Monday, December 30, 2013

Weight Loss and Nutrition during training

I have been thinking a lot the past few days about fueling properly for my half marathon training and wondering if I should stick to a formal nutrition plan for the next few months.  With that being said, I know myself and I know that I am not one for following a routine to the letter of the law, so I don't want to set myself up for failure in that regard.  When I had gestational diabetes, I had to follow a fairly strict diet and I was able to do so, but it wasn't for me and I admit that freely.  I stuck to that diet for Jack; I wanted to do everything I could to make sure he was healthy and unaffected by my gestational diabetes.  I would do just about anything for someone else, but why can't I do the same for myself?

I digress.  My real point with this post is to see what others have done while doing long-term training for an intense race.  Did you increase your protein intake and decrease carbs?  Or did you carb load? Or did you stick to your regular diet?  As there is with just about any other subject, including half marathon training plans, there is a lot of great info on the internet, but I'd love to hear from fellow runners about what worked best for them.   

In addition to starting my half training after soon, I also want to get back on MyFitnessPal to track my caloric intake and start losing weight again.  Although, much of what I've read indicates that during training, weight loss might be unattainable and unrealistic as your body builds muscle.  Am I taking too much on by training for the half and trying to lose weight?  Should I just focus on the half marathon until April?  What has been your experience during training; did your weight loss stall as you built muscle?  I should note that I don't feel like my weight defines me, but I still have a weight loss goal that I would like to achieve in 2014, so I want to be realistic and if I need to stretch that goal a little further into the next year to accommodate my training plan, then I will.

I can hardly believe that tomorrow is the last day of 2013.  As usual, I feel like the past year has flown by, but it is a great time to reflect and I have so many wonderful memories from the past year that bring a smile to my face.  I also love the promise of the new year; a new start, a blank calendar, a blank journal to set new goals (I might have a slight obsession with blank books. I have several in my nightstand just waiting for their purpose in my world), and a myriad of opportunities to make new memories.

Tomorrow I will post my update on The Final Nut of 2013 Challenge!

Cori at Olive to Run (http://olivetorun.com/) had this great quote posted on her Facebook page a few weeks ago and I love it!  I feel like I always put limits on myself, but running has shown me that there really aren't any limits on what I can do in all areas of my life.  While I have felt off the past few weeks as far as working out and eating well, I just need to keep in mind that this is just a plateau that I need to move beyond..

"If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it'll spread over into the rest of your life. It'll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Getting excited for Half Marathon Training

It was a gorgeous day here again with mild temperatures, so after putting away an inordinate amount of clean laundry, I took the boys to the park for some fun on the swings and slides.  We were not the only ones with that idea and the park was busy, but the boys had a great time.  I think Jack could spend hours in the swing and Nick had a blast running around like a madman.  My mom met us at the park, which was nice, and then we went to Target so the boys could spend some of their Christmas money.  It was pretty cute watching Nick check out at the register.  He was really excited to buy his toys on his own and use his "credit" (gift) card.  He looked so grown up!  We also had dinner with my Mom and one of her good friends and we had a great time.  

I am starting to get excited, yes excited, about training for, and completing, my half marathon.  I know it is going to be difficult, challenging, and exasperating at times, but I also know that it will be rewarding, uplifting, and fun at other times.  I cannot wait to cross the finish line on April 5th and see my hard work and training pay off.  So today, I took one step towards that goal and I purchased stickers for my training schedule while we were out running errands!  It may seem silly, but I was pretty darn excited to buy those stickers.  I can't wait to start doing my training runs so I can start putting those stickers on my paper training log.  Next step is to actually print said paper training log.  Baby steps!  

Jessica at A Little More Each Day (http://littlemoreeachday.wordpress.com/) blogged today about some awesome new running toys she got for Christmas and I love the 13.1 princess themed car decal she got from her husband! (http://littlemoreeachday.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/new-running-toys-for-christmas/)  I admit that I cannot wait until I can get a pink 13.1 decal for my car this spring!  

I hope you all had a great Saturday! 

"Setting running goals is the first step in changing how you look, think, and feel." 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Funday

I love winter break, I really do.  I know I'm spoiled in that I get the week between Christmas and New Years Eve off, but it is good for my soul.  I feel caught up on life (laundry, dishes, quality time with the boys, picking up clutter, etc.) and it feels great!  I think the festivities of the past few days caught up with Jack, because that sweet little boy slept off and on all morning, which he never does.  It was lovely.  Both boys were in bed with me and Nick watched cartoons for awhile while Jack and I cat-napped.  Blissful, I tell you.

When we finally dragged ourselves out of bed, I realized how nice it was outside and we headed to the zoo for some afternoon fun.  Going to our local zoo is probably one of my favorite things to do with the boys and we haven't been in a few months.  We, of course, rode the train first at Nick's request.  My oldest has been into trains since he was about a year and a half and I think he is going to be a lifelong railroad enthusiast.  Then we took a little walk to visit the elephants, because it was Raja's (one of the elephants) 21st birthday.  We also went to the children's zoo and the insect house before heading home for the afternoon.  It was in the 50's this afternoon, so it was nice to be outside for a little while without freezing!  I think all of the fresh air did us some good!

I came across this video a few weeks ago and have been meaning to share it for some time. I guess there is no time like the present!  http://www.upworthy.com/first-these-women-were-offended-then-they-realized-who-was-being-offensive

It's an interesting look at "fat talk" and how we have been bashing our own body images.  We would never dream of saying these hurtful things to our friends or family, yet we say them to ourselves, and about ourselves, all the time.  I admit, I do it to myself and I have to stop.  Matt will sweetly tell me how beautiful I am and sometimes my response is something to the effect of "you mean beautiful and fat?"  What on earth is the point of me saying that?  It was actually embarrassing to admit to saying the above comment, but I have honestly said it before and I have to get out of that viscous cycle.  Yes, I would like to lose weight for my health and to feel better in general, but I am also damn proud of the body I have.  It has birthed and nourished two beautiful boys, it has walked me through countless miles in life, holding me up sometimes far longer than my brain though it could, it has provided comfort and love in the form of hand holding, snuggles, and hugs for my loved ones, and it has given me good health and vitality for the past 31 years.  What is not to love about that?  Food for thought on this Friday night. 

Have you found yourself saying detrimental things about yourself and your body recently?  Let's vow to change our mindset when it comes to our body image!

"There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty." 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Stress Eating

Hello, major setback.  I have got to find a better means of dealing with stress than snacking.  I realize that much of the problem is that I have a lot of deliciousness in my house right now (baking day was, after all, a success) and a lack of willpower, but I was pretty out of control today.  I was snacking on just about anything and everything I could find, but it did little to quell my stress levels.  I know better than that, I really do.  Binge eating like I did today, in fact, has the opposite effect, because now, in addition to my other stress, I'm also stressed (and a little pissed) about all the crap I ate today.  Viscous cycle, stress eating.  I should have gone for a run instead. Gah.

I guess it should come as no surprise then that I am more than likely not going to meet The Final Nut of 2013 Challenge.  I will do a complete post on this challenge next week closer to the 31st (since that was my deadline), but I am not feeling confident at all.  Honestly, I haven't been on the scale in a few weeks and my pants feel a smidge tighter. As I mentioned recently, I have been allowing myself some flexibility the past few weeks in anticipation of a pretty intense training and diet regimen for the half in April, so I'm only a little disappointed, but I may feel differently after I do a weigh-in.  More on the challenge next week!

