Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Running in the Fall/Winter

Okay friends. What's the trick to running when the sun is rarely out?

Here I was, ready to run this morning at 5:45AM. I got dressed, ate a banana, grabbed my iPod, and was ready to go. That was, until I realized it was still dark outside.

Change of plans. I went to our local clubhouse and ran on the treadmill instead. Remember, mine is broken. I HAD NO DESIRE TO RUN ON THE TREADMILL!!! Cranking out those three miles this morning was torture! Normally I don't mind running on my treadmill, but when you are prepared to run outside, it is hard to shift your mindset.

So, how do you run outside when it is dark most of the time? Do I have to buy one of those dorky headlights? Are there paths you know of that are lit?


Monday, August 29, 2011

Change is Hard

Today I started back to work. And that was hard.

Let me be clear. I LOVE TEACHING. I cannot imagine my life without a classroom. Really, I can't.

But at the same time, change is hard. I have spent most of my summer loving on my kids, and today that was Gail's job. Even though my kids have been going to day care for a few school year's now, I cried when I dropped them off. For the mothers who tell you it gets easier. They're lying!

Thankfully I got two huge hugs when I picked them up. And another one when we got home.

Going back to work has also put a damper on my running schedule. I'm TIRED. I don't want to run. But at the same time I do. Did I mention I broke my treadmill? So, now I can only run outside. Since summer is ending and fall is starting, I can no longer run outside past 8. And dude, I am NOT getting up to run before school. So, while I wait for my treadmill parts to arrive, I have to be super efficient with my time so that I am ready to walk out the door when two little G's go to bed. I don't do well with that.

Did I mention change is hard?

But alas. School is back in session. I will continue to run. It's just taking me more time to get used to it than I would like!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Final Days of Summer

We are living it up in the Dunigan House this week! With only a few days left before I start Teacher Workshop, I am trying to cram in lots of fun! Yesterday we went bowling and to Bunker Beach.

What's in store today? Swimming. Haircut. Park. Run.

So excited to go for a run with Griffin. He has asked me twice this week, but my legs just didn't want to go. Today's the day!

Pretending fall isn't right around the corner...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Race Re-cap

Nick and Becca were at Mile 11 and the Finish

My little track star...

My cheering crew :)

Holly and Me...can you tell we are tired?

The aftermath of running 13.1 miles :(

Sunday Evening---feeling less exhausted :)

Celebrating with Holly...drinking peach daiquiris!

Yesterday, I ran the Minneapolis Half Marathon as part of Team World Vision. Last year was my first ever half marathon; this was my second. Click here if you want to read last year's race re-cap:) I warn you...this re-cap is ALL OVER THE PLACE!

My emotions about yesterday are still all over the place. I oscillate from being ridiculously upset to being happy. It was no secret that my goal was to finish this race in under 2 hours. I followed two training plans for a total of 18 weeks, and I kept a pretty good running schedule during the school year. While I never ran more than five or six miles at a time during the school year, I went into this year's summer training at a much better spot than I did last year. Last year, I was a rookie. Don't get me wrong...I am still a novice runner, but I had WAY more experience going into this year than I did last year. But alas, I did not reach my goal. Official Time: 2.00:32. Yep. I missed my goal by a whopping 33 seconds. This is where the anger comes in. At mile 11, I will still on track to finish with a minute to spare. So with only 2 miles left, I crashed and lost too much time. I can blame a few things, one being that my watch failed me, but the reality is, I KNOW I could have gone 33 seconds faster. Because of that, I am mad.

Despite my frustrations with the time, I am still pretty happy with the race, though. In one year's time, with no professional guidance or training, I dropped over 9 minutes off of my time. I have two kids, teach full time, and go to school, yet for an entire year I kept up with running. Friends and family made it possible for me to raise over $800 dollars for World Vision. My fundraising page is still open for another two weeks, so if you want to, CLICK HERE. I also got my friend Holly into running, and she had an incredible performance yesterday!
I think I am most proud that I ran 13.1 miles without stopping to walk once. Last year I stopped to walk a few times for a minute, and I came to complete stops (only for a few seconds) at way too many water stations. This year, I only grabbed water at three stations, and I never fully stopped. Last time I thought I was going to die after the big hill around mile 6. This time around I thought, "That wasn't as bad as I remembered." Last race I thought I was going to have to stop and quit. This time around, I felt good. I was tired, and my legs were like jello by the end, but I never felt like I wasn't going to cross that finish line. So, despite the fact that I am disappointed in my final time, I can still hang my hat on a few accomplishments.

