PKELLAM   25,925
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I am NOT a Teddy Bear!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Worst pickup line EVER - "You are just like a fluffy, cuddly teddy bear." Even worse? He repeated it THREE (count 'em) THREE times!


I'm recommitted to my plan. I know what I need to do. I even know how to do it. I've done it before...and then I got lazy...okay maybe even a bit smug. The teddy bear comment pretty much wiped any smug that might have been left out of my system. I mean really...a freaking teddy bear?

Bought new running shoes this morning...

Oh and visit me at for my list of the 101 goals I will be accomplishing in the next 1001 days!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STITCHES182 1/15/2011 10:29AM

    Great goals, I am stealing a few. Good luck with getting back on track!! emoticon

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TBABY912 1/14/2011 11:45PM

    new shoes always motivate me to run a few miles! welcome back!

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BAILEYS7OF9 1/11/2011 11:34AM

    OMG emoticon
great for you getting new shoes! emoticon

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DAKOTASMOMMY_07 1/11/2011 9:03AM

    emoticonOh my..
While reading my face looked like emoticon
Stick to your goals..YOU CAN DO THIS!!
God Bless~Christina

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IFDEEVARUNS2 1/11/2011 8:49AM

    Men! I wish I could tell you they get smarter with age, but I can't..... emoticon

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SCAROUSEL1 1/10/2011 11:26PM

    Oh man... He didn't? Really? Ugh!

I had a guy friend of mine pat a woman friend of mine on her belly. Nothing makes a girl feel fluffier. Silly men!

Oh and I love your blog and chack it almost daily.

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My Boys

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My boys. Growing up they were each often asked if their brother had a name because they always referred to each other as "my brother." They were truly best friends for many years. As a single parent I taught them to rely on each other. I constantly reminded them that they would always have each other regardless of what happened to the rest of the world. They grew up together. They played together. They shared friends. They argued and fought like only brothers can...and then somehow found a way to make up every time. When it was time to go out on their own they ended up sharing an apartment together. When it was time for one to become a Daddy his brother slept on the hospital room floor waiting to become an uncle. Together. Brothers. Best friends. My boys.

Five years ago today my oldest was killed in a traffic accident. His brother lost his best friend. His son lost his uncle. And I lost my oldest son.

Our world changed. Actually it shattered into itty bitty pieces. The kind that take years to put back together. And once they are back together the world doesn't look the same. Because it can't. It never will. It's missing a very important piece. But you find yourself learning to live with that missing piece. And you learn that it's okay to smile and to laugh and to find joy - even if a bit of you is still sad. It's okay. It's not always easy but it's okay. It's not moving on, it's learning to live gracefully with that missing piece.

I've learned to let life happen. To ride the waves as they come. To experience whatever the moment brings. Most days it's all good. Some days not so much. Today I miss my son. I miss my boys together. I mourn all the moments that were stolen from us as a family.

But in the same breath I celebrate all the incredible memories that we have together. We didn't have a lot of "things" while the boys were growing up but we sure managed to cram a lot of experiences into those years. And nothing can take those moments away. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Missing you today kiddo. And smiling through my tears as I type. Love you tons. ~Mom

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRIGHTPENNY 7/24/2011 10:52PM

    I am a new member and I lost my son at age 21. your blog could well have been written by me, my boys were so close as well, and what you say about missing him is so, so true.

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KEAKMAN 12/29/2010 10:09AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ON2VICTORY 12/28/2010 8:44PM

    Wow, dont know what to say except that you have been through alot and I am so sorry that this happened to you and your family. God bless you.

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Hot Yoga

Friday, October 29, 2010

So itís been twelve days since my last run, aka the Girlfriends Half Marathon. Iím still pretty proud of my race - in fact Iím wearing my finishers necklace at work today! It reminds me that I am strong and some days I need that reminder more than others. Today is one of those days.

But let me back up a bit.

