Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Long Weekend

I survived my first week as an official teacher! Interestingly enough, my first weekend as a teacher is a long weekend. I'm not going to complain, especially since our next break isn't until November! I will back up to Thursday when I had a random long run. My day had gone really poorly and when my friend who is training for a marathon asked if I wanted to go running on a new-to-me trail, I immediately said yes. I had already run 1.5 miles at the gym, then this happened.

I can't complain. The trail we took was phenomenal. I would never run it alone, but I enjoyed running with my friend.

I mean, look at this.

And this is someone's backyard!

Friday was a much better day. I went to dinner with my marathon friend to celebrate surviving the first week. Then fell asleep early because a special visitor was coming into town the next morning.

That's right! My brother is back for the long weekend! It's amazing how my mood immediately changes the moment he returns home. It's like all is right in the  world. We spent the night in my favorite place on the planet.

All of his best friends were out there too. They are the most hilarious group of boys I've ever experienced.

My fiancé was out there too. It's been a long running joke since he was about 10 that we are engaged against his will. One of these days he will accept me!

We came back today and I got another long run on. It felt harder than it should have, but I survived. It's always worth it to see this face when I am done.

My brother's birthday was on the 20th, so of course we had to celebrate.

Seven pounds of pure chocolate. Of course, I stick to the fruit due to all of the gluten in the cake. Well, the fruit and the whipped cream! Now I get to stay up past my bedtime because tomorrow is a day off!

What are you doing with your day off?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Well, my first week as a teacher is halfway through. I made it over the hump! I am feeling pretty good about my first week. Thank you all for sharing with me that nerves are totally normal! I love my blog buddies. My mom is the cutest. Apparently I'm never too old for back-to-school notes.

That started my day off on the right foot. It also helps that my aide and I get along really well. We have the same sense of humor and in the situation we are in, we have to keep the humor going. I also have been very scientifically tracking my stress levels. It's incredibly accurate, actually.

Tense, anxious, and stressed sounds about right. Today, the weather was so nice, I got into my running clothes and took off from work. I needed to breathe the fresh air.

Nothing de-stresses me quite like these trees.

It was wonderful just running through the woods by myself. I was alone with my thoughts. And I actually got home before the sun went down today.

How has everyone's week been so far??

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Healing Powers

I've been feeling a little down lately. I think I am feeling scared about starting the new job. I feel like I might screw up and disappoint people. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I'm all about being honest on social media. Nobody's life is all sunshine and unicorn farts! Luckily, this weekend was all about doing healing things. Saturday I spent the day at the river.

Unfortunately, due to the terrible drought we are in, the river we go to is incredibly low. When it gets too low, crazy green algae that kills dogs and makes humans really sick starts growing. This meant we were unable to get in the water. It was 90 plus degrees, so we ate lunch and stared longingly at the water.

Then we drove back closer to home. We do have a river running through our town, it's just usually too cold to sit in our bathing suits and tan. But it was gorgeous on Saturday, so we spent a couple of hours tanning.

Little Z has learned how to use a straw and it's too cute. It's super healing to watch my little girl grow up and learn new things every single day!

Later that night, my mom and I went to the beach to watch the sun set.

The sound of crashing waves and the colors of the sunset make me never want to live anywhere but the coast.

I sat and spent a lot of time just breathing in and out, trying to calm myself. It worked and I was able to sleep for almost 11 hours last night.

Today, my long run was done solo. I did find a friend though.

Running is always healing. Hilarious texts from my friends who are also starting their first teaching jobs tomorrow are healing as well. I am so lucky to have people in my life who love and understand me. I know I'm going to be just fine!

Also, thank you for the concern about the earthquake! It was actually about 4 hours south of me, so we didn't feel it at all. Everyone around here is just fine! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our First Day Back

Today was the day teachers had to report to their classrooms. I got lucky, because the district that all of my friends work for had to go back yesterday. I felt kind of silly sitting around in my pjs while my friends were working. But I also felt kind of great at the same time.

For my last day off, I spent it with some of my favorites. I hung out with my sitter for a bit before she went off to an interview. I got to babysit my love bug for an hour. Then I hit up the gym before meeting a friend for a slow run.

I mean, I can't say I hate running here.

It is pretty magical every time I go in the redwoods and I grew up here.

