Friday, January 29, 2010

my life in a bubble

I'm a member of a women's community volunteer organization here in town, for those of you who aren't aware. Part of being a new member in this org requires you to do a project, locally. This project must include finding a need, coming up with a plan to help those in need, obtaining PR about org and our project and reaching out to area people/businesses to help with our project.

Last night, my group met and we were brainstorming project ideas. There are a couple of elementary teachers in my group, so we started talking about schools and wanting to focus on Middle Schoolers since many of them fall through the cracks. It seems like most people want to help out the younger kids (this is just my opinion...not factual:) But, seriously, most of the time I was sitting here listening to the stories these teachers told (both of them teach at or have taught at Title 1 schools...the low income schools) with my jaw on the floor. I mean, I grew up in this town and have lived here the majority of my life. Could I have been so naive and not seen the needs within my own community? I grew up in a happy little bubble where everything was roses with my home life and my friend's home lives. I made good grades and had two parents at home with me every night who were able to help me with my homework and give me baths and teach me how to take care of myself and it's importance. And, for these reasons, among many others, I have been blessed with a life for which I am very grateful. I realize now how lucky I was when I hear stories like these.

1. These Title 1 schools have washers and dryers so that teachers can wash their student's clothes. Many of the students continuously come to school in dirty clothes as I imagine their homes don't have these appliances and it can get very expensive washing your clothes in a laundromat if you don't have the money.

2. Some of the kids continuously have lice because of unclean living conditions. Although there is shampoo that will get rid of lice, their parents can't afford it.

3. There are kids that don't even have socks or have shoes that fit them. In gym, kids wear flip flops since those are usually just a couple of bucks. Or, they wear shoes that are too small, too big or shoes with holes.

I know that most of your are probably aware that this is a problem and I was too. I just thought it was in larger communities or those really small towns. I didn't really think this was going on in my mid-sized community of around 75,000 people. I've lived my life not leaving a radius of a couple of miles from my home. And, even within this small circle, there were areas I avoided because I had no need to go there.

So, I have decided that I'd like to volunteer some time with the lowest income school in my town and either tutor or become a mentor to one of those kids. I seriously believe it when teachers say that there are some kids who may only see one smile a day...and it's from their teacher. And, this just breaks my heart.

What are you doing to help those in need in your community? Prior to yesterday, I was doing nothing, so don't feel bad if you're in the same boat.

Monday, January 25, 2010

weekend recap

Once again, we had a full weekend. Friday after work I met up with my friend, Katy, for a run. Katy and I ran the Gobbler Grind together, but she was injured and had been off running for the past two months--kind of like me, only I was just lazy...LOL. So, this was her first run back. We just went out and ran a quick three miles, but it made me feel better about eating the pizza Coach and I had for dinner that night. Coach and I had a Netflix night at home and went to bed rather early since we had an early morning and long day on Saturday.

At 7 AM, Coach and I got on the highway and headed to Joplin. Coach, who never speeds by the way, ended up getting pulled over doing 81 mph in a 65. I was annoyed because we were making good time without him speeding and there was no need for him to be going that fast. I was also annoyed because of course the cop was waiting right where the speed limit changed from 70 to 65. On a positive note though, he reduced the ticket to 75 mph in a 65 mph zone. The reason we left for Joplin so early was because I had to attend a baby shower at 11 AM. One of Coach's college friends is expecting, so I went to her shower and then we all went out that night and stayed in Joplin. It was just the girls....and Coach.

Here's a pic of us girls at the beginning of the night. Please forgive my appearance...I was already tired and did not feel well the entire day!

After partaking in some morning mimosas and afternoon beverages, I opted out of drinking Saturday evening and became the DD. Like I said, I wasn't feeling too hot, but I also had plans to meet a friend to run 6 miles at 4 PM Sunday. And, I didn't want to be hungover. We went to the new casino in Joplin (it's actually in Oklahoma, but just right over the border) where I lost $20 playing blackjack. But, the casino was really nice for a small town like Joplin. Some people down there were comparing it to Vegas and were very serious about this comparison. However, I didn't even think it was as nice/big as the Kansas City casinos, but almost....LOL. Silly people!

Sunday morning, my plan was to wake up and get on the road. However, since I was the only non-hungover one, my plans were altered. We ended up going to eat breakfast (at 10:45) at Cracker Barrel where I ordered the cold cereal breakfast (I'm not much of a breakfast person...especially at 10:45 AM. I'd much rather hold out for lunch) which might be illegal to order there. Finally, we got on the road at 11:30. I was kind of bummed because we had plans to stop in Kansas City on the way home so I could check out--and possibly purchase--an elliptical down there since the selection is bigger than in my town. But, needless to say, that didn't happen since I wanted to be able to shower (for my running buddy's sake) before my 4 PM run. We walked in the door at 2:45 and then I hit the shower and got ready to meet Kerry for our run.

