Archive for the ‘resolutions’ Category

I know in this era of self-grace and simplification (both good things) resolutions are becoming less popular, but I’m still a sucker for the practice of January goal-setting – it brings a sort of purpose and hopefulness to what is otherwise a pretty dreary month. Here’s my 2022 look-ahead (and for the record, I think I’ve gone pretty easy on myself).

Drink tea before coffee.  I’m relishing my morning cup(s) of coffee more than ever as Isaac’s wee-hours wake-ups leave me extra sleepy at the start of the day, but my body doesn’t feel great when my a.m. hydration begins with coffee.  Cue healthy habit: a cup of green tea before a cup of coffee.  Get those antioxidants.  Ease into the caffeine kick.  And then savor that java!

Do three minutes of plank every day.  I’ve settled on walking as my preferred form of exercise, but my post-partum core could use a little extra focus.  I can’t (won’t!) commit to a big chunk of time to strength-train every day, but I can carve out just a few minutes to focus on my most-neglected muscles.  Three minutes doesn’t sound like much, but I did the math and if I keep it up, I’ll finish the year having done over 18 hours of planking!  That’s something.

Establish a simple weekly meal rotation to minimize planning / shopping / cooking effort.  As the end of my maternity leave and a return to the work-life balancing act looms on the horizon, I’m looking for ways to trim the fat from my weekly to-do’s so that I can spend more time enjoying the kids on evenings and weekends.  Meal planning and prep has always been one of my least-favorite time-takers, so I’m working on a handful of weekly menus that we can just put on repeat over and over.  I’ve got the framework nailed down (egg night, chicken night, etc) and am populating each category with 3-4 easy recipes.  So far, so good, though my favorite night of the week is still Friday – takeout night!

Limit time on Instagram to 20 min/day.  I’m still spending hours each day nursing and rocking Isaac, which gives me ample opportunities to get swept into the Instagram vortex.  There were times toward the end of last year when I found myself falling deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, somehow landing in Reese Witherspoon’s feed at 2am, or watching endless reels of monkeys feeding their little chimp babies – I could feel my mind atrophying.  So I purged my “follow” list at the beginning of the year and set a timer on the app – my phone locks me out of Instagram after 20 minutes of use each day.  I’m doing more reading, more journaling in my notes app, more crosswords. I’m already much happier for it.

Read at least two books with Shane and at least two books with Juliette.  I always set some sort of reading goal and decided this year to take a pass at combining reading with a new avenue for family connection.  We don’t necessarily have to read the books out loud to each other, but we’ll read them in parallel so that we can dish in the evenings on the characters.  Juliette’s calling it our “Mama-Jules Book Club” – we’re digging into Matilda this week.  Shane and I have both loaded A Gentleman in Moscow onto our Kindles and are looking forward to carving out some time to read/drink wine/discuss together.

Figure out what church and/or spiritual community looks like for us in 2022.  It’s hard to believe that we haven’t set foot in our church in nearly two years now. We consistently streamed the online services at the start of the pandemic, eager to stay connected as our physical interactions with just about everyone fell by the wayside, but at some point we stopped marking Sunday mornings for church.  We’d flip on the service if convenient, but if we wanted to get out for a walk or if Isaac needed a nap or if we were in the thick of our pancake breakfast, we just…let it slide.  Our church building is open again, but with Omicron and the baby and the extended commute due to the bridge closure, we haven’t been back.  And we’ve kind of fallen in love with our slow and easy Sunday mornings.  But I do miss singing in the company of others; I miss dropping off Juliette at Sunday school and then admiring whatever craft she’d cooked up under the guidance of her exceedingly kind teachers.  I miss the sacred rituals and the casual connections.  We’ve got some figuring out to do.

Now, ready, set, PLANK!

