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Thursday, February 28, 2013

My February 2013 Report Card

So February has come and gone, and as March begins my thoughts are now turning to spring, outdoor runs, and the beginning of a busy race season!  February is always a strange month for me. I always look forward to it as myself, and two of my son's, all celebrate our birthdays between the 10th-21st.  On top of this, there are also usually a couple of long weekends, not to mention Valentine's Day.  You would think the month would be one big, long party, right?

While that may be true, by the end of February, I can honestly say that I cannot wait to tear the page off the calendar! The guilt has set in about the fact that I have spent most of the month eating poorly (thanks to all that birthday celebrating,) plus the cold, gray weather has taken it's toll on my mood and energy level.  Here is a photo of my completed February RPF Calendar page.

For the most part I would consider February 2013 to be a success as far as sticking to my goals, but there are definitely some areas I'm hoping to improve on with the arrival of March.  My youngest two sons are bringing home their 2nd trimester report cards tomorrow.  If I was to receive one for February I think it might look something like this...

Running: A+
Comments: All training runs completed, maintaining 8 minute mile pace, attitude beginning to shift from dreading long runs to embracing them, completing shorter runs before work rather than in the evening...huge improvement!
Upcoming March races
March 9th: Nike Women's Marathon virtual 10k
March 17th: "March O'Madness" 13.1, Cary, IL
March 30th: "Egg Shell Shuffle" 13.1, Schaumberg, IL (while my son Bailey runs the 5k)
April 15th; Boston Marathon!!!

Eating: D (Disastrous for the diet, but delicious!)
Comments: Seriously ridiculous!  See proof below!
2/10 Dave and Busters for lunch...huge chicken caesar salad
2/14 chocolate all day
2/15 dinner at The Stage Stop, Wilmot, WI...steak, lobster & baked potato with literally a whole stick of butter
2/16 Ribs and au gratin potatoes from Carson's Ribs, followed by Bakers Square pie
2/17 Dinner at The Lake House...soup, pasta and the biggest ice cream sundae ever
2/18 Birthday french toast made by my son Nick, Chinese food for dinner, followed by ice cream cake
2/21Chicago deep dish pizza
2/22 Opening day for Dairy Queen!
Anyone feeling sick yet?

Dieting: C-
Comments: Thankfully the other 20 days of the month I made good choices (and ran my butt off,) so I still managed to lose 2.2 more pounds for a total of 8.2 for the year. I even won my first Dietbet by losing 4% of my body weight!  Whoo hoo!

Blogging: D-
Comments: So many ideas in my brain, but no time or maybe just no energy at the end of the day to transfer them from my brain to this blog!  Not a complete fail, as I have kept up with my "Been there, read that" page, so the blog hasn't been completely stagnant.  One of my March goals is to write a new post at least once a week.  Writing shorter posts more often will hopefully help me reach this goal!

Motherhood: A-
Comments: For the moment all four of my boys are happy and healthy!  I feel blessed to say that other than being crazy busy, February has been pretty much drama free! (A birthday gift in itself!) When my kids are happy, I feel like I must have done something right.  My lack of time spent cooking and cleaning for my sweet children however, lost me a few points..  :)
Assessment: Speaking of gifts, each year for my birthday my boys write me a letter in their individual "mom" journals.  Reading the words that come straight from their heart each year is the most meaningful gift I have ever received.  My oldest even remembered to send the book from college. He earned major bonus points for that one!

Reading: C+
Comments: In January I read and reviewed 23 books.  In February, that number dropped to a sad 13.  It's hard to find time to read when you're training for a marathon and celebrating birthdays! :(

Life in the Library: B
Comments: I completed reading the 20 Monarch nominees to my k-2 kids for the Illinois Reader's Choice award.  We cannot WAIT to vote for our favorites next week and find out which book young students across Illinois like best!  My fingers are crossed for Lulu and the Brontosaurus, by Judith Viorst!  Some other highlights this month included our 5th graders preparing and presenting skits based on Jan Brett's books for our k/1 kids, and a return author visit from Peter Lerangis.  Take a minute to enjoy the video below of Frank, one of our 5th grade students, interviewing Mr. Lerangis during his visit.  It is guaranteed to make you smile!

