Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Runners Remembered {Rock N Roll Half Marathon Race Recap: Part 2}

If you missed part 1, check it out here.  If you did read part 1, you know my very first half was all in all a pretty amazing day.  It was challenging and exciting and probably one of the best days of my life.  After I crossed the finish line I grabbed some food and headed straight to my soon-to-be-sister-in-law’s bridal shower (try saying that 5x fast!).  As I arrived I received a text saying two runners died at the race.  I felt my stomach drop.  I was shocked.  It was such a fun, exciting, and positive atmosphere.  I couldn’t believe two people lost their lives at the same time I was celebrating.  I felt so guilty.

I later found out Derrick Myers and Jason Schlosser both lost their lives towards the end of the half marathon.  I didn’t know either of these men.  I don’t even think I know someone who knew either of these men.  However, I -along with 12,497 people- raced with these men, and I think that’s something special.

It’s been about two weeks since the race, and I’ve gone back and forth, over and over about how to address this tragedy as part of my race recap.  I think the best way for me to honor these men is to share what I’ve learned (or was reminded of) and focus on applying those lessons to my daily life.  Here’s what I’ve got so far…

1.  Nobody is invincible.
Both of these men were competitive, experienced runners.  From what I’ve read, they took care of their bodies and encouraged others to do so also.  I don’t believe they’ve released the exact cause of deaths, but a cardiologist at WakeMed says that people who experience similar incidents often have an undiagnosed heart condition.  I didn’t even CONSIDER consulting my doctor before I began training for my half.  What was I thinking?!  My dad has a heart condition!  I should have consulted my doctor back in December when I registered!  I called my doctor this week and scheduled a screening.  I’ve convinced my brother (who is running his first half in June) to call his doc, too.
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2.  Give back to the community.
The nOg Run Club has started #RaleighRemembers to honor Derrick and Jason.  The Run Club is dedicating miles to the men as well as raffling items to raise money to help their families.  It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives, but we need to look past that.  Sure I have days where it seems like everything is going wrong (last week I backed my car into the garage door and broke my keys!), but the truth is, I have a body that works, love from family and friends, food on the table, and a roof over my head.  All those other things don’t really matter.  I plan to get more involved with #RaleighRemembers!
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3.  Always help others.  
This one is simple.  We learned this from Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street back in the day.  However, this one is the most important.  We see devastating and hateful things all the time.  Sometimes the world seems like a pretty horrible place.  However, I read that people helped both Derrick and Jason.  Both spectators and runners stopped what they were doing and administered CPR until medical personnel arrived.  While I would have much rather for nobody to need CPR, it’s nice to know that there are kind, caring people in this world who have your back– even if they don’t know you. 
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The thing that has humbled, shocked, and comforted me these last few weeks is the sense of community I feel among friends and acquaintances here in North Carolina, as well as those of you in the blogosphere.  Being a runner is pretty special, and knowing it’s a commonality I share with millions across the globe is pretty awesome.  I can’t help but think of that quote from Glee…

My condolences go out to the families of Derrick and Jason.  I have been praying for you.

What is a lesson you’ve learned/remembered due to a tragedy?  Are you involved with your local running community?  How do you help others?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pajama Days + Sesame Street



C and I usually have at least one pajama day a week.  This means we chill at home and rock our jammies.  We love parks and story time, but sometimes we need to veg.  These days usually start with a breakfast in bed and watching Sesame Street.  

When we first started watching Sesame Street, I was slightly annoyed with all the new characters and CGI segments.  Where’s Big Bird and Snuffy?  What’s wrong with old school animation?

However, the more I watched, the more liked the new Muppets.  Now when I say “new” I don’t mean brand new… I mean newer-than-the-80s-episodes-I-grew-up-watching.  So today C and I are listing our favorite new Muppets!

1.  Elmo
Elmo has been around for a while, but he wasn’t always so popular.  Remember that Christmas people were scalping Tickle-Me Elmos?  People went crazy for the furry guy!  Elmo (or “Mo Mo” as he’s called in our house) is C’s absolute fave Muppet.  He rivals Thomas the Train as C’s fave character overall.  So what is it about this little red monster that causes toddlers to go nuts?  Well, I think toddlers love Elmo because he has toddler problems!  The segment where Elmo gives up his binky nearly had me in tears; it was so sad!  Giving up a binky (or as C says “bibi”) may not seem like a big deal, but it can be a big deal to a toddler!  Of course I know C loves his bibi, but I never really thought about what may go through his head when it’s time to say bye-bye to bibi.  Just because C can’t verbally express how and why he loves his bibi, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.  It’s going to be difficult for C to give up his binky, and I need to be sympathetic to his feelings.  Thank you for that lesson, Mo Mo 🙂


