Happy Mother’s Day! Memories of Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some memories of my own mom, which I originally wrote in 2010. I’m also thinking of my daughters-in-law, Sarah and Lisa, mothers of my grandsons (and future granddaughter!).

Mom

Memories of Mom

I realized today, as I planned to write this, that I didn’t have a single digital picture of my mother, who died in 1993. This is a photo of a large picture that hangs in my hall. The color didn’t come out very good, but I still think it is a beautiful photo. I’m not sure how old she is there, probably a few years older than I am now. Anyway, on Mother’s Day, here are a few memories about my mom.

Mom 2

My mom won a Shirley Temple lookalike contest when she was about eight years old (she was the same age, born only five days after Ms. Temple).

When my mom experienced her first kiss, it was with the man who would be my father. She was 21 years old and it was love at first sight.

My dad, who was raised in a male-dominated Danish household, tried a “white glove” test early in their marriage. My mom responded by going on strike, until my dad realized that it wouldn’t play in the USA. He never tried that again!

rp_wilma-005.jpg

When my mom visited Denmark for a couple months, before we were born, she managed to learn Danish (not an easy language to learn!). When she lived in Southern California, she learned to speak Spanish. She learned so easily because she was not afraid of failure and didn’t care if anyone laughed at her if she made mistakes. I hope she passed a little bit of those traits on to me.

When my parents realized that they were unable to conceive, they adopted three children. First me, followed by my two sisters. I’d say thanks, but I know it isn’t necessary. We were as much a part of you as if you’d given birth. I will say thanks, though, for making us feel so special for being adopted. We knew that we’d been chosen.

Wilma 001

My mom made me take ballet, piano lessons, tutoring for my bad handwriting. I fought all of those every step of the way. Thanks, Mom, for standing firm.

My mom allowed me to “sneak” in hamsters, a Guinea pig, a couple kittens and several dogs. Thanks, Mom, for not standing firm.

Wilma 002

My mom worked all her life, teaching (she worked as a substitute when we were little). Mom taught us that we could do anything that we wanted to. There was never any talk of “female jobs” vs. “male jobs.” It wasn’t even a consideration.

My mom was always happy to have all our friends at our home. She hosted slumber parties, pool parties, and my house was always the place that my friends (and my sisters’ friends) wanted to hang out.

When the first African American family moved into our neighborhood (this was in the 60s), Mom was the one who welcomed them, in spite of the negativity of other neighbors.

My mom volunteered at Fairview State Hospital (for the mentally handicapped) when I was a teenager. She made me volunteer, too. Thanks, again, Mom, for helping me learn all the things that experience taught me: the importance of volunteerism, how to help people who really need help, how fortunate I was to be healthy.

When I was a kid, my family hosted foreign exchange students, our own Danish relatives going to school in the US, other family and friends who needed a place to stay for a while, and we fostered special needs high school students. Our home was always a madhouse of people, different languages, confusion. A little late, Mom, but I apologize for sometimes being such a little bitch to some of those visitors. I hope you know that I finally learned what a wonderful person you were and how many people you helped, and that the small inconvenience in my selfish, teenage life was inconsequential.

My mom earned her Master’s in Special Education when she was in her 50s. At the time of her death, she was working for Riverside County, working with families in the east Coachella Valley to help them deal with theirs special needs children.

Wilma

Mom loved to dance, and when she discovered Jazzercise when she was about 60, she was in heaven. She was an ardent follower.

My mom died of a heart attack at the age of 65. Obviously a shock that someone so full of life could die so young. At her packed memorial service, so many people, many of whom couldn’t speak English, came up to my sisters and myself, to tell their stories of how my mother had helped their lives.

Your feet were size 5, Mom, but you left awfully big shoes to fill. I hope you know that I’m doing my best. Happy Mother’s Day.

Wilma Christensen
April 28, 1928-July 5, 1993

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

So, I’ve been lying to you. Well, just a little. (Which begs the question, is there really such thing as a little lie?) Anyway, I haven’t told you the whole truth. Which starts with, I didn’t run the SLO Marathon yesterday.

SLO Recap

Before I get to that though, I want to congratulate Tina Muir, who ran the London Marathon on Sunday. She sweetly emailed me on Saturday to wish me luck, commenting that we have both worked so hard for this. While this is true, I have to laugh because Tina, who ran 2:41:19 (!!!!), was so kind as to think of me, who would have been about two hours behind her.

