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A Cataclysmic Transition


I taught my first public yoga class (for adults) on Sunday and had a blast. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect for turnout and was both thrilled and terrified to find myself facing a full room at the start of class. Thankfully half of them were familiar faces. Seeing their smiles and knowing they were rooting for me helped dim my nerves.

The theme of the class was “playing with balance”. I tried to keep things light and encourage experimentation, to give people permission to fall down and make mistakes, to try something new. Of course everything we practice in yoga asana, the physical postures, can be applied to our lives off our mats. And I wouldn’t be an authentic teacher if I weren’t asking myself how this applies to my own life.

The truth is a transition is taking place. The ground is shifting beneath my feet. Tectonic plates sliding against one another, cracks snaking their way along the pavement, bits of rock, gravel and dust rising from the trail like popcorn in hot oil.

I felt a handful of minor earthquakes during the ten years I lived in the San Francisco Bay area. They were all small enough that they were over by the time I found myself answering, “Yes,” to the question of, “Is this an earthquake?’ The most notable evidence was invariably the shelves, thoughtfully bolted to the walls, shaking side-to-side, never deviating more than an inch from the centerline. Maybe a book fell over once. They were certainly never strong enough to pick up something as big as a person.

Yet, here I am, sitting with the great, big question, “Where will I land?”

My mom is dying. She has, arguably, been dying for the last year and a half. Or, for that matter, since the day she was born. I guess the difference is she is no longer trying to stop it.

When I started this business I told myself I would give it one year. I would commit to blogging weekly and make every effort to attract business for one year. Then I would reassess. Part of me feels like a failure for what comes next. It’s only been 8 months since I opened up shop. I feel flaky and childish, like it was irresponsible to start a business without one clear and simple direction.

But I am trying to listen to my own damn advice. Cues I gave during Sunday’s yoga class, without even fully hearing them myself.

Can we go any deeper?

Can we push ourselves further?

Maybe today we try something new.

We invite that sense of play and experimentation.

And if we fall down, we remind ourselves that it’s okay.

We take a breath and get right back to it.

My path forward is very clear to me. (For now, anyway.) It took some time for the knowing to become conscious and then to get out of my one year contract. And even more time still to say it out loud to myself, to my husband and now to you.

To be clear – I am keeping this business open. I will continue to jump at the opportunity to take on a new run client. I will continue to make Yoga Inspired Jewelry because it’s fun and sell it because why not? If a job teaching yoga falls in my lap I will swiftly and happily snatch it up.

But, for the time being, I’m not going to put effort into marketing myself or this business. I will still blog occasionally, but not every week. From your perspective not much else will change here. What you might not notice is the weight knocked off my shoulders, a (perhaps fortunate) causality of this cataclysmic transition. I’m letting go of the pressure and expectations. I’m giving myself permission to experiment, to try something new and to fall down. Profits will be what they are… or not.

I’m doing this to create space for more important things. Like caring for and spending time with my mom. And one more thing.

I’m going to write a book. I’m not going to wait.

Photo Credit: Cracked highway near Long Beach, 1933 by CIR Online is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Original cropped

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Start Running by Setting These 3 Expectations


I have a theory that shame keeps a lot of people from running. Tell me honestly (or at least tell yourself) if you can relate to the following story.

Jennifer (Let’s call her Jennifer. That’s a nice generic name if you’re an Xennial.) looks in the mirror and says to herself, “Ugh. My thighs are so fat. I hate my stomach. I need to lose weight.” Then, later that day, Jennifer just happens to read my blog (or, more likely, another more reputable blog or, more likely still, one with a picture of a sweaty lady in spanx and a sports bra) and decides to go for a run. She digs up some old workout clothes that don’t fit anymore. Actually, they do fit. They just hug her body in ways that make Jennifer feel uncomfortable.

“What am I doing? She asks herself. “I look ridiculous.” But she does it anyway.

After 1 minute she can’t breathe. Her lungs burn. Her legs feel like led stacked on top cinder block feet. She can feel her butt, her belly and her breasts bouncing along for the ride. It hurts. So she stops and walks. She tries two more times. She sweats more than seems reasonable for a few minutes of running and her face turns beet red. Jennifer hurries home before anyone sees her and her failed attempt at running, before anyone notices she doesn’t belong.

