Sunday, March 31, 2013

Running Item Product Reviews

Here is a dorky picture of me wearing my new Flip Belt! I've had it about a month now and I love it! I found it on line while searching web sites for Fuel Belts, someone made a random comment about how happy they were with their Flip Belt so I searched and found their site. It's such a simple design and concept, but genious! It's basically a piece of stretchy fabric you can step into or pull over your head and wear on your hips. It has slits in front and back to slide in your items, phone, money, keys, etc. For added security you "flip" the belt over, but I really don't even do that! This belt is great! It doesn't slip at all and my entire Iphone with Otter Case fits inside easily. I have done my 20 mile runs in it and it is so comfortable! They have tons of colors, I got the bright neon orange. I ordered one for Roxanne too and she loves it! It's not water proof but I just use a plastic bag. No more bouncing phones! Try it!
My handheld Amphipod 

My other favorite produce is my small handheld water bottle, the Amphipod. It was purchased here in town at Red Coyote running store, I love it! It only holds about 6oz but that is perfect for short runs and I even use it on longer runs and races and just fill the bottle at water stops thus saving paper cups! I will  never go back to hydration belt. It also has a small pouch for storage, perfect for extra Gu's, keys, electrolytes, etc.!

Happy running!!!

Wearing the flip belt, Iphone is in front 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Favorite Book of 2012

This is my reading spot! Tucked away in a corner of my bedroom with a view of the pool, I can read, organize my calendar or just take a nap! Keeping me comfy is this quilt I had made out of Mom's old t-shirts, mostly from road races but also just her favorite t-shirts, or tops and as you can see OSU is a dominant theme!

My mother was an avid reader, probably reading at least 1-2 books per week, she was speedy! Of course when she worked full time it was probably less but not by much!

This past year I have been on a reading KICK! For the past 6 years when I was coaching I really didn't have as much time to read other than magazines but after my coaching gig ended and Mom died I have been a regular visitor to the local library! No Kindle for me, I love to turn a page, to feel the book in my hands, the smell, everything! Every night in order to sleep I MUST read. Anything! If I am staying somewhere and Heaven forbid, have forgotten to bring a book, then anything will do, a catalogue even! But, I almost always have a book or magazine with me to read, even if it's just 10 minutes before falling asleep. Jim often finds me with the light on, book on my chest.

Not to be morbid, but that is how Dad found my Mom, in bed, asleep forever, book on her chest. I find comfort in that at least, knowing she was doing what she loved and it was just "her time". We should all be so lucky to pass to the next life so peacefully.

A couple of month's after Mom died and as summer approached, I read a few books on grieving and loss. Then through Oprah's Book Club Newsletter I heard about this book, "Wild", by Cheryl Strayed.  It was a wonderful, true story about her crazy idea to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, ALONE, with no experience as a hiker after the loss of her mother and a few years of self destruction.

So, "Wild", was my favorite book of 2012.  This year has started out strong with the following books: "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie", a great book about a black woman's struggle raising 12 children and their stories. "Saturday Night Widows", a true story written by a NYC journalist who became a widow too young and decided to start a group with other widows and wrote about it. I was inspired to read this because one of my best friends, Marylu lost her husband Bruce a few years ago way too young. Our children are the same age and I often think of her, in particular on Saturday nights, when she may be home alone. "The Last Runaway", a great book, maybe tied for favorite read of the year so far about a young woman set in 1850 who follows her older sister to America from England to marry and the sister dies before they reach their destination. Alone, and with no family, she must adapt. The book is set in Ohio, which was a route of slaves escaping to Canada and the young woman begins to help slaves run away. "Me, Before You", even though this book was predictable for me I enjoyed it very much and is one of my favorite books of the year. It's about a young woman who goes to work for a quadriplegic. My favorite book of 2013 so far is "Killing Kennedy". Mom read every book there was on JFK so I had to read it to honor her and it was very good, and suspenseful even though we know the outcome.

I have two more books from the library I'm about to start and about 3 more at the library. I go through phases where I read nothing but novels, fiction or non, then I get on health or mind/body kick and that is what I've got coming up next. I can't  believe I've never read Micheal P.'s book "The Omnivore's Dilemma so I'm anxious to start it and also one recommended by my friend Adi about ultra running and diet.

I always love to hear what friends are reading, I heard about Me Before You off FB from my friend Jennifer in Colorado, so please comment on your favorite books.  Happy Reading and thanks Mom for sharing your love of books with me!

Gift from Mom-1st Mother's Day 1984 after Jared was born!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The worst year

It has been a long and tiring day. But not nearly as long as one year ago, March 17th, 2012. It was a Saturday and Sam and I were leaving for Mexico for his Senior Spring Break trip. Jim was not going with us due to work and was driving us to the airport and I remember thinking I should call Mom to tell her goodbye but it was about 9am and she sometimes slept as late as 10 so I didn't want to wake her, besides, my mom didn't really care about stuff like that when she knew I would be busy leaving on a trip.  The plane ride there was pretty boring, just me and Sam in our own little worlds, I may have been a bit apprehensive about traveling to Mexico without Jim but knew I'd be meeting up with other parents when I arrived. We got our bags, made it through customs and it was about 6pm as we made our way to the shuttle with several other passengers to be dropped off at various hotels. It would be about a 45 minute drive to our hotel and we were about 5 minutes into it when my phone rang and it was Jim. I almost didn't pick it up thinking, "why is spending money to call probably just to check and see if we've made it". And then I heard the tone of his voice, very shaky and like he was about to cry, "Jen, are you sitting down?" For an instant, I don't know why, I thought something had happened to Roxanne. And then Jim just said the words....."Your Mom is dead". And I could feel Sam sitting next to me, looking scared, and I said to him, pretty calmly, "Grandma's dead." I think I remember him putting his head on my shoulder and then later holding my hand. At first I was flooded with relief that my children were okay, then I tried to just get as much information as I could while being in a passenger full of strangers. I barely survived the rest of the ride there, feeling on the verge of a panic attack wondering, how am I going to do this?

