Sunday Night Photo Dump

Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone had a terrific weekend.  It never seems long enough.  Here are some photos from this week…

#Bookclub.   Someone at work recommended this and it’s a great book!  I highly recommend it to all women and moms. 

bookclub

#Hurtssogood.  Foam rolling is back in my life.  My legs are thanking me.   

foamrolling

Thai Food fortune cookie.  Time will tell how true this is. fortune

#Ontherun. My view from this weekend’s 11 miler training run. lighthouse

Home grown.  Zucchini bread and pickles are in my future. 

produce 

We spent the weekend at MKE Brew Fest, Brady Street Fest and helping my sister move.  It was a great weekend, but as always, it went by so quickly!!  I’m looking forward to the week, The Bacon Run and celebrating my cousin’s last single night out next weekend :-)  

Motivating Others

Fitness-Motivational-Quotes-I-Dont-Stop-When-Im-Tired-I-Stop-When-Im-Tired

A few months ago, I came across this article on Runner’s World website.  It was a debate about whether or not you should offer encouragement to other runners on a race course.

Each runner on the course has a personal goal, but we all have one goal in common: to cross that finish line.  I always felt like offering someone words of encouraging and motivating people was the thing to do, until it came back to slap me in the face.

I was at the tail end of the Chicago Marathon.  I knew this part of the course well because I had lived near it for two years.  We were approaching the corner of Roosevelt and Michigan and I knew the finish line was up over a hill and to the left.  The adrenaline had started to kick in as I got closer and closer.  I remember passing by a few runners and saying, “We did it, we’re almost done!” Not so much to keep them motivated, but to keep my own spirits up.  One girl (who was walking) was not so receptive.  She started yelling at me, saying that she was very familiar with the course and that she knows where the finish line was.  That shut me up quickly and I just kept running.  Since then, I have kept my motivating words to myself.

Last weekend, I was doing a marathon build up run with the Badgerland Striders.  We were approaching the end of our 10 miler and had a slow climb up the hill near UW-Milwaukee.  My goal was just to keep running as long as I could.  I got about 1/2 way up the hill before my legs (I thought) couldn’t do it anymore.  I had started to walk, got a few steps into it before I had a fellow strider say something to me, “We’re almost done, you have a 1/2 mile left you can finish this strong.”  She was right.  I had already run 9.5 miles what’s another half mile?  Instead of yelling at the runner, I said thank you and finished out the rest of my training run in a near sprint.  It was the words that I needed to hear to give myself that extra push.

So when it comes to running, or life in general, where do you stand on the motivation issue?  Would you rather people just keep to themselves or do you enjoy having a complete stranger come up and motivate you to finish strong?  