I've been enjoying some quality time with the boys while we are on winter break and I've been fairly productive, too.  It's amazing what you can accomplish without the daily grind of school and work!  Nick had a play date with a friend today, so Jack and I got some one-on-one time, which was nice.  He was a little more snuggly this afternoon, so I enjoyed it while it lasted.  I guess he wasn't trying to keep up with his big brother, which left more time for cuddles!

On a random note, I was so excited to hear that The Sing-Off was coming back this year!  I've loved the past three seasons and I was pretty sad when it didn't return last year.  This season has been great and I've spent the past few nights catching up on Hulu, although I did get a spoiler alert about the winner via Facebook.  I managed to avoid the reveal of the winner on my E! app, but alas, the show's FB page posted the winner plain as day.  Oh well, I still enjoy watching the shows, even though I know the outcome.  I'm pleased with the winners (I won't reveal the name, in case anyone else is still catching up), but I loved so many of the groups this season.  On the finale one of the groups, Ten, sang Joyful, Joyful with Shawn Stockman (of Boyz II Men fame) and it was fantastic.  For your listening and viewing pleasure:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnqauML85vs

Have a great Friday everyone!

"Dealing with stress in a better way is the key to breaking the cycle of stress eating." 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you have been enjoying the magic of the holiday season!  I have found myself incredibly busy over the past week or so between finishing up Christmas shopping, crafting (I might have stayed up until 3 this morning finishing a sock monkey for a little boy I know), baking, and enjoying time with my family.  We had a really wonderful Christmas and we are looking forward to a few relaxing days for winter break.

I hadn't originally planned to bake this year, but all of the memories of my Grandma baking around the holidays inspired me to do some baking with the boys on Monday.  We made chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, nutty marshmallow fudge, and buckeyes.  Yum!  Jack enjoyed watching us and eating the chocolate chips and Nick was my helper.  We had a great time!

I do admit, though, that I have been really lax as far as running and eating healthy, so I'm looking forward to getting back in the groove next week.  I've decided that in addition to using an app of some sort for my half marathon training, I am also going to use a paper schedule.  I saw someone post their paper schedule complete with smiley face stickers for days completed and that really spoke to me.  I like to see the big picture as far as training goes and this worked really well for me when I was training for the marathon relay earlier this year.  One of my awesome teammates made a 12 week calendar countdown to the race for me and included stickers so I could mark the days I ran or worked out.  It was a wonderful tool for me and I think having something similar for my half will be valuable.

I'm also looking forward to getting back into the blogging groove! :)

I'm trying to keep the below quote in mind daily.

"Love who you are." 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Things are getting serious...

I had a little panic attack yesterday afternoon about my upcoming half marathon training.  I was talking to a co-worker about all of the plans I was considering and I realized that one of the plans I have looked at (the Another Mother Runner Half Marathon: Finish It Plan) is actually a 15 week plan and not 12 weeks.  I have said all along that I will start training after the first of January and that would give me approximately 12 weeks  (but closer to 13 in actuality) to train for the half marathon in early April.  I thought that all of the plans I was looking at were 12 week programs, but when I realized the AMR plan was 15 weeks, I started to (irrationally) think that I wouldn't have time to adequately prepare for the race.

It took me a few minutes to come down off the ledge and accept the fact that it will be ok if I only get in 13 weeks of training.  The reality of it is that I am going to do a hybrid training program anyway so I won't be sticking to one specific program. I think my freak-out is probably a natural part of the process of committing to do a half-marathon and I guess it was good to get it out of my system now.  A little bit of pre-training jitters never hurt anyone.

I forgot to mention in my Hot Chocolate Race re-cap that I got to try out my new Saucony Curve Crusader sports bra!  I l.o.v.e. it!  It has been ages (and ages and ages) since I got a new sports bra and it was long overdue.  I love the hot pink color I picked and more importantly, the style of the Curve Crusader, particularly the crisscross design in the back which gives much needed extra support.  It was so nice to not have to double up on sports bras for the race!  In my sleepy haze the morning of the race, though, I forgot to wear my Saucony Runderpants, but I'm looking forward to trying them out soon!  (Disclaimer:  I won the Saucony Curve Crusader bra and Runderpants in a contest sponsored by Another Mother Runner.  All opinions expressed are my own) 

Have you experienced any pre-training jitters?  How did you alleviate those jitters? 

"Allow yourself to be a beginner.  No one starts out excellent." 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hot Chocolate 5K Recap

I managed to drag myself out of my warm, cozy bed bright and early yesterday morning to participate in the Hot Chocolate 5K and I'm glad I did!  Luckily, the weather wasn't quite as cold as they predicted and it was a "balmy" 25 degrees when I got in my car a little after 7 a.m.  Race organizers requested that participants arrive at 6:30 for a 7:30 start, but it was far too cold to be standing around waiting for an hour, so I ignored that part of the pre-race e-mail.  I planned to arrive at the race site around 7, but the snooze button was calling my name, so I ended up not leaving my house until a little after 7.  Normally, that would have been enough time to get downtown and get to the starting line.  I forgot about the road closures, though, due to the 15K race that they were also holding that morning, so I had a little detour getting to the starting line.  I was supposed to start in the second wave of runners, but I just barely made it to the starting line in time for the third (and final) wave of runners.

Bundled up, somewhat awake, and ready to run!
I read a few reviews from years past that were a bit on the negative side when it came to the Hot Chocolate Race, but I was really impressed with the race and I would definitely participate again (although hopefully in warmer weather)!  Below are some thoughts on the race and cold weather running:

A good (albeit cold) morning in the Lou
  • Just as packet pick-up was, the race itself was very well-organized.  The starting corrals were clearly marked, the point at which the 5K separated from the 15K was well-marked (I have an irrational fear of missing a cut-off and running a much longer race), and the area where we received our finishers mug was efficient and fast (once you finally got to the tent).
  • The race volunteers were incredibly friendly and helpful.  I spoke to one volunteer at an intersection while I waited to cross the street as the first wave of runners passed and he told me he had been at the race site since 4:30 a.m.!  I thanked him for coming out in the cold so early and for being so friendly. I wouldn't have faulted him for being a little cranky due to the early wake-up call and the cold, but he never once complained and was so jovial!  All of the other volunteers I came in contact with were just as friendly and I made sure to thank all of the other volunteers that I saw that morning.  Races like this are nothing without the volunteers and I appreciate their time and the energy that they bring to a race! 
  • I had entirely too many layers on my upper body, but not enough layers on my lower body.  I wore a long sleeve Under Armour shirt, my Hot Chocolate Hoodie, and a light weight fleece coat.  I also had on my earband to keep my ears warm.  On my lower half, I had my compression capris.  I was practically sweating to death about midway through the race, but my upper thighs were frozen!  Interestingly enough, the few inches of my legs that were exposed due to the length of my capris were not cold at all, just my upper thighs.  As hot as I was during the race, though, I got pretty chilly as soon as I was done running.  I probably would have been fine with just a long sleeve shirt on top and perhaps I should have added some shorts over my capris to keep my upper legs warm, but at least I will know for next time! 
  • I ran "naked" (no, no, no. I, of course, had clothes on...see above)...electronically, that is.  I didn't have time to set up my AMR podcast ahead of time since I barely made it to the starting line to start on time, so I ran without a podcast or music and I also did not track my time and pace using my phone.  I ran electronics-free and it wasn't too terribly bad.  I did miss my podcasts, though!
  • My hoodie with the long-sleeves and the thumb holes was multi-functional in the cold weather.  I used one sleeve to wipe my nose and the other to wipes my eyes, which were running due to the cold wind lashing again my face.  
  • I let myself walk for about 45 seconds shortly after the first water stop.  I'm a little pissed that my brain won out over my legs, but I'm also not going to hold it against myself or beat myself up about it (at least not too much, anyway)
  • I really struggled through parts of the race and I'm not sure if that is a valuable lesson for me in regards to not running consistently or if it is just a reflection of my body working harder in the colder weather.
  • The finishers mug was amazing!  I wasn't sure I would be in the mood for hot chocolate after the race, but boy, did it taste amazing!  It warmed me up and it definitely hit the spot.  The mug also had chocolate fondue, a small banana, a bag of mini pretzels, a package of wafer cookies, a Rice Krispie treat, and a big ol' marshmallow.  I  immediately indulged in the marshmallow and covered it in chocolate and it was divine!  I decided to save the rest of my mug until I got back to my car, however, a funny thing happens on the walk back.  The chocolate re-solidifies!  It made for a nice snack later on yesterday though, after I re-heated the chocolate a bit.  I also loved that the race organizers offered plastic bags for your mug in case you needed to take it home with you.  There was also a moist towelette in the mug, which was perfect for wiping off my face and chocolately hands.
  • My official finishing time was 39:50, which I am thrilled with!  I like the sub-40 5K's and that isn't a bad time at all, considering I haven't run consistently for about the last 2 months. 
The finishers mug filled with all kinds of deliciousness 
Overall, the Hot Chocolate 5K was really fun, well-organized, and delicious and I can't wait to participate again next year!

