2015 Goals Status Update

It’s already April. Four months into the new year. How did that happen? Since we’re about a quarter of the way into 2015, I thought I’d go back and look at the goals I set for the year.
1. Focus on one thing at a time. I had lots of ideas floating around my head at the beginning of the year, but I knew before I got myself into anything, I needed to finish studying (and pass) a big test (2 parts) for work. I can proudly say that after 16 months of on and off studying, I have passed both tests and I am free to move on with my life. I can now read, catch up on Scandal and blog without feeling guilty about not studying. To say I’m thrilled is an understatement. And  All. The. Home. Projects.
2. Read one Book a Month. Has not happened yet (see above!). If anyone has any good book recommendations, please feel free to send them my way! The last good book I read was ‘Heart of The Matter’ by Emily Giffin. I hear she has a new book out!
3. Get more sleep. This has slightly improved. But needs to get better. I find that tracking my sleep on my activity tracker actually makes it a little bit more fun. I feel like I’m always in competition with myself to get more sleep than the night prior.
garminsleep4. Take a Photography class. I’m all signed up and ready for my 4 week camera course at a local camera store. I can’t wait!
 5. Set a new PR in my half marathon. Last year, I ran a lot. Between training for a few halfs and a full, I think I mentally and physically burnt myself out. This year I decided that I would just run when I wanted to-not when I had to, and to run for the pure joy of it. No goals for myself. Just get out there and run.
6. Stay passionate about cooking, nutrition and fitness. This has been about the same, which I guess was the goal :-) I signed up for my first Blue Apron order. I can’t wait to make my first meal and tell you guys about it.
7. Successfully Complete The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Done! And I felt absolutely wonderful afterward! I think round 2 might be in the near future.
8. Complete one race or try out a new to me workout class each month. I’ve tried out two new classes so far this year so I’m two for two on this goal. I attended my first Pure Barre class and I tried out a new Crossfit gym while I was deployed.
9. Stay more organized (with my Erin Condren Planner!) in my day & spend more quality time with Madelyn. I was really good about tracking my food in my planner while on the 21DSD, but since then I’ve been lacking and keeping track more via myfitnesspal. I don’t really track calories in myfitnesspal but more of the nutrient requirements to make sure I’m getting enough protein, carbs, healthy fats, etc throughout the day. As for spend more time with Madelyn? Done. Have I mentioned how much I love the age of 2? Sure she has her moments and major meltdowns. But there’s nothing better than taking her to go see Disney Princesses at the Domes and having her say “Thank you mama for taking me.” She’s the sweetest, funniest, most loving little girl and every day she does/says something that amazes me. Her little brain is a sponge that doesn’t turn off (especially at nap time). Our days have been spent at the zoo, running around playgrounds and playing puzzles on the living room floor. We even talked about taking her to her first baseball game this summer since she’s currently obsessed with Miller Park. That game should be interesting!
What goes have you accomplished so far this year? What are you hoping to achieve in 2015? I really want to finish up my collage wall for our living room. I have some pretty cool frames and art pieces and I’m trying to figure out how to tie them all together before I go and hammer nails into our walls!

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:
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.

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

Get Lucky Chicago Recap

I am happy to announce that I survived a 1/2 marathon with very minimal train (6 miles was my longest training run-on a treadmill) and while breaking the rule-“nothing new on race day” and I have very little soreness today.

My mom and I completed the Get Lucky Chicago 1/2 marathon yesterday.  It was my 5th one and her first.


I was very nervous for this race for severals reasons:  the weather in the Midwest has been less than stellar for outside running, so most of my running was done on a treadmill.  I had only trained up to 6 miles when the normal amount is 10.  I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my mom since she did properly train.  Needless to say, I am grateful that muscle memory kicked in and I was able to complete the race with my mom.  Today we both said that we will do longer runs on the weekends so that we don’t lose any base training for upcoming races.