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

Back to my story. I pretty much knew by last Wednesday that I wasn’t going to be able to run the SLO Marathon. I was in denial though. I really had worked hard for this. While I’d had a hard time getting my total mileage up where I wanted it, I had done the workouts. My long runs had gone well for the most part, at least until a couple weeks ago when I’d developed some exercise induced asthma issues. I did my tempo runs, marathon pace runs, and even hill workouts. I’m in good shape.

The asthma had given me some doubts though. After the incident two weeks ago it took me most of the day to recover! What would I do if it happened during the marathon? I’ve pushed through in the past, but do I have it in me to do it still? Do I even want to? Strike one.

Then Alan and I made the decision that I would go alone. I’ve told you before about Goldie, our handicapped dog. We really don’t want to leave her in the care of a dog sitter. We just don’t trust anyone enough to clean her, change her diaper, and to be there in case anything happens. Heck, sometimes she gets stuck in the dog door when we’re home, though we release her quickly. What if the sitter wasn’t there for a couple hours? We are both resigned to the idea that, for the rest of Goldie’s life our travel will be limited.

Anyway, that meant that I would have to drive to San Luis Obispo by myself, run a marathon, then drive home afterward. Um, that’s about five hours in each direction. Strike two.

I still didn’t want to let go of the dream though. There must be some way, right? I even would have invited Christina, my running partner and neighbor, but she was out of town at a wedding for the weekend.

Then last Wednesday I ran five miles, moderate pace, with a couple bursts of marathon pace. About halfway through my run I felt a weird pain in my mid-back that actually made me stop for a moment. It went away when I stopped but returned when I ran again. I made it home, but through the rest of the day I had twinges, now in my low back and right hip.

When I woke up on Thursday morning I knew right away that my marathon probably wasn’t going to happen. The pain was still in my low back and hip, with occasional random spasms just to keep me on my toes. I could hardly walk, let alone think about running 26.2 miles!

Strike three and I’m out.

I still held on until Friday morning to make the decision. My back was a little better, so I gave myself a little hope, but my wiser side took over. Back pain + 5 hour drive + marathon = Bad idea.

So, I stayed home, wished my follow SLO Marathon Ambassadors good luck, and didn’t run a step all weekend. I did, however, get to spend some time with this guy:

Samuel

Yes! If anything could make me feel better about staying home and missing my marathon it was having Samuel and his parents visit us! I took tons of pictures, but since he’s in action all the time most of them were blurry! Here are a few when he was still for a moment.

Samuel 6I don’t think Samuel realizes how honored he should be to get Coco kisses. She usually delivers them to Alan and me in the middle of the night.

Samuel 4It’s hard to explain to a two year old about handicapped dogs, but Samuel seemed to have a connection with Goldie. We just had to make sure that he didn’t sit on her.

Samuel 2Penny is obviously a good sport. She’s not used to kids but was very patient with Samuel. He is used to Chloe, their young Australian Shepherd, who puts up with all his antics.

Samuel 3Grandpa was happy that someone finally wanted to play with the finger lights he bought at Christmas!

Samuel 5Since both his parents wear glasses, Samuel thinks they’re pretty cool (the glasses, not sure about the parents). So when he found an old pair of readers lying around he thought that he was pretty cool too.

Samuel 7Nathan and Sarah just purchased a brand new Ford Fusion. On a recent trip to Orange County my son got over 90 mph! It’s a nice looking car too.

Samuel 8We went to lunch at PF Changs. I ordered the Vegetable Lettuce Wraps and Alan wanted the Buddha’s Feast, at least until he saw all the broccoli that it came with. So we traded dishes and I got my broccoli ration for the week.

Samuel 10Grandson selfie!

Samuel 9I was sad that this picture turned out a little blurry thanks to trying to hold Samuel still with one hand and take a picture with the other. Still, they look awfully cute, don’t they? Their daughter (my granddaughter!!!) Emma Marie is due on September 2.

We had a great time and I was able to forget my failure missing the marathon for a while. And the good news is, my back is feeling much better. I’ll probably try a little run on Tuesday. I’d like to hold onto some of this fitness I have right now. I might convince Christina that a semi-local half marathon might be just the thing for May!

In other adventures, did you see my Instagram post the other day? The consensus was that this is a king snake. What do you think?

 

Anybody know what kind of snake this is? Not dangerous I hope! #snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

Thank you to all of you who wished me well, supported me and had faith in my efforts. I’m sorry that I couldn’t live up to your (or my) expectations. I promise to share the links to some of the SLO Marathon recaps so we can all see what I missed. And don’t miss Tina’s recap. She was really happy and excited about her experience and I can’t wait to read all about it.

How was your weekend? Any races, events, or family adventures? Let’s hear about it!

