Hair on Fire

“Well, at least the washer is new so there won’t be that deployment gremlin,” I chuckled two days ago as we folded clothes together, getting him all packed up for what will be our LAST separation. Letting the kids finish up the school year, we are staying behind for a few months while he goes on ahead to start the next gig.

I woke up at 2:30am this morning from a dream that my hair was on fire. Like deep REM sleep to fully alert in what felt like 3 seconds. One minute I’m talking to Nancy Pelosi and wondering why my hair is burning (Um, hello subconscious. Why are you so weird?!), to racing around the house quietly trying to sniff out the source. “Where is it coming from?” I thought, unplugging everything electric in my house. I quickly dial Eric and think of our laundry conversation, groaning internally at the thought that I just had to say something and jinx us! Getting the emergency number for our housing office, I dial them and am also directed to call 911. At this point, they have asked us to evacuate everyone out of the house as a precautionary measure. Firetruck is on the way.

Have I mentioned that our area has been blasted with snow since Christmas?! I grabbed the keys and warmed up the car, then waking up the kids, I told them to bundle up, that we are going to sit in the car with the dogs until the firetruck arrives. I thought of the most ridiculous things, like how the kitchen is dirty, and that if this turns into an *actual* fire, I won’t have to wash those dishes I left in the sink last night. Dog poop bags, gloves and coats, dog sweaters, I get the broom to brush off the snow so I can see to at least pull my car out of the driveway. I’m still in my pajamas and winter boots and running on nothing but adrenaline.

We had heard a weird chirping noise coming from the furnace closet the day before, and had planned to call housing about it. I thought maybe it was a belt going bad, perhaps that was what the smell was? (I know just enough to be dangerous, of course.) The smell was permeating the whole house, so furnace was my best guess.

Firemen arrive and I let them know what I know, and they tell us to sit tight while they inspect the house. I texted Eric and informed him of the situation and he replied, “Take a pic for memories!” “Seriously?!” I mutter aloud, smirking as I discreetly snap said picture.

The lead fireman came out and told me my house needed a different scented candle, that the one I was using does not smell good. Ohhhhh, okay. Fireguy has jokes at 3am. I laughed, and he explained that they did locate the source of the smell to the furnace and that maintenance would take care of it. We shut off the furnace and were able to come back inside and wait. The firemen start to leave, apologizing for wet bootprints all over the floor. “Your house is so clean, I feel bad,” one of them remarked. I laughed again and told them they’ve all made my day. Not only did they compliment my cleaning skills, (ridiculous that that makes me happy to the degree that it does), but also the fact that I wasn’t in fact crazy and they could recreate the smell, and the source was accurate. And of course that it wasn’t an ACTUAL fire and there wasn’t any danger to minions or pets. Whew.

Maintenance arrives and discovers the furnace motor is not happy. At this point I’ve been up for over an hour and 4 am seems like just as good a time as any to make coffee. Mr. Maintenance takes out the motor to take back to the shop to make it happy again. He replaces the filter and gives us space heaters to use while he’s working, because someone invited Santa and his North Pole weather to stay for a week after Christmas and it’s getting frigid in my house with no furnace. Time for Santa to take his snow and go home!

I decided that if I want to hit my mileage/badge goal for the year, I better get on the bike sooner, rather than later, as we will no doubt have a nap in our future or be heading to bed early – regardless of it being New Year’s Eve. “I have 7 miles to bike today,” I explained to my mom as I had recounted all of the morning’s “excitement” over FaceTime coffee at 5am. I was starting to fade and realized I better get it done or when Mr. Maintenance showed back up, or I would have to interrupt the ride, or worse – not have the energy to do it later. On the bike I went!

It was the perfect icy cold temperature to workout in – and I got the planned miles and challenge badge I was aiming for. (Honestly, it’s the silliest things that are motivating.) Year-end goal accomplished! Just as I was finishing up the cooldown ride, Mr. Maintenance knocked, ready to turn the furnace back on with a recently re-tooled motor freshly installed in the furnace.

Crises averted, hair decidedly not on fire, and heat back on with no odor, it now feels like 872 o’clock. Happy New Year to us!

