27 January 2014

Home Sweet Home

“It's not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. 
What's hard...is figuring out what you're willing to give up 
in order to do the things you really care about.”  
- Shauna Niequist
The snow. It comes, it melts quickly.
In addition to my running, I'm enjoying some serious domestic bliss right now. The routine of transporting my kids to and from school, managing the household affairs, getting the kids out to play, watching them grow and change and having low stress levels continues to nourish my soul in extraordinary ways. 

Friday, I had a rare glorious day in which the kids were off to school and I didn't have to leave the house. I got so much done I was practically dancing out the door when I left to pick up my boy. One of the things I did was plan out our spending for the next month and that is always a downer as I'm reminded of how tight things are financially for us. But the thing that dawned on me was how incredibly happy I am to be home right now. I'm happier to be less busy, even if we can't spend like we used to. 

It's been a really great week. There's been quite a bit of socializing going on with folks from Westside with not one, but three different engagements as well as a mom's night out. After almost three years of living here, we're finding that deep friendships are really hard to come by. It's easy to look longingly at where we came from, a place where friends would light up when they see us and cross the room to talk. After this week, I'm more hopeful that those kind of friendships will eventually form and determined to keep initiating and plugging away at making those moments of community happen. 

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and errands and receipts and dirty dishes...
I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, 
glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”  
- Shauna Niequist

Now that I have time to read, I'm seeing just how A.D.D. I am. At any one time, I've always seem to have multiple books in my Kindle queue that I'm partially through. I had 6 books this past month, all very different.
The book that has been capturing me the most the past couple of weeks is Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist. My husband and I love having people over to eat with us and this book really captures why it is such a sacred and profound event when you nourish and love the people that come to your table. It's these kinds of moments that I live for -- when real and honest friendship is fostered -- not just the incredible views on top of the mountain. Big moments aren't just made in the extraordinary or the emotionally intense ones, though. If we have the eyes to see them, we will find life beyond what we could have dreamed in the normalcy of the day-to-day. I'm seeking to develop more of that kind of vision in my life at home.

I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting.
- Shauna Niequist 

Another thing that made this week a great one was that I ran the second PPRR Winter Series race (8 miles) on Saturday which showed that my speed work and low HR training are beginning to pay off. Not only was my average pace lowered by 2:28/mile, but my ranking improved. (Full disclosure: This course was a mile longer, 1/4 of it on pavement and about 330 ft less climbing.) Most people look at how far they are from the top; in my case, I look at how far I am from the bottom. In race #1, I had only 12 people finish behind me. This time, I had 23. Yea me! I treated it like a 7 mile tempo run with a fast finish and came in 6 minutes earlier than two weeks ago. Booyah!
Final mile was the fastest
With the theme of this year being "run uncomfortable", I'm getting acquainted with the feeling of pushing hard enough that I'm unsure if I'll be able to sustain it through to the end. Thankfully, I'm finding that I can dial in the level of effort that can be maintained. Now, I hope to extend that intensity to the longer distances required for the last two races of 10 - 12 miles coming up.

I tried a carb-targeted Ketogenic pre-race meal of scrambled eggs with cheese and sausage, coffee with heavy cream, a side of sweet potatoes and apples and a cranberry spritzer. I ate this two hours before so there was no stomach issues and my legs felt strong the whole time.
Pre-Race Meal: high fat with targeted carbs 
After the race, it dawned on me how much ultrarunning has slowed me down. Back in Nov 2012, my 4 mile tempo runs during lunch were averaging in the 8:40s after only two months. This gives me hope that I can get my averages down even lower, if I keep getting after it.

These are days you'll remember
Never before and never since, I promise,
will the whole world be warm as this.
And as you feel it, you'll know it's true
that you are blessed and lucky.
It's true that you are touched by something
that will grow and bloom in you.
-R. Buck, N. Merchant

I can't quite believe that this song is over 20 years old, but still one of my all-time favorites. You're welcome.

Happy Trails,


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