Did you participate in any races this past weekend? Are there any more races on your calendar for 2013? 

I love this quote and I feel as though it is directed at me, especially at the moment. 

"If you don't find joy in running, don't blame the running.  Blame the you. It's not the running you dislike, it's the place you have put it in your life."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Getting ready for the Hot Chocolate Race

Guilty admission here.  Based on the forecast for Sunday, I have been contemplating skipping the Hot Chocolate Run; I really have no desire to get frost bite.  However, going to the Race expo and packet pick-up this afternoon got me pumped about the race and I will drag myself out of my warm, cozy bed on Sunday and run it.  If for no other reason than the post-race fondue and hot chocolate!


I am fairly certain I will need a mug this size to warm me up after the race Sunday
When I first heard about this race earlier this summer, I was, of course, intrigued by all of the chocolate, but then I saw it.  The hoodie that all of the participants receive.  It was beautiful.  Reflective piping: check.  Zippered pocket on the back hip:  check.  Thumb holes (!!!): check.  I was obsessed with it and knew that I was going to sign up for the race so that I could get myself a hoodie.  Today, after months of waiting, I got to pick up my beloved hoodie.  Isn't she pretty? 

This photo does not do it justice; it's a beaut. 
Thumb holes!  Love, love love! 
The packet pick-up was well-organized and efficient.  I really appreciated that they had an area where you could try on your hoodie and swap sizes, if necessary.  Luckily, the size I ordered was a perfect fit.  I was a little concerned since my weight loss has stalled! There were several booths at the expo and plenty of cold weather gear for purchase.  There were also hot chocolate samples (perfect on this cold, drizzly day) and samples of chocolate covered marshmallows!  Yum!  If this was a preview of the post-race deliciousness, I am in for a treat! 

Although I am not looking forward to the weather on Sunday, I am looking forward to wearing my new hoodie, getting in a good run, and enjoying some chocolate goodies after the fact!

Hot Chocolate Race, here I come! 
Has anyone ever skipped a race due to weather?  I opted to skip a 5K last year when the remnants of a hurricane blew through St. Louis at race time. 

"Never say the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon." 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cold weather running

I received an interesting e-mail today from the organizers of the Hot Chocolate race that I am running on Sunday in regards to the weather on race day.  It was a little intimidating, I admit.  It seems as though the temperature on Sunday at the starting line is expected to be 5 (!) degrees.  In anticipation of the frigid temperatures, the race organizers have made a few adjustments, including canceling the Kids Zone area, changing the requested pace per mile for the 15K from 15 minutes to 13 minutes to reduce the risk of exposure, and altering the wave start times.  The e-mail also mentioned that frostbite can occur within 10-15 minutes of exposure at these temperatures.

I don't feel as though my wardrobe is prepared for this weather.  I have running capris, but I specifically did not invest in a pair of pants, because in all honesty, my legs do not get cold when I run, just my upper body. I imagine, though, that my legs will be cold if it is 5 degrees.  As far as my upper body goes, I have a long sleeve Under Armour shirt that I plan to wear and I am getting a pretty sweet hoodie in my swag bag for the Hot Chocolate race, but do I also need to wear another jacket over that?  I get really hot when I run, but then I wonder, is it possible to be "hot" at all when it is 5 degrees?  The e-mail also suggested wearing a hat since significant heat loss occurs through your head and covering the lower half of your face.  I don't think I will wear a hat, per se, but I am planning to wear an earband I got in Kirksville the last time I ran in cold weather and I think this will be enough for me.  I'm not sure about covering the lower half of my face; I don't want to run in a scarf, so I am wondering what else I could use to cover my face.  So many things to think about with cold weather running!

I know one thing, though, I will be slathering my lips with Aquaphor! I am obsessed with my Aquaphor Lip Repair +Protect.  Last winter, I had a horrible time with chapped lips.  I think it was partly due to the fact that I had an allergic reaction to a new product I tried on my lips, but I was also running a lot in the cold and not protecting my lips.  I tried everything last year and nothing worked, not even lip balms with triple-antibiotics, until I found Aquaphor.  I've heard great things about Aquaphor as far as its moisturizing and anti-chafing benefits, but I had never tried their lip balm.  I'm hooked, though!  My lips started getting chapped really early this year; in October instead of January or February, but I've been using Aquaphor Lip Repair +Protect and it has been a lifesaver!  Disclaimer: I was not asked to review this product.  I am just a huge fan and wanted to share it.  The opinions expressed are my own.
This has been a must-have for me, particularly during this brutal cold spell we've been having!
What tips and tricks would you share regarding cold weather running and what should one wear when running in frigid temperatures?

"You were born with strong, capable legs. Winter does not change that. No excuses. Run." 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, but it also always seems to be the busiest! I promise, I did not fall off the face of the earth, but I have definitely been feeling the hustle and bustle of the holidays; shopping, crafting, parties, decorating, etc.  It is all worth it, though; I really love this time of year and I particularly enjoy watching the holidays through the eyes of my boys!  I am trying not to get too overwhelmed, though, like I was around the end of October.  I don't want to get run down physically and mentally!

Sadly, I haven't had the opportunity to try out my new Saucony sports bra and Runderpants, but I hope to soon!  We had a little bit of a nasty bug running through our house this weekend and I wasn't feeling too well yesterday.  I feel much better today, though!  It looks like our weather will be warming up soon and it looks like prime running weather, which I'm excited about.  It has been really cold here and I have become a bit of a wuss when it comes to the weather.  We are supposed to have a low of 7 degrees tonight and on the way home, I saw a gentleman out for a run wearing a long sleeve shirt and shorts (!).  That's dedication!  Maybe I should take a cue from his persistence?