Rock N Sole 1/2 Marathon Recap & a PR

I hope everyone had a great week!  I decided to take a break from my busy life and sit down and write a race recap.  Last Saturday I ran my 6th {and best!}  half marathon.  A co-worker of mine and I have been “training” for the Rock n Sole Run in Milwaukee.  I use the term “training” loosely because I didn’t really stick to a plan this time around but I did make sure to get a few longer runs in there.  The longest run I did was 10 miles and that was the week before our race.  I didn’t have any real expectations for this race, given the winter we had.  My goal was just to go, have fun and do the best that I could.   RnS Half 2014This was my second year participating in the Rock n Sole Run.  Last year, I ran the quarter marathon.  The course was very different this time around, but it was a major improvement.  We started in the Third Ward, ran south toward Bay View, came up the Hoan Bridge from the south end, down Lincoln Memorial drive, up Lafayette hill, back around the Oak Leaf trail, back down the hill by UWM, south on Lincoln Memorial drive until the finish.  The course had a few serious hills but also had some nice declines where I was able to make up my time.  The Hoan bridge was by far the worst climb.  It was an uphill climb for about a mile, after we made it over the bridge, I turned to Jen and said the “worst part is over”.  She reminded me that we still had to run up Lafayette hill.  Although that one’s steep, it’s really short so in my mind I’d rather take the short and intense hill over the long uphill one.  I lost my running partner at the decline from the bridge.  I always use the momentum on hills to guide me down faster, whereas she keeps the same speed-something we already knew about our running styles going into this race.  We said from the beginning that we’d stay with each other as long as we can, but if one gets ahead, it’s not a big deal.  The course flattened out on Lincoln Memorial drive as we ran past the Calatrava and along the lake front.  Even after the run up the bridge, my legs felt really good.  I looked down at my watched and saw that I was averaging 9:18 min/mile.  Something that I’ve never done for a half marathon.  I thought about slowing down because I didn’t want to burn out but I was already 1/2 way through the race so I just kept with it.
RNS SplitsBefore I got to Lafayette hill, I started to slow my pace because I knew what was coming (the awesome advantage of being very familiar with the course!).  As I ran up it, I shortened my stride and took my time.  I felt my legs start to tighten up and my breathing became short.  I made it up that hill without having to stop and walk but at the top of it I told myself that I needed to slow down my pace and get my breathing under control otherwise I was in a for a tough finish. I slowed down for about a block or two, got my breathing under control and was back at it for about a 9:14 min mile.  As I was running on the Oak Leaf trail and I kept thinking about my running partner and how I wished we could’ve kept pace with each other.  Just as I was about to head downhill back toward Lincoln Memorial Drive, I felt a tap on my shoulder…it was Jen!  I was so thrilled that she caught up to me!  As we were making our way downhill I told her to just let the momentum carry you down…like running downhill when we were kids!  It worked and she was able to keep up with me for the rest of the race.  I looked down at my watch and knew that I was right on pace for earning a PR.  Shortly after mile 10 I spotted some port-o-johns.  I had been needing to use the restroom from about mile 4 and couldn’t hold out any longer.  I told Jen to just go ahead and that I would catch up to her.  I finally caught up to her when we had a 1/2 mile left to go.  I finished the race in 2:03:54, shaving about 7 minutes off my best time.
time

              Time for a mani!

The race as a whole was very organized.  I ran with my own water belt, but there seemed to be enough aid stations, port-o-pottys and entertainment along the way.  The only thing I could recommend that they do differently is to have a cover over the gated bridges…I hate running over those!  Also, at the start of the race, I saw a girl fall into a construction hole…the cone wasn’t enough of a warning to keep her from taking a tumble.  Luckily, she was okay.  All in all, it was a great race and I’d be back for it again next year.  The course was beautiful and the weather was perfect…everything you need a great race!
And of course there was beer and live music at the finish line :-) WIN & WIN! Not a bad way to end week 1 of marathon training either.
treatspostrace

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

I’m not really sure how, but Mother’s Day really snuck up on me this year!  This is a very special Mother’s day for me since it will be my first one (physically) with Madelyn.  Last year, I was deployed and my sister did an awesome job making up for the fact that I was spending my first mother’s day away from my little peanut.

tdy1We don’t have any set plans yet this year.  Probably hanging out at my mom’s, doing the brunch thing.  But no matter what, I will be with my girl and that’s all that matters.

So what does one get that special lady in their life?  I’ve come up with some last minute gift ideas, if you’re like me and waited until the last minute ;-) Sorry mom…your gift will be wonderful I promise!

Mothers Day Gift Guide-Cooking

For Moms who Like to Cook

  1. Cook Smarts Subscription.  I’ve been using Cook Smarts now on and off for over a month now.  {Full review is coming!}  What I love most about this meal planning service, is that you have the option to make all (or some) of your meals paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian. Along with the recipes, you get your shopping list for the week-a bonus time saver :-)
  2. Spiralizer.  I’m against buying kitchen gadgets for someone unless it’s asked for, but our spiralizer gets used WEEKLY!!  I use it to make zucchini pasta and sweet potato fries.  It’s a fun little toy and it’s a good way to get the kiddos to eat their veggies.
  3. A gift certificate to a local cooking class.
  4. Subscription to a cooking magazine.  Every year my grandma gifts with a renewal to Taste of Home.  I love it because it’s not something I’d normally do for myself.

