Along My Run | 7 - August Rebound

I'm hesitant to say I've made a full recovery from my ankle injury, because I know these things can revert as quickly as the days have become shorter, so I'll just settle for a "running rebound" in August.

The days are noticeably shorter - each morning run starting a little darker than the previous day's. I've always noted that once the calendar flips to August, it feels like a light switch flips, and we become enveloped in darkness in the early morning and evening. The transition takes getting used to - getting up in the dark, donning reflective gear and lights. Soon, the entire run will be in the dark - I can't say I'm looking forward to it.

I am, however, looking forward to some cooler temperatures and less humid conditions! Summer, taunting the kids that started back to school, finally decided to show up. Walking out into the heavy, sticky air, the hardest step to take is that first one. Then I remind myself "I get to run today" and my perspective is changed. So we slog through the miles, drenched with sweat at the end, making sure to properly hydrate along the way.

August 2014 Runs - Rebound #shirleyruns

1. Post Run - Felt good to get 12 miles in today, 2. Mile 6 Reward , 3. Fire and Water , 4. Parade In , 5. Walk on By , 6. Obstacle Course this Morning!, 7. Lose Yourself, 8. Settling Down , 9. Jump Over Or Splash Through? , 10. Sadly, this happens at the end of the run now., 11. Just the Start of Today's Long Run , 12. Good Morning, Sun , 13. Clouds and Wee Little Moon, 14. Misty Morning Run , 15. It was a Run in the Rain This Morning. Unexpected, but welcome! , 16. Like the Countryside , 17. Throw Me a Curve , 18. Pretty Tired of the High Humidity.

August's Stats: 136 miles, 9:16 minute / mile average pace. I'm happy with it all, considering how fast I ramped up the mileage in order to get back on track for the Chicago Marathon. I am also fortunate that I've got a good group of people to run the really long miles with - they are my support line. My goal is to simply stay healthy for the next 6 weeks and do the best I can.

I'll close with some running quotes that caught my eye:

No one ever drowned in sweat. Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts. – Dan Gable

Runners just do it – they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first. – Anonymous

The triumph cannot be had without the struggle. - Wilma Rudolph

Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing. - George Sheehan

Finally, something I hope to be true:
I plan to run for the rest of my life. It will always be a part of who I am. - Brian Sell

Even if you aren't a runner, these tenets hold true for any passion - I hope you hold on tight to those passions and never take them for granted.


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Long Time Friends - Throw Back Thursday | 2

I had so much fun digging up old photos for last week's #tbt (Throwback Thursday) post of my daughter's first day of school compendium, I culled a couple extra photos.

This could become a weekly feature here on the blog!

Background - I bought my first digital camera in 2003, a Nikon Coolpix. I finally organized all the photos from 2003 - 2010 onto one external hard drive, but most have not been imported into my Lightroom Catalog and uploaded to Flickr. My Flickr stream is up to date starting in 2009, so there are many gaps between 2003-2009 that I can fill.

Before 2003, I sent my film into a company called Seattle Filmworks, who offered a negative scanning / digital archiving option. Seattle Filmworks no longer exists, but it was bought out by Shutterfly and all of my photos from 1998 - 2003 are archived there. I opted to have a CD burned and transferred the files to my trusty (and backed up) EDD.

In short, I have several years of old photos to look back upon, and I really treasure all of them.

Enough with the blabbering, here are two treasured photos for Throw Back Thursday:

Still Friends 10 years later

That's my daughter and her good friend, some ten years ago. The great thing - they are still good friends today! Both girls were at the house on Monday, getting ready to film their ALS Ice Bucket Challenge together (they threw the ice water on each other - it was quite funny). Of course, I had to show them this photo. I will take another photo of the two of them before the end of the school year.

Then there's this photo, taken in 2004:
Instant Friends
Our kids with kids of our good friends, Dave and Dawn. Scott and I met Dave during our first year out of college when we worked for GE Lighting in Cleveland. We got to know Dave's future wife, Dawn and our lives have paralleled each others since. They live in Michigan and while we don't see each other in person all that often, we keep tabs on each other via Facebook.

In 2010, we traveled to Italy (sans kids) with Dave and Dawn and had a blast. Whenever we connect with them, we pick right back up where we left off - a mark of a true friend.

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The Brass

I love the brass section of a marching band. They provide a lot of the power for that genre of music.

Sound the Brass

My favorite brass instrument is the French Horn. Unfortunately, French Horns do not play in marching band. Instead, we get an occasional flugelhorn:
At Attention

All three local High school bands entertained us last weekend at the street festival. Prior to their performances, a big rainstorm swept through, clearing the crowds and ushering in a tiny bit of cool relief from the sultry humidity. Of course, school starts and summer decides to show up!

