Monday, September 30, 2013

Sunday, no run day

As indicated in this post's title, I did not get in a run today, much less a 5 miler like I planned.  This was partly my fault (mostly my fault) and partly the universe's fault.  I didn't get up early to run and instead had a fantastically lazy morning followed by a moderately productive afternoon.  Speaking of laziness, I would like to know where all my energy has gone.  Of course, this implies that I ever had any energy to begin with.  So I guess the more appropriate question is "where can I find some energy?"  I thought that after losing all of this weight that I would have energy galore.  When that didn't happen, I decided to resume taking a daily multi-vitamin in the hopes that it would boost my energy.  Nope.  I got nothing.  Zip. Zilch. Nada.  If allowed, I'm fairly certain I could stay in bed all day sleeping, reading, and watching movies.

In any case, after my lazy morning, I did some housework and then after Jack's nap, we decided to tackle the grocery store as a family.  This is pretty rare for us, as usually I go by myself or take one or both of the boys.  I was looking forward to a family field trip at the grocery store followed by my run while dinner cooked, but my car had other plans.  My dear car made this really awesome rapid clicking sound when I tried to turn on the ignition and that's never good.  Matt popped the hood and my battery had a ridiculous amount of corrosion.  So he googled some cleaning instructions and he cleaned around the nasty battery so he could get it out.  Once the nasty battery was removed, we took Matt's car to the store to go grocery shopping and get a new battery for my car.

I know it's been said before, but I have the best husband.  He is the best for a number of reasons, but today's example is that he is always my hero.  I was at a complete loss for how to fix my car and he took the reigns and fixed it for me.  He stood outside, in the dark, when we got back from the store to put the new battery in and then he drove my car around for awhile to make sure everything was working fine.  Then, on the way home from test driving the new battery, he stopped and got us an Oreo shake to share.  I chose to ignore how many calories were in that shake, because 1) I only had a little bit (Nick has found a new love called the Oreo shake and he had a fair share of it) and 2) damn, did it taste good.

Needless to say, going for a run after the grocery store did not happen, although I'm sure it would have been good to clear my head.  I'm not stressing too much yet about my 10K, because I think I will have time in the next two weeks to get a 5 miler in, despite a really busy schedule this week and next.

Do you have any suggestions for boosting energy?  Is there an additional vitamin supplement that might help?  Or is it perhaps a diet issue?  Maybe I am lacking something in my diet.  Any suggestions are appreciated!  

Completely feeling the below quote tonight.  Looking forward to lacing up my running shoes and hitting the pavement soon!

"I never regret it when I do it, but I always regret it when I don't." 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

End of Year Weight Loss Challenge Update

Goodness, I've been a slacker in the blogging world the past few days!  It was a pretty busy week and as such, I've been hitting the hay early the past few nights.  Last night, I couldn't keep my eyes open after dinner and I fell asleep with Jack, so I must have needed the sleep!

I realized today that I have not yet done an update for my end of the year weight loss challenge, The Final Nut of 2013, since I announced the challenge on August 25th, over a month ago.  I was originally toying with updates every other week, but I think I'll stick to monthly updates.  So, without further ado, I have lost 8 lbs. since August 25th and am just shy of 15 lbs. away from my goal for the end of the year.  I'll take it!  I've had a pretty stagnant few weeks on the scale, but I finally feel like I'm getting back in my groove.

As of today, I've lost 60.5 lbs total since the start of the year and that feels pretty damn good!  It hasn't been easy, but the hard work has been, without a doubt, worth the results!  I've definitely had ups and downs and I know there are plenty more of each to be had before I reach my goal, but I feel really good about where I am at with my weight loss and where I am going.

Tomorrow marks two weeks until my Halloween 10K and I'm getting really excited.  I still need to start (and finish!) my costume and tackle a 5 mile run before that time, though.  The plan is to try to run a 5 miler tomorrow.  I feel pretty strong heading into this race, but I think I will feel even better knowing I can do 5 miles.

I came across the below article today on the Runner's World Facebook page about a half marathon training plan for beginners and the tag line caught my eye.  It read "If you can run three miles, you can train for 13.1. Really!"  I admit, much as I talk a big game and I repeat to myself "I got this," I've had this little nagging voice in the back of my head asking "Can I really run for 13.1 miles?" Reading the below helped push that thought out of my mind.  I've built the base I need to push myself to the next level after the holidays.  Food for thought for my other friends considering a half marathon or signing up for one soon!

