Nov 10, 2013

One of the biggest steps in preparing to run a race for me is getting my music ready. I like to really think about how I pace myself throughout and divide my playlist into: steady ramp up, zone-out, and what I like to call: 'bring my ass to the finish' sections.

Music is such a personal thing, and I'm sure my taste and preferences are probably way random, but I always appreciate finding new tunes from fellow friends and runners, and am happy to share what keeps me motivated. The genres for this last race were quite varied- from pop/remixes, latin hip-hop, arabic, new age, and rap.

My race this weekend was a success. I'm a bit bugged I didn't get right behind the sub 2hour pacer at the start, instead of starting in the back of the pack like I always do, but I still finished strong with a time of 2:08. I didn't work on speed training at all for it, but I am definitely motivated and am finally ready to get the last of this weight off, get stronger, and start to focus on shaving minutes of my times. I'll be hitting the gym hard this winter, with hopes to start training for another race in the spring.

Click HERE for the free download, and I hope you enjoy! xx

(Note: the playlist isn't in the order I used, but you can order/supplement them with your own stuff)
Oct 26, 2013

It's been almost three years since my last full marathon. Three years! So much has happened since then. Blogging and writing was such a huge part of my training-- so often on those long runs along the beautiful oceanfront, I would literally have to chase my words back home and write them down. I had so much to say about life and my experiences at that time, and I learned so much about myself as I got so many opportunities to reflect.

I'm definitely in a different space with my training than I was back then. And while my steps along the boardwalk feel all too familiar, I rarely chase words anymore. At first that fact scared me, because the inspiration that I'd find was incredibly comforting.

This time around, things are just different. I'm different. Running highs are few and far between, and I've really had to dig deep to find motivation to even get out the door, let alone keep going at mile 12. I think it's funny that sometimes we are afraid of new or different experiences. I loved training for my last marathon, and I kept wanting this experience to be the same. But how can it? I can't go back, and I shouldn't want to.

Today I woke up and went out for a 9 miler. I unexpectedly caught a high about 3 miles in. It was so funny, because when it came and by the time I realized it was there, in my head I'm thinking..."Yayy! It's here! How can I hold onto this??"  For a few seconds I was frantically trying to think of ways to keep the feeling around.

Luckily, I've grown a bit as a person and a runner, and had the sense to stop myself before the moment passed and I missed its gorgeousness. I knew that the only thing I could do in that moment was to smile and enjoy it. It sounds so cliche, but it was huge for me. I gave up my attempts to control, and just hung out and let go. There are no real ways of holding onto anything, really. The very best things in life are fleeting.

So, I shook off the notion of trying to contain the feeling and finally allowed it to simply pass through me. I took a deep breath and truly savored how amazing it is when everything is aligned. My breath. My pace. My heartbeat. The music in my ears. As I felt the moment leaving, I continued to smile with gratitude, looked up and noticed a sad looking lady sitting on a bench. We made eye contact, and I passed my smile on to her. It was really beautiful.

There's a quote by Lao Tzu that I love.

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present."

There have been a several times in my life that I have been wrapped up in moments. Some of the darkest moments come to mind, as well as a few of the most dizzyingly amazing ones where it felt like my heart would burst. The commonality of them all was the fact that I have always tried to control them as they are happening to me. To change or run away from the bad, or desperately hold onto the good. Through my runs, I've learned that this is a serious waste of time. My worst runs on record aren't so bad in the scheme of things. Each one has been an opportunity to learn, grow, and exercise gentleness and patience with myself.

And in those most unexpected moments when the running gods decide to give me a great mile or two, I now know to breathe deep and smile.


Sep 9, 2013
Hello! It's midweek for those of us who start our workweek on Sunday, and so far, it's been full of hard to believe stuff for our family, both good and bad. Having a crew of 5 means, it's never a dull day!

I am thrilled to share with you another post from my Love Where You Live series. Next up, is a new friend, Nicki Storey, a hair and makeup artist, living in Positano. She reached out, and I'm so glad she did. What an incredible place to live!! If you're interested in contributing to this series, please e-mail me at kera.thompson@gmail.com with the subject line, Love Where You Live.