Masses

Again, we get another "thumbs up" from my son. It must be his mantra for the year.
Another Thumbs Up

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First Day of School Photos - High Schoolers

The last time both kids attended the same school together, they were in elementary school.

Now it's high school for both, and I don't even have to drive them to and from - the girl has her license and a car, so little brother gets a free ride and mom gets some freedom.

The freshmen started a day earlier than the rest of high school, so I did take my youngest to his first day of high school. I don't think I could have not taken him, afterall, he's my baby!

Here he is on that first day. I don't think the cat would enjoy high school, although he looks pretty content at the moment....
 #firstdayofschool #siamese

The next day - we met the very specific time schedule my daughter outlined - photos at 7:30, leave the house by 7:40. She didn't raise a fuss about having her photo taken (you know, sometimes these teens are like "really, do you have to take my photo on the first day of school?" I think she may be getting sentimental on me...).

The boy was ready first, and this is what he wanted:
Ready to Go

Always the jokester:
Positive Thinking

Then there is my "darling daughter who I do not deserve":
Her Senior Year
OK, I know I'm her mother, but she really does look lovely here.

Sister and brother:
Both in High School

And the requisite silly photo:
I Don't Know What To Say

I hope they make the most of this school year - that they work hard, play hard, enjoy their friends and make great memories.

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First Day of School - The Retrospective

Perfect for #tbt (aka Throwback Thursday), a retrospective of my oldest's first day of school.

Yes, I have a High school senior, so this year's photo will be the "last of the firsts". I guess it is the start of many "lasts", but what can a mom do - we simply raise them up the best we can.

Here you go - proof that I once was a young mom, too.
Chicago - 2004

But this post is not about me - it's about my "darling daughter who I do not deserve" (that's what comes up whenever The Girl texts / calls me - yeah, she got to my phone and I'm too lazy to change it).

Kindergarten, in Indiana, with friends Sarah and Riley:
Sara, Riley and Erica - First Day of Kindergarten

First Grade:
First Grade

Second Grade:
Second Grade

Third Grade:
Third Grade

Fourth Grade:
Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade:
Fifth Grade

Sixth Grade:
Sixth Grade

Seventh Grade:
Seventh Grade

Eighth Grade:
Eighth Grade Girl
Cameo from her 5th grade brother - doesn't he look thrilled?

Ninth Grade - High school freshman!
High Schooler

Tenth Grade:
Now a Sophomore

Eleventh Grade:
High School Junior

Senior Year: To be taken, later today.

How fast they grow up.....

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Cross Country Riding

Yes, more horse photos, but with a twist - my daughter's first experience on a Cross country course. The cross country course consists of various jumping obstacles on a big expanse of land. Very different from an arena setting and, in my opinion, lots of fun to watch. I bet it is a fun ride - more free and organic for both rider and horse. It's not without its hazards - the riders don a protective vest, to protect their torso from potential contact with the ground (yes, in case they fall) and / or horse hooves (in case they fall and get kicked).

I just don't think about the "in case" part of things.

It's a bit of a free for all with the spectators, too, at least during this particular session - we all stood in the middle of the field along with the instructor, while the horses cantered past us. I suspect there's enough room for everyone, and the riders know how to control their horses, but I'm always wary when in the path of a large, one ton animal.

Cross Country Style

These riding stables have the most amazing grounds - rolling hills of green, flanked by fields of corn. Just being there was a salve on my soul.

Cross Country Style
Instead of jumping gates, they jump logs, up hills and over ditches.

Did I mention how serene and beautiful it was to watch?
In the Fields

The weather was perfect - late in the afternoon as the sun started to dip low, golden rays peeking from the clouds that kept us cool.
Cross Country Style

Some other captures with my iPhone:
Out In the Distance #barn #prairie #sky #clouds

Rural Route Address #country #wildflowers

Sighted #fieldaliens #power #sky

It was a great way to spend Sunday afternoon.

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That Time of Year

The kids head back to school this week. It seems like just yesterday school let out for the summer. Day are noticeably shorter - it's no longer light at 5:30am and by the end of August, it will be dark, even at 6:30am.

We watched the sun come up Thursday morning - at the end of our run, instead of at the beginning:
Sadly, this happens at the end of the run now. #shirleyruns

My neighbor's second crop of raspberries is starting to come in. Fall encroaches.
Jewels

More flowers from my neighbor's yard (she spends more time tending to hers). Pretty purple.
Cushions

The view after morning yoga class - this year's corn / bean crop will set records, the growing conditions have been ideal.
Inner Calm #prairie

Enjoy the calm before the busy season starts.
Purple Calm

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