Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fishers Farmer's Market: Opening Day

This past weekend was one of my favorite days of the year- opening day of my local farmer's market.

Opening day is so fun because it's the familiar sights and smells that formed our Saturday mornings most of last summer.  It's excited hellos and finally get my hands on favorite treats.  My family was eager to get some favorite snacks into their bellies right away.

Harvest Café Coffee - My first stop is always Harvest Café because they make the world's most incredible Iced Mocha.  I was bummed on Saturday- I got there later than I'd like (due to a bike ride so it was a good reason) and they had run out!


What would a farmer's market be without farmer's and locally grown produce?  Beets, asparagus, strawberries are abundant this time of year in Indiana.




Our favorite honey supplier is at our farmer's market!  I can buy her honey at a local vitamin/health shop but it's just not the same as stopping at her booth for honey straws every Saturday morning.  Wildflower Ridge Honey.  Just look at how beautiful that honey is!


It's been about 7 years since I bought a 1/4 cow from Royer Farm Fresh Meat but this is still one of my fave stops each Saturday.  We don't cook a lot of meat so I don't buy regularly but I keep saying I want to do that 1/4 thing again sometime.  I really like this family and what I know of how they run their farm and their business.  You can find them at markets beyond Fishers, too.  They are at Broad Ripple, Terre Haute, and have a store on the farm, too!


Another popular item at our market - plants and flowers.  You can buy plants for your own gardening, hanging baskets, decorative planters.  There are about 4 or 5 vendors selling a beautiful assortment of plants!





One of the regulars is crafty vendor Mimi and Blondie.  She makes blankets, superhero capes, tutus, and so much more!  I'm not crafty at all- I've got the skill but lack the patience- so I always enjoy when others share their talents.

And one of my favorite vendors is Sugar 4.  There is nothing in the world like a Hint of Jalapeno Brownie.  And I think my kids would flip if they couldn't pick out a gingerbread man or shortbread heart cookie.  Jennifer is the owner/baker and we became friends last year- she's my favorite friendly face at the market.


 And our last stop is always Mathoo's Eggrolls.  Love to get these unhealthy treats home and dig right in!  I learned this year that the family who owns Mathoo's has kids in my church's preschool.  Small world!  There is always a line, they are always busy.


I didn't see Captain Jim's Hot Sauce.  I need him to be there because I need a new bottle of hot sauce!  I didn't see the dog treat people or the candle people.  Hoping some just weren't ready for opening day and will be there in the future.

I'll be featuring more of the regular and favorite vendors and finds over the summer.  Like the Mennonite farmer (he requests no pictures).  And I can't wait to tell you about the artisan balsamic vinegars and olive oils (4 words: dark chocolate balsamic vinegar. Seriously from heaven.).  And the musician who plays guitar and sings my favorite folk songs.  And My Dad's Sweet Corn.  And the guy who grows veggies in his backyard right down the street.  And the iced tea booth (one of Teagan's favorites).  And so much more!

Last year, I shared some of my favorite tips for visiting your local farmer's market.  I shared my opening day excitement then, too.  I'd love to hear about your farmer's market ventures where you live!


Bring cash.  You don't know who takes credit cards and you don't want to miss out on anything by not having the easiest form of payment! 

Talk to people.  The vendors at a Farmer's Market at part of your community!  They are friendly and eager to sell to you.  Chat and ask questions.  If you don't know what a vegetable is, ask!  Ask how to prepare it.  You can learn a lot from the people who grew it or made it.

Bring shopping bags.  I suggest bringing a few if you can.  Bring an insulated bag for cold items.  Bring a bag just for produce and a bag for other items that might be heavier.  

Just go!  It doesn't matter if you've never been to a Farmer's Market before.  It doesn't matter if you don't go to the one down the street.  Just go and check it out!  


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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Before and After

In August, my kids started preschool and 1st grade.  Zach was 3 and Teagan was 6.



Zach blossomed into the school being "his" right away.  We had worried he might struggle a bit in being comfortable at the school without his Big Sister.  However, our worries were for nothing.  He loved that the school was now "Zachary's School" only.  Now at the end of the school year, he is recognizing a few words (he really gets excited about color words- red, green, etc).  He is really hooked on math.  It blows my mind some of the figuring out and creative thinking he does.

From baby face to little boy... 


And kicking off the summer with a special summer 'do.


