I have this thing: apparently I like to scare myself. I jump into things and then figure out the how. I ran track for 3 weeks in the 8th grade and then decided I hated running. When I signed up for my first running event, it was only because my friend said it was doable and dragged me along. I knew I could walk if we needed to, and we were actually doing this “let’s get fit” thing. Running races wasn’t something I thought I could do, let alone enjoy.

At 33 and post-baby #2 (over the course of 7 months while living in Hawaii) I did things I never thought possible. I ran a mile without stopping. Seems small, but it was big for me because I never thought I could.

Until I did.

It became longer. 5ks, 10ks, and even half-marathons. (That’s 13.1 miles. On feet.) It seemed insane, but when surrounded by others setting and smashing goals, the impossible seemed possible. Like, why couldn’t I do those things, too? At a get together during this time, over wine (back when I still drank), I made the slightly tipsy decision to run a marathon. I had lost weight, was working out (HARD) 5-6 days per week, and oh, why the heck not?! Never mind the fact that only a week before the marathon date, I’d already signed up for the Kualoa ranch Xterra half trail marathon. (Trail running DOES NOT equal a regular road race. At. All. Trail running is WAY, WAY harder.) But someone at the party said ‘It’s really very doable,’ as she explained a run-walk strategy. Impossible….becomes a maybe…becomes possible.

Our time in Hawaii taught me many things, including how to set goals for myself, how to dream big – even if it scares me – and that I can be a determined person when my mind is set. With 2020 being the circus it was, and the world in the chaos that it is, family, sobriety, and the bike in my living room that goes no where have been my outlet and sanity.

I haven’t run races in a few years due to injuries that get aggravated when I run over a 5k. After becoming a certified Spin instructor, my endorphin thirst was quenched on a bike instead of in running shoes. It’s been years since I participated in any events, but I still set goals and earn badges on the bike and through my fitness watch. (Side note: it’s the most trivial things like badges I find highly motivating.) The beauty of training this way is that metrics are measured which gives tangible evidence of improvement. I love improving.

Across the social pages along came the PeloFondo event. Riders set a mileage goal of their choosing, and then have 2 days to complete the miles. Thinking it would be fun and something to challenge myself before the next actual challenge begins in a week, I set my goal of 30 miles. Seemed achievable.

But…it didn’t really scare me. I’ve done 90 minute rides both indoor cycling and outdoor. So then I figured I could leave my goal at 30, but then actually ride 50 (because Garmin badges). That way I could play it safe, have a goal, but not push myself much harder.

A friend from the Hawaii days messaged years ago to say she was doing her first century ride. I remember this conversation vividly. (This was after we had all moved on to our next duty stations, but we still cheer each other on, even from across the globe.) This conversation planted a seed.

I swallowed and upped the mileage to 100.

One of the class instructors, Christine D’Ercole, often says in her classes to get curious. Instead of the mental chatter that tells us we can’t do something, that talks us out of all the things, she has this amazing motto: I am. I can. I will. I do. We change the chatter and get curious. What if I can do this thing? What if I can set a crazy-ass goal and actually achieve it? What if it takes forever? What if?

What. If.

I knew it would take me forever. I got ready and ordered the padded bike shorts and anti-chafing cream. (Somehow I missed the padded bike seat cover but my amazing husband popped out quick to the store and picked up not one, but two. He graciously fit one on while I was mid class!)

There were lots of stretching breaks between the classes. 2 peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat sammies, 3 apple pie Lara bars, 2 bananas, Nuun hydration tablets, and a LOT of water got me through. Not to mention the randomness of the post-ride feast!

Not necessarily pretty, but when you’re hangry, anything edible tastes like heaven!

101.19 miles took me 6:30. Six and a half hours. (The marathon time was in this same ridiculous ballpark.) I will never win races or compete competitively, but I race me. (And…. occasionally my friend Bo. He typically creams me.)

3000 calories torched according to the watch. Four Garmin badges were earned:

(Seriously, it’s ridiculous that these little things excite me to the degree that they do.) The very last ride of the 12 completed today happened to be the 200th!

Badges, badges everywhere!

I am…..capable. I can….do hard things. I will….continue to set goals that scare me. I do…finish what I start. Thank you Christine for the words I didn’t know I needed.

It’s been a minute since I set a scary goal, let alone participated in a formal event. I missed it. I missed getting scared and pushing beyond that fear. Because really….why not? And what if?


