I run like a big girl

So…

How did it go?

I’m upright. I’m walking. I am managing going up and down the stairs under The Big Top. It hurts a little but I’m going up and down those stairs. I guess you could say I did okay with the half marathon comeback.

The day before the race, the boys joined me at the expo in downtown Modesto because what else were they going to do that day? Help Hollie and Ben move when Bill is still not 100% cleared from heavy lifting? Watch Netflix and play video games? It’s a beautiful day, let’s hit the expo, see what else they have and grab some grub because this mother runner needs to fuel up.

Oh and take my picture please because I’m wearing a cute dress…Old Navy!…and I am having a great hair day.

While at the expo, I made the decision to drop out of my age division and sign up for the Athena division, basically the big girl division. This involves stepping on a scale in the expo much like The Biggest Loser without the dramatic music and giant numbers flashing above your head. Still one must step on a scale and everyone within ear shot now knows how much you weigh. It’s just a number, I tell myself. A number that is now bigger than my darling husband; who, naturally, dropped about 10 pounds so far during his post STEMI recovery. I can’t hate him because I am certain that I can run a half marathon and he can not. So I am now officially in the big girl race division.

It’s all about that bass.

Back home, it was time to check out the swag,

and get my gear ready because come 5:00 in the morning, it is not the time to be looking for those socks or ear buds.

This kind of pre-gaming probably wasn’t the best idea but I reasoned it was to support my favorite dance team and studio…a little wine tasting, a little bit of good food and a little bit of shopping…the perfect way to unwind those pre-race jitters.

Bedtime soon followed because 5 am was going to come soon enough.

See?

A little oatmeal, blueberries, yogurt and coffee…definitely coffee and I was ready to go.

This lady is why I signed up for this race in the first place. She told me there was wine. She also told me that it would be her first half marathon. I warned that after about 2 miles I would take off and settle into my pace but I promised us both that this would be fun. It would be. The atmosphere at the start was happy, friendly and very comfortable. We were among friends all looking forward to a beautiful morning run.

Soon enough, I ran past Sandra and settled into my own pace. It was faster than I had planned but I felt good and I felt strong. It was about 58° under the shady college neighborhood so I figured that I might as well keep going at this pace. I soon passed this dapper gentleman above who was race walking and literally passing runners of all shapes and sizes. He smiled at me as I passed him saying “Great day for a stroll isn’t it?”

“Perfect day!” I agreed as I waved and ran on past him. Later I found out that he was just 12 minutes behind me crossing the finish line race walking all the way.

At the 7 mile mark water station, I could see that I was not going to maintain the fast pace I was running. No problem. It was a comfortable pace for a few miles but definitely not the long haul. I was planning to finish strong. It has been five years since I last ran a half marathon race. There was no PR planned for the day; just a respectable finish under a 12 minute pace. So at 7 miles, I walked through the water station. Drank some water. Drank some electrolytes and had a small snack. Back to running settling in a 11 minute pace, I decided that I would walk through the water stations.

And I would most definitely smile and wave at the photographers. Big girls run and look good while doing it!

It got warm soon enough. Not as warm as I imagined that it would be. Still, it was warm. I’m glad that I chose to allow short walk breaks. I was encouraged that I stayed with most of the pack that I had been running with since the 5K mark. The race organizers were true to their word. This was a fast course. Soon enough my pack and I were on 9th Street trying to power through because we were but 2 miles from being done when zooming past us was the marathon winner, Jesus Campos! With a series of 5:35 miles, he definitely ran past us all like he stole something complete with a police escort. We all cheered in our pack and found the energy to push through.

I was literally 6 minutes behind the marathon winner and ahead of the female marathon winner. Yes, I ran the half marathon. Still, I was beyond thrilled with this time. Just 3 minutes slower than my personal best and after a five year hiatus this was super…even better than what I had expected too!

Even better, I did well running in the Athena/Big Girl division placing 9th out of a 30.

Big girls do run and run sometimes faster than even they imagine…at an 11:55 average pace!

I’ll gladly take it and celebrate it.

After an ice bath.

You think running 13.1 miles is tortuous and hard!

and a massage…

and resting while rocking these sweet Pro Compression socks.

and along with a lot of hydration, a little celebration, thanks to the Modesto Marathon.

be on the lookout

If you happen to find yourself in and around Modesto come Sunday morning, be on the lookout for these sweet running tights. I will be wearing them while running The Modesto Half Marathon.

