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
2. 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
HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! See you in 2014!
Merry 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 ;-)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The same day that I signed
my life away up for the 2013 Chicago Marathon, I also committed to fundraising with Team Salute. Salute Inc is an organization that helps out active duty military members, veterans and their families.
As most of you know I am a military mama by day and a blogger by night.
I joined the military when I was 18, left for basic training one month after high school graduation and I had no idea where it would take me in life or who I would meet along the way. Each experience and person has shaped me in some way and in the past 10 years of serving in the Air National Guard, I have earned my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from UW-Milwaukee, I have been paid to travel to some very awesome places and the people I have met: not enough good words can be said about the people. The Guard is truly like a little family-and in my case, I spend more time during the week with my co-workers than I do my actual family.
When I chose to fundraise for Team Salute, I knew people at work would be very receptive I just wasn’t sure how receptive they would be. This was the first time I’ve ever fundraised this amount and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The amount of support I received from co-workers, family and friends has been overwhelming. When I got an e-mail notification of my first big donation from a fellow co-worker, my heart filled with gratitude and I got tears in my eyes.
Watching the donations come in the past few weeks has just been amazing. On Saturday, I surpassed my fundraising goal of $800 and I still have until Sunday, October 13th to raise money. This post isn’t a plug to get more money (although if you want to donate click here-it goes to a great cause!), I just simply wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me in one way or another. Whether it was through a donation, words of encouragement, tidbits of advice or just simply listening to me go on about my marathon training-your support has been incredible and I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.
Stay tuned: Later this week (FRIDAY!) I will be hosting a Giveaway on the blog! Check back here for the details Friday morning.
Well, today I finished my last long run before the Chicago marathon. It was a nice and easy 8 miler in the perfect weather-foggy, misty and low 60s. I would say that I’m looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday mornings, but who am I kidding? I have a 1 year old.
I can’t believe that next weekend, my 18 weeks of training will have come to an end. The marathon training will no longer consume me and I will have my freedom back! Okay, so that might be a little bit dramatic but I never realized what a sacrifice it really was until I started doing it. There were many Friday nights that I had to pass up wine nights with my sister because of a long run on Saturday. And Saturday mornings with my little munchkin have been cut short (although this week, we are for sure making up for lost time!). Even though marathon training has involved some sacrifices, I have learned a lot about myself, running, and life in general. I wouldn’t give back the last 18 weeks for anything.
1. I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to. I set a goal and I did whatever I could to accomplish it. I didn’t let the obstacles stand in my way. For that, it makes this marathon so much sweeter.
2. Never underestimate the importance of a well-fitted sports bra. Moving comfort so far as been my sports bra brand of choice. It keeps everything in place.
3. Just buy the shoes. The most important investment you’ll make during marathon training. GET FITTED and buy the shoes.
5. Yoga. Love it. Do it.
6. Learn from bad experiences.
7. Miles, no matter how many of them are walked, with the jogger count as double. That thing is a beast. And if you can push your 22lb baby up a killer hill at the end of a 8 mile run, well it counts as 16.
8. Long runs are done better with friends. Join a running group, especially for your long runs. My worst run ever was a 15 miler done all by myself. I wanted to quit, I questioned my sanity. I was a hot, sweaty mess. Run groups usually have water stops along the way and it’s nice to get out and meet some people.
11. It’s okay to adjust your training schedule. Such is life.
12. Eat like you’re going to run after. I cannot express the importance of good nutrition during marathon training. Say yes to whole, unprocessed foods and say NO to hot wings. Trust me on this one.
13. Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself. When I first started getting up there in mileage, I had some guilt about leaving Madelyn. I tried to bring her with me on as many shorter runs as I could, but I reserved Saturdays for myself and I believe that it helped me become a more patient, attentive mom. A wise woman once told me, “It’s not about the quantity of time, but the quality”.
14. No matter what place you’ve finished, you’ve won. Someone asked me once if I thought I was going to win. I laughed. They were completely serious. I will certainly not take 1st place, but I hope to finish, and for me, accomplishing this goal is winning.
