Monday, March 31, 2014

Winding Down & New Beginnings {My Training Diary: Week 12}

My runs are finally starting to wind down.  I ran a total of 8 miles last week.  I was supposed to get an 11 mile run in over the weekend, but I was out of town for the annual Women’s Retreat at church and the weather was horrible so I didn’t get around to it.  It’s supposed to be beautiful this week so I hope to do my 11 mile run soon.

We went on a little 3 mile run as a fam…

…and then we enjoyed some Dairy Queen!
I stocked my fridge will fresh fruits and veggies.

I tried out this sweet potato apple banana pancakes recipe from Cori at OliveToRun.  Yum!  I froze some pancakes for an easy breakfast.

This past weekend I was out of town for the annual Women’s Retreat at church.  The theme of the weekend was Butterflies, Rainbows, & New Beginnings.  We were asked to bring an item for the story jar, and over the weekend the items were pulled out of the jar and we shared our stories.  This was my first retreat and I didn’t know most of the people there, so I was kinda nervous to participate in the story jar activity.

I chose to share the bib from my very first race (4th of July Freedom Run) last summer.  I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… A year ago I hated the way I looked and hated the way I felt.  I started running to burn calories, but running has become so much more than that.  I didn’t know it then, but that very first C25K run was my new beginning. 

How was your week?  Are you currently training?  What’s a new beginning you’ve experienced in your life?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March Madness Mania: 5 Reasons I Love Tournament Time

Dad:  Tar Heels are yuck!
Toddler:  Yucky!
Dad:  They’re gross like bugs!
Toddler:  Like bugs!

I overheard this conversation at a NC State game– not uncommon when you live in the heart of the ACC.  In North Carolina, college basketball isn’t just something you watch…It’s a way of life.  I’d be lying if this post didn’t sting a little bit thanks to the Duke/Mercer upset, but even though my team is out, my tv will be on basketball until “One Shining Moment” plays.

The passion for March Madness is something not all people comprehend, but for me it’s normal.  The Christian Laettner shot is one of those “where were you when…” questions.  As a child, I loved any excuse to watch tv in school… and the ACC Tournament was one of those excuses.  Now I love March Madness for all the incredible moments.  Here are the top 5 things I love most about Tournament Time!

1.  Intensity
I hated to see NC State lose to St. Louis last week.  State was on the bubble and played so incredibly well in their play-in game against Xavier.  But when St. Louis came to play, especially in the second half, State just couldn’t keep up.  St. Louis wanted it more.  They were solid.  Their intensity was untouchable.  And they clawed their way back from a 16 point deficit.  Just look at Jett!  If this picture doesn’t scream intensity, I don’t know what does!

2.  Character
Love him or hate him, Coach K’s resume speaks for itself.  You can’t deny he knows what he’s doing when it comes to basketball.  After the Duke/Mercer upset, Coach K entered the Mercer locker room to congratulate them on their win.  It’s common for coaches and players to pass each other saying “good game” after the final buzzer.  It’s rare for the losing team’s coach to go out of his way to congratulate and compliment the victors.

3. Role Models
The teacher in me loves a good role model.  So many children look up to collegiate athletes because of their ability on the court.  I love it when athletes give children a reason to look up to them for what they do off the court.  TJ Warren was recently named the ACC Player of the Year.  Warren deserved the title for his consistent performance on the court, but it was what he did off the court I found impressive.  Did you know TJ Warren voluntarily attended leadership seminars over the summer?  He wanted to do everything he could to help his team… Which meant improving more than his free throw percentage.

Although I primarily follow the ACC, I recently came across this article about Big 12 Player of the Year, Melvin Ejim.  When asked about his future he replied “I’m in school– my primary goal is to get my education.”  He plans to go to law school after graduation.  Basketball is a big part of his life, but it’s not his whole life.  I think this is a great message to send to children.