Here are a few things I learned from yesterday:
  • If you properly hydrate the day before, there is no need to grab water before mile 6.
  • I need to figure out how to go down hills properly. My knee KILLS when I go down hills. Going down a hill seems to energize other runners, yet it makes me have to slow down.
  • Dynamite is a perfect song for a pick me up!
  • Around mile 8 or 9 is a must for people cheering on runners. Seeing my family at that point really boosted my spirits.
  • Training primarily outside prepares you much better than the treadmill.
  • STRETCH as much as possible after the race.
  • In my head during the whole race, I planned to go ALL OUT the last .1 of the race. Bad idea. After 20 seconds of going all out, I almost vomited all over my friend Jill towards the finish. Instead, I plan to try and pick it up just a little for the last mile.
  • I am going to follow a slightly differently training plan next time. I need to finish with a 12 mile run as my last long run or do a few more 10 or 11 mile runs than just one.
Today is hard. My body is TIRED, and my knee is in more pain than I want to admit. Yet, I just sign up for two more races this fall, one 10K and one 5 miler. Running is a part of my life now. And I am happy that it is becoming part of Griffin's. On the day of my 10K, he is participating in a kid's 1K. He is pretty stoked to get a race bib and a t-shirt :) I am also already registered for this race in 2012. I am committed to breaking that two hour mark!

To all of you have helped make yesterday's race possible, I thank you. I want to especially acknowledge those of you who donated to World Vision. It was an honor to run with your names on my arms. Praying for each of you during the race was a great way to keep me focused on the big picture. It is through Him that all of this is possible.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words...

And this one pretty much sums up Grayson!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting Anxious

In five short days, I will be running my second half marathon. How am I feeling? Nervous, Anxious, Excited, and Pleased. Am I allowed to admit that last one?

I am nervous because I REALLY REALLY want to meet my time goal, which is to finish in under two hours. I don't care if if I finish in 1:59.59. I just want to see a one and not a two. My last long run went amazingly well, so I am hopeful. I am, however, trying to not focus on the time too much. Will I be disappointed if I am slower than that? FOR SURE. But, I know that merely training and running 13.1 miles while having two small children is an accomplishment. I have also raised money for an incredible cause. I am honored to run in support of World Vision, and I am super thankful that friends and family have donated on my behalf. Click here to visit my fundraising page.

Fundraising has also left me anxious. I have not quite met my goal yet, and I want to make sure that I do. I only have a little over one hundred dollars left, so hopefully by Sunday I can make it! I am also anxious because I know that many friends and family members are holding me accountable for this race. I want to have fun, but I also want to make sure I do a good job! The weather for race day is also causing me anxiety. Praying that the predicted weather is true!

I am excited for so many things come race day. I am thrilled to be able to pray for my sponsors. Most of my forearms will be covered in names, and I am stoked to send up so many prayers for some amazing people. My favorite part of last year's race was the amount of spectators. Last year (and I am assuming this year will be the same) my name was on my race bib, so people I didn't even know would cheer for me and yell out my name. My family and a few friends also came out for the race, and their presence was crucial to my success. I can't wait to wave to Griffin and Grayson! I am also excited for the post-race fun. While I won't be drinking the free beer, I know that I will take part in some of the other festivities. Lastly, I am BEYOND excited to celebrate with my dear friend Holly. This is her first half marathon, and she has done an incredible job with training in the midst of some of some pretty difficult stuff. I can't wait to give her a BIG sweaty hug at the finish line :)

And if I am honest, I am pleased with what training has done for me. Training has been hard at times, especially with school and two small kids. Yet, during the 18 weeks of my two training guides, I only missed two runs. And technically, if you count the extra times I ran during my little competition back in May, I didn't miss any :) I am also so pleased with the amount of prayer/quiet time running has afforded me. I rarely get alone time, but running has thrust quite a bit of "me time" into my life. It is amazing how much thinking and praying one can get done during an hour long run. I even drafted a five page paper during one of my runs. (In my head of course.) So, while I plan to take a week off from running, I know that I will continue. I LOVE going on runs with Griffin, and I am forever addicted to the Runner's High after completing a good, hard run.

FIVE more days. I can do it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bowling Party

Griffin and Peter---They share the same birthday!