Did anyone participate in any races this weekend?  If you have created a weight loss challenge, how are you doing?

"The real purpose of running isn't to win a race, it's to test the limits of the human heart."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dreaming big (running goals)

Sometimes, I think big; just ask my Mom and Matt.  Like the time a few weeks before Nick's first birthday when I said I wanted to make his Mickey Mouse birthday cake.  I think my mom and Matt thought they would ride it out until I gave up on that idea and moved onto something else.  Lo and behold, though, I made that cake and I've made every birthday cake for him since and I just started the same tradition for his baby brother.

Another ginormous Laura idea was to make Nick's Halloween costume beginning with his second Halloween.  This was also not a passing fancy for me.  I've stuck to that plan and while some years the costumes are less extravagant than others, I've made his costume every year as well as his brother's.

All of the above leads me to describe my next big idea.  Mom and Matt, you've been forewarned.  A few weeks ago, I was reading another inspirational running blog, Run with Jess, and discovered that Jess has a goal to run a 1/2 marathon or a full marathon in all 50 states.  How cool is that?  I love to travel and I'd like to visit all 50 states in my lifetime.  Being an Air Force brat and combined with the travel I've done, I'm well on my way.  I've been to nearly 40 states, including the two most difficult, Alaska and Hawaii, and I just have a few states left to finish up.  I'd love for Matt and the boys to visit all 50 states, too, and I thought it would be fun to try to tackle a race in each state so we can see the states together.

I'm not sure if I should commit to a 1/2 marathon for each state since I like to aim high or plan for a more reasonable 5K or 10K in each.  Maybe I could save the 1/2 marathons for special states on my list; i.e. the Disney Princess 1/2 could be my Florida race.  I love reading about Jess's races and she is tackling her 1/2 marathons and full marathons like a pro.  She's already completed 16 states, which is awesome.

It's a lofty goal to be sure, but I live for a challenge and I figure I have at least 2 decades of good running left  in me to achieve it!

Do you have any unique races in your state that I could add to my list? 

"One of the greatest feelings is accomplishing something you once thought would have been impossible." 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sweat Pink Weight Loss Hangout

Tonight, I had the privilege of participating in Fit Approach's Sweat Pink Ambassador Spotlight: Weight Loss Hangout and it was so amazing and inspiring!  I loved being in the presence of the other panelists; they are all so inspiring and have amazing stories to share!

If you weren't able to view the live hangout, I've included a YouTube link below.  Note to self, I really must work on my public (and video?) speaking.  Ugh.  Sometimes it is painful to watch oneself onscreen.  Nonetheless, I was proud to be a part of this group and share my story!

Below are blog links and Twitter names for the other panelists from the hangout and I hope you take a look and follow them.  They have wonderful insight and inspiration to share!

Elizabeth Piasecki (@lecki10)

Dani Ebert (@FitnessFoundMe)

Nicole Truog (@ApplesArteries)

Julia McAdams (@doubledathlete)

Robin Einhorn (@foreverlovewins) 

A non-fitness related question; any tips for public speaking so that one does not look like a babbling fool?  Do you have any blogs you follow that you'd like to share?  I'm always looking for inspiration! 

The quote below speaks to some of what I talked about on the Hangout tonight. While I may feel guilty sometimes when I go for a run, I do think it makes me a better person, a better wife, and a better Mom.

"Running is Mommy's time out." 

Monday, September 23, 2013

A glorious run

Today, I resumed my lunchtime running and it felt good to be back in my routine!  It helped that the weather was beautiful and I was mentally ready to get back on track.  I headed out to the park near my work and started on my old standby route around the lake.  I was cruising along, but didn't feel like I was any faster than normal, until my Nike+ app informed me at mile 1 that my pace was 11:20!  I was stunned, in fact, when I first heard her say average pace 11...I expected it to be in the upper 11's since my run on Sunday was in the 12:20 range.  When she said 11:20, I nearly stopped in my tracks.