I've felt like the ultimate slacker the past few weeks and I think that in some ways, I am allowing myself to do so, because I know that come the first of the year, I will need to buckle down and train.  It isn't an excuse, but I guess I am trying to get my slacking out of my system now while I can.  I do have a race coming up on Sunday; the Hot Chocolate 5K and I am very much looking forward to it.  It's not a competitive race for me personally (although a PR is always nice!) and I just plan to enjoy the race and most of all, have fun and eat a lot of chocolate at the end!

Has anyone participated in one of the Hot Chocolate Races?  

"Push ourselves to discover limitations, then push past them." 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Exciting delivery today


Tonight's post is going to be really brief, as I had a really long day at work and am beat!  However, I had to share a little bit of excitement.  I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I won one of the Another Mother Runner Hump Day Giveaway contests (here's the link in case I didn't share:  http://anothermotherrunner.com/2013/11/01/winners-saucony-runderpants-sports-bras/) and I was thrilled because my prize included a Saucony Sports Bra of my choosing and one of the new Saucony Runderpants of my choosing.  I have been in desperate need of a new sports bra so being one of the winners of the contest was very apropos.

Well, guess what came in the mail today?  My Saucony swag!  I worked late tonight and was exhausted when I got home, but I was delighted to see a brown box on my front porch when I pulled in the driveway!  It makes me want to get up early tomorrow morning to go for a run to try out the new bra and runderpants (hooray for not having to double up on sports bras anymore!)

Such cute packaging for the Runderpants!

The Runderpants I chose.  Indeed! 

I cannot wait to try this out on my next run!
I can't wait to give these products a try; although, I admit, I already put both on and did a little test jog around the basement and I'm already in love with both products.  I'm excited to see how well both the bra and runderpants do on an actual run and I'll be sure to provide a review soon!

Disclaimer: I won both of these items in a giveaway on the Another Mother Runner website. All opinions expressed are my own. 

"Don't be afraid to give up the good and go for the great." 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Being a slave to the scale

Today was the first day in probably close to 7 months that I didn't weigh myself.  Mind you, this was not a rebellious act on my part to liberate myself from the tedium of the daily weigh in.  I am legitimately afraid of getting on the damn thing.  The past week has really set me back and I'm frustrated, discouraged, yada yada yada.  I really didn't feel as though I ate terribly on Thanksgiving (I only had one serving of turkey, which is not normal for me, I assure you), but the scale seems to think I ate about 5 lbs. of turkey, cranberries, and pie.  I suppose it isn't the scale's fault that I apparently ate too much last week and I'm well aware of the fact that my frustration should be directed at myself and less at the scale.  However, I know I've mentioned this before, but maybe being a slave to the scale is not good for my mental state.

I was reading Katie (Runs for Cookies) Foster's blog post today called "Stupid Scale" (http://www.runsforcookies.com/2013/12/stupid-scale.html) and when I saw the title, I literally said out loud "Isn't that the truth!" Katie is always inspiring to me and today's post about not letting the scale get under your skin really hit home.  While I do think weighing myself frequently does help keep me in check, the numbers on the scale also don't define me.  I definitely need to get back on track with running and eating better, but I've noticed other changes in myself that can't be accounted for on the scale.  I have noticed some incredible definition in my legs that I've never had, not even when I danced in high school.  My running pace has gradually increased, which means I am getting stronger as a runner.  My clothes are still getting bigger and bigger and I'm buying clothes in sizes I haven't seen in nearly a decade.  So yes, the scale says I have gained a few pounds and honestly, I don't know that this puts me in sight of my end of the year weight loss goal, but I have other ways to measure my success.  I may very well heed Katie's words and take a little break from the scale!

With all of that being said, I really do need to get back on track, so I went out for a run today at lunch and it felt great!  It was not quite 60 degrees like they predicted, but it was still a good day for a run.  I did my usual loop at the park near my office and got just about 2 miles in 21:35, so I kept a pretty good pace, too.

I think I've decide to try MapMyRun for a change instead of the Nike+ app.  I still feel like my Nike+ app is being a bit flaky and until I can get my Garmin (hopefully around Christmas!), I want to see if MapMyRun can give me more accurate readings.  I've heard great things about it, so I will let you know how it goes!

Do you weight yourself every day or less frequently? I'd love to hear what works for others! 

"The scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That's it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love." 

Monday, December 2, 2013

I need motivation and a bit of tough love

My oh my; I am feeling the post-Thanksgiving food regret and I really, really, really must get myself back on track.  I feel like I have really been slacking with my end of the year challenge and I'm not sure why.  Well, I have a pretty good guess.  I worked my ass off for my birthday challenge and I think I burned myself out.  I promised myself a day of letting go on my birthday to enjoy eating cake and whatnot, which would have been fine had I stuck to just that one day.  However, one day has turned into countless days of slacking off and I need to re-ignite the fire inside of myself, the ironclad determination, and indestructible willpower that I had over the summer.  Lovely Laura is devolving into marginally Lazy Laura and it's time to turn that around!

I saw last week that Runner's World was promoting a holiday running streak challenge (http://www.runnersworld.com/cold-weather-running/the-2013-holiday-running-streak) by asking people to commit to running a mile every day between Thanksgiving and December 31st.  I think it is a great idea, but admittedly I was intimidated by the challenge and talked myself out of it.  What happened to the girl on fire?  My goodness.  I am not one to back down from a challenge, but this one spooked me for a number of reasons.  1)  To be able to run a mile every day more than likely means I would have to get up early at least several times a week to fit a run in and I like sleep 2) how would I manage to go for a run on Christmas Day? 3) I never run on consecutive days because I am afraid of injury 4) it is supposed to get really cold here in the next few days (after, of course, our lovely 60 degree temps tomorrow, we are supposed to see lows in the teens this weekend. Brr!)

I'm re-reading the above excuses and noticing how ridiculous they are.  Lovely Laura would have the following responses to Lazy Laura:

1) Boo hoo, so you would have to get up early to run.  You know you feel better when you start your day off with exercise and secondly, getting up early might mean that you and the boys get out the door on time some mornings!  Amazing!  Plus, you could still go for runs at lunch, so some days during the week you could "sleep in" a bit.

2) You just do it.  You go for a quick run in the neighborhood while Jack takes a nap between Rounds 1 and 2 of opening presents and while Nick plays with his new toys. You will feel better about eating the delicious, decadent bread that is a Christmas morning breakfast tradition.

3) I don't have much of a comeback for this excuse, because it still does concern me a bit.  However, it's not like I would be running 6 miles a day.  Some days I could go for longer runs, but most days would just be easy runs of a mile or 2.

4) Toughen up, Buttercup.  It's winter.  It's going to be cold for the next 4 months or so and you've run in sleet and snow before.  Bundle up, suck it up and get out there.

So, maybe I can jump on the holiday running streak a little late or do my own running streak.  Has anyone else done a running streak?  If so, for how long?  Would anyone consider doing a running streak? 

I love the quote below; it's a bit of tough love, but it's what Lovely Laura needs to say to Lazy Laura right now!

"I will beat her.  I will train harder.  I will eat cleaner.  I know her weaknesses.  I know her strengths.  I've lost to her before, but not this time.  She is going down.  I have the advantage because I know her well.  She is the old me." 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Week of Thanks: Fruitful Friday

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We had a wonderful day, although I ate entirely too much and the scale was not amused.  It's ok, though.  It was one day and I am getting back on track!  Let this be a lesson to myself for Christmas, though!

Today's post is a hodgepodge of things I am thankful for to round out my Week of Thanks.

