Monday, March 31, 2014

21 Days and Counting....Boston Baby!

Counting backwards that is.....21days from today I will be running the 118th Boston Marathon.  To say I am getting excited, scared and full of anxiety would be an understatement.  If you had asked me in the beginning of March if i was "ready" my answer would have been an emphatic no.  But I have to say this past month like any other training plan gives you, the runner, a sneak peek at how all of your training thus far has been and what race day can look like and I can finally say "I'm ready!"
{picture via BAA- Facebook}
What do I mean by that well in a typical 16 week marathon training plan the first two months are spent building your endurance, basically getting in the mileage.  The third month you get into the higher mileage, you run longer tempo runs and you get to see a glimpse of things to come.  For me this past month has been an emotional roller coaster with my training.  I have put so much pressure on myself to meet certain goals that I'm defeating myself in my head before I even toe the line.  Totally crazy right!  I mean first of all lets be honest I'm not going to win the race.  But winning for myself is important, crossing that finish line is wicked important since I didn't get to do that last year (you can read about my Boston experience past year here and here) and setting a personal best would be the cherry on top.
So I was feeling really low about my training, doubting the process as many marathoners do.  This winter has been so brutal and this is the first winter I have not belonged to a gym to be able to use the treadmill.  So if i didn't get my butt outside in the -4 degree weather running simply didn't happen.  I have been doing cross fit 2-3 times a week, bikram yoga and running.  The cross fit is new for me and well I haven't quite figured out where it all fits into my running life.  Some of the workouts are so rigorous that my legs are just totally spent.  So that has also been challenging.  The turning point for me was an 8 mile tempo run that I crushed! I came back looked at my time and almost cried.  I said to my husband I needed that! Mentally I needed one awesome run to pump me up and this one was it.  I felt like I was on fire, unstoppable!
{pic via- solemomma instagram}
8 miles at an 8:32, I haven't done that since 2009 and that included to 1/2 mile hills, one in the beginning and one at mile 6.  The funny thing about my last couple of runs is that I have run for heart rate, NOT pace.  I don't look at my pace at all, which for me with my Nikeplus sports watch or my Garmin is hard to do.  But it's working for me.  My 20 miler this past week was also pretty good.  My knee started giving me issues at mile 15, but I continued.  My heart rate was higher than I wanted I'm not sure if it was because it was much colder.  I do think the higher heart rate did affect my overall pace.  I still have a lot to learn about running and heart rate but I was still very pleased.
{pic via solemomma instagram}
So there you have it 21 days and if we can get Mother Nature to cooperate, not too hot, not too cold things will be great!  Tell me do you run for heart rate, pace or neither.  I'm curious to know.  Happy Monday!

xo~ deana

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Memory Lane...Connecticut House Tour

So I wanted to give you some insight into the house we have in Connecticut.  It's a funny thing because this house was my dream house.  Since we had moved to Woodbury in 1997 I had wanted to live on Main Street.  All the antique homes just spoke to me.  In 2001 I got my wish, my hubby relented and we purchased a 1900's Georgian Colonial on Main Street.  To say it was a fixer up was putting it mildly.  Not so much construction but esthetically it needed a ton.  It was an antique store when we bought it.  The floors were scratched from moving items around.  Shelves were screwed into the original plaster walls to hold items for sale.  Nail holes abounded.  The yard was also a disaster. Having another business next to ours, there was no separation between their parking lot and our yard.  That had to be addressed.  But with all that needed to be done.  I saw hubby saw endless amount of work.  But he relented and we bought our Main Street home.

11 years later it was my dream home...It didn't have a glorious master sweet, or large closets.  But it had charm, character, and a lot of sweat equity.  Take a look around.

The front porch was always a favorite spot to have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine at night.  These urns were my pet project every summer.  I love them we got them from restoration hardware, they still carry them.  They are a classic.  Huge and heavy!  But I love them, they get direct sun so if you don't water them daily the poor plants are toast. 
Our kitchen was probably the only area that didn't get a major overhaul.  We had planned on ripping out the cabinets etc, putting in granite but never did. The island is an old pharmacy counter that we purchased from the antique store owners when we moved.  It's such a conversation piece, I love it!
 The back side of the island held my cook books, onions and potatoes and juice boxes for the kids.
My new stove, that I only got to use for about 8 months before we moved.  Our old stove died on Thanksgiving morning. {yes we were hosting} everything had to be cooked and heated on our grill.  this new JennAir Pro came in December. Cooked like a dream...then we moved and it stayed.
Our dining table had an old bench on one side for the kids.  
The master bedroom wasn't huge.  It has a second floor porch which was pretty neat.  We didn't use it much at all.  I just never got around to putting furniture out there. But the view was amazing.
The house has 5 bedrooms.  Our daughters was next to ours, pink of coarse! We did the Ralph Lauren linen technique on the walls.  You an read more about that in the link.  It is hard to see in the pics, but it looked like pieces of fabric on the walls.
The boys had separate bedroom when Griffin was first born.  But when he was about 2 we moved him in with Benjamin.  They are 5 years apart in age.  But so far it is working out.  Here there room was "camp" themed.  We had some old fishing pictures, and the wall paper under the chair rail is by Ralph Lauren was made to look like an old boy scout book.  

