Friday, December 3, 2010

The 200-Day Challenge....complete?

12 Days Post-Race

Okay, so with the race followed directly by hosting Thanksgiving I am a updating my post race summary finally!

And because your support has meant so much to me, I need to be sure I take you with me on my future adventures. So, if you are wondering if I finished, how I finished, and how many pregnant potty breaks I had to take throughout the course (smile) - head over to to read my full race day summary and don't forget to become a blog follower!

See you there!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's Almost Time...

4 Days To Go

Holy Smokes! I can't believe the big day is less than half a week away. While I feel like I have spent more time preparing for this big day than my wedding, like most "planned" events in my life, it's definitely turned out to be an unexpected adventure. Getting knocked up and running the half at fifteen weeks pregnant was not a part of the plan. However, what a blessing! So with the first trimester funk interfering with those last few weeks of my training plan, my doctor said she felt most comfortable if I walked the half. However, she supported me trying to at least run some and listening to my body, promising to drink water at every station along the way, and stopping if I felt dizzy or nauseous. She also asked that I at least get 10 miles under my belt before the big day. And yesterday (drum roll, please), I knocked out my 10 miles! Thanks to a good (make that great) friend who volunteered to make the trek with me. We ran/walked the distance and my confidence jumped up about 5,000 notches now that I can erase that mental picture of me being carried off the running route on a stretcher clutching an oxygen mask (knock on wood).

This past weekend was also my little monkey's first birthday party (more pictures and a detailed post coming on the new blog) and it left me reflecting on my original motivation to start this challenge. It was to show him an account of strength and perseverance in his honor and to prove to myself just how important these traits are, as a mother and as a woman. Now, it looks like I will have two blessings to share this story with. If that's not motivation to drag myself through those 13.1 miles, I just don't know what is.

And on a final note, I still have a lingering goal to run a half-marathon as a non-pregnant runner in 2011. So, here's my question to all you fellow half vets...what's your favorite half-marathon and why? I am ready to put my new goal on the calendar right after this Sunday and begin planning the next adventure...after birthing Baby 2, that is (smile).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bondi Band Winner!

17 Days To Go

Thank you for all entering the Bondi Band giveaway! I can see that many of you are already Bondi Band fanatics like me. If you haven't tried a Bondi Band yet, take my word, you will have no regrets. I even sleep in mine at times (true story).

I am happy to say congratulations to Jennifer York (comment #45) who is the lucky winner according to Jennifer, I've sent you an email and look forward to hooking you up with two Bondi Band headbands of your choice!

BIG thanks to Bondi Band for allowing me to host this fantastic giveaway!

As for me, I had a reality check visit with the doctor this week, and while I am still completing the Women's Half in seventeen days {gulp}, I have had to come to the realization that my first trimester uber sickness has put a big damper in my training. More on this to come and I will be looking for some advice from my fellow half vets. For now, I just completed a mountain of grading and am hitting the hay. A run is on my schedule for tomorrow morning and I am thanking the rain gods for the cooler temps forecasted for my early trot. More coming shortly!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bondi Band Giveaway! CLOSED

24 Days To Go
Okay, so just because I am a preggo mess who is feeling like muck, my running is suffering, and I have come to the realization that my time for the half-marathon in 24 days is going to be very poor doesn't mean I can't share my love for some of my favorite running gear that I have found myself attached to through this journey, right?

Yeah, that's what I thought...and that's where Bondi Bands come in. If you don't already know about these run-changing hair accessories , you're missing out! I used to suffer from the headbands that slowly crept further and further back on my head while running until they popped right off somewhere along my path and became a casualty of my training. I used to suffer from sweat beads trickling in my eyes, burning and leaving me for near blind as each pound of the pavement. I used to suffer from the ever-growing pressure headaches that crept up when I wore a headband any longer than twenty minutes causing me to rip off my headband in a dramatic, but necessary, attempt to avoid an all-out migraine (and can you imagine, me dramatic?).

Notice I said "used to?" That's because I was introduced by a fellow runner to Bondi Bands. After I wore a Bondi Band for the first time, I knew I was hooked. These "no slip, no drip" touting bands come in tons of great patterns, colors, and solids. Some even have great little messages on them. I shared on of my favorites (pictured above) earlier on the blog when I wore it in a 5K I ran this past summer. The sweat wicking material is the same that you would look for in any of your running apparel so it made perfect sense to make it an essential material for my hair wear too. Genius. Besides the functionality appeal, I am a sucker for fashion and their colorful styles and patterns can jazz up any mundane running outfit. Another incentive to get out there and run...I'll take it!
And now you can take it too. The smart-minded folks at Bondi Band are going to give one of you two headbands of your choice from their website!

Here's all you need to do to enter:

  • Check out the Bondi Band website and then comment to this post on what your favorite style is (If you post a comment as anonymous, be sure to leave your email address).

And if you would like to earn bonus entries, do the following (just leave a separate comment for each):

  • Become a follower of my new blog that is coming in December (or leave a comment if you already are).

  • Post my giveaway link as your Facebook status, Twitter update, or your blog (just be sure to leave a link to your post in the comment).

Good Luck! Your going to become a Bondi Band fanatic.

The Fine Print: Contest is open to those in the lower 48 states with a valid shipping address. No PO Boxes or APOS. My opinions on this product are my own. I am a customer of Bondi Band and simply love their product. Bondi Band is providing the prize for this giveaway. Winner will be chosen in one week and contacted via email.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mama On The Run

25 Days To Go

Okay, I have a quick announcement that I want to share. So over the last 175 days, I have come to love the blogging community. The community of runners, most notably mother runners, has been overwhelmingly supportive which I have mentioned throughout several blog posts. Most notably, when I found out I was preggo and a huge wrench was thrown in my training, you guys were amazing. It's for this reason that I just couldn't let go of this new found community and was left wondering what will I do after my 200-day challenge ends? Well, besides becoming a new mommy to a second child, I am also adding a third to my list (don't get crazy, I'm not having twins!). Please allow me to introduce you to The site is still under construction and the grand launch will be in December. I have been working on the design, content, and licensing for the last couple of months and I am happy to finally share it with you. The site will be focused on a lot of the things I talk about here, balancing motherhood and the ambition to stay strong and healthy - but it will also be a lot more comprehensive covering more stories from other mothers, products, reviews, deals, and more. I would also love your feedback and ideas on what you would like to see and discuss. I hope that you will all join me and would be honered if you sign up to follow the blog. Your support, advice, and stories have been so inspirational - I want to continue hearing from you. In the meantime, I'll be here...for 25 more days! Holy cow....25 more days!!!!
Great giveaway coming tomorrow!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back In the Saddle...and a Little Rusty