Deep Images….with Jack Handy

You know that SNL sketch where the verbiage of a “deep thought” with the Jack Handy voice over lays out a bunch of nonsense? That plays out in my brain in real life whenever I am on a solo bike ride or run or walk with the dogs. I think my best deep thoughts while in my head doing physical activity – a sort of moving mediation. More often than not much of it is gibberish and/or forgotten once off the trail.

In an effort to recapture some of the thoughts, I brought my phone along and captured some images. I took about a bazillion photos and since this isn’t an amateur photography blog nor a living room where people are subjected to torturous hours of viewing Aunt Linda’s vacation slides, I will spare you all of them. Still, there are a lot of photos, so you are forewarned. Just know that I did make an effort to not include them all to bore you endlessly. **(Although, if you are reading this within a week or two of it being published, you have nothing better to do because you are quarantined with your family and need an escape. You. are. welcome.)

To change up our routine, I walked with Hippo solo today while the hubby took care of the littles. If you are new the blog – we have three dogs. (Correction: we have two dogs and a Hippo (the middle photo) and if you knew him you’d understand.)

The Hippo is a giant goober. I love him to pieces. Today was the first time he’d walked a long walk with me since his 2 knee replacement surgeries over a year ago. (He’s now Titanium Hippo!) We took it nice and slow and sniffed all the things and ate lots of clumps of freshly mown grass despite the fact that I told him not to. He pretended not to hear me.

“What? Did you say something? I was busy sniffing.” Uh. huh.

Walking or running around this area one must always be on the lookout for deer (there are tons!) or eagles (they fly all around and low!) and even whales have been spotted in our little inlet (haven’t seen them myself but I keep trying)! We didn’t see any eagles, but did see tons of seagulls and this guy:

He flew right over our heads and it was AMAZING. After looking it up (because president of the Audubon society I am not) I learned that he is a Great Blue Heron. Super common apparently. What is not common is to be ready with the camera at the same time as the launch of a flyover. Nature and wild life are amazing and I always come away grateful for the universe winks.

We saw (and smelled) loads of evidence of spring. The colors were vibrant and gorgeous and the cloudy day made for nice photography. I love seeing little flowers and daffodils and the Indian paintbrush native to this area bloom. Spring is always the season of hope, and this year the need for it is amplified.

Maylor Point trail is stunning and a quick escape from my house while ensuring social distancing. From my doorstep, down the trail and back was 4.5 miles of nature and solitude for which my heart and head were in desperate need.

Dog photography is not for the faint of heart. I don’t carry treats much (mostly because I forget) so I have to be quick when the shot presents itself! Luckily today Hippo was (mostly) cooperative. Except for that one selfie, which made me giggle because SQUIRREL.

I love playing with filters, color, and black and white photography. Partly because of the COVID19 quarantine, and due to the weather, it is eerily quiet. The old buildings, rundown tennis court, and not-oft used recreation areas on the military base make for great apocolyptic-esque subjects.

What an accurate photo for our current slower pace of life. We actually have SO. MUCH. TIME. Quarantine or not, it’s the same 24 hours each day. What we do with those hours makes all the difference.

There is a large number of deer that roam this little peninsula. The come out like clockwork and while not tame, are very used to people. They nibble and watch us take photos of them, probably wondering why we are so odd. Hippo still thinks they smell weird and would love to investigate further, but they are bigger than him so he is secretly glad I make him stay on leash.

For the folks who have never been to the Puget Sound, this would constitute a “beach”, albeit somewhat loosely defined. The white things stuck all over the rock on the left are barnacles. Barnacles are little arthropods (related to crustaceans) and they are abundant here! They also hurt bare feet so no kicking off the flip flops. (Not that you’d want to wear flips because brrr cold.) The thing you won’t see in abundance here is sand. Rocks are however everywhere and really, aren’t they just larger grains of sand? Technically I guess we can let it be called a beach even though you won’t find many people in bathing suits rushing to take a dip.

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Author disputed, but credited to Mary Stevenson 1939

There is no question that a dog can carry us through hard times. It is often said that it’s no coincidence that dog is God spelled backward. While I don’t worship my dogs, they are exquisite examples of unconditional love and acceptance, patience, and understanding. This is my visual take on the poem, Footprints in the Sand. (You can read it in its entirely here:

This concludes the tour of random deep (and not so) thoughts. Thank you for coming. Please gather your belongings and watch your step as you exit.

And don’t forget to wash your hands. ❤️

More Than Miles

Sometimes miles drag. It’s impossible to push yourself out of the bed in the morning. Then there are those kind of runs. The ones that are etched in your memory as a really great run. We’ll take 14 “meh” runs just to have that one.