The dining room was always a work in progress.  The dining set and rug are from Ethan Allen the Impressions Collection.  It was the first furniture purchase we made after we bought our first house.  The curtains were a score from a local antique dealer who does interior design.  The curtains were made from antique french fabric and the home owner didn't like them.  The designer told me they cost the owner $1200 I bought the 4 panels from there yard sale for $120! score!
Off of the dining room was out main living room.  It has a beautiful fireplace that is original to the house.  We had it fixed and brought up to code. It provided lots of warmth and coziness in the winter months.
 The coffee table is another flea market find.  An old potting table that was made into a coffee table.  

 Off the living room was what we called the den.  It was the man cave!  Greg had a TV in there and we had a gas stove that was so cozy.  We did the Ralph Lauren leather technique on the walls with the original plaster under neath it looked awesome!  I'm looking for pic's of that room.  I'll add them if I find them. 
The yard and gardens were non existent when we moved in.  Over the 10 years we put in numerous perennial plantings such as blackberries growing up an old latter,  a small raised bed for tomatoes and cucumbers, a gourmet herb garden and cutting flower cutting gardens.  
 That's our chicken coop over on the left.  My hubby built that too.  It was still in the building stages- it needed shingles.  But the hens didn't care!
 This hydrangea tree would bloom at the end of the summer.  I could see this garden from my kitchen window and it always made me happy. 
 My husband put in the paver patio which we sat out at almost every night in the summer.  One thing I loved about this house is that it was right in town. Close to the action, restaurants, local shops, but when you were in the back yard you felt like you were miles away.
This was a cozy little spot right off the kitchen.  Just to sit and have a drink of chat on the phone!

So there you have it! Main Street South, Woodbury CT. We still own it, and have wonderful people renting it.  We also are trying to sell it as we have moved on to our next home here in MA, and have started the renovation process again.  I will keep you all updated on the progress.  Let's hope it doesn't take 10 years here! LOL.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking Back!

13 years ago I was laying in the ICU after having an emergency c-section with my son Benjamin. My first pregnancy was no walk in the park. At week 26 I was in a car accident that sent me into pre-term labor and bedrest with medication to stop the contractions. I was scheduled for a c-section but my water broke at 37 and 1/2 weeks.  My son was breach and as soon as my water broke my body went into a tail spin.  My blood pressure was so high they were afraid I was going to have a stroke and I went into Help syndrome. It was crazy. I didn't remember seeing my baby boy when he was born and after surgery I was whisked to ICU and didn't get to see him until 24 hours later.

Through it all the end result was a healthy baby boy who changed us as a couple and made us into a family. Now a young teenager (yikes!) The BIG 13, he's a sweet loving young man who still hugs his mom and likes to be tucked into bed.  Our daily struggles seem big but minor in comparison.  A good kid that has started showing signs of his independence and breaking away from the nest.  If I could impart anything to him it would be to make choices that truly lead him a happy heart. That he lives his life in the grace of god and loves big. Don't be afraid to be different, God made you unique for a reason so share your gifts.  Be good to your family because in the end they are the people who will be by you through thick and thin.  They love you in the beauty and the ugliness of your days.  Don't be so quick to grow up because there is no turning back.

Happy Birthday my dear sweet Benjamin.  I never knew my heart could hold so much love for one tiny little being and how much you would teach me about myself.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A marathon is just like pregnancy...who knew!

Ahhhh I cannot believe that it's only 4 and 1/2 weeks until the Boston Marathon. This journey seems like its been a long time in the making, actually I have been anticipating this day since April 15th last year when I was stopped at mile 25.9 and never got to finish the race. You can read my story here & here.

I would liken the process of training for a marathon to having a baby. When your pregnant it's nine months of what if's...planning out the small details, eating right, sleeping more.
Kind of like what I'm doing now. I accepted my number in August. But have had it in my mind since last April. I needed to finish something that was incomplete. But this training year has been different. I really needed to psych myself up to the thought of training another 26.2. It is kind of like the first month you decide to stop using birth control. You say "holy crap, am I really doing this?" I made my training plan using the runners coach and the Nike+ apps. Then I took the two plans my knowledge from my previous three marathons and I rewrote it and refined it. I agonized over it and then just like peeing on a stick and getting a positive pregnancy test it was week 16 and time to start the process. No turning back now.