In case you missed it…

In Case You Missed It

I rarely post on Saturday, but this is such big news I just have to share right now. In case you missed it on Instagram

Its a girlYes, we’re going to have a granddaughter! Her name is Emma Marie and she is expected the first week of September.

This family needs a little sugar and spice. With two sons, two stepsons, and three grandsons, I am just a little over the top excited. I can’t wait for a little pink!

Baby Girl

(I am being a little bit silly here. She may hate pink.)

Ahh, but this one:

I love grandmaSomeone’s going to have a baby sister!

Big Brother

In Case You Missed It (#2)

I’m guest posting over on Rachel’s blog! Check it out!

Lessons from RunningBack to regularly scheduled weekend activity. Have a great one!

Recap: The Week in Training and Life

Countdown to the SLO Marathon

(Still haven’t signed up? Click here and use the code WOODAMB at checkout to save $10)

SLO Marathon

The countdown to the SLO Marathon has begun! In less than four weeks I will be in San Luis Obispo at the start line of my 37th marathon. Will I be ready? Yes! Will I be able to rock the race as I’d planned? Um, maybe.

If you’ve followed my training recaps you know that life has interfered a lot in my training plan. While my long runs have been pretty much on target, my mid-week training has not been what it should. I’ve been getting in some of the planned speed work, but my efforts to get my total weekly mileage up where I’d like it have not been very successful. Last week I managed for the first time to get over 30 miles. This week, a long run cut-back week, I just barely managed 28 miles.

So to look at the big picture, and to stop whining about things I can’t change, I will have an okay race. Not great, but, barring any severe exercise induced asthma issues, I’ll be fine. And I still have two weeks before I start my taper, so I have hopes for these next two peak training weeks.

This week I got all my planned training runs done {high five!}. On Monday I was out the door at 5:15 in the morning. After a one mile warmup I did four half mile intervals on the road followed by two quarter mile repeats. I was running out of time, so I couldn’t get the three miles total in intervals that I wanted, but I’m happy with that.

morning run 2It was barely getting light when I finished my interval workout on Monday. Can you see the old man in the mountain in the picture below?

Morning run 3On Wednesday I ran a total of six miles, with three miles at half marathon pace. I ran with my neighbor Christina, and we got going at 5:15. I’m not crazy about running alone so early, so I was happy to have a running partner.

As I mentioned it was a cut-back week for my long run this week. I had 15 on the schedule with four miles at marathon pace in the middle of the run. Christina ran with me for most of it, and we did manage to run miles 5-9 at my goal marathon pace, which is about 10 minutes per mile. At that pace it’s not like I was sprinting, but I still found it challenging (which I have to admit concerns me at this late point in training). Anyway, I got it done. After I split off from Christina I had about four more mile to run, but I was really dragging, so I ended up finishing with 14 miles for the day.

ChristinaAlan’s hamstring is bothering him, so we didn’t do our normal dog run on Sunday. Instead I ran four slow recovery miles on my own, choosing perhaps the most challenging route, which is a big loop around our neighborhood that finishes all uphill for the second half. Oh well, I got it done, and took a few photo breaks so I survived.

Recovery 3Pretty, huh? You wouldn’t guess that the day was going to heat up to about 100 degrees (on March 29!!!!).

The Life Recap

I’m not really sure why I’m including a life recap this week since it was generally pretty boring. Alan was away for a few days visiting our twin grandsons in Huntington Beach and cheering them on at the Jogathon at their school. Cash managed 31 laps in 30 minutes! I think this put him in second place overall.

CashAlan also went to their baseball game where both boys had some great plays. They all also played baseball with grandpa, rode bikes together, and of course, went to the beach (it was in the mid-80s!).

DaneMeanwhile, I stayed home to work. I also have been having afternoon headaches this week, which sucks. Unusual for me, they come on in the early afternoon, send me to bed for a couple hours, then seem to go away by early evening. I think it is because I recently got back on my hormones (Obamacare finally kicked in!), and my body is adapting. I’ll have it checked if I’m still having problems next week, but the last couple days seems a little bit better.

I did drag myself out on Thursday to see Cinderella with Christina. More on that tomorrow, but I will say that I loved it. I was fighting the stupid headache through the whole movie though, so I may just have to see it again when I feel better.

Pizza!

The food was pretty boring while Alan was gone. Between having only myself to cook for and not feeling good I kept it simple. Leftovers for the win! Also my favorite comfort food when I don’t feel good: a baked potato with salt and (vegan) butter. Not sure why this makes me feel better, but it’s been my go-to since I was very young.

Alan got home on Saturday and I was feeling pretty good so I made a pesto pizza. It was really, really, really good.

