it is no secret how much I love cross country.  it’s a lot.  this year was different because we had a new head coach.  but can I tell you?  I LOVE THESE KIDS.  and it has been so fun to see them grow into such a strong team.  we went into the season knowing the girls team was going to be pretty great, but pretty early on we realized that the boys were going to be super strong also.  and it made me so proud to see them work and succeed.  especially the girls.  just because when I started coaching we didn’t even have a full girls varsity team most of the time.  and now we have a full varsity, full jv, and a c team too.  all of this is nuts to me.  but seriously.  I love these girls.


we ended up taking both teams to state!  and we were once again the most successful fall sport.  nbd.  taking both teams to state was a big deal because we had never taken a girls team, and haven’t taken a boys team in 10 years, and obviously have never taken both teams in the same year.  it was so, so exciting.  AND…….both of our teams placed 5th!  which was terribly exciting and such a fun moment.  we were so proud of them.


I always knew I would love teaching, and I always knew that it would be rewarding, even when it was difficult.  but I never imagined that I would love being a coach.  oh I love it!  xc is pretty much the best ever.  but…this year I am adding something new.  this spring, I will start coaching the 400m and 800m for track.  I am nervous!  but excited.  it is a big time commitment, but I hope it is worth it, and I hope it makes me a better coach.

also…in case you have ever wondered what a cross country meet is like, here is our team video from this year.  you can also see me look ridiculous and show off my bad dance moves.  watching clips of running gets a little boring, but we try to include all the kids, so we mix it up with other random stuff.  I love my job.


the end of summer.  sad.

this was a very active summer, and my favorite thing about having a garmin is being able to see all the crazy data.

this includes running, biking, hiking, and kayaking.  it makes me feel very accomplished and I love it.

I was very sad to see this summer go.  things have been bananas since school started, and I am thankful for the best summer ever to help me push through it.  I have a hard time imagining another summer will ever come close to this one.




so…I jumped on the crazy train and signed up to run the color run when it came to kc.  it was humongous…. it sold out way early on, and then a while back they decided to open up a second day so we were able to get in.  there were SO. MANY. PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

here we are before the race:

sharon and me

me and jessica

aaaaand….after the race.  omg.  so fun.  sharon and I ran together.  “ran” may be a stretch.  here is my one complaint: they really needed to have some sort of system to keep runners and walkers separate.  it was just a fun run and not even timed, but it was super annoying to have to spend the entire time weaving in and out if you were actually running.  I would say that probably 80% of the people we saw (and passed) were walking.  it would have been nice if they had had the walkers start in later heats (there were like 20 heats, it wouldn’t have been hard), or at least tell them to keep right or something.  it takes a lot more mental energy to have to figure out a strategy to get through a pack of walkers (or random people stopping to take pictures).  other than that it was pretty much the most fun run in the whole world.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone (obviously, you don’t have to actually run), and I think it was worth the extra $$$.  it was a pretty spendy race, but I’m excited that it raised so much for the ronald mcdonald house, something I really love.  and I loved getting to run with sharon.  she is one of my favorite friends.

here I am with jessica.  when we were first best friends in 3rd grade, I don’t think we would have imagined this 22 years later.

here is our whole team.  Room For Improvement.

here are my shoes!  they are clean now after a nice trip through the washing machine.

every 15 minutes at the finish they do another big color throw and it’s pretty crazy.  you can see my hands in this picture!

we got cleaned up as best we could afterwards, and then went and had breakfast at panera.  thankfully there were tons of other color runners there too, so we weren’t the only crazy looking ones.  it took me quite a long shower to recover, and even with a lot of scrubbing the pink and purple didn’t totally come out of my armpits on the first wash.  so it just looked like I had crazy bruises in my armpits.  totally normal.