I kept cruising along though and was debating about how far I was going to run today.  I felt pretty tired at about 1.5 miles and although I know I can easily run 5K, I decided to call it a day at 2 miles.  I was getting near the end of my lunch hour and I was feeling beat.  When my phone chirped 2 miles, I realized why I was feeling tired.  My second mile was at a 9:47 pace!  Unbelievable!  No wonder I was dragging a bit, I was unintentionally pushing myself harder than I ever have before!  My average pace for my 2.01 mile run today was 10:38/mile and I was so proud of myself!  I started running at around a 13:50 mile (this was sometimes combined with walking spurts) and to see paces like I did on my run today was a huge boost to my confidence.  Once I get through my 10K next month and before I start heavy training for my 1/2 marathon in April, I think I will focus a bit on speed work, since I know I can do it now.

I'm getting really excited for the Sweat Pink Weight Loss Hangout tomorrow night! I know most of you are familiar with my weight loss journey, but I hope you can join me and hear the other wonderful panelists share their stories!  Click here for more information and to RSVP!

"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"

Camping and a run

Camping with Nick was a resounding success, but more on that in a minute!  Another success story from yesterday was that I went for a run before we went camping and it was fabulous!  I ran 3.16 miles bright and early (for me on a Saturday anyway) yesterday morning and it felt so good.  The weather was crisp and cool and it really helped my pace, which was averaging 12:20/mile.  I figured going for a run in the morning combined with all of the fresh air from camping would help me sleep well last night.  It didn't really, but it was a good idea in theory.

After my run, we finished packing and headed to the camp out. Once we staked out our spot and put up our tent, we headed to the creek and explored for a bit.  Matt caught the first crawdad and the boys were so excited! They had a tub where they were collecting their finds, including minnows and crawdads.  Nick had fun in the water and so did we.  He didn't hold a crawdad, but I can't blame him.  I didn't either.  He and I did play with a spider for a bit, which I thought was a huge accomplishment.  I am terrified of spiders and I've definitely passed my fear along to Nick.  Of course, the first thing we saw when we got to the camp area was a daddy long leg spider near where we were pitching our tent.  I kept my composure so Nick wouldn't freak out, which was a small victory for me.  Then, when we were walking in the creek, I saw a wolf spider on some rocks.  So I called Nick over and we tried to get him to climb on a leaf we had.  I was proud of Nick (and myself) for keeping calm and not running away from the spider.

After we explored the creek, we set up our air mattress and played cards for a bit.  Matt and I played Rummy, which I haven't played in ages.  It brought back fond memories of playing with my Grandparents.  We used to play almost every night after dinner and I loved it.  After a few games of Rummy, we played Go Fish and then we taught Nick how to play War.  War was a huge hit, especially with the other Tiger Cubs.  Nick's friends came over to our tent and they all played together for a while.  Nick later said that playing War was one of his favorite parts of camping!

We cooked dinner over the fire and made s'mores (yum!) and the boys ran around the campsite with some glow sticks that one of the other parents brought.  It was fun watching Nick let loose with his friends and wow, do those boys have energy!  We settled in for the night after looking at the stars for a few minutes and we tried to get warm.  It was pretty cold last night, which made for an interesting night of sleep.  We brought a ton of blankets and warm pj's because we checked the weather before we went, but it was still really cold.  It was in the upper 40's - low 50's and I spent much of the night under the blankets to keep my face warm.  Brr!

In addition to the cold weather, our camp site also happened to be near some train tracks.  I didn't hear a single train during the day, but it seemed like there was a train every hour last night.  Fun for Nick, who is a train enthusiast and a deep sleeper, less fun for Matt and I who weren't in a deep sleep at any point last night.

We woke up this morning, ate a quick breakfast, and packed up.  I told Matt that I wanted nothing more than a hot shower and to crawl into our soft, cozy bed with our down comforter.  I was so cold!  All in all, though, it was a really great camp out and it was extra special bonding time with our oldest.  Nick did mention missing his baby brother at one point yesterday, which I thought was sweet (and Mama missed her little guy, too), but I think he also really enjoyed having Mom and Dad to himself for a night.

I'm looking forward to getting back on track this week; eating better and getting back into my workout routine!

Also, as a reminder, this Tuesday, September 24th, I will be participating in the Sweat Pink panel discussion on weight loss.  Click here for more information and to RSVP!  I can't wait to hear the other women share their stories!

"The more I run the more I love my body. Not because it's perfect, far from it, but because with every mile it is proving to me that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible."

