Lazy Days of Summer?

In looking back at a recent email where the sender had asked what I had been up to this week, I thought long and hard.  What have I been up to this week?  Here it is already Thursday and even though the days seems to pass by in a blur, I couldn’t actually say that I had done much.  Well, I did go to a baseball game with all 3 of my kids on Monday night (hey, $1 tickets through KwikShop, couldn’t pass it up!), ran track night Tuesday night (my awesome running group), church group Wednesday night (DivorceCare), did some baking (banana muffins and brownies – yum!), cleaning, watched the latest episode of Zoo, and finished an entire library book (they’re due on Friday) so I did do something, just not as much as I would usually accomplish.

This morning I made sure I was going to do better than that.

So, I hit the weeds.

This was supposed to have been a vegetable garden.  Although I didn’t seem to get around to it this year.  I meant to.

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Instagram caption: “My vegetable garden. Hey, at least the weeds aren’t too crazy – yet! #keepingitreal #haventgottentoityet #notenoughtime

Geesh, it had gotten ridiculously crazy.

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A third of it was already weeded by this point. And I had a huge blister on the palm of my right hand to show for it!

The dogs were chasing around a humongous wasp the entire time, which was like, 2 hours in the semi hot sun, that seemed to think I was disturbing its area.  It kept landing on the fence around the garden but, fortunately, never on me!  I never found a nest so hopefully it just moved away but it certainly kept my fur boys busy!

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Cooper finally gave in to the heat and wasp chasing and collapsed in the cool earth under the bay window in a section that I hadn’t weeded yet.

I had some potted plants that weren’t fairing too well in the heat, despite the constant watering and their location, so I planted them in this really-next-year-it’ll-be a vegetable-plot.  They’re likely going to die anyway so at least it’ll look nice for a day or two. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m hoping they’ll last longer than that since it took me so long but I won’t hold my breath. At least my neighbors will be happy not to have to look at the overgrown mess that was there before! (You might be asking why is there an old tire in the garden? I saw somewhere on Pinterest that they made a planter out of it so I thought I’d give it a try. I may regret it later . . . )

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The finished product, including the fence, to keep the dogs out of it! Granted, Cooper can jump it in a single bound but it does slow him down.

I worked very hard this morning to accomplish this, then went inside to change clothes and headed to the Y for a treadmill workout with my daughter, who had missed her cross country conditioning this morning (likely on purpose because it was early!).  After getting in my miles (our group run was scheduled for 6 pm tonight, but I haven’t been doing well with the heat/humidity and the heat advisory was brutal today – 108 degrees – so the treadmill had to suffice), a quick drive to MacAlister’s for their free iced tea day (free drinks! Yay!), lunch at home, then preparing for book club. Book club is always fun (a post on that coming up soon!), then dinner, which my son didn’t want to eat.

I feel quite accomplished with today. Is it time for bed yet?

 

Sunday, Long Run Day

The temperature screamed “Y!” but the sunshine and lack (or so it seemed) of wind said “Outside!” Wasting time driving to the Y didn’t sound appealing so I bundled up and headed outside. (By the way, if you’re a Y member, have you been recently? I hate the beginning of the year at the Y due to all of the newbies. It’s much quieter by February when people have dropped their NY resolutions!)

Yes, the temperature said 7 degrees with a real feel of-3 but by the time my run ended, it was 19 with a real feel of 25, much better! My Garmin wasn’t cooperating and, due to a low battery, wouldn’t even reset, so I opened my Charity Miles app on my Android and mapped my run this way instead, choosing Girls on the Run to receive the benefit of my miles. I might add that letting my Garmin battery get THAT low is so totally not like me, but I might add that I (think) enjoyed my run much more since I wasn’t constantly watching the clock.

I had planned on 6 but did 7 miles instead. The sun was warming, the sky a beautiful blue, my tunes (Skillet’s Awake) were on point, and I felt fabulous. What a wonderful way to enjoy my Sunday and put aside the fact that I have to go back to work tomorrow.

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I wore my new race hat this morning. The frozen lake in our neighborhood looked so cool that I had to snap a pic – AFTER my run, of course!

On a Roll – My 3rd Prairie Fire 1/2 Marathon!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy biiiiiirrrrtttthhhhhday, dear Deb, happy birthday to me!