And here’s to NO MORE GREML– Wait!

Scratch that. I’m not making that mistake again!

Good Riddance 2021!! Yeah, let’s go with that.


What Medals and Miles Will Teach You

When I started running, I remember my friends tracking numbers. Things like pace, distance, miles over the year. I remember thinking 300 miles seemed like so many to run over the course of one year. Then I started goal setting. Apps on the smartphone like MapMyRun and RunTracker got the job done, and eventually I got a GPS watch to track my stats.

In 2011, I logged 188 miles. 2012 saw 326 miles and in 2013 I eeked out 170 miles. (Thank you deployment!) Last year I made the goal of 500 and as of right now, 2015 mileage sits at 507. These miles seem insane to me on paper and goal setting is really only one tiny fraction of what running has given me.

Not only have there been running challenges, laps on tracks, fartleks, races, tempo runs, trail races, medals earned, bib numbers pinned, traveling runs, sprained ankles, pain, victory, sprints, nausea, euphoria and more, but there has also been therapy, solace, and peace in these miles.

Running is transformative. It changes who you are and who you think you can become. It changes your mood. It takes the impossible and makes it reality. It offers comfort in the uncomfortable. It’s an escape, if only for the duration of the run. It forces you to be in the moment. Every single time you run, you return better for having done so. Running has brought self confidence. Running will bring out a mental strength you had no idea you possessed.

It will shock you. 

It will shock you just how difficult it can be. It will hurt. It will ache. In the beginning for me there was a reckoning of just how far I’d let my physical fitness go. I had to learn to focus on each little accomplishment because the road ahead seemed just too damn long. Sometimes those little accomplishments are just making it around the block. There are shin splints and cramps and side stitches. Then we learn to move past the physical pain. We discover work arounds to the pain and the inconvenience. Running is a fantastic metaphor for emotional pain. That sometimes the only way around the pain is through it.

It will challenge you.

When you stick with it, it becomes impossible not to chase after that next thing. That faster pace, that longer distance, the next goal. Running will whisper in your ear, “That was awesome. Can you come just a little bit farther? What about this distance? How much do you love me? Wanna go a little faster?” Running will taunt you. “Betcha can’t beat your last time…”

It will change you.

Running will restore your belief in the impossible. Distances or paces just out of reach will become your new reality as you set your sight on the next goal. Striving for improvement will bleed over into every other facet of your life. Running just does that. It changes who you are; physically, mentally and emotionally.

What has running taught you?

Shut Her Up

I set out to run a total of 500 miles in 2014. Late this fall, inspired by my niece, I decided to kick it into high gear and complete a 100 day streak – which would force me to complete my mileage goal. There were days when I really really did not want to get out there and run. Days when I just had to force myself out the door after wearing my running clothes around the house for 3 hours battling that little quitter voice in my head. You know the one. Most of the time that voice tells nothing but lies. Every time I ignore that voice and do what I know will make me feel better (in this case running or working out) the next time that voice gets quieter and easier to shut down. As of today, I have shut her up 100 days in a row.

I shut her up when she told me that a goal of 500 miles was too aggressive.

I shut her up when she said that it doesn’t really matter what I’ll do – I’ll never get “there”. Wherever “there” might be.

I shut her down when she focused on how tired or sick I was*.

She stopped talking when I did my runs on vacation, while moving across the country, and while staying in the Navy Lodge.

I shut her up when she tried to make me feel like a bad wife, or a bad mom because my fitness was taking time away from my family. (As if self care doesn’t benefit them by my not being a raging lunatic!)

She didn’t have much to say when I challenged myself to virtual races, 5K Resolution runs, half marathons and even the Tough Mudder.

And she will shut up again tomorrow when I run 4 more miles to round out the year with 500 miles total.

Fitness doesn’t come naturally to me. That voice and I battle all the time. The more I ignore that voice, the stronger mentally I become. These 100 days have shown me how to deal with the procrastination, the natural laziness, and am so much better for it. I also set myself up for success. If I set a goal, I announce it. That holds me accountable. There is no way I could say “I’m running a streak,” and then not do it. Not a chance. By using Facebook and even this blog – I hold myself accountable.