Before my HM Iíd been toying with the idea of trying hot yoga. Most folks I asked had good things to say about their experience with it and several of my runner friends said that it was a big part of helping them recover after long runs. HmmÖrecover after long runs. You mean like after 13.1 miles? Sounded like something I should check out.

So eleven days ago I carefully walked into the local yoga studio and plunked down my $10 for 10 classes. I wasnít sure what to expect except that itíd be hot and Iíd only be out $10 if I hated it. But I didnít hate it. In fact I loved it. I came home from that first class woefully aware of how tight my lower half was but totally energized and looking forward to my next class. Four classes in I paid for six month unlimited membership Ė with a huge smile.

So Iím hooked. This has been, by far, the easiest HM recovery ever. I was ready to go out and do a long run less than a week later. No stiffness. No soreness. In fact stuff that was sore before I ran that half eased up too. I walk out of practice feeling on top of the world and incredibly energized. In fact on the days I donít go I feel a bit out of sorts. Iím guessing that will go away as I add some running and strength training back into my schedule next week. Another ďfringeĒ benefit? Me time. An entire practice session where Iím focused on absolutely nothing else but me, my body and how it is performing each posture. That is a priceless gift in my busy world. And after working my body that hard I find myself making much better fuel choices when I get home. Iím back to looking at that questionable food or beverage and wondering if itís really worth it. And so far, for the most part, it hasnít been.

They say that yoga is a full mind, body, soul workout and I have to agree. Unfortunately I came to that conclusion after a full blown sobbing breakdown in the middle of practice last night. I was having a pretty good practice (I finally got my silly leg up close to the right position for the ďtreeĒ pose!) and we were only 4 or 5 poses away from the end when the music changed to ďIn the Arms of an AngelĒ and I completely melted. Overwhelming grief overcame me and I dissolved into helpless tears as I wept for my son Sean. Itís been several months since I had a breakdown and even longer since it was so deep and so uncontrollable. I was in the corner of the room and I donít think too many folks saw me and if they did I truly donít care. Sobbing is my right. I stayed in the room until practice ended (too far away from the door to escape) and then found the instructor. I tried very hard to hold myself together as I explained to her that I am the Mom of an Angel Son and that her choice of that particular song was very difficult for me. She was beyond apologetic and instantly said sheíd remove it from her playlist. She found me outside as I was trying to gather myself enough to drive home and apologized again with tears in her own eyes. I could see how horrible she felt and on any other day I would have been able to comfort her but last night all I could do was cry and thank her for coming out to check on me.

So today Iím wearing my finisherís necklace because I need to be reminded that I am strong. I am strong even through my tears. I am strong because I choose to be. I am strong because I have faced the worst and survived. I am strongÖand Iím going back to yoga tonight even stronger.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDWADE 11/4/2010 10:41AM

    You are an inspiration. emoticon

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ON2VICTORY 11/3/2010 4:30PM


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ON2VICTORY 11/3/2010 4:29PM

    I am so glad to hear that you are re-connecting and taking some ME TIME! Just keep reminding yourself how strong you really are and let the Yoga do its work. Let it refresh you.

Good for you.

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    You are strong and you are making me think about taking Hot Yoga for sure.

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ZORAHGAIL 10/29/2010 8:13PM

    Yay you for trying something new & double yay for talking to the teacher. I'm glad she checked on you afterwards & you are so right - YOU ARE STRONG!

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Girlfriends Half Marathon (aka HM #5)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Girlfriends Half Marathon
aka HM #5!

First of all half marathon #5??? Iím quite confident that absolutely that nobody that knew me through my school days would have ever, ever, ever dreamt that Iíd be writing about the FIFTH half marathon Iíve RAN. Started - maybe. Crawled - possibly. Watched - probably. I was that girl that no one wanted on their team. You know the one. Every class had one. I was a year younger than everyone in my grade. I was several inches shorter - my Mom tried hard to sell ďpetiteĒ as cute but the classmates never went there. My co-ordination was a joke - actually it still kinda is LOL. And to make it all just that much worse I was smart AND I wore glasses. Did I mention my Mom dressed me funny? No really. Mail-order catalog in Fairbanks, Alaska funny. I have the pictures to prove it. So Iím going to start this race report with a proud squaring of my shoulders and a mental ďtake thatĒ to all those kids that argued over which team would HAVE to take me. Bet you wish you had me on your team now - donít ya!


