Have a good playlist

No deep thoughts today!  And nothing about dyslexia!  Sometimes its good to take a break, and what better way than listening to music.  Below is the playlist that my running partner made for me which turned out to be the secret to my success for the Twin Cities Marathon.  While I was typing each song I could remember the smile on my face and my deep feeling of contentment.  I also enjoyed hearing the secret messages and the overall theme of run to the beat I knew my running partner would insert.  Hope some of you can find a new song or two to add to your playlist for running, cleaning, driving, completing Excel spreadsheets, dance parties, etc.

  1. Easy — The Commodores
  2. Bright Morning Stars — Abigail Washburn
  3. The Book of Love — The Magnetic Fields
  4. Hide and Seek — Imogen Heap
  5. Blue Mind — Alexi Murdoch
  6. Whenever God Shines His Light — Van Morrison
  7. Mandolin Rain — Bruce Hornsby
  8. Seasons of Love — Original Broadway Cast
  9. Keep Your Head Up — Ben Howard
  10. Hard Way Home — Brandi Carlie
  11. Ants Marching (Live) — Dave Matthews Band
  12. Just Say Yes — Snow Patrol
  13. Wake Me Up — Avicii
  14. Cruise (Remix) — Florida Georgia Line
  15. Come on Eileen — Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  16. Girl on Fire (Inferno Version) — Alicia Keys
  17. Hey Brother — Avicii
  18. Love Story — Taylor Swift
  19. After School Special — Jurassic 5
  20. Suga Mama — Beyonce
  21. The Distance — Cake
  22. Follow Your Arrow — Kacey Musgraves
  23. Ladies Love Chest Rockwell — Lovage
  24. I Gotta Feeling — The Black Eyed Peas
  25. Have you Got It In You? — Imogen Heap
  26. Blister in the Sun — Violent Femmes
  27. Raise Hell — Brandi Carlile
  28. Altrevete — Calle 13
  29. Tangerine Speedo — Caviar
  30. Awake My Soul — Mumford & Sons
  31. Merry Go ‘Round — Kacey Musgraves
  32. 1 Goddess — Soho
  33. All This Time — Sting
  34. Real Fine Love — John Hiatt
  35. Calabria — Enur
  36. DotA (Radio Edit) — Basshunter
  37. Fit But You Know It — The Streets
  38. Sweet Child O’ Mine — Guns N’ Roses
  39. Forget you — Cee Lo Green
  40. Wagon Wheel — Old Crow Medicine Show
  41. Echoes (Radio Edit) — Hennik B, Niklas Gustavsson & Peter Johansson
  42. Lover of the Light — Mumford & Sons
  43. Empire State of Mind — Jay-Z
  44. Don’t Stop Believin’ — Journey
  45. Firework — Katy Perry
  46. Nothing Compares 2 U — Prince
  47. Can’t Hold Us — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  48. Shadows of the Night — Pat Benatar
  49. The Rockafeller Skank — Fatboy Slim
  50. Without You — David Guetta & Usher
  51. Love Somebody — Maroon 5
  52. Move (If You Wanna) — Mims
  53. Stay Loose — Jimmy Smith
  54. Thickfreakness — The Black Keys
  55. Less Talk More Rokk — Freezepop
  56. Heart of A Champion — Nelly
  57. Hall of Fame — The Script
  58. Kids — MGMT
  59. Get Up On It Like This – The Chemical Brothers
  60. Desire — U2
  61. Baba O’Riley — The Who

©Running Partner, October 2013

And I’m still wondering what this guy was thinking.

Did he lose a bet?

Think this was hilarious last week….and then he hit mile 4?

.Chewy 1

Hopefully he also had a good playlist.

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Listen

The morning of the marathon my running partner dropped her husband (running dude) and me off near the starting line.  She was not running this year because of an injury and we found ourselves alone without our caretaker and guide.

“Time to get our watches on I suppose” said running dude.

With a panicked look in my eye I turned to him and said, “I forgot mine.”

“YOU FORGOT IT?!?!” says running dude in a squeak, his eyes flashing a feeling of panic that he trying to hide.

This was bad.  I had trained all summer to run a certain speed.  I’m a slightly erratic runner and pace is a little bit of a problem.  Also, running like I was shot out of a cannon or like a racehorse is sometimes my style, and this is not the way to start a marathon.  I knew exactly what pace I was supposed to run to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but now I would have no idea if I was going to fast (and running the risk of crashing around mile 22) or going too slow for the cutoff.