4.  Cinderella 
Who doesn’t love a Cinderella Story?  In the 80s it was NC State.  A few years ago Butler became a household name.  Last year everyone was talking about the FGCU Eagles from Dunk City.  This year it looks like Mercer could be Cinderella (although I’m on the edge of my seat watching Stanford & Kansas right now!).  Everyone loves to root for the underdog; everyone loves Cinderella!

5.  Swagger
Every once in a while you get a Cinderella with some swagger.  That’s exactly what happened last year with the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles.  My heart was just one of many stolen by the Eagles last year.  They were talented, scrappy.. & then they had this indescribable swag going for them.  I couldn’t help but smile as they played.  My heart broke when their dance came to an end with a loss to Florida.    If I had to make a list of the top people I wish I could meet, that 2013 FGCU basketball team would be near the top.  Not only did they make history by being the first no. 15 seed to ever make it to the Sweet Sixteen, but they look like they’re a blast to hang out with!

What do you love most about tournament time?  Who busted your bracket?

Sayonara Scale! {My Training Diary: Week 11}

Week 11!  The home stretch!  I logged a total of 18 miles this week… All of which were WITH C in the stroller!  It was great to get C outside with me.  Here we are working on the biiig hill in our neighborhood!

This week I finally got around to making some kale chips.  I tore up some kale, drizzled it with olive oil, and sprinkled it with Mrs. Dash.  Then I baked them for 12 minutes at 350.  Yummy!

This week I got my yoga on.  The long runs do a number on my legs so the stretching feels great.  Here’s C and Duke giving me a hand.

Saturday was long run day!

Adam was out of town and I didn’t have anyone to watch C, so he rode along.  Until Saturday, the longest he strolled was 4 miles.  The last 2 miles were pretty rough, but for the most part it was a great run.  My time was slower than normal, but between C and the stroller I had an extra 58 pounds with me… So I’m counting it as a win!  It was absolutely gorgeous outside and there were tons of people out and about.  We saw horses and geese… C loved moo-ing & quacking at them (we’re still working on animals, hehe!).  I packed tons of stuff for him just in case he had a meltdown, but he rocked it like a champ.  After our run we had a little mommy/son date to Jimmy John’s and Cold Stone.  

So in December I decided my goal was to complete a half marathon.  I was okay with dropping some pounds and inches in the process, but fat loss was and is not my goal.  Like many ladies, I’ve developed the habit of weighing myself weekly.  It’s something I’ve been struggling with because the numbers haven’t moved much lately and that is frustrating!  One of my good friends has been encouraging me to throw the scale out the window… She keeps saying: Do you like the way you feel?  Do you like the way you look?  Forget the scale!  Well this week I’m officially forgetting the scale!  I love the way I feel… And even though there’s room for improvement, I like the way I look.
I’m not perfect and that’s okay.  Over the last 11 weeks I’ve challenged myself both physically and mentally in a way I never imagined.  I know I’ve said this before, but I think about the person I was a year ago and I don’t even know her.  THAT is waaaaay more important than a silly number!  So sayanara scale!  Your numbers are NOT all that important & not worth my time!

Hope you had a good weekend 🙂

How was your week?  How do you deal with the scale?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Final Countdown + #RunForJaime {My Training Diary: Week 10}

4 weeks.
28 days.
672 hours.
40,320 hours.

However you break it down, my very first half marathon is right around the corner.  I can’t believe it!  This week I ran 16 total miles.  I didn’t log as many miles and I’d like (C was sick again & teething like crazy… it was a rough few days!)… but I got my long run in and that felt amazinggg!

My long run was 10 miles.  Around 8.88 miles I was a feeling a little rough, but I kept at it and completed my 10 miles!  I took a few steps here and there for water or an energy pouch, but I ran pretty much the entire time.  I went through some older parts of my neighborhood to get some practice on hills.  I don’t particularly enjoy the hills, but I know there will be some on race day, so I figured I should get some practice.  I also got another pair of compression socks.  GearBuzz had a deal on Pro Compression Marathon Socks so I decided to give them a try.  I love them!