Again not breaking any land speed records here but itís a time Iím pretty proud of. Mainly Iím proud of how I got to that time. Because I did it the smart way. I had a plan and I stuck to it - at least mostly. So let me tell you all about it!

First of all Friday I ended up coming home from work sicker than a dog. I mean literally running down the hall to the restroom to vomit sick. That was fun. Spent the rest of the day and night bouncing from bathroom to bedroom hoping my stomach would settle enough to get some sleep.

Woke up Saturday morning and felt okay. Not 100% but good enough to pack my bag and head out for the 200 mile drive to Vancouver for the Girlfriends Half Marathon. I figured my hotel room was already paid for and at worst I could either walk the event or cheer the runners on as they passed by the hotel parking lot.

Once in Vancouver I ran in to pick up my race packet and found all kinds of fun goodies in there. My favorites are the very cool black race vest and the cute pink drawstring bag. A few other fun items in there and definitely a few that got me thinking about the goodie bags Iíll be handing out to my Inspiring Hope runners in May.

Since I still wasnít 100% I decided against exploring the town and instead watched some football in the hotel bar while enjoying a bowl of clam chowder and a beer. I know. I know. But it didnít hurt me. I promise! Remembering my bread mistake from last year I passed on the bread and instead headed upstairs.

Before I headed to a very early bedtime I checked my messages and discovered that a Sparkfriend that I hadnít yet met in person was planning to come out to cheer me on during the race. How seriously cool is that? Kate - I canít begin to tell you how much that meant to me. Iím used to doing stuff on my own and am pretty comfortable with it but sometimes it is just so nice to know someone you know is out there rooting you on. Thank you SO MUCH!

Race day dawned beautiful - clear, cold and gorgeous. I took a quick shower, enjoyed a couple cups of coffee (another error from last year erased) and headed out the door. I found a parking spot only three blocks away and headed towards the Start/Finish line. Bag check was a breeze and I grabbed a banana to go with my granola bar dipped in almond butter for breakfast. I know it sounds weird but itís really good! As I was stretching with the group I heard my name called and found Kate rushing up behind me. I would have recognized her from across the parking lot. We chatted a bit, she snapped a quick photo and then I discovered that she has a beautiful singing voice as she sang along to the national anthem before the race began. A quick goodbye and I made my way to line up.

So I had a plan. The plan included 5 minutes running then 2 minutes walking for the entire event. Recognizing that my training was not up to par for this event I set very modest time goals for myself that I wrote out and pinned to my water bottle, along with the words ďSTRONG BEYOND MEASUREĒ and ďNo ExcusesĒ. Iíd refer to those times and those words at many points during the race.

Target: Miles 1-2 11:30
Actual: Mile 1 10:57, Mile 2 11:49

So you know how it goes that first mile. I donít care how carefully I think Iím pacing myself I end up running faster than planned. Period. Now granted mile 1 was about 20 seconds slower than last year but still. One of these days Iíll figure out the whole mile 1 mystery. In the meantime Iíll survive. This mile 1 took us through the Farmers Market, towards my hotel and then to the river. Mile 2 continued along the river and through the first hydration station. Gorgeous route. Watching the fog lift off the river was totally cool. Iíd like to say I took my camera out to capture it for you, but...I was busy.

Target: Miles 3-5 11:45
Actual: Mile 3 11:48; Mile 4 11:40; Mile 5 11:40

Close enough Iím calling it good. Kinda impressed actually that I ran right on target! And even better I felt really, really good. I ran through a couple of the areas that I remembered struggling through last year and felt great. You know - those spots where you thought there was a hill, or a bad tilt or something and find that itís all good. I love it when that happens! Mile 5 was where I started to struggle mentally last year so it felt great to run strong through it. And running along the river and through this incredible park with amazing fall colors was awesome.

