Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mama on the Run: Bravely Moving Forward

I had some BRAVE and big goals for running this year after a humbling, gulp-worthy, teachable 2017 (and 2016...and 2015). 

Last year I felt I was slow. Sluggish. Not really feeling the running, though I still loved it. I just wasn't in racing mode. And I didn't care. And I didn't care that I didn't care. 

That's ok. 

I needed a year (or two?) for God to truly humble me. To make me busier with my family, my career, my LIFE beyond running. To give me different priorities and desires of the heart. 

That's why - as I sat down to an open pad of paper in late December 2017 - I felt a bit giddy as those flickers of competitiveness and drive pitter-pattered inside of me. I hadn't really felt that pitter-patter since I had been laid-up from am emergency female surgery that halted my plans to run a 4th marathon just three weeks later. I was bound and determined to race that 4th marathon I had trained so hard for months later. And while I accomplished that, I hadn't really felt that pitter-patter since. 

Fast forward to this spring. Two races in to 2018, and I walked away from each of them feeling accomplished and that I had given my best effort - not defeated and wondering if I had just gone out slower or if I hadn't taken that short walk break or if I had sprinted a bit harder at the finish line. 

This past weekend I ran Prairie Fire Spring Half Marathon in the heat. 60s at the start, beating down sun, and warming up to the mid 70s by the end. (These temps don't seem hot - but when you've trained all winter and spring/winter/April of blizzard, rain, bitter cold temps, it seemed like a sauna!). I slightly tweaked my ankle at Mile 7.5. Felt the race would never end in the shade-less, person-less, boring miles of 8-10. And yet, I finished in 1:59:36 - making my goal (barely!) of finishing a race this year in under two hours. 

I'm so stinkin' excited by this small victory. I didn't run under 2 hours in all of 2017. 

So I walk away from this race (and Easter Sun Run 10K race from March) hopeful. Glad the pitter-patter giddiness is back and enjoying it's return. 

The giddiness may take another vacay. But it's here right now. So I'm going to use it as I bravely move forward. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Meltdowns for Moose

Our kidlets know that meltdowns only get them so far. As in, the length it takes them to get to wherever they're located in the house to their rooms for discipline. 

However, for a certain MLB third baseman, one meltdown from Brax became little dude's 15 minutes of fame - and it all started with this Twitter video post

Rewind back to early March, when spring training had started and they Royals were broadcasting a game. We sat down to dinner that night when Brax realized his beloved #8, Mike Moustakas, wasn't on the field. 

We warned him. As soon as the season ended in early October 2017, we warned him. When fellow free agents including Cain and Hosmer signed, we warned him. 

But it took not actually seeing him at third base for Brax to put it all together: Moose wasn't a Royal (yet). 

Moose reached out and told Brax to keep cheering for him. He signed with KC less than a week later. He asked if there was anything he could do for Brax. After saying no, I proceeded to take him up on an offer and suggested something simple and easy, a signed picture. 

A month passed and we had let it go. The guy was busy - it was more than sweet of him to reach out via Twitter and show concern for this little 6-year-old having a meltdown over a taco for his favorite baseball player - but seriously, he was busy. He just welcomed a baby boy to the family...he started spring training...he was packing up and moving back to KC. Busy doesn't justify it, I'm sure. 

Fast forward, and Moose dropped another message during Easter weekend to say he hadn't forgotten about Brax. Ten days later, he dropped another message saying he did something different than an autographed picture. 

And boy, did he. 

The very next day, a baseball bat arrived on our doorstep from 1 Royal Way. I happened to run home for a quick lunch and to check the mail and as soon as I saw the package on the porch, my heart started pounding. I screamed while FaceTiming Jack. Brax's surprise and once-in-a-lifetime connection with his favorite MLB player was happening. 

Brax opened his Moose mail in front of his kindergarten classmates. The dude was so stunned he couldn't talk - and that's saying a lot for Brax. 

He thanked Moose later that afternoon, and Moose immediately responded back, saying he was happy to help. 

All because of a meltdown. A meltdown that showed our little guy's love for his favorite Royals baseball player. 

Thanks, MOOSE! Thank you doesn't seem like enough for the joy and excitement you brought to our little guy and entire family these last few weeks. We can't wait to go to (even more) Royals baseball games this season! 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Staycation Spring Break

Sometimes staying put and savoring time together is necessary during school breaks. 

Today is our final day of spring break. It was the first one since Jack started teaching that Buhler schools actually had off the week of the NJCAA tourney that Hutch hosts. Perfect timing, as he became the new committee chair of the stat committee (meaning: working 22/24 games VOLUNTARILY - not paid, as people assume!). He was in basketball heaven all week long!

Meanwhile, mama took the entire week off to be with the kidlets and family time (the total four of us), when we could sneak it in with daddy. 


:: went to baseball and softball camps through Hutch Rec. (baseball camp coached by Papa Jimmy!)

:: celebrated the our head guy's big 36th birthday, complete with carrot cake and singing. 

:: watched a LOT of basketball. HCC, Barton County, and a few teams in between AND cheered loudly for our beloved K-State Wildcats as they surprised us all with a fun trip to the Elite Eight. 

:: played at park in town that wasn't our go-to. 

:: held a garage sale with dear family friends - and even managed to make some vacay money with a lemonade stand. 

:: walked the trails, fed the ducks, dug in the dirt at Dillon Nature Center. 