are you running the color run anytime soon?  they are having them in lots of other cities, and I’m sure they’ll be back next year.  here is my advice.
1.  register early, and pick up your packets early and have a good plan for that.  it is totally bonkers.
2.  get there super early to park.  this may depend on your location, but arrowhead is not exactly a speedy place to get into.  we got lucky that we made a wrong turn and ended up coming in from the opposite direction of everyone else.  buuuut….the start time isn’t super strict at all, so don’t stress out if you’re late.  the heats started every five minutes for an hour, there were still people starting when we were finishing.  and it’s just stand in whatever heat you want–it wasn’t by numbers or anything.
3.  you really don’t need music.  I am a runner that needs music, but this one was plenty fun without it.
4.  if you really want to run, get there SUPER early and get in the earliest heat possible.
5.  don’t have a time goal, just go out to have fun.  if you have a time goal you’lll just get frustrated.  know going in that you’re just in it for a good time.
6.  bring lots of towels to stick in the car, and flip flops and probably a new shirt to change into.  wet wipes would have been nice too!
7.  don’t wear white shorts!!!  the color sticks a lot more to places where you are sweaty.  and news flash, your crotch gets pretty sweaty when you run (or even if you’re walking) in the heat.  so if you wear white shorts it will look like you peed color all over your crotch and it’s weird.  black was a better choice.
8.  the more fitted your clothes are the better.  the looser they are, the more random spots there are for the color powder to get between you and your clothes or into awkward places.
9.  the whole thing where they suggest putting leave-in conditioner in your hair?  this is a good plan.
10.  drink enough before you run that you don’t have to stop at the aid stations because they are bananas.  not actual bananas, I might have actually stopped for an actual banana.

in summary, this was such a good time and I will totally put it on the calendar again next year.  if you’re new to running, it’s a fun way for running to suck less, and if you’re not, it’s a nice change of scenery and environment.   win win for everyone.

(I am in fact still up in the pac nw! and never leaving.  it is so wonderful up here.  I will share more when all my crazy travels are over!)

current top 5 running jams:

1.  the fighter by the gym class heroes ft. ryan tedder.  super fun and good for pushing on.

2.  runaway baby by bruno mars.  (no good video on the youtubes.  the dancing is fun to watch on the grammy’s one though!.  more normal version here, but less fun to watch).  I am very conflicted on bruno mars.  I really dislike some of his songs, but the ones I do like I REALLY love.  like this one.  I think it’s reminiscent of the temptations (my homies) and I love that.

3.  as long as you love me by justin bieber ft. big sean (NOT the bsb…whatev).  so this song is pretty awful, but we all know I have bad taste and no shame, so I’ll admit this one.  it’s pretty great for running, it’s got a good beat and it’s fun.  and there’s a part in the middle where the beat kind of picks up and goes a little crazy, and it’s a fun encouragement to speed up a little and run fun.

4.  anything by maroon 5, especially this one and this one.  why are the videos SO WEIRD????  oh man.  adam levine = BABE.  good grief he’s attractive.  payphone gets me because you know how I love wiz khalifa (what?  oops), but I have a question about one more night….  so, are guys really into lipstick?  I mean, “I try to tell you stop, but your lipstick’s got me so out of breath”….really?  is this why I am still single?  because I don’t wear lipstick?  these are the questions I have when I’m listening to this song.

5.  paradise by coldplay.  this is also probably my favorite song in general right now.  (but again, WEIRD VIDEO!!!  what in the heck.)  when this song comes on when I’m in the car, I turn it up even louder than it already is (I listen to my music pretty loud in general in the car).  I thought maybe I’d be tired of this song by now….NOPE.  it’s just as good every time.

other random thoughts:

1.  I am all of a sudden addicted to starbucks via refreshers.  YOU GUYS.  these things are the s***.  so, so good.  both flavors.  I’ve almost gone through an entire package of each in the past three or four days.  I haven’t tried the kinds from the can yet.  they need to sell this in bulk or I might go broke feeding this new habit.