Target: Miles 6-8 12:00
Actual: Mile 6 11:59, Mile 7 11:56, Mile 8 12:14

Again - right on target through mile 7. And and mile 7.5 (just when I was starting to beat a certain evil self-talk demon back a bit) there was Kate on the side of the road with a beaming smile and a camera. Itís amazing how a simple ďGo PennyĒ can make all the difference. I perked up and ran strong. In fact if you look at my Garmin you can see how I sped up through that area. LOL. :0) I think the only reason mile 8 looks slow is that two walk breaks fell in it. I felt good through this area.

Target: Mile 9-11 12:00
Actual: Mile 9 12:54; Mile 10 12:09; Mile 11 12:51

Mile 9 - How I hate you. Running is SO mental. I know it. Iíve experienced it many times. And I came equipped for it. Or so I thought. Mile 9 brought the first true mental challenge of this race. Thereís an itty bitty overpass that kicked my rear last year and began the end of a really good run. And I knew it was coming this time. STRONG BEYOND MEASURE carried me up it but it didnít stop the extra walk break that came after it. Mile 9 sucks. But I got through it. And Mile 10 didnít suck as bad. Mile 10 had me doing a mental high-five as I passed by the 10 mile sign. I still had gas in the tank. I wasnít nearly as mentally or physically drained at that point as I had been last year. I was pretty okay in fact. Mile 11 looks slow but actually itís faster than last year. Mile 11 has that stupid hill at the end of it. And who puts a hill at mile 11 anyway? I knew it was coming and I planned to walk it and I was okay with that. I ran up to the bottom edge and I ran off the top of it. And Iím okay with my time for mile 11.

Target Mile 12-13 12:15
Actual: Mile 12 13:24, Mile 13 12:03

Then thereís Mile 12. Another gentle incline that is truly nothing but became a mental challenge for me. I very clearly remembered struggling through Mile 12 last year. Which made this years struggle all mental - except for my right hip which decided to tighten up about here too. Grr. I tried every trick I brought with me to run through Mile 12 and they just didnít work. More walking than necessary. Less running than I could have done. But I slapped some sense into myself at the Mile 13 mark and ran to the Finish Line. And I finished strong. I finished without the horrible calf cramps of last year. I finished without wanting to cry (or throw up). And I finished smiling. At least I think it was a smile. I havenít seen the official pictures yet.

Once across the Finish Line I grabbed my new pretty pink water bottle from the girl scouts and my new finishers necklace from the Vancouver Fire Department and headed over to grab a banana and a bagel before retrieving my gear. I wasnít really hungry but knew I needed to eat so after forcing the food down I changed and headed over for a well deserved massage. Oh - and my well earned piece of fudge! Both were WONDERFUL! After a bit more stretching I headed back to my car for the trip home.

So what did I learn from this race?

~ You donít have to RUN 13.1 miles to consider yourself a runner. I feel really, truly fabulous today and I know itís not a result of adequate training but rather a result of my 5:2 intervals. Lesson learned.

~ Have a plan and stick to it. Make it a reasonable, well thought out plan and thereís really not much that can stand in your way.

~ Come equipped to battle self-doubt. It makes a difference.

~ Encouragement on the side of the road is way more important than I ever realized. Iíve just always accepted that I wouldnít have any. That will change from this point on. Thank you Kate for gifting me with that lesson.

~ Vanilla GU doesnít suck.

~ Running with my own water bottle is the only way to go.

~ I truly truly love to run. Even when it hurts. Even when everything doesnít go exactly as planned. I love to run. Who would have ever dreamed Iíd be the one saying that? And even more important - I mean it too!

935/1394 overall
120/170 age division
25/39 age

BTW - The overall average time of the field decreased by over 8 minutes this year! I need to find out their secret! :0)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ON2VICTORY 11/3/2010 4:33PM

    Thats awesome. Thanks for sharing the race and the pics. PS Vanilla GU..... Im learning to like GU LOL. You did awesome!

