Keep on Running, Keep on Running…

Almost 2 weeks ago I ran in my first 5K race on Mother’s Day. It was a great experience, running with almost 1300 other women. There were families all along the race route with signs, cow bells, and lots of cheers. All of the smiling faces spurred me on. On one particular hill, a child held up a sign that said, “This hill is no match for my mom.” Even though the sign was not made specifically for me, it still motivated me not to chicken out as I strained up the hill. If their mom could do it, so could I!

I started running as an attempt to find an exercise that I liked. I really don’t like going to the gym – I find it boring and I don’t see any physical results after going repeatedly. I’m more of a sports gal – swimming, skiing, softball. However, since I have two young children, it’s hard to commit to a league or any regular schedule. So running has provided me with flexibility (if the kids were up too much during the night, I’ll try again to run the next morning), an exercise where I see the physical results, and many other unexpected benefits.

I’ve posted on my experiences with running before. I feel amazing mental clarity during and after running. Whatever chemicals are released in your system when running (adrenaline?) give me a real rush. And once I saw the finish line at my first race, I did what I never thought I would do. I sprinted. I passed four women in my mad dash for the finish line. I made sure my stride came down right on that timing mat (just in case, you know?). And I felt GREAT.

Going across that finish line gave me such a rush, I was replaying the last minute of the race over and over in my mind for days.

So what did I learn from this experience?

  1. Give yourself an aggressive goal and stick with it. Signing up for the 5K made me challenge myself in my weekly running. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself!
  2. Be reasonable and forgiving with yourself. Did I run the whole 5K? No. I walked about 3/10ths of a mile on some tough hills and to catch my breath. But that was okay. I finished my first race at 2-1/2 minutes under my best time. Yahoo!
  3. Take the high of each achievement (big or small), and use to to push on to the next goal. Now I’m pushing myself to see if I can run the whole 3.1 miles without stopping by the end of June. If I can, I’m going to sign up for a local 8K at the beginning of July.
  4. If you don’t meet your goal, try again. I wanted to be done writing the first draft of a new novel by Christmas. Life intervened. But I kept pushing at it, and I’m thrilled that I finished it a few weeks ago. Now I’m revising my first novel, which I’m sure will take a lot longer than I want it to.

So best wishes to each of you as you seek clarity, decide what’s important to you, and determine where you want to be.

racepic4

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You Are a Lion – Review

You Are a LionYou Are a Lion

Written and Illustrated By: Taeeun Yoo

Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012, Hardcover Version

Target Audience: Ages 3-5, although my 6 year old loves it too

Genre: Non-fiction

How We Discovered This Book: This book was read at the weekly story time at our local bookstore. Elizabeth loved it so much, we bought it so Aidan could join in at home.

Summary:

This book introduces children to yoga. On each page, a child tries another yoga pose, with prose to guide them.

What I Liked:

The prose flows nicely, and introduces one yoga pose at a time, based on animals or a mountain. Children can follow along without really knowing they are doing yoga. The smoothness of the language and the pacing caused my children to focus so that they could follow along, which is a big accomplishment in my house.

What Did My Son Aidan Think?

Aidan likes finding a spot on the carpet next to his sister, ready to do each of the poses. He also enjoys reading the book aloud while Elizabeth completes the poses (with some coaching from him, of course). He has now proudly added “Namaste” to his vocabulary.

Resources:

The Kids Yoga Resource: additionally information for children interested in yoga, as well as many related links about kid yoga

Interested in teaching some yoga in your classroom? Check out this site, which has some tips specific to teaching children yoga, along with some coloring pages and other information.

Taeeun Yoo Etsy Shop: If you love the illustrations and would like to buy a print of the children doing yoga (or prints from her other books), check out her Etsy shop.

Congratulations to the Crystal Kite Award Winners

What is the Crystal Kite Award? Isn’t it called the Golden Kite Award? No, I haven’t gone jewel blind (really, I would love any jewels… ) The Golden Kite Award is given by the SCBWI each year to recognize the best in 4 children’s literature categories. The Crystal Kite Award are also given by the SCBWI, but it is the “regional complement” to the Golden Kite Awards. All 70 regions across the globe were put into one of fifteen divisions, and then each division voted for their favorite children’s book by a SCBWI member in their region for that year.

I am in the New England US region, so I eagerly awaited the email notification for each round of voting. There were so many books that I liked on the New England list, and I was especially pleased to see that these great stories were written somewhere in my part of the world.

The winners were recently announced, with Jo Knowles taking the prize for New England with her novel, See You At Harry’s. I had the pleasure of taking a workshop from Jo last October, so I was thrilled for her to get this extra recognition (the book has already received much praise and interest).

In looking at the complete list of world-wide winners, there were other favorites I recognized, and some others that are on my increasingly long To Read List: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (which also received the Newbery Medal this year), Creepy Carrots by Aaron Brown (a Caldecott Honor Book), Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, and 15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins. Admittedly, I am intrigued to read that last one by the title alone.

Have you read any of the other Crystal Kite winners? Any that you would recommend? Please share!

Congratulations to the Crystal Kite Award winners for having their work praised by their peers, a choosy group with very high standards (right?).

My local library reopens Monday after being closed for 6 weeks for a long-awaited renovation. I’m off to see how many of my To Read List books I can jump into this month. Wish me luck!