new mamas gift guideGifts for the New Mama or Mama to Be

  1. A personalized necklace. I love this one from Etsy because you can add to it as your family expands.  You probably won’t get it in time for Mother’s Day, but it is a very nice gesture :-)
  2. Cute flats.  For the mom who thinks she has to give up wearing cute shoes during pregnancy.
  3. Your time.  Giving a new mom, or mom to be (especially with another little one at home) the gift of time is wonderful.  Offer to babysit so that she can get out of the house and do whatever her heart desires or if she just wants to go in her room and take a nap uninterrupted.  It will be the most thoughtful gift you can give :-) 

spa and beauty mothers day gift guideSomething for the Mama who Likes to Primp

  1. A subscription to Birchbox.  For the moms who enjoy product samples and trying new beauty products.  I’ve been subscribing to Birchbox for about 3 months now and I’ve been really happy with all my samples so far.  I’ve tried a lot of new products and have bought a few full-size products.
  2. Nail Polish.  I typically like to make themed gifts and would add the nail polish in with some nail files or a clear coat polish or two.  
  3. A gift certificate for a Mani/Pedi.  You can never go wrong with this as a gift…no matter who your mother is :-)

For Mos who Like to Sweat

 

  1. Subscription to a fitness magazine.  You can find a magazine for just about any sport.  From running, to biking and yoga.
  2. A gift card to a fitness apparel store.  Shopping at higher end athletic stores, like Lululemon and Athleta are always a special treat and one that’s appreciated by mom’s who like to workout.
  3. A class pack or gift card to their favorite workout studio.
  4. An activity tracker.  If I could go back in time, (I would’ve never lost my fitbit!) I would’ve chosen a Garmin Vivo.  It has everything I could ever ask for in an activity tracker, including the option to track your heart rate during exercise activities.

Any plans for Mother’s Day?  What are you gifting your mom with this year? 

 

Weekend Happenings

Happy Tuesday!  I got an extended weekend this week…I’m home sick today :-/  Being sick on a nice, sunny day is the absolute worst.  But I’m taking advantage of having an empty, quiet house by relaxing and catching up on some reading.

This past Sunday, Madelyn and I met my sister and her friend at Colectivo for Maker Market.  We browsed some local vendors and I picked up some handmade soap from Cloud Nine Soap Co.

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This is my first experience with handmade soap and I loved it.  It left my skin feeling super soft and clean.  Added bonus, the soap had a very mild, but pleasant smell to it.  I’m going to definitely check out more of their products next time I come across their stand at a market.

After the market, we headed to Home Depot to get some things for our yard.  I got some hanging flower baskets and hubs got grass seed and straw.  Hopefully, we seeded correctly and we will have grass by this summer!  Our yard has come a LONG way and I’m excited to see it when it’s all finished.  IMG_2624Although we spent a lot of time in the yard this weekend, we also found some time to play at the park!

parkThis little monkey LOVES the park!!  This was the first time that I’ve taken her by myself and I never realized how much she loves to climb!!  She’s pretty brave too :-) We played for awhile and she fell asleep in her stroller on the walk home.  She’s at such a fun age-this summer will be filled with lots of adventures :-)

I’m off to eat some breakfast, drink some juice and hopefully kick this cold!

I Think I Did it Again…

For someone who was planning on taking a break from training this summer, my race calendar is sure filling up:
dorymeme
I have my sights set on a few half-marathons and like I said earlier in this post, I still want to focus on getting faster.  A few night ago hubs was watching Chicagoland and they were showing highlights and behind the scenes from 2013 Chicago Marathon.  I became really sad that I turned down the opportunity to run this year.  Since then, I’ve thought long and hard about my goals, what my life could like in the next year or two: this could be last year in a long time that I’ll even be able to run the marathon.  We’re not guaranteed another day, much less a year and who’s to say that I won’t be deployed next fall.  So, started looking into fundraising again for Salute, Inc.  I know that I can beat my time if I train a little smarter this time around.  I can sit here and think of a million reasons not to do it, but ultimately I’m sure I would regret it come race day.  I was talking about it with my boss a few days ago and he offered me this advice: “You know what to expect this time around and everything gets easier with more practice”.  So I came up with a training plan that I believe was attainable with my schedule and that would get me to the finish line, ran it by hubs and he said that if I want to do it, I have his support 100%.
I was still on the fence about it when I got to work today.  I was talking with a co-worker about signing up for distance races.  He was hesitating about signing up for his first half with no really great explanation not to.  Just a lot of excuses and I said to him, “Sometimes you just gotta do it without thinking, rip the bandaid off!” All the while my Team Salute application sat on my desk, filled out just waiting to get e-mailed.   What gave me the final push to “rip the bandaid off”?  This video.  It almost brought tears to my eyes.