The ride seemed to take forever but we finally arrived at our hotel, like a zombie, I just walked into the lobby. Most of the other families had arrived earlier in the day and Sam's girlfriend Lauren, and best friend Luke were some of the first we saw as I think maybe Sam had texted some of them the news, I really don't remember. I barely remember going straight to the front desk, explaining my situation and then being surrounded by other parents. They took us to dinner, helped me book a flight, I layed down for 3 hours of rest in which I literally cried myself to sleep and then awoke to more tears as my phone alarm sounded, and in my same clothes that I had arrived in, took a cab, alone in the dark at 3:30 in the morning back to the airport.

Now even looking back as I write this, I can't believe my mother is gone. Can't believe it has been one year. It really is true that time heals as the first several nights and weeks I would sob through some nights. You just feel yourself dropping into this hole wondering if you are ever going to come out, knowing that you are the one who controls that. Losing a parent is natural, it's the circle of life or whatever you want to call it. I have friends who have lost children, and I honestly don't know if I would be able to pull myself out of that kind of grief.

I am grateful I did not ever have to see my mother suffer as she did her mother, and they both were praying for my grandmother's death. But, I just wish I could have told my mom I loved her one more time. I miss her so much.

This past year has been the worst of my life. I am grateful though, for a husband who loves me very much, and the support from his family has been tremendous. Roxanne living at home has helped me too. With Sam graduating and my coaching job ending, I don't know how I could have made it through each day.

Enjoying a beer after my tattoo!
Rox held my hand but it didn't hurt one bit!
I love it!!!
My yoga and running friends have also helped me. My first few yoga classes were hard to get through without crying but in time, I have begun to heal. As the one year anniversary approached I told myself I would start a blog and also get a tattoo of something meaningful to my mom. So yesterday, with the support of family and friends, I got my mom's signature, in her beautiful handwriting tattooed on my wrist. I love it and even Dad doesn't hate it, he thinks it looks great although he said it would cause him too much pain to look at it. But not me, I find comfort as I run my fingers along her name.  Jane.
on one of our trips to Florida, Mom loved the beach!
Best mommy ever!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sweet Jane

One year ago today is the last time I saw my mother alive. I have been fully aware for months and months that this week, this dreaded anniversary date was coming, March 17, 2012 - the day my mother died. But as I was driving to a yoga class today with Hana, my first yoga teacher and herself, at age 71, kind of a mother figure to me, well, it dawned on me that on Tuesday of the week of my mom's death was the last day I physically saw her. We spoke on the phone but Tuesday was the day. My dogs had a "play date" at their house so it was kind of our day to catch up, maybe have lunch, or I would just sit around with them and visit. Well, that day I was busy as usual, so had only time for a quick hello and goodbye upon taking and picking up the dogs later that afternoon. How I wish I could take that day back and have spent the day, shopping or stuffing our faces at Mimi's as we liked to do.

So, as I'm driving down Western Avenue, it dawned on me that this was the day and for a moment I feared losing control and just outright balling my eyes out like I did for the first few weeks and months after her death.  Then a song came on the radio, a song I had heard in Emily's restorative yoga class a couple of weeks ago," Sweet Jane". I couldn't believe it and I began to cry, but I was sad and almost happy at the same time, thinking Mom was talking to me.

I got to class and was fine, and then afterward Hana talked about some flowers she had brought from her garden for another student who was not in class that day and she offered them to me. I tried to get her to give them to someone else but she seemed rather insistent that I take them so of course I did. I didn't really think about it until I got to the next class that I was teaching and then I just couldn't hold back the tears any longer, and I told the story to my students.

There were a couple of things my mother loved to do, read and putter with her plants. I will plant these cuttings in my garden for my mother, Sweet Jane.

                                        Roxanne, Tommy, Sam & Grandma Jane
Last picture taken of Mom

Monday, March 4, 2013

Running with my daughter

                                                       Running to the finish with Roxanne!

I am training for my first marathon in 16 years with my 25 yr old daughter, Roxanne who is training for her first, and LAST, she says! For the past two years she has run the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon and her cousin Chanel talked her into doing the full this year and she agreed. I was shocked as Roxanne really does not enjoy running, she finds it "boring". She loves yoga and dancing and claims she only tolerates running to burn calories but lately, I am not so sure. I think she is turning into a runner!

This week scheduled run was for 18 miles and we had a Landrunner Club Series race of a 25k so the plan was to add another 2.5 at the end for a total of 18. I wasn't as eager to do this as Rox but she wanted to follow the plan EXACTLY so as soon as we crossed the finish line, we grabbed a banana, put our medal in the car and set out. It really wasn't as bad as I thought but Rox did hit a slight wall with about 1.5 miles to go so we walked a lot at the end but as we neared the finish she said she wanted to make sure she was running at the finish just like she plans to run across the finish line at the race even if it kills her! Well, that sounds like a runner to me!