Current weather conditions promise it to be a very bright, sunny and WARM race.

I might die!

Kidding.

Still I just might because I am not a hot weather runner. Ignore the the half marathons past…The American River Parkway Half, The Disneyland Half, The San Jose Rock and Roll Half…all ran in the heat. Those were more than 4 years ago and I STILL hated running in the heat then as I do now…perhaps even more now because hot flashes make it even hotter…take your breath away and perhaps suffocate you hotter.

Yes, I just might die.

But at least I know I trained well in spite of the last two runs of my training which absolutely, positively sucked. I have been hydrating well all week. And I have some sweet running tights and equally colorful kicks to run through Mo-town come Sunday morning!

If your in my neck of the woods I do hope that you will come cheer me on. I need lots of cowbell and cheering. I won’t promise a PR time like the inaugural Stockton Half or even negative splits like my very first half marathon race because I am 5 years older and slower and this is a comeback for me. But I do promise for you lots of fun cheering racers on and a beer and wine garden with food trucks galore at the finish line.

But if you aren’t in my neck of the woods and want to be a creeper still want to cheer me on you can sign up for instant updates of me out on the race course where you will receive start time, splits and finish time sent directly to your phone, email or Facebook.

reminder: have courage and be kind

It’s your birthday this week, Mom. What are you doing Friday the 13th?

Um, I don’t know…

Good. Keep that date open for me…for your birthday present. She smiles and flounces off, as she often does as the dancer, as the princess that she is.

What could it be?, I wonder to myself…a pedi?….a massage….shopping?…dinner?…all too much, of course. Still, I am excited, because she tells me that she is so excited. I can’t imagine her enthusiasm to not ever be contagious.

Happy Birthday To Me arrives and the first gift I receive is this:

Every one else, it would seem, is tripping on the time change springing forward one hour, but I am good because I have a perfect non-fat, no whip, white mocha, a Sephora gift card and I am seeing Cinderella with my darling 4th daughter the evening of Friday the 13th. No superstitions here!

Ever since I was a very little girl, Cinderella was my Princess. I know, not very feminist of me. Who cares! For me, a very lonely, awkward little girl, who never seemed to do anything right for anyone, no matter how hard she tried, Cinderella reminded to keep dreaming, keep believing…and I did. I do.

It is because of the Cinderella of my young life, I was worried about what Disney would do to her in a live action movie…Silly, I know, because this is Disney. Even with the PERFECT re-working of Sleeping Beauty into Maleficent of last year, I still had my reservations because this was my Cinderella. Yet, I still wanted to see it.

I had nothing to worry about.

Except for perhaps the “Cinderella” who greeted us as she tugged uncomfortably with her gloves and fidgeted with her ball gown…not princess-like at all! My Princess showed her how it is done even when clad in simple skinny jeans, a tee and ballet flats. The movie theater had the right idea having a “Cinderella” ready to meet and greet everyone on opening night. The reactions of the little children there was priceless. But it is hard for a professional princess to not want to show how it should be done right.

You don’t tug, you don’t fidget and you stand like this…

But the movie…the movie was almost perfection! I won’t lie, during the beginnings, filled with one heartbreak after another, I found myself saying out loud enough already…just as Ella meets Kit, the Apprentice. The story plays on as one familiar with Cinderella would expect; but with a few delightful twists and turns along the way to keep it fresh and more real…because, yes, feminists, even this Disney princess isn’t necessarily looking for a man to save her…especially when it is SHE who teaches the Prince that he must “have courage and be kind.”…something I believe we all need to be reminded of…some of us need to be reminded of the “be kind” part perhaps more so. Just saying…

I LOVED the movie! Jodie LOVED the movie! The reaction of pretty much everyone else in the theater tonight suggested that they all LOVED the movie too!

Cinderella is rated PG and although I would recommend it as family friendly, know that there are three characters who die in the movie, two whom die on screen, which might prove to be upsetting for more sensitive children..

Still, a wonderful movie evening and birthday gift with MY favorite princess.

Made even MORE perfect because it was my birthday! My princess did very good.

 

parental supervision advised

Recent events in the education of my favorite son have proven to be pretty exciting these days. Last month, after months and months of planning, preparation, education and communication our school district went live going digital with over 23,000 Panasonic 3E tablets issued to all the students in the district to be utilized in the classroom and for students in grades 4-8 to take home with parental permission and high school, well, I don’t know because I have no student in high school. But based on what I’m seeing in social media world, high school students are taking their devices home.