After awhile of rising blood pressure, and a moment of “what would my running partner do?” I said, “You know, I think it will be fine.  I no longer will have something on my wrist pressuring me to go faster or slower.  I won’t be looking at it every minute and feeling bad that I’m not going the right speed.  I won’t get into my head with negative thoughts and panic.  I can just go out there, listen to the music, listen to my body and run.”

Before we had to line up we said our good-byes, wished each other luck and took a deep breath together….hoping the next time we saw each other we’d both be happy at the finish line and not in a first aid station along the way.

As I stood in my coral waiting to start people started turning on their pace watches and waiting for the satellite signals to kick in.  Panic started rising in me again as I wondered how I was going to have any idea if I was going the correct speed. Right before my coral started, and I started at the open streets of Minneapolis, I silently meditated:

Listen.

Run to the beat.

Listen.

Your running partner will guide you with the music.

Listen.

Your body will carry you.

Listen.

And with that, I was off to run the marathon.  The first song on my playlist started and it was “Easy on Sunday Morning” by Lionel Richie.  Hilarious.  I started at a nice easy pace, looked down at the pavement, and eased into the run while people were flying by me at a sprint.  Instead of joining in, I listened…..

And so it goes with raising children. Throughout my parenting journey I have discovered that listening to my children is many times the most important thing I can do.  I had to listen to #1 and #2 struggle to know it was time to figure out what was going on with their learning.  I had to listen to #2’s signals which told me his elementary school was failing him.  While I was homeschooling him I had to listen very closely to his signals.  I didn’t have any test scores telling me if he was progressing, I had to listen to his progress.  Sometimes I think test scores are like a pace watch.  We don’t listen to students, we simply wait for the score and adjust.  This feedback is helpful and necessary at times, but harmful when its the only thing you rely on.  I had also listened to his signals and decided he was ready to try going to a more traditional school again.

When #1 was having a very difficult time at his elementary school I had a series of meetings with teachers and administrators.  Every time I met with them they would have a stack of papers containing various test scores.  They would throw out numbers and tell me everything was fine. Because I am his mother, and I was listening to his signals I knew things weren’t fine.  Finally I said, “Has anyone in this room ever listened to him read? Just sat down and listened?” I received blank stares.  I was furious.  In the room was his classroom teacher of almost 2 years and his reading specialist of almost 2 years.  I had been raising concerns for 5 years about his reading progress and NO ONE had ever simply listened to him read a paragraph.  Everything they were telling me was based on a number that was spit out of a computer. They had never listened to what I was telling them or what #1 was telling them.

Ridiculous.

I replied, “I think if you listened to him read this would be a different conversation.  There are 6 adults here, perhaps someone could find 5 minutes to listen to him and then we can meet again in a week.”

Later that week the classroom teacher did listen to him, and she was shocked…..he couldn’t read anywhere near grade level. She said she had no idea.  However, it was nearing the end of 5th grade and the said there wasn’t much they could do that year.  They suggested lots of tutoring and summer school so he could improve over the summer and hopefully 6th grade would be better, but offered no help from the school.  I listened for solutions and signals that things would change, and there were none.  I took this as my exit sign.  Through listening, I heard it was time to get out.

I told them I was officially done with the school and they had failed two of my children.  Because they had refused to listen, they had failed.

Sometimes steps can be hard and painful, such as leaving your community and friends, but sometimes the best thing you can do is listen to what your environment is telling you.

And so it went with the marathon.

There I was, going around the lakes in Minneapolis.  I had no idea what my pace was and I was caught in the middle of the pack.  I definitely knew I wasn’t going too fast, that was for sure.  But, I was enjoying the run and not worried about my time because I had no clue what it was!  After some slow songs the tempo started to pick up.  When “Girl on Fire” came on, I knew this was the signal from my running partner that it was OK for me to go for it.  A couple miles later along the Mississippi River I heard “Have You Got It In You?” My answer was yes, as I started passing more and more people.  As I entered my home turf of St. Paul for the homestretch down Summit Ave. where I would see many friends and family the song “Don’t Stop Believin'” was playing.  Suddenly a good friend from from my running group I call Team Varsity ran out and screamed “You’ve got this! Oh my god!  Just go!”  Around mile 24, during “The Rockafeller Skank” my beloved running partner was at the side of the road jumping up and down and screaming “You’ve got this baby!”  I couldn’t believe my body was telling me to go faster.  I still had no idea my time, and every step seemed to be taking increasing energy, but my body was telling me I had enough in me to get to the end, especially if I got there quickly.

mile 25

A friend took of picture of me running up the last hill of the coarse at mile 25.  I think the smile was gratefulness that I knew I wouldn’t have to climb another hill and I could sit down soon.