32 Days To Go
I'm here! I have had an unexpected delay in blogging, well, because life has been quite unexpected lately. I am still fighting the sickness that I am learning just goes along with me being preggo for those first few months. It's hard not to dwell (and be resentful) that some people never get sick during pregnancy, or simply just have a headache every now and then. As for me, I am fighting to keep myself hydrated and nourished and also be an adoring mother to my oh-so-deserving little monkey. I have also been truly down about not getting the runs in that are on my schedule. After all, I have to progress from 7 miles to 12 in just a little over a month! I know, I'm being quite the downer, right? I realized this a couple of days ago and decided it was time to calculate the positives. Here's what I came up with.
1. During this sickly period, I have finally lost my last 5 pounds of baby weight!! (No, the irony is not lost on me.)
2. This pregnancy seems to have a schedule (I guess that's convenient). I feel relatively well in the morning - just dehydrated. The sickness begins to roll in around early afternoon and the monster doesn't subside until I go to bed. However, with my last pregnancy, I was sick all day, everyday through the entire first trimester. So, I'm getting a break, right?
3. I get to once again be reminded of what a wonderful Hubs I am blessed with. He is so kind to me when I am sick and has played full-time dad many nights - feeding, bathing, and putting to bed our little angel. He also never complains that the house is dirty, laundry is piling up, or the dishes are stacking (although this eats away at me daily).
4. Of course, it goes without saying - this sick period will pay off immensely. It's all for a greater good (and I can forever remind my children what I went through to give them life - and don't you worry, I will).
I decided to pick back up on my training schedule today - walk or run. I completed four miles pushing the stroller, slowly but surely. Time is of no special concern to me these days - I am just trying to get the miles in. I look forward to that blessed turn in trimesters and hope that I get that "burst" that many pregnant women speak about - and I hope it propels me right through that finish line.
I have a GREAT giveaway coming up featuring one of my favorite brands when it comes to running. Stay tuned!
And most importantly, THANK YOU! Your words of support, wisdom, and encouragement mean more than I can express. I take each very seriously and am so blessed to have your contributions.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Herbal Water Winner

39 Days To Go

Congratulations to Sarah (Frugaluser) who was chosen according to as the winner of the Herbal Water Sampler Pack Giveaway.For those of you that entered and didn't win, don't forget about the current sweepstakes Herbal Water currently has going on here.
As for me, today is my birthday and my sweet Hubs has surprised me with a spa day! I am off to be pampered and relaxed (is this possible?) and will talk running (+1) shortly!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


45 Days To Go

You may (or may not) have wondered about the lapse in my weekly update last week. I think it is time to explain. Honestly, this compilation of my journey wouldn't be accurate unless I did. Well, remember when I shared about my experience almost eating the pavement upon a dizzy spell not long ago? And the not feeling so well here recently? The slight misspellings and grammatical errors from absentmindedness in my last few posts? Are you catching on yet?
Yes, I am preggo. Unexpected? A bit. Blessed? Unbelievably. These past few weeks have been spent trying to grasp my brain around the fact that this month I will spend my second birthday in a row knocked up and that my little chunky monkey is actually going to be an "older" brother. I am elated and thrilled but I would be lying if I didn't admit that when I thought about my half-marathon journey, I wasn't a bit crestfallen. After much discussion and angst, I decided I would not give it up. I kept running and kept progressing. That was until last week. Last week my familiar (and unwelcome) friend, good ol' morning sickness made it's appearance. Unfortunately, morning sickness is a huge understatement for my experience. It's more like I morph into a dehydrated, queasy, vom-monster. And without being able to keep anything of substance in my body, you can imagine, it's impossible to run. I went a full week without running and was heartbroken. Literally. Looking at my lonely running shoes sitting in my closet like a neglected stray cat on my front porch, starving and freezing, made my heart ache.

However, this week after learning to manage the sickness a bit better, I picked back up my running and I have to say it's one of the best distractions from feeling like you've been riding on a carousel for 24 hours...while trying to read a book....sitting backwards....staring into a kaleidoscope....with a belly full of ice cream and pickles. It actually provided some feeling of stability. I also found some relief in the ginger flavored Herbal Waters - which I didn't mention in my review since it was pre-announcement. (Don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't already.)

It's still early and I still have several more weeks before leaving my first trimester. Honestly, probably too early for most to make a public blog announcement. But I can't stay true to this journey without being completely honest. You have all been with me each step of the way. Each step in this (so far) 288 mile journey and I feel compelled to share the news. Aside from family and close friends, your the first to know. Yes, even before I have made an official Facebook announcement {gasp}. However, I have seen the flutter of the heartbeat of my little bean on my sonogram and I simply can't pretend he/she is not a part of this journey now.

After talking with my doctor (who is also a mother and a runner) I am aware that I will likely not be able to run the entire half-marathon. I have come to terms with this. Most importantly, I will finish. I will complete this goal - and have my own little two-person-in-one team with me each step of the way.
And there it is. This is where I am. Luckily, I am a creature of adaptation and a believer in a plan that is much more well thought out than my own. Best of all, I am a soon-to-be mother of two.
I'll still be reporting in and keeping you posted...on running +1 (smile).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Herbal Water Review & Giveaway!!! - CLOSED

47 Days To Go

Forty-seven days to go and I have had the pleasure of spending the last seven days getting to try all six of the refreshing flavors of Ayala's Herbal Water. And let me tell you, I am hooked! I was first introduced to Herbal Water while shopping with a friend at our local Fresh Market. She was familiar with the brand and picked up a Lavender Mint flavored Herbal Water and began drinking it before we even made it to the check out line. I stole a swig of hers and she could tell by the look on my face it was highly likely I might drink all of hers. So she bought me my own. This was the beginning of my love affair with Herbal Water.
Then, the kind folks at Herbal Water sent me over a 6-bottle sampler pack to try and I just can't get enough of this water. First of all, I am not much on flavored waters. I usually find them to be too sweet and often artificially flavored yuckness. Not the case with Herbal Water. The flavoring is all natural, organic, and simply a subtle infusion of flavor - not overpowering. It still quenches your thirst, contrary to what I find with other flavored waters that leave me unfulfilled. I actually reused my Herbal Water bottles and was still able to get a hint of flavor in my refilled bottles (and don't you just love those bottles?). After a good run, I have loved refueling with Herbal Water and plan on keeping it as a staple in my refrigerator.
They have a great story behind their inception too. You can check it out here at and follow Herbal Water founder, Dr. Ayala on her own blog here.

They also have this amazing sweepstakes happening now through October 18 where you can actually receive a $10 off coupon just by entering! You can enter for a chance to win $500 and Herbal Water for a year just by suggesting a food pairing with your favorite Herbal Water flavor. My friend (an aspiring chef and who I credit with introducing me to Herbal Water) helped me come with a delicious pumpkin and goat cheese ravioli, drizzled with a cranberry reduction and pine nuts to be paired with the cloves cardamom cinnamon Herbal Water. Perfect fall meal. Yum.

Best of all, one of YOU can win your own pack of Herbal Water and become hooked too (I told you the folks at Herbal Water were kind). They have offered to give one of my lucky blog readers their very own 6-bottle (full size) sampler pack of Herbal Water!
Here's all you need to do:
  • Check out the Herbal Water website and then post a comment on this post about which flavor you think you would like to try. (If you post a comment as anonymous - be sure and leave your email address.

And if you'd like to earn bonus entries, do the following (just leave a comment for each):
  • Become a follower of my blog (or leave a comment if you already are)
  • Post my giveaway link as your Facebook status, Twitter update, or on your blog (just be sure and leave the link to your post in a comment)
Good Luck!! Your going to love this stuff.

