The Doldrums

doldrums

So the doldrums is a maritime term used to describe that place where there is no current. A place where your boat can just stand still.
I ‘m not a sailor but I use the term to describe that place between marathons, between life changing events, between major holidays, …….life. On a difficult run this morning I kept thinking of the word doldrums. I’m there. I have no race on the horizon, no big trip until June, no life-changing event that I can foresee. It got me thinking that it is in the doldrums that you learn to row. You eek out the runs that make lining up at the start line possible. You make the healthy dinners that ensure a good report on your physical. You suffer through Algebra 2 homework now so he might have a change to get into a good college. You switch to weight management food now, despite his unhappiness, so he’s at the door to greet you for just a few extra years. You have an extra dinner out with your dad because the day will come when it’s not an option. You kiss your husband one more time to remind him that in the doldrums of house repairs and teenage eye rolling there is still love.

I reminded myself that this moment was the future that I longed for at some point.

I battled an injury that once made me long for pain-free running. Wish granted. Stop whining and get running. You have nothing to stop you now.

My run was mired down in the doldrums but I changed my mantra this morning. “Today makes tomorrow’s goals possible.”

Life is in the doldrums.

The Merits of Living with Less

As I get older, I’m 39 now, I am really seeing the merits of living with less stuff.  I have watched my kids play with toys on Christmas morning only to never see them reappear again.  Clothes that get donated to Goodwill yet they still have the tags hanging from them.

This week my husband and I are putting in new kitchen cabinets.  Mainly my husband does all the hard work and I add more finishing touches like paint, stain and organizational products.  We’re taking a bold step here and going with open shelving for upper cabinets.  Gasp!  I do know that before we took the cabinets down, I cleaned out all of the stuff inside them and was amazed at the duplicates.  I pride myself on being organized and a labeler but there they were.  5 cans of enchilada sauce.  There were many other transgressions besides the enchilada sauce.  Not sure why I was stockpiling Cream of Tartar.  I filled garbage bags with out of date items and purchases that seemed like a good idea at the time.  I apparently was going to make a lot of baked goods from mixes.  I’ve been frightened of the idea that all my kitchen wares and clutter will be out in the open.  No doors to hide the 9 bottles of red food coloring.  However, I am seeing that it will keep me honest.  Do I need more canned black beans?  Everything will be out in the open and easy to see.  It makes sure that all my food stores are functional and not just wishful thinking.  I’m thinking I’ll change all of my spices over to mini  jars.  

I want a simpler life where dinners are prepared with ease.  No searching for a top to a pan or struggling to assemble ingredients.  I’ll have to update you later on the successes and failures of an open kitchen.  For now, if you’re thinking of some good minimalist reading, I recommend The Joy of Less.  As you stuff all of those boxes of Christmas decorations back into the attic, you may seriously  consider a more minimal lifestyle.

Anyone have a good book recommendation on living with less?

Silver Falls Half Marathon

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A few years ago I read about this race in Silverton, Oregon.  The description touted numerous waterfalls and even running behind them.  Combining waterfalls, running and Oregon…I was in.  Logistically, living in South Florida this race was going to take some doing.  It took me a couple of years, but courtesy of some Southwest reward points, my husband and I made this race happen.  It did not disappoint.   For a Floridian, the 48 degree running temps take some getting used to but it’s such a relief from our oppressive heat.  I never really broke a sweat.  My husband took the photo above as we passed behind one of the 7 waterfalls we saw.  How awesome is a running trail that goes behind a waterfall?

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Silver Falls State Park

The only real negative I could give would be the stairs you have to run up toward the end to ascend from the Canyon.  South Florida is really really flat and although we have stairs, I tend to stroll up them.  Let’s just say I need to add some stair/hill work into my running  training.  It’s on the to do list.

My husband has been a vegetarian for ten years.  On most of our traveling, he’s relegated to grilled cheese or pizza.  However, in Portland, the world is your vegetarian oyster.  We dined on outstanding meat-free food all through the city.  I love Oregon.  If you’re thinking about a destination race, I couldn’t recommend this more.  Silver Falls Half and Full Marathon.  

Be sure to follow up the race with a visit to Cannon Beach and Astoria.  You can see all the sites of the Goonies movie.  Yes, I’m a child of the 80’s.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, OR

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach.

Looking for One-Eyed Willie and Chunk.

So what’s the best destination race you’ve done?

Book Review: The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo

book of Awakening

Before I downgraded my channel options to save money, I happen to flip through and stopped on the OWN Network.  Oprah was interviewing the author Mark Nepo.  I really enjoyed his message which basically boiled down to being present in the moment.  This is something I’m working hard on to cultivate in my own life. I’m a worrier.  I often lament the past and worry about EVERY possible outcome for the future.  Living presently and working to do so has been my life’s pursuit.