:: had the death grip on mama at the church skating party, escaping with no broken bones or large bruises. (and only one incident that led to tears when Brax accidentally was kicked in the head by someone's skate - don't ask!)

We check-marked almost everything on our spring break staycation bucket list. And as I gleefully walk them to school tomorrow and get back into the office schedule and routine of life, I'm also sad our week went by so fast. It always does. 

Here's to survival mode until summer vacay!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Basketball Family

As many of you know, this was the first season in our entire marriage (and his entire teaching career) that Jack has not coached basketball at the high school or middle school level.

So, what's a die-hard basketball coach to do? He coaches his kids - and they (and me!) adore him for it! Jack has coached our kidlets for the past five years, ever since Mackie was a 4-year-old in Lil Dribblers for the first time.

He continued the youth coaching stint with a bit more ease this year - and even survived his competitive mess of a wife by his side as she helped him coach Mackie's 2nd grade girls team. (Side note: In the 10 weeks of practice and 7 weeks of games, Coach Conkling only told me once to simmer down - SUCCESS!)

Brax wrapped up his season this past weekend with the famous Lil Dribblers game on the big court of the Sports Arena. Hutch Rec does a great job with this final game, as each player runs out onto the court and is introduced, just like they would in a high school or college game. Jack also finished his five-year Lil Dribbler coaching stint. I say he should add that to any future coaching resume!

Brax improved so much from last year and grasped what the game was all about. He confidently shot baskets, (literally) stayed on his man the entire time on defense, and enthusiastically cheered and yelled (loudly) for his teammates when they scored.

Mackie, meanwhile, will end the season with a small end-of-season tournament next weekend. Her love of basketball progressed from last season, and she dedicated herself even more this year to wanting to play hard, be aggressive, and also work on her shooting, using her height as an advantage. More often than not she'd beg us to go outside (in all elements!) to shoot and Jack even had to shine his truck lights on the basketball goal at night when it became too dark to see.

Can I just say how much JOY and delight these 2nd grade Lady Crusaders have brought our family this winter? Our family was a bit lost with Jack not coaching at the high school this season, and let me tell you - these nine little girls brought a lot of fun and laughter (and yes, tests of patience!) to the game of basketball.

It was such a treat watching these little ladies improve week in and week out on their skills, especially on the defensive side. We're excited to see how we do in the tournament next week and finish the year strong - and already are looking forward to more sports and next basketball season with the group!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Brave - Life On Purpose 2018

2018 is quickly approaching. In a few hours, I'll gleefully break out my brand new Brilliant Life Planner and start filling in the blanks of life. I'll turn the big family calendar on our fridge over to a new month - my favorite part of winding down a month (besides pay day!).

2017 brought a sense of purpose. Living all areas of life with purpose. I loved that mantra and it carries over in to 2018, when I add a word to the mix: BRAVE.

Part of the BRAVE comes with the unknown. And that scares this type-A mama, who plans every detail out to a tee, but find myself in recent months embracing the minutes, hours, days, and life plans not fully carried out. There's a comfort letting it go; truly, it comes from God's unending work on my stubborn heart.

So here it is, my BRAVE vision board highlights for 2018:

Faith & Family:
  • Purposely pray for and WITH my husband and children. Pray over Scripture. Keep a prayer journal. 
  • Get back to reading the two-year Bible plan, hopefully with Jack, whose also expressed interest in reading the Bible through a year. 
  • Discipline our spending habits to put even more away in savings that will equal into a memorable, fun summer vacation plus memorable outings with the kidlets each season. 
My work dreams and goals really drove the word BRAVE this year. Ten years into my career, and I'm dreaming about future possibilities at a job and place I love and work that's being done in our community that I'm passionate about. 
  • Successfully study, test, and receive Certified Parks & Recreation Professional (CPRP) certification
  • Grow and expand my knowledge by serving on KRPA and NRPA boards and advisory committees.
  • Take the hard, messy, heart work being done in improving our community's health and wellness and hit the streets and community of Hutchinson, educating them on recreation, parks, and health work being done and their piece of the puzzle. 
Running, Fitness & Health:
On a race front, I'm not sad to see 2017 go. I was slow. Super slow. Felt defeated. And yet, at the same time, it was liberating to find something other than times to focus on. I approach 2018 not quite sure where it will go. The competitor in me says there's still some speed to this mama on the run's legs for a few races this year, thus the time goals below. But I'm also realizing my 34 (going to be 35) year old legs need a boost in the form of other training and nutrition, also noted below. 
  • BRAVEly commit to training hard for a 48:00ish 10K race & 1:53-1:56 1/2M race. 
  • Enjoy different races - new distance (7.7-miler); trail race; possible sprint triathlon
  • Up the ante on strength training (Iron Strength for Runners - I'm scared just thinking about it!)
  • Core30 yoga classes for flexibility
  • Cut out the diet soda (1x a week)
  • Up the water consumption (2 glasses for every 1 cup of coffee - forces me to cut back on caffeine)
  • Re-commit to whole foods, especially veggies
  • Re-commit to meal prep and planning
  • SLEEP - aim for 7-8 hrs/night
There you have it - BRAVE for 2018. These goals are a blueprint and will most likely change, evolve, develop as the next 365 days unfold, but I'm toeing the start line confident and ready to conquer the year ahead, by God's grace and His perfect, purposeful plans for myself and family. 

Happy New Year!