Friday, September 12, 2014


So.. Now that I know for sure that I've been/am being stalked.. I debated about deleting this blog. I knew that ___ had been stalking others' online activities for years because they've shared info they have learned about x,y,z,a,b,c,etc's life/endeavors/pitfalls/social media posts/news stories, etc. At the same time of hearing the gossip/reality news about others, I couldn't help but wonder if they were also stalking/following my online social media posts. I only thought about it fleetingly because I never post specifics about work issues in social media and the stalker is work-related. So.. when someone asked me a few days ago about something posted on this blog, I at first tensed up and silently thought about deleting this blog and making my twitter and Facebook profiles, etc. private. But before reacting I put more thought into it. What I post on this blog and on Twitter and Facebook, etc. are about my personal life. Meant to benefit connections with family and friends and fellow runners. I may occasionally add a status update that is totally vague about work stress, but I do not divulge specific work issues. My profession is a civil servant/project manager/protector of human health. I am currently managing a high profile project that has national attention. On the one hand, I am tempted to shut down all social media accounts to protect the privacy of my family. But on the other hand, I am tempted to keep them all open because I have nothing to hide.. My goal is transparency. If I shut it all down they will wonder what I am trying to hide.

I haven't blogged here regularly lately but am contemplating my next marathon in April 2015. This blog is totally about my running endeavors.. So I really don't freakin care if there are work-related stalkers. Hopefully it will give them incentive to get active (some already are) and give them fodder for small talk when I see them next and again and again :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Groundhog Day - Round Hog transformation plan

What happens to a groundhog when it eats too much?
It becomes a round hog.

What have I done on groundhog day for the past several years? I've started a run streak.

I have become a "round hog" of sorts over the past year. I've let work, life, illness, weather, etc. become excuses for not exercising regularly. I've let extensive work travel and my daughter's need to bond over dining out become my excuse for eating too much. I've let all of the above become excuses for not taking the time to declutter my life and home. The result? I feel overwhelmed, stressed, unhappy, and unhealthy. I want to get back to being the best mommy possible for my teenage daughter.

I gave up on New Year's resolutions a few years back. Groundhog day has more meaning to me, so I plan to start living a healthier life today. Why the significance? My maternal grandmother would have been 99 today if she were still alive. In the movie "Groundhog Day", Phil Connors re-examines his life and priorities and becomes a much better person. This is my inspiration for Groundhog Day. He takes it a day at a time and improves gradually. And from what I've read from experts, people typically are more successful when they take baby steps rather than trying to change every bad habit all at once.

My plan?

#1 Start another run streak of course! I haven't run regularly in a long time, so I am going to start with a run/walk program.. everyday. Running has always provided me with much needed stress relief and happiness, particularly on trail runs.

#2: Laugh more and be a better mom. Recently both me and my ex-husband had to travel for work during the same time period. Our daughter spent a school night with a friend. She told me later that Ms. Polly made her lunch to take to school and it made her feel warm and special. I used to make her lunches when she was younger, but then she started liking school lunches. Who knew that simply packing a lunch for your child would not only nourish them, but make them feel warm, happy and loved? I started last week and wrote a note on the outside of the brown paper bag that I packed it in. As a high schooler, she was embarrassed at first but later admitted that I just might be the best mom :)

#3: Completely eliminate gluten and dairy from my diet; I feel so much better when I do. Yet I have still made excuses to eat it more often than I should, which has resulted in feeling ill, which contributed to weight gain and an excuse for not excercising.

#4: Declutter my home. It's nowhere near those insane images that you see on TV of hoarders, but clutter/disorganization of any sort causes stress for me. Rather than shut down and let it grow, I plan to take action each day to either throw away items or put them into a bag for donation.

#5: Plan (and take) a vacation. It's been years since we took a real vacation. My work load has been insane for the past 3 years and I've said that I cannot possibly take more than a few days off at a time because of a particular project that was assigned to me in October 2010. I've worked hard to make headway. Now that I know that people are drinking safe water, I think I am finally to a point where I can comfortably carve out a week or two to escape to a beach this summer.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poop happens

Instagram: Just ate cow poop! Thanks to the Easter Bunny
that gave Kyra a cow that poops jelly beans :) yum!
Two weeks ago, I had a new follower on Twitter. He wrote "I followed you because you used the word "poop". Funniest word ever.."

For my Daily mile entry, I described my 4/27 run as, "Lots of horse poop on the trail today made for exciting hurdles :)". And this resulted in Kevin saying, "Now that gave me a smile. Thanks Samantha!"

A lot of bad things have happened in the world and my life lately. Marathon bombing, my house flooded due to washing machine malfunction, being furloughed, my child being bullied, etc. I could write for weeks about life's challenges, but would prefer to turn it around and look at the bright side of things. Yep, I'm one of those.. an optimistic glass half full kind or person. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest and be as happy as possible.