Friday, September 20, 2013

This week is a wash

At least on the exercise front.  This week just wasn't meant to be for working out, so I'm going to mope about that for another minute and then move on.  I thought that I might go for a run after apple picking, but it was pretty rainy today.  Luckily, the rain wasn't heavy enough to cancel the field trip, but it was heavy enough after the field trip to eliminate an outdoor run.

I also wasn't feeling terribly well today, so I opted for a little bit of reading and a nap this afternoon.  Next to watching movies with the boys, napping and reading are my favorite rainy day activities.  I had another dizzy episode this morning and I did not go for a run, so I don't think I can link the dizziness with exercise.  This particular episode was a bit worse than the last and required me to lie down in bed for a minute.  Once again, I had heat radiating through my body and I felt so light-headed that I couldn't stand up.  After resting for a minute in bed, I got up and felt somewhat better.  I drank a bottle of water with some MioFit drops to get some electrolytes in my system before the field trip.  I don't know what is causing these dizzy spells, but it is kind of annoying.  I also had a nagging headache most of the morning, so that combined with the dizzy spell led me to think that a run probably wasn't a smart idea.

Apple picking was a lot of fun and the apples we picked were huge!  We each ate an apple while we walked through the orchard and there's not much better than an apple fresh from the tree!

We are going on a Cub Scout camp out tomorrow and it's Nick first outdoor camping trip! We've had our fair share of basement camp outs, complete with a tent, sleeping bag, and movies, but this will be our first outdoor adventure with our oldest.  I haven't been camping in probably 15 years and I think it has been even longer for Matt. It should be a fun adventure filled with what I hope are great memories for Nick!  Jack is going to sit this one out (I'm not sure the other campers would appreciate a toddler who isn't sleeping through the night), but maybe we can bring him next year.  He will have a fun time with Oma! No blog post tomorrow due to camping, but I'll be back on Sunday with a fresh outlook for the week, I promise!

Do you like to camp?  What are your favorite camping memories? 

Great quote below, except in my case, replace the word "day" with "week." :)

"Ok. So you had a bad day. Don't beat yourself up over it, but don't let one bad decision send you spiraling out of control. Grab those running shoes and get back into it. Get back to making decisions that improve your health and happiness.  You are who you choose to be."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm in a rut and I need to go for a run

I feel out of sorts this week and I need to snap out of it!  My eating habits have been less than desirable and exercise has been non existent, save for a little bit of walking here and there.  I'd like to blame Mother Nature for the lack of exercise, but really, just one day was her fault.  Yesterday after work, I was going to go for a run, but it started to rain.  Not a problem; I don't mind running in a drizzle.  Then it started to pour, which was random because the sun was out, and there was a wee bit of thunder and lightening so I figured an outdoor run was out of the question.  Thank you, Mother Nature.

I suppose I should familiarize myself with a treadmill, so that inclement weather won't preclude me from running, but I'll be honest, the treadmill scares the hell out of me.  I can barely walk on a treadmill, much less run and I'm afraid of causing myself significant bodily harm.  I think I'd rather stick to early morning or lunchtime running and substitute the elliptical as needed for cross-training or uncooperative weather.

I think I will feel better and thus, get back on track, if I go for a run tomorrow. I'm going on a field trip with Nick's class in the morning, which I'm really excited about. We are going apple picking (one of my favorite fall activities) as long as Mother Nature cooperates.  At last check, there was an 80% chance of rain.  After the field trip, and weather permitting, I'm planning to go for a run and I can't wait!

Don't forget about the upcoming Sweat Pink Ambassador Spotlight: Weight Loss Hangout on Air next Tuesday, September 24th at 7:00 p.m. CST!  For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Do you prefer to run outdoors or on a treadmill?  Any tips for treadmill running for those of us who are quasi-klutzy? 

"A great workout clears everything up mentally, physically, and you just have a better day." 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More exciting news to share

I've been teasing some exciting news for a while and I'm so thrilled to finally share that next week, I will be part of a panel discussion for the Sweat Pink Ambassadors Weight Loss Hangout on Air hosted by Fit Approach, LLC!  Fit Approach is about building a healthy community and I am proud to count myself as one of their Sweat Pink Ambassadors.  I love being a part of the Sweat Pink community; it is so supportive, positive, and encouraging!  A few weeks ago, I saw a request on their Twitter feed for people to submit their weight loss stories for a future on-air hangout. So I submitted my application and shortly thereafter, received an e-mail asking if I would like to be one of the panelists for the weight loss hangout.  I am so excited to share my story and meet the other awesome panelists!  I was just re-reading the bios of the other panelists and I can't wait to hear their stories!