Weekend Details

We drove down to Chicago on Friday afternoon with two of my mom’s friends who were also doing the race with us.  We stayed at the Congress Hotel, which was Team Ortho’s host hotel.  It was an ideal location because packet pickup was right at the hotel and there was a shuttle for us on race day to take us to the starting line since it was about a 20 minute drive away.  After we picked up our packets, we walked down to Garmin to say hi to my friend Kristine and then it was off to Eataly for some carb loading.  I decided on pizza-it was pretty amazing.  After dinner, we ventured downstairs to check out the desserts.

eatalydessertsWe took a cab back to our hotel and spent the rest of the evening getting our gear ready to go and catching up on Runner’s World magazine.  I was in bed by 8:45 and it felt great :-)

Race Day

We walked to closest Starbucks and hopped on the shuttle at 7:30.  The race started in Jackson park, near the Museum of Science and Industry.  I was excited to run a new part of the lakefront path.  When we lived in Chicago, I usually ran more north of museum campus so it was nice to see the skyline coming from the south.

We got to the race pretty early, so hung out, stretched and beat the long port a potty lines :-)


At 9 am we were on our way!  I told my mom from the beginning that I would be staying her pace the entire time.  We started off at comfortable pace.  I kept one ear bud out so that I could talk with my mom and communicate with other runners if I needed to.  It was a great idea since there was ice on the path and runners ahead of you would yell out “Ice” so that you were aware of what was ahead.  The path was also very narrow, so it was nice to be able to hear if other runners behind you were trying to pass.

The course was an out and back and I was little surprised to see the turn around point at around mile 5.  It wasn’t until about mile 7 that my mom wanted to stop and walk for about a minute.  It was then that I started to feel my quads cramp up.  We ran the rest of the course and maybe stopped for walking breaks about 3 more times.  Even though it can be difficult to run at someone else’s pace, I’m really glad that I stayed with my mom.  It was nice to be able to have someone to talk to and keep your mind distracted.  While I was motivating her, I really actually just trying to keep myself motivated.  The race was route was really well laid out, until the end.  There was one point where we ran past the finish line, saw mile marker 13 and still had to keep running.  I was not a fan and it totally messed me up mentally.  That last mile was a tough one.  My Garmin was right on track with the mile markers until about mile 10, then it became slightly off, but still close enough.  At the end of our race, my Garmin told me I ran 12.95 miles in 2:18 minutes.

I’m so proud of my mom and the timing we got for her first 1/2!  She’s addicted :-)  This was my first time running with compression socks from PRO Compression and my calves feel awesome today!  Normally, my calves are what bother me the most after a long run because I tend to run more on my toes.  I’m not sure if it was the compression socks or the fact that it was a nice and easy pace, but my legs feel great today and I will definitely be wearing these for all longer runs.

The Get Lucky Chicago 1/2 marathon was a great way to start off the 2014 racing season. My goal is keep logging longer runs on the weekend and to earn a new 1/2 marathon PR at my next run which is the Rock n Sole on June 14th!