Last week I read a sad post over at DebRuns.  A runner in Deb’s community, Jaime, was hit by a car and killed while out for her morning run.  To celebrate Jaime’s life, her friends and family encouraged runners all over the world to run on Saturday and dedicate their miles to Jaime using #RunForJaime.  I didn’t know Jaime, but I thought a lot about her during my Saturday morning run.  I hope for those two hours my prayers reached Jaime’s friends and family and provided them with a little comfort.

One of my favorite bloggers recently posted about runner safety.  See Sue’s safety tips for runners at ThisMamaRunsForCupcakes.
Click To Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs - The Most Popular Mommy Blog Directory

How do you stay safe when you run?  Did you run on Saturday?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

3 Reasons To Love Fleet Feet


Before I start, I want to say I was not compensated in any way by Fleet Feet or anyone else… I just really love Fleet Feet and want to share 🙂

There’s a local running store in Raleigh called Fleet FeetFleet Feet is a franchise that has locations all over the US (find the one closest to you!).  I’ve made several trips to Fleet Feet in the recent weeks and each time I love the store and the people there more and more.  So here’s the top 3 reasons I love the people at my local Fleet Feet!

1.  They don’t try to rip me off.
You know that scene in Legally Blonde?  The one where the saleswoman says “there’s nothing I love more than a dumb blonde with daddy’s plastic” and then tries to pass off a clearance dress at full price?  (don’t know the clip?  See it here!)  Well the salespeople at Fleet Feet are NOT like that!  Every time I walk into Fleet Feet they ask what I need.  When I got fitted for shoes, the salesman asked about my running routine and goals.  He didn’t try to push the most expensive shoes to make a sale; he helped me find the right shoes for me.  I was so intimidated the first time I entered Fleet Feet; it was the first time I’d been to a “real” running store (I barely consider myself a runner!).  The salesman could have easily convinced me this or that was “necessary”, but he didn’t.  He helped me find exactly what I needed.  The salespeople I’ve met at each trip to Fleet Feet have been equally helpful– without being pushy.  Now if only I could get the fabulous
people at Fleet Feet to have a talk with all those telemarketers… 

2.  They know their stuff. 
Unlike big chain stores where some salespeople are athletes while others just need a job, the people at Fleet Feet are actual runnersThat means they not only know all the “book stuff” about the products they carry, but they actually use a lot of those products!  I don’t need someone to recite what the label on a box says– I can find that on Amazon.  I need someone who knows what it’s like to train for a race.  I need someone who knows the pros and cons of different products.  I need someone who can answer questions and bring up points I’d yet to consider.

3.  They’re great people.
Each time I’ve visited Fleet Feet, I’m greeted like a friend.  Just this morning I made a trip to stock up on pouches and the saleswoman asked about my last race.  We’re both signed up for the same race in April and while she rang up my goodies we chatted about our trainings.  Even though she’s an experienced marathoner and I’m a novice runner at best, she was nothing but sweet and encouraging.  In addition to being friendly and personable, the people at Fleet Feet give back to the community.  Fleet Feet sponsors a local run club that supports 14 different charities.  Many of the Fleet Feet staff members are active in the run club and support the charities.

So there you have it– the 3 reasons I love Fleet Feet and the amazing people who work there!  If you’re a runner and ever find yourself in the area, I highly suggest you check them out!

Where do you like to shop?  What’s one piece of running gear you couldn’t live without?  What’s a charity that’s important to you?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Son’s Doll Has A Stroller… & I’m okay with that, too!

Not too long ago I wrote a post about my son and his doll, Mikey (My Son Has A Doll… & I’m okay with it!).  Recently Mikey upgraded his shopping cart for a stroller.  Mikey’s stroller is purple because it was on sale for $7.  And ya know what?  I’m okay with that too!