2.  I have been super active this summer.  it’s been good.  all of my trips so far have involved a lot of outside and fresh air and miles.  but I’m kind of glad my next trip will be to visit a pregnant friend where we will be much less active 🙂  I am trying hard to avoid running injuries, but it is a challenge.  I think some of the cross training has been good.  biking is not easy though, especially on hills.  I am out of practice.  and kayaking is really fun but also very difficult.  I do need to find more things to do when I am at home, because I do think doing other stuff is helping me to avoid injury.

3.  so I am still reading freaking birdsong.  I’m halfway through and I DO NOT LIKE THIS BOOK!  it is so boring.  I don’t really care about the characters.  and I am sad that I don’t really want to read it and can’t move on.  I really should just stop and not finish it…but…man!  I am not one to not finish books, even if they are bad.  does anyone else have this problem?  not being able to give up on a book you don’t like?  is it just me?  I really wanted to like this book.  nope.  I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.  I’m hoping to find a better replacement at powell’s.

4.  speaking of reading, I am also reading this book and IT IS SO GOOD.  I want to read every chapter five times.  so much good stuff packed into each little page.  I need to hear what he is saying and put it to use.  I was SHOCKED when I saw that it was written in 1980!  it really seems like it was written yesterday for 2012.  people, get on this.  he is a great author and it’s easy reading.  you won’t be sorry.

5.  olympics!!!!!  I am so excited.  track is definitely my favorite, followed by diving and swimming.  but track for sure, especially ashton eaton and lopez lomong.  have you seen ashton eaton compete?!?!? he is SO. FUN. to watch.  the decathlon is my new favorite event.  setting records and taking names.  also…lopez lomong is just an incredible story all around.  I have had so many students like him and I just can’t help but pull for him with everything I’ve got.

peace out.  summer 2012, you are the best.

so… 27. avoid all running injuries is not going so well.  I feel like I do more than a lot of people to try and prevent injury, and my body just says “why do you keep insisting on being a runner!!!!”  I am very, very excited to try out my christmas present from my dad (!!!!!!), but it will be a little bit.  starting at about the beginning of december I started to have a weird pain under my big toe.   how do such little bones cause such annoying problems??  freakin sesamoids!

I went to the foot doctor last week, and my diagnosis is sesamoiditis.  LAME!!!  so he taped up my foot and said I had to leave the tape on for like a week and it can’t get wet.  which means I have to wrap a plastic bag around it when I shower.  so. annoying.  and I can’t run at least until I go back on the 11th, maybe longer.  it is feeling a lot better, but it has been really frustrating that the weather has been so nice and I haven’t been able to run.  as I look into marathons to choose from before I turn 30, to get one in at the beginning of june I would need to start training by the end of january.  which means I need to be able to run 8 miles by the end of january.  which will be difficult considering I haven’t really been running since the beginning of december.  um…this is making me very. nervous.    I mean, I’m sure all of my time watching quality television will help too.

knocked this one off the list yesterday!

I skipped out of service after sunday school yesterday to head to Lawrence and run the Boo! Run with my bff Sharon.  she is awesome.  I really, really love her and her fam.  her kids are out of control how cute they are.  college friends are fun.

I could act all awesome because I finished in 23rd place…but that is not terribly impressive because there were only 61 runners!  it does make you feel pretty awesome, though, when there is not a lot of competition!  my goal was to pass this lady pushing a double stroller.  really lady!  you have two kids in a stroller!  and I can’t pass you til the very very end?  what’s up with that!  way to shoot my confidence!  this is very similar to how discouraging it was when I ran my half marathon that there was a race walker in front of me and it took me four miles to pass her.  anyhow.  I did catch the lady with the stroller at the very, very end.  take that supermom!  no, really.  it is nice to have goals and motivation 🙂

the run was nice and easy on the levee by the kaw.  it was really pretty and totally flat.  and the weather was pretty much perfect.  and HELLO free larabars!!!!!