2.  Abby
C loves Abby.  I think it’s partly because he can say her name.  I think it’s also because she has her little CGI segment.  I like Abby because she adds a little diversity to Sesame Street.  She was purposely designed to have different features than the other monsters.  Also, Abby’s parents are divorced.  That’s why she spends half her time in Fairy Land and half her time on Sesame Street.  Abby’s character is a great way for C to learn that everybody is differently and families come in all shapes and sizes.  I also love Abby because she’s been known to accidentally turn things into pumpkins.  I want C to know it’s okay to make mistakes (sometimes I need the reminder, too!).
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3.  Murray & Ovajita 
Murray’s little intro rap is hilarious.  C dances it to it all the time.  I love his rap because of the word play.  I also love these two because -again- they add a little diversity to Sesame Street.  Murray and Ovajita are always checking out new schools together.  I think these segments are a great way to spark a child’s interest in something he or she may not have considered.  I know I find some of their school trips interesting, so kids should too, right?


4.  Rositta 
Rositta was the first bilingual Muppet (again with the diversity… Can you tell diversity is important to me?) which is pretty awesome.  What’s more awesome is Rositta is all about girl power.  There’s a segment where Rositta, Abby, and Zoe are all writing a princess story.  Abby and Zoe have typical fairy tale ideas– like a princess is stuck in a tower and a prince comes to rescue her.  Rositta has the idea for the princess to save herself!  Even though I have a son, I want him to grow up with examples of strong women, even if that example comes in Muppet form.  C may not get the girl power yet, but he likes that Rositta can play guitar!
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Did you grow up watching Sesame Street? 
Have you seen it lately?
What’s your favorite children’s show?  Least favorite?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I’m Only Half Crazy {Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon Race Recap: Part 1}

I can’t believe I’m writing my first official race recap!  On April 13th I competed in the Inaugural Rock N Roll Raleigh Marathon.  I completed the half– I have absolutely zero interest in running a full!


Friday I attended the Expo.  It was HUUUGE!  I scored all kinds of sweet swag.  I purchased two bondibands, which are now my new favorite things.  They are the only headbands that don’t slip!

Traffic was terrrrrible on the way to the race.  Adam ended up dropping me off so I could get to my corral.  Even though the morning was a little chaotic, I was able to catch up with Ginny from Buttergirl Diaries.   

Here’s a view from our corral… If you look closely you can see the capitol building!

Ginny and I started out together, but she’s a bit faster than me so we parted ways after about a mile.  The first few miles were great.  There was an electric energy among the runners and crowd.

There were some great signs!  One of my favorites was: “You’ve been training for this longer than Kim Kardashian was married.”  I also liked the guy holding “Why do all the cute ones run away?”  I saw a dog dressed up like Superman and a kid dressed up like Captain America.  This couple had signs that said “Just Married!” and “Run Faster!  She caught me!”

Here’s an action shot my dad captured.

Here are some of the pics I took along the way…


Drumline

Loved this sign!

Mid-race selfie with the band!  I think this was around mile 5.

Raleigh Rose Garden

Hillsborough Street

NCSU Bell Tower

Pullen Park

Raleigh Skyline– this was the home stretch!

Around mile 10 I had a little emotional moment.  I got teary-eyed because I was in such disbelief.  A year ago I was barely able to run 3 minutes straight…and here I was, in a REAL race, on mile 10!

Mile 11 was the Mile of Meaning.  I wish I could fully describe what I was feeling in that moment.  I was exhausted from running, excited about finishing, and heartbroken for the men and women killed in action.  Seeing photos of so many young men and women who lost their lives defending our country… So many soldiers holding their young children… It gave me chills.  It just made my heart drop.  Then all of a sudden I had a second (or third or fourth…) wind.  These men and women died for our country so I can do things like run 13.1 miles for fun.  Even though my legs were jello and my back was aching, I had two legs that worked.  I had family and friends waiting for me at the finish line.  I was going to finish this.
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Here’s Ginny around mile 12.

A few minutes later I was rounding the last block.  My brother surprised me and ran with me for a bit.

We finished!!


C couldn’t make it to the race, so he made this sign for Adam to hold 😉 It says “My Mom Rocks” and has a pic of us from the Run Green 8K.

Here are my stats… Does it count as a PR if I have nothing to compare it to? 🙂

Sometimes I still can’t believe I did it!  My goal was to run the entire time… Which is exactly what I did.  It wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t perfect, but I did it.  When I got home I took a looooong bath, ordered some pizza, and watched Thomas the Train with C.  It was perfect.

While race day was filled with excitement and celebration for many, I’m extremely saddened for the two families who experienced a devastating tragedy.  Check out Race Recap Part 2 focusing on the heartbreaking loss of two local runners.  