We had expected that Teagan would easily slide into her new school, new routine.  But we weren't right in that thinking, either.  Notice a pattern here?  Our confident little girl was scared and sad and overwhelmed with all of the new things in her day.  We struggled to help with the adjustment but were happy to have her teacher, the YMCA before and after care staff, and the school guidance counselor helping us along.


Today is her last day of 1st grade.  She has grown so much this year.  I am amazed by her eagerness to learn.  Her teacher sent home a math workbook and several math worksheets for the summer.  I've had to put my foot down to stop her from sitting down and doing all of the work right now.  She loves reading, she loves math.  That's not to say she doesn't struggle from time to time- subtraction can be tricky at times.  But practice makes perfect.  I've promised that we will set up a schedule for learning goals for the summer- visits to the library for chapter books and regular math work to do each week.  She has a great little group of friends but is also friends with lots of kids outside of that circle.  I love talking with her and hearing about her day.



Another school year is done.  Time to enjoy the summer.  The kids are very excited to get started on summer day camps at the YMCA.  I think they are going to come home exhausted every night.  I think the summer is going to fly by and we will be planning for 2nd grade and preK.  And I think I'm going to focus on not trying to assume how my kids will react to new situations and try to focus on just taking it as it comes.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Childhood

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I had a great insight come upon me.  It's something I know but I suddenly had a moment to really feel it.

I took the kids to our local YMCA to play in the outdoor splash pad and wading pool.  We had been eager to try it out and it opened this past weekend.  We got there right when it opened so I was able to pick the lounge chair I wanted without issue (later in the day, all chairs were taken and members had to lay towels on the concrete to claim a spot).



Zach and Teagan had run off to check out the spray features and then over to the wading pool (which also has fountains and spray things).  At times, I would look up from my book to check on them and would see them holding hands in the water or smile as the army crawled in the wade pool.

The sun was shining, the sky was bright blue, there were a few fluffy white clouds above.  My kids were playing and happy, my husband had opted to skip the Y in favor of doing yard work, I had a book in hand.  Life was good.

I stared up at one of the fluffy white clouds and thought about times when I've played with my kids and we have searched for shapes in those clouds (go check that link- it's from 3 years ago so the kids are all adorable and stuff).

It suddenly hit me that I had the family I've always wanted.  Suddenly I realized that I had achieved, for that moment, what most every parent wants to experience- providing a better life for their own kids.

I grew up a poor kid in Kentucky.  I grew up knowing hunger, knowing about the kindness of extended family, and knowing what struggle meant.  I grew up an abused kid.  My childhood holds far more painful memories than happy ones.

Now I am a mom and wife.  Now I am providing a childhood for 2 precious little people.  And it's already a vastly different and improved experience than I had growing up.



My kids have been able to participate in activities like dance class, gymnastics, soccer, and basketball.  Teagan is about to dedicate a year to cheerleading.  Zach may have some interest in something pop up in the coming year.

My kids can attend birthday parties and no one worries about affording a gift for the birthday kid.

My kids have been blessed with hand me downs over the years.  We are also able to walk into Target or Old Navy when a need arises and buy whatever is needed.  And we can splurge on the character shirts or fancier shoes.

My kids haven't known hunger or the stress of wondering what there is to eat.  We have never been without food.  They might get bored with what's available but they've never known true hunger.

My kids are safe.

My kids have pets.  Even though it can be painful, the joy and love of caring for a pet is an incredible gift to our family.

My kids live in a house that we bought with the intent that this is where our roots will grow and our family will flourish.  We don't intend to be a family that moves around, we don't live in the more temporary type housing that an apartment offers.



We have a long road ahead of us.  But I plan to sit back and enjoy some sense of accomplishment, to allow myself to be flooded with these blessings, to reflect on the difference between the childhoods of my children and the childhoods that Jeff and I had.  Getting to this point doesn't mean we will never encounter problems. Doesn't mean there isn't the potential for pain in the future.  Doesn't mean life won't change and things won't get turned upside down.

But for now, I am going to continue to lay back, watch the clouds, listen to my kids laughing together, and simply breathe.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

The Last Day

Last week, after just a few short months with Buttons, we had to say our final goodbyes.

When we lost Ginger, it was sudden and unexpected and we had to make decisions in the middle of the night without having each other to lean on.  We didn't have time for goodbyes.  We wanted to make it right for Buttons.