And then I was across the finish line.  I still had no idea my time, or what pace I had run, but it was over.  Soon I got a call from my running partner who said, “You did it! That was pretty amazing.”  Hearing her excitement was music to my ears.

Later that day my official results were in.  I had run an average pace of 8:30, the exact speed I planned to run, with negative splits through the marathon.  My time was 3:42:40, Boston Qualifying by a hair.

I had listened to my body.  Listened to the music.  Listened to my friends.  Proof that amazing things can happen when you listen to the signals around you.

Better Together

“Run in places you love with people you like. Enjoying your surroundings and training partners will strengthen your commitment to running and bring out the best in you.”
~Deena Kastor

At the end of a long run this summer my running partner looked at me, with hands on her knees, and said, “There is no way I could have done that without you.”

“Right back at you,” I said with a smile and a wink.  Those who have run 17+ miles with me know the deep, dark secrets start to come out to carry us through those last couple miles.  Sometimes making yourself vulnerable physically and emotionally are exactly what you need to do to form bonds, and it’s amazing what you can accomplish with strong connects to others.

It is this belief in strong community that lead me to find a school for #2.  I no longer wanted to be the principal, janitor, lunch lady, classroom teacher, curriculum design, social worker, special ed. teacher, case manager, behavior intervention specialist AND parent.  Well, forget janitor, I had given up on that one almost immediately.  I did, however, know that #2s case was complicated enough that I could no longer educate him and prepare him for “real life” by myself.  He really struggles with self-advocacy, and its difficult to work on this skill when your mother is continually by your side.  He struggles with knowing how to handle social situations, another tricky thing to work on from your dining room table.  By the end of May he was through the first 6 levels of the Wilson Reading System.  I knew he was reading above grade level and his math was above grade level.  It was time for him to work on some other parts of life.

I had heard bits and pieces about Cyber Village Academy from some acquaintances, but when a friend who has a child that struggles in traditional school told me she had enrolled her child, I decided to get serious.  I did a tour and turned in the paperwork, crossing my fingers the entire time.

Two weeks ago I had #2s first IEP meeting.  I felt slightly queezy going in.  I had flashbacks to the disastrous IEP meetings at his previous school.  Those meetings were combative and infuriating.  I cried during or after each and every meeting.  All I wanted was for my child to receive an education and I was treated like I was asking for some incredibly impossible prize at the end of a fanciful rainbow.

This time, however, it was different.  I was listened to.  They asked questions.  They worked with me…and in turn, I worked with them.  I immediately felt part of a team.  I shared with them some successes of homeschooling, and let them know some failures.  I trusted them enough to be vulnerable and let them know I don’t have all the answers.   I told them that this is a very difficult child to educate and this is why I need help.  We laughed at some of my descriptions of trials and tribulations in homeschooling…and I did not cry!  I left the meeting feeling empowered, supported and encouraged to go home and help make this educational setting a success.

And it is that sense of community that will help carry me through 26.2 on Sunday.  Yes, it’s my legs that will need to continually turn over, just as it’s #2 who needs to read, write, listen, etc.  But, a marathon is truly a team effort.  I will have friends and family throughout the coarse cheering, encouraging, taking my clothing layers and handing me gels.  Yesterday, a running friend brought me this for carboloading:

carboloading

really good beer.

And my dear running partner, who has brought me this far, taught me so much, and trained with me for 3 summers in a row brought me this:

playlist

an iPod with an individualized playlist for my pace.  All I need to do is keep the beat.  Because of injury she has decided not to run this year, but she will be with me every step of the way, encouraging me to keep going with the beauty of music (and maybe there will be some deep secrets hidden in the music I encounter at mile 24).

It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we do things together.

Happy Dyslexia Awareness Month!

Image

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month.  Below is a list of events from the International Dyslexia Association – Upper Midwest Branch.  I have provided links to register for the events on the title of the event.  Hope to see you at some point this month.  Let me know if you are going to an event.  I will definitely be at the screening of The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia with #1 and #2.  It’s pretty embarrassing that I haven’t seen it yet!  I have heard it excellent.  There is also an interesting webinar about assessment if you have questions after reading my post yesterday, What do I do if my child is struggling with reading?

If you don’t live in Minnesota, please check the International Dyslexia Association website for events in your area.

Dyslexia Awareness Month Events


Learn more about dyslexia and other language-based learning disorders at one of these dynamic October events!

IDA-UMB Webinar:  Deciphering the Tests 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

7 — 8 p.m.

Registration is free, but space is limited!

CEUs available for $10 fee.

