Long time, no blog

Wow, I see my visits here have become few and far between. It has been nearly a year since I have updated, with the exception of my ongoing book list. Glancing back at several of the more recent, however non-recent, posts, I see a lot of focus on child-related issues. That is no surprise. As a homeschooling mom, a huge part of my time and attention is directed toward my children. I do give a lot of thought to how our culture, and how our own parenting and educational decisions, will influence them. In fact, the infrequency of my posts here is largely a result of my effort to be more available to my kids. As homeschoolers, we do spend a lot of time together. I found that it is pretty easy to let other things overtake our free time – my free time – and I don’t want all our time together to be about doing schoolwork. I want to have time to play together and work together on meaningful things other than school.

Since I spent a lot of time talking about running in the past, I will update briefly. After an injury in 2012, I have to admit, I fell apart on the fitness front. If I couldn’t run, I wasn’t going to exercise at all, darn it! I didn’t consciously decide that, but it turned into my reality.

One great thing I’ve noticed when I am in a good exercise routine is that I also tend to eat well. I called it my virtuous circle.

virtuous circle

noun

A recurring cycle of events, the result of each one being to increase the beneficial effect of the next:
‘economic expansion would itself produce a virtuous circle of increased productivity, increased exports, and increased growth’

Sadly, when I wasn’t running, I didn’t make an effort to eat well. I was very lax about my food choices. It’s not by any means as if everything was bad at that time, but I certainly put my health on the back-burner.

When I saw people running, I felt a longing. For a long time, I thought I could just dive back in at any point once my injury had resolved. I would decide to start running again, run a few times per week for two or three weeks, then fizzle out. Boo. Finally, in 2014, I acknowledged the reality that I needed to start over. I did Couch to 5K all over again, and was so pumped to participate in a local 5K as the culmination of that training program. I’ve also joined a local chapter of a national women’s running group – Moms RUN This Town – and the community has gone a long way in encouraging me to keep it up this time. I have been running pretty regularly again since July of 2014. I’m slower than I used to be, but I have run several 5k’s, a 10k, and even a half-marathon last fall. I have enjoyed getting to know some great mother runners in my community as well. How did I do it without community before?

I have no races coming up, but I should pick something out and sign up! While unnecessary, I feel that races add a lot of FUN and motivation to things. I did enjoy a four miler today. A sunny 60+ day in Minnesota in March? I’ll take it, with gratitude. My virtuous circle also seems to be functioning fairly well again. It’s hard balancing work, parenting, health and all the rest. I am a constant work in progress in all aspects of life.

How about you? Have you dealt with injury with more grace than I did? Do you notice virtuous circles in your life? Do you have any advice on balance?

I hate to say it, but…

If anyone out there is wondering how the marathon training is going, I have bad news. The marathon is less than two weeks away, and it’s not going to happen for me this time. My knee started to bother me a bit in early March. It really didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. I thought that taking a few extra days off and taking it easy would be all I needed. In the end, I took more like two weeks off before gradually building my mileage back up. But then I was feeling great. I was feeling optimistic. I had certainly gotten behind on my training, but I felt like I would be able to do it.

I had gotten back up to a pain free 12 miler and felt fantastic. Yes, there are still many more miles in a marathon, but at that point, I thought I had time to slowly build up to a 20 mile training run. My particular training plan would have taken me all the way to 26 if I had been able to keep up with it, but I know some training plans only go up to 20. I felt okay with how things were going.

Then, the last straw.

I had set out for a long training run about two weeks ago, and just over 6.5 miles into it, my knee started to kill! I hobbled home and told my husband that this was probably it. No longer enough time to let it rest and build back up.

You’re probably wondering if I have sought any medical care. I have not.

Like I said, back when I had that first pain, I really thought it was no big deal and that some TLC would do it. Now, I could go get it checked, and maybe I should, but I haven’t. It’s too late to get ready for the marathon (this time), and it doesn’t affect me in regular life. Someone did advise me that it could be caused by unequal muscle strength in my legs (i.e. the front leg muscles, and to a lesser extent, the back leg muscles are strengthened through running, but the side muscles really are not – I haven’t been doing anything to hone in on the side muscles of my legs).

I should also admit that I dislike going to the doctor. I go for my annual check-ups, and I take my children for their check-ups and for other needs as they arise. For myself, though, I usually have to be pretty concerned to go in. I think it’s an effect of growing up poor.

So, when and if I decide to try tackling a full marathon in the future, I think I just might go have things checked out and seek some expert advice based on my personal experiences. But not necessarily before then. Feel free to offer your two cents if you have strong opinions about any of it. I’m willing to listen and consider advice.

On the bright side, with the exception of about two weeks off in early March, this was the first time I’ve run through the winter since I took up running in 2008 with the C25K.

In other news, I’m keeping busy making plans for school next year, including putting thought and research time into the idea of giving my kids more choice and flexibility in their learning. If you happen to look at my book list, you’ll see a couple titles that hint at that. If you’ve read about why we homeschool, you also know that tailoring learning to the interests and abilities of our children is one of the reasons we decided to homeschool in the first place. I don’t know if I could ever go all the way to unschooling, but I do think people learn more when it is something that they are interested in and have a reason for learning.  It has been interesting reading at the least.  🙂  So far, we have a science curriculum purchased at the special request of my daughter ~ it looks good, a music theory curriculum purchased at the request of both children, and a lot of historical novels selected (some purchased, and some available from the library) to read together next year.  We have a math program that both kids are loving, each at their own level, and phonics and grammar programs that have been helpful.  I went to a talk on literary analysis last month, and I’m all stoked to incorporate a bit more of that into our discussion of the books we read.  See, that’s something that particularly interests me.  I will try to restrain myself a bit if they don’t share my interest.  The last thing I want to do is turn them off books and reading.  I always try to walk the fine line of challenging them, but not frustrating them, and spending time on things that they enjoy, but instilling the discipline it takes to do something even when it isn’t fun.

I’ve also been to some used book sales recently and purchased books on geology projects, how various machines work, Greek mythology, a family devotion book ~ things that we can enjoy together that aren’t necessarily part of a curriculum.

In the food world, we have just started a new CSA season.  Thank goodness!  I had gotten into a cooking rut.  The CSA provides a lot of inspiration, and so far, the recipes in the newsletter have been outstanding.  I’ve finally found a recipe for sunchokes that I liked!!  I’ve mentioned that we had an unseasonably warm winter in MN this year.  We were having an especially warm spell in mid-March, and my husband decided to plant radishes, arugula and spinach.  We had to cover them a few times, but now we are enjoying eating a few fresh veggies from the garden.  We weren’t even able to start planting by this time last year!  What a difference from one year to the next.  Our mint has also come up in full force.  My word, that is one prolific plant!

So, there it is.  Some good.  Some bad.  Keeping busy with my little ones.  Looking forward to summer and all the new adventures it may bring.

I hope life is treating you well.  🙂