I know, SO LATE for New Years resolutions, but I went to the effort to write these down in January and like to keep a record of such things on the blog as my journal of evolving goals and priorities, a log of my successes and shortcomings (admittedly, I’ve been trying to make more art with Juliette for four years running…).  My 2021 hopeful look-ahead:

Finish our kitchen remodel.  The squeaky drawers and the incessant thaw/freeze cycle of our freezer and the funky smell under the sink are driving me new levels of crazy.  It’s reno time.  I’ve nailed down the floor plan and have picked the cabinets and the countertops and have narrowed down the tile selections and now we just need to bite the bullet, sign up a contractor, and pay the price (in literal dollars, but also in immense mess and inconvenience).  Let’s get ‘er done.

Read 24 books, mostly by authors of color.  I fall short of my reading goal every year, but this is the year!  The year of more books and less Instagram!  I’m doing a pretty good job at diversifying my reading genres, with a mix of fiction and non-fiction and memoirs and poetry, but I recently realized how predominantly white the authors I choose are.  This year I’m making an effort to diversify the voices behind the genres.

Develop an intentional, balanced way to consume news.  I fell into a habit last year of scrolling through a very un-curated news feed on my phone, randomly clicking between political headlines and InStyle’s tips on how to pull off the chunky boots that Katie Holmes has been sporting.  I didn’t put forth the effort to whittle down my feed and was falling down all sorts of pointless rabbit holes.  I’m looking for a way to keep a pulse on local, national, and global events while not leaning too heavily on one particular source (ahem, NY Times).

Learn a new skill with Juliette.  Ok, so this is really just a re-phrasing of my perpetual effort to do more art projects with Juliette, but I’m opening it up here.  Maybe we’ll get into sewing.  Or hip-hop dancing.  Or ice cream-making.  The possibilities are endless – really, I just want maximum QT with my girl.

And because I feel a little beholden to round out my home/mind/heart goals with something for my body, I’m aiming to close my Apple watch fitness rings five times/week by hitting my daily goals for standing/exercising/moving.  This one has already spurred on a noticeable change in habits – I’m getting up from my desk every hour and often rounding out the day with 10-15 minutes of yoga to burn those last few calories.

Finally, I have to share Juliette’s resolutions, because she wrote them herself this year and they’re just so simple and sweet:

Learn how to do a cartwheel.

Eat more cucumbers (you know this one was for my benefit).

Play more board games.

Spend more time with friends (2020 was a serious struggle for our extrovert).

Be loving. 

Cheers to aspirations, to dreaming big and small (photo below from March 2020, when just making it through the week felt like all we could aspire to!).

We’ve made a tradition of writing down our New Years resolutions and tucking them into our Christmas stockings, to be pulled out at the end of the year for a check-in.  By the time December rolls around we have only a faint memory of what goals we actually set, which means there’s an element of surprise when we unfold the lists we made 12 months earlier.  There are usually a couple of resolutions kept, a couple of shrugs over resolutions forgotten and unachieved.  And I’m ok with it this way – Schnell resolution-ing comes with a heaping load of grace.  We’ve accepted that it’s only the things we really want to do and really have time for that will bubble to the surface.

That said, even if we’re ultimately just gonna do what we’re gonna do, I still like this practice of taking stock and intention-setting.  I like having this record of evolving dreams and priorities.  I especially love hearing what comes to mind when I ask Juliette what she wants to do in the year ahead (“Go swimming a lot!  Snuggle with Mommy more!  Play cards!”).  Here’s my 2020 hopeful look-ahead:

Re-strike the work/life balance.  I’ve mentioned a few times how all-consuming my job has been lately and I’m ready to pump the brakes.  I’ll keep my laser-focus during office hours, I’ll work the occasional evening when duty calls, but I’m Trying (capital T!) to do away with work being the last thing I think about as I drift off to sleep and the first thing I think about when I wake in the morning.  Most of that late night pondering/worrying is completely unproductive, anyway – I have yet to experience a midnight epiphany that solves a budget crisis or gets a much-needed building permit.  So I’m going to limit the off-hours email-checking, bite the bullet and officially work Fridays again (I’d rather work on Friday while Juliette’s at school than work every evening after bedtime), and leave work at work.  Just think of the time and energy this will free up for me!  So I can…