  • I am thankful for my extended family who mean so much to me: my in-laws, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I really have a wonderful family and I am blessed to have so many loving, supportive people in my life.
  • I am thankful for our home which keeps us warm, dry, and "cozy" as Nick told me this afternoon.  It is our little sanctuary in this crazy world!
  • I am thankful that we have the food necessary to nourish our bodies. 
  • I am thankful that Matt and I have good jobs to support our family.  I have worked many places in my (relatively) short career and I am thankful to have found a supportive environment to spread my wings. 
  • I am thankful for the vehicles we have that allow us to get to the places we need to go.  Nick and I talked about this today as we were out shopping.  We decided it would take us a really long time to walk everywhere we needed to go, which led us to a fun guessing game about how long it would take us to get to various places.
  • I am thankful for the health of my family and I.  (Nick would like to note that, along these lines, he is thankful for vitamins.  Indeed.) 
  • I am thankful for the outlet and accountability that my blog provides as I move towards my weight loss goals.  I am also thankful for the wonderful people who read my random thoughts on this blog and for the lovely people I've met as a result of it. 
My cup runneth over and I am indeed a very blessed woman!  Thank you for letting me share my gratitude this week! 

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Week of Thanks: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!  I have so much to be thankful for and had a wonderful day with my family . I hope you had a wonderful day, too!

Today, my post is dedicated to my friends, who are really family to me.  I can count on them through thick and thin and while we may not see each other as often as we'd like between family, work, geography, and other commitments, I love how when we see each other, we can just pick up where we left off.  I hope they know that they are always in my heart and I wouldn't be who I am today without their friendship.

I'm thankful for friends who have seen me at my best and worst, cried with me, laughed with me, rejoiced with me; they've been by my side through graduations, weddings, births, deaths, and everything in between.  I'm thankful for game nights (which we need to re-instate!), girls days out, and play dates with our beautiful kids.  It means so much to me that we are still close and it warms my heart to see our kids playing together and watching them grow up!

Throwback Thursday!  The night of my wedding rehearsal in 2004

We didn't plan to be pregnant at the same time; pure coincidence! (2011)
I am thankful for friends who I met through work, but whose friendship extends far beyond that.  Friends that lift you up when you need it, listen to you vent, and help you navigate through the craziness that at times can be your career.

I'm thankful for a friend who helped me become a little less naive (although I still can be quite naive at times) and a lot stronger, always tells me like it is, makes me laugh, drinks with me (at Cardinals games and while playing Apples to Apples...thumbs down), and helped me through an incredibly emotional and sad time in my life, for which I will always be grateful. 

Another Throwback Thursday picture from my baby shower for Nick (2007)
I'm thankful for this girl right below, who I hope won't hold it against me that I am posting a picture of her. :)  She is one of the most supportive, caring, and honest friends a girl could ask for and I cherish our friendship.  She and I are going to tackle a half marathon in the spring and we are going to crush it!


I am thankful for a friend who will wear mustaches with me (we need to reinstate Mustache Mondays!), run in the snow and sleet with me, and who motivates me and supports me every step of the way.


I am incredibly thankful for all of my friends; you inspire me, encourage me, and support me in so many ways.  I am so blessed to have you in my life and I look forward to many more adventures and memories!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

"When destiny forgets to tie some people in blood relations, it corrects its mistake by making them true friends." 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Week of Thanks: Blessed Wednesday

Before I dive into day 3 of my Week of Thanks, I must share that I went for a run today.  I'm not going to lie, I really didn't want to because it was so cold.  Mind you, I have run in the snow and sleet, but today's mid-20 degree weather was not appealing to run in.  At least the sun was out, though.  I did a quick out and back in my neighborhood and got 2 miles in.  My pace was really great (about 10:30/mi) and I'm sure it was because I was so anxious to get back and get warm!  My mom gave me a little push to get out the door and go for a run, so thanks, Mom!

Speaking of my mom, today I am thankful for the two people who gave me life, my parents.  You know who won the parent lottery?  This girl.  I have the best Mom and Dad a girl could ask for.  They are the role models for the type of parent I aspire to be:  supportive, accepting, always available to talk and listen, and firm, yet fun.  They've been there for me through thick and thin and taught me so many valuable lessons about life.





When I was growing up, if there was something I wanted to buy, my parents would agree to pay for half if I saved my allowance for the other half.  I remember saving up for a pair of roller skates, a tennis racquet, and a Gameboy and learning a lesson about the importance of saving money (and not making impulse buys, which I should keep in mind as an adult, too!).  The roller skates and tennis racquet were fairly easy acquisitions, but let me tell you, it took quite some time to save up for half ($45 circa the late 80's - early 90's) of the Gameboy.

I also remember always writing thank you notes for my birthday and Christmas presents before I was able to play with them.  As a kid, I was not a fan of this practice, but as an adult, I am thankful my parents had this rule. They taught me how to write a thoughtful note of thanks and the value in being appreciative and grateful. I plan to have Nick and Jack do the same when they are able.  I do finally feel as though Nick is of the age to understand the concept of a thank you note and of the ability to write a short, sweet notes of thanks, so I'm sure we will begin this practice very soon!

When my Mom and Dad stopped being Mr. and Mrs., I could always count on them to come together and support me in my various adventures in life.  Whether it was my high school graduation, my sorority initiation dinner in college, college graduation, my wedding day, holidays, baptisms and birthday parties for the boys; I always have them by my side.  I'm sure it isn't always easy, but it means the world to me that they are by my side every step of the way.

I think I get my love of history and foreign languages from my Dad.  I remember visiting him one summer and he took me to a local Russian round table discussion.  He wrote a brief paragraph in Russian for me to say to the group and I still remember how to say "My name is Laura" in Russian.  In fact, my senior year of college, I took Russian as an elective because of the interest in the language and culture that my Dad sparked in me.  Dad and I have also visited our share of museums and Matt can attest to the fact that going to museums with the two of us is not a short endeavor.  We like to read the plaques.  All of them.  There is a lot of good info on those plaques, folks.  Just a note for you in case you ever venture to a museum with us.  When my Dad was stationed overseas when I was 3 or 4, he would send us cassette tapes so we could hear his voice and we would send tapes of us back to him.  He would read stories to me and tell me about his life overseas.  I still have the cassette tapes and listen to them on occasion.  From the time my parents got divorced until I graduated college, my Dad wrote me several letters a week, of which I still have many of them.  He'd send articles he thought I'd like and tell me about what was going on his life.  I can talk to Dad about anything although sometimes we both have to temper our conversations about politics. :)  A little friendly debate never hurt anyone!



I wish Dad and I didn't live so far apart, but we always have a great time when he visits and we were lucky enough to make a trip this summer to see him and my Grandparents!  Love you, Dad!

My mama is my partner in crime; we could tell you some stories, that's for sure.  We've had countless adventures together and just as many memories.  Sometime I'll tell you about our adventures in New Orleans and Nashville, but those are posts in and of themselves.  I talk to my mom several times a day and she is often the first person I call when I have news to share or need comfort.  I am 31 years old and I still need my mom and that is ok by me!  My mom is one of my best friends and I don't know what I'd do without her.  I can talk to her about anything and she always listens and guides me in the right direction.  Growing up, she would often put little notes in my lunch, even in high school when she would stick a good luck note in my lunch bag on the day of a test.  Or she would make a smiley face in mustard on my sandwich because she knew I loved smiley faces.  Every so often, I will stick a note in Nick's lunchbox, too, just like my mom did for me.  She and I love to travel and shop and we can do both until we drop!  She's an amazing woman and I only hope that I can grow up to be half as amazing as she is!  Love you, Mom!