I just love our running and fitness community.


How cool is it that people who don’t know each other randomly grin and high five – simply because we are both out there doing our thing? I think it’s AWESOME. 10 days ago I calculated that I would need to run 5 miles everyday to the end to get these miles done. You know what happened? People volunteered to virtually run or walk them with me! Who volunteers to help out? Fellow runners, that’s who!!! Knowing my niece was up in the middle of a Minnesota winter running these miles with me, or that my pregnant friend was walking her miles with me, and my other niece who runs half marathons while dealing with Crohn’s  – that and more has kept me motivated more than you know. It gave me the push to the finish and I am so humbled and proud to say I am a part of your ranks. Runners: You ROCK!

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the one person who helps me shut up the voice on a daily basis; my husband. While not a runner himself (even though he can, has long legs and runs like a gazelle – grrrr….so jealous!) he knows how important is to me, and to my sanity. He always asks how my run was, if I got it in and rearranges his schedule to accommodate runs. I could not ask for better support!

Here’s to a fantastic 2015, a new year, new goals and continuing to shut up that voice that says you can’t!

Because you totally can. 

*A note on working out while sick: my rule of thumb is that if it is neck and up, go for it! If the sickness is in your chest, aka, neck and below – take a day off. All my sicknesses where colds/germs brought home from the minions and the germ havens (aka preschool and kindergarten) they attend. 


Today marks 57 days consecutively that I’ve walked or ran at least 1 mile. (I actually thought I’d hit the half-way mark a while ago, but discovered I had miscounted, darn it!) While my poor sick daughter was resting comfortably after a bit of soup, I knew my daily mile was still waiting for me. It wasn’t much, but I walked it around the house, chased the dog, played fetch, raced the dog across the back yard, did laps around the inside of our house, and walked up and down the driveway. Then I repeated that a million times until I’d clocked in my mile.

It occurred to me during this little jaunt around my home that this 100 day streak thing has taught me a lot. More than I expected, in fact. It’s taught me be to be creative. That a workout doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. The laundry and the dishes can wait. The house doesn’t need cleaning first. I just need to choose to get it done. Even on vacation. Even when the kids are home. (They need exercise, too!) Even when I really don’t feel like it.

Making the time to get in at least a mile a day is essentially an appointment on the calendar. It’s become an appointment I don’t cancel. I don’t tell myself, “Next week.” Or “I’ll start Monday.” It’s today. It’s everyday choosing to move. You know what? There is time in the day to get it in. It may seem easy for me as a stay-at-home-parent, but I have plenty of friends who work full-time, have families, and still manage to get in daily physical fitness. It can be done.

I’ve had to relearn in this process that rest and recovery are just as important (if not more so) than going balls to the wall. There is nothing like the feeling of a crazy strenuous workout. You feel AMAZING afterwards, but rest days are actually where the muscles rebuild themselves. If all we do is tear them down during training and don’t allow for adequate recovery, we set ourselves up for injury. I’ve felt disappointed on the 1-mile days at times because it can feel like I’m not doing enough, that everyday should be a beast day. With cross training as well as running, recovery time is essential. I am typing this still sore from a leg day two days ago! It was painful to walk a mile yesterday, and today, less so. Tomorrow I will be back at it, but only because I’ve let my muscles rest and repair.

Finally, goals and accountability are crucial. When I know that I have friends in my corner rooting for me, it helps me keep going when I don’t feel like it in the moment. In these 57 days, I’ve never finished a mile or a workout and thought, “Meh. That sucked.” I’ve felt better at the end than I did at the start. Every. Single. Time. I also have a really, really hard time setting a goal and then not following it though. It bugs me. It’s just easier to tell my mind to hush up and then go get it done.

Here’s to the remaining 43 days!