This morning was a great one.

I had my clothes set out the night before, making it less likely to talk myself into another “just 10 more minute” love affair with my snooze button. Grabbed some water, some breakfast and out the door I went.

The early morning, before the rest of the world is vertical, is my absolute favorite time of day. I love the feeling of being the only person out and about. It’s open space, quiet calm, and time that is mine alone.

It was a misty, almost foggy morning. This is the kind of heavy mist that makes it smell fresh and clean. If green had a scent, it would smell like the Pacific Northwest after a long-awaited rain. Hearing the damp gravel crunch and grind under the rhythm of my feet, I noticed bunnies poking their heads out, look at me, then dart quickly back under cover. Birds were busily chattering their morning routine. Nearing the end of the trail where I regularly run, I looked up to a piling about 10 yards away and saw an eagle perched right on top eye-balling me. I stopped and just smiled and admired how majestic (and freaking HUGE!) he was. Some runs are about more than just miles.

After a few moments Mr. Eagle grew bored with me and our staring contest and spread out his impressive wings and flew off. As I made the run back up the hill, I decided on impulse to head in a different direction and popped through a little trail.


With purple being my favorite color, I was stunned and delighted to discover this field that is normally covered in yellow Native American paintbrush plants was dotted with lavender:

The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was stunning to see what I expected to be yellow, covered in purple.

The little bunny was watching me!

So pretty and purple!

This was just one of those runs that felt tailor-made for me. It was as if the my little corner of the world held up it’s cup of coffee and said “cheers!” We are down to less than 2 weeks from moving and I know this was one of my last runs in this beautiful place. Today wasn’t about miles, which are great. It wasn’t about pace, which is fine. It was just feeling the gravel under my feet, hearing the birds getting their day started, and me finding a way to bid farewell to another chapter in this crazy military journey.

The Things I Do….

It has been said that “If you are interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”

That pretty much sums it up for me lately, today in particular. I do what it takes to get a run in whenever I can.

I started the day with a massage this morning and it was FABULOUS! Long overdue and much needed! I came back to the house and the long-missed “ball of fire in the sky” made a rare appearance. After playing with the kids in the yard for a while, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t seize the opportunity to run on such a nice day. November in the Pacific Northwest doesn’t lend itself to nice days like this very often. So inside to grab some running clothes, get shoes for the kids (they run around barefoot whenever they can, regardless of the temperature) and load up the bike, trike, and stroller. And 3 bananas. And apples. And water. Oh! And I now have a Garmin – gotta test it against the app on the iPhone….okay – I think I got everything. Down to the trails!

Last week my mom watched the kids so I could run – and I ran 6 miles. In the cold. And rain. Chilled to the bone by the end – but it was still good! I’ll take my miles however I can get them! Even if it means jumping through all kinds of hoops to get it done….

Today’s hoops included the following: Hannah had a pooptastrophy. So after quickly getting the bike, trike and stroller out of the back, in went Hannah the hot mess. Let me just say this: she had to don her backup outfit because it was EVERYWHERE! (Meanwhile, 3 or 4 other people have parked and ran along on their merry way while I wrestle an now clean and redressed Hannah out of every single mud puddle AND trying to keep an eye out for Jake so he doesn’t careen into another runner on the trail while he races up and down the hill.

Multitasking at its finest.

Here’s our deal: Kids get to ride bikes up and down the trail a bunch of times, then mommy gets to run. Run with kids in the stroller AND strapped in, so I can plug my ears (with music) and for 30 minutes TRY to imagine that I am not, in fact, pushing 80+ pounds! Usually they have no problem sticking to the deal. Once in a while Jake decides to ride his bike alongside the stroller, only to want to turn around and put the bike in the car a quarter mile in. Today I got lucky and he was cooperative and gladly climbed into the stroller. Bribing him with a banana helped.

It was a nice easy 2 miles, scenery was fabulous! (See picture: fall at its finest!) and the best part was as I was finishing up a sprint to the end, a very sweet couple gave me a standing ovation! Well, granted they were already standing/walking, but the applause was a nice touch and a great boost to my run!

Endorphins, sunlight and a little applause made all the “hoops” worth jumping through today!

Happy Running!