My friend, Kerry, is actually my old boss here at work. We're the same age and know a lot of the same people from growing up in the same town even though we attended different schools our entire lives. Well, she runs about 4 miles EVERY day, but does this on a treadmill (dreadmill). So, I convinced her to meet me for a run on Sunday, outdoors. By the time we ran, said the temperature felt like 26 degrees and it was very windy. I didn't notice the wind the first three miles, but it hit us like a ton of bricks the second we turned around! Anyway, Kerry is used to the treadmill pacing her so when we started out she was running very fast. Faster than her usual pace (and mine) anyway. So, I immediately told her the pace she was running, per my Garmin, and we slowed down...LOL. Overall though, the run was great and I seriously shaved 30 seconds per mile off my average running pace. She shaved a minute off hers! We ended up running 6 miles in 53:48 for an average pace of 8:58/mile. I was very impressed with her running because I can remember only running on the treadmill and then taking it outside to the wind, inclines, etc and it kicking my butt!

So, I met my goal last week of running three days a week. I've already run one this week and have another run scheduled for Tuesday so it'll be easy to squeeze one more in later in the week to meet my goal.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

back on the saddle

Well, I'm pleased to announce that I've worked out twice this week! Yippee! For some, this would not be an accomplishment at all, but for me it is. You see, until this week I have only run one time (2.5 miles) since my half marathon. And, I really don't count this run since it was one time in two months. So, I've run twice this week with another run planned with a friend tomorrow after work.

Monday, The Running Worm and I met up in Platte City which is about halfway between our houses. We ended up running four miles on a really pretty trail with snow surrounding us and even a little creek (crick?) with some running water and water falls. I struggled the first two miles, but after that I found my groove and ended up running a decent pace. Yesterday, I ran on my favorite trail at home and planned on running four miles. When I got to the 2 mile point, I decided to run a little further and ended up turning around at 2.5 miles for a 5 mile run. I felt even better during this run and ran a 9:26 pace, which was definitely within my pace range while I was doing my half marathon training. I was actually pleasantly surprised with this pace since I had taken those two months off...I figured it would take me awhile to get up to a pace like that regardless of the mileage. So, I guess I now need to raise the bar on my goal time for my next half marathon! I'm also planning on incorporating some more speed training into my training this time around.

Speaking of half marathons, I registered for the St. Louis half marathon in April. I'm getting very excited and am ready to start training (even though I have awhile). So, my goal over the next month is to run 2-3 days per week and get in some weight training at home. Hopefully this will get me ready for the training since I plan on PRing! And, some more exciting news.....Coach and I are going elliptical shopping on Sunday. Hopefully I find something I like that isn't ridiculously expensive! Knowing me, I won't like anything less than the ellipticals at the gym! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

and....I'm back!

Welcome back! I know, I know...I've definitely been slacking on the blog posting. Truth is, it doesn't seem like much has been going on since the holidays. Well, actually that's not true because I have a new hobby of eating horrible foods in enormous proportion. Seriously, I've gained 7 lbs since I ran my half marathon. I know the fact that I've only run 3 miles since then has definitely played a role, but so have my eating habits, my portions, what I put it my's all horrible.

To portray the severity of the situation, before Christmas I went over to a friend's house. She was in town and I hadn't seen her in awhile. So, she starts asking me if I'm pregnant. I tell her no and she asks again....I mean, she thought I was lying because she asked me like four times! I practically had to swear on my life that I was NOT pregnant (which I'm not), but it's really b/c I have put on weight. And, I can't even use the excuse one who works out might be able to know, Muscle Weighs More Than Fat because there's NO MUSCLE HERE!

Anyway, on a less disgusting and depressing note, I got my arm warmers for Christmas (which I obviously haven't used:), my new camera and a healthy amount to go towards my elliptical which I'm hoping to buy next month. I can't wait.

Please let me know who is really in for running the STL half marathon and who will be spectating b/c this is really still in my plans. Hopefully the snow holds off here starting next month so I can train adequately since I'll be starting from scratch...hopefully it's like riding a bike!

I'll leave you with a pic from one of the Christmas parties Coach and I attended. These are a couple of guys Coach grew up, so I'm not claiming them! Oh, and no, your eyes are not deceiving you...they re-pierced their ears (apparently this was a big thing to do in High School in Nevada, MO) and were wearing Christmas bell each. This was taken during a break while playing Survivor Flip Cup where the losing team votes one person off the island after every round (I passed out shortly therefore--I think drinking excessive amounts the past two months may have played a part in the 7 lbs too, but that's just a guess). Stay Classy!