Pizza 2And worth a second look.

PizzaI have a 22 mile run on the schedule for next Saturday. I’ve been fighting a lot of doubts throughout this training cycle, so I admit that I’m fearing this distance. I’ll have to get a really early start too because I don’t think the weather is going to cool off very much.

Coming up on the blog this week I’ll have a comparative review of Cinderella 1965 vs. 2015, a great giveaway for desert locals, and the return of the Pin It Party with Lindsay and many other bloggers.

And finally, here’s something to make you smile:


How was your training week? Any events, races, or other fun times? Want to join the Pin It Party (it’s on Thursday if you’d like to participate)?

Lucky Me! And SLO Marathon Training Update (one month out!)

Winner Winner, (vegan) Chicken Dinner

Have I mentioned how lucky I’ve been lately? Oh yeah, I may have mentioned it. Since December I’ve been entering and winning a lot of giveaways. And I’ve won some really cool things. Like my Blendtec Designer 725 (from Fitfluential). I also won a $100 Lululemon gift card from Fitfluential. I won a pair of Injinji socks and Croc shoes from Katie (in two separate giveaways!), a pretty headband from Sparkly Soul, and an Unplugged t-shirt from Jenn. Not to mention that I found $20 on the street a few weeks ago!

Well, the luck continues. Last week I received a package from NuNaturals that I one from Jody (the second time I won that from her! They’re keeping me stocked up.), and I received this from Influenster (not a giveaway, but I guess I won it from among the participants in a marketing program):

Influenster2

This was a complete and very fun surprise.

NuStevia

Five Weeks Until the SLO Marathon!

Yikes! That happened fast. The SLO Marathon is just a little over a month away! I feel like I’ll be ready, even though my training has not been quite as intense as I’d planned. My weekday training suffered because I frequently have to work at 7:00, so I’m just not getting the mid-week mileage that I’d hoped for. Especially now that Daylight Savings Time has started. I’m not comfortable running in the dark (here’s why), so I usually have to cut my runs short.

I have managed to get in my long runs according to schedule, so that’s good. And I usually manage at least one speed or hill workout during the week, even if it is a bit shorter than I’d like. That being said, I finally got my total mileage up over 30 miles for the first time this training cycle. Woohoo!

Running for the week:

Tuesday: 2.5 miles easy. I had to be at work early, but Alan ran with me so I could get out early.
Wednesday: 6.5 miles with two miles at tempo/LT pace (which was around 9:15 per mile). I ran with Christina, my neighbor, so we got out early enough that we could get our run in and I could be at work by 8:00.
Saturday: 20 miles. Yes, I got it done!
Sunday: 4 miles. Recovery run. It also put me over 30 for the week (33 to be exact).

So, for the long run, I started off running with Christina. Alan’s hamstring was bothering him, so he took the day off. We took off from a park about a mile from our house. Because we were getting a late start (again!), I took off forgetting my water bottle and didn’t remember until about a half mile into the run. I’d left it on the curb at the park, wasn’t sure if Alan would see it, so Christina and I turned around to retrieve it. Before we got there though, Alan pulled up, with my bottle, so we turned back around. I also stumbled and almost fell on a sidewalk crack, but fortunately I caught my balance before I went all the way down.

Christina planned to run 10, so I ran with her to her turnaround point, then ran back about two miles. I felt that this would cut down on how far out I would have to run by myself. We live in a wonderful area that has little traffic and horse trails, but the downside is that it can get a little desolate if you run out about 10 miles or so. This way I stayed closer to home, I passed my favorite fire station (and water stop) three times, and it just generally felt safer.

WRW6

All went well on the run, though 20 miles is a freaking long way. And hard! Speaking of hard, I was almost done, only about a tenth of a mile from finishing, when I stumbled over that same crack in the sidewalk! This time I went down, flat on my face. Still, my first emotion was embarrassment, so obviously I wasn’t too badly hurt. I did manage to bang up my knee, hand, and even hit my face, but fortunately that was a light hit. The fall (or my emotion about the fall) also brought up my exercise induced asthma, but a couple quick puffs on my inhaler suppressed that. And yes, I did run that last bit (.08 mile to be exact, anal about mileage as I am).

WRW8

On Sunday Alan was announcing the Running Wild for Hope 5k in Palm Springs. I had no intention of actually racing, but I do like to go along to see running friends that I haven’t seen for a while, even if it means waking up at 3:30 on a Sunday morning (I repeat, sometimes running is hard). I ran a slow, four mile recovery run while the race was going on, including a mile with my former LA Marathon bestie, while she warmed up for the race.