What brought this grade down to a B was a project that our 4th graders have been working hard on to create video book talks for a national contest called, Storytubes.  Unfortunately, we just never had enough time during library to do all that we wanted to do, and the project did not go as well as planned. We did have a few that turned out great including the one below created by Emma, Serena, Katia and Lexy.

Fun Factor: A-
Comments: Outside of work stress, not having my oldest home for his birthday for the 1st time ever, and some absolutely awful commute times due to weather, February was pretty much filled with fun!  In addition to all of the above, my beloved IU Hoosiers continue killing it on the basketball court, and I finally painted and almost finished redecorating my bedroom which I've been wanting to do for quite a while.

Overall, I'd say February 2013 a pretty good month, but now it's time to bring on March Madness! What would your February report card look like?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Boston Training Part II & Race Shirt Wall Art!

Before I begin this post, I want to wish my sweet son, 
Connor James, a very happy 14th birthday! :)
Boston training part II
Finishing today's 7 miler marked the end of the 1st 9 weeks of my training for the 2013 Boston Marathon. I am proud to say that I have not missed a run, and my pace is faster than ever. The 1st 9 weeks were what I'd call a "comfortable challenge." 264 miles completed, which was not too much more than the weekly mileage I run on a regular basis. During the next 9 weeks my mileage will jump to 346 total miles, followed by 26.2 in Beantown on April 15th!

This is the part of marathon training that usually puts doubts in my head, and makes me start to question why I once again committed to something so huge. I have decided that this marathon is going to be different. Now that I am into my 3rd year of running, and am preparing for my 4th marathon, I truly understand what a blessing it is to be be runner. I am making a choice to do this, so no more dreading it & doubting myself! For the next 9 weeks my goal is to celebrate every training run including the good, the bad, and the ugly! Bring on Heartbreak Hill because in 9 weeks I'm going to be ready to kick some butt in Boston!

Here's a look at what Boston training part II has in store...

Wondering what to do with all those race shirts?
Over the last three years I have collected many race shirts that I really don't wear, but that I can't seem to part with. I had seen others create t-shirt quilts (which I love,) but I don't sew, and I wanted to create something that would allow me to add to more shirts as I earned them. Here is what I came up with:
Want to create your own race shirt wall art, here's what I did...

You'll need: 12X12 canvas boards, tee-shirts, glue gun, binder clips, tulle ribbon, some sort of clip to hang the shirts (I found mine on clearance at a local craft store) & a little super glue.

Step 1: Cut apart the front and/or back panel of each shirt, and cut off sleeves.
Step 2: Stretch shirt over the board and use hot glue to secure shirt to back of board. (Make sure design is centered, straight, & stretched tight.) Some of you may prefer to iron shirts first. In addition to not sewing, I also do not iron.  I found as long as I stretched the shirts tightly, the wrinkles disappeared. :)
(This is what the back will look like before you strech tight and glue.)
Step 3: Repeat with additional shirts.
Step 4: Nail large clip to top of wall. (I used super glue to glue each clip closed as I did not feel that these clips would've supported the tulle.)
 Step 5: Thread approx. 15 feet of tulle ribbon through clip until you have an equal length hanging from center.
Step 6: Use 2 binder clips to attach each board to the ribbon on both sides of the square. I found it was easiest if I hang one near the bottom 1st to pull the tulle taught. Then I started from the top and created 5 rows of 5 squares. Re-adjust squares as needed.

Get creative!  You can substitute different ribbon, clips, styrofoam or thin plywood squares for the canvas, etc... I contemplated using the squares to create a border around the room, and a few other designs, but one of my goals was to put as few holes in the wall as possible (only 5 so far!) should my college age son want to re-claim the wall space when he returns home for the summer.  Thanks to the binder clips, I can easily take these down, move them around, and put them back up!  I also considered mixing in more canvas boards with my medals displayed on them, but an inside source told me that a certain son just might be creating something special to display my medals for my birthday next week. ;)  So excited!

While it broke my heart to cut some of these shirts, I am so happy with the result, and I can't wait to watch my race wall grow! This was such a simple project! I now have a fantastic reminder of my running journey, and an entire wall of inspiration during those long treadmill runs when I need it most!

Monday, February 4, 2013

January recap!