Yes, I decided in January that for my birthday gift I would treat myself to the race fees for the Spring Prairie Fire half marathon. Crazy, huh?! But really, why not? I’d trained for 3 others but only ran 2, thanks to a slip on the stairs as well as running my 1st full marathon in October so why not a little motivation to keep myself in shape as I celebrated my 44th year?

The weeks leading up to the race were tough. Work issues with school state testing, parenting issues and not sleeping well were rampant.  I was up in the wee hours of the morning and no, it wasn’t because I was excited and/or nervous! I approached the morning of the race with an attitude of “I’ve done the best that I can with what I’ve been given and I’ll run the best that I can this morning.” Oh, and lots and lots of prayer.

I left later than intended that morning. Great. Got stuck in traffic and had to park on a side road a long, long way from the starting line.  Good thing I knew where the hidden bathrooms were so I didn’t have to wait in the humongous line for the porta-potties with the other racers. I made it to the starting line with a few minutes to spare as I scanned the crowd, looking for my pacer.  (My goal was a sub 2 hour race but due to circumstances, I thought I’d try the 2:15 and see how my body handled it.)

To make a long story short, my body kicked it in. I made my way up to the 2 hour pacers after the gun/horn went off but my body felt like it could go faster.  I hung back for quite some time so as not to burn out too fast, then pulled ahead.  My 1/2 way point time was excellent and I was amazed that I could potentially make my goal.   In actuality, I BEAT my goal.  Even though the last mile was into the wind (20 mph, gusting to 27 mph), slightly uphill, and took every last ounce of energy from my body, I came in with my unofficial time of 1:57:07 with my Garmin showing 13.21 miles (not 13.1).  To say I was elated was a major understatement! I had beaten my personal record by a full 6 minutes! Woo hoo! I was SO PROUD of myself 🙂  and so were my parents, who were waiting for me at the finish line.

 

My race bib, medal, and evidence of my PR!

My race bib, medal, and evidence of my PR!

For those of you liking stats: Mile 1) 8:50 2) 9:07  3) 8:49  4) 8:50  5) 8:37  6) 8:46  7) 8:44  8) 8:53  9) 8:56  10) 8:51  11) 8:57  12) 9:03  13) 8:01  I did walk through 2 water stations . . . can you tell which ones?

I placed 316 out of 1576 with their official time of 1:57:10 (3 seconds off my Garmin).

Not sure where I am on the course here. Not too bad of an agonizing look on my face!

Not sure where I am on the course here. Not too bad of an agonizing look on my face!

I'm done with a PR! Woo hoo! Where's that Gatorade?!

I’m done with a PR! Woo hoo! Where’s that Gatorade?!

 

Next race? The Run for the Rockies 1/2 marathon in June!

Finally – the Full!

I’ve had this thought in the back of my head since I ran cross country in high school. This past weekend that thought became reality. It took a lot of work, hours, and determination but I’m proud to say I finished my first marathon!

My training manuals. Great information! I followed Hal Higdon's beginner marathon training plan.

My training manuals. Great information! I followed Hal Higdon’s beginner marathon training plan.

I’ve been working with the books pictured above to guide my training.  The heat was a struggle for some of the long runs and I ended up spending many hours on the treadmill at the Y watching HGTV (gotta love those Property Brothers!). Treadmill training is NOT the same as outdoor training and I began to struggle getting it done when I got back on the roads.  Once school started, my schedule got even worse but I managed to get my runs done. It was a roller coaster, for sure!

My challenge t-shirt with my race bib.

My challenge t-shirt with my race bib.

After attending the expo and getting my bib number on Saturday I signed up my hubby and my parents to get the alerts.  They have this cool thing that when you run over the sensors on the course, it’ll message your loved ones your time. Turned out it wasn’t quite as accurate as it had been for the 1/2 marathon last spring but better than nothing! Since I knew it would take me awhile, there was no sense in them waiting for me in different spots all over the course.