The good news? I picked a Fall marathon, Ft. Myers inaugural marathon in November. I solicited my Mojo Loco friends to join me in Ft. Myers for a reunion of sorts, and most seemed interested in joining me. I needed a new goal race to help springboard me back into better shape, health and happiness. This is working :)

So when life gives you lemons, turn it into lemonade.. Or for my poop loving friends.. As I learned on my trail run, when life gives you poop, find ways around it to remain on happy trails!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

trail run bliss

Yellow River Park Trail - March 23, 2012
I felt like a kid again splashing in the many puddles on the trail today! I had hoped for a run in the rain, but the rain stopped just as I parked my car at Yellow River Park. It was so peaceful to weave along my favorite 2.6 mile loop, with the only noises being those of nature..

.. river flowing, wind blowing, squirrels scampering, owls hooting, birds chirping, deer darting away from the path..

Running is my stress relief, especially on trails. I let the worries float away as I focus on not tripping and enjoying the scenery. The amazing calm that washes over my mind and body stays with me for many hours after I return to reality.

So the question is.. why did I let excuses get in the way which drastically reduced miles run over the past 16 months? It brings me such release and joy, yet I let it virtually slip away. 

Now I'm motivated to get back to a healthy lifestyle. There are quite a few changes that I'd like to make, but I'm just going to focus on one at a time until I can make it stick as a habit. Running regularly is going to be the first healthy habit that I'm going to focus on. Having goals of running a race has worked for me in the past. So the new question is.. which Fall marathon should I pick? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Goals schmoals - it's all good!

"It’s all good. No matter what path you find, no matter where you end up, it’s beautiful. There is no bad path, no bad destination. It’s only different, and different is wonderful. Don’t judge, but experience." Leo Babauto

I love that quote! Leo's blog zenhabits always has a tidbit that inspires me to live happier.

Once upon a time, for many many years, I did what most people do and kept a To Do List, set goals, planned ahead, etc. But the list kept getting longer, and what I planned to do each day rarely happened as other more important tasks popped up. I would get depressed at the end of the day and feel like a failure because I didn't accomplish many of the things that I set out to do. I would be stressed in the morning as I re-wrote the list because it was overwhelming and impossible to accomplish all. About 2 years ago, I was assigned to a work project that would soon become overwhelming. My To Do List extended beyond the many lines on my Day Timer page. I was stressed beyond imagination and only had time to put out the fires of each day. Despite achieving the big picture items, and receiving accolades from my managers and co-workers, I still felt guilty for not completing all of the little things. It was all too much.

Then I took Leo Babauto's approach of "no goals" to heart. I quit maintaining a To Do List in 2012. The most important tasks that need to be accomplished stick in my brain without the need to write them down, and the lesser important ones can slip through the cracks if time doesn't permit. I worked hard; accomplished a lot without feeling like a failure for not achieving every single thing that I used to write down as a task to accomplish.

In November 2011, I ran my PR marathon. I trained hard that summer/fall but was burned out afterwards. At the end of December 2011, I did as usual and set new running goals for 2012 that would exceed the prior year. I was optimistic, but also knew that I needed a break. I have run in 2012, just not as often or high of mileage. The mileage and runs per week dwindled as I turned my focus towards my teen daughter that needed more guidance. And as the miles dwindled.. weight was gained, stress increased, life was less fun.

A few weeks ago I got back into the running grove. And life is soooooo much better! But.. the running log book that I use has a section at the top for "weekly goal". I felt a strong pull to fill in the blank. So my entry for the week of 9/24-30 was "build base"; an easily accomplishable goal. I ran 6 days that week for a total of 12.78 miles. The next week I became more ambitious and the goal that I wrote for 10/1-7 was "lose 0.5 pound, run 13 miles". I lost 0.3 pounds and ran 14.43 miles, so I felt like a partial failure, but looked at the glass as half-full and was happy to have lost a little bit of weight rather than gain. 

So for this week, 10/8-14, I set the goal of losing 0.1 pound and running 15 miles. My legs were sore and I was sick a few days so the daily milage wasn't up to the plan. However, I ran every day for at least a mile, but it ended up at 12.07 miles for the week. I also gained 0.2 pounds. I looked at the numbers and became depressed. I can't change the numbers on the scale, but I guess I could still go out and run a double for today to get in the other 3 miles to meet that goal. But like I said, my legs are sore.. I've run 16 days in a row now.. why in the heck would I go out and run again today just to meet a silly mileage goal?