Race Pictures 001

Linda and I managed to finish the 2000 LA Marathon in 3:33 in spite of pouring rain and 40 degree temps. We wore our trash bags for the whole race!

WWRI took a quick nap (Alan gets to the race early!), then, after a mile with Linda, ran another three on my own. Slowly. My PRO Compression sleeves are my friends. I usually wear them for about two days after a tough run or race.

WRW3

WRW2You can see the wound (which sounds too dramatic, but “owie” doesn’t look right) on my knee (the bandage didn’t last long there). It felt okay though.

As I mentioned, there are only five weeks left until the SLO Marathon on April 26. That means three weeks of training really, then a two week taper. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still save $10 with my code: WOODAMB.¬† It will be beautiful in San Luis Obispo, something I’m looking forward to since it’s already getting hot in the desert.

Skulpt Aim

As I mentioned last week, I’ve had an opportunity to try out the Skult Aim. I wasn’t very happy about my initial readings, so that has encouraged be to get back to a little weight training. I’ve been practicing yoga a couple times a week, Pilates maybe once, so I hope to add some traditional strength training twice a week or so. Gotta bring those numbers down!

skulpt 2Yes, I’m showing my best reading in the picture above. That is my quadriceps measurement. My biceps, triceps and abs need a little work. So I did get in two upper body strength workouts last week. It’s actually pretty easy, since I work in a gym, and there is always a little time to get in a quick workout. I’ll be tracking my results over the next few weeks and we’ll see how those reading change.

So, that’s my week. How is your training going? Any events, races, or competitions?

Quick Training Update, the Weekend in Pictures & Skulpt Aim

Quick Training Update

So it’s 8:20 on Sunday night and I’m a little behind on writing this post. So, lucky you, it will be a mostly pictures training and weekend recap.

I took Monday off after my half marathon last week, so my first training day was Wednesday. I ran six miles. I started with a one mile warm up, then ran one mile at lactate threshold pace, with a quarter mile recovery. Repeating that two more times. My intervals were right about 9:09.

On Saturday I ran 17.5 miles. I started off with my husband, who was running 12, then continued on my own when he turned around at seven. It was getting hot as I was finishing up, so when I saw Alan’s car at the 17.5 mark (he was checking on me), I happily crawled jumped into his car. I was supposed to run 18, but it was almost 80 degrees, I was getting too much into walking mode anyway, so I took the out.

Long Run 2

Funny FaceOkay, we were tired of “smiley face!”

On Sunday we took the dogs out for their run. Our neighbor Christina joined us with her dog. It was a perfect recovery day, about 3.8 miles, pretty slow and easy. And fun, because, you know, dogs.

Dog Run

Dog Run 2

Dog Run 3

DesertThe pepper trees are blooming. Aren’t they messy pretty?

I’m still a little frustrated with my total mileage during the week. More on that later this week, but it has been difficult to fit in my runs with my early work schedule, made more challenging now with the time change.

Family Time

After the run we showered then got on the road to visit his guy:

Big BrotherAs you can see by his shirt, he is soon to be a big brother! We’re so excited that our new grandchild is due in early September! It’s about¬† month until we find out the gender, but, with four sons between Alan and me, three grandsons, it just might be time for a little XX in the family tree. Just saying. Of course we will be thrilled with our grandchild, boy or girl.

GrandpaSamuel is getting really good at saying Grandma and Grandpa. He is finally getting to an age where he knows us as his grandparents, is happy to see us, and even though we haven’t seen him since Christmas, he remembered us and felt comfortable enough for some snuggles. Though he wouldn’t smile for our selfie.

Grandma

Vegan Lunch at Earth Bistro

We all went out to lunch at the Earth Bistro in Temecula. They have a variety of vegan options and we’ve been there before. This time wasn’t as successful. Their service has always been a little slow, and this time, when they were a little busy, it was quite bad. Alan and I enjoyed our food, but my son and daughter in law were disappointed.

Earth Bistro 3

Sarah Nathan

Earth Bistro

Earth Bistro 2

Skulpt Aim Fitness Tracker

I recently received a Skulpt Aim Fitness Tracker to review. I just barely got it out of the box, but I’m really excited about this product and I can’t wait to try it out and give you a full and honest review.

Skulpt

The Skulpt Aim is a simple fitness tracker that can measure body composition with just a touch, and continue to track it using the free Skulpt app. It uses electrical impedance myography, which uses a weak electrical current to measure body fat and to give you a Muscle Quality (MQ) score based on those measurements. The app is a great motivational tool that will help to record improvements.

How was your training week? Any races, other competitions or great training experiences to share? Would you like an easy way to measure MQ and body fat?