I am lucky to have such wonderful parents who are now amazing grandparents to my boys!  I'm grateful for all they taught me (and will continue to teach me) and for shaping me into the woman I am today.  I love you both more than I can say!

What are you thankful for on this eve before Thanksgiving? 

"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings."  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Week of Thanks: Thankful Tuesday

My post today is dedicated to the two little men who gave me the most important title I will ever have: Mom. From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a mother and I am so grateful that I was chosen to be Nick and Jack's mom.  Nothing could have prepared me for the joy, laughter, love, chaos, and exhaustion that they bring to my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

My sweet sons, who are water babies just like their Mama
Nearly six and a half years ago, I became a Mom when Nick was born.  It was a long labor that lasted through the night, but thankfully, it was a wonderfully short delivery.  I will never forget the moment I saw him for the first time.  He looked so small, red, and scrunchy and I couldn't wait to hold him.  He was a snuggle baby then and he is still my snuggle buddy now.  In fact, just tonight, he came in my room while dinner was cooking and asked if he could snuggle with  me while he waited for dinner.   My sweet baby boy, you can snuggle with Mommy any time you want and I hope you always have time for a snuggle!  When he was a baby, he would sleep in the crook of my right arm at night and to this day, he will lift up my right arm to wiggle in close to my side for snuggles.

Nick and I on my birthday this year. 
I love everything about this kid, but I especially love and admire how sweet, compassionate, and empathetic he is.  He wears his heart on his sleeve (I will be the first to admit that he gets that honestly from me and Matt), but he always puts the well-being of others above himself.  Tonight, our cat gave me a pretty nasty scratch on my upper leg (my own fault for teasing him) and Nick was genuinely concerned about my leg.  He asked me several times if I was ok and as I carried him to bed, he told me in his half-asleep daze that he hoped my leg felt better.  He is also wonderfully nurturing and is the best big brother to Jack (see my post about our visit to the Arch for further proof). 

Could this kid be any cuter??
Nick is also incredibly thoughtful.  The day of my Mom's birthday he was able to get a prize out of the prize box at school for completing all of his work.  His choice from the prize box was a birthday sticker for my Mom.  This Mama's heart was about to burst with pride at his sweet gesture and I know it meant the world to my mom.

Nick: I am so proud of the amazing boy you are and I will always be here for you for snuggles. You are sweet, funny, smart, loving, and one of my favorite people in the whole wide Earth.  I love your silliness, your laugh, your smile, your hugs, and your stinky feet! Thank you for being my reading/Cardinal game watching/hot cocoa drinking buddy!  You are a wonderful son and Mommy loves you so much, for always and ever!

When Matt and I decided it was time for another baby, I admit I was nervous.  I am an only child and the dynamics of siblings is puzzling, mainly because it is an unknown for me.  I kept thinking: How do you love the second child as much as the first?  What if they are totally different personalities?  Everyone assured me of two things.  1) Your heart opens up and you absolutely love the second child as much as the first and 2) Chances are they will be different personalities.  (For the record, everyone was right).

Jack-Jack was a few days overdue and boy was I ready to deliver him.  However, the day I was induced, I had a little freak out because I thought I hadn't spent enough time with Nick.  I told Matt that I was afraid I hadn't made the most of Nick's last few days as an only child and maybe we shouldn't induce.  Matt assured me that we had made the most of our time with Nick and shortly (I mean very shortly, like almost didn't get my epidural in time) after my water broke, Nick became a big brother with the birth of Jack.

I will treasure this picture always. 
It is absolutely true that your heart has room to love another child, because my heart swelled the day Jack was born.  He, too, was red, scrunchy, but not so small and I should have known by his quick arrival that this little man was set to take on the world.   He is night and day different than his big brother, which I find completely fascinating and I love how they complement one another.  Jack is independent, fearless, and strong-willed and he isn't afraid to let you know.  I sometimes wonder if these traits are typical for younger siblings in that we, as parents, are a lot more relaxed this time around and he is trying so hard to keep up with his older brother.  In any case, I love watching his determination and focus as he tries to learn about himself, his boundaries, and the world around him.  He can teach me a lot about determination and reaching for your goals!  
He loves to stick out his tongue and his Great Grandpa Steffen would be proud of that! 
This summer when we went to the pool to swim, he was not keen on being confined by his water wings.  He saw the older kids without wings and couldn't figure out why he, too, couldn't just jump in the water and float.  He was bound and determined to swim like the big kids, but eventually he came to (somewhat) tolerate the wings.  I have no doubt in my mind that he will accomplish anything he sets his mind to.  He is definitely going to be my adrenaline craving, push the boundaries child and while this gives me slight heart palpitations, I am also really excited to see where that enthusiasm and love of life takes him as he grows up. Here's hoping his sense of adventure is tempered with a bit of common sense, though!

Jack-Jack:  Mommy loves how strong, determined, loving, funny, and energetic you are and I can't wait to watch you grow and see where life takes you!  I know that you can do anything you set your mind to and I can't wait to see what those things are.  I am so glad you like your big boy bed and that we are both getting a good nights sleep now! :)  I love reading books to you, making you laugh, and our sing-a-longs in the car every morning on the way to school.  One of the best parts of my day is coming home to you and your brother, seeing your toothy grin, and watching you toddle over to me to put up your arms for a big hug!  I love you so much, for always and ever, and I hope you know that I will always be here to help you take on the world, little monkey!   

The two little fellas who stole my heart.
Nick and Jack were the reason behind my weight loss journey and I hope to show them this post someday. After having gestational diabetes with Jack, I knew I needed to get my weight and my health under control so that I could be around for a long time to watch them grow into the amazing young men I know they will become.  I hope that by losing weight and being healthier that I can avoid diabetes, heart problems, and other health issues later in life.  I also want to set a positive role model for them and instill in them the importance of exercise, eating well, and healthy living.  These two boys are my reason for being and I intend "to be" for a very long time!  

What are you thankful for on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving? 

"No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you.  After all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside." 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week of Thanks

Since it is the week of Thanksgiving, I'd like to dedicate each of my posts to things I am thankful for.  I have much to be thankful for every day of the year, but this week seems like an opportune time to highlight a few of those things.

Today my post is dedicated to my wonderful hubby, Matt Roeseler.  I had to type his full name because apparently, when I refer to him at work, I always use his full name.  I'm going to lunch today with Matt Roeseler.  Matt Roeseler and I are going on a date this weekend.  I think I do it because I have a few co-workers who have spouses named Matt, so I have to differentiate, but in any case, it is pretty funny.

Matt Roeseler, husband extraordinaire 
I have known this man for well over half of my life and he means everything to me.  He makes me laugh, wipes the tears from my face when I cry, wraps me in his arms for big bear hugs when I need them, and loves me unconditionally.  He's seen me at my best and at my worst and he puts up with whatever shenanigans I partake in or (willingly create).  He tells me I'm beautiful every day, even when I feel decidedly not beautiful.  He is an amazing husband and a wonderful father to our two sons.