As I mentioned earlier, I try to look at the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. I may have missed my pre-set goals for the week, but if I throw out the goals and look at the accomplishments, I can get excited and happy again. I may have gained 0.2 pounds and ran 3 miles less than goal, but.. here is what I accomplished:  run streak day 16, 3 weeks in a row of mileage over 10 miles/week, amazing trail run, new trail shoes, experimented with different healthy recipes, drank less soda.  

I still have the personality that will force me to write in that blank for "weekly goals" in my running log. So this week I'm going to make at something fun, such as Brooks philosophy of Run Happy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

back into the groove

I ran a personal record (PR) marathon time in November of 2011 and then faded out. I was burned out.. I trained hard the prior summer and it paid off, but it also took its toll. My mileage dwindled in the following months.. I put in a few miles most weeks but switched focus to other things like work, motherhood, girlfriend, etc. A few times during the year I attempted a run streak to kick my butt into gear. The streaks didn't last long because I lacked true motivation. In mid-September 2012, stress was at an ultimate high. A close friend, that isn't a runner, boldly told me to go for a run. She has never been a runner, but has close friends that are runners and she totally gets that we runners are off-kilter if we don't run regularly. She knew it was the prescription that I needed.

So I made the time to get in at least a tiny run each day to help with my stress level. And wow.. what a difference it made in my happiness/stress level. I ran every day this week and 6 days last week. My goal isn't for a streak but for improved fitness. All of my runs the past 2 weeks have been on purpose in zone 2, base building.

Accomplishments of the week? Lost 0.3 pounds (avg), ran more miles than last week, busted my ass on a muddy section of the trail, reconnected with great friends and kiddo (the blondie on the right).. The gorgeous brunette on the left is one of my boyfriend's amazing daughters that was 2nd runner up for the Miss Parkview pagent.

Life is grand.. Make the best of it despite your circumstances!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

name that shoe?

HELP! I name all of my running shoes.. My orange Newton's are known as Pumpkin; my purple Asics are known as Barney; my trail shoes are known as Tallulah (since my first trail run in them was at Tallulah Falls); my VFFs are known as Beachy since I bought them for runs on the beach. Any suggestions for what to name these new kicks?

I can't remember the last time I bought new running shoes.. I have been virtual shopping for the past few weeks. I decided to celebrate the last day of my work's fiscal year by taking the afternoon off and reward myself for accomplishing work goals by purchasing a new pair of running shoes. Minimalism attracts me, yet I need a little more cushion than the Vibram Five Fingers offer. So off I went to one of my favorite local running shoe stores. The girl that helped me listened to what I wanted and brought out four pairs of shoes for me to try. The Brooks Pure Connect were light-weight, have the perfect arch support for my foot, 4mm heel-to-toe drop, and fit like a glove without squishing my toes. Sold!

At the checkout counter I noticed sunglasses. I lost my favorite pair a few months ago. As I left the store, I smiled as I removed the tags from the sunglasses. Happy memories of my last sunglasses purchase came flooding back!

Monday, September 3, 2012

the big picture

I wuv U!
Thru the hearts of teens.. I haven't blogged in many months. I lost my running mojo when I was startled into reality and had to be a much more attentive mom. Which meant.. less time to run guilt/worry-free.. In the spring, my 13 year old daughter fell for a guy that was sweet and kind, but too many years older. His parents didn't approve.. Then I didn't approve when they were sneaking around to see each other. One lie too many caused parents to intervene and then it ended..

A few weeks later she met the guy of my dreams for her. I didn't know it at that moment, but within a week or so it was apparent. He is intelligent, athletic, ambitious, kind, honest, polite, a gentleman, opens doors for her, adored her, has great parents.. They were inseparable until.. school started.. they attend different schools.. he broke up with her because they wouldn't be able to see each other as often anymore.. Her heart was crushed. She didn't understand.. She thought they were going to marry and live happily ever after.

Within days she attached to the next boy that was attentive. I immediately didn't approve.. It's way too soon.. and this new boy was another girl's boyfriend. She said they were only friends, but as soon as his girlfriend broke up with him, my daughter thought it was ok to be his next girlfriend. I've heard bad things about this boy regarding smoking, drugs and gangs. She denies it all.. She's been secretive and sneaky, and after reading her after-hours Facebook chat with him about him being in a gang and how he got his nickname, I am truly appalled and adamant that he not be a part of her life. She says I'm being overprotective and irrational and don't know him and it's not true.. She says I'm not looking at the big picture because I've grounded her and forbidden her to interact with him. What she doesn't realize, is that I AM looking at the big picture.. It's just that she's blinded by his wooing and can't see the big picture herself.

