Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Saturday 28 March 2009

Sydkyst (South Coast) Half Marathon

I could call the following a race report. Or I could call it advice on how to inspire yourself and PR at a half marathon when you feel completely out of shape.

Anyway, the half marathon was in Greve, Denmark. It's on the East Coast of the country. Don't be fooled by the name of the race.

I haven't been able to do any sort of good training since the marathon two months ago because of my left knee (some sort of tendinitis). But after swimming nearly every day last week and hardly running at all, I finally got rid of that knee pain.

There were about 350 participants today (for both the whole and a half marathon).

SR's parents offered to watch The Bois during the race. We are just so lucky to have them living nearby.

As is typical in this land, the race started at noon. Many longer races here start out by running a loop around a track at the town's sportscenter. And they also finish in the track (much in the style of olympic marathons).

Shortly after we sarted, there was one woman ahead of me (that I could see) and one right on my tail. I kind of felt like crap and kept asking myself why I ate so many of those flødeboller for breakfast. My previous half marathon PR was just shy of 1:35, so I was going for about 1:45 (considering the lack of training). I gradually lost ground to the woman ahead of me. And the woman behind me was catching up. How irritating. When the woman behind me moved up to pass me, I sprinted ahead like a crazy woman (I need to do something to keep my spirits up during these hard races, so I use other women as inspiration... ). About 1km later, she caught up again, so I sprinted ahead again like I was saving The Bois from the jaws of death. By this point, I'm sure she figured I had nothing (and was insane). Or maybe it was the dirty pajama shirt and baggy pants that gave it away. This same scenario happened five more times and it got to the point that I would look back at her and smile before I started sprinting ahead again. I was hoping it had become like a joke to her, too. Anyway, the last time I sprinted ahead, there we 6k to go. Much to my surprise, I got a second wind (thanks once again to the song "That's not my name" by The Ting Tings (what would I do without this song during races?)). I pulled away from the woman behind me and began to enjoy the beach and the limited views of the ocean. There were nice pavement and dirt trails the whole way. With less than 0.5 km to go, I noticed another girl right behind me. Despite my having run the last 5k in 22 minutes, she had caught up! Wow! Now I really sprinted and made it across the fine a good 15 seconds ahead of her.

Here I am just before the finish.

But then I realized we needed to swipe our time card as we crossed the line (strange system), but that girl behind me swiped hers first. I tried to explain what happened in my breathless Danish, but the women at the finish line just found me irritating. Oh well.

I PR'd with just over 1:34 (though the exact time will never be known thanks to the confusing chip system). And they ended up awarding me 3rd place (which was correct... SR explained to the race director what happened with the finish and the chip system). SR got 2nd place with a time of 1:17:30. We both got money prizes, which were awarded on a podium! What fun.

Honest running song of the day: That's Not My Name by The Ting Tings (again)
New running song of the day: The Fear by Lilly Allen

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Where happiness is made

We just returned from a dream vacation. I would normally imagine a "dream vacation" to be going some place exotic to run and camp with SR. But what we did was visit the step-kids in the US. In the entire 2 years I have known them, they have never been so well-behaved and so much fun.

Here are s-son and s-daughter at our leopard print-themed hotel in Minneapolis.

It was actually the Comfort Suites Hotel right in the downtown. There we swam in a pool on the 10th floor that overlooks the city. It was so gorgeous at night. My sister and her fiance joined in the fun. And only $61 for the room and free breakfast!

Then we visited the Children's Museum in St. Paul. None of us had been there before. But what a fun place! I felt like such a pathetic mom there, though. Man, talk about power moms with tupperware lunches and wipes, plenty of diapers and toys (and lots of other things I'd never even think of bringing).

Anyway, I loved seeing them all play together.

The Lorax was soon occupied for 30 minutes playing with one water spout. In the meantime, the other kids enjoyed the games and exhibits and we laughed so hard about the rude kids there who pushed them out of the way and skipped them in line. Geez louise.