I can't believe we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary in a few months!
Let me paint a little picture for you about how much this man loves me.  Last night, I had a hankering for chicken soft tacos, so I grilled up some chicken.  However, I could not find any taco seasoning in the house, which was a huge bummer.  Matt volunteered to go out in the freezing cold at 8:30 p.m. to get me taco seasoning so I could quell my craving.  What's even more extraordinary about this favor is that he hates when I make chicken soft tacos.  He cannot stand the smell of the seasoning and practically gags when I make them, but he still went out and got me taco seasoning. This man is a gem! (The tacos were fabulous, by the way.)

Us celebrating our 9th anniversary this year at a Stanley Cup Playoff Game.  Let's go Blues! 
What's more is that Matt has been Super Dad this year as I've embarked on my weight loss journey.  Many times, he stays home with the boys so I can get a run in and I know I wouldn't have been able to lose as much weight as I have without him and his unwavering support.  He knows me better than I know myself sometimes and pushes me to succeed by knowing what motivates me and using it to my advantage.  He knows I'm rebellious and the first time I told him I was going to try to run a mile, he said "Babe, I'm not sure you're ready for that.  You've only been running shorter distances and I don't think you're ready for a mile."  I thought of that the entire time I ran the next day and when I called to tell him that not only had I run a mile, but I had run 1.1 miles, he told me "I knew you could do it and I knew that if I told you I didn't think you could, that you would do it just to prove me wrong."

I know that no matter what life brings our way, we have love, laughter, and each other, and there is nothing more we need.  I am a lucky girl indeed.  I love you, Matt Roeseler.   

Throwback picture; us circa 2004 on our honeymoon in Alaska.  Fun fact, we took selfies of us kissing at nearly every port of call.
What are you thankful for this week? 

"We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there, too." 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Half Marathon Training Plans

As this month winds down, I'm starting to think about my 1/2 marathon in the spring.  I'm really excited and my nerves and apprehension about this race have definitely calmed down since I ran my 10K.  I knew when I crossed that finish line that the 1/2 marathon was well within my grasp, with the proper training, of course. So, I am trying to narrow down my options for a training plan and could use a little advice/input.  Here are my options so far:

  • Train Like a Mother Half Marathon: Finish It Plan (http://anothermotherrunner.com/2012/06/11/corrected-and-free-finish-it-half-marathon-plan/) The pre-req for this Another Mother Runner plan is to be able to comfortably run 6 miles and have experience running shorter races, as well.  I don't know that I would qualify myself as being able to "comfortably" run 6 miles, as I've just done it once, but this plan is still doable for me.  It's just under 4 months, which will be perfect considering I will start training after the New Year and my half is on April 6th. I also love that Dimity and Sarah have included symbols in the plan, one of which is a "pass" symbol, meaning if life gets in the way, you can skip that particular workout.  However, there is another symbol that means you must do the workout for that day come hell or high water, no excuses.  I love my AMR books and podcasts and I've heard great things about this plan, so it's definitely a contender. 
  • Hal Higdon Plan (http://www.halhigdon.com/) I've heard great things about Hal's plans, too, and I like that he has several different half training plans (two novice plans, intermediate, advanced, and a walk plan).  The Novice 1 plan is a beginners plan, with the expectation though that you can run 3 miles three to four times a week. The Novice 2 plan is a little different in that it calls for 4 days of running, as opposed to Novice 1 which allows you to sub one day of running for cross-training, so you might only run 3 days in stead of 4.  I think I would do the Novice 1 plan, but I'm a little intimidated by the fact that the plan calls for potentially 3 days in a row of running (if you don't sub a run for cross-training) and I'm very particular about taking rest days in between my runs.  I feel like this helps me avoid injury and burnout, but maybe running a few days in a row would actually help build muscle and stamina? I also love that Hal and Bluefin have created app's for these plans that are available for purchase.  Definitely one to consider. 
  • Jeff Galloway Plan (http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/half-marathon-training/) When I started reading about RunDisney races, Jeff's name popped up a lot, as his training plans are recommended for RunDisney events.  Jeff's plan is intriguing in that during the week your runs are measured in minutes not miles.  In his plan, only long runs are measured in miles and I could be on board with that. Jeff also has a section on his website devoted to mental training, which is fantastic.  So much of running is a mental challenge, so I love that he speaks to that on his site.  There is also a half marathon training app available for Jeff's plan. 
  • Independent Training The other option I've considered is going my own way.  As you may know, I started running with the Couch to 5K Program, but I switched gears a little over halfway through to do my own training.  I can be a bit rebellious, so sometimes following a plan can be a challenge and part of me wonders if I should tackle half training the same way I tackled my 5K and 10K; on my own. I also know that training for a half is serious business, so maybe I should follow a plan. 
So many choices!  Luckily I still have a few weeks to figure out what I want to do. 

Are there any other half marathon training plans you'd recommend I consider?  

We took the boys out to eat last night, which was a nice treat.  Jack even sat in a big boy chair instead of a high chair and he did really well.  His teachers shared a funny story with me yesterday when I dropped him off.  Apparently on Thursday, he climbed up on a rocking horse in his classroom and used it as a diving board to jump into the pack and play.  I had to laugh because that is such a Jack-Jack thing to do.  That child is fearless!

Today my Mom and I went to a local craft fair and ran some errands, which was fun!  Nick and I both got new winter coats because Old Navy was having a great sale.  Last year, I used a light weight fleece jacket throughout winter and it worked well, but it's only November and I can already tell that the fleece isn't going to cut it since I seem to be cold all the time.  My old winter pea coat is way too big (hooray!), so a new (smaller) winter coat was in order.  I'm making headway on my Christmas shopping list and projects, which feels good! 

A co-worker shared this quote with me yesterday and I adore it!

"Go forth and set the world on fire." 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Runners Spotlight featuring yours truly

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on the Sweat Pink Ambassador (SPA) page on Facebook regarding a fellow SPA, Kristy, looking to highlight runners on her blog.  Kristy's blog has certain content depending on the day, i.e. book review Wednesday's and Runners Spotlights on Thursdays, which is such a great idea. I've considered similar ideas for my blog and I may yet do something along those lines.  In any case, I checked out Kristy's blog (http://runawaybridalplanner.blogspot.com/), which I love, and decided to submit my name for one of the Runners Spotlights.  Kristy sent me a questionnaire to fill out and I had a great time answering all of the questions; it was really thought provoking!  I got an e-mail shortly thereafter from Kristy indicating that my spotlight would run today and voila:  http://www.runawaybridalplanner.blogspot.com/2013/11/runners-spotlight-let-me-introduce-laura.html

I'm so thrilled that Kristy gave me the opportunity to share a little bit of my story with her readers and I encourage you to check out her blog; it's fantastic!  She, too, has a goal to run a race in each of the 50 states (and Washington, D.C.) so I'm going to keep up with her progress to be sure.  Plus, it is a great way for me to learn about the races I might want to add to my list!

I'm really blown away by the awesome community of people I have met, like Kristy, through blogging and I am excited to keep plugging away with my blog and see where it leads!  Are there any blogs you'd like to share?  I love finding new blogs to read!

I'm still making progress on the hydration front, although I must admit that when you drink the recommended daily amount of water, you have to pee.  All.the.time.  It's ridiculous and I feel like a pregnant woman.  (Rest assured I am not pregnant, just adequately hydrated).  In the interest of full disclosure, though, I have had Pepsi this week (and Dr. Pepper come to think of it).  The caffeine withdrawal headaches were getting to be quite debilitating, but there has to be a better way to deal with them.  Do I just need to suffer through the headaches for a few days?  Who knows.  I do know, though, that I need to not fall back in the habit of drinking a soda a day.  I'll work on that.