The Walk

About a week ago (I think?!  Two weeks? The days are starting to blend together a bit for me lately 🙂 we went on a walk on the trails near our house. We went with Grandma and Grampa and had a GREAT time!
It was, however, a groundhog-day sort of walk. The kind of walk you take with preschoolers. Meandering. Looking at a twig. Looking at the drain. Throwing a leaf into a ditch. Throwing a leaf into the ditch 500 times. Picking blackberries. Getting stuck by stickers in said blackberries. It was comical, fun, and a hilarious 2.38 miles. And Hannah and Jake were troopers having walked almost the entire thing!
I should point out that they were troopers AFTER about the first half mile….poor Jake and I had a standoff that rivaled the one at the O.K. Corral. Sheesh! That boy can be strong-willed. Can’t imagine where he gets that from…..anyway, once he got that we were in fact going to walk the loop and not just turn around and go back, he starting having fun, too!


Grandma and Hannah running along, side by side….most all of the way!



Pit-stopping to do some “happy feet”. (Think football drills.)


Hannah and Grampa stopping to wave at EVERY dump truck that drove by….



And Jake too!



Walking with Grampa! She asked him to carry her for a bit! So cute!




Happy Feet with Grampa!



And she nearly crashed at the end. Wanted to be carried. Can’t imagine why! Two miles on those two little legs was tough work! (For the record, I did have the stroller. She chose not to use it.)





Grandma took a turn!


And of course, Jacob had to get in on the carrying action!
So much fun with these crazy kids!

The Run That Wasn’t

I really REALLY do not like the treadmill. I often refer to it as the dreadmill. It’s great for speed training and blah, blah, rains a lot, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. I like to feel the road (or dirt, or gravel, or grass) beneath my feet. Perhaps it’s because I fell in love with running while living in a place where I could run outside all the time.
So I splurged (what’s new?!) on a BOB stroller. Those of you that have one KNOW how AWESOME these things are! WOW. The only thing I don’t like about it is that I didn’t get one sooner! UGH! Where have you been all my life!? Ha!
I have been round and round trying to find the “just right” mobile of some kind to incorporate the kiddos into workouts. I have the bike trailer, but of course Jake is now at the point where he likes to ride his own bike. Hannah still likes to ride though so often Jake and I ride and Hannah gets the trailer to herself – win – win- win!
But, as much fun as the bike is, my first love is running. So we have been out in the new “ride” a couple of times and we decided to take it out to the trails near our house.
Also – I got these in the mail today so I was dying to get out and RUN!


So – off we went. And then Hannah wanted to ride her tricycle since Jake was riding his bike. I should mention that Hannah can’t even really pedal it yet. She likes to use her feet on the ground!
So round and round we go trying to get her out of the puddles (she enjoys riding right through them!) Jake meanwhile, is tearing it up down a little hill!
I really wanted to get running. I didn’t want to fiddle around up and down a hill. I wanted to plug my headphones in and ignore the fact that I was running with two kiddos. I love them, but sometimes I really miss my alone workout time.
So we played. And fiddled. And went up and down this hill about a bazillion times!
Oh! And then a bee landed on my shoe.
I DETEST bugs. And the ones that can bite/sting/maim I’m especially not a fan of.
So a flick off my new shoe, nearly missing the giant mud puddle.
So as I’m hopping around on one foot (looking like the stellar athlete that I am!) of course there has to be other people that come down the path to look at me like I’ve lost my marbles. I’m able to remove the bee and replace my shoe and pretend I don’t hear them whispering about me as they walk by.
Whatever. They just wish they could be cool like me.
So that was my non-run run.
Thank goodness a day only has 24 hours in it before we get a do-over!
Cheers for tomorrow!

The sun is back… and so is my sanity!

The sun decided to emerge today so without hesitation we loaded up and decided to hit the trail!! (Yes, it did take the usual half hour to get us dressed, peeing, and loaded up!)
Yep, that’s our version of sun-peeking thru the grey clouds!
Basically – if its not raining, its considered “nice out”. At this point – I’m just happy to get out of the house!
 They could have stayed in the puddles in the parking lot all day!!
Finally we head down the trail!
 So much to look at and explore!!
 Not quite the Aiea Loop trail, is it Nina!?
 Fun bridges, “waterfalls”, and ditches!
 Hannah could not help herself – every.single.puddle!!
 And our friend Mr. Slug!
This picture cracks me up! Hannah is walking in the ditch in water that is almost to the top of her boots without a care in the world, meanwhile, Jake is staying on the trail eating his grapes that he carefully deposited into his sweatshirt pocket!
And after about 2 miles – we all got some fresh air, vitamin D and some much needed out of the house time!!
And they are both snoring peacefully as I type this!
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