Beat the Blerch

We Beat the Blerch again this year!  Guinevere beat him harder than me since I wimped out at the last minute and dialed my race back to a 10k.  It was the right choice for me.  I had just finished my first full week of school and was tired out.  I made it to four miles and felt pretty wiped out and grateful that I didn’t push for the whole thirteen miles.  Gigi, on the other hand, thought she had an awful run but ended up with a PR!  I was proud of her on many levels, but mostly just for making it.  Next year the Littlejohn’s will me representing with one more on our team- Jude is planning to run the 10k with me!  He’s already started training up, so come next year, we will all be Beating the Blerch!

And That Was September.

I gave myself the month of September to settle into my life again.  Starting back at school can be intense any year, but after last year I was very cautious about dipping my toes back into second grade.  But this year?  This year, my friends, the new rules bargained by my union have made my life so different!  So straightforward!  So sensible.  Get this: I have 21 kids in my class right now.  21.  It feels like kids are missing!  I have time to meet with every kid!  I can solve problems with kids without the rest of the room losing itself!  I’m so honored to work with these guys this year.  Last year was valuable, too.  It was like finals week in college or something.  I learned so much about myself and my job.  Because of the huge size and broad spectrum of learners I worked with, I now feel like I have a proufound understanding of what a second grader really looks and acts like; diversity is my reality so versatility must also be.  I started out with the largest class size and, through no-shows and kids moving, I whittled down to the smallest.  It won’t last, this I know, but for the moment I’m like one of those people who just struck it big at a casino or something and I’m giddily rolling around on my bed of cash-money.  Except this time it’s a snazzy new contract supported* and bargained by some of the best people in the district who really listened to us, to me.  Can you tell I’m thankful??

I’ve been keeping busy busy busy during my spare time.  Being medicated for my anxiety means I get to spend a lot less time angsting over every minor little thing and I can get outside my head a little more.  I’ve been amazed at how much free time I’ve had lately, which means I’ve been distracted by anxiety a whole lot over the past few years.  I have been finishing up memory keeping left and right, making these magic potion bottles and manufacturing all kinds of stuff for my classroom.  

What I haven’t been doing is working out or watching my diet a whole lot.  I’m presently avoiding the scale and am just considering starting back up again.  It’s necessary- my clothes are getting alarmingly tight!  Time to get things rolling again!

*much loves go out to Macky, Deb L, Christina D, Lydia, Leah, Thom, Andi, Bradley and anyone else who had a finger in the EEA bargaining contract pie.  I’m so grateful for all of you.

Iron Horse Half Marathon

Sunday was finally the day when Gigi and I had to prove our mettle, rise and grind and run a half marathon.  Training in the summer is hard for me.  The mix of heat and vacations makes it harder than I ever realize to get all of my training in.  The good news is that Gigi and I managed to train up to 11.5 miles, so we weren’t too far away from the full distance.  As with every run, especially the longer runs, there’s a level of worry.  Getting out on a long trail like this and having a problem is way different than having a problem on a three mile run.  It’s scary to think of running on an injury for a long time or choosing to not finish.  Gigi’s knee was bothering her while my hips and knees are still recovering from Disneyland.  Add to that sore spots on our tootsies from the previous day’s tromp through the bubbles with wet feet for three miles! So we were cautiously optimistic as we stepped from the bus to the trail.  We both believe in the advice of “Never trust a run in the first mile,” though, so we were determined to give it a try, even if we had to walk a bit.

It turns out that we both were grateful for the grace we allowed ourselves.  We both ran our slowest half marathons, but we did run them.  For me, I was surprised.  I ran without any issue until I passed double digits, I started feeling tired during mile ten, then the shade went away during mile 11.  I started getting out of breath in a way that was out of control and my heart rate started jacking up into the 178-181 range.  I got the chills and goosebumps and realized that I was showing signs of heatstroke.  It was around 85 degrees, I had been running for over two hours…  it made sense that I was getting sick so I slowed to a walk and only ran for the last .1 mile as I crossed the finish line, and my heart never slowed to under the 150’s until I sat in my car.  The heat had a big impact.  For Gigi it was her knee.  She tripped and fell several weeks ago, skinning and deeply bruising her knee.  Her other knee made up the difference and ended up overworked as we trained up to our current mileage.  In Disneyland she required a knee support while we were in the resort.  Her knee started talking to her on mile three of the Iron Horse, so she spent some time walking intervals and stretching at water stops.  I was proud of her for paying attention to her body instead of chasing glory.  We are both very sore.  Much more sore than we were when we ran our 11.5 a couple of weeks ago, which we both find a bit comical.  She always complains that she never gets sore anymore, but I think this race made her change that tune. Ha ha!

Next up?  

  • Beat the Blerch on September 16.  I still haven’t decided if I’m running the half marathon or 10k.  I’m trained up for the half now…  lol.  It’s hard to say no to distance!  
  • Celebrate Schools 5k On 10/7 in an effort to raise funds for Oak Heights!  If you sign up, make sure and choose my school!  The more signups we have under our name the bigger piece of the fundraising pie we get.  We are not a wealthy school,  every penny counts!
  • Cap’n Jacks Treasure Run on October 29th!!!!  This is literally happening on my birthday!  It’s a pirate themed 5k or 8k through Woodinville.  Join in and celebrate with us if you like!  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday and this is the closest to a party as I would ever throw for myself. 😉  The kids and I are running the 8k and we can toast with bananas and water after!  🙂 use my code for 10% off at checkout -tamarashazam17 

Bubble Run 5k

We rose and shone extra early this morning to run through the bubbles at the annual Bubble Run 5k.  I have to say, of all the fun runs we do, this is the one I love as much as the kids!  I’m not sure why I like bubbles as much as I do, but there’s something about walking through those bubble bogs that is mighty motivating.  I’m not alone, either.  Jude was crazy about the bubble run! He told me that he wants to do every year, even if it’s a 10k.  I thought that was pretty cute.  Of course we will.  Afterwards he went haywire at the bubble stage, making bubble snow angels and standing in the line of bubble cannon fire while Gigi and I danced to earn a little prize.  We will return!


We made our yearly pilgrimage to Disneyland.  We were there during the eclipse, the Pokémon World competition and for the local annual pass holder’s first day to use their passes again.  The result was that the first few days were pretty awesome and vacant while the last two days were absolutely nuts!  We found ourselves choosing the walk to and from the park over waiting for the busses, this time, and wracked up over 20,000 steps per day.  I’m always surprised by how easy Disneyland is, now that I’ve lost so much weight.  It used to be that Disneyland was a killer.  My feet, back and legs would just ache after a day in the park.  The bus was a necessity, not a luxury.  This time I picked gigi up and carried her on my back for half a block.  Her weight plus my weight adds up to my heaviest weight, and it was painful to walk!  My hips and knees hurt so bad, I couldn’t believe I walked around like that all of the time.  I’m so glad I don’t have to do that anymore.   It was a pretty incredible experiment!  We had a fabulous time, as always, and bought the annual passes so we can return next summer for the cost of airfare and hotel.  

Can’t pass these guys by!

Full Steam Ahead!

Phew!  We got back from the Idaho trip and I pretty much have whiplash with how quickly the rest of the month hustled by!  I was feeling a lot of pressure to get miles in for Guinevere with the half marathon coming on August 27th, so we really trained hard in the interim between reunion and Disneyland.  I decided that the ten miles per day walking through Disneyland could count as our taper.  Lol.  We managed to train up to 11.5, so that felt like a pretty solid dent in our plan.  Our first 13.1 will have to be at the actual Iron Horse Half Marathon on Sunday!

My goal for training hasn’t been speed at all.  It’s all about the distance, so this time I’ve been training with a little walking in between.  Because we trained up so fast, I wanted to make sure and build in some rest points so my body has some recovery.  Just because I can run 13 miles doesn’t mean I can do it without a consequence from not training well enough.

With August’s hot sun and brown grass also came my return to the classroom.  We had to rally, this year, in order to get a contract that is more balanced than our previous one.  I know I intimated how challenging my class was last year, but I don’t think even I realized how much of an impact it made on me.  I tried to step back in during the first week in August, just to get the lay of the land and wrap my mind around the job in front of me, but I ended up having a full blown anxiety attack and had to turn the car around to come back home.  That was tough, to realize how bogged down I still am by that impactive year.  At the rally, Bradley spoke to the school board about how much of an impact my unique class had on my family and me, much less the students in my room.  He pleaded to the board for more resources, more time and more support for the at risk kids who we serve every day and for his at risk wife who is quickly becoming a burnout statistic.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  We will find out next week what our contract holds.  

We’ve been told we should be able to agree fairly happily with our contract, but just in case I went to my doctor and am now on the path of medication to help control my anxiety.  I avoided it for as long as possible, using food, exercise and meditation, but I can’t have a repeat of what happened in my car once the school year starts.  My doctor first suggested I take some time off, but that’s just not my reality, so it’s meds for me.  So far it’s been effective and very helpful.  All of the major anxious moments that I anticipate seem to be placated and I’m not worrying overly much.  I still have anxiety, but for what time of year it is, I’m alarmingly calm and collected.  I’ll use this crutch for now and hopefully will exit the medication zone next spring after my brain develops some better habits.  For now, though, it’s helping and I’m happy about that.  Hard to talk about, but it’s my new reality.