One amusing tidbit from my day today involves an observation about weight loss.  I've noticed that since I've lost a substantial amount of weight that I get cold more often.  I am never one to be cold, in fact, quite the opposite, but lately, I get cold so easily, sometimes to the point of shivering.  (It's not even the thick of winter yet and I'm already gripping about the cold; it's going to be a long winter.)  This morning, I was at the dentist's office and when they called me back, I told the hygienist that I wanted to keep my jacket on because I was cold, which she said was alright.  She then offered me a blanket, which I readily accepted.  So, I took a seat in the chair and cuddled up with my jacket and her blanket.  It was awesome.  It also made me smile, because it made me think of my Grandpa Steffen.  He was always cold, particularly the older he got because he lost so much weight and was so thin.  He had a particular blanket that was his favorite to snuggle under and the blanket I had this morning was made of the same material.  I guess I'm so prone to the cold because I lost a fair share of my insulation!

I meant to go for a run yesterday, but it was dreary and rainy here and I was not feeling in the mood for a cold, wet run.  I have no desire to get sick again, especially so close to Thanksgiving!  The weather looks nice this weekend though for a run!

"Play not only keeps us young but also maintains our perspective about the relative seriousness of things. Running is play, for even if we try hard to do well at it, it is a relief from everyday cares." 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hydration and Caffeine Withdrawal

When I woke up this morning, I decided I was going to try to drink a substantial amount of water throughout the day to try to get close to the recommended daily intake (half of my body weight in ounces).  I really do like water, I promise, but I get a bit bored with it at times and it is really hard to imagine drinking anywhere close to half my body weight in ounces.  I was successful today, though, in drastically increasing my water intake, as I think I drank close to 72 ounces. Victory!  Here's hoping for another successful day of hydration tomorrow!

I drank three of these bad boys at work today and started working on a fourth!

I also made it out for a run at lunch and it was glorious!  It was a quick 2 miles, but it was a beautiful day, I was listening to a great podcast, and my body felt great; all in all a great run!  I used the last little bit of my ENERGYbits sample before I ran and again, I had a great experience with them.  I almost immediately felt refreshed after taking the bits and that energy and alertness lasted throughout my run and the rest of my afternoon.  I'm finally starting to feel better after my sinus infection, so it felt good to get back out and run and I'm excited to get back in my groove again! 

I made it through the day without a soda, but I am experiencing yet another gnarly headache.  This leads me to think my headaches are caused by caffeine withdrawal and not dehydration (there is no way I was dehydrated today!).  It's not fun by any means, but it's nothing a little Tylenol and sleep won't cure, I'm sure. 

How was your Monday?  Were you able to stay appropriately hydrated? 

"Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outfun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head." 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Random Thoughts

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was a lovely mix of productivity and relaxation.  Nick and I participated in the second half of Scouting for Food yesterday morning and he and the other Tiger Cubs did a great job. It was nice to see the boys doing something good for others in our community. After Scouting for Food, I had a horrible headache (not sure if it was caffeine withdrawal or sinuses or the weather changing or all of the above), so I took a long nap and then we went out and did a little Christmas shopping.  I'm trying to do my shopping a little at a time this year to a) not overwhelm myself at the last minute and b) not overwhelm my pocketbook. Today, I did a little laundry, went grocery shopping, did the dishes, and spent time with the boys.  All in all, a great weekend!

I feel like I have a bit of writers block tonight, so this post is going to be a little random in nature; bear with me!  I am slightly obsessed with a band at the moment and I wanted to share the love with you, too.  One of the perks of sharing an office with co-workers who are much more in tune (ha!) with the music scene is that I am exposed to new music that I might not otherwise hear, unless, of course, it is covered on GLEE.  People knock GLEE and the covers they do, but I have actually been turned onto a lot of artists through the show that I might not have otherwise known about.  Fun. and A Great Big World come to mind, just to name a few.  I digress.  My co-workers introduced me to Bastille a few weeks ago and at first, I wasn't sold.  Mainly because the music video for Pompeii scared the bejesus out of me (fair warning:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F90Cw4l-8NY).  Then about two weeks ago, my co-workers sent me the acoustic version of Pompeii (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytie995zY-Q) and I was hooked.  It's haunting and beautiful and it will get stuck in your head for days!  I listened to the rest of their c.d. "Bad Blood" and it is amazing.  I can't stop listening to it; in the car, at home, at work, I've been jamming to Bastille. All of the songs are great, but my faves are Things We Lost in the Fire, Pompeii, Bad Blood, Flaws, Icarus, These Streets, Laura Palmer, Get Home, and Weight of Living Pt. 1.  It's just a great c.d. and I highly recommend it if you are looking for new music!

Is there any new music you are jamming to these days?  

Along those same lines, I am also really into two new shows on t.v. this fall.  Matt and I are hooked on "The Blacklist" and I am loving "Sleepy Hollow!"  I admit that I watch much of "Sleepy Hollow" with my face behind my hands because it is a little scary, but it's so good!  Matt won't watch it with me though.  He does not like scary movies or scary anything, so I'm on my own when it comes to "Sleepy Hollow."  "The Blacklist" is a little predictable at times, but it's also intriguing and we love it!

Are there any new shows you love to watch this season?  

I'm going to make a concerted effort this week to really increase my water intake.  I've heard your water intake is supposed to be equivalent (in ounces) to half of your body weight, so I have a ways to go!  It seems like a lot of water to me, but I know it will be good for me.  Part of me wonders if my massive headache yesterday had anything to do with dehydration, so yet another reason to drink more water.

I made it four days without a Pepsi, but I caved today and had one. It tasted marvelous, but it was just a small treat.  I'm not going to get back in the habit of having one soda a day, so it's back to water and tea tomorrow!

I'm looking forward to getting a few runs in this week, too!  I didn't make it out for a run this weekend, so it will be nice to pound the pavement during the work week.

Hope everyone has a great start to the week!

"What you get by reaching your destination is not nearly as important as what you will become by reaching your destination." 

Friday, November 15, 2013

TGIF and winner of the ENERGYbits giveaway!

I'm so glad it's Friday!  It hasn't been a bad week by any means; I'm just tired and looking forward to a moderately quiet weekend.

I am now officially three days soda free, which is pretty fantastic for me as of late.  I'm not quite where I want to be with my water intake, but I will keep working on that and keeping my Pepsi intake to a minimum. I also need to keep working on tracking my food on MyFitnessPal, but I consider this week to be somewhat successful.  I didn't track every day, but I did track my meals for a few days, so I took some baby steps. 

I was rather snack-y this afternoon, which I feel a little bit guilty about.  We signed holiday cards at work and I brought in a movie ("Elf") and some snacks to make the process a bit more fun.  In my defense, in addition to the junk food I bought, I also brought in a fruit tray.  Alas, I didn't even touch the fruit, as it was the Chex Mix calling my name.  It's ok, though.  It's was a minor lapse in judgement that won't be repeated any time soon.  

I'm hoping to get a run in this weekend and I'm planning to use the last of my ENERGYbits before I head out.  I'm excited to test them out again! Which brings me to the winner of my very first giveaway!  Thank you to everyone who participated; you all rock!  Congratulations to Jessica S. who won a sample of ENERGYbits!  Jessica, I can't wait to hear about your experience with them! 

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  What are your plans for this weekend?

I love today's quote, because it sums up exactly what running means to me and what it has brought to my life. 

"I run because it's so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you're capable of so much more than you thought."