Make art.  Sometimes with Juliette.  I’ve largely been on an art-making hiatus since Juliette was born – most of my creative energy (when I have it) and time (when I have it) has gone toward taking photos and keeping this blog current.  But I miss my sketchbook.  I miss the print-making studio.  I miss using my hands to MAKE.  I’m still putting together the framework for this one, but have a book of drawing prompts that Juliette and I have pulled out a couple of times on quiet evenings at home and the hour we spent doodling different bumblebees was incredibly satisfying.

Bang out at least five home improvement projects.  When we bought our 1950’s house a year and a half ago, we immediately put together a list of 30 projects we wanted to complete over the next few years.  I hopped to it and rolled A LOT of white paint onto our walls when we first moved in.  We fixed a leaky faucet, replaced our upstairs windows, got new gutters, cleaned up the yard, and then we…fizzled.  Transitioned into maintenance mode.  But I’m getting my second wind, ready to bid farewell to our pink toilets.  Eager to give our basement some love.  Eyeing a couple of unsightly shrubs that have gotta go.  Just typing out this list makes me giddy – home makeover round 2 starts NOW.

Play more board games.  Shane and I went out for a date-night/game-night during the holidays at a local game shop and I as I looked around at the small groups of people huddled around us, I was struck by how engaged they all were.  No one was checking their phones or sitting on the fringes.  People were laughing over their Cards Against Humanity or agonizing over their next move in Settlers of Catan and I thought, we should all do this more often.  Playing games forces a focused interaction that I feel like I’m lacking – with Shane, with Juliette, with friends…I hereby deem 2020 the Year of Qwirkle.

And I always include at least one warm-and-fuzzy self-care resolution that tends to fall by the wayside by mid-February, so in that tradition I’m committing to move with intention for at least 10 minutes EVERY DAY.  Take a moment before bed to breathe and to stretch.  Bring back the lunchtime walks.  Do Barre again.  On the very best of days, cross-country ski!

Cheers to a year of aspiration.  And so much grace.


(a 2020 Mama-Jules collaboration…)

I know, it’s a tad late to be nailing down my 2019 resolutions, but I’m behind on the blogging front because I’ve in fact been keeping one of my New Year’s goals, which is to carve out more time in the evenings for quiet, screen-free reading/meditating/journaling (all things introspective, really), so I get a pass on my lack of punctuality.  Spending a couple of evenings a week in front of the fireplace sans phone or laptop has been so, so good for my soul.

Additionally, a few intentions for the year ahead:

Drink more water.  The threshold for “more” is actually quite low since prior to this resolution I passed most days without drinking any water, but I’m going big and targeting 64 ounces a day.  I’ve been at this for a few weeks now and am feeling the effects with fewer stomach aches (I’m nausea-prone) and less fatigue.  And the resulting requisite hourly bathroom breaks are increasing my daily step count!  Double health bonus.

Use less paper products;  cut back on the paper cups and paper towels.  Juliette is joining me on this one and we’ve made a habit of bringing our matching travel mugs to the coffee shop and giving our hands a good drip-dry shake after we’ve washed up at a restroom.  Jules has proven to be an irritatingly excellent accountability partner and loves to give me a friendly tsk-tsk when I absent-mindedly grab a paper towel or leave my mug at home.  She also loves to wipe her wet hands on my dry pants.  We’re really in this together.

Host more.  A pastor at our church gave a sermon a few weeks ago about “making room at the table” and that message has been rattling around in my head ever since.  I’m still figuring out what exactly this means for us, but I think it looks like more shared meals around our dining room table; more invitations for the neighborhood kids to come over and play; more reaching out and checking in.  And, less concern over presenting a spotless home or a perfectly prepared dinner.  No stress.  More connection.