The Fine Print: Contest is open to those in the lower 48 states with a valid shipping address. No PO Boxes or APOS. I was provided with a 6-bottle sampler pack of Herbal Water for sampling and review but my opinions are my own. Winner will be chosen at random in one week and contacted via email.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm A Convert

54 Days To Go
Six miles...check! Sunday I was not feeling well. I fought the good old internal struggle debating on if I should postpone my run until today or toughen up and get out there and take care of business. I chose B and I can honestly say, running made me feel better. What an incentive! In addition, I also am no longer a "skirt virgin." Here's more on that.
A highlight of my week was that Athleta was kind of enough to offer me a running outfit for being part of the Athleta Chi "Share Your Chi" article. I chose the Reflective Chase Skort (you know how I have been tempted by those running skirts) and the Long Sleeve Twist Top. Truth is, I have been drooling over this combo for a while now - here's what it looks like on the model:

And now, the real life version (aka: me).

Cute, huh? I love it. To be quite honest, just slipping the skirt on gave me some added fuel to get out and run even when I was not feeling up to par. It's still a bit too warm to sport the Twist Top, but it so comfortable and I know in late fall/early winter it's going to be a staple running top. As for my first skirt running experience, I couldn't have been any more pleasantly surprised. First of all, this skirt is made of a moisture-wicking, breathable material and is lined with a jersey-type short (adios, chaff gremlin). There is a convenient zipper side pocket that was a great stash for my 1/3 Performance Power Bar I have been chowing down on to re-energize after mile 4. I mentioned my skirt skepticism earlier. I was so worried I might not feel athletic or strong running in skirt. I was wrong. I LOVED running in this skirt. I even got a honk or two on my run (okay, I'm pretty sure it was a friend of mine, but I chose to believe it was someone admiring my skirt stride). So, I'm officially a convert. Thanks, Athleta.

I have a few great things blog-wise on the horizon, so stay tuned! I have been able to team up with a few of my favorite brands for some exciting giveaways that I can't wait to share with you.
Highlight of Last Week: Um, hello. A snazzy new running outfit, of course.
Lesson of Last Week: Another pre-judgement proven wrong. Kudos to you skirt-thusiasts that caught on to this functionally fabulous trend long before I did.
Power Song of Last Week: I've been rockin' out to an old favorite, The Indigo Girls, lately. "Shame On You" has kept me light on my feet this past week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Two Month Countdown

61 Days To Go

Tomorrow marks the official two month mark for the big day. My excitement continues to grow as I knock out my long runs each week. As I wrapped up Sunday's run I really wanted to do it all over again just to prove I could handle the increased distance. However, the overly rational side of me took over and I realized I must stick to the program and gradually increase. One thing I haven't shared is my huge fear of injury between now and November. Much like my fear of passing out while crossing the street and someone stealing my cutie pie, leaveing me for a speed bump - I also have a small paranoia related to injury. So I stretch, stretch, stretch like a little Olympic gymnast doing her floor routine (pretend with me) and I follow my training program like I follow a recipe when baking. I measure twice, follow each step closely, and curse throughout the process. Much like baking, in the end I have a HUGE mess to clean up (seriously, I'm talking batter on the ceiling light fixture), but I also have great satisfaction in my accomplishment. My house is living proof of this. When I noticed that my sweet baby boy's jammies looked like this after spending a half hour or so playing on the floor before bedtime, I knew it was time to break out the Shark steam mop and quit complaining about being tired. Bad mom!
My run with the hydration belt was a success, but not without a few adjustments which can be expected when adapting to a new piece of gear. First of all, if you have never ran with one of these, be prepared for a tight fit. If you don't cinch it very snugly around your waist, it will bounce. After a little playing with it throughout the first mile though I was able to stabilize it and find a comfortable fit. It was fairly easy to retrieve while running, but being the most uncoordinated person in the world that I am, I always have to stop and walk briskly while I down a few swigs of water. Otherwise, my chin and chest area simply get a refreshing drench and I remain thirsty and discombobulated trying to continue running (and I thought motherhood had allowed me to perfect the art of multi-tasking). One other adjustment for me, which is simply another mind quirk, is that between songs on my Ipod I could hear the water swish while I pounded the pavement and it completely took me out of my zone (like nails on a chalkboard, just one of those things). No big deal though. A little humming to myself while Fergie stepped in for Madonnna and I was just fine. Overall, it was a definite worthwhile investment. And if you are coordinated and non-quirky (aka: normal), then I think it would be a winner for anyone running over 5+ miles. It also has a convenient pouch area where I was able to stash my cell phone and a handful of energy beans. I am thrilled with my purchase and if you are in the market for hydration gear - check out Amphipod. They have a great variety of functional choices and I have my eye on a new Ipod arm band from them next.

Highlight of Last Week: I just ate an insanely good chicken burrito with an avocado ranch sauce from a local hole in the wall Mexican restaurant. While I am posting this on Monday, it totally cancels out the calories I burned during at least one of last week's run - so I am counting it as last week's highlight.

Lesson of Last Week: No matter how much you practice, coordination is not a learned trait. And even though I love to dance, I will never be good at it.

Power Song of last Week: For Your Entertainment by Adam Lambert. Never did I ever think I would be posting an Adam Lambert song as my power song but the beginning of this song just pumps me up. "So hot, out the box, can we pick up the pace? Turn it up, heat it up, I need to be entertained. Push the limit, are you with it, baby don't be afraid. I'm gonna hurt you real good..." Okay, where are my running shoes?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Keepin' On, Keepin' On

64 Days To Go

What a great week this has been! For many reasons, some of which (of course) I am going to share. My little chunky monkey is becoming more of a little person each day. He took his first steps recently. His expressions, laughter, mimics, and gestures show me how much more aware he is becoming of the world around him. It is a blissful time in mommyhood. On the running front, I have found further support pop up in encouraging places. This feature on the Athleta Chi website was a true honor.
If you are not familiar with the Athleta Chi blog, head over to their site and check it out. I have been drooling over Athleta active apparel for quite some time, but the community they have built on their Chi site is something every athlete/mother/woman/ _____ (insert your own self-description here) should peruse for inspiration on living a healthy lifestyle.

Running has been quite enjoyable this past week. There have been a few sneak peek Fall breezes that make my evening runs a refreshing and crisp experience. I am feeling my legs become more powerful and my will more determined as I grow closer to the big day in November. We've decided to take advantage of the trip down to St. Pete and also make a v-line to Disney for the monkey's first Mickey Mouse experience (that's aside from Playhouse Disney on TV, of course. Can you say "meeska, mooska, Mickey Mouse!") before heading to the half. (P.S. I am also soliciting any advice from experienced mamas on the Disney experience. What should I bring? Where should we stay? What should we do? It will be a one-day trip, most likely. After all, he'll only be one-year-old and mama has a race to prepare for.)
Another week of Stroller Strides (or Strollercise, as my husband calls it) three days this week and I have the sore muscles to prove it. Hurts so good! I am looking forward to my long run on Sunday and testing my new Amphipod hydration belt I purchased. I'll let you know how it goes.

Happy running, friends!