We wanted the send off for Buttons to be a special and memorable day for the entire family.

Jeff and I took Buttons to the vet in the middle of the day and the conversation boiled down to there not being much else to do for her and quality of life.  We knew what needed to be done.  We made the appointment for that evening, we handled the bill, and we left with Buttons.

We picked up both kids from school.  Our family needed to be together.

We drove through Dairy Queen and got cheeseburgers and ice cream for Buttons.  We let her sneak in some licks in the car.  We came home and fed her.  She pretty much just wanted to stay in her bed.  We cried sometimes.  We laughed sometimes.

Zach wanted to know when Buttons' birthday was and since we didn't really know, we decided that that day was her birthday.  We sang "Happy Buttons Day to you!"

We snuggled up and watched a movie- someone always had a hand on Buttons.

We went outside for a photo shoot.

Buttons managed to find a way to get 2 minutes alone at the end of the hallway and left us her special goodbye gift of peeing on the floor.

She took one last exploration under the deck.  She had slices of ham for dinner.

Then it was time to say our last farewell and give our last hugs and kisses and pets.  Teagan cried.  Zach was unconcerned.  I asked if he wanted to say goodbye to Buttons so he said, "Goodbye Buttons! Enjoy Heaven!"

Jeff took Buttons to the vet for her last goodbye.  I stayed home with the kids.  Teagan cried a lot.  We read "Dog Heaven" by Cynthia Rylant.  Jeff came home and we talked about what we thought Buttons was doing in heaven right then (we all decided she was eating first and then maybe digging some holes in a field somewhere).

She died with a small spot of ice cream that had dried on her nose.

It was a sad event in our family.  But we made her last day so special for her and for us that I actually have really fond memories of that day.









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Friday, May 25, 2012

Confusion

Sometimes in life, we go through experiences that leave us feeling a little muddied or confused or maybe bogged down.

I'm kind of in one of those places.

It isn't anything that has to do directly with me.  But there are burdens that I am aware of... things that friends are experiencing... hurts that friends are facing... and sometimes it leaves me sitting back and introspecting on life and God and purpose.

My faith is strong.

Well, my faith in God is strong.  My faith in people often wavers.

Do you take sides?  Do you trust your gut?  Do you even have to actually know?

Do you reach out to one hurt party?  Do you reach out to the other hurt party?  Do you reach out to the innocent bystanders who could be damaged?

Or do you stop and realize... none of that matters.

That's where I am.  With all of it.

And when I stop and realize that none of it matters for me personally, my head and heart become clear.  God will handle the big stuff.  These troubles my friends face- and it's quite the spectrum of hardships that have cropped up- aren't troubles for me to fix and aren't opportunities for me to judge and aren't about my involvement in knowing whatever about whoever.

My purpose is to listen when someone needs an open and accepting ear.  My purpose is to support and pray and love to the best of my ability.  My purpose is to be open to the opportunity to guide if needed.  My purpose is to be available to help in any way I am called to help.

I guess what it boils down to is focus.  When my focus remains on God, things fall into place and make sense.  Even the hard things are easier to bear or fight through.  When my focus is on trials and humanity and problems and hardships, it becomes a lot more difficult to see God through all the confusion.

Colossians 3:2

The Message (MSG)
 1-2 So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Isn't it funny how we can find exactly what we need?  I wanted something to end this post with and so I hot Google with "focus and God" for my search.  I wanted to find a quote or image or something to wrap it all up.  And this was the first Bible verse on the first link I clicked.  And it really says it all.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tough Week

Not sure I will have a lot to say this week.

It looks like we might be losing Buttons this week.

We noticed late last week that she was drinking a lot more water.  Planned to call the vet Monday so we could schedule testing for her Cushing's to see if things had kicked up a notch.  Figured we'd have to adjust her medication.

Saturday afternoon, she got out of her cage while we were gone.  And she went on a binge.  And I think it was driven by the Cushing's- which drives her feeling of hunger.

This little 15 pound dog opened a cabinet door and dragged a 20 lb bag of dog food across the bathroom floor, tore it open, and ate a good amount of it.  She went to the kitchen and dragged a box of old cookies and a bag of white chocolate chips from the kitchen to the living room where she proceeded to tear open the packaging and feast on the sweets.  Then it all caught up with her and she puked her body weight on the living room floor.  Then to the hallway where she puked more.  Then the bedroom for a bit more.  Hallway and bedroom- she tried to cover her mess with some laundry sitting close by.  And she peed on the floor by the kitchen.