Shane and Juliette set their own goals and we all tucked our lists into our stockings, to be uncovered at the end of the year for a check-in – we did this last year and had fun revisiting our mixed-results 2018 resolutions as a family.  With that, back to the business of analog introspecting!  My pen beckons.

I waffle every year about whether or not to make any resolutions, loving the idea of fresh goals for a fresh year but simultaneously feeling wary of adding anything to the already-full plates that are our lives these days.  So I’m taking the middle road and just spending some time pondering the year ahead, getting my thoughts and hopes down on-screen and entering into 2018 with a spirit of intention.  In the next 11.5 months, I/we will:

MAKE SOME BIG-ASS DECISIONS.  Shane and I have had a handful of life-changing what-if’s hanging over our heads for quite some time now and are feeling like it’s time to set our wheels in motion and pick a direction.  Should we put our house on the market and buckle down on our search for something quieter and a little more spacious?  Should we move forward with early-enrolling Juliette in kindergarten this year (rather than keeping her in preschool for another year)?  Are we going to try (like, really try) for another baby?  Ho-ly Mo-ses, these are big things!  And I’m completely change-phobic, prone to bouts of extreme crankiness and dramatic weeping in periods of uncertainty.  But we know we can’t let fear or comfort keep us from taking the road un-traveled – an amazing house or a wonderful kindergarten teacher or a joyous addition to our family might lie just up ahead, if we lean into the uncertainty.  And hey, maybe none of those things come to fruition this year, which is fine, but when December rolls around I want to rest in the peace of knowing that our pursuits (or lack thereof, if that’s where we land) were meditated upon and deliberate.

And now that I’ve gotten the heavy-duty stuff out of the way and gulped down another cup of my Yogi Stress Relief tea, let’s talk about something fun and entirely manageable.  Like READING!  I mentioned that 2017 wasn’t my finest literary year and I’m eager to delve back into books.  I want to spend more early evening-times reaching for my Kindle rather than my laptop or phone.  I want to cut out the mindless Facebook scrolling and focus on words and stories that provoke and inspire and teach.

After a wet, house-bound few days I’m finding myself dreaming of sparkling lakes and sun-dappled forests – let’s make this a year for some serious Schnell family CAMPING.  We’ve spent a fair number of nights in our tent over the previous couple of years, but I’m hoping to get out even more in 2018.  Shane, Juliette and I live most fully into my dream for our family when we’re hiking and paddle-boarding and eating around a campfire and sleeping under the stars.  So we’re gonna make it happen – Fort Flagler, Orcas Island, Wynoochee Lake, PNW TBD, here we come!  I can’t wait.

When I asked Juliette if she had any hopes for the year ahead, anything she wanted to do or learn, she quickly replied that she wants to learn how read, learn how to be an architect like Mom, and learn how to be an engineer like Dad – that girl’s got mad ambition!  In addition to being my partner in decision-making and camp-setting, Shane set a couple of personal fitness and reading goals.  I jotted each of our lists down on slips of paper and tucked them into our Christmas stockings, to be pulled out at the end of the year for a fun (shame-free, low-pressure) check-in.

So here’s to a year of intentionality, making hard choices and then finding restoration with a good book, a well-strung hammock, and a lake view.

I sat back and breathed a small sigh of relief after I published my last post.  No resolutions.  No obligations.  No pressure.  I was officially off the hook.  Only…if ever there was a time when I should feel compelled toward self-education and action, it seems THIS.  IS.  IT.

Donald Trump has been president for one week.  Each cabinet appointment he announces, each executive order he signs affirms my fears that he cares little for the poor, for the environment, for the public education system or the people suffering abroad.  I mean, I knew he and I wouldn’t see eye-to-eye on most things, but wowsers, my head is spinning.  And then, Wednesday night, as I was reading the latest headlines about his notorious border wall and falling deeper into despair, something inside of me awoke.  I don’t have to sit idly by.  I can do something.  I have to do something.