“I am DEFINITELY NOT a runner,” she says to herself. “FUUUUUCK THAT.”

But here’s the thing. Nothing actually went wrong. If you don’t run, if you’ve never run, or if it’s been a long time since you ran that’s exactly what to expect the first, well, many times out. Which is why the best thing you can do for yourself when you first start running is to adjust your expectations. And adjust them in these 3 specific ways.

1. Expect to walk (more than you run).

This is very near and dear to my heart right now. My long term goal is to run (or, more accurately, complete) an ultra-marathon so I’m incorporating a lot more elevation gain in my training. Twice a week 1/3 to 2/3 of my “run” is actually a hike. I’m having to adjust my expectations just like I would if I were new to running.

A friend of mine once said she doesn’t run, but occasionally she’ll go for a walk and spontaneously run a few feet here and there. YES!!! This is a perfect way to start running. Why do we always make running out to be this hyper intense activity requiring a superhuman and inexhaustible supply of determination? Why not make it a fun, low pressure activity instead?

2. Expect to go slow.

Right here and now make a decision to let go of any numbers you have floating around in your head that define things like “fast” vs. “slow” and “running” vs. “jogging” vs. “not”. Just let them go. Run slow enough that you could easily hold a conversation, maybe even sing along for a line if your favorite song popped through your earbuds. If you’re huffing and puffing slow down. Yes, even more. If you really can’t slow down anymore (even though: yes, you can) take a walk break. Walk until you feel like you could run again without much discomfort.

3. Expect it to get easier over time, but expect it to take awhile.

You’ll be surprised to find that you – yes, even you – CAN actually run. You’ll be surprised how quickly you improve. And, at the same time, you’ll find it takes forever. In part because it’s almost impossible to let go of whatever vision we have stuck in our head defining what a runner is. In part because we constantly raise the bar. Running 1 mile straight seems an impossible feat until it’s easy and a 5K feels out of reach. Before we know it running a half marathon isn’t even enough if we run slower than a specific pace and on and on we go. And finally, it feels like it takes a long time because it just takes a long time. The good news is it can be fun along the way. Like Nick Swardson says at 1:15, “It’s all in what you do with things. That’s what life is. It’s all having fun.”

I know what you’re thinking. Video store??? How old is this bit??? Answer: It’s 16 years old! That’s right. Writing this post reminded me of a 16 year old comedy bit. You know what that means… I have a fantastic memory.

Or maybe you’re thinking you’d like a more concrete plan to begin running. If that’s the case, try this. Work up to three 20 minute walks a week. Walking is as close as it gets to running, without actually running, and is the best place to start. When that feels easy, replace one of your walks with the following:

  • 5 minute walk to warm-up
  • 10 minute run/walk – Stop and start based on feel, as described in #1 and #2 above. I could recommend run and walk durations, but it’s very personal and learning how to run by feel is an incredibly valuable skill worth learning.
  • 5 minute walk to cool down

Most importantly, when you’re done, congratulate yourself on a run well done, for having the courage to try something new and challenging. That is the space – the messy space outside of our comfort zone – from which we grow.

Photo Credit: Race Walking by Eugene Kim is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Original cropped

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We Can All Do More


It’s been quite a week.

I graduated from the Maitri 250hr Yoga Teacher Training program Wednesday evening. I don’t really have adequate words to describe the women I came to know through this program. They fill me up. I have to keep reminding myself to check my ego. These ladies just won’t quit with the compliments!

“Thank you. Thank you,” I found myself chanting like a mantra, the words losing weight with each repetition, collapsing into a jumble of abstract sounds, like a tired tongue twister.

I called my husband Thursday evening right before he boarded a plane for home, a day earlier than planned. His surprise arrival meant I got to sleep in Friday morning and take a leisurely shower while he ran errands with the girls.

