Wednesday, January 27, 2010


"You could run for your life but not really for any other reason"

So announced an orthopedic surgeon in 1995.  I had had 2 ankle surgeries and was training for the Danskin triathlon with my sister in law.  I was in terrible pain.  He gave me a cortizone shot and sent me on my way.  I didn't enter the triathlon.  I went to California instead.  My sister in law competed and rocked it.

Fast forward to summer 2009.  I was training for the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk.  It's a walk, I can do that.  But walking all that time is boooorrrriiiinnnnggg.  (the actual walk was not boring, just training for it by myself)  I started thinking about running again.  I had also completed the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.  I was feeling strong.  I could do anything.

My sister in law, Laura, has always been a runner.  As long as I've known her, she's run.  But in the fall of 2008 she took it up a notch.  She trained to run a half marathon.  This sounded close to impossible to me.  But, once again, she rocked it.  She was so committed to it.  She transformed her body and her life.  I was (and still am) so proud of her.  She inspires me in a lot of ways.  But she's really my inspiration to run.  This is us at the 3 Day Walk.

So, while we are walking in the 3 Day, I pop off.  "After this I'd like to do a 5k."  That's when I found out about the iPhone app - Couch to 5K.  My friend Monica had used it and really liked it.   I decided I would buy it as soon as I was rested up from the 3 Day.  Well, the 3 Day didn't go exactly as planned (huge asthma attack and month long fall out).  But, I did buy the app and started the program on December 14, 2009.

The C24K program is 9 weeks.  I wanted to stay on track so I picked out a goal run that was in exactly 9 weeks.  Then I told my husband, sister in law and brother in law.  Now people knew.  I had to follow through.  

At first, I looked like this.  
Not fast but all hunched forward.  I felt stupid and like I would fall over at any moment.
I talked to my husband about it and he helped me sit back into my run.  Now I feel more that Rocky.  Ya know the scene when he runs and punches?  That's me.  Slow and steady.

I can not say enough about the C25K program.  It eases you into running.  You warm up.  You walk. You run. Repeat.  Cool down.  It prompts you "You are half way through"  "5 minutes left".  Your running time gradually increases.  I highly recommend.  You can learn more about it here.

I'm enjoying it.  My ankles are holding up well.  I read this article today that I think explains why.  I don't think I could have run so effectively without getting into shape first.  The 30 Day Shred whipped me into shape, strengthened my core and legs.

My race is on Saturday, February 13.  My goal is simply to not die.  Just kidding (kinda), I think it will go well.  My actual goal is to run a 5K a month.

Here are some random thoughts on starting to run:
  • if you are on Twitter, hook into a group like #momsrunning.  I've met great ladies there who really encourage me (thanks @timeoutmom and @fitcheerldr)
  • find someone to hold you accountable and to encourage you.  I run by myself but I text and/or Twitter about my runs.  People want you to succeed.  Well, normal people do anyway. 
  • I run in the early morning so I let my husband know how long I'll be gone and my route.  That way he knows when to worry
  • I didn't load up on gear.  I run in the shoes that I did the 3 Day in.  And I had cold weather gear from the 3 Day (thank you Buffy).  But I did buy a thing that straps my iPhone to my arm.
  • read all you can about running and cross training.  It will help keep you motivated and improve your training. 
  • load your iPod or other MP3 player with music that will get you moving.  Think of all the 'trash' no one wants to listen to but you.  I have rap music from college,  Broadway show tunes, and teen pop princesses.  And I have it on shuffle so I never know what's coming next.
  • I've found that chewing gum helped me learn to breath through my nose and not pant like a dog.
  • I'm a dancer by nature so somethings I swing my arms or do arm dancing routines for a change of pace.

Friday, January 22, 2010


This is my Brenno monkey.  He's delicious or so says the nurse at the Pulmonary clinic.  He looks healthy, right?   Well, actually not so much.

He's 18 months old.  He's had pneumonia three times.  The first battle was at 6 months old at Christmas.  That following January, he stopped growing.  He didn't gain any weight from January to June 2009.  He put on a few lbs last summer.  Randomly in October, he started eating and gained more weight.  He's even got a little belly these days.

But we are still battling the respritory issues.  We finally got into the Pulmonary Clinic at Children's Hospital a couple of weeks ago.  Dr. Williams there was fabulous.  He thinks that Brennan has asthma (like my other 2 boys).  But, Brennan also has several markers for Cystic Fibrosis.  So we needed to rule it out.
I took Brennan to Children's for the sweat test on Monday.  I was not prepared for that test.  First of all, the nurse did not explain what was happening during the test.  And she kept call Brennan Brandon.  Oh no you didn't!

The short version is that the test is horrible.  It involved things that look very similar to jumper cables.  There was a lot of crying.  And Brennan didn't like it either.

We thought we'd have results on Tuesday.  No such luck.  Wednesday also came and went with no news.  I was totally edgy.  I slept a lot (that's my  body's natural reaction to stress) but did not feel rested.  So, Thursday morning I called the doctor's office (again) and left another message.
Our sweet nurse, Linda called back within an hour.  She had been out sick all week and still sounded terrible.  She reported that she couldn't find the results but she was looking.  I was about to lose it.  I needed a Diet Coke IV drip.

In about another hour, Linda called back and I took the call in the middle of class.  (See, I break rules from time to time.)  She started out by telling me what is considered normal.  I thought "We are in big trouble."  Brennan's score is 35.  Normal is 0-40.  Most doctors like to retest at 30.  Dr. Williams is out until Monday so she doesn't know if he'll want to retest.  OK, thanks I say.


I was pretty upset.  But then my Twitter friend Myra reminded me "hold on to normal part.  hear that - not the high".  Then I spoke to Ryan he finished talking me off the ledge.