We came home and found the chaos.  Surprisingly, she greeted us at the door, wagging her tail.  We sent the kids to their bedroom and the dogs were sent outside and my hero, my husband, cleaned up all of the grossness and shampooed the carpets.

Buttons refused to come inside.  I set up a little area for her on our deck- bed, blanket, water, shade, and set up a fan since it was almost 90 degrees that afternoon.  She spent the rest of the afternoon, evening, and into the night on the deck.

Since then, she hasn't recovered.  She is struggling to get up and down the steps to get to the yard.  We can't pick her up to help her because she is in pain on her underside and yelps if we attempt to pick her up.  She shivers 90% of the time.  There is a strange palpitation in her chest.  She is lethargic.  Her breathing becomes labored at different times.  We called the vet on call Sunday afternoon.  He wasn't sure if it was something more serious, something related to Cushing's, or if she was still recovering from the binge on Saturday.  We agreed to wait until Monday morning to see how she did.

There's been no change.  She hasn't gotten worse, she hasn't gotten better.  She does eat and drink but only at her designated meal times.  She is showing no interest in food unless offered to her (this is very unlike her).  She can do nothing but lay in her bed or on a blanket.  Previously, she laid around a lot, but she also liked to follow me or Jeff to the bedroom, wait outside the bathroom door, follow us to the basement.  She stayed mobile and would then rest wherever we ended up.  Now, she just wants her comfy bed.  The labored breathing and the pain is our biggest concern.

We take her to consult with the vet today.

We have been talking with the kids about Buttons since we decided to look into adopting her.  We adopted her knowing that we would be her final family.  We knew that her age and her medical condition weren't a formula for any sort of longevity.  We knew we had a home with a quiet and loving companion (Sassy) and kids who would be sweet and gentle with her.  But we have talked openly about death and that we won't have Buttons for long.

But I think we were all counting on having a happy and healthy enough dog for the summer.

Teagan had some moments of deep sorrow and big crying.  But we've continued to focus on relieving Buttons of her pain and sickness.  We've been talking a lot about Dog Heaven and what it will be like when Buttons gets there.  We've decided that Buttons will get to meet Ginger- our dog who passed very unexpectedly back in 2007.  Since we didn't know Buttons when she was younger and healthy, we don't know what kind of favorites she had for toys and treats.  We are imagining what she will look like without a bloated belly and without her aged white furry spots.  We think she will enjoy an all day long diet of steaks and cookies and will play with squeaky toys and chase squirrels.

Seeing that Buttons is hurting seems to be helping Teagan come to terms with what we think will happen.  Of course we will be sad and there will be tears.  Jeff will cry, Teagan will cry, I will cry.  But my hope is that the tears are just sadness at losing a loved one and that there is understanding of what we are choosing.

Jeff and I have been trying to figure out the logistics of this choice.  With Ginger, it was sudden and an urgent decision had to be made.  With Buttons, there seems to be time for goodbyes and planning.  We will know more after meeting with the vet today.  But our thinking is that we have a final goodbye at home and then Jeff or I will be the one to take her to the vet and stay with her until the end.  I was with Ginger at the time her life ended- I saw the light leave her eyes.  My face was the last thing she saw and that's how I want it- that there is someone there, loving Buttons, someone she knows and loves with her.

It's a tough week with tough decisions ahead of us.

Edited to add: Our vet confirmed our thoughts.  In addition to what we are seeing, he also thinks she now has heart disease.  Buttons will be going to Doggy Heaven later this evening.  The family is together for the afternoon.  We got cheeseburgers and ice cream to spoil her rotten. We are curler up watching a movie together.  We have decided that this day is about celebrating Buttons and her having been part of our family.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

FitCity: Gettin' My Juice On!

Find me over at FitCity Indy today and see how my explorations in juicing are coming along!

*****


My family doesn’t drink juice.  Juice in bottles at the store is typically a high sugar no-no in my home.  We wil sometimes buy orange juice to use in smoothies or if my daughter is in an OJ phase.  But 97% of the time, you won’t find juice in my house.