I’ve been binge listening to Ultra Runner Podcast lately. The latest episode with Kaci Lickteig played while I sipped my morning coffee. She described her suffering during the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. She spoke plainly about the anger she felt towards her grandma for giving up chemo. The stress she felt over her inability to help rocked her race and, at the same time, drove her to the finish. So she could prove to herself and her grandma that we can all do more than we think we’re capable of.

“Am I angry with my mom?” I wondered. I don’t think so. Although I do feel angry with my dad, for bailing while he was still needed.

Friday night I taught kids’ Superhero Yoga at the Denver Comic Con, and it went really well. The kids were all engaged and my nerves fizzled as soon as we started. Afterwards we went out to eat downtown. The weather was perfect, my family was with me and I was feeling the buzz of beer and relief.


It’s a strange thing experiencing joy in the middle of grief. Celebrating the beautiful moments, both large and small, and continuing on. Going through the motions of daily life as life ends.

I ran during the hottest part of Sunday. My watch stats tell me the temperature ranged between 88 – 106 F. There wasn’t any shade. A visible and textured layer of salt coated my skin by the time I finished. It was hard. But as my hero Glennon Doyle Melton says, “We can do hard things.” I reminded myself that at least the heat meant I was less likely to meet a rattlesnake. I reminded myself that I will survive. I will finish. Or, perhaps more accurately, I will continue. I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other, because we can all do more than we think we’re capable of.

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I’m Teaching Free Yoga Classes. You Should Come.

The time has come! The time is now! Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now?? Oh wups. I got carried away for a second there. Actually, the time has come for Yoga Teacher Training graduation. And the time is tomorrow. I can’t believe it. The last year has flown by.

So, naturally, I’m starting to think about teaching, and that is making me feel very overwhelmed. Not so much the teaching part. That part is only a little overwhelming. It’s more so the getting a job part. I’m trying to think creatively, summon the courage to do scary things and also just trust that things will work out.

In the meantime, I have signed up to teach two free yoga classes!

Well, the first one is not really free. Sorry for being misleading there. You will have to pay to get into the Denver Comic Con, which may be sold out at this point… If you do find yourself there, definitely swing by for Kids Superhero Yoga from 5:30 – 6:00 pm on both Friday and Saturday. You’ll get to do things like stop a train, lift a car and rescue a cat from a tree. Also, I’m going to wear a costume.


If you happen to be an adult you might be more interested in the free yoga class I’m teaching at Matri Yoga – Arvada on Sunday, July 16th at 1:00 pm. You don’t have to practice there to come. I’ve put together a draft of my lesson plan and it’s fairly challenging. But my goal is keep things light and welcome play and mistakes. Mostly because I know I will be nervous and making mistakes myself. So don’t worry about having yoga experience. If you like being active you’ll fit right in.


Hope to see you there!

Photo Credit: It’s Super Tre by Mike Fernwood is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Added to marketing image

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Estes Park Half Marathon Race Recap


I clocked my slowest road time on Sunday at the Estes Park Half Marathon and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it went. No sarcasm there. I probably could’ve run faster if I were 5 pounds lighter or 5 years younger or had 5 more months to train. But I am who I am and I left it all on the course. I ran the best race I had in me.

There was a lot that could’ve gone wrong.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with… ahem… digestion during and after long runs. I didn’t used to have a problem at all. It got a little trickier after Big Girl was born and trickier still now, after Baby Girl. This is a big part of what’s motivating me to clean up my diet. I tried to play it safe by consuming no more than a reasonable amount of fiber, fat, dairy and sugar the day before the race, which is to say I skipped the pizza and had a shake instead. The good kind. Wups.

I thought a lot about what to eat before the race and decided on a Clif Bar and a cup of coffee so I could take care of business before the race started. That’s right. I’m just going to talk about poop here. I accidentally ordered a box of GU with caffeine last week and had to hunt down a caffeine-free variety in Estes Park on Saturday. So as to avoid any, er, diuretic effects during the race.

By “hunt down” I mean we went to one store after lunch and packet pick-up, and that was about all I could muster the energy for. After several hours of half-napping at the hotel it occurred to me that, perhaps, I had underestimated the altitude: 7400 – 7900 ft.