Fifteen years ago I decided to spend the summer in Positano, Italy. I wanted to learn the language and I thought I would return to London at the end of the season, but I was having way too much fun to leave. A while later I met Carlo and after a couple of years our daughter Skye was born and then I realized I was here to stay.
Positano is a small village perched precariously on the mountainside of the Amalfi Coast. Years ago it was a sleepy fishing village but slowly tourism has taken over, although I don't think much of the original charm has been lost. You can still sit on the pier watching the fishermen bring in the days catch and we often enjoy sitting there with friends as the sun goes down, sharing a pizza and watching the boats come and go.
One of our favourite things to do is explore the coastline by kayak. We used to take Skye along, balanced on top of one of our yellow kayaks but in the last couple of years she has grown and now has her own little canoe. We often paddle along the coast, stopping to swim in translucent bays and caves with magical blue water.         
                       
We recently moved from a rented apartment in the centre of town to a property owned by Carlos family. Most people are shocked when we tell them that there are 465 steps down to our house from road level, but it is so beautiful there that it makes the climb worthwhile.
Our house is set in a valley, surrounded by olive groves. We have gardens around the house but in typical Italian style the land is solely used for growing food to provide for the family. This summer I have been constantly amazed by the amount of vegetables and fruit our garden has provided. I've started challenging myself to create meals using as much homegrown produce as possible.

In the early evenings Skye and I enjoy taking the dog (and cat who tags along too) for a walk out of the valley into the olive groves overlooking the sea. We sit there, under an old carob tree watching the animals play and admiring the view. It feels like paradise after a day on the busy beach.


I am a make up artist and the Amalfi Coast is a big wedding destination in the summer. I love the fact that I often get to see inside the big old hotels and villas where the brides stay. The Italian architecture and design can be absolutely breathtaking.

In Italy food is very important! We love eating out and also now that we have the space, inviting friends over for dinner at our place. In the summer we often have lunch at little beach bars which you can find all along the coast, Fresh fish, mozzarella grilled on lemon leaves and big fresh salads are some of our favourites.
When the season is over on Sundays all the family get together at Nonnas house for a big lunch. (Carlo is one of 5 brothers, all with families, so it can get quite hectic!) It's tradition to stop at the local bar and pick up a tray of delicious pastries to take for dessert.
I never planned to live in Italy but I am glad it happened. I never tire of the amazing views and I am always reminding myself that if I was in London I wouldn't be able to go sea kayaking in my lunchbreak!

 For more amazing posts in this series, click HERE.




Aug 26, 2013
Vintage Hmong Pillow -Sm Boudoir-
Dark Indigo Vintage Hmong Pillow -Large Boudoir-
Light Indigo Vintage Hmong Pillow -Large Boudoir-

I just wanted to show you what I've been working on in my shop! Interwoven has really seen a lot of success so far, and I'm so grateful. I've always had a passion for textiles and design, and this little business has been something I've always dreamt about pursuing. It's wonderful to see that my clients are liking my finds from around the world, and I feel truly blessed and excited to do what I do everyday.

Follow me on instagram: @interwoven, for sneak peaks, discount codes, and announcements.

xx
Aug 18, 2013
E, 15 months.

I'm sitting here at my computer as Owen and Elena play in the playroom. The sounds of the springs of the trampoline and Elena's sweet ramblings as she reads to herself, accompany me while I type. Asher's new fascination is drawing, and he currently sits downstairs drawing his latest masterpiece. He hums to himself, and these days, is never without a drawing pad and marker.

My back hurts and my neck is a little tense from motherhood lately. This mantle is upon me full force, and interestingly enough, it's a new feeling. Our helper, Tsega has been gone on holiday for a little over a week now, and I feel it most in my back. The surprising thing about her being gone though, is that I've felt more alive and fulfilled in this role than I have in a long time. With each scrub of a dirty breakfast dish, each pass of the vacuum... with every toilet I clean, and clothes I hang from the wash, I feel very vividly, the blessings of this small service I provide to my family. It's a truly surreal feeling, but I realize and more fully appreciate the peace and joy that can come from running a household. It is a job that takes strategy, planning, real effort, and an insane amount of patience. And that's just to keep them alive. To keep their spirit's nourished? That's a whole other story. Sure, having help is great, and Mac would much rather relax on a Saturday, than help me with chores, but we have each commented on how much more engaged and present we feel with the children.