Today, I spent 7 hours setting up my classroom. Of course, the most important things went up first.

After work, I hit up the gym for some leg work before hitting the beach for a run. The day was pretty much absolutely perfect. It was completely clear, which rarely happens at our beaches.

I've been dealing with quite a bit of anxiety over a lot of different things, and being at the beach for an hour and a half really helped melt that away. At least in the moment.

Tomorrow, our aides come back. We get another full day in the classroom. I feel so lucky because all of my friends have been in trainings and meetings. I'm feeling pretty ready for the first day of school on Monday!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

No Sunday Runday!

I have no idea how long it has been since I didn't run long on a Sunday.  Probably since the beginning of my increased milage, which was about two years ago!  The reason I didn't run today is because yesterday, I accidentally raced a half marathon.  Yes.  Accidentally.

If you remember, I have joined the local running club.  They have several of their own small, local races each month.  In fact, all of them are currently in my planner.  Yesterday, they had a half marathon or 3.2 (by accident) mile run.  Of course, I was asked if I wanted to run the half.  Of course I did.  I told my running friend that I was only going to run it as a training run, since I have a half in October where I am hoping to PR.  This half marathon was the most laid back race I've ever experienced.  We got there at 8:45 for a 9am start, signed our names on the list, got a leftover race bib from the Avenue Marathon, and we were good to go.  For free.  

This picture came from the running club's website.  You can't see me.  I'm hidden behind the large bald man in blue.

As you can see, it was super small.  Only 47 people ran the half and 56 people ran the 3.2 mile race.  It was an out and back along a local running/walking/biking trail.  It's mostly flat, but at mile 3 and 10, there is a really lovely HUGE mountain to climb up.  Okay, it isn't a mountain, but it surely felt that way at mile 10, where my slowest time occurred at a whopping 8:43.  Compared to my pretty consistent 7:23 mile splits at the beginning, that mile seemed to drag on.

Now you can see me.  Where's Rachel?

I started out running with my friend who had me sign up for this thing.  But of course, that person is much faster than me.  I said that I needed to back off and let my friend zoom off ahead of me.  My first mile clocked in at 7:17.  Way too fast for a half marathon start that I was only going to run as a training run.  I had specifically said I wanted to keep my miles around 8-8:10.  Yeah.  Right.  I went along, running what felt comfortable since this was a "training run."  When I looked down at my watch, it kept telling me I was running 7:20s!  I'm going to go ahead and thank the unpacked sand runs that I've done the last few weeks and my 40 mile per week that I've been logging.  Once I realized that I could PR in this race, I figured I might as well go for it and started pushing to a more uncomfortable feeling "race pace."  Until mile 10 when I knew I was already going to PR and gave up and walked up that ginormous hill.

Let's talk about this terrible race photo.  Where's my neck?  Blended with my chin, I do believe.

I blew my last PR out of the water with a 1:38:44 finish time.  I was third woman (the first woman was a 16-year-old with a finish time of 1:28...) and 16th overall.  Of course, my friend was second with a 1:21.  After no training for a few months because of a knee injury.  Kind of a badass.  No big deal.  My hip is feeling it today.  So what was supposed to just be a long run turned into me breaking a course record for my age group and getting a bright shiny PR!  I wish all running days were like that!  My day ended with a birthday party.

I feel so lost today not running!  I don't even know what to do with myself.  But, I needed to listen to my body (something I am trying to do more often) and not run.  I did do two workout videos that focused on upper body stuff.  I mean, I can't just sit around in PJs ALL day!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Whole Year?!?!

A year ago from this very moment, my niece was born into this world.

It honestly feels like it was yesterday that I spent the entire day waiting around for her to make her appearance, and yet, it feels like forever ago.  It has been so amazing watching her grow and change.  I did not realize I could love another being as much as I love her.  

Looking back, I've been trying to remember what I've accomplished in the year that she has spent growing into a toddler.  I was about to embark on my journey to become a Special Education teacher.  I finished my program and received not one, but TWO job offers.  I ran and PR'd in my second half marathon.  I chose to do what was absolutely the best decision for me and became single again.  I have met new people who have ultimately taught me that it's okay to slow down go with the flow.  I've spent many hours out in nature.  I've managed to make it through several really hard runs which ultimately have taught me to make it through some really hard days.  I've laughed so hard I've cried.  I've cried so hard I've laughed.  This year has been as much about growing and learning for me as it has for baby Z.