My Favorite Fitness Apps

Happy New Year!  How did you celebrate?  We went to dinner and then went to my sister’s for  NYE house party-if you’re going to go out, house parties are the best option in my opinion.  Things got a little cray and I woke up with a slight headache New Year’s day.  Not my intention at all, BUT I did manage to drag myself out of bed and head to Barre Bee Fit: I wanted to start the year off on a good note ;-)  And guess what?  I felt much better after a sweat session!
So, I finally finished reading Gone Girl. OH MY GOD!  This book was a page turner and kept me up last night waaaayy past my bedtime just so I could finish it.  The ending?  You either love it or hate it.  I was dissapointed at first until I read the author’s explanation and it made total sense.  There’s a movie coming out in October 2014 starring Ben Affleck-I can’t wait for that.
So now that we’ve got our 2014 goals in place, I thought I’d talk about some of my favorite health and fitness apps.  I love discovering new apps that help make life a little easier {Chase lets us deposit checks right from our phone-I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in a bank}.  I’ve listed a few of my favorites here and hopefully you’ll find something new-to-you that will help you stay healthy this year.
1. MyFitnessPal.  It’s a free online calorie and food tracker.  You can sync up with you facebook friends or contacts and send each other motivational messages too.  Their food database is HUGE!  Be careful though, users can add in nutrtional information and sometimes it can be inaccurate.
2. Water Your Body.  Is drinking more water on your list for the year?  This app is GREAT for keeping track of your fluid intake.  You can even set up your phone to send you reminders to drink throughout the day.  Coffee, water & tea all count…wine does not ;-)
3. Healthy Out.  I just downloaded this app so I haven’t had much experience with it, but I can tell that I’m going to love it.  It’s an app that gives you restaurant recommendations and menu options based on what dietary preferences you choose.  You can choose low fat, gluten-free, lactose free, paleo, etc and it will tell you what dishes at local restaurants meet your criteria.  It also lists the nutritional information.
4. Caynax HIIT.  I’m a big fan of HIIT workouts when there are time constraints or when you just want a good, sweaty workout.  This app lets you design your own HIIT workouts and sends out a beeping noise when it’s time to change your intesity level-so there’s no having to stare at the timer throughout your workout.
5. PumpUp.  This app customizes workouts for you based on what you’re looking to accomplish.  You decide if your goal is to lose weight, get toned, build muscle, be healthy.  Then it asks your fitness level, how much time you want to spend workout, and whether you’re at home, gym or traveling.  It also asks what equipment you have available to you and then creates your own personal workout.  I love for when I don’t really know what I want to do at the gym and rather than walk around aimlessly, I have a plan of action.
6. Nike + Running.  Whenever I forget my Garmin or I turn it on and realize it’s dead, this is my go-to GPS run tracker.  I love this app.  Sometimes even better than my Garmin.  I love that your Facebook friends can send you cheers along the way, something really inspiring during those long, tough runs.  It also gives you pace and distance updates through audio and you can choose a power song if you have a song that really gets you moving.
What are some of your favorite apps, fitness or other?  I love the retail me not app and Target’s Cartwheel app!  I always manage to find coupons or save money with those :-)

Goals for 2014

It’s that time of year again: to think about 2014 and what I hope to accomplish.  2013 was a year of big events and accomplishments and I think 2014 will be a year of improvement.  Starting with a big one.

1. Marriage.  I’m not going to lie and say it was all rainbows and smiles over here…2013 was a tough year for us.  I can say that it was our most challenging year and it tested us immensely.  I was so focused on being a good mother to Madelyn while trying to maintain my own self-identity that I completely neglected my marriage and my husband.  We hit a turning point in our marriage in the middle of this year and realized that things needed to change in order for this to work.  So, my goal is to make more time for “us”, have fun, get back to where we were and try to let the little things go.  The last part is definitely not my personality, but I’m a work in progress ;-)

308853_10100227533543018_204625537_n2. Mother/Daughter dates.  Madelyn is the coolest little girl I know.  She’s so smart, it amazes me every single day.  She’s growing up WAY TOO FAST.  I wish life had a pause button sometimes.  Now that she’s a bit older and mobile, I want to make more time to do stuff with her besides shopping and grocery store trips.  I have 3 day weekends and I need to start taking more advantage of them.  I also need to get her into some kind of swim class or other sport to burn off some of her energy.  She is constantly on the go!

3. Run my fastest 1/2 marathon.  This year I earned a half-marathon PR without even trying.  Next year, I’d like to focus on getting faster and at try to run it a little bit faster.  I have a time goal in mind, but I’m keeping that to myself ;-)

4. Complete my first mud run.  When hubs did tough mudder a few years ago, I said there was absolutely no way that I would ever do one with him.  Now, I’m changing my tune :-) They look like a of fun so I’m hoping to either do Tough Mudder or another muddy obstacle course race.

5. Keep better track of what I’m eating.  I love to eat.  When I was marathon training, I didn’t track calories, but I made a more conscious effort to eat well because I noticed a difference in my running the next day if I ate crappy food the day prior.  After the marathon, that kind of fell off so I’m working at it again.  I don’t plan on counting calories, but just writing down what I eat just to make myself more aware.  There might even be a Paleo Diet challenge in the future.