Tsega has been so good since Elena's arrival, always being there to take her when she's fussy, and an excellent pair of extra hands. She's almost too good. I'm always saying I don't know what I'd do without her. She usually keeps one or more of the littles if I have errands to run, but now, it's just us. The five of us have to pile in the car in this crazy heat to do even the smallest thing, and I've had to relearn the art of juggling. The heat radiates as I buckle children in their seats, toss the keys over to the front, quickly pack bags and strollers in the back, all while my hair blows and sticks to my face. I have to breathe deeply in those moments. Memories of the days before I had help, and even a car, come back... and a smile forms at the thought of dragging the boys anywhere and everywhere with me in the jogger, and piling bags of groceries on top of them after a shop.

I know that most mothers who've been raising children and scrubbing toilets without assistance would probably laugh at this, and I myself, know that I won't be having spiritual experiences while cleaning for much longer, but the truth is, I never placed much value in myself as a mother. I knew that the role was important, and I'm continually inspired by mothers like her and her, but I never really felt anything significant when it came to what I could contribute. I always felt like this role was something that fell in my lap- not something I was called to do. My feelings have changed, however.

My family needs me. They need me to be my best self. And while road to that self is long and littered with bumps, I'm realizing that my family is the vehicle to take me to that place. My service allows for a safe and peaceful place in which my family can learn and grow. The time I take to bathe and dress and feed them and simply be with them, are opportunities to teach them to be good listeners, communicators, and humans. And every second spent serving them, I become better, myself. My role is important, and even though I've done these simple tasks for almost seven years now, I am just realizing their true and eternal value.

This is no way means that I don't miss date night, however.


Aug 13, 2013
Bonjour! Today we have another great post from a new friend and fellow blogger, Myla. Her family is gorgeous and living the life during the summers in Normandy, France. Check out her neighborhood below. If you're interested in contributing to this series, email me with the subject line, Love Where You Live- kera.thompson@gmail.com

Hi, Kera Thompson's fans and friends! I am so glad to participate in this series. It has helped me focus on the good and be more grateful for the things we tend to take for granted. I want to share with you a little part of Normandy, France, where we have a little cottage and spend our summer months and holidays. Why Normandy, France? Well, it happened to be that I am married to a Frenchman who has strong ties to his roots and also comes from a region not too far from Normandy. Our two daughters, Chiara and Ines, now get to enjoy the tradition of coming here every summer and making their own childhood memories. Our favorite beach is in Deauville with all its colorful parasols. It is town full of history, known for thoroughbred horse racing and also the place where Coco Chanel set up her very first shop. Though the beach can be really far during low tide, I like the fact that there's plenty of sand and you do not have to feel claustrophobic because everyone is so close to you. 

Our favorite stop after the beach is at the ice cream shop Martine Lambert. A long-standing Deauville establishment that opened in 1977, Martine Lambert serves delicious ice cream and sorbet made with Norman crème fraîche and fresh milk. My personal faves are rum raisin, mint and pistacchio. 
Deauville's twin sister is Trouville where we like to eat and try different Norman specialties and seafood. Le Central has excellent moules frites (mussels and fries) and steak tartare. 
Another beautiful town that is not too far from Deauville and Trouville is Honfleur. It has an idyllic and quaint port where Claude Monet used to come and paint. Around the port are shops, restaurants and galleries that are fun to visit.
It also has a classic French carousel that my daughters have gone on since they were babies. Going on the carousel is a must for them every time we are in Honfleur. 
A recent find for us is the store La Chocolaterie, which is full of local sweets and sea-salt caramel goodies. I actually have seen this store for awhile and had tried my best not to step inside. But alas, my sweet tooth took over my willpower this summer. 




Girls with their dear friend, Emma

Please come and visit us in Normandy one day. Thanks for letting me participate in this series!

For more amazing posts in this series, click HERE.


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Hello! So glad you're here. This is my little space to blog about life, love, and being a mom on the run. I'm an American girl married to a super cute boy. We're LDS and we've got three little monkeys that we love on pretty hard. I run a little shop called Interwoven where I curate fancy rugs. My family and I live in Abu Dhabi- the land of sand, shawarmas, and Lamborghinis. We are hoping you stick around and share in our little adventure! Ahlan wa Sahlan!
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