Monday, September 13, 2010

68 Days To Go

68 Days To Go
Where is the time going? Sixty-eight days to go...wowzers. I still remember typing my first post back in the beginning of May for this blog and thinking how long 200 days was. My, my, my, how time flies. Fast-forward 132 days and here I am confirming hotel reservations, choosing my running "attire" for the big day (the important things, y'know), and realizing this is real and I am in this for the long haul. The 13.1 mile LONG haul - run, walk, or crawl.
A bit of bad news I haven't shared yet is that it is looking more and more like I am running this half on my own, minus the team that emerged after I made my announcement I was training for the half. Most of my friends/teammates had to bow out, and not without good reason. Pregnancy, stress fractures, medical school - I suppose they are all legitimate excuses, right? (Smile.) Now, don't get me wrong - I am disappointed, but I had prepared for this. I went it in this challenge alone and I am prepared to finish alone. This is my journey. I am happy to share this journey, but I can't let it go. I'm attached. I'm committed.
In good news, this past week I discovered a fitness group called Stroller Strides. Do you have one of these in your area? Okay, I'll be honest, I heard about this group a while back but completely underestimated it. I pictured a group of ladies leisurely strolling around pushing jogging strollers, sipping lattes, with an occasional power walk mom-march weaved in. Not the case. This group focuses on interval training - running from one station to another where resistance training, plyometrics, and body strength conditioning take place before running to the next station. This has been a great addition to my schedule on cross-training and stretch and strengthen training days. Not to mention, I get to enjoy a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico during evening classes and some optimal window shopping at the local outdoor mall during the morning classes. You know how I feel about things that involve shopping!
After this week is over I will be moving on to Week Five in the Hal Higdon training (I have done each week twice before progressing to the next). I keep hoping the Fall weather will arrive early before I get into these 7, 8, 9 (oh, it keeps going) runs that I am staring at in my very near future.
Here's last week's recap:
Highlight of Last Week: Realizing I can not wait any longer - it's time to start shopping for hydration belts or some other means of hydration for long runs. I've hit the milestone where hydration is necessary....and I get to shop!
Lesson of Last Week: Don't underestimate and/or be afraid to give new things a try. If you don't like it, don't do it again. I love the addition of the Stroller Strides classes to my training schedule. I should have tried it sooner.
Power Song of Last Week: Rock That Body by Black Eyed Peas. What can I say? I love me some Black Eyed Peas.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dress Like A Runner

75 Days To Go
I am happy to report that shortly after my bellyaching over last week's progress, I actually had a very nice conclusion to my week of training. My long run was a success and I even hit a few "runner" milestones during the week's final run.

For my first milestone, I swallowed a bug. Actually, there was no opportunity for swallowing. I was gasping for air in through my mouth and a bug streamlined down my throat like an F-15 jet on a rescue mission (which reminded me to focus on my breathing - in through the nose, out through the mouth. Hopefully, then I can avoid future open-mouthed gasping inhales in which unknown insects are launched down my throat with no opportunity to hack, cough, or perform any other demonstration of extraction before digestion occurs.)
For milestone two, I found out why compression shorts are a necessity.
This leads me to this week's wrap-up. I have decided to focus on another segment in my "Like A Runner" series (I have also decided it is now a series). This week's focus - Dress Like A Runner.
Now, you might say - what's the big deal in what you wear when running? Yes, I thought this myself too - however, I have come to learn that an educated choice in running apparel not only has functional advantages, but can also lead to an unforeseen boost in confidence. This, in turn, adds a little extra pep in the step when approaching those often dreaded last few miles of your long run. Without further adieu, let's begin with my first three.

1. Compression Shorts
What I thought this was: Undergarments only for men - to keep the junk in the trunk (for lack of a better term. Pardon me.) I will admit, I purchased a pair a while back in an effort to prevent what I have heard referred to as "hungry butt." Otherwise known as the wedgie.
What it actually is: Well, I get half credit. Compression shorts do serve the aforementioned purpose, but they actually have other very positive functions for females. I have mentioned before that I like to think of my thighs rubbing together when I run as a means of producing energy (aka: the chub rub). However, too much energy can burn. And then my friends, enters the wonderful purpose for these wrestle-to-pull-them-on, tight, little-bitty, shorty shorts, also known as, compression shorts. (Such a clever name.)
Some also believe they can help prevent lower back pain, warm up muscles, yadda, yadda, yadda. Bottom line (and I'm going to be frank), they prevent chaffing.
My afterthought: I have some favorites already. I own the Nike brand - but I had no idea they came in pink! I love Sports Authority. Asics has a variety of styles including this pair which boasts elastic material that helps stabilize the spinal column. Fancy.

2. Understanding the Phrase "Cotton Is Rotten"
What I thought this was: When I first heard this phrase among runner chatter I thought it was like back in high school, when the cool kids made fun of those kids that wore the generic Keds tennis shoes or non-Guess jeans (I know, I'm going middle school vintage on you).
What it actually is: Basically, the idea is that moisture-wicking material is best. Why? Due to the fact that cotton becomes soaked when you sweat and stays wet. Moisture wicking material helps decrease this and aids in keeping you dry. Keeping you dry helps prevent the forbidden chaffing situation that I previously described.
My afterthought: Some of my favorite running shirts are cotton. I also have a few cotton sports bras. There, I said it. Due to the current Florida heat, I admit these cotton favs are some of the last items I will wear when choosing my daily running attire. But the fact is, I hate laundry and I can't justify spending much more on running gear in order to transform myself into a total non-cotton wearing runner. Hmmmm, as I am thinking about it though - I do like to reward myself when a milestone is hit. And the way I handled that whole bug situation was really big of me. I just kept on running. I think my local Nike outlet is due for a visit from me.

3. Running Skirts
What I thought this was: I'm going to be honest. When I first spotted these I thought it was similar to when I was a kid (man, do I relate everything to my childhood? I'm beginning to see a pattern here.) when many of the socialite moms of my classmates pranced around in tennis skirts when picking up their kiddos from school, picking up groceries, picking up new clothes...pretty much when doing anything but picking up a tennis racket. I mean really, running in a skirt? It just didn't make sense to me.
What it actually is: A HUGE trend in the running world. Serious female athletes are sporting their skirts in style. And the more I read about the reasons why, the more of a proponent I become. Why shouldn't a woman look and feel good when working hard and forcing others to eat her dust (as her skirt gently flaps in the wind as she passes)? These skirts also provide a great compression short lining and a very discreet way to hide a hungry butt. There is even a Skirtchaser 5k series nation-wide.
My afterthought: Okay, I''m not there yet, but I am intrigued. I am a fashion junkie. I often utter the words "Hello, Lover" when I pass certain stores. I am having a hard time justifying why I haven't taken the running skirt plunge yet. We shall see.
If your finding yourself intrigued too: Check out these images from that I have been eyeing. I'm actually kind a touch obsessed with this site now that I found it. They even have a maternity line! Love that.

Okay, now it's your turn. I want to know your running apparel must-haves or what new apparel you found to be a necessity in your journey in becoming a runner?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tired...and Happy!

78 Days To Go
Well, the week's not over just yet but I needed to make a confession - it has been a bit of a tough one. I totally now understand why avid runners are in bed by 8pm and have their own little social circles of other runners to mingle with over coffee rather than going out and painting the town red every weekend. My indulgent weekend (which was still worth it, by the way. I'm not taking that back) has left me a little sluggish this week. In fact today, when I was finishing up my run I stopped to cross the street, hardly a block away from my house, and when I pressed the crosswalk button things became a bit fuzzy and I noticed my head spinning a touch. Yikes! A scary dizzy spell when you have your tiny tot in the stroller in front of you getting ready to cross a fairly busy intersection is not a pleasant experience. I did manage to call the Hubs and tell him to come out of the house quick (a little overly concerned, but hey, I was picturing myself face planted on the sidewalk and someone coming and stealing my adorable little child and leaving me for roadkill. And yes, I tend to be a tad paranoid. It's my nature.) A few steps later and a couple of swigs of water down, I was fine. But I was also reminded I need to drink more water. Lots and lots of water.