2013 is off to a great start!  All new year goals (I don't like the word "resolutions") are still on track, and I've had lots of time to do the 3 things I love most: hang out with my boys, run, and read!  (Granted it's never as much time as I'd LIKE thanks to all those pesky responsibilities that always get in the way like work, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, etc..., but overall I can't complain!)

Boys: (One of my February goals is to finally start adding content to my "Boy oh Boy" page including tips on juggling running, teaching, reading, and raising 4 boys.  In the meantime, here's a brief introduction to my guys...)

Ryan, my oldest started semester 2 of his freshman year at St. Mary's University in MN.  I didn't think it was possible, but it was even harder to say good-bye to him after winter break, than it was last fall.  I know he is where he should be, and I am honestly so grateful that he is simply a happy, healthy, soccer playing, college student, BUT I MISS THE KID LIKE CRAZY!!!!

Nick, my 17 year old, is now thinking college too.  The pressure on kids to decide what they want to do with their lives seems to increase every year.  I hate it! On Monday of last week Nick surprised me by announcing out of the blue that he was thinking about being a pediatrician.  By Wednesday, he had decided on becoming a high school teacher and coach.  My advice...slow down, breathe, and don't get so caught up in the future that you miss out on the present.  In other words, savor your "Cardinal Crazy" days kid!

Connor, my 8th grader, is growing like crazy!  He may be the one and only tall Geidner in existence!  January brought the return of baseball practice, and a huge project to help his dad finally finish our basement.  He loves helping with projects, so overall this makes him a pretty happy guy.

Bailey, my youngest, has pretty much left me speechless most of the month.  (Which I think is his goal.)  He is amusing in the most random ways & speaking of goals, scored a beautiful one in during his indoor soccer game last week.  You have to love middle schoolers, right?  Right?  He also happens to be my #1 favorite fan of my #1 Indiana Hoosiers!  GO IU!

Despite the outfit, he claims he is still going to Michigan to major in architecture.  (See full story in previous post "Dream a Little Dream.")

By Connor using ipod app :)
No races this month outside of Mommy Run Fast's  "5 by the 5th" virtual race series. However, I did run 138 miles in January, all but 4 of which were on the treadmill.  Here's my January page of my awesome running calendar from Jenn at Run Pretty Far.  (Absolutely love every single one of her products!  If you aren't familiar with her stuff check out her site! Everything comes super quick, and even the packaging is cute!)  I was thrilled to meet & even exceed all of my monthly goals this month & this calendar was a great motivator! Bring on February!
It's still almost impossible to believe that 10 weeks from today I will be running the Boston marathon!  I keep thinking I'm going to open my email one day to find one from the BAA that says, "just kidding!"
Sometimes I wonder about when I started truly feeling like I was a runner. After 3 years I still don't feel like I LOOK like a runner, but I finally believe that I truly AM a runner.  I will even go so far as to say that I am a pretty decent runner.  However, I just still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that I am a good enough runner to be running the Boston marathon.  When I get frustrated that I'm not losing the weight I want or don't look nearly as cute in my new running outfit as the model at the store did, I pull out my BAA acceptance letter and smile.  It is a constant reminder that being a runner is an attitude and a mindset, NOT a look or a number.  I am proud to say that I AM a runner!

One of the best things that has come out of blogging so far (besides all of the fabulous connections I have made with other bloggers,) is that I finally created a Goodreads (user name: susan_geidner) account and am logging my reading.  Not only have I discovered countless great books, but I love going back and reflecting on what I've read.  As a librarian, I've been having my students do this for years but never created the time to do it myself.  I am LOVING it!  the only negative is now my "to read" pile is 10 times larger than it ever was, and it was never all that manageable in the 1st place!  My husband and sons don't enjoy reading.  I just don't get it.  How can anyone NOT love reading???  It's pure craziness!  Click on "Been There Read That" above to see what I've been reading lately, and let me know if you've got other titles that I should add to my list!

Feedback please!
So after a month of blogging I'd love some feedback, ideas, advice!  I think my biggest struggle has been finding the time to blog as much as I'd like too.  How do all of you experienced bloggers find the time?  Do you have a schedule of what types of posts you add and how often you create them? Outside of posting to social media, what are some of your best tips for connecting with others through your blog?  Perhaps adding "find a balance" to my February goals would be a good place to start! :)