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ZORAHGAIL 10/29/2010 8:10PM


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ABSOLUTZER0 10/28/2010 4:41PM

    Thanks for sharing such a great race report! Yes, you have done 5 HMs! Woohoo! I know there are more running adventures to come, eh?

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LUV4CHOCOLATE 10/26/2010 5:54PM

    I really enjoyed your blog -- what a GREAT race report! I also run/walk in intervals -- its such a smart way to run.


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GLADGAD 10/19/2010 2:15PM

    Great blog! Hey I was the same little girl that you were. I was a year younger than everyone and I lived in books, too. While I always had a love for activity and athletics, I pretty much sucked at everything! Over time I learned if I stuck with something long enough I could learn to do it at least reasonably well - or at least well enough that I enjoyed it. At least we have learned that lesson - some never do.

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FINDINGMEIN2012 10/19/2010 9:12AM

    Great race - I loved reading about it. CONGRATULATIONS!!

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    Great Race and Excellent Race Report. You are a great inspiration - thanks for being you.

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KEAKMAN 10/18/2010 10:02PM

    What a great race report! I was so happy to be there to meet you and cheer for you. Once you experience a cheerleader you realize that you have to pay that forward, and I am always happy to do it for a fellow Sparkie!

Your opening comments about your youth reminds me of my own. On the back of my shirt for my first marathon I wrote "This 26.2 miles is for all of us who were picked last in P.E." And your 5 (FIVE!) half marathons vindicates all of us glasses-wearing smart kids, too!

Looking forward to your race in May!


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My Brain vs Me

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I can be a bit competitive. No surprise to anyone that knows me even a tiny bit. Generally I take those competitive impulses and turn them into something positive. Notice I said generallyÖ

The Girlfriends Half Marathon is this Sunday. You know Ė the one I said Iíd give myself a break on and not worry about my finishing time? Sounds good on paper. Too bad I canít convince my competitive brain that itís a good idea!

Brain Ė You PRíd this last year. It wasnít pretty but you did it.

Me Ė But I know better now. And Iíd like to be able to get out of the car without help when I get homeÖ4 hours later.

Brain Ė You know this course. Itís flat, flat, flat. Easy, peasy.

Me Ė Except for those hills at mile 11 and 12.

Brain Ė Whatever. Itís not like youíve never run a hill before.

Me Ė I am NOT ready to run 13.1 miles.

Brain Ė But you ARE ready to run 5:2 splits and you have been running them for weeks. And better yet if you stick to them all the way through you can come very, very close to a new PR.

Me Ė HmmmÖ..

Brain Ė And the weather is supposed to be perfect.

Me Ė AndÖ

Brain Ė And youíve GOT this!

Which leaves me looking at my recent training runs and realizing that if I can keep that intentionally easy pace on 5:2 splits for 13.1 miles Iíll be within about 30 seconds of a PR. My HM history is that I tend to go out fine but then die somewhere around mile 9-11 and struggle the rest of the race which brings my overall pace down dramatically. Iíve been training at a very easy pace as I introduced my dog Dexter to the world of running. I wonít be running with Dexter this weekend but that doesnít mean I canít still run easy. Right? There goes that brain again!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ON2VICTORY 10/13/2010 12:39AM

    Wow, I thought I was the only one that wilted at mile 9-10, seems to be a pattern here. you can do this Penny!

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GLADGAD 10/12/2010 3:05PM

    Keep to your 5:2 plan. It sounds like you're really comfortable with that. Once you hit mile 11 or so, if you're feeling good, then feel free to step it up a little. You'll be surprised how much better you will feel after PRing this year compared to last!

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ZORAHGAIL 10/12/2010 2:51PM

    You've SO got this! Stick to your 5:2 plan & you're golden :)

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    You can do this. Pretend you have Dexter with you and just run it for him...not you, but him.

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