Going digital is every where. It’s now and it’s real and it is in pretty much every workplace setting…whether we like it or not. It only makes sense that we equip and educate our children…all of our children. Of course pretty much every child out there is tech savvy already with a strong selfie game by the time they are two. But for those who do not have access at home, here is an opportunity and it is exciting. At least I think so.

For months and months before the big day, our school district was informing us what was coming. Regular discussions and presentations were at school board meetings. Information was being sent home, updated on school web sites and the school district web site. The local paper published articles regularly as well. Teachers were discussing at back to school nights and individual teacher conferences what was to come. There were parent meetings with members of school board, faculty and Panasonic offered all over the district where parents could have the opportunity to ask more questions, actually see the devices and even play with them late last year. Up until the big Go Live day schools regularly sent home updates via flyers, monthly newsletters, emails and robo-calls. Our kids had assemblies talking about the Big Day and, at least under our Big Top, we heard about it from our very excited student. Technology was coming to our schools. A parent had to be literally living under a rock not to know what was coming. We knew under The Big Top since before last year at this time that this was coming…and we could not wait.

Then the day came just last month and Ta-Da!!!

We opted to give Daniel permission to bring his home on weekends and the day that he received his device because we wanted to see it too! As Daniel started it up, he carefully explained to us the dos and the don’ts of caring for and operating his tablet/laptop. He basically recited nearly verbatim the clear handout (with pictures) in English and Spanish that was sent home to the parents. We praised the boy on his care for his device to which he shrugged reminding us that we told him he has to take good care of his technology always.

Don’t you just love it when your kids actually listen to you and do what you say?

Me too.

Also, he added, Mrs. B. spent a great deal of time prepping his class with the basics of their tablets/laptops. Thank goodness because Mom and Dad appreciate his prompting as we get ourselves acquainted with it too.

So six weeks later, the local paper wonders how the students are doing with their devices and discovers that cracked screens from students stepping on the devices…as they are getting out of bed is the biggest reported problem. No actual numbers are reported, but the district assures that it is small number comparatively.

Of course the comments immediately flood the paper’s social media sites because people are clearly upset about this…this is a big deal. Comments pour in all mostly pointing fingers at schools, the school district and teachers because clearly THEY are not being responsible. One parent loudly, shrilly complains that the schools had not adequately prepped parents and students for this. Schools are not teaching her children safety and and responsibility. Technology is important but some parents don’t want their kids to use it or access it….she expresses these comments via Facebook using her iPhone. And the “amen corner” chimes in.

But here is a novel idea…How about parents take responsibility to teach their children to take care of all the technology devices they use and what websites their children access?…Yes, I asked that.

Why does this remind me so much of sex education with our kids and parents of my kids’ friends suddenly realizing that when their kids are 12 that OMG, the school is going to talk to them about their changing bodies and maybe sex and they are just kids and OMG!!! They are going to talk to them about that!!! We haven’t even had THE TALK because they’re just babies and OMG!!!

It’s simple to suggest that parents need to take responsibility here. It is too simple. Parents, who clearly are tech-savvy enough to shrilly comment all over social media of the evils of tech in their child’s school and tech being forced upon their child via their iPhone should be able to pass on some of that to their kids. Given the fact that most toddlers I know seem pretty adept navigating mommy’s smart phone or their own tablet to play games or watch Frozen for the jabillionth time, I would imagine the small group of #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns parents have kids who are savvy enough…the leader of their group has a high school aged child who I imagine is quite busy on twitter, tumblr and kik. Shame on her for not passing on info to her mom who claims having no knowledge until December 2014…and since mom chose to judge my parenting when we engaged in a thoughtful debate on this subject…shame on mom for not being on top of her child’s school activities as well as perhaps her child’s online activity.

As another parent expressed: I am a bit concerned as to why the children/ kids/teens are allowed to “go to bed” with their tablets. It is a learning device, a digital book if you will…. parents should be supervising the usage of these things, the tablet should be put in a backpack or put away on the table or something, these items should not be being broken and used as a baby sitting device.

Disagree all you want, but truth of the matter is the parents need to step up and be responsible for their kids actions.