The Story I Keep Telling

There’s this story that keeps playing on a continuous loop in the back of my mind. It’s the one where I lost some weight, got fit, discovered passions, strengths, and gifts I didn’t know were there. And the beginning of this story took place in paradise. Once we moved, I still maintained the passion, but over time it slowly became more and more difficult to fan those embers into a full-on fire. That’s when the story first started taking root. The one that said, “Used to…”

“I used to be really into fitness”
“I lost 50 pounds while living in Hawaii. But we don’t live there anymore”
“I used to run races. I even ran a marathon once”
“We aren’t surrounded by fitness people. It makes it harder”
“I ran 300 miles in one year a few years ago. I set a new goal, but I’m doubting whether it’s do-able…”
“I’ve lost some of that strength I used to have”
“I don’t run as fast as I used to”
“We’ve been moving all summer. Then unpacking, getting the kids settled into their new school…”
“I don’t have time”
“I’ll get back there…someday”
“I wonder if I’ll ever be able to run at those paces again…”

On it continues as the “I used to…” storyline grows deeper, more entrenched and with longer roots. Here’s the thing; that ellipses … where the story trails off into the unknown – that is the point where I have control to change the story, to take it in whatever direction I choose. I get to choose. I have the power to write that story with whatever ending I desire. As long as I’m willing to put in the effort, hard work and time – the story is mine to create.


I ran a quick little run with my dog this morning. No music, no agenda, and no checking my pace on my watch. The only thing I looked at was my heart rate monitor. During a strenuous bootcamp workout, a cardio burst will elevate my heart rate to 155-167 bpm (beats per minute). That’s where I’m breathing heavily out of my mouth, gasping and can only maintain that level of activity for about a minute. It’s full out exertion. I was running along quickly and felt like I needed to slow down to walk. I started walking and checked my heart rate. It was at 92 bpm. I was hardly exerting myself. Ding ding ding!

The story that I couldn’t run as fast as I used to has been playing repeatedly for so long I hardly noticed it anymore. I had just accepted it. Seeing that puny 92 flipped the switch – I ran. I ran quick (stopping of course to let the dog pee!) but I ran. And ran. When it felt like I “should” slow down to walk I reminded myself that I wasn’t dying. Yes I was breathing heavily, but why stop? I wasn’t gasping, panting or ready to pass out.

I set an aggressive yearly mileage goal. Moving in the middle of the year and January-June feeling as if I had all the time in the world, I procrastinated. I was setting myself up to complete the bullshit story.  Am I having to push now at the end of the year to get the miles in? You bet. It’s just evidence that I am in control of the outcome. Hard? Sure. Impossible? Nope. Not a chance.

When I plugged in my watch to update my mileage I saw paces I used to see all the time. 7:33, 8:45, 9:30….many sub-10 minute mile paces. Today I let go of that story that says I used to, that I can’t do it anymore.

Because I’m doing it.

Day 18

I’m about to head out on my 18th consecutive day of running. My niece over at Hanging By a Thread was inspired to run a 100-day streak. What this means is that you run at least a mile each day for 100 days. No excuses, find the time, or carve it out if you have to, every single day.

With both minions at school for three hours, finding the time hasn’t been too difficult. My alone time has become my workout/running time. What has been difficult is my own head. Some days I get up and am ready to knock out my miles for the day. The last few days – not so much. I’ve felt crappy (the start of a cold) and I (insert whine here) just don’t wanna!

To run 100 days consecutively is the goal I set for myself. Mostly just to see if I can do it. (Plus it helps with my other goal which is to run 500 miles by year end). If I am the one who set these goals, why the heck do I not get out of my own way and just go do it?! Why must I bargain in my head “oh, who cares.”, “You know, you really should rest.” Or “if you’re getting sick (barely sniffles) running may not be the best idea”. Even now as I type this I am procrastinating. Why?!

I think that’s part of the exercise. For 100 days – we have to eliminate the excuses. Get it done no matter what. Battle the sloth inside no matter how convincing she is. (And yes, sometimes she is really good at her job!)

Even when you don’t really want to…
Even when you are tired…
Even when the house could stand to be cleaned…
Even when there’s laundry to fold…
Especially when the couch is inviting, or the bed… Or the bathtub….
Even when you’d rather sit and type a blog post first…

Just run.

And that, my friends is what I shall do! The path awaits!