So even though there were different bands throughout the course and I was listening to my daughter’s MP3 player, I had many random thoughts going through my head:

  • Wow, those are some cool Halloween decorations!
  • How many pumpkins are all over that yard?!
  • How can she run with THAT (phone) stuck in her back pocket bouncing up and down?
  • You got this, Deb!
  • They REALLY get into Halloween!
  • What a neat painting of a tree up the front of the porch!
  • Can’t these volunteers notice that I’m carrying a water bottle and don’t need their paper cups of water/Gatorade right now?!
  • Man, my knees are really starting to hurt . . .
  • This isn’t too bad after all.
  • What happened to my Mowgli’s I was listening to?
  • Hey Laura and Josh! (In band area at 13th & Rock), forgot what mile marker.
  • Where the heck did this wind come from?
  • Uphill AND into the wind! Cruel!
  • Uh oh, an ambulance. Looks like they’ve got someone (a runner) on the gurney. Hope they’re okay.
  • Love that sign! (Said something like you may feel like crap but you look great). Actually told him I liked it, too!
  • It’s kinda neat having my name on my bib. Hearing someone cheer for you by name is really cool, even if they’re perfect strangers.
  • This is some strange rap music, daughter. I’m bypassing this song. Again, where are my Mowgli’s?
  • Mile 17, only 9.2 to go. Hey, that’s single digits! Yippee!
  • You got this, girl, keep it going!
  • Where are all of these cars going? It leads to the park and no turn around spot!
  • What’s up with the lemon-lime Gatorade? I prefer the Cool Blue. Good thing for my Gatorade chews.
  • Hey, these are the walkers for the half marathon! I’m passing them!
  • 2 miles left, I got this. Thought of guys’ cross country where it told his legs to shut up. I can SOOOOOO relate to that right now.
  • Final stretch into the wind??? Yuck!!
  • Finish line – I’m nearly done!
  • Hey, that’s my hubby & boys!
  • Yee Haw! I DID IT!!!!!

I scored 2 HUGE medals – 1 for completing the full marathon and the other for doing the back-to-back challenge (I ran the half marathon in Spring, too) and lost 2 1/2 lbs.

My medals!

My medals!

I managed to move my legs a little faster in the last 385 yards of the race, wondering what happened with my GPS Garmin that told me when I crossed the finish line that I had actually run 26.48 miles — in 4 hours 42 minutes 23 seconds — not a mere 26.2!  The official results said this:

362nd place out of 631 — DEB DAVIS  WICHITA KS 18 out of 49 in my age group:  4:42:23 (10:47 avg mile) matched my Garmin time!

My hubby and 2 sons were waiting for me along the sides leading up to the finish line with my parents and daughter coming from another location on the course. Being the fabulous photographer that he is, he took some good ones of despite what I thought was a harrowing look of agony on my face. 🙂

Hey Guys! I’m nearly done!

Not quite a look of total agony!

Not quite a look of total agony!

Wearing my finisher t-shirt and my 2 medals. Success!

Wearing my finisher t-shirt and my 2 medals. Success!

So, will I run another marathon? Now that I’m able to move a little better, it’s probably more of a maybe than anything.  Training takes a LOT of time and eats into family time on the weekends when I’m back at work. It’s not much fun running long runs in super hot weather either!

Next up, the Turkey Trot 10-miler in November!

Where Did Spring Break Go?

Here it is a Saturday after having an entire week off for spring break and I can’t help but wonder, where did the time go?  I was really looking forward to the time off from teaching. The time change threw me for a loop and we’re getting ready for state testing which is stressful enough so a full week off was very much welcomed.

I always have a to-do list going for time off and I did get quite a bit done. I was extremely unmotivated to workout this week so it was a good thing it was an “easy” week, per Hal Higdon’s training schedule. I managed to log a few miles outdoors as well as at the Y. I also sold some things to Book-A-Holic, Play It Again Sports and Trendy Tots as well as sorted through some more stuff for the garage sale. I painted the primer coat of paint on the Adirondack chairs but have yet to paint them (couldn’t find the paint!). I cleaned out the flower beds, weeded my veggie garden and raked leaves.  I took the kids ice skating, too, (Tuesdays are $2 days!) as well as visiting with my parents and taking Buddy for play dates with Lillie, their Lab. Oh, and we saw a cool Cops vs. Fire and Thunder hockey games.