I did learn that my suspicions are correct and I do in fact need to re-calibrate my ipod sensor.  I didn’t check my watch or my ipod til I finished, and my ipod said that I ran 3.33 miles.  I mean, this run was not super legit, it was pretty podunk, and their mile marker signs did not seem like they were right, but still, I’m sure they were a lot closer to a 5k than 3.33 miles.  so I had a lot of false confidence in my running lately, since my sensor is off.  I felt like I was running SO FAST the whole time!  so I thought my time would be a lot better than it was, but I accomplished my goal of breaking 30 minutes, so I won’t complain (even though it was only by about 20 seconds).  I do know I was running really fast for me, because my ipod said I was running about a 8:45 pace (almost a minute faster than my actual pace if their distance was accurate), which is completely unheard of (it usually says I’m around a 9:30 or 9:40).  so even though that kind of time would be embarrassing for any of my kids on my team, it’s so much faster than I’ve ever been and it’s nice to accomplish goals.  I think I am going to have a goal for 2012 to run a 5k every month.  we’ll see.  and so far I’m still doing okay with 27. avoid all running injuries!  this one takes a lot of work.

after our run we ate at the pita pit on mass st, one of my favorite places to eat, despite the confusing menu that I find difficult to understand.

also, you should know that it was supposed to be run in costume (hence the 80s outfit), which was not supported by most of the runners!  I would say that maybe a third of the runners were in costume.  I was pretty happy with mine.  I was going to wear my PB hat but I was afraid it wouldn’t stay on, so 80s it was.

but SPEAKING OF MY PB HAT, I am not pleased that I did not win the faculty costume contest.  what a letdown.  Because Apparently My Colleagues Are Not In Touch With Important Matters Like The Royal Wedding.

so….running.  sometimes, it sucks.  but I do it.  because 1) I need to get in shape.  2) I love coaching cross country.  3) I love the way it makes me feel.  (AFTER I’M DONE.  not during.)  4) I want to eat more, specifically more z-man sandwiches.

I would say that I am rather new to running.  not super new, rather new.  and running sucks even more if you start when you’re an adult.  it’s easier to get injured, and it’s harder to tell your body what to do.  and it’s hard to get your form right, and to stick with it long enough that it doesn’t suck anymore.  I have done a great job of convincing you, right?  but you can do it!  I am not athletic or strong whatsoever and I do it.  here are five things that have made my life easier when it comes to running. (we already talked about tunes, remember?)

1.  good shoes and socks.  dude, don’t even try unless you’ve got legit footwear.  it will cause you so many problems and there’s no way you’ll stick with it.  go somewhere and get fitted properly.  for kc peeps, gribble’s is good.  they will look at your gait, look at your feet, and your arch, and a bunch of other stuff, and help you find one that works for you.  and get over the cost.  I don’t mean to sound insensitive, I live on a budget too, but shoes are worth doing right.  and you’ll get WAY more use out of one pair of good $80 or $90 shoes than you will two crappy pairs.  it’s not worth getting cheap ones and then having to find better ones when the first ones suck.  if you’re really strapped for cash, you can get fitted somewhere, and then not buy any, and look for the same ones online for cheaper.  I’m a big fan of supporting the local business though, and gribble’s treats us well with xc (and if you’re a coach you always get a discount!!  YES!)  And when you find a good shoe?  stick with it.  I’m on my 3rd pair of pegasus by nike.  (ps, if you’ve had the same shoes for awhile and your feet start hurting, get new shoes and it will probably fix the problem.  shoes will last for at least a few hundred miles, but not forever.)  and DON’T be a dork and buy shoes based on how cute they are.  bad idea. and as far as socks go, find some that work for you.  I know lots of people that can use cheap ones from walmarts.  sadly I am not one of them.  I thought I was going to have to stop running shortly after I started, because I had so many problems with blisters.  turns out I just needed better socks.  and they were a little spendy, but they were worth it.  I only have a few pairs and just wash them pretty often.  my point is, little things (like socks) can make a big difference.

