I finally invested in a Cricut!! While not the most financially responsible decision, we're calling it my Christmas gift (and ironically, it will be used for Christmas gifts/cards for others!).
For those non-crafters who are not familiar with this machine (pronounced "cricket"), it is a die-cutting machine (shapes, letters, tags, etc.) that is a workroom staple for many crafters who work with paper, scrapbookers, etc. (http://www.cricut.com/) It is definitely an expensive investment but I'm hoping it will pay for itself over time (no more purchasing individual punches, cards, etc.).
(Letters using the Cricut, snow cutouts from a different punch. I won't be using this card because, in case you can't tell, I learned another lesson after creating it....don't leave drinks anywhere near the crafting area. Our son had gotten a bit excited and knocked over my diet coke - my fault for leaving it there. Fortunately it didn't spill near the machine!)
The energy from the 5K is still pulsing and we aren't about to let it die. Hubby and I signed up for our next event -- a 4.5 mile run/walk in Broad Ripple, IN on Thanksgiving morning! (a.k.a. The Drumstick Dash) In true testiment to how energy spreads, we also convinced my brother (who will be coming down from Chicago) AND my sister to join us! I am thrilled for us, for them, and excited at all we'll have to share when we are done.
(They are expecting over 8,000 participants in this. It should be quite an experience!!)
Because this "race" is only a couple of weeks away, we are once again bumping up our training. I found out this morning, though, that I may need to take it down a notch....
WHERE I'VE BEEN & WHAT I'VE LEARNED
I really need to keep better track of my progress! The past few days:
*(Mon a.m.): Swim laps & pool work for ~35 minutes
*(Tues a.m.): Bike through our neighborhood, pulling trailer w/Dilana, ~ 10 min. (More on this below)
*(Wed a.m.): Clear Creek trail, RAN (jogged) entire thing to end and back - 5 miles, 54:48 minutes. (Walked 4 times, each time for no more than 30 seconds)
WHAT I LEARNED:
* I am so psyched at the pool work from this week. I signed up for a newsletter for beginning swimmers (tri-swimmers in particular) that includes 5 drills. The first two, which I attempted this week, are focused on side-swimming and breathing - basically working on balance. While I didn't quite understand why, I really got it after trying a few free-style strokes when I was done with the drills. A lot of it comes down to the core (like yoga, running, sitting, and everything else in life!!) - if I can find balance from the middle, the arms, legs, head, (and thus side-breathing) all work better in coordination.
* In relation to the last lesson, I am finally finding my confidence in the pool! I'm sure much of it is from the confidence gained during the 5K, but I feel way more comfortable that I'll at least be able to make it in the water. Whether I swim free-style, breast-stroke, or simply doggy-paddle my way...I can do this.
All the small steps - as I learn to find my confidence in the pool, so will I (slowly, I'm sure) in the open water. I've also been reading quite a bit on triathlons and am encouraged by even seasoned veterans of the sport who express fear and/or concern over the swimming leg.
* Just have to share...I swam one length of the pool and ended up taking in a little water as I approached the wall. Instead of freaking out (as I always have in the past), I just doggy-paddled a bit, pushed off, and kept moving back the other direction. Words of wisdom: Just keep swimming.
* Biking. Whew. I've a ways to go. I can certainly ride my bike, easily on level ground, ok on hills. But on the hills in our neighborhood & while pulling the trailer with Dilana in it? Whoa.
I challenged myself to make it up certain hills and felt as though my chest were going to explode and my legs were just going to give out about halfway up many of them. That explains the 10 minutes...when I got back to the top of our street instead of continuing out of our neighborhood, I decided to call it lesson learned. I'm intrigued, though...it is a personal challenge now to tackle those hills. I think, though, that I'll start off not pulling the trailer.
* I am slowly learning how to use the gears on the bike....like when exactly to change gears. Our neighborhood, as I've mentioned before, is one hill after the other. It is tricky to maintain a constant awareness of what is coming up so I know exactly how - and when - to change gears. More to learn....
* 3.1 miles, 5 miles, heck, probably any distance - is SO much easier on level ground. Mrs. Obvious, I know, but it is worth repeating. Level ground is my friend. Hills are my teachers. I need both.
* I am EXHAUSTED. I think my mental strength has met or surpassed my physical strength. While that partially makes me happy, my mind is also writing checks my body can't cash.
Today on the run I didn't feel particularly physically exhausted and every mental challenge I encountered (eh, it's just a trial run - go ahead and walk! it's windy - no one would blame you if you wanted to walk! etc.) I was able to overcome and just keep going. But when I got home, my whole body was paying the price. I do have a very sore throat that I've been nursing all day...I don't know if it is a result of the run this morning or a coincidence that I happen to be getting ill, but even stretching and yoga is a challenge today.
What did I learn from this? I'm one tough chica and I love it. But I also need to learn to respect my limits, lest pushing them comes back to bite me in the butt. (Literally - even my butt hurts.)
One final note. Beyond crafting & active living, life continues. As I've quoted before, "One doesn't lift weights to be able to lift a heavier weight. One lifts weights to have the strength outside of the weight room".
Much of this active living is also for the purpose of finding balance - not just in the pool or on the road, but at home, in the groccery, during the not-so-active moments of life. And boy, did I need it today.
For whatever reason, our son has decided to act up the past few days. This evening, he got upset during a fight with his sister. After removing the cause (bubble wrap), I went into the kitchen to start dinner. Within a few minutes, I heard a snipping sound.
I hurried back into the living room to discover this:
We are still in the process of determining how we are going to deal with this. For now, he is in his room with no toys. He doesn't seem to care...even helped us carry some out. It is a lesson in parenting that I've been thrown into and now must find the strength to face. (Beyond that, there's no way we can afford another couch right now, so a little sewing here and there and a very shabby-chic look is going to have to suffice!)
Lessons everywhere - and everywhere, opportunities to create with and through them.