It's been a tough 6 months with issues regarding her and her dad and boys.. Her spending less time with her dad and me feeling like I need to be hypervigilent and omnipresent, equates to little running. The past few days have been challenging with her.. We've had long talks and she has been quick to point out my faults.. she wants to please me but says I'm never happy anymore.. I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep with this weighing heavy on my mind. She's right.. I haven't been happy in a while.. I've been stressed with work, her, bills, pets, boyfriend-that-deserves-more-than-I-can-give, and a close friend moved away. Life is full of challenges.. It always has been..

But I used to be happier.. What has changed? I haven't been logging the miles that in the past has kept me sane. So I decided to start yet another run streak on 8/27. I'm doing it the smart way and kept the first week to 1 mile per day with slightly farther on Sunday. 7 day run streak = 7.48 miles. This low of mileage isn't helping much with keeping the sanity in check, but is helping to develop an injury-free habit. I'll slowly increase the mileage and eventually regain the fitness and sanity that I've lost. The summer of 2011 included high mileage and lots of smiles. I look forward to returning to my happy place.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

helping over hurdles

I read a blogpost this morning from Becoming Minimalists and wondered if they were psychic. Their post titled "Why Helping Others Succeed Can Be Your Greatest Success" reinforced thoughts that had been running through my mind all week. The quote that truly hit home was "Our most lasting and fulfilling achievements are often earned by helping others fulfill theirs." I can totally relate to this; I give help/advice/encouragement freely and it is truly rewarding to see successes and/or positivity in others' lives coming from it. I have one friend that I made a silly bet with in order to encourage him to succeed. It cemented our friendship and brings back fun memories.

But the receiving end is where I struggle. People offer to help; sometimes I am overwhelmed and accept, but often I try to be strong and try to do it all. I hit a metaphorical hurdle that I couldn't cross by myself this week. I was hurt, angry, sad, disappointed, scared and desperately had no idea how to solve the problem that had been building and then exploded. I'm a pretty private person, so I've only shared the details with four people, two of which are related to the people involved in this dilemma and the other two are very close friends of mine. I was awed by the way each of them took it upon themselves to step in to help. They didn't ask if there was anything that they could do to help, but they took the initiative and acted in helpful ways that I had not considered.

Those actions helped me to confidently and happily cross the new obstacle that I found during my trail run yesterday. Give freely, reach out to others and accept their help graciously. Those are the true rewards in life.

Monday, February 27, 2012

white trash bunco night (wham-bam-thank-u-sam)

Upfront warning.. this blogpost is not about running (unless you count the sports bra and the heartrate monitor on the countertop), but instead it's about letting loose and having fun! In the fall of 2011, a close friend asked me be a sub for her bunco group. I've never played before, but she assured me that it was an easy game that was a good excuse to socialize. Kind of like our former book club but without the requirement to have actually read whatever book our friend had chosen. My daughter and her daughter are best friends, so what the heck. Later, one of the women decided that she wanted to start a "fun" bunco group because this one was too serious. And since I'm such a fun girl, I was recruited for this fun new bunco group. The first event was in January and the theme was a pajama party. That was fun, but now the creativity competition has begun.

February's theme was "white trash". All week emails have been exchanged amongst the group with all talking in "white trash" language. The buildup was hilarious! We were supposed to arrive with white-trash names. I had no clue what to pick so put out a quick plea on Facebook for suggestions. I wasn't completely sure how to dress, but thankfully my daughter had ideas that combined with mine created the first two images.. And after she helped me create my look, I knew that Mike's suggestion of a name was perfect.. I became Wham-Bam-Thank-U-Sam. You can't tell from the pic, but I'm also wearing a short denim skirt and camoflage slippers. Baby Wilson popped out immediately afterwards :)

The hostess and her family really got into the theme. We arrived at her home to find cars in the front yard with the hoods up, unshaven men wearing overalls and camo while drinking PBR, a clothesline across the front porch with bras and underwear flying in the wind, rasslin (wrestling) on the big screen TV, cardboard signs, and beer cans lining the mantle. One of the women in this photo lives over an hour away. She had so much fun that she wants to become a permanent member of our bunco group!

The husband of the host and his buddy had fun too. These fun men laughed and scratched and prepared a special treat for us ladies.. possum and vienna sausage to be eaten with shots of red bull/cheap liquor!

I felt much better about myself after seeing this poor, battered, pregnant mom with a cigarette dangling out of her mouth, a baby in her arms and a beer in her hand.

Poor kid was embarrased to witness the winner of the wet t-shirt contest! We eventually played Bunco and the prizes were equally hilarious.. bottles of Boonesfarm wine, fly swatters, cans of spam, etc. She really set the bar high for future Bunco hosts.. My month to host is June. My daughter suggested that I pick the "ghetto gangsta rappers" theme. What do you think? Any suggestions?