After this interview, I ordered The Book of Awakening.  It’s formatted into a passage per day with probing questions to mull over as you meditate.  I don’t necessarily sit and meditate but I run and journal.  Two places that I’ll often find myself thinking over his questions.  I’ve taken away many meaningful thoughts from this book.  I have it on Kindle and can read it on my computer or Kindle which ensures I catch most days.  Without being too “New Agey” it conveys a positive message.  Definitely worth buying.

 

 

A Positive Start to the Day

sunrise

Mornings.  I find most people belong to one camp or the other. There is no inbetween on this one.  You get up singing or you get up grumbling.  I don’t like mornings.  I don’t really feel like I even join the world until the Keurig starts making its whirring sound as it pushes out the nectar of the gods through that tiny hole in about 15 seconds.  I marvel at our technology.  Anyway, I still know the importance of the morning and being ready for the day.  I’m careful to make my lunch the night before and lay out every stitch of clothing I plan to wear the next day.  One thing out of place and I’m doomed to be rushing around and harried.  That harried feeling will stick with you too.  Awhile back, I was going through a stressful time at work.  This got me to thinking about not just preparing for my day physically but mentally too.  What did I do to prepare my mind for the day?  Watched the news as I got dressed?  This was one of the first things I quit doing.  I believe in being informed but not necessarily rehashing all the negative details of every violent crime.  I still listen to NPR’s 7 minute newscast but I leave it there now.  I also get up a little earlier now.  No easy feat for a morning grumbler.  I sit down at my computer, sip my coffee, take my vitamins and then read something inspirational.  Right now I’m enjoying Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening.  It has a passage for everyday and is uplifting and gives me something to think about.  I start my mind with something positive and serene.  This will help carry over into the rest of the day.

How do you start your day on a positive note before all the madness ensues?

 

Goal Setting

GoalsMost people ring in the new year with a set of resolutions, usually the same as the year before, that don’t see the light of February 1st.  As a teacher with three school-aged kids, goal-setting and new years are on the academic schedule, meaning August is our time to ring in some resolutions with the smell of crisp paper and unsharpened pencils.

As I hiked this summer through Glacier National Park and dipped my toes into some of the coldest water I’ve ever felt, I mulled over in the back of my mind what I want to accomplish this year.  Without the frantic schedule of our day-to-day,  one can take a moment to self-reflect and decide what my next move is in self-improvement.  A lot of thought centered on my fitness.  Eight years ago, this body was running marathons. Now, not so much.  I’m happy when I complete 5 miles.  I would like to see that 26 mile running girl again.  It’s not easy and requires a huge time commitment   Not sure I’m ready but time is flying and in about 16 months, I’ll be 40 years old.  I can’t imagine it’s going to get easier with each subsequent year.  So with that said (typed) I looked to the calendar.  On November 2nd, I plan to run the Silver Falls Half Marathon in Portland, Oregon and in June, I am going to run the Charlevoix Marathon in Michigan.  I love the small, scenic and flat marathons.  I like planning destination races as putting my money into it means I won’t back out.

Mary Shelley once said, “Today is always the beginning.”  I like that saying.  In other words, I’m going to go for a run right now and not start tomorrow but today.

 

 

Recharge and Renew

Vacations

So for most of the world, January 1 begins a new year.  Not so much for teachers and parents. We know that summer is that transition time from old to new.  It’s our recharge and resolution time.  My family is getting ready for another summer adventure.  A few years ago we spent about three days in Glacier National Park.  Without a doubt, it’s the most beautiful of all the National Parks.  I knew then we’d return and so we are headed back for a week with our pop-up camper in tow.  A few stops along the way – New Orleans, Austin, Philmont Boy Scout Camp, New Mexico (Have to pick-up my 16-year old stepson), and Moab, Utah.  I long for the cool breezes of Glacier National Park and the reprieve from an over scheduled life.  I plan to recharge and think about my goals for 2013-2014.  When you’re quiet and still you get time to contemplate questions greater than, “Where can I fit Kolby’s orthodontist appointment in?”  or “How can I make the dog stop trying to groom the chickens?”  Mainly it’s a time to be present in the moment and not worry about parenting kids but enjoying time with them.  I’m giving some serious thought to training to run another marathon, a huge leap from halfmarathons.  More precisely, a leap times two.  I’ve done it before but I was a younger and single version of myself with a lot of free time.  A real challenge would be to do it now.  Get that book I’ve been working on forever finally written.  Not sure yet but hope to figure all that out while I’m looking across Grinnell Lake or gazing at the shaggy mountain goats.

What are your plans for the summer?  Anyone else make academic year goals?