6. Get Strong. Tone up. Get to my happy weight.  During marathon training, I lost 10 pounds.  I’ve since gained some of it back but I’m okay with that.  I’m still about 10 pounds lighter than when I got pregnant with Madelyn.  I’m not so much focused on the number of the scale as much as I am focused on feeling and looking my best.  This year, I want to tone up and get stronger.

7. Take a camera class and learn how to use my camera.  When I found out I was pregnant with Madelyn, we bought a fancy SLR camera.  I know how to point and shoot.  That is it.  Because I know that camera is capable of so much more, I’m planning on taking a camera class this year to learn how to use it to its full potential.

8.  Travel more.  Every year Larry and I travel somewhere for our anniversary.  We do this instead of buying presents.  Our first year was to Door County and last year was to Michigan for wine tasting.  I’d like to get out of the Midwest this next year.  No set plans yet, so we’ll see.  I do know that a trip to Memphis is in the books for my sister in law’s bachelorette party!  Can’t wait for that :-)

9. NASM personal training certification.  Back in October, I bit the bullet and decided to start studying for my personal training certification.  There are so many out there to choose from but at the end of the day I decided to go with NASM.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet.  I have a few grand ideas floating around in my head.  For now, I’d love to teach a fitness class a couple nights a week, but we’ll see what happens.  I’m taking it one step at a time.

Any fun plans for this evening? Tonight we’re going to an early dinner and then heading over to my sister’s house for a NYE party.  Nothing too crazy :-)


Christmas with the Campbells

IMG_2398Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I hope you celebrated the holidays surrounded by the people you love and care about most.  I’ve had the past five days off of work and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by.  I wish that all companies could shut down between Christmas and New Years.  That would be nice :-)

Our Christmas started on Sunday with a trip down to Chicago to celebrate with my in-laws.  We were expecting it to just be us, larry’s two sisters and their significant others but when we walked in, we were greeted by 20 other family members.  It was a nice surprise to see all of his cousins, aunts and uncles, since we don’t get to see them too often.

On Tuesday, I started my morning off with a workout at Barre Bee Fit, headed to a doctor’s appointment, did some last minute grocery shopping, came home and got ready for church and Christmas eve at my mom’s house.  Madelyn hung out at daycare until about 1pm.  It just made it easier with the doctor’s appointment and shopping.  I plan on taking off of work New Years’ Eve and spending the day doing something fun with her.  We met my uncle and aunt at my mom’s house, had some drinks and appetizers and headed to church.

After church, we came home, ate dinner and opened up presents.  My mom made a prime rib roast, asparagus, mashed potatoes along side a glass of wine.  Everything was amazing.  Madelyn lucked out in the present department this year, even though she was more interested in playing with her old toys instead of opening her new ones.



She also was a fan of hiding on us and playing peek-a-boo…


Santa was good to me as well.  I got this bag from lululemon along with some running socks and some other odds and ends :-)

We celebrated Christmas Day by opening gifts with Madelyn.  While we were trying to get her to open her duplo blocks, she was more interested in the pen that was on the table :-) We still had fun with her this year, but I’m looking forward to when she gets to be a little bit older and gets really excited for Christmas.  While I cooked up brunch for my family, Larry got to work assembling toys and putting batteries in where they needed to go.

I made an egg bake with mushrooms, onions, spinach, garlic, bacon, goat gouda and goat cheddar.  I seasoned it with Thyme, Rosemary, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and added in 1 cup of soy milk and 3 tbsp on flour.  It turned out really good.  So good in fact that I forgot to snap any food pictures today because I was more concerned about eating :-) I served that along side some polish sausage, fruit, Kringles and cinnamon roll french toast bake—AMAZING!  This french toast bake was super easy and was incredibly delicious.  This definitely goes into a Sunday brunch rotation :-)

Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to focus on getting back on track with healthy eating and setting goals for 2014!  Last year, I posted my 2013 goals.  While I accomplished most of them, there are still a few that are a work in progress :-)

I’ll be back this week to talk about 2013 highlights, goals and other fun stuff!