There’s no other feeling like crossing the finish line after running 26.2 miles and enduring months of training.

My biggest hesitation about training for the marathon is the one thing I’m most proud of: My daughter.  I’m having a hard with “the mom guilt”.  Part of me feels like I should be spending every free moment I have with her since she’s growing up so quickly, but I also know that I need to make time for the things that I enjoyed prior to having her.  When I went back to work, my mom told me this: “It’s not the quantity of time you spend with her, but the quality of time that matters.”  I try to keep reminding myself of this when life outside of the home gets crazy busy.  With the way my training schedule is set up I have Sundays to give her and Larry my undivided attention.  No barre, no running.  Sundays will be designated family time this summer and I’m looking forward to it.

teamsaluteemail
Question of the day: Active Moms out there…how do you balance work, home and a training schedule?

Kinda like Christmas

Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  Ours was pretty jam packed over here: birthdays, baseball games and the discovery of a new to me running store…10 minutes from my house {DANGER!}

PROAfter work on Friday, I headed over to Performance Running Outfitters (PRO) to get fitted for running shoes.  Last time I got fitted for shoes was shortly after Madelyn was born.  I kept buying the same pair when the previous ones wore out.  This time, I wanted to talk to a professional because, since training for the marathon, my left calf and heel seem to get really tight after my runs.  The lady who helped me had me do a few exercises and then got me on the treadmill to video record my feet while I ran.  I have neutral pronation, my foot rolls in very slightly as it lands on the ground.  My running form has gotten tremendously better since the last time I got fitted for shoes so the shoes I was running in had much more stability than I actually need anymore.

After running in a few pair of shoes, I decided to go with the Saucony Guide 7…and a pair of Newtons.  I’ve been eyeing up Newton’s since my mom’s friend told me about how much she loved running in hers during the Get Lucky 1/2 Marathon.  I initially went to PRO with every intention on just getting the Newton’s, but because they’re more of a natural running shoe, there’s an adjustment period with them so I needed another shoe to rotate out.  Lucky for me PRO gives a 10% military discount and they also honor Newton’s 20% military discount.  After looking at their website a little bit more, I later found out that the woman who helped me, Jessica, was actually the owner of the store.  She was so nice and down to earth.  I’ll definitely be back for all of my running gear :-)

shoes1

Another awesome benefit of shopping at PRO?  For every $200 you spend, you get $25 back to use on your next purchase. I went back the next day and bought this $70 Brooks running jacket for $17.  It was marked down on clearance and I had my $25 to spend.  WIN!

brooksjacket

On Saturday morning, I headed out the door to break in my new Saucony’s.  I did 6 miles, out and back and my legs felt great!  A little sore, but nothing like what I’ve been experiencing.

first6milesI had my route mapped out and kept an eye on my pace the whole time.  That was the first time I focused on my pace as opposed to the distance, and I think it worked out well for me :-)

After I was done running, I had a bunch of errands to get to(including heading back to the running store!) for someone’s birthday!! Larry turned 30 this weekend and we were having a little party at our house to celebrate him.  I purchased cupcakes from Miss Cupcake and a dozen vegan cupcakes from Classy Girl cupcakes.  I picked out the “manliest” cupcakes I could find: Beer Nuts, Stout, and Maple Bacon.  The vegan cupcakes were banana with chocolate-Madelyn LOVED them and all weekend I kept hearing a little voice saying, “cupcake, cupcake!”

cupcakesHubs knew about his party, so I surprised him with an awesome gift…Cubs VS Red Sox in BOSTON!!! We’ll be heading to Beantown at the end of June and I can’t wait!  We haven’t boarded a plane for a trip since our honeymoon three years ago.  He was really excited as well.

gift

After the party, we headed out to the bars for a little bit and then woke up in the morning to get to the Brewers/Cubs game.

SOB

Note the water in Larry’s hand :-) We just can’t hang like we used to…nor do I want to :-)

It was a great weekend with awesome friends and family.  30 looks good on him if I must say so myself ;-)

I’m excited to break in my Newtons.  I think I’ll take those for a little spin on the treadmill tomorrow!

What’s your favorite piece of workout gear to go shopping for?  Nothing beats a good pair of shoes and a supportive sports bra!