Determination. . . Finish Lines and Endless Possibilities

     So often, teaching and running intersect.  I constantly find myself using running as an analogy for life lessons.  The grit and determination that I find through running mirrors the beliefs I want my students to find in themselves. 

     Recently, my 3rd grade students and I finished our reading unit on determination.

It all started with the last chapter of Stone Fox, The Finish Line. My students and I were discussing what the finish line really meant to the character, little Willy. This discussion got me thinking about how we could apply the ideas to our real lives.

What does the “Finish Line” mean to you?

Does each “Finish Line” hold a different meaning and purpose? One finish line is a segue to the next opportunity.  

     The finish line of a race, doesn’t necessarily mean the end.  It represents the months and weeks of training, that many times test our limits and will to persevere.  The same can be said of life.  Reaching for the finish line.  We build up to our goal and feel pride and accomplishment upon achieving that goal.  However, that taste of fulfillment, brings on another goal.  Once again, we put ourselves out there and take risks. Training begins again and the vision of another finish line is within reach.  

     As I cross the finish line, I feel empowered.  That empowerment comes from setting a goal, being fearless and making it happen.  I want my students to envision their finish line, take risks and be bold.  What does it mean to cross that finish line?  Those final steps, a struggle, a hard, fast effort; crossing that finish line brings a rush of adrenaline and pride.  It shows us that we can be more than what we imagined we could be.  Crossing that finish line is really about conquering life, overcoming obstacles, growth from within ourselves and being fearless. 

     The finish line is a celebration of goals reached and dreams becoming reality.  As a teacher, I want my students to reach their finish line, but then keep going and striving for more in life. The endless possibilities that await each of my students as they cross their finish line. 

I posed the question to my students and here are a few 3rd grade thoughts on – What does the “finish line” mean to you? 


  • “. . . It’s not about winning, just have fun and be yourself.”
  • ” More than winning something, it means I accomplished something new.”
  • “I am the best of the best and I am the champion.”
  • “A lot of chapters mixed all together.”
  • “To not give up, keep going.”
  • “A big thing really just paid off and it feels good in my heart.”
  • “It means achieving my goals no matter what comes my way.”
  • “Chapters and chapters, always waiting for a new beginning in your life.”

What does the finish line mean to you? 

March Madness: Running, Trains and NYC

So. . . March roared in like a lion, full of power and excitement! March seems to be that month where two personalities collide.  Winter and spring battling for that shot of attention! March also, seems like it could be the longest of months, then. . . just like that, it’s over!

Here is a look back on this crazy month, fondly known as March Madness.  It was filled with running, one last snow storm and a fun train ride to New York City!!

March Began with One Last Snowstorm! I couldn’t resist, what I knew would be, my last snowy run of the winter season!  The trees and homes were covered in a thick blanket of snow!


My golden retriever loving an evening romp in our last snowfall of March!

Then, by the second week of March, everything was starting to melt! And it was off to the next adventure! 

On Saturday, March 8th, I met up with fellow ZoomaRun Ambassadors at the Annapolis running store.  Charm City Run hosted a meet-n- greet for the ambassadors as well as other runners that were “Kicking Off” the Zooma Run Annapolis training season! Zooma will host the half marathon and 10k race on Saturday May 30th, 7:00am at the Annapolis, Maryland Naval Academy stadium!  It’s not too late, to register  HERE And use Code KARA15 for a 10% discount off Race Registration!


It was a blast getting to meet and mingle with all the fellow Zooma Run Ambassadors! We enjoyed chatting and sharing “all things running and blogging”!!  Charm City Run store is always an amazing host for this event!  The store offered yoga that morning, along with great discounts on store running gear and accessories!



The runners enjoyed an easy and relaxed 3 mile jog around the Annapolis Town Center.  We did have to walk, gingerly at times, over large patches of ice! 


     After the short run, runners were treated to hot coffee and assorted bagels with a variety of cream cheese spreads! Runners could eat, shop and chat!! A huge thanks to Charm City Run for partnering with Zooma again this year! 

Then it was off to the next March adventure. . .    

March Madness continued that weekend with a quick train ride and overnight stay in New York City!   I drove from Annapolis that morning to Union train station in DC! 

The view of the New York City skyline by train!


I turn 40 years old in April!! This was a fun weekend in NYC!  I met up with one of my high school friends and his girlfriend! I loved taking the train into NYC because I could relax and enjoy the entire weekend, without the worry of driving! We were celebrating March and April birthdays that weekend!

I  enjoyed a glass of wine at the hotel, after walking several blocks from the Penn train station at Madison Square Garden! After running 3 miles that morning, I decided to skip the cab and walk to the hotel.  I finished the day with roughly 7 miles of walking/running! Heehee! 


Later on that night  I met up with my high school friend and his girlfriend! We started the evening at Grand Central station! I lived in the Mid Hudson valley of Upstate NY during high school and loved taking the Metro North train into Grand Central! Grand Central is more than just a train station! It has shops, a huge market and restaurants! 


Finally, Saturday evening ended with a late dinner and drinks at this amazing restaurant in NYC! Lure Fish Bar


A perfect ending to a crazy, busy month! It was an amazing month, but now it’s time to wrap up the month of March! 

