Category Archives: Uncategorized

Momming…is that a thing?

So, my last post was about the Ambassador role I was awarded with Skirt Sports…and my shock that I was selected. In that post, which I realize you can go back and read for yourself, I mentioned the three teenage ‘daughters’ that I have in my home, only one that I gave birth to. I take this parenting thing quite seriously.

So, the foster child is what this post is about.

Ok, not really the child herself (she is 17, hardly a child…more like a young adult). I am really frustrated with the ‘system’ and how we, collectively, as humans, don’t take care of each other!

So, as you can imagine, a 17 year old who has been in 4 homes since school started, probably has some stress. I am a firm believer in counseling…we all need to have a safe place to talk and a person to help us with ways to manage those stresses. The ‘system’ has failed this young lady, and my family. I have been requesting the paperwork/permission to get her counseling for almost a month…and nothing. So, I keep pushing.

Don’t get me started on medication, or doctor appointments…

So, why are we failing our children? Why are there so many in foster care? Why am I hearing that in Rockford, IL there are 2500 homeless TEENS! (I couldn’t find this statistic cited, but mentioned by a not-for-profit focused on helping homeless teens) I realize that even the teen living with me is considered homeless, so the definition isn’t clear for those of us not working with children.

I can’t explain to you how frustrated I am with the amount of potential places for these kids to live, and, well, how selfish we, as a community seem to be.

I hope that we all learn from the experience, and, if my soapbox finds some way for me to be an activist…you may hear from me again.

Side note: My initial intent with this blog was for it to be about running. I am seeing an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow about my Achilles, and am really nervous. I have never had a surgery in my life…

Additionally, if you know anything about me or parenting…I am running a lot. Mostly in my car, between 3 different high schools, and 2 different sporting teams, as well as sponsoring a club, and being a graduate student at Northern Illinois University. So…I am running…

Pics from the weekend…(gotta end on a high note, right?) Random goofiness, and proud mama photos…

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Me, an Ambassador?!?

I am super excited to share that I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador for 2018! I have never been an Ambassador for anything, well, anything official. I mean, I try to live my life so people know what I represent.

I am an ambassador for children, and specifically girls. I spend a lot of my time, well, probably 99% of my day, supporting and encouraging the girls in my life.

  • I have a 14 year old daughter who loves volleyball and track. I support her growth in those activities, alongside her desire to have amazing grades! She is 10x the girl I was at her age, and every day, she impresses me more. I strive to give her all of the support and encouragement she needs, every day of her life…
  • We have a 17 year old exchange student from China. Learning about her culture is an ongoing experience. (Don’t mess with Chinese New Year!) When she started living with us, I used my English as a Second Language education to help prepare my family (don’t talk loud, or crazy slow…but don’t talk like an auctioneer either! She has to translate every word!). I also found myself trying to support her school with the academic tools they needed. I knew that the teachers had asked for assistance with working with foreign students, but, to my surprise, had been (and still aren’t) given little training. I was and still am a support for her.
  • Two weeks ago, we took in a 17 year old foster daughter. Wow…the things this girl has gone through! Our plan/thought was that we were providing a safe place for her, so she could continue to be successful, just a few months from graduation. Three teenage girls in one house…none of them related. Pray for my husband.
  • I work in a high school, as a librarian. Students come to us for EVERYTHING…well, not math help, if they know me! 🙂 (We do have calculators though!) I have learned about scholarships, essay writing, job applications, FASFA, college applications…as well as have calmed down and encouraged students daily. Many come to us and call us their “school mom” because we can encourage and support them at school! We love to see them succeed…and get to celebrate their successes with them also!

So, to be selected as an Ambassador to Skirt Sports, a company that encourages and inspires women of all shapes and sizes, is quite an honor. The timing of this doesn’t escape me either…I am COMPLETELY overwhelmed with life. My Achilles has me in a stagnant place with regards to my exercise life, and I have been finding myself not as happy as I would like to be. By focusing my efforts on encouraging and supporting others through this company, I can already see my happy numbers climbing!

So, if you get a chance, check out the website, and go shopping! http://www.skirtsports.com And use my code 727PRIM to get a 15% discount.

Achilles…

My left foot/ankle/leg has been giving me a hard time since I started running, in 2012. It has been an ongoing struggle to overcome the pain, from plantar fasciitis, to Achilles tendonitis, I run, PT, recover, run, PT…on and on and on…

So…I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. I’m scared, nervous, and… looking forward to a decision. Will I run again? Will I need surgery? If I do, how long will it take to recover?