On a much happier note (and ironic based on my above rant), I was awarded a blog award by fellow blogger Amy, over at Fit and Fabulous After 40. It is the Happy 101 Award and it calls for me to list ten things that make me happy - so here I go.

1. My little Monkey's laugh (most often achieved by a tickle to the belly or a fake sneezing session).

2. Sitting at the table for dinner - all three of us. My picture perfect.

3. When I make my Hubs laugh (with me, not at me).

4. When Monkey lays his head on my chest, thumb in mouth, and remains idle for a small period of time (this is when the world stops, no matter what).

5. Looking at the Gulf of Mexico and knowing how fortunate I am to call this home.

6. Coffee (in an oversized cup so that when I refill I can count it as only two, rather than four cups)

7. Fiji water (overpriced, yes. Overrated, definitely not)

8. Close friends that know you in and out - ugly and pretty, good and bad - the whole story.

9. A weekend marathon of trashy reality TV (preferably a Housewives series).

10. Moving through my day and remembering my run from earlier that morning (it is over and I achieved my daily goal).

Now to pay it forward, I am going to nominate Jen, over at One Step at a Time. She maintains a positive attitude and humorous outlook throughout a challenging journey.

I liked this little exercise. It just made me give thanks for all of my blessings. Now, you try. What are at least five things that make you happy?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nothing That A Little Retail Therapy Can't Fix

82 Days To Go

I am coming to you this evening on the heels of a much-needed and very non-training conducive girls weekend. This past weekend was spent with some of my best girlfriends in Atlanta engaging in some retail therapy, marathon dining, and revert-you-right-back-to-high school giggle sessions. The trip had been planned for quite a few weeks now since the Hubs arrival back to the homefront was scheduled. He was insistent that I had a little "me" time after playing single mom for three months. And with little to no hesitation, I agreed. I also took the running shoes. I even slept in my running apparel one of the two nights I was away. I did not, however, run. And you know what? I feel no guilt.
What filled this hole, you ask? (Let's just pretend you ask while I indulge in a bit of self-exploration.) Maybe it was the priceless memories that I made with some of my best girlfriends...or getting to wear a dress and dangle earrings without the threat of a baby spit-up stain and the possibility of having my ear lobe ripped in half by a tiny tot hand on a mission. Or maybe it was the Real Housewives of Atlanta housewife spotting (remember my reality-trash TV guilty pleasure/obsession?!?). It might have been the superior (yes, non diet-friendly) meals I splurged on for 48 hours straight that filled that hole of running. Honestly though, I think it just may be these teal Hunter wellies that I came home with that ate all of that the guilt away and gave me that missing endorphin spike.
That being said, I realize there are 82 training days left until the half-marathon and I am jumping right back into my training plan. I skipped the Stretch and Strengthen day today and threw my little monkey (oh, how I missed his squeezy self) in the jogger this morning for our run. I feel refreshed and ready to return to the grind. That being said, I cant emphasize the importance of taking a little "you" time. My solo runs have been a great outlet for this, but every now and then a splurge of great girlfriends, fine wine, and new shoes (that aren't for running) is just what the doctor ordered.

Highlight of Last Week: No need to repeat - see above (smile).

Lesson of Last Week: Indulge without guilt every once in a while. Everything in moderation. When you are done, pick back up, hit the ground running, and be thankful for the opportunity you had to recharge.

Power Song of Last Week: Love the Way You Lie by Eminem featuring Rihanna. While I am sure this is a great song to run to, it is even that much more enjoyable singing at the top of your lungs while driving down the interstate with one of your best friends and a fun-filled weekend destination in sight. (I did download this for my runs too. )

Monday, August 23, 2010

Did I Just Enjoy That?

89 Days To Go
89 Days until D-Day and I think I may have turned a corner. In previous posts I've expressed my love/hate relationship with running. Well, this past week we (we meaning me and my alter running-ego) turned a corner. This was my second week in a row that I ran my long run solo. That's right, I was minus the little monkey and my awkward signature one-arm stroller stride. This is a new experience for me since Hubs is now home and the solo mission is now an option. Despite having to overcome the challenge of 'Where do I put my cell phone and water?' the runs have been incredibly enjoyable. And at the end of the runs, I feel like I could do it again. Yep, you heard me right. I have a bit of arrogant confidence that I might just be morphing... dare I say it, into a runner.
Okay, don't worry. I'm not trying to get all crazy. I'm just saying that I never gave myself enough credit for the strain pushing 40lbs. really had on me. It's an energy-zapper! Since finishing my long run yesterday and taking today off to stretch and strengthen, I am finding myself actually anxious to get out there and tackle my next big run. I've come to the realization that from here forward, it is full speed ahead...and I am looking forward to it.
Highlight of Last Week: Need I say it? Turning the corner and feeling like I MUST/WANT/NEED to run.
Lesson of Last Week: I need to find some gear to pack a water with me on my solo runs...taking suggestions?
Power Song of Last Week: I was introduced to this one from a fellow blog buddy, Jen, Defying Gravity by Idina Menzel. It's a song from the show "Wicked" - and is a great inspirational blast when pounding the pavement. Be sure to download the Dance Mix for a upbeat pace picker-upper.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Talk Like A Runner

95 Days To Go
Ninety-five days to go (I am saying this aloud right now), ninety-five days to go. Unreal. This challenge is almost half over and I am in shock that the end (or rather, the start line) is in sight. However, I feel more dedicated now that I have ever been. As always, I work best under pressure and progress most when my back is against the wall. I just keep moving!

I am still following good old Hal's plan. I am officially in week two (did week one and two 2x before moving on to week three). Week Three, which starts next week, is an actual progression since week one and two were duplicates.

On another note, I have been intrigued (and a skosh confused) by the runner chatter I have been exposed to lately. I realized that I need to educate myself a bit on some running terms in an effort to build my runner perception and talk like a runner.

For you seasoned vets, correct me if I am mistaken and feel free to clarify. For my fellow wannabes out there who want to chime in on the running conversations and sound like we are worthy of sporting our Garmin, running skirts, and other sprint-worthy swag, here's what I researched and found.

What I thought this was: A run in which you found that perfect running song to keep you be-bopping and trotting at a 10-minute mile or less pace.
What it actually is: According to Merriam-Webster, this is a run where you run at a steady pace at 70-80% of your max. aerobic capacity. Tempo runs are just past the point where you begin to build up waste product in your legs at a rapid rate during your runs, which is referred to as the lactate-threshold velocity.
My afterthought: Huh? Well, I was close...I think.

What I thought this was: An opportunity to take a break. Walk a bit, catch your breath, and return to running.
What it actually is: According to, interval pace is faster than your lactate-threshold pace. It is a pace which will leave you out of breath. Not quite an all-out attempt, but close.
My afterthought: Sounds dreadful....and like me when I reach the end of my long run every Sunday morning.

What I thought this was: A really cool pair of running shoes
What it actually is: according to, this is the way you run. Do you run like a gazelle or an elephant? One is more efficient than the other. It refers to footsteps per minute. (There is an entire math equation that goes along with this ,but it's late folks and I just want an idea of what this jibber-jabber means. I'll learn specifics when I start using these terms in a sentence.)
My afterthought: Hmmmm.....I think I may run like an elephant?

Okay, that's it for tonight. Tune in for more 'Talk Like A Runner 101' soon. And chime in if you have some ideas (or some other translation of this greek-speak).