Goals and Year End Stuff

I had a whole list of goals this year, and many were accomplished. One was to run/ride at least 500 miles. Yeah, that one didn’t happen. (I checked my stats and I hit a dismal* 180 miles.) I killed myself last year running crazy miles to achieve the goal of 300. I felt great though, and the feeling of getting something done I had set out to do was an awesome feeling. As the saying goes, fail to plan and you’ll hit it every time. Here were some of the things on my “to do in 2013” list:

*Tough Mudder
*Spin Certification
*Group Exercise Certification
*Whidbey Half Marathon
*Whidbey Triathlon

This year has been different in some ways. The hubs returned from a long deployment, we settled into new routines, I continued working out, but definitely not at the pace I had kept up the last two years. And I’m feeling it. I actually haven’t been running since the Tough Mudder in October.

Ugh. It makes me sick to even type that.

I know I need to run. My body craves it. I’ve been focused on teaching spin, the kiddos, and being active daily, but not in a measurable way like before. For me, concrete, tangible goals make a huge difference.

Looking forward to the new year, I’m not one to make hard core resolutions. I do like to take stock of what transpired the year before and think about what I’d like to do differently or better in the next. So that’s what I’m in the midst of doing currently. And as part of those goals and planning for the next year, our upcoming PCS move next summer, and the not knowing what life will bring – I have signed up for a few races already:

*Resolution 5k/Polar Plunge (I’ll be skipping the dip into Puget Sound in January, thankyouverymuch!)
*Sweetheart 5K/10k
*St. Patricks Day 5k (Did that one last year with the minions)
*Whidbey Half Marathon
*5/5/5 Duathlon 5 miles on the spin bike, 5k run, followed up by another 5k

2014 has 365 days in it – just like every brand new year. But really, a January 1st isn’t necessary to fulfill goals and dreams. We are given a new start every single morning we wake up. So for my next 365 – I want to maintain that mindset, that each day is a fresh start, a day to work at goals, getting better and making the choices that support the health of not only me, but of my family.

Do you make resolutions? If so, are you able to keep them?

*Let me clarify that when I say the word “dismal” about 180 miles, those who run 500+ miles will understand. For non-runners, 180 miles seems like it’s a lot. It’s all about perspective.

Miles and Other Stuff

I did it.

I set a goal this year to do what a friend of mine had accomplished a couple of years ago when I was just starting out on this crazy fitness journey. I remember thinking that her milage was just crazy! How could anyone with 2 legs really run that much in a year?

I’m grinning ear to ear as I type this: I ran 300.14 miles this year. On my legs. These legs carried me through:

A biathlon

5-Miler Tulip Trail Run

2 Half Marathons

a 10k

five 5k races

a 5k Warrior Dash mud run

…not to mention moving, deployment, and kiddos with which to train!

Not all the goals I set out to accomplish in 2012 were met – I am especially proud of this one mileage goal. I set out to do it and despite excuses, setbacks, self-doubt, inconvenience, pain, deployments, etc. I DID IT ANYWAY. I got it done.

I am proud of that.

Happy new year! Happy Running! Here’s to many more miles and accomplished goals in 2013!


170 Miles

Wow. I just calculated my mileage from and I’ve run about 170.5 miles since I started tracking mileage in September with my iphone! WOWSA! That’s just crazy to wrap my mind around.  I’m excited to see what mileage I will have next year tracking it for the entire year instead of just a few months. That would be an average of 42 miles a month. Multiply that by 12 months and I’ll have 500 + miles.


500 miles on legs.

Pushing a stroller more often than not.

With it being the week before Christmas and all the hoopla (and junk food), I’ve felt very unmotivated the last couple of days. I made it to spin class and our last day at bootcamp class for the year rocked. But somehow knowing that I have three weeks off until January’s session of classes start – I keep procrastinating. Today is my second “rest day” and I usually only rest one day a week. I know it doesn’t seem like much but since I’ve been going so “balls to the wall” it really does make a difference. I’ve also been dealing with sick kiddos which is hard.

I think I’m going to have to pop them in the stroller (bundled up) tomorrow and run. I am missing it. Bad.

And after seeing my crazy miles – I just want to add too it!

Time for bed so I can hit the road in the morning! Happy running!

%d bloggers like this: