A Few Things

Today I went for my first after-school run of the year.  I’ve done hikes, walks and kind-of jogs around the playground after school, but nothing that had me feeling like I went for a run.  It was short, but still.  It’s a good sign.  My world is starting to make more sense to me as I’m developing a better understanding of my students and the unique year we are going to share.  Being able to run tonight meant that I’m better at shedding the mantle of my day and resuming my home life without having a violent clash when the two collide when I walk in the door.  It felt so good to not fear it.  All month I’ve known I should run, but every-day-all-day I dread the thought of putting on my running capris.  Not today.  Today I saw the sun as I left my building and knew that I had to run through it.  I hardly passed the threshold to my house when I was changed and back out the door.  No one wanted to run with me so there was an unusual sense of freedom tonight.  I could listen to my music as loud as I wanted and I could run as fast or slow as I wanted and it just felt good.  Yeah, me! 
It definitely felt like autumn, though, with that thick, dense, fragrant, moist, lung-burning, throat-thrashing thickness.  Worth it, but man.  

I started wearing my Iron Horse Half Marathon shirt around the neighborhood on runs of late.  It’s rare that I get a run shirt I like, and I am way in love with this one- bright color, good fit, tech fabric and it actually says ‘half marathon’ on it.  That’s kinda cool.  Lately I’ve been wearing a few of my better run shirts out (I have three I like: Iron Horse, 2017 Beat the Blerch & Snohomish River Run), I watch people read them and I wonder what they think as they process the shirt and me wearing it…  

I’ve been thinking of joining a Diet Bet lately.  Skinny Meg is hosting this one, starting on 10/4, which happened to roll across my Instagram and it’s just been gnawing at me.  I really want to lose 30 pounds.  I absolutely would love to use my recent seven-pound loss as motive to continue on to lose more and, lately, my determination for food control has been in the outhouse.  I work out like a bandit and eat like one too.  I haven’t done a diet bet in ages and have some funds built up in my account, but I’m really wondering if now is the right moment.  But then I remember that some of my most stressful school years have been some of my best workout and weightloss years.  I think that my classroom can seem a little crazy to me some years and my health is one place where I can rule with utter control.  That may make me sound like a psycho, but the alternative is to eat to medicate the crazy away, and I’m not doing that (my class is still a unique, vocal, curious and spirited group totaling 29 2nd graders, this year).   So, yeah, I think I’m going to do it.  At the very least I’ll get some good habits started and make smart choices through my birthday and Halloween.  And at the most, I could be eight pounds lighter, come November 1st!  🙂

I was so surprised when I got an email last week letting me know that the Beat the Blerch sign ups were already in the works!  I had barely wrung out my socks and let my sneakers dry and already I had to commit to do it again!  Aiyiyi!  But you know I did.  I bit the bullet and paid a hundred something dollars for the privilege of sweating amongst others.  So, next year, once again, I’ll be chasing that Blerch for 13.1 miles through the Snoqualmie Valley woods with a belly full of cake, purple drink and oatmeal!  

And if you’re wondering, yes there really was a tent filled with kittens that you could cuddle with after the race.  I’m not kidding.

(These were the official race pics- my phone died on mile three of this race.  Lovely.)


This week was about getting on that horse and making friends with it.  This week was about learning who my students really were, learning what my year has in store as I uncovered reading levels and English proficiency and mathematic number sense and inventoried word building skills and a myriad of other things.  I truly saw my students for the first time.  I hosted curriculum night, attended after school meetings and even managed to start to integrate the rest of my life with my work life while managing to keep my head about me, a sometimes smile on my lips.  This is the time of year when work and home life truly crashes together, fighting for attention and energy in my life, so I prioritized a midweek hike with my man and a couple of runs this weekend to make sure I remember where my allegiances lay.  Today, Gigi and I giggled that it seemed like cheating to only run four miles and agreed that next year we are sign up to run the half marathon Beat the Blerch again (sign-ups happen next weekend, already, for both of the races coming up on December 3rd, 2016, and September 27, 2017!😳).

Today I also landed back in Onderland!  Yahoo!  I’m not sure that it has been entirely intentional or if it’s just a result of my busy year.  I come home with a full lunch box often because I forget to eat.  There is just so much to do every day!  So each day I’ve usually hav just my carrots, hummus and chik nuggets by the time I come home.  Whatever.  Along with running and working out fairly regular it’s working.  I’ll confess the least surprising confession ever: I’d like to lose some more fat.  I’d like to lose 30 more pounds.  While I have been ok with losing weight slowly, I’m annoyed at this last bit and I’d really like to see what running feels like at 170.  I’d like to use this recent loss as a jumping point to get that started.  I’m planning to run a longer run of 7+ miles tomorrow as training for my last half marathon of the season in a few weeks: the Snohomish River Run.

In other news, I’ve decided to become an Orca Running Ambassador!  That means that I will get to run, review and share a discount to any Orca runs in 2017 with my readership.  I have to admit I was flattered, for sure, when they asked and I’m totally stoked to run their races!  They put on fun runs like the Better Half Marathon for Valentine’s Day, the Iron Horse Half Marathon, the Kirkland Shamrock 5K, Captain Jack’s Pirate 8k, the Snoqualmie Valley Half and the Orca Half at Alki Beach in West Seattle.  If you’re planning to run any of those, get 10% off by using my code: TAMARASHAZAM17 and let me know you’re running it so I can decide if I can join you or not.  I’m planning on running the Better Half, the Iron Horse and I’m curious about the Orca Half Marsthon at Alkai…

Check this out: me, my best Girl Scouts, fourth grade and a pink sweatsuit.  We were troop 308, the ruff-n-tuff troop!  🙂

Blerching It

This morning, after a month of nearly no training whatsoever, Gigi and I ran the Beat the Blerch Half Marathon!!!  And we survived.  That may sound a little glib and like a joke, but it’s no joke that I was worried.  We went to Disneyland at a really tough time in our training.  It was really our last chance to train in earnest before the school year and our half-marathon season hit this August-September-October and I haven’t really ran very much at all. That’s partially due to healing, partially to the back-to-school schedule as well as my own, personal apathy.  Have I meantioned that I’ve got a heavy load this year in my classroom???😋 It makes running at the end of the day seem alarmingly unappealing.  Anyhow, this race was fun, even if I wasn’t fully prepared.  Beyond that, I’ve run enough of these 13.1 mile deals now that I can read my body and not fear it any longer.  I know what’s happening, I’m solving puzzles and I know how to coach my way through them now.  It’s nice.  

  • I know when I hit around six miles, I’m good but that’s when I need to eat to keep up my energy.
  • I used an organic oatmeal/applesauce pouch for nutrition, this time, along with the cake, of course, and loved it.  I’m definitely more of a ‘real food on run’ kind of girl more than I’m a gel and gu girl.  It’s nice to know what to buy.  Gigi likes the gu and gel, though, so we grabbed handfuls of the free oatmeal, gu’s, gels and anything else to support our on-run nutrition in the future at the booths afterwards.  I love that they give all that stuff away at runs!  They encouraged us to take 3-4 of everything, so we did and we loaded an entire gallon zip bag with on-run food!
  • When I get to 9 miles I need to eat again.  I ate the other half of the oatmeal and it held me for the rest of the run.
  • Around 11 miles results in cramping.  I start to feel a twinge and need to walk a little bit to shake it out.  I had one in my thighs, my calf and my hip, this time, all on my left side which, incidentally, is also the hip that’s been bothering me lately.
  • The last mile is ridiculously long.  It feels like it’s really 2-3 miles.  Knowing this in advance helps only a little.  It’s brutal.
  • Seeing someone at the finish line is the happiest  thing ever.  Finishing a race is emotional so to have a person there to celebrate with is wonderful.  I absolutely love running with Guinevere and treasure our post-run camradarie.  Today had me crawling all over the car with a Charlie cramp, wearing only my bra and undies, as we were trying to change out of our wet clothes.  I finally realized I couldn’t bend my leg and needed her to dress me.  It was the funniest thing ever and we were dying, which, of course, invited curious looks from passer by.  Of me, sitting half naked in the back seat of my car while Gigi dressed me.  She said, “Mom, we will remember this forever!”  I agree!
  • I bought a belt with pockets in it for food and my car key.  Best.  Purchase.  Ever.  I hadn’t realized how much I worry about losing my key when I run.

{I made this donut creation, but then they didn’t give me a fork to eat it with, so this is about as much as I did with it.  Poor donut didn’t get to live out its destiny in meh belly…  But it was fun to make. 🙂  }

First, off, this is a race for runners who don’t take themselves overly seriously.  We run this race becasue we like to run, but some of us also run because we like to eat, and the Oatmeal run definitely provides.  There’s (ridiculously tasty) cake, Nutella sandwiches (gross), purple drink, gels and big, puffy blerches sitting on couches at each aid station.  Yeti’s, too.  (If you don’t know what a Blerch is, click here.  Even if you know, you should still click because awesome.) I have a tendency to be all business, no matter what the race, and really have to tell myself to enjoy my time if I’m going to do that.  I trucked on past the first aid station, taking just some Nuun electrolytes, but then, at the second aid station, I was like, “What are you doing, Tamarella??  You paid $85 to run out here in the rain.  EAT THE FRICKIN’ CAKE!”  So I did.  And I sat on a couch or two, canoodled with a Blerch, pee’d, ate more cake because that stuff was addictive, drank some water to wash the cake down, I high fived people and elicited a ‘keep up the good work’ from Matt Inman as he passed me (it was a there and back), I walked out any threatening cramps, I looked at the mossy trees….  I just had a good time, blast the finish time.  Which was, quite honestly a PR for slowness for me at around three hours and I ran almost the whole way when I wasn’t sitting on couches chilling with blerches.  Ohmygoodness.  Some training over the last month definitely would have helped. 😂 But it’s ok!

When it was all over, we looked at this chart and wished we ran the marathon.  LOL!  Not really, at all.  But it seems like for all that work I earned more than 7.5 donuts!

Side story: we stopped at Taco Bell for bean burritos on our way home and my car wouldn’t start again.  It was then that our hero boys came to save us with a fresh battery for my car.  It was so nice to see our boys after all that rain and running!

Back to School- BOOM!

This week was intense.  I put off thinking about my job until the last minute and I ended up in kind of a stupor as I stepped back into my teacher shoes.  I remember almost nothing from the first day of meetings.  I didn’t even realize they installed this giant new monitor and resituated the entire library until I returned five days later and noticed- I spent a whole day in there prior to that and realized nothing.  My friend Christina mentioned I looked a little out of it.  Apparently she was more correct than anyone knew!  

{Jude asked me to put on the ‘rappiest Macklemore song’ on the way to school the other day, which turned out to be ‘Thriftshop’.  Emphatic lip-syncing ensued.}

Steps on Soapbox: On the first day of school, with about fifteen minutes until I needed to meet the students, I found out that I had 31 kids on my roster.  It’s been whittled down to a reasonable 29 students at this point.  Yes, that was sarcasm, if you were wondering.  I’m left questioning the way education is valued by our government and public with the lack of funding.  The voters approve mandates and then the legislature marginalizes the necessity, paints the teachers to look like greedy, money hounds and we all turn a blind eye to the fact that the voters said grades k-2 should have class sizes less than 20…  And I have 29, now.  It’s just nuts.  With the increase in numbers there’s also a mathematic reality that the number of kids who have special needs also increases per class, putting a greater load on the teacher and whole community.  Seven year olds shouldn’t have to compromise like this.  Steps off of soapbox.

By the way- it’s going ok.  There’s a lot of management happening and my ability to teach is definitely challenged, but we should be able to make it another 177 days with continued smiles and learning.  I’ll have earned my summer next year, though!

I’ve been taking it easy on the exercise front of late.  When I came back from Disneyland my hips hurt from standing in line a lot.  Then I ran a 5k on that Saturday followed by a half marathon the next day and ridiculously sore hips the day after that.  And the next.  And all the way through this past week.  I was getting pretty nervous about the Beat the Berch half marathon next weekend until Bradley and I went out and played on trail and tossed the frisbee around a little this afternoon.  We did the 3.6 mile St. Edward loop today at a pretty decent pace and my hip never started hurting!  A lot of my anxiety washed away after that.  While I am planning to continue to take it easy this week on mileage, and I may end up walking a little bit, I think I should be able to make the miles on at the race on Saturday.

Trail Run

I planned to make a return to running on Thursday but it was a bit wetter out than I generally like.  Friday was a deluge the whole day long, and I’m not exaggerating.  It was ridiculously rainy.  Like, the kind of rain you see in movies that have the actors soaked through to their skins within moments- that kind of rain.  It makes me shiver just thinking about being out in it.  It was a bit sobering, realizing that my very near future may very well have a whole lot of those kinds of days.  Seattle.  That’s one of the reasons I love living so close to St. Edward Park.  The tree canopy is thick enough that even in some pretty intense rain you can find refuge, usually a fine mist and big drips make their way to us, but not much more.  After this long, dry summer, however, today, the morning after the deluge of yesterday, the park looked washed fresh.  We were some of the first of the day and there weren’t many footprints treading their way through the trails just yet.  We could see the patterns of rivulets that made their ways to the lake en masse, sweeping the summer’s dust and detritus with it.  There weren’t many puddles, at all, as the thirsty earth seemed to absorb the rainfall.  The birds were singing, chipmunks chirping, deer wandering- it was a gorgeous little trail run today.