do a marathon every year from the very first year. Since this was the first year of the Xterra, and it was local, I thought this would be a good one to do. Scheri agreed and so we signed up.

The race: We showed up and it was actually a little cool. We know from running in Cheyenne State Park that it can get very hot, so we did not complain. I brought hydration since I had been sick and feeling really dry when I ran lately. We began the race and "jogged" with the crowds. The marathon was ran simultaneous with the half marathon so there were quite a few people for the first few miles. The course consisted of two areas, looping around each area, and then we completed that two times. So in a way, 4 loops. We completed the first loop and headed over to the second one. Scheri and I were keeping fairly good pace, but still feeling relaxed. We were constantly telling each other to relax and take it easy. We had a few half marathoners with us, and so we did feel the need to push it a little. As we were climbing the second large hill, I tripped over a small root and fell, gracefully I must say. I scraped my leg a little, but avoided the knees completely. (My goal.) We rounded back and finished the first half of the race, dropping of EVERYONE that was around us...obviously more halvers than I thought. We gazed at our Garmins and realized the course was almost a mile long at the half point. Yikes. A little depression set in considering this is an already difficult course, and now it will be almost 2 miles long. We continued trudging away at the course, relaxing a lot more than the first lap. Walking many hills, taking bathroom breaks, and getting rocks out of our shoes, consumed much of our second time around. We passed through an aid station and they informed us that we were 21st and 22nd overall, and 6th and 7th girl. We really didn't want to know, so I told them not to tell us. They didn't our next time through. During this entire second time around, we passed a few men, and never saw any women. We went through our phases of being tired, but quickly snapped out of it. The hills in there can take quite a while. We felt really strong at the end and decided to take off for the last mile. It felt great. We finished the race hand in hand, stride for stride, and with a smile on both of our faces.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My First Triathlon

We won our division!

Pondering my last swim. The Newton's 8Hour Triathlon was a relay that I did with my friend and training partner, Scheri!! Marc and I picked her up at 5:30 AM to drive up to Denver. I had been sleep deprived because I had a sinus infection...which has not been faded by two rounds of antibiotics. So I was up and ready to go. I had never wanted to do a tri before, but since it was a relay, I was up for trying something new. We had no real expectations, just have fun. Of course we wanted to do well and win our Female - Team of Two division, but that was secondary to having fun. When we arrived, we signed in and got our packets. We are required to complete our first cycle in order - swim, bike, run. I had the privileged of doing the first swim. Marc and Scheri have already experienced a mass swim start, so they thought it was only fair that I get to experience it too. I handed off to Scheri in great time. She took off on the bike, not being familiar with the course at all. She returned and handed off to me for the run. (Now I must tell you...the only conversation that Scheri and I had throughout the day took place in a notebook or for 2-3 seconds in the transition area.) From there we continued handing off for runs and bikes. We were doing very well, but it started getting hot. When I got too hot, we decided we wanted to swim.

Scheri did her first swim, while I got ready for a run. I headed over to the transition area after about 10 minutes...about the amount of time it took me to do a swim and waited for Scheri to come in. I waited and waited and waited...and started to worry! I thought Scheri died in the water. Finally, after about a half hour, Scheri pulled herself through the shoot and into transition. She was barely breathing. When I got back from my run, she jumped on her bike. We continued a few more bike legs and then I started a long swim. Originally, I was going to do 2 or 3 swims to catch us up...but ended up swimming until the end. If I were thinking, I would have done two swims, then biked, then swam two more...but I wasn't thinking. Scheri attempted to swim again. The second swim went slightly better, but not real well. At this point, she had my parents, my family, her family, and me watching from the shore. Harsha told me that "she is kind of crooked, so maybe she shouldn't do anymore." From there, Scheri rode and rode, and I swam.

We were running out of time and HAD to do our last leg in order for the legs to count. We knew that it took about 36 minutes for a ride and 10 minutes for a swim...Scheri came in on the bike, after a fall, and we had about 45 minutes left. I asked Harsha if I should relax or go for it. He said, "GO FOR IT!!!" I went out and gave it everything I had. I wasn't able to put my face in the water on the previous swims, and wasn't worried because my time was still decent. Finally on this last lap, I beared down and with my heavy breathing creating a pattern, I was able to put my face in the water! Major accomplishment. I got in at 7:25:56 and told Scheri to give it everything. (I knew she would...we have similar hearts when it comes to competing and I knew she would dig deep and do what she could.) She had to complete the 5th leg in under 34 minutes. She gave it her all. She was just a few minutes over, so it didn't count...but we both said if we wouldn't had tried, we would have always wondered. (My swim counted, just not the ride.) All of our wonderful crew was there cheering on to the end. We were very proud of our successful day. Most people go out and do one tri, but we did almost 7 together, as a team!