We usually go to Keystone over spring break but I was so fed up of the winter weather that the thought of seeing shoulder-high snow drifts just did not appeal to me. I wanted to work out in the yard and see some greenery for a change! So we stayed home, piddled around and took a day trip to OK to see some friends. This was probably, by far, my favorite day of spring break!  We went to Pops, hiked a part of Arcadia Lake, lunch at Flatire Burgers (yuuuuummmmy!), bowling, and then headed to the park before we headed home to watch the Shocker basketball game (Go Shockers! They won!) Maybe I should have planned more little outings like that. Oh well. We had fun anyway!

Our children have been friends their entire lives! Owen, Wesley, Harrison, Taylor, Audrey & Jocelyn at the Round Barn in Arcadia, OK.

Our children have been friends their entire lives! Owen, Wesley, Harrison, Taylor, Audrey & Jocelyn at the Round Barn in Arcadia, OK.

Silly girls! They wanted their picture taken by this "dead" bush (there were blooms on it, you just can't see them here.)

Silly girls! They wanted their picture taken by this “dead” bush (there were blooms on it, you just can’t see them here.)

Malena and I by the Round Barn. Love her! We always have such fun when we get together!

Malena and I by the Round Barn. Love her! We always have such fun when we get together!

Owen and Wesley at Arcadia Lake.

Owen and Wesley at Arcadia Lake.

Taylor and Harrison at Arcadia Lake.

Taylor and Harrison at Arcadia Lake.

Me and my girl. Love her!

Me and my girl. Love her!

Malena and I at Arcadia Lake. It was very windy!

Malena and I at Arcadia Lake. It was very windy!

Bonus – Snow Days!

A partial view of the front steps of my house. You can't see the bottom step at all due to the snow!

A partial view of the front and steps to my house. It didn’t accumulate on the bench but you can’t see the bottom step at all due to the snow!

What would you do if you were given the gift of extra days off from work due to the weather? I was hoping for one – yes, just one – but ended up with three.  I had a great time catching up on my to-do list. The children? Not so much. They didn’t want to go outside (too cold and actually the wind chill the 2nd day was not safe) and electronics dominated their days.

Day 1:

  • a minimum of 3 hours catching up on grading with several cups of hot green tea. That was rewarding enough- just getting caught up!
  • made 2 wheat beer breads from Tastefully Simple mixes and a double batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the children.
  • went through younger son’s closet to find clothes that he didn’t like/wear any more for either a consignment sale or for the garage sale this spring
  • did son’s taxes so he could get his refund – still need to do the state 😦
  • organized basement and cleared off one bookshelf for oldest son who was voluntarily cleaning and reorganizing his room.
  • shoveled the driveway – 6″ minimum of it with some drifting. At least we can get the cars out now!
  • organized the laundry room cabinet, wiped down the units, made new dust rags from old t-shirts.
  • read an old Eating Clean magazine looking for ideas for new recipes

Day 2:

  • slept in – yay!
  • made a batch of banana muffins with the last 2 bananas I had in my freezer (a first for me – usually I clean them out during summer!)
  • made a from scratch brownie recipe for the children
  • taped off and primed the vanity in the upstairs bath
  • posted 3 items on Ebay
  • painted the first coat on the vanity in the upstairs bath
  • did some touch up painting in the same bathroom
  • painted the master bath door to get ride of the scratched off paint from my parents’ dog that passed away 2 years ago (yeah, I know that should have been done a loooonnnnggg time ago. . . )
  • ran 4 1/2 miles on the basement treadmill
  • watched one of my favorite shows, Modern Family, while knitting a new scarf project
  • read my new Runner’s World magazine before bed

Day 3:

  • slept in again! I could definitely get used to getting up at 8 am as opposed to 5:45 am!
  • painted second coat on the vanity in the upstairs bath
  • organized linen closet and added more things to the sale pile
My wonderfully organized linen closet!

My wonderfully organized linen closet!