Yesterday I left voicemails for several senators, urging them to vote against Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.  Today Juliette and I shopped for diapers and wipes and dropped them off at the Refugee Womens Alliance, a non-profit down the street which serves refugee and immigrant families in our community.  I’m organizing a group of co-workers to spend an evening serving dinner to homeless men at the Union Gospel Mission.  Shane and I have a date this weekend to sit down and re-evaluate our charitable giving as we seek to support organizations that fight for human rights.

And finally, I’m opening my eyes and ears wider than they’ve ever been before.  Reading, researching, seeking, listening.  I’m turning off The Daily Show and getting my news from less-partisan news sources (if you have a non-partisan news source, let me know!).  I’m asking my gay friends how I can support them.  I’m looking for was to uplift and learn from the immigrant community that’s so vibrant at Juliette’s school.  I’m reaching out to conservative friends and family members in an effort to understand their frustrations with the previous administration and their hopes for the current one.  I’m rooting myself in truthful reporting, not just of the goings-on in D.C., but of the lives and stories of my nearest and dearest, as we’re all walking into the new political era from very different places.

A friend marched with a sign last Saturday that read, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Humbly, step by step, I’m trying.

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I’m a little late this year checking in on my 2016 resolutions and making new ones for 2017 because, well…screw it all.  I’m not going write about whether I did or didn’t yell at Juliette last year (you can venture a guess, though), and I’m not going to commit to learning Spanish or sketching weekly or volunteering with a neighborhood organization.  I’m not going to make excuses for goals unachieved or add anything else to my list of shoulda-coulda-woulda’s.  I don’t know if it’s the “self-care” workshop I took with some mama friends a couple of weeks ago or the fragile state of my spirit in these politically tumultuous times, but I’m inclined to cut myself some slack.  Take a hiatus from ambition and just live into my status quo, which is actually quite remarkable when I think about it:  Quality time with Shane and Jules.  Dinners shared with close friends.  Challenging, meaningful work projects.  Photography, Barre3, and good books.  If I manage to get Juliette to eat something green, or if I find an afternoon to work on an art project, that’s just gravy.

So here’s to a year of grace…

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I usually start out each year with a list of about 20 resolutions, then whittle it down to a select few that address varied realms of self-improvement – something health-focused, something relationship-focused, something creatively-focused, something to scratch my organizational itch…  This year, though, I drew a blank. I cribbed two resolutions from where I fell short in 2015 and then got stuck, unable to focus on the broader picture of the year ahead as I got swept up in January preschool visits (how is it that time already?!), and a work deadline, and then Making A Murderer (watch it!  actually, DON’T.).  After spending some time this weekend mulling over what I want to accomplish in 2016, this is where I landed.  I have this nagging feeling that I’m not being quite ambitious enough, that something’s missing, but these dark rainy days have sucked the moxie right out of me and I’m tapped out.  Maybe I’ll do Resolutions Round 2 in the spring, when I’m not tempted to hit the hay at 8:30 pm every night.  Round 1 is as follows:

Make art with Juliette every week.  I gave this one a shot last year and found it to be harder than expected, but I’m tackling it with renewed vigor.  So far, so good – Juliette and I pulled out the pom pom’s and paint yesterday afternoon, and after dabbing a few orange dots on the paper, she looked up at me and exclaimed with great pride, “I made a duck butt, Mama!  I made a duck butt!”  That was all the incentive I needed to keep the art projects rolling.

Get out of auto-mode with my camera.  Also from last year.  Hoping that 2016 is the year I graduate from occasionally-lucky amateur photographer to well-informed amateur photographer.

