Monthly Archives: June 2017

Thanks to a Teacher, I Learned from a Child

The long-awaited last day of school has finally arrived.

AJ excelled in the 6th grade, and while he did well grade-wise, I mean more that he excelled as a person and grew quite a bit emotionally, and I believe his teachers played a huge part in that.

All of his teachers were amazing and deserve gratitude and thanks; however, one teacher stands out in particular. This particular teacher helped AJ develop his love for history.  And adventure. And the ancient aliens who may or may not have built the pyramids (more on that later… ).

The last essay AJ wrote for this teacher was about “Grit.”  This was not a required assignment.  But from what I understand, quite a few students completed it, including AJ.  Their reward?  A hat that says “Grit.”  Just one more way to get the kids to think and to write.  On their own.  Without any pressure of a grade or a deadline.  “Learn to love learning;” one of the first steps to school success, in my opinion.

Thank you, Mr. Larson, for inspiring my child to be the best that he could possibly be.  You have made a tremendous impact on AJ’s learning, and for that, we are extremely grateful.  He wears that hat with pride.

And for all the other teachers out there who inspire our kids, thank you so much for what you do. May you all have a happy and relaxing summer holiday!  You’ve certainly earned it!

In case you’re curious about what my kid wrote… here ya go:

What is grit? Grit could mean sand, or it could mean that you never give up and keep trying. Determined, brave, toughness–all of these things could mean grit, but there are a lot more words that can mean grit.

I would like to tell you a story of a man named James Edward Howard. He is my great-great grandfather that fought in World War 1. He was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK, on the 4th of April 1890. During the war, he transferred to the Royal Engineers from the Suffolk Regiment. He died June 1st, 1929. He was at the battle of Ypres when he got badly gassed. After the war was done, he suffered very poor health due to the mustard gas. His last few years, he was in and out of the hospital as he developed Tuberculosis which was his cause of death. He survived for 15 years after the war and after being gassed. This man had a lot of grit to be ill and survive for that long. That is why I wanted to share this story with you.

I used grit last year. I came through a tough time when my grandma and uncle died within a few months of each other. The thing is I didn’t get sorry for myself or get sad, I just accepted the way things happened. My cat also died 2 months after my grandma died. He had been around me my whole life but I kept fighting and never got sad or anything, and that is how I used grit.

That wraps up my whole grit essay. I hoped you learned a little more about me. Always remember to never give up, there is always hope.

Thanks to a teacher, today I learned from a child.  I learned “… there is always hope.”

Back To Normal

When I last left off, I had just finished a half-marathon and was mentally preparing myself for a hike the next day.  I’m happy to say that the hike didn’t happen as my legs were angry enough with me as it was.  We did, however, go up to Hurricane Ridge to check out the views.

There was lots of snow (yes, that’s my 12-year-old son dwarfing his grandmother and father):

Lots of wildlife:

A clear view of Mt. Baker, 180 miles away:

And lots of trees:

I even got to try the infamous Starbucks Mint Frappacino (it was heavenly and I earned it) while the boys had quite a bit of fun goofing around with the outback hats:

The view of Port Angeles at the base of the Olympics:

But alas, all good things and all holidays must eventually come to an end.  My mother-in-law went back to the Motherland this past Saturday… but not before we went out to dinner to celebrate both our milestone birthdays this year (we split this delicious morsel 3 ways):

And today was business as usual, or Week 0 Day 1 of marathon training, to which I went out and completed 5 miles plus 1.  James is still hurt, but he’s in the process of formulating my training plan as I write this.  He’s such a good sport.  He actually just gave me a breakdown of my long runs for August and September, including (but not limited to) the 2 back-to-back half-marathons I’m signed up for, preceded and followed by those gnarly 20-mile runs…  dear, oh dear, let the games begin…

Have a fabulous week!!

North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon

As some of you may know by now, James wasn’t able to run this marathon Sunday (June 4).  If you’re perplexed, you can read about his unfortunate outcome/circumstances here, which means I was on my own. As history dictates, James usually passes me during these events, so I missed him greatly on the course.

That being said, virtually he was with me the whole way.  He was a great cheerleader… even if I did stop talking to him during mile 10 (details to come, 😀 )

Pre-race, he got me super close to the start line, dropped me off 1/2-mile away.  Definitely much better than a shuttle bus, and I needed a warm-up, so I jogged to the field where the race started.  I immediately went to the portaloo line.  Pretty standard in that line… not enough potties, and by the time I reached them, the Star-Bangled Banner was being played.  Then it became a race all in itself to get to the start line.

The gun sounded, and all went well until 5K, never mind the powerful head wind.