Recently someone insinuated that my son will be gay because I bought him said stroller (this person also insinuated that being gay is a bad thing).  It took every ounce of self restraint to not scoff and rant about the ridiculousness of this comment.  Instead I rolled my eyes, thought about it, & decided to blog about it 🙂

Now, let’s pretend for a second that a $7 purple stroller from K-Mart could actually make my son gay (I can’t even type that without rolling my eyes).  Is “making” my son a certain way what being a parent is about?  Should I be trying to mold him to what society, culture, or a mere acquaintance thinks he should be?  Is that the whole point of this parenthood thing?

When I think about what being a parent means to me, many things come to mind.  Controlling my son’s sexuality is not one of them.  When I was a teacher, we spent a lot of time discussing the main idea of a story.  I would teach my students to pick two words to summarize a story.

If I had to pick two words to describe what being a parent means to me, I wouldn’t choose “forced heterosexuality,” I would choose these two:
unconditional love.

Simple, a little cliche, but to the point. defines unconditional as “not limited by conditions.”  It defines love as “a form of warm personal attachment or deep affection.”  Loving C unconditionally means I love him, all the time, no matter what.  C may not be able to fully understand those words right now, but I know he feels my love for him every day.  I know this because I show my unconditional love for him in several ways…

1.   Stability
While our days are not always exactly the same, I work hard to provide C with some constants.  When C knows what to expect he is able to go about his day with limited stress.  C knows every day he will be fed & changed, able to rest, and have boundaries to keep him safe.

2.  Stimulating Environment
C interacts with family and friends on a daily basis.  We regularly go on play dates where he is able to explore new surroundings.  We read and talk every day.  C learns important critical thinking skills by playing developmentally appropriate games (some of which even incorporate technology! gasp!)

3.  Happiness
My son is happy every day.  Maybe not all day every day, but C laughs and smiles  Sure there are times he throws fits because he’d rather have a cookie than green beans, but those times are few and far between compared to the grins and giggles that regularly fill my home.  Those moments make my heart swell… And if a purple stroller helps with that, then that was $7 well spent!

If you could pick two words to summarize what being a parent means to you, which words would you choose?

Monday, March 10, 2014

9 miles & feeling good {My Training Diary: Week 9}

Week 9!  Every week I’m shocked as I sit down to write these entries.  Seriously, before I did C25K, the only time I ran was when I had to run for the annual fitness test in elementary school.  Now I run 9 miles by choice!  Who am I?  I did 13 total miles this week.

So I haven’t been feeling the weights too much lately.  I decided it was time to switch things up.  Back in January Elle over at Nutritionella started doing Workout of the Week posts.  This week I did workout 1 twice.  I may be a little late, but better late than never, right?  I like her workouts because you need little/no equipment and they can be done while watching General Hospital 🙂  I also like them because they combine cardio and strength/resistance training.  Here I am working on some mountain climbers (Duke was so kind to help me!).  To see her full post of week 1 go here!

I’ve also been working on the 10K a Day Plus Challenge over at Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Confession– I haven’t really been counting my steps (I’m assuming between chasing C around and running I’m hitting them), but I do really like the “plus” part.  Anyone want to do this with me?

My long run this week was 9 miles!  The first few miles were a little rough, but once I hit mile six I was feeling pretty good.

Sorry this post was kinda short… I’ve had a lot going on and am playing catch up.  Happy Monday, yall!

Have you raced lately?  What workouts did you get in this week?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DIY Mini Projects!

I’ve been somewhat of a slacker in the DIY department lately.  I’ve done a few things, but haven’t been super diligent about taking pictures to blog about them.  So I thought I’d share a few mini-projects I’ve done recently.  I hope they give you some creative ideas!

1.  Mason Jar Chandelier
I took the shades off our dining room chandelier and replaced them with mason jars.  I love the way it allows more light in the room!

2.  Homemade Rose Sugar Scrub
I found this on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.  Baby oil, sugar, and rose petals… Super easy!  I love how it turned out!   