I hope Santa was good to you all as well ;-) 


Marathon Virgin No Longer

There’s something to be said about your first time.  You’re nervous, excited and scared.  You don’t know what to expect.  What will it feel like?  What if I don’t finish?  How do I keep from going too fast too soon?  Did I prepare enough?  The marathon distance can be very intimidating for a first-timer, but the high you experience when you reach the finish line is unlike any other.  And just like with anything else, it gets better with time and practice ;-) (Or so I hear…)
finisherLooking back at my months of training, I can honestly say that I did not give my training 100%.  There were times when I’d adjust the mileage and skip out on the occasional buildup run-once when I was on our anniversary trip to Michigan and also the weekend of Madelyn’s first birthday.  If I could do it over again, there are some things I’d do differently-both in preparation and on race day.
  1. Follow the marathon plan you’ve chosen.  Bart & Hal know a thing or two about marathon training.  It’s okay to move your long run around (doing it on Sunday instead of Saturday), but if you want to be successful, don’t skimp out on mileage.
  2. Get serious about nutrition.  During marathon training, I was not a carb queen much to my surprise.  I did eat relatively healthy but my breakfast before most of my workouts consisted of coffee, water and a banana.  Post workout would be a protein shake.  No good for those longer runs.  The week before the marathon, I loaded up on the good carbs as best as I could.  Next time I’ll plan out my pre & post run meals/protein & carb ratios out a little better.
  3. Have a hydration plan in place and use it on those long practice runs. Toward the end, I switched over to Endurolyte tablets by Hammer.  I liked them because they were just little electrolyte capsules I could just chug with water or Gatorade and I didn’t have to worry about carrying chews or trying to suck down a gel packet.  I used them a few times on my practice runs and my system worked well.  However, you tend to forget about replenishing your electrolytes when you’re running the streets of Chicago, high on life.  There were a few times when I’d pass by a water stop, chug my water and continue on my way without even giving my electrolytes a second thought.  Do whatever you can to try and remember to get the proper nutrition in during the race.
  4. Don’t forget your sunglasses/visor/hat.  The whole time I trained, I wore either my sunglasses or visor and low and behold, on race day I left both of them in hubs’ car.  Don’t do that.  Squinting is no fun, it causes headaches and wrinkles.  The last thing you want to do is weave in and out of the course to get to the shadier spots.  Which brings me to my next point.
  5. STUDY your race course and hug the corners as best you can.  A few weeks prior to race day, Larry posted this article stating that if runners don’t hug the corners of the courses 36 turns, they could possibly add up to a half mile to their race.26.8miles
  6. Set multiple goals for yourself.  You never know what can happen on race day and if you only set one goal (i.e. a finish time) and you don’t achieve it, it will take away from the awesomeness that was just accomplished.  Look back at your training.  You had good days and not so great days.  The same thing can happen when it comes to marathon time.  Not to mention other things you can’t control.  Like the weather.  Or the sun.  Goal #1 for me was just to finish.  Goal #2 was to finish in under 5 hours.  Goal #2 didn’t happen, but I did achieve my main goal and now, I can take everything I learned and put it into practice when it comes time for marathon numero 2.
  7. Write your name somewhere visible on yourself.  I wish I would’ve done this!! I saw lots of people with iron ons, bright tape & black sharpie (if you don’t want to ruin a shirt), and people who wrote their names on their arm with sharpies.  Strangers will call out your name and cheer you on during the race and it’s really motivating.
  8. ENJOY every single moment!  The marathon was honestly the fastest 5 hours of my life.  There will be times on the course when you’re on top of the world one mile and the next mile, you’re hating life, questioning your sanity and wondering why you thought this was a good idea.  Then you’ll hear Ray Charles singing America the Beautiful as you approach the finish and realize that those few miles of agony were totally and utterly worth it.