Many of my very favorite moments this year have been with her and I know many of my favorite moments are yet to come.  Her birthday party is tomorrow and I can't wait to celebrate with her!  Right after I run my third half marathon, of course.

What have you accomplished this year?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Long Runs Are More Fun With Someone

Sunday, as always, was RUNday. This time, however, I had convinced my marathon running friend to run with me. I didn't know exactly how long we would go, but anything over an hour would be fine. After we both digested breakfast, we hit the road during the heat of the day for a VERY hot run.

We are both pretty smart runners and didn't bring any water with us. We followed the course of a previous race we've both run (a 10 miler that one of us may or may not have WON). But we were not paying any sort of attention and sort of forgot the course. We accidentally tacked on another mile. During the last mile, I was forced to run up a hill into a headwind. I may have used a few bad words and threatened death. All that was said in return was, "You'll thank me when you PR." I hate it when other people are right! ;-) It was SO much better running with someone for an hour and a half. It hardly felt like running for most of it. I guzzled about 3 gallons of water and refueled with peanut butter. 

The healthiest kind of peanut butter, obviously. Afterward, I got to listen to a tuba recital. My friend had recently gotten his tuba out of storage and the lady that he's been living with requested a song. She quickly decided she had made a bad choice and yelled at me when I began clapping at the end of a song. She said, "Don't clap!!! He will think we want an encore!!" I was crying from laughing so hard. The tuba is not meant to be played as a solo instrument.

Yesterday, I was alone for my run. I broke it into three 20 minute sessions with weight circuits in between. I accidentally ran 7.5 miles, but it felt really great. Then I did what every person loves to do and washed my car before meeting with some friends for coffee. We sat and talked for four hours, but it felt like 10 minutes! I guess that's how you know you have good friends.

I also decided to maybe start prepping for school, since I have to report back next week. 

Today, I met some more friends for breakfast and unlimited amounts of coffee. Then we shopped for teacher clothes. I spent my money wisely on two pairs of jeans. A few hours and a nap later, this one came over for awhile.

Her mom was having dinner with some former classmates, so I got to spend 3 hours with her. She's going to be ONE on Friday and I am having a hard time with this.

My mom was a big help too. She read to her and then turned on the music for a living room dance party. It was pretty fun.

I can't believe I only have one week left of freedom. I will be spending as much time as possible outside!

When does school start for you??

Friday, August 8, 2014


As it seems, I've been taking yet another social media break. One would assume that during my last weeks off before the school year begins, I would have all the time in the world to blog, check Facebook, and keep up with Instagram. It's quite the opposite, actually. Here's what I've been doing lately.

Running. Obviously. It's SO nice to have a consistent running partner again. And the runs we go on are never boring. I had been getting bored with my runs because I tend to stay on the same route or I run on the treadmill at the gym because it's there and it's easy. My run on Tuesday was supposed to be flat and around town. We ended up taking a trail thg neither of us had been on and it was STRAIGHT up. My Garmin paused itself because I ended up going so slowly by the end.

Cuddling. Since Milo is back, we've been doing a lot of cuddling. He is my very favorite cuddle partner. 

Retail therapy. My best friend and I had a shopping spree the other day. I bought many new work clothes, some shoes, and of course, new workout clothes. I can't leave a store without adding to my large collection.

Theater. I have been helping out with the kids camp at our local theater. My friend is a very talented musician and actor and was asked to be the director of this camp. I was then asked to help out this week. They are doing scenes from Mary Poppins. It's pretty much the cutest thing ever. After a year and a half of being  away from the theater, it's great to be back.

Nature. You didn't think I would leave this on out, would you? Of course I've been outside. A lot. Today, my friend and I ventured to a small town about 30 miles south to do a beach hike. The wind was blasting us at about 30 miles per hour, but it was well worth it. We did 6 miles on the unpacked sand, which felt like 47 miles on my legs. Here are some scenes from today.

Big, beautiful rock that looks almost fake.

We dubbed this one "Castle Rock," because it looks like a castle.

Thirty mile per hour winds won't stop us!

Try walking on this for 6 miles.

We made it to the light house!


Window to my soul.

A live musical performance!

No beach day is complete without the sunset.

Or the moon.