I’m sorry #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom but all of your apples and oranges and slippery slope arguments fall flat. We were prepped. We were given ample time and the forums to express questions and concerns. Our kids have been educated in class on the care of their devices and safety. We have been repeatedly also informed of basic device care and safety for our children while using their devices. Ultimately we as parents must choose to continue to support, encourage and educate ourselves and our children of the care of their devices and safety…as responsible parents do. Like sex education, or morality, or basic respect for people, animals, places and things, ultimately this is the job of the parent, including you, #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom, to be present, be aware and teach our kids proper respect for things given to them. If your kid was irresponsible enough to take the device to bed to be “doing homework” and crack the screen, I imagine that you are engaging with me on the Bulletin’s Facebook page via your iPhone with a cracked screen.

Yes, I went there. You question my own parenting in our back and forth discussion implying that I don’t care for my child’s safety I think it’s fair.

Ultimately, it is one of MUSD’s students who pretty much said what needed to be said: I personally think the tablets are awesome if used correctly. I have never been more productive. I am a senior in high school and the tablets have allowed for me to get a lot of small assignments done between passing classes, allowing me to reduce my workload at home. Also, in applying to colleges it’s really nice to have all the materials necessary at my fingertips. During lunch and brunch I fill out scholarship applications-something I had to wait to do until I got home to my computer before. Although I use my tablet for the intended use of improving my educational experience, I am highly aware of their misuse. I have classmates who got their tablets and downloaded games immediately and only waste their time. My peers are extremely careless when it comes to their tablets so it’s no surprise to me that so many are broken. I don’t think the tablets are the problem. The problem is the students’ individual negligence towards them. Whether we like it or not our future will be ruled by technology so it is really great that MUSD is giving us this advantage over the students of other districts. Of course there are going to be problems with the tablets, but learning to deal with them is exactly the type of ‘real-life’ application every body claims to want in their education.

and then a teacher, I know personally, who admittedly struggled with the going digital process shared: I have so enjoyed the last few days with the students having their own computers. I guess I wasn’t surprised things have gone so smoothly, since we were towards the end and most of the bugs had been worked out. The kids have amazed me not with how much further ahead of me they were, which I expected, but how much they were willing to help each other out. I did find I had much to teach them (especially about word processing), but for much of the time my job is to just stay out of their way. They also are taking a whole new interest in completing their work and behaving in class. I realize this won’t last, but you can’t fault me for enjoying it while I can…

Back it up #MUSDgoingdigitalconcerns mom. You sit down and focus on your kid’s safety and use and care of their digital device and I will with mine.

 

catching up, investing in female research solving the world’s greatest challenges and (maybe) doing my taxes

It’s been awhile since I posted, hasn’t it? I have a pretty good reason/distraction/excuse as I’m sure most of you all know. Follow me or lurk anywhere else where I am online I know that you know. Or you could just ask me…or call…or text…or “Facebook” me…or tweet at me. Updates are out there for sure. So while the family circus catches up on sleep and adjusts to a new normal life under The Big Top, we find we must catch up on a lot of other things like bills, my getting back to work (to pay those bills since Bill will be out for the foreseeable future), teacher conferences and report cards, changing Spring Break plans (because Bill is not able to work for the weeks to come), getting taxes done for kids’ FAFSAs, birthdays…

OH CRAP! I forgot my baby sister’s birthday! I swear family health crises that distract me always seem to happen when important things are happening in her life. Clearly I suck as a sister. Excuse me while I send her a card and an apology…

And then I remember something I recently promised to do for another sister…the sister who is taller than me and definitely smarter than me and asked me to be the oldest first-time bridesmaid ever. Oh, who am I kidding, they all are smarter than me! But back to Ange…

Remember when mountain lions came to Modesto and Turlock? There was much talk of the serious drought and suburban sprawl of our growing Central Valley communities increasing the likelihood of seeing these carnivores. It’s a real thing.

And my sister is devoting her doctoral studies on just that: Carnivore conservation in an era of rapid development.

The Southwestern U.S. has the most diverse assemblage of carnivores anywhere in the U.S., ranging from mountain lions and black bears to kit foxes and spotted skunks. It also has the fastest growing population in the U.S. The population of Arizona grew nearly 584% between 1950 and 2000. As the population of southern Arizona grows, annual visitation rates to its protected areas also grow, resulting in greater impacts on the areas’ wildlife. To adequately manage and conserve carnivore species within protected areas, information on how they may respond to different levels of human disturbance is essential.

Your donations will fund a project that will not only help her in completing her PhD, but also help collect valuable information on the impacts of human disturbance on carnivore communities.

If you can, please helping fund this project. Donate what you can, if you can. But donate soon because she now has less than 13 days left in her fundraising effort.

Thanks!