February starts with plenty of questions… hopefully I will have answers before March.

Princess…

Wow. What a weekend.
Friday was Career Day at work. It was a great success (from my vantage point). So many visitors sharing about their professions. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and everyone seemed to learn a lot, adults included.

I cried.

Saturday I ran a 9 mile trail run through icy and snowy terain. It was cold. I ran with newer friends and we really had a good time.

Meanwhile,  in Florida, my friend from high school was running the first part of the Glass Slipper Challenge, a challenge I participated in last year.

Today, was the Princess Half Marathon (Part two of the Glass Slipper Challenge). My friend Tammy Alexander signed up to run this with me last year, but couldn’t.  Cancer was attacking her bones and it was just too painful to travel. I am having an emotional day, thinking about her. Lots of tears.
The school district chose two pictures from our Career Day to put on their home page…both were people I met after Tammy’s death, in an effort to raise Lung Cancer Awareness.  I cried when I saw it.
Too many coincidences. What does God want me to do? What is He trying to say?
I am not good with His subtle messages.
I miss her.

Sorry for the disorganized post. I was hopeful that the rambling would help me…

Next year, I hope to go back to the Princess Half, and run with one Tammy to honor another. #R42

2014: What I learned about myself (Runner, edition)

I like to reflect upon things and learn from them.  I haven’t really been a “runner” for long, but this past year I ran the entire time…no injuries!  That in itself is a huge accomplishment.  However, I have three overriding themes for 2014, with regards to my running life:

1. I am stronger than I think I am.

Seriously. I set a goal in January, to run one half marathon every month…not 12 in a year, one every month.  In Northern Illinois, January, February, and December are a risk.  I did it though.  I accomplished that goal! In addition, I ran the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World, my first TWO full marathons (Green Bay, WI http://www.cellcomgreenbaymarathon.com, and Madison, WI http://www.madisonmarathon.org), and my first Ragnar Relay. It’s been quite a ride, and let me tell you, the training for that final marathon and December half were quite lacking.  I was tired.

2. I get by with a little help from my friends. (AKA…I need my run buddies!)

I didn’t run a single race alone.  I have a wonderful group of supportive run friends from all over Wisconsin and Illinois.  Not to mention the friends I have made on Twitter through #Runchat.  I am a very Blessed person.  Most of the races were with my husband, Steve, and when he couldn’t run, he was supportive of every race I did.  He is amazing and I am fortunate to have his support in everything I do.

However, November and December were particularly hard for me with regards to training.  My closest run pal broke her leg, another run pal had a hip injury, still another had ACL surgery, and Steve pulled a muscle in his calf.  I really dislike the treadmill, and have a hard time motivating myself to run on it.  I really missed having my run pals around.

3. I will never, ever run alone again. wpid-img_219556771533955.jpeg

In August, my dear friend, and upcoming runner, Tammy Alexander passed away after battling lung cancer.  As a non-smoker, and someone who was working on improving her health at the time of the diagnosis, this seemed particularly unfair and angered me a lot.  I heard a song by Matthew West called “Do Something” and decided that rather than being angry and paralyzed, I should help Tammy as best I could.  I started running every run for her. #R42 (Running 4 Two, a moto I now live by, started by http://www.annieslocker.org).  She wanted to badly to run that Princess Half, and couldn’t.  She wanted to do Ragnar and couldn’t.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the Madison Marathon was November 9.  I ran for her, in her running shoes, and Team Lung Love (www.myteamlunglove.org), to raise awareness for the illness.  Steve, of course, ran with me.  I had a horrible time training, and just wanted the race over with because I didn’t feel I had given what I needed to be prepared.  That morning, Steve fell behind me, and usually catches up (but I have apparently been getting faster, who knew?!).  I ran the majority of the second half of the race alone…except I wasn’t alone.  At mile 19, Steve said he wasn’t going to finish.  He asked me to call on Tammy.  I did. I let him run a little ahead of me, looked at his calf where the pain was, and asked Tammy (and God) to help him finish.  About 10 min later he said he didn’t hurt anymore.  We both finished together, and I took 40 minutes off of my time from my May marathon!

I believe Tammy was with me.  I believe she kept me strong.  I believe that she is ALWAYS running with me (yes, I talk to her).  Her parents were at the finish line of the race, cheering us in as we crossed.  The official pictures even have them in it.  I am not sure if I am describing this whole scenario in a way that someone who hasn’t lived it can understand, but I need the world to know, we get our strength from internal, and external sources.  Tammy lives on in my heart…and my shoes! Love you my sole sister!