This morning I feel good.  Brennan doesn't have CF.  I feel rested.  My stomach isn't in knots.
Indeed, life with Brenno is delicious!

Here are all 3 boys on Christmas morning in the snow for good measure:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My blog situation

2010 is a year of change.  Only positive ones allowed.    At the end of 2009, I decided to close down my website, Organized Momma.  I had a big feeling of relief.  I had new projects going and my heart wasn't into Organized Momma any longer.  Plus, I haven't been feeling like a great example of organized motherhood.  Organized choas maybe...

I didn't think about the fact that I had my blog on the OM server.  So, I can't get to it.  I wasn't worried at first.  I had started another blog.  I thought I was good to go.   It's Sunny In The Middle is really about books and being a middle school teacher.  So, when I was asked to write a guest blog post about being a beginning runner, I started thinking about my blog situation. 

I logged into ISITM to post a book review on The Dark Divine yesterday and saw that I had another blog "Organized Momma's freebies"  that I had never set up.  I changed it to "Outnumbered" and here we are.

Outnumbered will be about my mom life.  Writing, Baseball, Football, Gadgets, Boys, Husband - all the things that are important to me. 


School's back in session and I have 3 book reviews waiting in the wings.  But first, please indulge me in some musing.
2010 (two thousand ten or twenty ten, your call) WILL be a good year!  That's not wishful thinking, it's fact.  2009 stunk worse than 3 day old fish.  I'll recap for you:

started year worn out from Brennan's Christmas pnuemonia, moving to NY, opps...not moving, hubby laid off instead, Brennan can't stop pooping (TMI I know), hubby out of work, assorted illness for Brennan,  part time job ended sooner than expected, lost 35 pounds, $2000 in dental work for Zac, landed really excellent job, had to wait to start really excellent job, part time job landed, have to stop feed Brennan food - formula only, Brennan bout 2 with pneumonia, hubby starts new 'temp' job, turn 35, finally start excellent job, feel like a middle schooler all over again trying to make friends at the excellent new job, Sam and Zac get swine flu, various financial difficulties, Brennan bout 3 with pneumonia, Breast Cancer 3 Day, asthma fall out, hubby decides 'temp' job is THE one, Brennan decides to eat and grow, freaking about holiday money, holiday money arrives just in time.

So, that's the short version.  Many ups but many many downs.  But Thanksgiving brought an amazing up.

For years, I have wanted to write.  I wrote as a young girl.  I won a poem contest in elementary school (my dog makes me smile, he makes me smile for a mile, he makes me grin until I'm ten, I love my dog).  Impressive since I remember writing it the morning it was due and had no dog at the time (did not have a dog until high school).  I won a Stuart Hall writing contest about the school of the future.  Honorable Mention, I think.  I remember writing the essay but not the subject matter.  Schools of the future, maybe?  Then I forgot about it until huge box of Stuart Hall school supplies arrived.  I hadn't told anyone I had entered the contest, didn't keep a copy of the essay, couldn't remember the contents of the essay.   But LOVED the free school supplies.  I wrote an entire series of books (or maybe short stories) about boy and girl twins - Fred and Rita.  They did the things I did but the outcomes were better.  I never showed them to anyone.  I wish I knew where those notebooks are.

I don't know why I gave up creative writing.  But I did.  Probably some crappy teacher hurt my feelings.  Who knows.  But, as you may have guessed, I enjoy it but I'm EXTREMELY shy about anyone reading what I write.

Two years ago I wrote 2 picture books.  I took a junk course about selling a book.  I followed all the instructions.  I spend a good deal of money to go to New York to Book Expo America to try to sell it (as instructed by the course - course was not related to BEA).  My instructions were to walk up to people and tell them about my books.  OMG - I cried everyday after a day at BEA.  My feet hurt, I was alone in NYC (see country mouse, city mouse story) and I was trying to do something foriegn to me.

So, again, I put writing away.  Until Thanksgiving 2009.  Before Thanksgiving I decided that I needed to read more.  And I decided to start this blog to review books out of our school library.  During this process, I stumbled upon the Young Adult Book Central website.  Somehow from there I ended up on Twitter following Kimberly Pauley and Myra McEntire.  I felt extremely stalker-ish.  Then, to up the stalker ante, I started reading Myra's blog.  She seems a lot like me.  I enjoy her humor and style of writing.  But what's been most helpful is her openness about her journey in writing.  It gave me hope. And something to do.

In the meantime the Friday before Thanksgiving, while in the shower (TMI again sorry) I got THE IDEA.  A sweet young girl named Caley started talking to me in my head.  I had been waiting for years for THE IDEA.  And here it was finally.  What the heck do I do with it now?  Well, I started writing down what was in my head.  And I remembered Myra. She blogged about reading about the craft of writing.

As usual around the holidays, time flew.  I thought of Caley often and wrote down what came up.  But I've never written anything long.   I wasn't sure what to do.  So, I put Caley up and headed back to Myra's blog to find the name of the books she recommended.  I had blown my 'play/me' money on new jeans so I turned to the library.  (the quest for this book in another story)

I checked out Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and How I Write by Janet Evanovich.  I read Evanovich first.  Very helpful.  Quick read. Good stuff.  Then last night after the kidlit chat on Twitter (another Myra recommendation), I started reading Plot and Structure.  WOW!  The first page was written directly to me.  How sweet of Mr. Bell.  I am excited to continue reading, learn the craft and give Caley the voice she needs.

So, there 2009. 2010 is gonna kick your tail.  And if all goes well, 2013 or 2014 or 2015 (or whenever) will see Caley in bookstores.  And maybe I'll be able to inspire a stranger to run out to a library at 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday (the library closes at 6) to get a book that changes his or her life.  Thanks Myra!