How did your last race go?  Do you have any races coming up?  How do you recover from a big race?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Confessions of a First Time Mom {Guest Post @ Coach Daddy}




I’m so excited to be posting for Eli over at CoachDaddy today!  I hope you check it out!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dolphy Personalized Educational Games {review + giveaway!!}

Disclaimer:  Aside from one Toddler Personalized Game Package and one Children Personalized Game Package to review, as well as one game package to give away, I was not compensated in any way for this review.  All opinions are my own based on my personal experience.





I was recently contacted by Dolphy Games about their personalized educational game packages.  As a former teacher and full time mommy, I believe weaving educational opportunities into daily life is critical to a child’s development.  C and I have had a great time playing with the toddler package and the games have quickly become part of our daily routine.  So without further adieu, here are the top 3 reasons C and I make time to play Dolphy Games every day!



 
1.  Promotes a Variety of Skills
The Toddler Game Package is for ages 2-4 and focuses on a typical toddler’s daily environment.  It includes games about colors, shapes, food, objects, animals, and numbers.  It also has a memory game that promotes critical thinking.  The Children Game Package is suggested for ages 4-10 and includes educational, critical thinking, and vocabulary.  
  
These two packages will literally support your child’s development from the toddler years through fifth grade.  Not only do the game packages include various literacy and math skills that are directly tied to the common core curriculum they also promote important critical thinking skills– which are vital to success in today’s world.

Right now C needs help to complete the games, but I know soon he will be able to do them without me.  There are a variety of difficulty levels so that the games can be on his instructional level.  This feature is extremely important because current research shows the most efficient way for a child to make academic gains is for them to be challenged at their instructional level



2.  Easy to Install and Navigate
Not only are Dolphy Game Packages affordable (less than $10 for each game package!), you don’t have to worry about shipping and CDs.  Dolphy Game Packages are available immediately after purchase as an instant download.  Additionally, the navigation menu is extremely kid friendly.  You simply click on the numbers for counting games, fruit for food games, shapes for shape games, etc.  Nobody wants to spend time with confusing menus!  Dolphy Games make it simple for you and your little one.


3.  It’s Fun and Engaging
I saved this one for last because I think it’s the most important.  You can have the best educational idea in the world, but if kids don’t find it fun and engaging it’s worthless.  Dolphy Games personalizes their games so that each game addresses your child by their name.  C gets so excited and claps when the game cheers for his correct answers.  The personalized, positive reinforcement excites and encourages C.  We’ve played every morning for a while now and C races me to the computer after breakfast!  These games make learning fun– something parents and educators are always trying to do!

So there they are!  The 3 top reasons I think Dolphy Personalized Games are absolutely amazing products!  This week I will be giving a Personalized Game Package to one lucky reader!  Enter below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Finish The Sentence: I Learned The Hard Way… {Running Advice}




One of the things I love most about running is the community.  Whether it’s people I know personally or others in the blogging world, I feel a sense of comradery with other runners.

It’s still weird for me to consider myself a “real” runner.  I often consider myself a “novice runner at best”… But the truth is, it doesn’t matter if you’re on day one of C25K or if you have a dozen marathons under your belt.  It doesn’t matter if you do a run/walk/jog combo or you have a 6 minute mile.




If you lace up your shoes and challenge yourself, you’re a runner.
Plain and simple.


I’ve asked my favorite real life and virtual running friends to offer their best running advice by finishing this sentence:


I hope you enjoy these, and I hope that regardless of how you run… fast, slow, long, short, trail, road, alone, in a group, upside down, or backwards… you share some laughs and gain some helpful advice from the best runners I know!

I learned the hard way that having proper running shoes is required, not optional.  –Adam

I learned the hard way to listen to your body.  –Jennifer

I learned the hard way to proper hydrate before, during, and after your runs! –Juliet

I learned the hard way that one rock can almost destroy your plans for a 3 day race. –Jenny

I learned the hard way that when running in the cold your body produces heat. –Tim

I learned the hard way that a headlamp is a very good idea when running in the dark in an area that may require you to jump up onto the curb. –Erin from Run With Erin

I learned the hard way that there is no shame in taking a break to walk during a run, especially during long runs. Sometimes your muscles just need to relax and reset.  I learned the hard way that there is no need to run every day when you are training for a race. Cross training, yoga, and rest days can do wonders for your body’s recovery and motivation. –Stephanie

I learned the hard way that it’s not a good idea to eat a salad with a fatty dressing the night before a long run.  Believe me, you don’t want the details!  –Deb from Deb Runs

I learned the hard way that every run is different.  Every race is unique and your body will react differently.  I learned to always carry a spare band-aid.  –Brittany

And last, here’s mine…

I hope you enjoyed this as the final My Training Diary entry for this race.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  I can’t believe tomorrow is RACE DAY! 


 
 
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