Man, do I love being a step-mom. Sometimes I think I'm better cut-out for that role than an actual mom. I get to play and laugh with the kids and challenge them and yet get away with less responsibility.

Here we are at yet another children's museum in La Crosse, WI.

S-daughter is hilarious at times. She began calling everyone "skunk bags" at some point. We were getting along so well that at one moment she said "Everyone is a skunk bag except sealegs girl. I want to spend the rest of my life with her." Talk about a happy step-mom. Not that I want her to think everyone else is a skunk bag, or a scum bag for that matter.

Here's s-son at the Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bike museum in Sparta, WI.

Some beautiful runs on our trip:

1. Heading south down the Mississippi river path from downtown Minneapolis (wow!).

2. Hixon forest trails in the beautiful, warm sun of La Crosse, WI.

My mom spent lots of time with us. Especially The Bois. She even slept with him two nights! That was the first time I slept in a different bed than him since he was born. I felt like a new person after such good sleep.

And now we're back to Denmark with a new forhold to life. The days are getting longer and sunnier. SR and I work on the same floor of the same hospital overlooking a forest and a beautiful river in Næstved. And when The Bois is in a good mood and helt oppe at køre, he repeats step-daughter's name over and over.

Beautiful run in Denmark:

Along The Suså to Friheden Skov in Næstved

SR and I are having a discussion about whether having lived in multiple countries makes you happier with what you do have or more frustrated with what you don't have. What's your opinion?

I concluded that it probably just makes one more realistic because you know you'll never find a perfect place to live. Perhaps the only perfect place is somewhere inside of us. And our surroundings can only help us find that. On a day like today, I feel like I'm almost there.

Running Song of The Day: 8-6-6-0 by Peter Sommer

Sunday 15 March 2009

Back in the USA

I just have time for a quick post.

We flew back Thursday for a 1 week visit to the US. SR is signed up for a shift working in a rural ER from Friday to Sunday morning. On the way to work, he picked up step-son and ste-daughter from school. They had one hour together and then we he was supposed to leave, step-daughter screamed, cried and refused to get out of the car. So she ended up spending the whole weekend with him in the call room!

We'll be spending the rest of the week with the step kids... I can't wait!

I just finished a 9 hour work day today. But other than that, I've gotten to spend a lot of time with the family here. The Lorax has been playing a lot of piano and keyboard. My grandma is quite the pianist and was willing to play a long duet with him. Then when we were in Target, we went by a display with piano music playing and he started pressing his fingers on the front of the cart as if he was playing. What a cutie.

I hadn't seen a treadmill since I left the USA. When I got on one to try out my old 5k intervals, I was disappointed that my fastest was 22 minutes. I've been battling with a knee problem ever since the marathon two months ago. I used to think that my speed was determined by my weight. But now I can clearly see that with less training, I've gotten slower.

Well, I've got to go relieve my mom of The Lorax. I'll have to post pictures later.

Running Song of The Day: Bag of Hammers by Thao Nguyen

Monday 9 March 2009

Typical Woman

Typical woman. I can't make up my mind. Here I am crawling back.

The thing is I love having a blog. This silly collection of thoughts, pictures and studies has become like my life's work. The thing is, again like a typical woman (?), I take negative comments so personally.

I apologize for the false alarm. I honestly didn't do it to boost readership. I'm just not that clever (and I try not to be that annoying).

And I couldn't let my blog end with people actually believing that I had an eating disorder. Now that I'm around my goal weight, I eat more than SR on a typical day. That does admittedly include lots of oatmeal, but also eggs, tofu, fish, bananas, salads, curry soup, etc. (those are some of my favorites). Sometimes I think SR's mom is concerned/disgusted by the massive volumes of food I consume, but I digress.

I had a great day today. I convinced the teachers at my Danish language school to let me take my final test early. And today I passed the test! The only sad part (besides, obviously saying good-bye to friends) is I have to give up my delightful train rides to Roskilde three days a week. I loved reading Politiken, drinking coffee and eating... oatmeal.