Escape to Idaho

We made our annual trek to Idaho to rub elbows with my family last week.  It started out early with Jude leaving with my mom for a few one to one days, then we joined a few days later to spend some time at the lake and squeeze my parents.  I have a feeling that I’ll only be able to visit the property for a few more years as my parents can’t keep up with it forever and no one else wants to move out to the sticks.  It’s a strange feeling, knowing something that is part of my blood will be let go, but I’m learning that life is just one long sequence of learning to love then learning to let go. In the end, we have to let it all go, anyhow, so I suppose that waving goodbye to the Idaho property will be one more opportunity to practice.  

I took advantage of our time there, exploring as much as I wanted, dipping into the lake, watching the sunset, sitting quietly on the bluff, reading in the grass, all of the things.  I piled my family into the golf cart at one point and gave a historical tour of important points of interest, from my perspective.  I showed them where I learned to swim, where my brothers and cousins sealed me into an igloo full of fresh farts,  where we tried to catch a snipe, where the old house and garbage pile used to be, where I got the scars on my shin from a water fight.  It was a good trip.

Unlike other years, this one also included our every-third-year Baumert Family reunion.  We convened in Salmon Idaho to catch up on hugs and see how tall our kids got.  It was strange, this year, as I’m part of the grown up population now.  There are younger families than mine and our elders are aging.  Looking around, I realized that the crowd has changed from all of my aunts and uncles to very few elders and almost all cousins so far removed now that we could marry one another and no one would blink an eye.  That made me think of what family is.  Despite the thinning of our shared blood DNA, we are what defines family for me, there.  I had a blast visiting, dancing, bidding on auction items, making slime and everything else.  I feel lucky that we still meet up and still call one another cousin.

Swimsuit Problems

(To the rhythm of the 1980’s classic DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s Parents Just Don’t Understand)

You know swimsuits are the same, no matter time nor place,
They don’t understand that us gals are going to make some mistakes,
So to you, all the women all across the land, there’s no need to argue,
Swimsuits just don’t understand.

Early this spring I went swimsuit shopping,
Tryin’ to get something to keep my belly from flopping,
It tries to sneak out from the bottom of my suit,
I wanted modesty along with something kinda cute.

I started bugging with the swimsuits I saw:
There’s no room for all my skin in that thong!
This woman’s lost 150 pounds!
I need something to hold that skin down!

Bikini, monokini, french cut, skirted-
One piece, rouched, built in bra and girdled.
One suit arose, the belle of the ball,
A little bit of skin but not showing it all.

You know swimsuits are the same, no matter time nor place
They don’t understand that us gals are going to make some mistakes
So to you, all the women all across the land There’s no need to argue
Swimsuits just don’t understand.

Ok, here’s the situation:
My family went away on a week’s vacation.
I packed the pieces of my brand new suit,
Black and white stripes, looking pretty cute.

I’ll just take it for a little splash,
Maybe show it off to Mr. Mustache,
I’ll put it on for the family lake,
I had no idea the perfect mistake I would make!

Pay attention, here’s the thick of the plot,
I pulled up my bottoms, they fit better than I thought,
That’s when I saw in front of me,
The tag hanging out where none should be.

You should see my bodily dimensions,
I yelled to Bradley to get his attention,
He said, “Was that for me?”
I said, “Yeah!”
He said, “Why?”
I said, “Come on and take a look at my behind!”

I said “These bottoms cover better when they’re turned around,”
The right way makes my tummy slip toward the ground,
The front is tiny while my belly is not, 
The back covers better, who would have thought?”

We agreed and we were on our way
He was looking very good and so was I, I must say – word
We hit the lake, waded into the water
with our handsome son and beautiful daughter.

You know swimsuits are the same, no matter time nor place
They don’t understand that us gals are going to make some mistakes
So to you, all the women all across the land There’s no need to argue
Swimsuits just don’t understand.

(Long story short? My swimsuit bottoms fit better when they’re backwards. When I turn the bottoms around backwards, they look a lot like those new swimsuits with the narrow back that shows a lot of booty, but frankly I’d rather have my expected large ass hanging out than my unexpected belly skin drooping out of the bottom of my swimsuit. I think I need to invent a line of bathing suits for people who have massive weightloss issues. I have dangly skin that likes to pop out unattractively at my armpits, making lovely armpit flab, my lower belly has ‘corners’ that sneak out of the legs of my bathing suits (like, the sides of my hips that used to be and plump and now hang like a deflated balloon) and my upper belly (above my belly button) that just likes to swing around obnoxiously and needs to be held down!)

Diamond Day

After my ‘rest day’ on Saturday (rest day that included a 3 mile run) I took an actual rest day on Sunday.  As Sunday progressed into Monday, I found myself falling deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of depression.  I said to Bradley that he needs to remind me to get physical when I complain of the blues and I haven’t worked out because on Monday evening I went to cycle and weights boot camp and felt instantly better.  Working out is such a great release of depression and anxiety for me.  Sheesh.  The endorphins start flowing and my brain seems to click in and I smile.  Working out is my favorite, I’m telling you.  Keeps me solid and happy in more ways than one.

On Tuesday I had my meeting with Jessica, the personal trainer who is also my body pump instructor.  We started out with a lot of chit chat about my history.  Essentially is was a patient intake sheet, past injuries, health history etc.  We did a BMI anaylsis which put me at 37.1 body fat.  Not digging that but I’m also ok since I know I’m working at it.  After that, we hit the floor.  I was all excited to get on the equipment and do some big moves…  but instead we did just a few simple things.  She was focused on my injuries and places I need to strengthen, so that’s where we worked.  She had me practice a big one legged step, up and down off a platform.  Then we did a row on the row machine, I practiced squats and she showed me how to do a push-up on a bar.  That’s it.  After the session she let me know she was interested in continuing to train, but the cost is prohibitive for me at this point.  But boy, she knew what she was doing becasue it was like a slow release of muscles complaining all the rest of the day.  I came home and almost went for a run, I felt so fine, but the gradual release meant that two hours post training session my butt was suddenly like HELLO!  Then about two hours after that my armpits were like WE ARE HERE, TOO!  Then right before bedtime my ribs said DONT FORGET ABOUT US!  Who knew you could make your ribs sore??  Where there’s a muscle group there’s a way, I suppose. 😂

Today I woke up feeling better than yesterday so Gigi and I headed out to do a long run of seven to eight miles.  We planned on taking our longest 4-5 mile route then adding a three mile trail loop from St. Ed’s to it, too.  There was construction right before the park, though, which threw Gigi for a loop then literally threw her on the ground when she tripped over a rock and hit her knee on a sprinkler.  There was blood, tears, and a long walk home.  We were all sad since we didn’t get our long run, but then we remembered that we still hit over three miles.  There’s no shame in that.  Besides, my butt started singing like REMEMBER WHAT YOU DID YESTERDAY!  Yeah, my booty was telling me to stop, anyhow, so it was for the best.

I’m glad to be still hitting the workouts like a gym rat.  TONIGHT IS NEIL DIAMOND WITH MY MOM!  I’m pretty excited.  


Remember my ambitious exercise plan that I made last weekend?  I actually did it all!  I know it’s not that big of a deal to work out that many days in a row, but I think it’s my general practice to work out so many days in a row and then feel like I earned a break.  So I take a day or two off and then hit it again when I’m feeling a little more healed, or I halfway work out for a day in between days off to make myself feel better.  I had planned on pilates Friday, but by Thursday I was starting to feel pretty tired.  On Friday morning I woke up and cried.  I didn’t want to go at all, and had Janice not been there, I would have skipped.  By the time the class was over, followed by a thirty minute balance and stretching. Class, my body felt loose and open.  That was the exact effect I was going for!  After spending the week lifting, it was lovely to open up my body again and stretch out all the tightness.  When I got home, I felt glorious!  I was so proud to have comlpeted the work.  And not just complete it, but to know I brought my a game to every class.  That I squeezed the muscle groups I was supposed to squeeze with every rep, felt the burn and left it on the gym floor.  It was a great week and I feel accomplished.  Silly, I know, but I went hard!  For me, at least.😉

I feel like this song:

Today I woke up feeling satisfied about enjoyin my rest day.  I had big ideas of doing nothing, but something was gnawing at me.  I didn’t want to go on my long run tomorrow without waking up my muscles today with a short run.  It was supposed to be hot, so off we went, bright and early, for a nice three miles.  Bradley just got a Microsoft exercise band to he’s new to data tracking and all that goodness.  Today’s run was his innagural run with the band so we were super excited about tracking data.  My eleven minute mile has my heart at an anaerobic 165 beats per minute.  Bradley, on the other hand, was at 140, cruising along aerobically.  I found it really interesting that we were so different and how I get to run much slower for the kind of workout that I want.  👍😆