I texted James at 5K and informed him I just ran into an evil hill.  I said some mighty nasty words… then I soon realized that mile 3 to 4 was all uphill, which is about when I also realized that this was actually a trail race and not just a road race.  Huge difference.  I didn’t train for a trail race, and I didn’t train on hills, especially the gut-wrenching hills I was running up.  I thought I was just going to run a nice trail/pathway next to the ocean… but noooo… that wasn’t the case.  My bad.

Eventually I texted James and asked when my pain was going to end.  He did a quick reconnaissance and informed me I was in hill hell until after mile 8.  Awesome.

Shortly after mile 8, maybe mile 9 (I’ve lost my senses at this point, so I can’t remember), it became a nice downhill path.  I was so relieved.  Down I went… until the shift at mile 10.  All uphill.  I was spent.  I texted James and said, “Not going to make my time.  5K left. Head wind. Gassed.  Still going.”

Up, up, up we go!

Despite the course “description” on the website of being flat, the last 3 miles were a painful and gradual uphill climb.  I kept saying to myself, “Okay, once I get past this hill, I’ll take off again and redeem myself.”  It never happened because the hill never ended.

I was very thankful to see James at about 12.75 miles as he ran a little bit with me to keep me going, at least until we reached the finisher’s chute, and then the crowd cheered me in across the finish line.  Such great support for an extremely challenging course.

The bottom line…  beautiful scenery, beautiful people, really hard course.  But I finished.  At the end of the day, I clocked in over 15 miles/24 km (over 32,000 steps on the FitBit).

As for the The Whole 30 having an effect… I believe it helped.  I still felt strong and ready to go, even after miles 8 and 9… it was only after the mile 10 hill that I had a bit of an emotional breakdown and just couldn’t handle any more hills.

The elevation profile. The drop from 220 to 0 was at about mile 8 or 9. The tiny (but huge) bump towards the end left me deflated.

It was a great day, a great race, and quite frankly, it was my own “un”doing by not training properly for an extremely hilly course.  If you ever run this race… do 10 to 20 miles on a mountain trail for training (numerous times), and you’ll be fully prepared.

Now on to enjoy the beautiful town and area of Port Angeles…  I think there was talk of a hike up to Hurricane Ridge tomorrow, or something stupid like that… 😀

From Sequim to Port Angeles

Day 30… Hallelujah!

Today marked the last day of me being on The Whole 30 (you can read about the beginning here).  I started the program so I could detox my body from all the sweets, cakes and chips I had been eating, and I started it with enough time to complete it before my next half-marathon, which just happens to be this Sunday.  I wanted to see if detoxing could possibly help with my running.

The program was a total success.  I stayed true blue the entire 30 days, but I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy.

I had to dig deep to fight the overwhelming cravings in the first week.

By the third week, I had lost interest in cooking and food and all the planning required.  But I persevered.

By the fourth week, I was starting to look forward to all the food that was about to open up to me again.

However, by day 28, when I would think about eating bread or dairy or even sweets, I felt no desire to add these things back into my diet.  The thought of eating a donut or a piece of cake made my tummy hurt.

On day 30, I had the best peach ever for dessert which signaled my eating shut-off valve.  I have won my battle.

So let me break down some of the good for you:

  • No more cravings.  I only “want” something nowadays; however, with a small amount of willpower, I can say no.  I don’t have to have it.
  • No tummy issues.  No heartburn, no stomachaches, no nausea, nothing.
  • Increased energy.
  • I never feel bloated.
  • I don’t have to measure my food, nor do I have to count calories.  I eat as much as I want and whatever my body requires, sometimes an entire cookie sheet of roast veggies.  Even if I reach the level of “full,” I never feel “stuffed,” as if I ate too much.
  • I can eat fruit again without any GI issues!

I mentioned before that I would share a couple of numbers.  The third week of the diet, I went to my doctor and had some labs drawn.

  • While I was in the normal range to begin with, I still managed to take another 5 points off my total cholesterol.  All other values are also within normal.
  • My glucose remains in the normal range (a biggie for me because of the hypoglycemia).
  • And the final important number that you might be wondering about… yes, I lost weight…14.6 pounds to be exact, which is 6.6 kg, or just over 1 stone.

Me with a baby squirrel. They eat all the time too, 😀

I’m ready to stop obsessing about food now.  Moving forward, I’ll follow the program to the letter every other month and I’ll relax a bit in between, although I’ll still follow the principles (at the very least up until my marathon).  At the suggestion of a fellow blogger, Chocolate Runs Judy, I’ll give my next Whole 30 update in 6 months.  Will I stick to it?  Will I lose more weight? Will I finish my very first 26 point 2?  Does The Whole 30 have staying power?  Stay tuned…

In the meantime…

It’s a new dawn; it’s a new day; it’s a new life for me… and I’m feeling good…