Highlight of Last Week: Hubs is home! Hubs is home! My family is together again.
Lesson of Last Week: School is back in session and taking my usual running route by the elementary school is now more like a game of duck-and-weave between crossing guards, mini-vans, and adorable pint-sized people balancing themselves with their oversized backpacks. Time to explore some new routes.
Power Song of Last Week: I am back to rocking my tried and true Lenny Kravitz Where Are We Runnin? It's too perfectly appropriate.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Striving to be a Shredhead

104 Days To Go

Just wanted to post a quick wrap-up of last week. It was my second week of the Hal Higdon program and while I am still fighting heat advisories and my infinite lack of sleep syndrome, I'm happy to boast that I finished my week strong. I am, however, especially looking forward to my stretch and strengthen day tomorrow.

I have been using the Jillian Michaels The Shred DVD for my strength training. A few months ago when little monkey was too young to go to the gym with me I was taking a sunset stroll in one my of my favorite therapeutic spots (that's Target, of course) and I strolled through the fitness department as I always do for some inspiration. I picked up the DVD and thought - hey, twenty minutes. I can handle that. Whew! Well, let's just say I was painfully surprised. Don't let that twenty minutes fool you. That Jillian is intense! In that mere 1200 second time span I am panting, grunting, and realizing that I need to vacuum a bit better as I try to distract myself from eating the rug during push-ups. I have yet to complete the workout and not be sore the next day. In even more interesting Shred talk, Run Like A Mother authors recently highlighted a couple of self-proclaimed couple of "Shred Heads" who have documented their loyalty to the uber-aggressive (and obviously effective) tyrant. Their stories were pretty compelling and made me a bit more confident in removing the Yo-Gabba-Gabba DVD that rests rather permanently in my DVD player and pop in The Shred at least a few days a week.

Highlight of the Week: Two days of impending morning thunderstorms made way for a quite delightful breeze to cut through the 90+ degree heat. Oh, and how could I forget, Athena is back!

Lesson of the Week: Baby slobber will ruin your Blackberry. Even when it is your last tool in your arsenal to avoid grocery store meltdowns, don't give in. Another technical devestation on the homefront. Lesson learned.

Power Song of the Week: Hot-n-Fun by N.E.R.D (featuring Nelly Furtado). Download it. You will run.

Next week's training is the same as the first (see "116 Days To Go"). Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's For Dinner?

107 Days To Go

107 Days to just one week I will officially be leaving the triple digit countdown and entering the world of double-digits. It's beginning to feel less exciting and a bit scary. Is this normal? The second month of my Hal Higdon training is going well thus far, but I am beginning to shake in my boots at the thought of 13.1 miles in approximately three months. My farthest run to date is still only six miles. However, I am going to stick to the program and remain faithful that I will progress steadily in these remaining weeks. We will soon see...

On the weight loss front, I am happy to report I have 10 pounds left before I may actually be able to slip into a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans! May I possibly be soon saying good-bye to my legging collection? It will be a bittersweet farewell and I have a fond appreciation for those stretchy little suckers that bring it all in and smooth it on out (or give the illusion of doing so). However, as they have been my staple clothing item for the last year, I think I will be just fine saying adios.

As you may know from earlier blog posts, I have been following the Joy Bauer diet outlined in her book Your Inner Skinny that she kindly sent me back in the beginning of this 200-day challenge. I am human and I have had my slip-ups (Oh, sweet Bohemian conch fritters. If you are wrong, I don't want to be right.) Although, for the most part I have followed the plan accordingly. Honestly, it hasn't been hard. I am not depriving myself of any food groups. Bread and cheese still have a very strong presence in my life. However, I have taught myself the importance of portion control and seeking that "full" feeling from healthier choices like veggies and water. There are tons of dinner choices on the plan, but I seem to be a creature of habit and when I find something I like, I stick with it. Five months ago, this was a slice of thick-crust four cheese pizza from the new Italian bistro just down the street from my house . Now it is my turkey burger dinner happily prepared by the always loyal, George Foreman. This consists of a turkey burger with sauteed mushrooms and onions, a slice of low-fat cheddar cheese and topped with baby spinach leaves (which I put on everything). If I'm in a hurry, I skip the sauteed veggies and use salsa instead. Throw it on Mr. Foreman and in about ten minutes, dinner is served! My other staple that I have mentioned in earlier posts is the vegetable stew that I eat with each dinner. I prepare a week's worth or more and then freeze it in individual two-cup portions. Since playing single-mom usually means my nights consist of catching up on grading and housework after the monkey goes to bed (and trying to squeeze at least five hours of sleep in), these easy go-to meals have been a lifesaver...and waist trimmer.

Do you have any go-to healthy meals you rely on?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Latest Inspiration

112 Days To Go
I've talked many times before about my son being my primary inspiration for striving to complete November's half-marathon. And it is true, he is. I want him to be able to look back and realize I was able to be a strong, healthy, be-all-she-can-be woman who reaches for big goals, as well as a nurturing mother. I think that if he realizes this, he will also strive for his dreams and work hard to achieve them. However, moving forward in this journey I have also picked up other bits of inspiration along the way that have helped me keep up the motivation to stumble out of bed each morning and fall directly into my sneakers, despite sore muscles and excruciating heat. It's this network of other runners, particularly mother runners, that I have found serve as an alliance to help fuel my spirit as I move closer to my goal. From seasoned marathon vets who can tear up a 5k in 21 minutes, to the mother who is lacing up her first pair of running shoes in hopes of finishing a 5k on no particular date, but someday, that each provide encouragement and support to their fellow mother runners. Each make it seem possible. Each make it seem relevant. They understand the balance, desire, and often struggle that it requires to continuously nourish this ambition - to be a runner...and a mother.
I know you must all want to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya" by the campfire now, right? Here's the point I was leading up to. My latest inspiration has been this book I recently stumbled across, Run Like A Mother. Now, I'm a college instructor and mother to an 8 1/2 month old - so leisurely reading most often consists of a marketing textbook that I'm using as a refresher for an upcoming class I'm teaching or an instruction manual on how to install child safety locks on my cabinet doors. However, this book has served as my retrieve from necessity reading and turned into my fuel that I use each night to recharge. I read a chapter each night. It's an easy read written by two runners who have numerous marathons under their belt (don't worry, they don't take themselves too serious which can be such an intimidation to us novice-ites). They are relatable and share their story as beginning runners to advanced marathon vets. They actually look to other mother runners, the wanna-bes (like me) to the seasoned experts, who offer advice ranging from what sports bras are best to picking your best running distance, all in a light, conversational, and humorous approach. I truly appreciate the laugh-out-loud candor from the authors and contributing mothers that make this read relatable. I have always said, if you can't laugh at yourself, well, then your likely missing out on some pretty big laughs.
It's for this reason, I decided to represent my latest inspiration at the 5k I attended today (despite the heat advisory with 100+ heat index temps). I was sans a babysitter so I decided to push my jogging stroller with pride and sport my motto (see below). I ran the entire race (not without a roaring internal battle with the non-runner in me that still maintains 75% of my being) and actually got quite a kick as I approached the finish line, battered and exhausted, and heard a man yell, " Go, Mother!" I wish I had the strength to turn my head and find his face - but I didn't. But I finished.

Highlight of the Week: Knocking another 5k out and successfully completing my first week of the new Hal Higdon training program (well, tomorrow I complete the week).