No angry-yelling at Juliette.  I’ve actually had this one on my mind for awhile, but felt nervous about putting it down on paper as I feel destined to fail.  I mean, she’s two.  And stubborn as all get-out.  This happens at least once a week: I’m standing by the door holding her coat and she’s looking me right in the eyes with her arms defiantly folded across her chest and I’m saying “please, honey, be a helper” and then I’m suddenly shouting, “JULIETTE GRACE!  WE’RE LATE!  PUT ON YOUR COAT!”  And while the shouting gives me about seven seconds of anger-expelling relief, regret is always quick to follow.  So I’m committing to patience and kindness, reminding myself to just take a minute and walk away when the treachery of toddlerhood is too much to bear.  (A small point of clarification: yelling for the sake of her safety is ok, as in “STOP!  DO NOT RUN INTO THE ROAD!”.  Mild to moderate raising of my voice for the sake of emphasis is also acceptable.)

Develop a go-to list of 28 recipes, focused on whole, healthy foods.  This one shows promise, as it touches on two of my most favorite things: eating and list-making!  Shane and I have made great strides over the past couple of years in purging processed foods from our diet, but I’m finding myself in a cooking rut, cycling through just a few simple go-to recipes again and again.  So I’m upping my kitchen game, venturing a little further into the produce aisle and trying new things.  If we love eating it and love how we feel after eating it, it makes the list.


Here we go, duck butts and all!

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Alright, this is it – my final post on 2015 as I have a come-to-Jesus moment with last year’s resolutions.  It’s a little bleak, but I’m nothing if not a work in progress!

Get out of the house SANS BABY with Shane at least once a month.  We did alright on this one – called a sitter a couple of times, took advantage of the grandparents when they came to visit, and pawned Juliette off on our friends when we were really desperate for an evening out.  I’ve found that what’s actually more important than getting out for date nights is making sure that we find regular times during the week to turn off the TV, let the dirty dishes sit for awhile, and check in/plan/spoon.  That said, I could always use more of this…

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so we’ll keep at it.

Make art with Juliette.  Sub-par performance on this one, for sure.  We had a few good afternoons with the watercolors and the finger paints, but too often I let the hassle of getting everything out and then having to clean everything up deter me from quality art-time with Juliette.  So I’m renewing my commitment to kid-focused creativity this year, lining up a variety of projects.  I just ordered Jules her first pair of scissors and a bag of 300 pom-pom’s.  No turning back now.  (Seriously, though, can you see why I was a little weary of getting out the paint?!)

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Learn how to make the best use my camera.  Fail.  Total fail.  I’m still taking lots of photos, but have yet to shift out of auto-mode, so I’m giving myself a do-over on this one as well, adding it to my list for 2016.  On a more positive note, I did luck out with a few great shots last year.

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Be physically active.  Finally!  One I can call a total success!  I completed my first (and probably last) half-marathon in March, hitting my target time after three months of diligent training and one guns-blazing all-out push to the finish.  I decided after the race that long-distance running isn’t my thing, but I’ve found an exercise schedule that works for me since then, mixing running, walking, and at-home barre3 workouts, targeting 30 minutes+ of focused physical activity at least 1/2 the days of each month.  And I feel good.  Fit.  Mission accomplished.

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End the year with less stuff in our house than there is right now.  I just finished “project closet purge” and I’m squeaking by with a pass on this one.  Things still feel tight around here, but after ditching 20 half-skeins of yarn, a box of burned CDs (remember when Spotify playlists weren’t even a thing?!), and the snow globe that Shane gave me on our first Valentines Day, I’m definitely feeling lighter, gratified by the presence of empty space in our closets.

And with that, I’m ready to resolution the heck out of 2016.  Stay tuned.