That’s changed.  Kind of.  Now, you will find this as a centerpiece in my kitchen:
My wonderful Mother's Day gift from my family!
Several weeks ago, I watched a documentary called Hungry For Change and it inspired me.  I started doing a lot of reading and learning about making your own juice and the health benefits of juicing.  A friend offered to loan me her juicer so I could decide if I wanted to invest in my own.

From my first glass, I was hooked.

Here’s what I know about juicing.  It’s an amazing way to get fresh, raw fruits and veggies into your system in a very efficient and easy to absorb way.  I can practically eat my rainbow of colors for the day in 1 glass.  I enjoy making combinations and experimenting with different fruits and veggies.  I have juiced combinations including beets, spinach, carrots, broccoli, apples, oranges, collard greens, blackberries, strawberries, pineapple, mango, peaches- it’s endless!  Don’t get me wrong- I still love a good salad and my fresh fruit but starting my day or having a snack of fresh juice has definite benefits.  My mood and energy are higher, I don’t feel like eating as much nutritionally vacant foods, and I just feel healthier!

Turns out, it’s also a great way to get my kids even more interested in fruits and veggies. 

Up until this morning, they weren’t too interested in trying any of my crazy juice combinations.   They thought it was just weird that Mommy was drinking spinach, carrots, beets, apples, and more.
A blend I made this week- spinach, carrot, blackberry, apple, peach, cilantro.
 This morning, my 7 year old was fascinated with my spinach-carrot-pineapple-ginger-apple preparations.  She enjoyed bites of fresh pineapple as I worked on prepping my produce.  Then the juicer did the work and I had a lovely glass full of vitamins and minerals. 

I always offer a drink of my juice to whatever kid is close by.  And the answer is always no.  But this time, my daughter had been so much a part of the process that I thought she might go for it.  I had to convince her that it really tasted like pineapple.  And when I told her about the ginger- she worked up the nerve to try a tiny sip.  She sipped, smiled, I got a drink, and then…


She drank about half of my juice.  And was then very excited to tell Daddy that she drank spinach and carrots.

Looks like I might have found another way to get fresh fruits and veggies into at least one of my kids!  I thought I was juicing just for my own health benefit.  I hadn’t anticipated that it would be a new way to get healthy stuff into the bodies of my family.  And that truly makes it the best Mother’s Day gift I could have received!


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Thursday, May 17, 2012

What I Learned from 1st Grade Girls

When I am having a bad day or even when I'm just happy to see someone, I like hugging.

I used to be a big time hugger- you couldn't meet me and not end up with a hug.  Somewhere along the line, that happened less and less but is something I've been finding myself doing more and more again.

And yesterday, I learned something from 1st grade girls.

Physical connection to people you care about is important.

Our society has made skin to skin contact of any sort automatically sexual.  And it simply isn't true.  We see people holding hands and assume it's a romantic thing.  We hug someone and lead to all kinds of conclusions based on whether or not the hug was 1 arm, 2 arms, body pressed to body, how long the hug lasted, and so on.

That makes me sad.  I think kindness can be shown through a connection like touching.  You can read all kinds of articles on the importance of a gentle touch on the arm or holding the hand of an elderly person or seriously ill person.  We know that the gentle caress between a mother and baby is important to bonding.  One of the main tenets of the benefits of breastfeeding is the skin to skin contact.

And yet- there's this sense that someone who hugs a lot is a little wonky.  Someone who holds someone else's hand is affectionate in a romantic way.

I had 3 little girls in my group yesterday.  3 little girls who are great friends.  They have fun together, they laugh, they get silly, they are serious when they work together.  And one of the ways they show that they are connected, that they care about each other, that they like each other is by holding hands or putting an arm around a waist or shoulders.


I loved it.  And it reminded me of the importance of reaching out to those you care about.  It reminded me that holding a hand or putting an arm around a friend or holding on tight during a hug is one of many ways that we show someone that we care.

The next time you see me in person, there just might be a big hug for you.  Or if we sit together to talk through something difficult in your life, I might reach over and hold your hand.  Or if I'm needing a shoulder to cry on, I might take the phrase more literally.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Zoo!

Today I am a 1st grade rock star. I am one of many parents chaperoning the first grade field trip to the Indianapolis Zoo today. I have 3 girls in my group, we have a list of animals to find, and the kids are bubbling over with excitement that so many parents are around.