Emma and Griffin doing the CHICKEN DANCE!
Grayson wasn't a fan of the cosmic bowling...
Love that smile :)
The party crew

Grandma Laurie, Griffin, and Baby Jackson
Me, My mom, and Baby Jackson
Missy and Holly---I couldn't ask for better friends!
Griffin with the Birthday DJ
Mommy, Daddy, and GRIFFIN!
Today was Griffin's birthday party with friends. Not everyone could come due to a variety of circumstances, but those who did, had a ball. (Pun intended!) I would definitely recommend Brunswick Zone for any birthday party!

Let's Celebrate at the MOA!!!

Loving his presents from family!

Can you tell he is excited to be five???
A little nervous about his first big roller coaster...

All smiles at the end!

Big enough for ANOTHER big roller coaster...
Grayson and Grandma Laurie
My little man :)
We started out the day with presents and a cupcake. Then we went to the MOA after the Summit. Kids get a free unlimited ride wristband on the day of their birthday. We had a blast celebrating with the kids on Thursday night!!!

Best Quote from Griffin's Birthday

On the morning of his birthday, I had to wake up Griffin early so I could get to a conference. I was encouraging him to get out of bed and go open his presents. His response was this:

"Hold on. I have to check if I am taller." (Stands up to look himself up and down.) "Yep, so much taller than when I was four!"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Griffin!

Dear Griffin,

Five years ago today, I earned the best title I have to date, "Mother." Five years ago today, I welcomed you into my arms. I couldn't believe you were FINALLY here, and you were mine forever. As I held your gooey, slimy body against my chest, my heart grew to love you more than I ever thought possible. If you listen closely to the video your daddy took when you were born (I wouldn't let him press play until you were placed on my chest), I kept repeating "You are finally here. I can't believe you are mine, and I will love you forever." You rocked our world, little man. And our lives haven't been the same since.

As I watch you grow, my heart bursts a little more with love. It's interesting how the heart works. Just when I think my heart is to the max, I begin to love you, your brother, and your dad even more than I did the day before. I am so proud of the little man you are becoming. It makes me so proud to watch you use your manners, comfort your brother, and be helpful at church, day care, etc. I am amazed at how much you care for others and how much you notice about the world around you. Today you turn five, yet sometimes I swear you are a grown-up.

In a few short weeks, your world will be forever changed as you enter Kindergarten. This is bittersweet for me. As a teacher, I am psyched to watch my first born son enter school. As a mommy, I am sad that you are growing up so fast. How is that I am a mom to a kindergartener? Is it really possible? Alas, it is. You are so excited for school, and I hope that never changes. Just a few weeks ago you asked me if I could buy you a shirt that says "I love school." I haven't found one yet, but it made me smile when you asked for it!

Currently you are OBSESSED with Star Wars. While you have only seen a few scenes from the actual movie, you are familiar with the characters because of the Wii game. You are constantly asking to play Star Wars, and for your birthday, you asked for anything Star Wars or Transformers. You also like Rescue Heroes. You still love Mario Brothers, and you are so fun to watch when you pretend play. You are learning sight words, and you love to count to 100. You still need my help with a few of the higher digits, but your face lights up when you finally reach ONE HUNDRED!!! The two of us have been reading Magic Tree House books together. We almost read an entire book in ONE SITTING! Your love languages are Words of Affirmation and Physical touch, and you definitely know how to love others using your languages. I am constantly told what a wonderful mommy I am, and you ask to cuddle often:) You still sleep with the same Bear-Bear you have had since you were a baby, and that makes me smile. It's a little reminder that although five seems so old, you are still a little boy. My little boy.

Happy Birthday, Griffin! May you continue to grow strong in your faith and love others like Jesus!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sparkling Clean

My mom came to visit us last night. And guess what? My house is starting to Sparkle. It's true. Just today my mom magically made the inside of my microwave sparkle. Ask Griffin. Even he called her magical.

Yep, it's true. My mom loves to clean, and I am NOT ASHAMED to let her clean my otherwise messy house.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Beyond Excited!!

Fell asleep within minutes of leaving!!

Our wristbands to enter the parks!

This past weekend, we went to Oshkosh to visit Grandpa Lloyd and Sharlene. We then made our way to Door County to celebrate Brian's Wedding. On the way home, Brandon surprised us with a night's stay at the Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. I didn't have my camera, so the above photos will have to do. Had I brought my camera, here are a few things I would have taken a picture of:
  • Griffin going down the HUGE slide on a mat
  • Griffin's face when he realized we were in the Dells
  • Grayson being dumped with water underneath the Dinosaur Bucket
  • Griffin and Grayson playing in the GINORMOUS jacuzzi tube in our room
  • Griffin and Brandon playing in the Wave Pool
  • Grayson crawling around like a caterpillar in the zero depth entry pool