15. Recovery can be torturous but totally worth it when you can walk the next day. Ice baths…we have a love/hate relationship. 16. When you run without headphones, you discover that fellow runners are very friendly. I ran with one earbud out this weekend and I couldn’t believe how many people waved and said “Good morning!” to me as we crossed paths.
17. Be observant. A new, but kind of “sad that I have to do this” game that I play when I’m running alone on a path is “Can I identify the person that just passed me in the event they turned around and attacked me?” Sad but true. It helps time go by. And makes me think out my escape route in the event that ever happened.
18. Marathon training should NOT be used as a weight-loss tool. When I started training, I was where I was pre-baby, weight-wise. Would I have liked to have lost more? Absolutely, but overall I was pretty happy where I was. Over the course of the 18 weeks, I have lost a solid 10lbs and have lost inches in my waist and my thighs. Would I recommend marathon training as a weight loss tool? NO WAY! You’ll go crazy. Especially when you’re running 15-20 miles in one day and you just want to eat everything in sight for that entire day. Besides, when you do reach your weight-loss goal mid training, what becomes your motivation to keep going?
19. Hills…they never get easier, you just get better and learn to appreciate the flatness of Chicago.
20. You can’t help but talk about your marathon training. Sorry that I’m not sorry? It pops up in random conversation (and leads to complimentary Lululemon shorts!) Other runners and fitness-minded people get it, but I’m sure some of my co-workers can’t wait for me to just run the damn thing already. Then, I will be that girl who has ran a marathon
21. Some days, silence really is golden. This weekend, the waves crashing against the shore was my background music. I can’t believe I’ve been missing that every time I run along this path.
23. Some nights, you just have to choose the wine, pizza & great conversation. It’s good for your soul.
24. You can do it. You are DOING it. There were some mornings when I’d wake up and think to myself, “I can’t do this.” I remember saying this to my doctor when I was in labor with Madelyn and her response was, ” But you are doing it.” I have way too much invested to let negative thoughts get the best of me.
25. Foam roller. Buy one. Breath into the pain; it hurts so good. I believe the foam roller is the next best thing to a deep tissue massage. And I want this shirt.
26. Watch out for bikers. Of the bicycle variety. They come out of nowhere.
.1. Stride glide. Invest in it and use it where needed.
.2. Be grateful. Even though some days I complain about doing it, I am grateful for every day that I get to run. One of the things that “wow” me about the Chicago Marathon are the people out there doing the wheelchair races. In ways, that seems so much more difficult to me than it would be just to run it. Those people are amazing.
I’m looking forward to shorter runs this week and I’m going to use my time to venture out a little bit in our new neighborhood. Most of my week day runs have been done at work with a running buddy, but since I’m home for who knows how long, I’ll be trudging along with Madelyn in the jogger. And doing yoga. Lots and lots of yoga. Namaste my friends
A few days ago, a Facebook page that I “like”, Fellow Flowers posted a video titled, “Why Women Run.” It touches on how Fellow Flowers came to be and how the sport of running has changed these women’s lives. It made me think about my own personal relationship with running, how I came to be a “runner” and most importantly why am I choosing to run 26.2 miles in two weeks.
I started running as a way to lose weight in high school with one of my best friends. It was a much simpler time, before Garmins and iPods. I’m not sure how far I ran or how fast, but we would just run until we got tired. I kept running through college as a way stay in shape and to keep up with my Air Force PT tests. It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago where I signed up for my first race and running became more to me than a way to keep the pounds away. Since 2008, I’ve ran a number of 5ks, 10ks, participated in a snowy Shamrock Shuffle 8k, and have run 4 half marathons.
When I tell people that I’m running the Chicago Marathon, I get a lot of different responses: “That’s awesome!” “I’m so proud of you!” How far is that?” “You’re crazy.” “Why?”
There was one point in my training where I had a really bad build up run. All I kept asking myself is, “Why am I doing this? What’s the point?” I’m proud to say that I only had ONE training run like that. The rest of it has been a pretty positive experience.