Glad to have a day with Teagan and her friends. Excited to go to the zoo. Enjoying the mid-week break from work. It's a good day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ouch! My Girlie Parts!

I have been wanting to try a cycling class (or spinning class) for a long time but have found myself pretty anxious about it.  I finally worked up the nerve last night.

First, I want you to know that I really enjoyed this class.  I do plan on doing it again.

Second, I want you to know that I have pain this morning.  I forgot to wear my bike shorts- I think I was kind of hoping the class would be full and I would have to miss out again.  And no cushioned seat.  And I rode hard.  And now I have soreness and rawness and ouchiness.



I got to the class about 5 minutes early.  I walked in and the instructor said, "Have you ever done this before?"  Great.  I totally stood out as a newbie.  He introduced himself (Greg) and helped me pick a bike and make all the adjustments- setting the seat high enough, adjusting the handlebars, explaining how the resistance knob works.

We ended up with only 5 people in the class so it wasn't nearly so overwhelming.  The 2 men in the class had just taken the class that went from 5:30-6:15.  Then there were 2 other women and me.

I don't remember every detail of the class.  I don't remember when I first noticed the soreness.

We did intervals- 30 seconds on a resistance of 4 (and each resistance level is really your own personal level of that number- not like the stationary bikes where you set a resistance level) and then 30 seconds on 5, back to 4, up to 6, etc.

There is no clock in the room so I have no idea how long each segment was.

I can tell you that the first time we stood up out of the saddle, I felt like an idiot.  I felt awkward.  It's like my legs suddenly didn't work in conjunction with the rest of my body anymore.  When I am riding my bike outdoors and hit a hill and have to stand to get up that hill, the bike moves with my body.  When you stand on a spin bike, the bike stays still, the body still moves, and things just feel all gangly and wrong.  We had a handful of intervals where we stood and I have to say that it really wasn't my favorite part of the workout.  Plus, the standing was a much bigger challenge on my body- that was when I would really feel like I wanted to quit.

I was about out of steam and the instructor said we had about 10 minutes left.  He started to talk us through a race- as though we were in 10th place and with each minute, we had to pass another rider.  I didn't hear most of what he said.  I was tired and wanted to be done.  Then the song changed and it really motivated me.  It wasn't even some favorite song of mine but somehow it really revved my engine and got me pushing hard through those last 10 minutes.



The instructor made sure to get all our names before class and would shout out encouragement to each of us throughout the class.  There were 2 times that I remember that technique really helping me.  First, I hit a point where I just couldn't continue with the standing interval and my butt dropped to the seat.  Greg gave me a big old shout, "Come on, Liz!!  Get up! You can do this!"  And I did.  Then we were doing resistance intervals where we would go in a fast cadence at a low resistance and then slow cadence at super high resistance.  "Liz! Crank that resistance! Make it so you can't move your legs! PUSH!"

After the class, I thanked the instructor and he commented- "You like being yelled at, don't you?"

I hadn't thought about it before but... yes.  I do.  When I first joined the gym near my office, the owner was a guy named Brad.  When we had Boot Camp, Brad was the one that would yell at us to push harder, do more, run faster.  And while there is a part of me that hates the idea of being yelled at, when it comes to a workout, that kind of encouragement does something for me.  When someone suddenly turns their attention to me and they can see that I can still dig deeper and do more and they give that yell- I dig deeper and find an ounce of oomph that I didn't think I still had in me.  I'm not saying that yelling is the way to go all the time.  If someone is screaming in my face, that is not going to work for me.  But Brad even commented once that he could see that I would hit that tired point when my body wanted to stop and he could see me take a moment to focus and then I'd get that next wind and could go farther.  And while I haven't figured out how to get that aspect of my exercise self to apply itself to running, it certainly did come back to me in that cycling class last night.

I will need some recovery time before I jump back onto a cycle.  I am riding my bike on Saturday morning with some women from my church- we have a team doing The Girlfriend Ride next month and some of us are going to start riding on Saturday morning to get ourselves ready.  So my girlie parts definitely need a bit of a rest until then.  But I'm hoping that I can find a way to schedule this class into my somewhat normal exercise routine.  I like cycling as exercise and I like a class that challenges me and I like using the strength in my legs and I like pushing myself to go harder and faster.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Dirty Girl Mud Run

I had a great weekend.  But there is a highlight- something new to me.  Something I have never ever done before but hope to do again someday.