The obstacles of this winter training have been numerous. Snow covered roads, ice, and zero degree temps were like first trimester nausea. I kept thinking "Why am I doing this?" Getting into a routine with training is like the nesting phase of pregnancy! When you start to believe anything is possible. Your runs start to flow, and your mileage builds, you actually start to feel confident and excited about what you have started. But then the last trimester sets in. You begin to feel tired again. Your long training runs are exhausting. I would liken a long run of 18-20 miles to pre-term labor or braxton-hick contractions. They can be painful and annoying but don't produce the end result. Tapering for a runner is like being on partial bed rest. Your advised to now pull back on what your doing in order for a "good result" on delivery day ie: race day. Many people during tapering or those last few weeks of pregnancy are cranky, uncomfortable and "ready to get this over with".

On Monday April 21st I'm scheduled to be at the starting line at 9:30am. It will be like checking in for labor induction (which I did with my third pregnancy). You go to bed the night before knowing that what happens tomorrow will be life changing. You walk into the hospital much like getting to the starting line, your tense and nervous. You just want to get out there and get it done, your ready, and if your not ready's happening anyway! The morning of the event you wake up early and have a good breakfast, because god only knows when you might eat again. You've had your bag packed for the hospital or race for days, but you re-check it to make sure all the important gear is there. You pack snacks and drinks for the many hours ahead of you. You get to the starting line, much like getting to your birthing room. You hunker down, get comfortable with your surroundings, it's going to be a long couple of hours. The gun goes off the race begins. Pitocin starts your contractions off easy at first. Just like the first 6-10 miles, this is a piece of cake. No epidural needed, no water breaks for you, your on a role! By mile 15-18, your asking the nurse for an epidural, your searching out the next water station, checking your garmin to see how much longer this is going to take. If there was an epidural for the mile 20 wall you'd gladly take it. But no you press on. Mile 23, the doctor tells you it's time to push. You're in the home stretch. You try to focus on that finish line, the bliss you will feel when this is all done. The culmination of your months of hard work are going to pay off. You push and push, willing your legs to move. You inch that baby closer to birth. When you cross the finish line, tears of joy steam down your face. Much like the tears of joy of hearing the first cry of your new baby. You did it- you accomplished what you thought was impossible and end result is bliss!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Good Deeds!

Well Wednesday was the start of the Lenten season.  I really enjoy this time of year spiritually.  It can garbled up with jelly beans, Easter baskets which are all a beautiful reminder of spring but the real present is the journey of Jesus to the cross.  His promise to us that there is life after death and that suffering in life is apart of everyones path, even his.

One thing that I enjoy is thinking of what we will do to honor Jesus during this season.  Of coarse there are the "giving up of things for Lent" and in our house the kiddies give up candy and soda (which they got a little used too on vacation).  But I want to also focus on the good that Lent can bring out, the compassion for each other living in Gods grace.

When we lived in CT our church religious ed coordinator did Lenten bean jars for the kids.  The main purpose is to bring charity and good deeds to the forefront during the season.  My kids ages 7-13 still think this is a fun idea.  We talked about it at dinner a few days before ash Wednesday and they wanted the bean jars.  Unfortunately when we moved I have no clue what happened to those bean jars.  So I had to make new ones, and these I will keep track of for sure for use years to come!

It was simple to create.  Here's what you will need:

  • 3- 8oz jelly jars
  • rement fabric for the top of the jars
  • pinking sheers/scissors
  • tags/or stickers to label for each child
  • 1 bag of dry navy beans
  • purple food coloring

To dye the beans I put them in a large zip lock baggie.  I put a few drops of purple food coloring into the bag and smushed the baggie until all the beans were covered.  I placed them in a large mason jar with no top for easy access.  Then I took the tops out of the jelly jars and placed the fabric in the top screwing the lid back on.  Using the pinking sheers I cut around in a circle until I liked the length.  I then put a small slit in the top of each just big enough for a bean to fit in.  To make the tags I simple sewed a piece of fabric to the tag and drew each childs initial on the top.  I put together a card with some basic bean earning deeds.  This is where you can customize this for your family.

Here are some of our Bean Earning Deeds...
Doing a favor or chore without complaining.
Sharing with siblings.
Being kind and polite all day, no fighting.  (This one will be a challenge for sure.)
Doing homework without whining.
Cleaning up without being asked.
Eating your dinner without complaining.  (I don't see many beans in my two son's future for this one.)
Being good during church and saying prayers nightly.
* Beans can be given at mom or dads discretion!

You get the idea.  At the end of Lent you can fill the jars with jelly beans for the amount of beans they earned.  We will probably be putting some little surprise in them, I'm just not sure what yet.  I'll keep you posted.

I just thought I'd share a small creative way to bring forth compassion and grace this Lenten season.

xoxo~ deana