The information provided in tests and assessments is invaluable in determining an LD learner’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses and helps inform the best approaches to the child’s education. This presentation will review what tests commonly are used to assess learning difficulties, what they mean and how parents and educators can utilize them to develop effective plans for special education.

Speaker, Ray Boyd, is a Minnesota Licensed Psychologist and the director of diagnostic services at Groves Academy who has been working with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention disorders for nearly forty years.

Groves/IDA-UMB Workshop: 

Why Word Origin and Structure are Critical to Reading Success

Thursday, October 3, 2013


6:30 – 8:30 pm


Groves Academy, 3200 Hwy 100 South, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Registration is $30

Presented by Marcia Henry, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, San Jose State University Morphology, or the study of the structure and origin of words, describes how words are formed from building blocks called morphemes, which are the smallest units of meaning in a word. This 
session will provide an overview of morphology and why it is important to explicitly teach these skills to early or struggling readers.

IDA-UMB Webinar:  School SLD Assessment vs. Private Neuropsychological Assessment

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


7 — 8 p.m.


Registration is free, but space is limited!
 CEUs available for $10 fee.

School testing and diagnostic neuropsychological testing are different in their purpose and depth, the specifics of their results and scope of their recommendations. In this webinar you will learn several key distinctions between the two types of assessment so that you can make an informed decision about which is best for your child.

Jennifer Bennett, M.S., Licensed Psychologist, focuses her work on neuropsychological and educational assessment. At BrainWorks, P.A., her private practice, she conducts comprehensive evaluations with people ages 5-100 who are experiencing difficulties related to learning, information processing, and cognitive development.

FREE SCREENING — The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia

Saturday, October 12, 2013


1 — 3p.m.


Groves Academy, 3200 Hwy 100 South, St. Louis Park, MN


Registration is free, but space is limited!

Join IDA-UMB and Groves Academy for a free screening of the HBO film, The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, directed by Robert Redford’s son and the father of a child with dyslexia. The film provides personal and uplifting accounts of the dyslexic experience from children, experts and iconic leaders. The screening will be followed by comments and a question-and-answer session with Head of School, John Alexander, IDA-UMB President Kelly O’Rourke Johns, Executive Director of The Reading Center, Cindy Russell, and others.

The Reading Center’s Dyslexia Simulation: Walk in My Shoes

October 15, 2013


7 — 8:30 p.m.


Premier Bank, North Broadway and 37th Street, 3145 Wellner Drive NE, Rochester, MN

Is there a dyslexic person in your life? Do you teach a dyslexic student? You will learn what it can feel like to be dyslexic in school when you participate in this Dyslexia Simulation. The session will last 1 1⁄2 hours and is highly participatory. Appropriate for older teens through adults.

Film Screenings – Dislecksia: The Movie


Thursday, October 17, 2013

3 locations:

Carmike 10 Theatre, 230 Knollwood Drive, Rapid City, SD – 7 p.m.

Cinemark Century 14, 2400 South Carolyn, Sioux Falls, SD – 7 p.m.

TBA, Minneapolis, MN – 7 p.m

A powerfully touching and entertaining documentary that mixes humor and perspective with insight and analysis, DISLECKSIA: THE MOVIE explores many of the misconceptions surrounding dyslexia, while underlining the need for stronger awareness, early identification and social change.

No stranger to the condition, director Harvey Hubbell V explores dyslexia through a very human, personal lens, weaving his own lifelong experience, the research of scientists and the practice of educators, with the individual experiences of celebrities, politicians, and adults and children living with dyslexia.

Intergenerational, multicultural and socio-economically diverse, DISLECKSIA: THE MOVIE presents a complete picture and the most current information on dyslexia, promotes positive messaging, explores the power of family and community and is the first film to offer an alternative perspective of dyslexia as a learning difference, rather than a disability.

Panel Discussion: Successful Adults with Dyslexia

October 24, 2013

6:30 p.m.

Rochester Public Library Auditorium, 101 2nd Street SE, Rochester, MN

Registration is free but space is limited.

People with dyslexia are disproportionately represented among entrepreneurs and CEOs. Come to this panel discussion involving local individuals who are successful in their fields not despite of, but BECAUSE of dyslexia.

Parents, teachers and students (later grade school age and up) are encouraged to attend this discussion with local, successful adults who struggled with dyslexia throughout their schooling years, yet have found success in their careers. Hear their personal stories, learn some of their coping mechanisms and be inspired by how they became successful in a world of print.

Participants include: Dr. Brooks Edwards, Director, Transplant Center, Mayo Clinic; Lisa Stelzner, Senior Account Manager, Tempus Nova; Donn Sorensen, President, Mercy East Regional Medical Center