But the real reason I started writing the blog again was because of a song I heard on my i pod as I was running today. It made me so happy, I just had to recommend it (see below).

I can't promise the blog will stay the same. We're in a new country and I don't want the blog to become an anachronism. I guess we'll just see what life brings.

Running Song of the day: My Only Offer by Mates of State

Sunday 8 March 2009

taking a break

I started this blog because I wanted to write about being in love. About life turning completely upside down because of a love so strong that nothing else mattered.

I wanted readers to see that they shouldn't be afraid of letting go of everything "safe" in their life. Because of SR, I went from a lonely person in a marriage that shouldn't have happened to a happy person with bright eyes and optimism. I experienced running, camping and nature with a soul mate in many beautiful landscapes in the US. I left my residency program in a state far away so I could live with SR and give birth to and raise our child in happy and loving conditions. I became a step mom which has humbled me and brought a wonderful type of love into my life that few get to experience.

I also wrote about my pregnancy experience. I believe that many of the lay beliefs about what is healthy for women in pregnancy are dangerous and outdated. Women should exercise during pregnancy, they shouldn't gain too much weight, they should be sure to eat enough fish to prevent premature birth, and when the baby is born, they should breastfeed if possible.

This is my blog, it's not a newspaper. It's personal stories and personal beliefs. I want people to be able to read it and draw their own conclusions. I appreciate all of the comments people have made.

But now there is another task at hand. We live in a new country and have new jobs and are far away from two kids we love. It's harder than we thought. My task now is do everything I can to keep this a loving and happy family. And that starts with taking time to show my husband I love him. The whole reason I started this blog in the first place.

So, I'm taking a break from the blog. The stress it is starting to create in my life is not worth it. It takes too much out of me. It is emotionally exhausting sometimes to write an honest blog about my life and include suggestions and stories that I think will benefit my readers and then have to deal with so many negative and accusatory comments in return.

I hope you have enjoyed the blog. And if it has affected some peoples' lives in a positive way, then it's all been worth it.

Saturday 7 March 2009

Proposed guidelines for pregnancy weight gain

It's been a while since I talked about pregnancy. And no, I'm not pregnant. I just ran across new proposed pregnancy weight gain guidelines from Raul Artal, M.D., chairman of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at Saint Louis University in Missouri. He is suggesting these prior to the official release of revised guidelines from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Prepregnancy Body Mass Index (Bmi) and Suggested Weight Gain
less than 19.8 (low) gain 9-22 lbs.
19.8-26 (normal) gain 5-22 lbs.
26.1-29.9 (overweight) gain under 20 lbs.
30-35 (obese) gain under 13 lbs.
35.1-39.9 (class II obesity) gain 0-9 lbs.
40+ (class III obesity) lose 0-9 lbs.

I have to admit that these numbers make sense to me. But I also recommend that pregnant women who read this blog listen to their own bodies and discuss weight gain concerns with their doctor or midwife.

Here is the link to the article with the new suggested guidelines:

It will be interesting to see what the IOM's final recs are in June of 2009.

I found the website through a great blog about exercise, pregnancy, etc, I have a link on the right hand column under Running In Pregnancy Links (It's called This Dreamcrossed Twilight).

In other news, our life has become pretty happy here in Næstved. It's not easy to leave the entire life we knew (plus two wondeful kids) for another country. It's been especially hard for SR.

But we know step daughter is coming and we feel great about that. I think she'll just love it here.

We have our favorite running spots and SR is runnning really fast these days. We're looking forward to a half marathon coming up in a few weeks.

We have found good jobs and I just applied for money to start a PhD project.

And then there's The Lorax. Here he is with grandma in one of the rare moments when he doesn't have banana in his hair.

He actually started drawing a bit yesterday. He saw me writing on some paper and then took the pen from me and started doodling. He ended up with a pretty good drawing:

Then he said "Ach!" and made some greenies in his diapers.

Okay, so maybe his drawing was slightly different.

Running Song of The Day: Hvorfor er lykken så lunefuld? by Lars HUG