2.  speaking of blisters and such… bodyglide is a lifesaver for me.  my fancy socks help with a lot of rubbing issues, but I have crappy feet (bunions, hammer toes, arch problems…ugh) so it’s still sometimes an issue to have all my toes and such crammed into shoes (this is also a MAJOR problem for me when it comes to nice shoes too…).  the bodyglide really helps in those spots where my toes and such get smashed to not get blisters.  and if you ever get to the point where you’re doing more distance, the bodyglide helps your clothes not to rub too much in spots.

3.  hats.  I am SO. NOT. a hat person.  hats looks really stupid on me in general.  but in the summer?  and honestly for most of the year?  a hat helps so very much.  sunglasses are something I can totally not do when I run, and a hat helps me to not have to think about squinting or anything.  less distracted = better run.  and when it’s really hot it helps so much with the sweat.  especially now, when it is hotter than hades, having sweat run into your eyes is the WORST.  I have one buddy on xc that is also a hat fan, and he and I try to convince the rest of the team that hats are awesome, but we are unsuccessful.  but please get a lightweight running hat or it will just make you sweatier.  headsweats are a good choice.

4.  okay, this is a little ridiculous, but I have found that these toe stretchers actually help my crappy feet.  it may be a placebo effect, but I feel like my feet are a lot less sore when I wear these for a few minutes at night.  this goes for being on my feet teaching all day too.  I am a fan, but I don’t know that they would help everybody.  I had looked at yoga toes, but good grief they are expensive, so I gave the cheap ones a try and they seem to help quite a bit.

5.  tracking.  I need a goal.  I do not run without a goal.  you will not run without a goal.  it’s just really, really hard to get ready and go outside and run if you don’t have something you need to run for.  signing up for a race is a great motivator.  honestly, when I ran the kc half marathon a few years ago, I think that the most helpful thing about my training group was not that I had a group to train with (they were all faster than me, so I didn’t really run with them, plus I really like to run by myself better), but that it cost me a hundred bucks.  that on top of the sixty or whatever it was to register for my race, that was my motivation.  I would wake up at 5:15 on a saturday and be like “I do NOT want to get out of bed.” but then I would remember that I had already paid like $160 that I couldn’t get back.  and that would motivate me to follow through.  but back to tracking.  if you really want to become a runner, getting some sort of tracking system will help a TON.  I’m sure there are free places online where you can track everything, or you could just write it down or make a spreadsheet, but having something that does it for you makes a big difference.  a pretty cheap and decent option is the nike+ system.  it’s not as great as like a garmin forerunner, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper and does a pretty good job.  if you have an ipod, it doesn’t cost too much to get the senson & receiver, and if you have an iphone, you just need the sensor.  since my shoes are actually nike+ compatible, they have a spot under the insole for the sensor, but if you have other shoes you can get a pouch like this to use.  it’s not 100% accurate all the time, but I would say that mine usually gets my distance within .05 miles, which is close enough for me.  and it tells you your pace, your time, your distance, and your calories (calories are estimated based on your weight).  and you can check it while you’re running if you want, and when you finish you can plug it in and it keeps track of everything for you.  that is my favorite part.  the website is pretty great–and I know this is cheesy, but I love how it congratulates me when I do something like run my fastest mile, or reach 300 miles, or accomplish a goal.  I love when I plug it in and a video from an olympic runner comes up telling me “great job!  lots of people set goals, but few meet them.  you are awesome!”  YES!  I am awesome!  so I love setting goals, like run 30 miles in three weeks, or run 5 runs under 9:30 pace, things like that.  if I am running and feel like giving up (all the time) I think about my goal and how happy I will be when I plug my ipod in and see the little bar go up getting closer to my goal. I can also set it to be a specific run: distance or time.  so I can set it for 3 miles, and then it will tell me “halfway point!” or “400 meters to go!” and I’m like YES!  I can do this!!

anyhow.  I am by no means an expert.  but when you start trying to run, a lot of things will get in your way.  don’t give up, you can do it.

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