So, how did my goal of running the Chicago Marathon come to be this year? In January, instead of making resolutions, I make goals. The two top goals of the year were to buy a house (check!) and run the Chicago Marathon. When I went to register for the race, the website had been shut down due to too many people trying to all register at once and, for the first time in Chicago Marathon history, the registration was being opened a few days later in a lottery. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn’t make it in the lottery system and I thought my goal of running the Chicago marathon would have to get pushed off another year. Then the tragedy in Boston happened. I was at Target when hubs texted me the awful news. As a runner, I knew what a honor and big deal it was to make it to the Boston Marathon. Not just anyone can sign up for it. You have to qualify in a previous marathon. It’s a big deal. Something happened that day that made me realize that if I really wanted to run Chicago in 2013 I needed to make it happen one way or another. How did I know I was guaranteed next year? And so I started to look into charities.
Asking people for money has never really been my “thing.” I started looking at different charities and I couldn’t believe some of the fundraising minimums. $1500 is a bit too high pressure for me. There were so many to choose from: Do I run for cancer? Or this women’s cancer charity? They give pedicures before the race! Or childhood illnesses? I do have a child after all. What about PAWS? Oliver might appreciate that. Then I saw Team Salute and I knew that was my charity. The fundraising minimum is only $700 but you do have to pay for your own registration fee, which I was completely fine with since I was going to do that anyway. Team Salute raises money for military members, veterans and their families. It’s an awesome charity and I felt that this was way of giving back to those in need because the military has done so much for me and my family. You can check out my Team Salute story here.
So why am I running 26.2 miles? Because I can. Because I believe it’s important to set goals and not let obstacles stand in the way of them. Because I want Madelyn to know that you can do anything you set your mind to. And because I like to run. Some days I do have to push myself to get out there. Other days, I cannot wait to hit the ground running. It’s my therapy. It’s a brainstorming session. It allows me to think about anything and everything or nothing at all. It’s a release from a stressful day. I believe that it makes me a better wife and mother. Although my husband may beg to differ some days Yes, some may think I’m crazy but it’s been an amazing journey so far and has taught me a lot about myself.
Today I decided that I was going to treat myself to some new gear at Lululemon. I was in the dressing room with Madelyn trying on a few pairs of shorts and a running skirt. When I came out of the fitting room the store manager asked me what I was shopping for. I told her that I was running the Chicago Marathon in a few weeks and that I couldn’t decide if I wanted the shorts (which I was used to running in) or the running skirt-because it was cute and comfy. She looked at Madelyn and asked how old she was and I responded with a year. The store manager said, “I’ll tell you what. Since I think it’s so amazing that you are not only running a marathon, but that you’re running your first marathon 1 year post baby I’m going to give you these shorts to run in for the marathon.” I looked at her and asked, “Are you serious?” She said, “Absolutely. I think it’s awesome that you have such a great goal and you’re on your way to achieving it. All you have to do is let me know how they were to run in.” I said thank you about a hundred times and left with my shorts, my skirt, tears in my eyes and a heart full of gratitude.
It restores my faith in humanity when people do amazingly selfless things for other people. 2 more weeks until Chicago!! To say I’m ready and excited is an understatement.
The past week has been a whirlwind. I left my child for an extended period of time for the first time, I’ve been battling some serious jet-lag and I’m fighting a cold…all while trying to stay positive and upbeat. As much as I’m truly enjoying myself, I can’t help but want to pull the covers over my head, go to sleep, wake up and have it be time to go home. Here’s to hoping the next few weeks just fly right on by!
Leaving Madelyn, has by far been the hardest thing (emotionally) that I’ve ever done. I cried the night before I left and I cried when I handed her over to my mom. I know that she is being well taken care of, she’s just been such a big part of my life for over a year (if you count the time being pregnant) it’s hard to remember what life was like before.