Oh, and my allergies were out of control.

At dinner I told my husband, “Maybe I’ll just take it easy tomorrow.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” he said. “You don’t want to injure yourself if you haven’t trained enough for it.”

Well, geez. I was only really thinking about the altitude and my allergies before he went and brought up training. To be fair- I have ran half marathons with less training. I wasn’t untrained. But I have also ran half marathons with more and better training under my belt. And there was the matter of the ~1000 ft of elevation gain. Let’s just say I wasn’t prepared to break any records. Except for my slowest time.

It’s possible I have my jitters to thank for my race.

The most challenging part of the course – 3.5 miles at a 2.5% grade – hits just after the first mile marker. I was extra conservative with my pace and let a dozen or so people pass me at the base of the hill without flinching. And I’m giving myself major kudos for this. If there’s one thing I’ve learned how to do over the years it’s how to avoid starting out too fast. I used to think, “I’ll be passing these people at mile 10.” But the magnitude of the fast start is typically far more impressive than that. The passing actually starts around mile 2 or 3. In this case, I hoped to catch a few of them on the downhill. Instead, I ended up passing everyone that had passed me, while still running uphill, chugging along at my slothfully consistent pace.

The peak of that hill was definitely the high point of the race, both figuratively and literally. It was early enough in the race that I didn’t feel run down, the views were great and I had a big downhill ahead of me. I even saw a handful of moose running across a neighboring field.


The much shorter hill at mile 6 felt much harder and so began the progression of things just feeling harder and harder. I made a choice to power walk the hill at mile 11. I also made a choice to run all of mile 12, a doesn’t-really-qualify-as-a-hill <1% grade ramp that felt like death. 

But my body defied me and slowed to a walk at mile almost 13. And I felt pretty wrecked afterwards. My knees stopped aching yesterday, but my calves are still super tight. 

Overall I’m really happy with how I ran. I don’t think I could’ve paced it any better. I ran the second half about 7 minutes faster than the first, despite feeling like I had slowed to a crawl. I didn’t really bonk. It just got hard.

With a bit more training I think I’ll be able to subdue the hard in the second half. We’ll see. This was the first race in the Colorado Mountain Half Marathon Series. Next up is Georgetown to Idaho Springs in August.

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This Should Totally Work: Pizza, Diet, Cake


I thought about going on a diet at the grocery store this morning, which is quite a feat because usually I think about how I want to buy all the donuts. I suppose this is something I am always quietly considering underneath all the other thoughts. Sometimes less quietly.

I’ve never been an especially “healthy” eater, but lately my habits have really taken a turn for the bad for me. And by lately I mean about 3 years ago when I got pregnant with Baby Girl and decided Five Guys burgers and fries should become a food group. So it’s her fault really. Hers and Dairy Queen’s for not having a store in California and then having one too close to our house in Colorado.

It’s been a long time since I weighed myself, mostly because I don’t want to know what the number is. Not that the number even matters. I can feel the blizzards weighing me down, lingering uncomfortably in my gut.

But I hate the word “diet”. I don’t want anything to do with that word. I don’t want to start weighing myself. I don’t want to count calories or points or drink shakes. Well, I mean, of course I want to drink shakes. I want to drink the ice cream kind that taste really good and generally don’t belong in a “diet”.

I do want my pants to fit comfortably. I want to run a little faster, or at least feel like there’s less to haul up a hill. I want to poop regular poops regularly. I want to not get diabetes. I want to live until 120+. And I want to feel super hot… basically all of the time. These are reasonable expectations, yes?

I found myself commenting on how strong my inner thighs are during Yoga Teacher Training this past weekend. Later in the day the topic of a woman’s relationship with her thighs came up. I thought to myself, “I just called mine strong.” And then I gave myself a big old pat on the back.

This morning I took Baby Girl to a dance class for toddlers. There were mirrors on two of four walls so I could check myself out easily. That’s what they were there for. I found myself comparing myself to the other moms there. “My thighs are smaller than hers. Phew. Oh, but they’re bigger than hers… and hers… and hers. Uh oh.” And then I thought, “This is not a healthy way of thinking.”