The Hangout is scheduled for next Tuesday, September 24th at 5 p.m. PST/7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST.  Below is a bit more information about the event as well as a link so you can join us for the Hangout!

Join +Jenna Gurka from +TheSweatGuru and Sweat Pink Ambassadors, +Elizabeth Piasecki+Dani Ebert+Laura Roeseler, Nicole Truog , +Julia McAdams, and +Robin Einhorn for a Hangout on Air discussion and Q&A about weight loss. All of these fabulous women have inspiring weight loss journeys to share! Tune in to hear about their trials, tribulations, and triumphs with weight loss!

There will also be a Q&A session near the end, so please feel free to ask any questions you'd like!  I am pretty darn excited about this event and I hope you can join us!  

I also want to give a huge virtual high five to my hubby, because he got up early today and went for a run!  (He's one up on this girl.  I did not go for a run today.  Boo!)  He has been such a trooper (i.e. Super Dad and Super Husband) over the past 9 months as I've made time to workout, so I am so glad he got to go out on his own this morning and get a good workout in before the work day.  I'm proud of you, babe!  

Remember, how yesterday I mentioned that I had a minor setback and that it wasn't going to get me down? Well, I'm feeling a little down tonight.  I ate crap today and I'm mad at myself.  I did not need a Pepsi at lunch, I did not need to redeem my Panera birthday treat today (a pumpkin cookie that I clearly could not let go to waste.  Heaven forbid I just let my birthday treat expire), and I sure as hell did not need to eat some of the Girl Scout Cookies I found in the freezer.  On the semi-bright side, though, I went to the doctor today and she was thrilled about my weight loss.  Small victory, I suppose. 

Meanwhile, I need to remind myself of this tomorrow and get out the door to run! 

"What defines you as a runner isn't how many miles you've run or how fast you run. What defines you as a runner is the decision to lace up your shoes, get out the door and run." 

Monday, September 16, 2013

I should have gone for a run today

But alas, I did not.  Technically, today should have been a cross-training day, but I was feeling pretty euphoric after the Color Run and thought I might try to run.  Jack had a check-up this morning, though, so I didn't make it out for a run this morning and I was pretty busy at work, so that ruled out a lunch run, too.  Daylight is dwindling, sadly, so it was dark when I got home and I didn't go for a run then either.  At this point, I should have hopped on the elliptical downstairs to get some cardio in, but I was beat and I decided to take a rest day today.  Probably not a bad idea, considering my legs are a little sore from yesterday.

I did, however, teach my 6 year old the word "selfie" today.  This can only mean trouble.  I was trying to take a picture of myself to get a good head shot for an exciting endeavor that I hope to share with my blog readers soon (hopefully in the next day or so!) and I kept saying "selfie" every time I took a picture, because it was goofy and it was making me smile.  Nick thought this was hilarious and kept asking if he could take a selfie, all while giving me the goofiest grin possible.  I think I have created a monster!  He also asked if he could be in my selfies, but I explained that then it wouldn't be a selfie, but rather, a "twofie."  I like to make up words, it's a problem.

Our twofie.  Let me state again, I love this kid. He's a gem!
I've fallen a little bit off of the cross-training bandwagon and I need to get serious again about alternating my running days with cross-training to keep up my weight loss momentum.  I had a rough patch last week, but I feel like I'm getting back on course and all in all, it was just a minor setback.  Nothing I can't handle!  In the past, a little setback like this would have been enough for me to cave and fall off the bandwagon completely, but, while it has been frustrating, I know that I can overcome this and get back on track.

How do you give yourself a boost when you have a setback?  

"Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Color Run

This morning I participated in my first Color Run 5K ( and it was a blast!  Not only was it a really fun race, but it was also the first 5K race that I have ever run from start to finish!  I've completed many a 5K race, but I walked most of them, or have done a combination of running and walking. I've been running 5K a lot on my own and have even run as much as 4 miles, but something about crossing the finish line today made it seem very official and exciting!