  • completed 2 loads of laundry (washed, dried AND put away)
  • ventured out on the roads to go to Lowe’s so I can get the towel rack for the bathroom as well as knobs for the painted vanity
  • also went to Michael’s for more yarn for my knitting projects
  • also went to Walmart for a photo I had delivered there to go in my new Keystone frame as well as pick up some more fruit
  • painted the vanity AGAIN including the doors AGAIN
  • lined the vanity and the drawers with new liner – love the red!
  • took Buddy to Lillie’s house to play in the snow. He loves play dates with my Mum & Dad’s dog!
  • went to a Girl Scout cookie meeting – yes! Cookies!! We can start selling Saturday, February 8th!
The painted vanity without the doors. Can you see the red liner? Still have to put up the towel holder and knobs. VERY pleased!

The painted vanity without the doors. Can you see the red liner? Still have to put up the towel holder and knobs. VERY pleased!

I have accomplished a lot these past few days while the snow was a-blowin’ and the temperatures droppin’. It feels good to have gotten something accomplished and I’m more than ready to go back to work again . . . even if it is just for a day before the weekend!!

 

Reflections Of Another Year Gone By

 

This chocolate bottle is part of the chocolate village in the Lodge at Keystone.

This chocolate bottle is part of the chocolate village in the Lodge at Keystone.

This past week while I’ve been frolicking in the Rocky Mountains I’ve been reflecting on this past year. It’s been an eventful year with milestones reached by my own children, the end of a challenging classroom, and health issues not only with myself but to others in and out of the family.

When I reviewed my blog post from January 2013 on some views for the new year, I realized I haven’t done too badly. Allow me, if you would, to recap.

1. Continue to build existing relationships. My very special teammates from my old days at another school are my BFFs. We get together once a month and hang out. They are my favorites nights of the entire month and we laugh so hard we cry.

2. Experience life. I’ve been doing so much better at letting things go and enjoying the moment. I’ve watched and actually enjoyed many soccer games, choir concerts and family events for what they are. We have gone to movies together. Played games together. Taken Buddy to the dog park if not as a family, then as a couple, and enjoyed our time together. Ahhhh.

3. Celebrate special events. Hmmm, other than birthday celebrations we didn’t do anything too special this year. In fact, we didn’t even manage our end-of-the-school-year ice cream social due to my parents being out of town and me breaking my foot.

4. Keep myself healthy with exercise. Well, that all came to a screeching halt as of April 28th when I slipped on a step and broke my foot. I was 1 week out from running my 2nd 1/2 marathon, too! Talk about frustrating!  After gaining weight from surgery and immobility for the summer, I am happy to announce that I am not only back running again, but have signed up for not only the 1/2 marathon in May but the FULL (gulp!) marathon in October.  Nothing like a Back-to-Back Challenge to keep you motivated. Yippee!!

5. Keep myself and the family healthy with proper eating. I have tried many new recipes this year to expand our palates and make our diets healthier. Although some are far from successful, there are others that are absolutely delicious and make their way to our regular dinner menus.

6. Financial obligations. In May my 403(b) was fully paid off, the Honda Odyssey fully paid off in October (10 months early!) and I only owe approximately $300 on my student loans. I’d still like more of a cushion in our savings account and that is what I want to focus on for 2014.

7. House projects. These have been quite plentiful this year! I’ve enjoyed working on the basement, wrote about our upstairs bathroom here, and will be posting shortly on my daughter’s room. Next up, finishing the upstairs bath and working on the downstairs bath. Maybe the kitchen for 2014? We’ll see!

8. Vacations.  Keystone was our vacation place of choice this year, not only in summer once I got my cast off but also in November for a quick weekend and this month, too. The hubby and I are going to discuss our plans for 2014 soon as he’d like to go to Dallas.

9. Volunteering. My treasurer duties with Cub Scouts ended when my youngest son finished Webelos II. I am still a Girl Scout and am currently helping my daughter’s troop with their Silver Award Project. Now that my foot is back to normal, the Humane Society will be back on our calendar, too. Hopefully I can resist the urge to come home with another furry friend!

So now what?

Not to cop-out on what I’ve already done, I really think I’ve got some more work to do on my current goals. They’re manageable, specific (not here but definitely in my calendar/agenda) and timely. I always tell my children to put away their techie gadgets and love the ones they’re withI want to continue to experience life FULLY, not take anything for granted, and love and appreciate the ones I’m with. Enough said, don’t you think?

*******************Happy New Year!****************************

Ice sculptures in Lakeside Village.

Ice sculptures in Lakeside Village.