Saturday morning, I played in the mud.

More specifically, I did a 5K that involved water, mud, ropes, cargo nets, climbing walls, running tires, under and over ropes, and getting downright dirty!

My friend Emily and I did the Dirty Girl Mud Run together.  And we got dirty!  The best part about this event, for me, was that the obstacles were placed so that you never had to run or walk very far- it wasn't a 5K distance thing.  This was more of a general fitness event and you had to travel from obstacle to obstacle.

While the website gives you a general idea of what some of the obstacles might entail, I think it's really cool that they also work with the lay of the land and create obstacles based on what's there.

I had hoped that I would remember every detail in order to share it- but I just got caught up in having fun.  I'll share what I can, of course.

Friday night, I hit Goodwill.  If I was going to ruin some clothes, I didn't want it to be anything that I considered my "good" workout gear.  So I ended up with a pair of bright pink flowered shorts, a yellow sports cami, and a bright yellow tank (with silver lettering to showcase the different neighborhoods of NYC).  I was a true fashion plate, I tell ya.


The shorts and the tank?  Well, they didn't survive.  More on that later.  I am keeping the sports cami- even though it is now a mud stained sports cami.

For shoes, I wore my Merrell Barefoots.  They rinsed well and got tossed in the washer and are fine!  Love those shoes!

So Emily and I arrive, get registered, hit the porta-potties (yuck), check our bags into the bag hold area, and go watch one of the earlier waves start up.

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Before we know it, we are in a group of women, we seem to be 2 rare individuals in a sea of teams (note to self: form a fun team next year!!), and we are off!

First obstacle was the hay bales.  Big mountain of hay bales with a wave of women climbing up and over and making their way back down.  Then on to a dry set of tunnel/tubes to crawl through.  As the course continued, we went into mid-thigh high dirty water, over and under a web of ropes through some trees, into a waist high creek and up a muddy bank with a rope to assist the climb, up and over a cargo net, up and over a climbing wall, running tires as if we were football stars, and climbing through a tunnel set in muddy water.  Just before the finish line, we jumped into the muddiest of the water pits and soaked up as much mud and dirt as we could before crossing the finish and getting a pic snapped together!

There were some issues and areas for improvement.  This was the inaugural event in Indy so there needs to be some improvement in working with the venue, primarily.  There was one issue on the course itself with one of the creek crossings- we had to wait in line to do the obstacle for about 30 minutes.  This was at about the halfway point and was a real let down to the pacing of the event.  Em and I made the best of it by having fun with the ladies we ended up in line with, of course.

With your registration, you get a drink ticket to toast your accomplishment at the end.  We couldn't seem to figure out where exactly to go to get the drink but I later learned you got a warm can of generic light beer (when I say generic- I mean Miller or Bud or something like that).  To buy a beer was $11 or you could buy a margarita for $8 or a bottle of water for $5.  That was all venue pricing and those prices were not appreciated by the event goers.  Em and I opted to not spend any of our money at the event- even bypassed the stand selling Dirty Girl clothes and souvenirs.  By the time we reached the point of being ready for drink and food, we were kinda frustrated.

The event is supposed to offer a shower area and changing area.  The changing area was a wide open type of space where women just stripped down to nothing- which was fine except there were venue employees who would wander in and out.  The water situation failed because the water pressure wouldn't allow the water to travel up the hoses provided.  If you picked up a hose, the water stopped coming out.  So everyone was trying to crouch or sit by the PVC pie carrying the water and trying to rinse gallons of muddy water off and out with a handful of water at a time.  Completely inefficient.  I ended up tossing my NYC tank and my pink shorts at the venue and came home in muddy undies and my sport cami with my lower half wrapped in a towel!



Got home and took a loooooong shower.  Had to scrub places on my body that haven't seen that kind of dirtiness before!  Even after a good soak and a lot of scrubbing, my toes were not coming clean.  My shoes are a no-sock shoe so maybe I took on more mud than others?  But I finally had the motivation I needed to get my first pedicure in almost 5 years.  And it ended up being a great way to kick off Mother's Day weekend because Teagan came along for her first ever "real" pedicure!


This is definitely an event I would do again.  It was serious fun and any excuse to let go of tension and stress and expectations and just get into a mud pit to roll around is a good excuse in my book.

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