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Marathon training on a treadmill?!?!

Seriously?

I made the commitment to do my first marathon in May at the and I am really nervous. I am a wife, mom, fulltime teacher, and taking 6 credits of graduate school this spring, and I signed up to run 26.2 miles at one shot. What am I thinking?!?! So, I recruited my husband, and my Twitter/ friend, Tiffany, to give me support and a training plan! The plan started today.

Today. My first run (with a marathon goal). And, it is -6 outside…before windchill. This is crazy! So, I start my training on the treadmill. Now, I have done many runs on the treadmill, even trained for my first half marathon on the treadmill, but today I struggled. Seriously, 2 miles, and I had to get the mind over matter mentality in full gear. Why is 2 miles on the treadmill so difficult when 13 outside is fun?!

Listen, treadmill. I will win. I will conquer your boredom. I have a tv, music, dogs, and a child for entertainment! I made my little two mile run. It was at a pace that I usually don’t keep on the treadmill, but have kept outside. It seemed tough, but I won out! Take that! 🙂

Tomorrow, like today, school is cancelled, because it is going to be colder than today. I have no plans to go outside. The basement has transformed into a workout area, with my 2014 goals posted on the wall. I can do this! I will do this!

How do you survive on the treadmill?
How do you train in frigid temps?

Looking Back, to Look Forward

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Goals…accomplishments…the new year…

There have many numerous thoughts running through my head the past several days.  I decided it was time to look back, and use my year to guide my future.

In 2012, I had a year of pain.  I was in a cast for a month, watched my friends run races that I wanted to be in, even supported them while riding a knee scooter.  It was the most painful thing I have gone through.  You see, I am very independent.  I have had a hard time relying on others, and as a result, the cast and forced reliance, as well as my lack of ability to exercise, through me into a depression.

When I got out of that cast, completed some physical therapy, and ran my first comeback race (http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/chicago/) it got my 2013 off to a good start.

Wow…what a year 2013 was!  I decided to look at exactly what I accomplished in 2013, beyond striving to meet the #RunThisYear challenge. I ran:

  • 8 5K’s
  • 5 10K’s
  • 2 15K’s
  • 7 Half marathons

I also volunteered at four races.

This blows my mind when I think about it.  I get accused of having an addiction to racing, or collecting race shirts (I am not going to lie, the swag does pull me in! Did you see the fleece pants at the North Shore Turkey Trot! (www.ramracing.com)  Oh my!) The medals are fun too.

This year, what motivated me was the desire to motivate others.  When I lost weight and saw my race times improving, I wanted to share that.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to brag, I wanted others to feel the excitement I felt.

That’s when my friend, Tammy came in.  She saw what was happening and decided to give it a try.  She changed her diet, and started to run/walk.  We ran a race together in the spring (it was c-c-c-cold), her first 5K. It was the Red Shoe Run in Rockford, IL, for Organ Donor Awareness.  In June, Tammy was all set to run her next race.  Shortly after that race, I came back to my car to find out via every way she could reach me, that she was in the emergency room.  You see, Tammy had been struggling with this nagging cough/cold for months.  Doctors called it asthma, but inhalers didn’t work.  She had gone to the ER to find out what was going on. It didn’t take long for them to find a “mass” in her lung.

Tammy found out a few weeks later that she, in fact, had Stage IV Lung Cancer.  She was, for all practical purposes, a non-smoker.  I needed to do something! But what? I couldn’t climb in there and pull the cancer out (oh, how I wished.) So, I began looking for races to run for the research of lung cancer.  Ultimately, I decided to run every race for Tem Lung Love, and the Lung Cancer Alliance.

http://myteamlunglove.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=442225&lis=1&kntae442225=8FBA14DC36D3477BB5E43E7E32384BDD&supId=389815977

The picture above is my first race dedicated to Tammy.  I had a Personal Record, and in the picture, am crying…that’s a selfie, and the back of the medal (I didn’t notice until later, due to the tears in my eyes.)

Now, all of my races are all for Tammy.  I will run 2014 for a purpose.  A purpose beyond my own health and wellness.

Before the end of 2013, I had decided that my goal for 2014 was to run a 1/2 marathon every month.  I have January and February already scheduled…as well as June, and August.

Last week, I took another leap of faith…and signed up for my first full marathon! I am quite nervous!

I will accomplish these goals, for those who can’t.  Tammy still can…she is improving…

 

  • What goals do you have for 2014?
  • Have you ever participated in a race for a charity?
  • What motivates you to set and keep goals?