3.  Magnet Play Area
This was actually Adam’s project.  He got 3 sheets plated steel sheet metal at Lowes and screwed them to the wall.  Incredibly easy and C loves it!

4.  Distressed Desk
This was my first attempt at distressing furniture (see my second attempt in this post!).  I found this desk on Craig’s List and used General Finished Milk Paints to give it a makeover.  I used Outback Brown for the first coat, Linen on the top, and finished it up with an antique glaze.  I use this desk to organize my craft stuff and absolutely love how it looks in our bedroom.

5.  Mason Jars & Milk Bottle Candles
I wanted to add a little love to our porch.  I painted a tray I picked up at TJ Maxx.  Then I got a variety of mason jars and milk bottles at a local thrift store and threw in some tea lights.  Voila!  Instant ambiance!  

6.  Wine Chiller
This is not exactly a “craft,” but I thought it kinda fits since  it’s a creative idea (I think I saw this on Rachel Ray).  I throw frozen fruit into my drinks to keep them cold and give it a little flavor.  Yum!

Have you gotten crafty lately?  What projects do you have going on?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Run Green 8k! {My Training Diary: Week 8}

This is what it’s like to blog with a toddler… don’t mind C’s bed head!  We were having a lazy morning!  Anyway, on to training related things…

Week 8!  Over halfway!  I can’t believe it!  This week I completed 18.5 total miles!

This week I did a little treadmill…

…and a little weight training.

I also made a trip to Fleet Feet to register for an 8k and check out some running swag.

Fleet Feet has quickly become my new fave place.  I won’t tell you all the reasons why because I’m working on a post about how much I love Fleet Feet.  Anyway, the amazing people there helped me pick out some pre/mid run snacks to keep my energy up.  I actually tried wasp extract this week (gross, I know!) but lots of runners swear by it, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.

Adam worked from home Friday so I went ahead and got my long run in.  I decided to run in my neighborhood because it was a little chilly and the greenway has lots of shade.  It worked out incredibly well because I was able to run an easy 4 miles, swing by the house for a quick mid run snack…

…Then I pumped up my pace and jams for the remaining 4 miles.  That little chocolate pouch was surprisingly good!  It tasted just like chocolate frosting.  Maybe not homemade frosting, but definitely as good as something out of a can.  When I was at Fleet Feet I asked the salesgirl about my phantom baby bump (read about it here).  She really stressed the importance of both water and electrolytes during my long runs.  She said for every 45 minutes I run I should have both electrolytes and water, so along with my chocolate pouch I had a glass of half Gatorade and half water.  I think her advice did the trick because I completed 8 miles (without a phantom baby bump!) & felt incredible!

This is how I felt after running 8 miles…

Saturday I did a race!  A bar downtown, Tir na nOg, partners with Fleet Feet for two races a year.  This weekend was the St Paddy’s Day Run Green 8k and Kilt Run.  The annual race supports the MS Society.  This was my first race since Halloween and it was SO much fun!  It was such a great vibe… there were bands and costumes and beer (it is at an Irish Pub, after all!).  I ran the entire 4.97ish miles -with the exception of a few steps at the water stations- so I was pretty pleased with myself.  There were quite a few brutal hills, but for the most part I enjoyed the route.  Lots of people were out on their porches hanging out and cheering everyone on.  My official time was 53:56 (averaged about 10:50/mile) which is pretty fast for me.  All in all, it was a great race and I would love to do it again next year.  Hopefully I’ll plan ahead next year and will be able to participate in the Kilt Run also (this year I registered too late I wasn’t able to get a kilt in time!).  Anyway, here are some pics (Check out the guy with the backpack… he said it was 90 pounds and he ran the WHOLE time!  Talk about tough!)…

What workouts did you get in this week?  When’s your next race?  What’s the most fun race you’ve participated in?  Happy Sunday, yall!

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