I spent Sunday making good on one of my New Years resolutions – my first (and last?) half marathon is in the bag!  And sweet Jesus, I’m glad that run is behind me…

I signed up for the Mercer Island Half at the beginning of the year and promptly started training with lots of guidance from Shane, who has run this race several times.  He loaded up my calendar with gradually-increasing distance targets and mapped out a number of courses that included plenty of elevation change to prep me for Mercer’s hills.  And I slogged away at those miles, strapping Jules into the stroller on Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons for jogs up around (and around, and around) Jefferson Park.  Saturday or Sunday mornings were devoted to long runs, where I would do portions of the race course or head down to Lake Washington for loops through Leschi or Seward Park.  I missed a few days when I came down with that cold (and then that hacking cough, and then that stomach bug), but generally managed to stay on track.  As race day drew near, I would vacillate between confidence and outright dread.  I’d do a solid 8-miler and think, “I got this!”  And then my knee would start to ache or I’d be put out of commission with another cold and I’d wonder, “What in the world were you thinking?”  I freaked out a couple of times last week, imagining myself barely hobbling to the finish with a side ache or a bum leg, crushed with the disappointment of missing my 2-hour time target.  I fretted and whined and threatened to bail.  I went to my coach for a pep talk, and his advice to me was, “Just have fun!”  Thanks a heap, sweetheart.  I was having a tough time finding the promise of fun amidst visions of pants-wetting and excruciating pain.

And then it was race day.  We made it to Mercer Island with plenty of time for me to hit the porta potty (twice), stretch a bit, make sure I had my bib number pinned on straight, my Shot Bloks tucked in my pocket, and my shoelaces tied tight.  My eyes actually filled with tears as Shane kissed me on the cheek and told me it was time for me to head off to the start line – you’d think I was heading into battle, the way I cried as I stroked Juliette’s hair, looked into Shane’s eyes and said a choked-up good-bye.  My nerves were on overdrive and threatening to get the best of me, so I took a few deep breaths, headed into the sea of spandex-clad runners, and said a prayer for strength and endurance as I waited for the starting horn.  Finally, after months of preparation, logging mile after mile in my trusty old Brooks, HOOOOONNNNNNK!  It was go time!

And I felt…great.  My legs were strong, my breathing was steady, I didn’t feel the urge to pee or vomit as feared.  The weather was perfect and the course was beautiful, with tree-lined switchbacks and views of the water around each bend.  I had my phone strapped to my arm and was thrilled to hear RunKeeper tell me that I was hitting each mile mark ahead of my target 9:10 pace.  Mile 2, average pace, 8:55 per mile…Mile 5, average pace, 8:56 per mile…Mile 8, average pace, 8:55 per mile.  Shane had carefully mapped out his cheering route and he and Juliette popped up at miles 3, 5, and 7 to give me high-fives.  I waved to them and yelled to Juliette that mama would see at the finish reeeeeal soon.  I was flyin’!

Then mile 10 happened.  My legs got a little rubbery and I felt myself slowing down.  I pressed on, counting my strides and telling myself that once I counted to 100 six times, I should be at the next mile marker.  I saw the sign for mile 11 and perked up a little – the end felt so close!  And yet, it was still so, so far away.  The course’s biggest hill cruelly falls at mile 11, and dang, it hurt.  It was like I was running in ten inches of mud.  My legs screamed at me and threatened to unattach themselves from my body.  “What the hell, lady?  We’re not cut out for this!”  I popped my last Shot Blok, I huffed and I puffed.  Mile 12, average pace, 9:05 per mile.  I was slipping!  I started counting my strides again, struggled to find a rhythm.  At last, in the distance, I heard the cheers and cow bells of the finish line.  I saw Shane and Jules and Jack and La Verne waving from the sidelines, threw back my shoulders, turned on my turbo-boosters, and finished with all I had.

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Thanks, Jack, for the action shots!

I took a minute to catch my breath and wolf down an orange and then made my way to my peeps, posing for a runner’s pic with Jack, who had finished his 10k earlier in morning.

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And…final time?  1:59:43!  I squeaked in just under my goal and lived to tell about it, in all it’s overly-dramatic glory.

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Mucho, mucho thanks to my insanely supportive husband, who told me over and over and over that I could do this, and to my insanely heavy daughter, who made me feel like superwoman each time I managed to push her stroller up that mondo hill on our Thursday runs.  I’m so glad you made me do this.  And I’m so glad I never have to do it again.