The next two months will be dedicated to ten weeks of training for Zooma Run Annapolis 13.1!!

How was your month of “March Madness”? Any fun and exciting highlights? 

Quinoa Broth Bowl:Inspired by Panera Bread #Recipe

Several weeks ago, my daughter and I enjoyed lunch out at Panera Bread.  I was excited to try the new “Broth Bowls”! 

The above picture is the Panera Bread Broth bowl! I really enjoyed the flavorful, but light tasting broth.  The bowl was full of tender lentils, quinoa, carrots and diced tomatoes with fresh spinach. I chose the cage free hard boiled egg as a protein. I savored every last bite and vowed to immediately recreate this recipe at home! 

My Recipe: My Version Below!

  • 1 cup precooked quinoa- set aside and add later! 
  • 1 cup presoaked and cooked lentils
  • In a large deep sauté pan:
  1. Sauté 5 cloves chopped garlic and 1 large chopped shallot in olive oil
  2. Add 3 fresh chopped carrots
  • Seasonings: 

-Several grinds of Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning

2 teaspoons of the following:

-Ground cumin

-Ground paprika

– Coarse Sea Salt

-ground turmeric

-1 vegetable bouillon cube

Continue with these recipe steps

3. Sauté all veggies and seasonings

4. Add 2 cups chopped fresh kale 

5. Add 2 cups water and simmer everything Until All Veggies are Tender!

6. Stir in precooked quinoa and presoaked and cooked lentils

And 1 can, drained chopped diced tomatoes!

7. Top with 2 cups fresh chopped spinach- it will wilt from heat of soup! 

8. Prepare hardboiled eggs for topping reheated soup each day for lunch! 

Time Saver Tips:

  • Presoak and precook 2 to 4 cups lentils and quinoa, then divide up into smaller portions. Freeze in freezer bags. Thaw before using in recipes! 

This soup freezes well! I freeze 1 cup portions in freezer bags, then grab for lunch! 

A Foam Rolling Clinic

This past weekend I had the chance to attend a ‘Foam Rolling Clinic’ at the Charm City Runstore in Annapolis, Maryland! I own two types of foam rollers and have used them for quite some time now.

Trigger Point Grid Roller and Pro-Tec Athletic Foam Roller
Trigger Point Grid Roller and Pro-Tec Athletic Foam Roller
My favorite blue, textured massage ball! It really gets deep into my calf muscles!
My favorite blue, textured massage ball! It really gets deep into my calf muscles!

However, I was curious to see how I could use the foam roller to achieve better benefits!  I try my best to foam roll my calves before and after running! I alternate between my solid blue foam roller and the Trigger Point Grid foam roller. My blue foam roller is really hard and dense.  For the clinic, I actually chose to bring my slightly shorter grid foam roller.  Although, I honestly prefer my blue solid foam roller.

Annapolis Charm City Run Store
Annapolis Charm City Run Store

I arrived at the store in Annapolis just before 9:00am.  There were already a few runners setting up their foam rollers for the clinic inside the store. Charm City Run had opened up space right inside the store for the foam rolling session!

Foam Rolling Area at Charm City Run!
Foam Rolling Area at Charm City Run

The foam rolling instructor was great!  He took his time explaining the terms -Myofascial release and trigger points.  Essentially, the foam roller is used to break up adhesions in muscle tissue and get the oxygen and blood flowing again in those areas! The goal is to prevent tissue build up and promote healthy muscle recovery.  I really should have taken “pencil and paper” notes, but I was so focused on getting the right foam roller techniques!

Awesome Charm City Run Instructor!
Awesome Charm City Run Instructor!

The instructor explained and modeled how to foam roll- calves, quads, ITBand, hamstrings, glutes and hip Flexors.  I didn’t take nearly enough pictures of each area to foam roll!  The instructor talked to us about some key things to consider when foam rolling:

  • foam rolling breaks up tight knots in muscles
  • foam roll across the muscle first to break apart adhesions- muscles run vertical, so create that ‘cross friction’ across the muscle
  • linger on tender spots and apply pressure- Trigger points
  • Do not foam roll on bone or tendon
  • foam rolling benefits increase with daily and weekly routines { Morning and Evening}

Take Aways from The Foam Rolling Clinic:

  • Foam Roll Daily! Especially at night, to help relax and ease tension in muscles!
  • Foam rolling is also a great core workout! Balancing the roller on all those different muscles!
  • Drink plenty of water after foam rolling- hydrate those muscles and increase oxygen and blood flow!
  • I felt more confident in foam rolling after attending this clinic! If only I could attend a foam rolling class once a week!

There was so much information during the 45 minute session! Later on, I googled some more information on foam rolling.  THISwebsite was a great ‘follow-up’ to what the instructor focused on in class!

After class, I hung out for a while at Whole Foods! I tasted all the free, yummy samples of soups and smoothies at the Vitamix ‘Road Show’!! I own the Vitamix Pro 750 and love it! Always learning new ways to use it! The smoothies definitely helped to hydrate and replenish fluids after the ‘Foam Rolling Clinic’ 

Vitamix-Soups and Smoothies!
Vitamix-Soups and Smoothies!

Do you ‘Foam Roll’ daily, weekly? How do you assist your muscles in recovery? What clinics have you attended at your local running store?