Complicated relationships aside, I could definitely benefit from cleaning up my diet. So I’m going to start washing all my produce, even the avocados and the bananas. That’s not true. But I am going to eat more avocados and bananas. More vegetables and less sugar. I’m going to start immediately. Just as soon as the leftover pizza is gone.

…and the birthday cake arriving Friday.

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Running 100 Miles is Totally Reasonable


I just devoured this book: Grand Trail by Alexis and Frederic Berg. It’s a combination of articles on ultra trail running, profiles of ultra trail runners and races and tons of phenomenal pictures.

One article talks about how we are born to run. That we as a species survived and thrived largely because our bodies are built for long distance running. Our ancestors out ran their prey. It was our evolutionary advantage. To put this in perspective the following example is used:

“Over a distance of 100 meters, Usain Bolt, the king of sprint races, would come a poor second to a rat or even a squirrel. Conversely, on terra firma, no mammal and no primate can keep up with a man or a woman after several hours of effort, not even the horse, dog or the camel.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve read this. I was introduced to the concept through Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run. (A must read whether you’re interested in running or not.) And I’ve been reminded of it periodically, through articles like this one, published in Smithsonian Magazine, about a family that lived in Siberia for 40 years, cut off from all human contact.

“Lacking guns and even bows, they could hunt only by digging traps or pursuing prey across the mountains until the animals collapsed from exhaustion. Dmitry built up astonishing endurance, and could hunt barefoot in winter, sometimes returning to the hut after several days, having slept in the open in 40 degrees of frost, a young elk across his shoulders.”

You read enough of this stuff and running 100 miles, with over 33,000 ft of elevation gain, at an average altitude of 11,000 ft (as is the case for the Hardrock 100) starts to seem like a perfectly reasonable idea.

Okay, that’s a lie.

But a 50K or even a 50 miler on trails, with the unavoidable ups and downs in elevation, is beginning to feel more “doable” than “crazy”. So much so that I’ve set a goal. I’ve alluded to it a couple times and now here I am just putting it out there.

I don’t have a race picked out and I wouldn’t say I’m training for one yet. It’s still that far out there. I don’t even know with certainty that my body will be up for it. But I’m optimistic, and I’m more than headed down the path. I’m running.

I went for a 12 mile trail run this past weekend. Within minutes a herd of tall and lean young men darted past me, almost flying over a small stream crossing our path. I very cautiously found a route across the same stream while they disappeared between the trees. Soon thereafter I almost ran into another man while he tried to pass me. I hadn’t even covered 2 miles and was already walking an uphill stretch. He snuck up on me so fast I didn’t even hear him coming.

I’m choosing not to feel discouraged. I have to start somewhere, right? And I haven’t had to poop in the woods yet. What more can I really ask for at this point?

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Today We Run


The sky is overcast. That seems to be the afternoon norm these days. Big Girl and Baby Girl are fighting over a blow up bat decorated in superheroes. Or with the bat. I can’t be sure. Probably both.

Yesterday, I happened to notice that the bottom corner of our shower curtain is covered in mold. Perhaps I would’ve noticed it sooner if I ever showered. I should probably wash it. Which reminds me. I’m down to my last pair of clean underwear.

My husband just informed me that Baby Girl threw up. Wonderful. And shocking because robots don’t throw up. That would actually make sense if you had heard her chanting, “I am a robot,” all weekend ad nauseam.

I feel a little sick to my stomach too. Not because I’m sick. I hope. But because I ate a little too much pizza and ice cream this afternoon. All I really want to do right now is take a nap and divert all my energy to my digestive tract.

But I need to go for a run.

This is where progress is made. This is the meaning of training. Runners don’t become runners by accident. We don’t just happen to get faster or run farther. We get there through one seemingly small decision after another. Not to take a nap. Not to do the laundry. Today we run.

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Not Your Average Yoga Retreat

I took no yoga pictures, but managed to sneak in a quick run during our one legitimate break and snapped this one.

I went on a retreat for yoga teacher training this past weekend. An image is likely coming to your mind. Perhaps you just let out a sigh that was a mixture of relief and jealousy. Whatever it is you’re imagining, let me assure you. It was not that.