Lesson of the Week: I had to think hard about what to share for this week but I think I am going to go with remembering to appreciate all of the strong women in my life - both new and old. Also, the beauty of knowing that empowering others leaves you with no less power (an Eleanor Roosevelt quote, I believe).

Power Song of the Week: Live Your Life by T.I. and featuring Rhianna. Great beat and great live your life for you message. Good running song!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Change in Program

116 Days To Go

I'm back! Okay, this dinosaur desktop computer thing is really throwing me off. I am used to working on a laptop that I can use pretty much anywhere in the house, at most any time. While my little monkey plays with his toys in the living room, mama works. Not uninterrupted, mind you, but still consistently sporadically (I love that oxymoron of a term I just made up, "consistently sporadically") throughout the day. However, with my laptop still being held hostage by the geek squad I am forced to sit at my office desk and get in computer time when I can...which is not that often and never without a battle of wills. My computer time usually consists of the little man climbing my legs, emptying the trash basket under desk, crying at my feet, or when I dare try and hold him and work, banging on the keyboard and struggling to find a way to fit the entire mouse in his mouth.....and so is the life of a mother, right?

This week I made a pretty big decision in my training and switched programs. I am now following the Hal Higdon Novice Half-Marathon Training Plan and feel confident in my decision. Why did I switch? Honestly, I can't continue the amount of walking the other program called for. It sounds crazy, I know. I honestly never thought that I would ever say, 'I don't want to walk any longer.' Don't get me wrong, please. I still take walk breaks at times during long runs and I always start and end every run with a warm-up and cool-down walk. But my former training plan had me doing two days of walking intervals, sometimes walking up to four miles, sandwiched in between running. And the walking distances grow as the plan progresses (along with the running distances, of course). Now, I like a nice stroll as much as the next guy - but I just don't have the time for a non-endorphin spiking casual walk. I found myself focusing on everything else I could be doing with the time. I tried to utilize my treadmill during nap times to eliminate the treacherous and mundane walks for little monkey, but soon found myself very resentful that my precious nap time/mommy time was being eaten alive walking on a machine staring at the baby monitor and holding my breath in hopes monkey didn't wake up before I was finished. The comfortable pace of walking also left my mind free to frantically wonder what other gazillion tasks I could be accomplishing that now have to wait until bedtime (which means a much later bedtime for mommy)...grading, cleaning, laundry, writing on this blog, and dare I say - maybe even a little leisurely Internet surfing. I reminded myself of the definition of insanity and decided a change was in order and researched alternative plans. I have a friend who was following the Higdon plan and also a fellow St. Pete runner I met through the blog using the plan and both felt good about the program and seem to be progressing nicely. So, Hal, I'm all yours (at least for an hour or so each morning, that is.)
The plan consists of 12 weeks and there are 17 weeks until the race. By the way, I just choked on my highly-caffeinated coffee typing that...17 weeks seems right around the corner! It's funny how since becoming a mom I measure weeks differently than before. It's like dog years - except one week, now feels like only a couple of days in 'mom-years.' Okay, I digress. Anyhow I am going to follow the plan by doing the first five weeks twice before moving on to weeks 6-12 in order to schedule 17 weeks of training before the big day.

Here's what this week looks like:
Monday: Stretch & Strengthen (check!)
Tuesday: 3 mile run (check!)
Wednesday: 2 mile run or cross training (check on the 2-mile run!)
Thursday: 3 mile run and strength training
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 30 minute cross training
Sunday: 4 mile run

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Deep Breaths

123 Days To Go
What a whirlwind week! Hubby home for a visit..check. Little monkey comes down with a virus...check. Mommy gets virus..check. Turned laptop (aka Athena, goddess of knowledge) over to the Geek Squad..check. iPod craps out..check.
Ahhh, well with that checklist complete I am happy to announce that this week is off to a refreshing start. Little man and I are recovering from the funk and I jumped back into my training plan today. With the hubs in town and my 'Honey-please' list overflowing, we rearranged some furniture and I dusted off the treadmill that I ordered the day before I found out I was pregnant...yep, the day before. It won't be my main source of training but on the run/walk training days that seem to take FORever, I think I will utilize it during nap time (monkey's nap, not mine) in order to spare him from enduring the blazing heat for long periods. I tried it out today and was pretty pleased with my pre-pregnancy splurge that has been willfully serving as a breeding ground for all the winter clothes I never got around to storing and baby gear that has been retired. With the (temporary) demise of my iPod last week (on the few days I was able to run before succumbing to the yuck) I actually endured a couple of runs minus my tunes and my Nike+ "score keeper," as I fondly think of it. I tried to think of myself as a naturalist, but still remain convinced that listening to myself pant sends my brain into a mild panic in which it sends out signals to my body to stop, walk, and breathe before I swan dive into the sidewalk. No can do. Thank goodness for the sudden resurrection of my little buddy. Now, I only pray the same fate for my sweet Athena. Without my laptop I am lost at sea. This ancient (in computer terms), circa 2005, slower than molasses desktop is no good for an online educator, blogger, mommy whose obsessed with, and runner who needs to update my 'Workin on my fitness' playlist daily. Is there a pill for these withdrawals?
On the half-marathon front, St. Pete unveiled their latest design for the medal/charm that will be waiting at the finish line for each runner that completes the race. They actually went back to the drawing board and designed it again after numerous complaints that the original version was boring. Check it out fellow runners (and thanks for sharing, Letty!).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Say Hello To My Little Friends

131 Days To Go I am. Yes, five days later instead of three. That's neither here nor there though, right? Here's what's been happening over the last several days.

I have been utilizing my running shoes from pre-pregnancy days, and realized I am likely well over the 300-mile mark in them, if not approaching 400. With that in mind, a few days ago a friend and I visited a running speciality store. This was a new experience for both of us. Yes, we've been to the mass shoe stores and the all-to-common sports stores you find tucked in a strip mall where the entire staff is dressed in referee shirts - but this was a legit running- concentrated speciality store. I knew this was a well-needed visit when I felt confident that the gentleman working there potentially took more pride in identifying my stride than naming his first born child. Turns out, I have a high arch with a neutral stride. In other words, even though I have been told I walk like a penguin, my feet are complemented best by a fairly common running shoe style. And thus, welcome my new family members, fondly known as my "vooms."

Seriously, these little suckers are like walking in marshmallows. I tested them out this morning and felt an extra spring in my step (I'll be honest, any new coveted apparel item tends to have this effect on me when donned for the first time). However, I do think we are a match made in novice 200-day half-marathon training heaven. I'll let you know how our relationship progresses.

On another positive note, I stepped on the scale today and in the last month can proudly say I have lost a total of 11 pounds! Loving the Joy Bauer diet and despite a human slip-up here and there, overall, I'm enjoying following the diet closely. I was discussing my achievement with another friend today and I have to say I believe the two main factors I credit to my pound shedding success are the elimination of white flour and the addition of a bowl of homemade vegetable stew ("Skinny Stew" as the diet calls it) with every dinner meal. It leaves me feeling full and forgoes the urge for that usual before bed nap-snack.

Staying aboard the positive train, the little monkey and I are also anxiously awaiting a visit from Daddy very shortly. I can't believe it has been since May since he's been home! I have a new appreciation for military wives. You rock!

Good things on the horizon! Moving steadfastly ahead (in my snazzy new kicks, of course).

"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief comes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."

-Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It Hurts So Good

136 Days To Go
Despite my brief hiatus from blogging, I did participate in my first 5k as an adult with some of my favorite girlfriends last weekend. I ran a 5k many moons ago as a teenager, back when sleeping was optional and eating a greasy hamburger was just a snack before dinner was ready. Anyhow, here's what I learned from the experience, I am no longer a teenager and preparation is necessary. I know, here I go again with the nostalgic lessons of being an adult. What can I say? It's another lesson on this journey. I was a little over-confident in my capabilities as a runner and not only did I miss running two days before the race, I also arrogantly attended a close friend's 80's prom-themed birthday bash the night before (included a picture for fun). I'm not sure if it was the black-lace fingerless gloves or the side ponytail that left me feeling as if I had enough energy to blast me through the night and well into the next morning's race. I relished having a babysitter at home and danced the night away to Debbie Gibson, Michael Jackson, and Tiffany. And the next day, only two words to describe the next day: Lesson learned.

I finished the race on four hours sleep and with a time of 31: 15. Not my best time, not my worst. I felt like I had ran twice the distance when I was done and found myself extremely fatigued, hungry, and sore all in mile one. Not a big motivating force when I am looking down the tunnel at 13.1 miles in less than five months. I think I was a bit crestfallen when all was said and done and am just now, three long days later, jumping back into my running shoes.
Over the last few days I contemplated what I would write about for this blog post. I didn't want to post another 'Woe is Me' entry and dwell on my mishaps and stumbles. It was during this morning's run, a begrudging run in which I fought an ugly internal battle about getting out there and completing it, that the distant memories of my fondness of running quickly returned. When my little man woke up an hour and a half later than usual, I tried to use the excuse of it being too hot to run. I resentfully forced myself into my gear, strapped the little guy in his seat, and pushed my jogger stroller outside... Here's a sound byte from the internal dialogue that followed: "IPod? Check. Water for me? Check. Sippy cup for monkey? Check. Stroller Fan? Crap! The batteries are dead! It's probably too hot to run without his stroller fan, right? Maybe I should skip today. Go to the gym? Start over again tomorrow?" (I've been using that last line for the past three days.) Finally, the restless runner on my left shoulder hurled a shoe at the lazy, hungry, tired bum on my right shoulder and I dismissed all the excuses I could come up with and just ran. Almost instantly after I picked up my feet after a warm-up walk, the sweat began to emerge, the push of my breath struggling to gain a steady in-out pattern erupted, and the all together slight uncomfortableness that running brings began to intrude my entire body. And it was welcomed. Truly welcomed! It's amazing how this whole running thing works. I dread going. I dread getting ready to go. I dread getting started. And many times during the run, I dread completing the run. But I push through the uncomfortableness and at the other end an unexplainable sense of fulfillment fuels me and I remember why I chose this particular activity for my bucket list accomplishment. It hurts so good.

I'll close this by saying I have realized that I blog less when I feel I have less to brag about. That said, to play a mental mind game on myself - I vow to post an update at least every three days for the next month. Don't worry, I don't expect anyone to anxiously anticipate my verbal diarrhea of what I've run, what I haven't, blah, blah, blah. It's simply a motivator for me to remind myself I am right in the thick of this personal challenge I have made so public and it's time to keep pressing forward - full speed ahead.

Lesson of this Last Week: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation. I am not above it.

Challenge of the Week: Remembering the good that running brings, even when a bag of Doritos and a nap sounds waaay better. Running feels way better.

Power Song of Last Week: Sisters of Avalon by Cyndi Lauper. I just feel 'girl power' when I hear this. Another throwback to the eighties, I guess.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rolling With It

144 Days To Go

There has been a lot going on since my last blog post, but I think the most impactful occurrence has been my reminder on the importantance in the ability to adapt.

One thing I have not yet written much about is the fact that I have been playing single mom for the last month. Those that know me are aware, but those who read this blog who don't personally know me (and I so appreciate you!) don't know that Hubs is a boat captain who had to head down south to the Bahamas to run from this horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is turning so many lives upside down. I have to admit, I was a complete babbling mess when he first left. Let's face it, I was only 6 months into being a mom and the whole process was still new to me. How will I juggle work, the house, the bills, and most importantly being a good mommy? And, oh yeah, do I get that in too? And the answer is (and I know most moms know this already), you just do. As a matter of fact, keeping busy has helped me keep my sanity and not dwell on the fact that my new family is indefinitely split for the time being.

On a much more positive note, the monkey and I just returned from having a chance to play international travelers and go visit Hubs in the Bahamas and it was quite a treat. I was worried about running, while I was there, but managed to get a couple of pretty good runs in. Despite the challenging hills, take a look at this view and tell me how you can't be thankful for the ability to run, breathe, smell, and feel this atmosphere? I was worried about the diet, but y'know, I didn't do so bad after all (no weight gained, none lost). Who visits the Bahamas and doesn't indulge in a conch fritter or two anyway? Okay, give or take four or five. The trip had significant meaning as the Bahamas is where Hubs spent every summer working while we were in college. I visited him there each year and it was there where we decided we would one day marry in the islands. 5 1/2 years ago we did just that. We spent our honeymoon on the very island we visited last week, and to now bring our son there was just another reason it is such a special place for us.

Bottom line, my point is that with adaptation, comes strength. And with strength comes blessings, if you are open to seeing them. I have known this my entire, non-traditional, somewhat crazy life. Sometimes I just need a reminder of the importance of this trait. Just like when I initially planned to run a half-marathon a couple of years ago and then many moons of prayers were answered and now my little 7 1/2 month interruption is my proudest accomplishment. Adaptation brings reward. When monkey wakes up later than normal, I utilize the gym treadmill. And when it rains, like today, we run in the rain (okay, light drizzle - but doesn't it sound empowering?). With this journey to train for this half-marathon, I am also reminded of the life lesson I want to teach my son. Life doesn't always go exactly how we plan. However, it's how we react and adapt that makes the outcome a setback or an opportunity. I choose the latter.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Am I a Cheater?

155 Days To Go

This week I have continued strong, and it hurts, oh so good. I have ran every day since Monday, except Wednesday which I cross-trained and put in some elliptical time. I had my best run yet on Thursday knocking out 5+ miles and feeling good about it. Here's the catch - it was at the gym on the treadmill.
In my mind, there is no doubt that running a treadmill is easier than an outdoor run. You've got the cushy treadmill mat, the rally of other fit gurus working out around you, and most notably, the icy air conditioning that minimizes the sting of "sweaty eyes," as I like to call that uncontrollable trickle of forehead sweat that maps out a little river right to my eyelids before burning my eyeballs. (However, just like my thighs rubbing together, I like to think of this as another means of producing energy and a sign of hard work). Oh, and also throw in the relief of pushing a 20 lb. monkey around in a jogging stroller. (Thank you, gym child care. I have come to truly love and appreciate your beauty. I am sorry I ever took you for granted.)
My reasoning for succumbing to incorporating these gym days into my training is because this Gulf Coast heat seems more relentless each day. Even with a cold sippy cup of water and a stroller fan, little monkey still comes out of the stroller post-run just as sweat-drenched as mommy. Hello guilt.
So, here's my question to all of you seasoned runners: How much is relying on treadmill runs going to sabotage my half-marathon training? I know it's okay every once in a while - but how much is too much? Anyone out there who trained primarily on a treadmill? I'd love to hear your feedback. Thanks in advance for the advice!