Me (Pre-Color Run) with the boys.  Nick has already asked if he can do the Color Run with me next year. 
As of yesterday though, I was unsure if I was going to attempt to run it, because I heard many people say that it is a hard race to run, given that so many people walk and take their time through the color stations, with some people even going so far as to lay on the ground to roll around in the color.  For the record, I witnessed many people rolling on the ground at the color stations.  In any case, it seemed like it might not be the best race to try to run.  However, I realized that my next official race is my 10K in mid-October!  I thought I had another 5K in between, but my next 5K, which I will be running during Homecoming at my alma matter, is after the 10K.  So, I figured I had better try to run this race today to see how I did on an unfamiliar, not flat course.  

Team Can't Stay, Mustache before the Color Run. That's me in the blue mustache in the back row, second from the left.
The course was definitely not flat, but it wasn't too bad.  We started off downhill and I think I overdid it a bit and pushed harder than I should have, because when the first uphill came, my calves were screaming.  I kept going, although I really wanted to walk at some point in that first mile. I don't know what it is about the first mile, but it's always a challenge for me.  I know I can run 3.1 miles though, so I gave myself a little pep talk and pushed through.  

Team Can't Stay, Mustache post-Color Run. Sadly, my mustache fell off before I reached Mile 1. 
On another note, not only did I run my first official 5K today, I also did it without music or my beloved podcasts.  I really didn't want to get my armband colorful, so I kept my phone in a plastic baggie and carried it with me.  I brought my Yurbuds, too, but decided I didn't want those to get too messy either, so they stayed in the baggie.  It wasn't too bad running without music or a podcast, particularly since each of the color stations had great music playing, but I definitely don't think I will run without music or a podcast next time.  

The color stations were fun, but the best part for me was the color throw at the end of the race.  They had color throws every 15 minutes and that is where I got most of my color.  They counted down from 10 and then everyone threw their color packets into the air.  I saw several from a far before I made my way to the stage and it was awesome to see all of the color flying into the air.  When I was in the middle of the color throw, I looked up and I couldn't even see the sun.  It was just a cloud of color and incredibly awesome!  Luckily, I remembered to wear my old running shoes and I brought a big towel to sit on for the ride home. 

Super excited to have just run my first 5K!
From start to finish, this race was well-organized (packet pick-up was a well-oiled machine!) and super fun.  All of the volunteers were friendly, fun, and outgoing, the ambiance was peppy and upbeat, and the entire experience was like a big party. Our Team, Team Can't Stay Mustache, had a great time and I think we are all looking forward to the next Color Run!  I should explain that I l.o.v.e. mustaches; not sure exactly where it stems from, but I love them.  A lot.  My friend, Stacy, and I have a slight obsession and we decided that our team should be mustache related.  We had mustache shirts, wore colorful mustaches, and crafted our team name to encompass mustaches and running.  Can't stay, mustache.  Get it?  (I had to explain this to Matt before he got it).  Can't stay, mustache (must dash).  Clever, I say. 

All in all, it was a really fun morning and I'm so glad I was able to run the whole race.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the look on Nick's face when I walked in the door after the race.  His eyes were as wide as saucers, he started giggling and said "Whoa, Mom! You're messy!"  It should be noted that the color didn't wash off quite as easily as I hoped.  If you see me over the next few days, I did not get beat up, I just have some lingering blue spots on my arms and legs.  

I think my arms were my favorite post-race.  They had a really pretty splatter pattern!  
Did anyone else race this weekend? Which race have you participated in that was the most fun?  

"The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running." 

Friday, September 13, 2013

I've missed running

I finally got a run in today and it felt good! I haven't run since my glorious 4-miler on Sunday and I was definitely missing it.  I think tonight I did somewhere between 2.75 and 3.25 miles.  My Nike+ app started acting up near the end of my run, but I'm weirdly ok with not knowing exactly how many miles I ran tonight.  I know that I ran and it was a good run, so that's all that matters.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today and that helped my run immensely.  I kept a sub-13:00 pace the entire time and I think near the end, I was actually closer to 11:00 min/mile.  I think this proves my point from earlier this week that it just takes me longer to warm up (a mile or 2 at least).

Tonight, Matt got out Nick's old tricycle to let Jack try it out and he loved it!  We put a helmet on him and he didn't seem to mind it, which was rather surprising.  Matt let him try out the trike on the driveway first to see if he'd like it and since he did so well riding it, we brought it with us to the trail.  His feet don't quite reach the pedals, but he doesn't seem to care and he just loves being along for the ride. I think it was a nice change of pace from being in the stroller!