I don’t mean to say it was bad. I cried twice publicly and full on sobbed for a solid hour one evening while I shared a personal story with my roommate. I was obviously affected by the experience, and I feel like I can say with some confidence that I wasn’t the only one.

But it was not relaxing. I was up at 5:00 am every day so I could pump and still get to the 6:00 am asana practice. Nursing Baby Girl takes all of maybe 5-10 minutes, but some combination of performance anxiety and unnaturally small breasts/improperly sized equipment led to 40 minutes of pumping per session. For the most part our free time consisted of 10 minutes here and there to collect our things and move to another location. And a second round of pumping commenced around 9:30 pm when we were finally dismissed. In reality, it was exhausting.

The focus of the weekend was yoga philosophy. We went over the entirety of the Yoga Sutras and about half of the Bhagavad Gita. I’m churning over all of the material.

I think I would’ve oddly felt more comfortable studying the bible for a weekend, because I am very much at ease with not being Christian. I feel more conflicted about yoga philosophy because I know with a certainty that I want to teach. How much of the material do I have to buy into in order to teach in good conscience?

“Take what serves you and leave the rest.” This is what they tell us. So I plan on setting aside a good chunk of it to mull over in my own time.

I am taking with me the beautiful friendships that are beginning to bud, blossoming and flourishing. At the end of the last day of retreat we did a closing ceremony, during which most people shared very personal and emotional thoughts and stories. We cried and we hugged. It was profoundly moving.

As Brene Brown says, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to love, to be loved and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”

I am beyond grateful for the bravery this group of women showed through their vulnerability and authenticity. The love and acceptance within this community is the medicine we all need.

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I Was a Bad Mom on Mother’s Day


I ran the Colorado Women’s Classic 10 miler on Mother’s Day. Big Girl ran the kid’s fun run. She did well and ran the whole 100 yards or so. And then she got a cupcake. So she should’ve been set, right?

Turns out she didn’t get her fix with the 100 yards or so. When Big Girl saw me near the finish she jumped into action and came charging after me down the finish chute yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” A good mother would’ve slowed down and ran with her. That would’ve been the motherly thing to do on Mother’s Day.

But that’s not what I did. Nope. I just kept right on going, fully aware that she would not be able to keep up with me. I didn’t even turn around until I stopped my watch. I prioritized my finish time over my daughter. I was a bad mom.

Oh well.

The race went pretty well. I felt strong throughout the first half. And then it got hard.

I blame my husband.

I voice texted him so he’d know when-ish to look for me at the finish line. But it took like 7 tries and happened to take place on a downhill. So I ended up with a side cramp. Fortunately it didn’t last too long. It went away as soon as I stopped swearing at my phone and focused on my breath. The course veered to the left right around that time, and I turned straight into a headwind.

That felt hard. A client of mine recently commented on how she didn’t fully realize how hard the end of a race would be. And you know what? It’s been so long since I really raced that I think I actually sort of forgot. The course was basically flat, but the few “speed bumps” in the second half felt like mountains.

But I gave it my all and got it done. Right up through my solo sprint to the finish.


Part of me feels embarrassed that a 9:49 min/mile pace felt as hard as it did. I sort of didn’t want to tell you that. Now that I’m coaching I feel like I’m supposed to be really fast. Definitely faster than my clients, right? Well, I’m not. Not even close. But like my old therapist used to say, “I wonder how helpful it is to compare…”

Answer: It’s not.

So I’m reminding myself that running fast and being a good coach require two completely different skill sets. And I’m reminding myself that it wasn’t that long ago that I was sidelined with a knee injury. It will take time to build my base back up. And I’m reminding myself of my goals.

I’m working towards a really big running goal right now. It’s big enough and scary enough and far enough away that I’m hesitant to write it down right now. But I will tell you that it doesn’t include speeding up.

I guess I should have reminded myself of these things while I was running. Maybe I would’ve waited for Big Girl. I hope she doesn’t think I’m a bad mom.

Eh, I gave her a rose and my chocolate milk. She’ll be alright.