Sunday, December 2, 2012

Goings On...

You know the song, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."  That's pretty much my mantra starting around Thanksgiving week and wrapping up in mid January. As I write this post, I am listening to the holiday station (programmed on all household and vehicle radios) AND Mike is currently buying out Menard's stock of holiday lights.

Here's a glimpse of the weekend's festive and not-really-festive happenings:

Today, The Longfellow Lights Committee prepares this year's awards.  A popcorn bucket and Muppet's Christmas Carol will keep us on task as we cut and glitter (yes, I used glitter as a verb).

Mike and I attended an 8-hour Childbirth Express Class on Saturday.  I should write an entire post about this, but for now, I will say that we feel confident and excited about the birth process.  We also quizzed each other on childbirth trivia all the way home.  True or false- a newborn should have 3 soiled diapers before it leaves the hospital?  (I got this one wrong...Mike got every question correct...responsible parent already established.)

To celebrate a friend's birthday, Mike and I walked to our local pub, Merlin's Rest.  Whenever we go, I am reminded how lucky we are to live five blocks away from this cozy establishment.  The place was packed with happy locals.

We're planning a mid-December Christmas Party- cookies, caroling, and eggnog.  I am working on a cookie list while Mike is compiling Christmas Carol lyrics so people actually know the verses.  I am thinking family favorites for the cookie list- molasses cookies, Grandma Jean's sugar cut-outs, peanut blossoms, and my favorite, BISCOTTI!

Still running!  I completed a refreshing 7 miler with Rachel (my tried and true running buddy) on this foggy morning.  I continue to appreciate living near river road as there are lots of places to sneak a pee (more and more necessary as the pregnancy calendar progresses).  I have become quite the ninja pee-er.  Post-work runs are especially easy in this area as the sunlight goes down so darn early!  You won't hear me complaining as I pop a squat...  (Okay, I will spare you further details).  

Okay, its time to hang some lights!!!  More soon!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Race Report: Big Woods Run

Even though this race report from a few weeks ago, I am posting it anyway as it hallmarks a distinct running moment in my journey as a female runner. 

I signed up for the Big Woods Run trail half-marathon with my friend, Rose, before I knew I was pregnant.  I ran this race in 2010 and it remains one of my favorite trail races in Minnesota as the course follows wooded paths up and down hilly ravines.  Come October 2012 and four months pregnant, I wasn't willing to drop out of the race as I ached for the solitude of the tall trees and the sound leaves crunching beneath my running shoes.

Rose and I started the race together with the plan that she would run ahead after a couple miles and I would find her husband after running five or six miles.   The problem with this plan is that the race course looks like this:
The only place accessible to cars is where highway 29 crosses the course, somewhere around mile three or four.  Now if you know me at all, I am just getting warmed up at that point!  Secretly, I think I already recognized this "problem" and I subconsciously decided that I would complete the full race (as long as I truly felt fine).  This is not unlike the mentality that I used to finish my first marathon in 2008.

I breathed in the smell wet pines and oak leaves as I relaxed into an easy pace around mile 5.  Although I stayed connected with Timbuk (the growing Vasich) to see if the little one was enjoying the ride through the woods, I felt more at peace than I had in weeks.  A soft rain kept my skin fresh.  Over thirteen miles, my inner animal rejoiced as my heart pumped, my legs stretched, and my mind focused on each physical sensation. This may sound silly, but I really sensed that Timbuk and I were a team and Timbuk was loving it.

Whereas the first mile is on a paved road working downhill from the church, mile thirteen is just the opposite.  Big Woods Run is famous for this last uphill.  As racers say, the church seems to get farther away with each step towards it.  I was jubilant at this point- passing runners and thinking in my head, "four months pregnant, suckers!"  Now, I know this is a little competitive (okay, a lot competitive) and not peaceful at all, but it did make me smile as I made my way to the finish.  Rose and Dustin cheered me on in disbelief as I waved my hands in the air as I crossed the line.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

10 things for a long weekend

Reunions with longtime running buddies

Homemade Pizza and Bezzerwizzer

Getting my fill of talk radio

Run To Unite 

A new book

Meeting little Leo!

Preparing for Summit For Courageous Conversations

Double feature: Argo (100% recommendation) and Looper (I disagree with this's forgettable)

A pretty make-up line

Dreaming about making my own shadow box of keepsakes

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Small Wonders

On our honeymoon two years ago, Mike and I christened our handheld video camera "small wonder."  We took it with us on our adventures along the Pacific Coastal Trail to the local bakery to the backyard to capture our wild turkey and bobcat sitings.  Documenting daily wonders truly reminds me that there rests an orb of deep joy within every moment.  

Today I want to document a wondrous moment.  This moment is not even close to the most wondrous moment as of late, but a small wonder of its own right.  Months ago, I signed up for one of my favorite trail races, a half marathon race called the Surly Trail Loppet.  I have run this race a few times, each time breaking last year's record.  This year, I was not expecting to break any records since I decided to run the 5k instead of my usual half marathon.  For good reason- I am going to be a mama!  (The most wondrous of wondrous small wonder!)   