Instead of wallowing in my tears and being a Debbie Downer on this TDY, I’m taking this opportunity to focus on myself and do things that I couldn’t normally do at home. Things like lay out in the sun and read a magazine (without the baby monitor right next to me), take extra long showers, spend hours at the gym, bust out my amazing “flip cup” skills from my college days, and NAPS! I took one today and it was AMAZEFEST.
Hubs has been sending me videos every day of my sweet baby girl. Those definitely help. And FaceTime has been about an every day thing. We’ve been able to talk to each other pretty much every day either through text or FaceTime. Today was the first time I was able to FaceTime home during Madelyn’s play time. I saw her CRAWL for the very first time!!! She got so excited when she saw my face on the screen and gave me a smile that I’ve never seen before.
It’s nice to know that she hasn’t forgotten who her Mama is!
The location of this TDY couldn’t get any better, so I have that going for me. That and the fact that my sister is here with me doing the military thing with me. I’ll post some pictures on here when I get a chance.
My goal while I’m here is to focus on building my run miles, getting myself in good shape and gearing up for Marathon training-set to begin in June. I hear Wisconsin’s been enjoying some summer-like temps the past few days. Can’t wait to get back home to my family and to my garden! Happy May!
Today I reached day 17 of #100daysofworkouts. I’ve been doing pretty good with this. Even if I don’t “workout” per se, I count my time doing yard work and running errands all day long as movement-the ultimate goal is to just keep moving.
I was watching The Biggest Loser about a month or so ago and I saw Bob the trainer give his team a last chance workout in which they dealt out a stack of playing cards. Each suite was an exercise and the number determined how many of each exercise they would do. This looked like a great way to work up a sweat without having any equipment. As long as you have a deck of cards, this workout can be done anywhere.
When we do this at work we try to mix it up to keep from getting bored. But pretty much it goes something like this: Hearts=Cardio (BURPEES!) Diamonds=Push ups or an arm workout (today we did tricep dips), Spades=Abs (in/out with our feet) Clubs=legs (squats today). We used to do it so that 2 would equal two push ups, but we realized that was kind of a waste, so now we’ve decided that anything under 5, we add 10 to it. So instead of two push ups, we do 12. So much more challenging and effective. I love this workout because you never know the hand you get dealt. There was a time when we did 14 burpees, flipped another card and had to do 12 more. Ass kicker!
For dinner tonight I make baked marinated salmon served with a kale salad.
I marinaded the salmon in teriyaki sauce, red chili sauce, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, and juice from one orange. I placed it in a tupperware container, shook it up and let it sit all day until I came home and baked it. It was, in my opinion, the best salmon I’ve ever made.
For the kale, I mixed a bunch of bite sized pieces with 1/4 cup olive oil, sea salt, pepper, pine nuts, lemon juice from 1 lemon, lemon zest, parmesan cheese and cranberries. Sooo good! Normally when I make kale, I sautee it very lightly in a pan with olive oil, garlic and lemon but I prefer it not cooked-it taste a lot better that way.
People at work ask me why I eat kale over spinach and my response is, “Because it’s healthier!” Here’s a link that goes a little bit more in depth about the benefits of eating kale.
So, I did something pretty crazy last night. I signed up for my first 1/2 marathon post Madelyn! I sat there and stared at the screen thinking, “Do I do this? Do I not?” I’ve ran 3 1/2 marathons before this, so I’m not sure why I was so hesitant about this one. So I did it anyway and I’ll be following an 8 week training program to a Tee. I figure, it will help pass time while I’m away on my deployment and my goal is to beat my 1/2 marathon time of 2:25 which I feel is pretty doable. Training starts in just a few weeks! Until then, I’m focusing a lot on strength training in hopes of staying injury free. I will be running the Rock N Sole Summerfest half marathon and I’m so pumped to run across the Hoan Bridge.
Any plans for a summer race or event? Hubs keeps talking about Tough mudder and other obstacle course races. Tough Mudder is one that I won’t do, but I’m more than happy to donate money to the wounded warrior project without having to be electrocuted