I actually only started running again a few weeks ago after a 2 months hiatus.  Each day, I ask myself: How you doing?  Up for a little fresh air and movement?  And everyday that my body says "YES!", I head out to run with pure gratitude.  

That's how I felt this morning.  I entered the race with no plan.  I told myself that I am allowed to stop, walk, jump, leap over trees, whatever felt good.  I warmed up with an easy 2 mile jog and then waited for the race to begin.  

Well, by some weird trick of nature, I won my age group.  A new record for me!  A small wonder.  
So what have I learned?  Well, everyday I've been learning so much.  I feel different.  Motherhood is going to change me.  I've learned that I won't always be able to do the things that I want to do.  There is  a little one who already needs me to slow down and I am learning that I might be okay with that.  But, today, I also learned that slowing down can bring surprises.  

A few days ago, I was reading through old journals.  Here's an entry from high school: "My mom said that these next ten years are ging to be a fast, huge, unstoppable decision-making exciting time until I reach the biggest decision of all, who I should marry and whether or not we should have kids.  Then things will slow dow" (8/12/00).  

And here I am, a little over ten years later, married to the man of my dreams and a baby on the way.  Mom's right; things are slowing down but I am as happy and filled with wonder as ever.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Race Report: Afton Trail Race 25k

After completing my fair share of road races and a handful of trail races, I know where my heart is when it comes to running- in the woods.  There is not a doubt in my mind.  I love the single track; my eye is on the path as I leap over roots and slide down mossy rocks.  My heart sings when the trail opens into an endless field of wildflowers and long grasses.  As my friend Rebecca put it yesterday at Afton, it is like we're kids playing again.

Yesterday, my running buddy Rebecca and I completed the Afton 25k Trail Race.  Rebecca wrote a wonderfully descriptive post (with photos!) about the event here: Miles and Laurel: Afton Trail Run race report.  It's definitely worth a read if you're interested in learning about the joys of this particular event (and how much fun we have on the trails together!).

As soon as I finished this race, I was ready for another.  Additionally, I am interested in the 50k option. I couldn't believe the amount of energy I still had at the finish line.  As a runner, it has always taken me a while to warm up (and the older I get, I fear this will just get worse).  Yet, once I get going, I could keep going forever with adequate hydration and fuel.  This ability opens the door to some new racing possibilities!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Long Run Sunday

These days, Sunday mornings are usually reserved for church or yoga class, but this Sunday called for a long run.  I was going to go running on Saturday, but decided against it due the freezing cold weather.  Sunday, on the other hand, was gorgeous.  The major highlight of the run was discovering some pond hockey rinks along Minnehaha Creek.  I have noticed a few before but these ones were very nicely composed.  If I have children one day, they will be winter sport athletes, and in terms of spectator appeal, ice hockey is at the top of my list.

Rachel relaxes for a moment and takes in the hockey rinks.  She is actually a very competent figure skater.
Rachel and I napping in the sun post run.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Free Spirit

This is one of my favorite Rachel The Dog photographs of all time.  My friend Joan took the photo on one of our longer runs this December, but the photo could've been from any river run I've ever shared with my willful beast.  Without hesitation, whenever we pass a wall on a run, she leaps up and runs along it with a huge dog smile on her face.  At these moments, I know that Rachel and I are kindred spirits.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Years Resolutions 2012

This list mostly speaks for itself.  I tried to keep this list short and focused on a few small changes and goals that will hopefully make a big impact.  Quality over quantity, folks.  I am going to adopt that as my 2012 motto. 

Some of you, dear readers, may be alarmed that I included buying matching underwear on my blog, but everyone wears underwear, right?  So, it might as well be cute.  My thinking is that if one buys a set a month, one would have nearly two weeks worth of matching underwear by the end of the year!  That's just fabulous.  Now, I'll be honest; I was apprehensive about mentioning this resolution on Duly Noted, BUT after sharing this resolution with several female friends and all of whom except ONE immediately decided that they too would make this a resolution, I felt confident that my readership would understand that this goal is not about being's about self-love. 

(Duly note: the ONE friend who did not immediately jump on board already knows and enjoys the pleasures of several underwear sets as was revealed as our conversation continued).

1st Run of 2012

Joan, Anne and I rendezvoused at Minneapolis's Chain of Lakes on a bright but windy January 2, 2012.  We decided that we were getting soft due to the abnormally mild temperatures.  As is our custom, we discussed every manner of things: dinner parties with dear friends, our loyal pets, weddings we plan on attending, drinking too much wine on New Years, relocating to different neighborhoods, the joys of spin class, how long the ferry takes between Croatia and Italy, the dilemma of unused gym memberships, the plight to finish grad school on time, when we can run together again...

So understandably, even when the fierce wind hit our faces as we headed north around Lake Calhoun and our threesome became quiet in determination, we all agreed that running in the wintertime is totally worth it.  The camaraderie required to simply get out of our cozy houses keeps us smiling and warm through the run and, at least for me, invigorated for hours later.