I picked up my packet for The Color Run, which is on Sunday, and I'm pretty excited about this race. It will be my first Color Run and I can't wait to experience it.  Look for a recap on Sunday night!

I'm keeping this post short tonight, as my Mom is watching Jack tonight so we can get some sleep!  Thank you, Mom!!!  I'm giddy about the thought of a good night's sleep!

Is anyone participating in any races this weekend? Have you participated in a Color Run before?

"Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started." 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Part victory, part failure

This morning I had a date with my running trail and it was, as mentioned above, part victory, part failure.  I actually got up early this morning!  Not as early as I should have, but early enough to squeeze in a quick run.  It seemed really dark to me, but I figured that's probably how dark it always is at 6:40 in the morning. I got up, put my running clothes on and headed out the door.  I got halfway to my car when I felt the first raindrop and saw the rain clouds (ah, thus the darkness).  Not to worry, a little rain never hurt anyone, so I got in my car and headed to the trail.  It started raining harder, but again, not to worry.  I'll just do a quick out and back run without my phone so it won't get wet.  Then it really started to pour and I gave up and went home. I should mention that if I had simply drug myself out of bed 20 minutes earlier, I could have run before the rain started and said rain ended about 20 minutes after I got home, but by then it was too late to get a run in.  Frustrating.

So the partial victory is that I got up early enough to run, but I failed to actually run.  It's progress, I guess.  I had promised myself last night that if I got up to run that I would treat myself to a skinny pumpkin spice latte on the way to work today and I was tempted to get one anyway, since technically I did get up.  I decided to wait on the pumpkin spice latte, though, until a morning when I actually run.

Short post tonight, as I'm exhausted and Jack is in his room crying.  I wish I knew why he isn't sleeping and why he has such a hard time self-soothing.  Although, I think much of the problem tonight is that he misses Mommy, so some snuggles are in order.

Saw the quote below on Facebook and I love it!

"Remember, your dreams are as hungry as your demons. Make sure you're feeding the right ones."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tomorrow morning, I have a date

A date with my favorite running trail, god willing.  I must go run in the morning tomorrow because I won't have time at lunch or after work and I could use a good run to clear my head.  And, quite frankly, I'm none too happy with the scale at the moment, but that's my own fault for indulging a little (a lot) yesterday.  I'm trying not to be too hard on myself, though.  Bad food days will happen, but I just can't let it get me down or off course! 

I took a rest day today, somewhat unintentionally, but it's ok.  Last night I did 40 minutes on the elliptical and I considered doing another 30-40 minutes tonight, but I decided to save up for a good run tomorrow.  I've decided that I'm going to limit my longer runs to the weekend, because they take me close to an hour and it's going to be hard to squeeze in an hour run during the weekday.  Plus, I don't want to overdo it and risk injury.  I'd like to keep my weekday runs to the 2.5 - 3.1 mile range, so that will be my plan for the morning.

On another note, I've been a little sad today, as I always am on September 11th.  Luckily, I was pretty busy most of the day, which kept my mind occupied.  Every generation has that historical moment when people ask you where were you when...and September 11th is that moment for me.  I still remember being in my apartment my sophomore year of college and watching the news with my roommates.  We were watching a live feed on one of the news channels and saw the South Tower fall before our eyes.  We couldn't believe what we saw and it was all so confusing and scary.  I remember going to one of my classes that day, hoping for some sense of normalcy in my daily routine. My French professor at the time, starting going on and on about how it was the end of the world and you could tell that he genuinely believed this was the apocalypse (yes, he used that word) and he was scared.  He was a bit radical, but going to class that day obviously did nothing to soothe my fears.  I still thought of myself as a kid, and at 19, I guess I still was, but I hoped that being away from home, my professors (the adults in my life) would offer some sense of stability and comfort to me at that time.  It was a profound moment for me, in that I realized that I was, in fact, a grown up and that by sharing his fears with us, this professor considered us peers.   

I also remember coming home to St. Louis that Friday, September 14th, because Truman was closed for the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance and I wanted to come home to be with my Mom and Matt. The fact that school was cancelled was pretty significant because the university typically didn't cancel classes, even in inclement weather.  On the nearly 4 hour drive home from school, I noticed so many American flags and displays of patriotism; on cars, in front yards, on local businesses.  It was amazing to see how we could band together as a nation in a time of need and I will never forget that drive home.  

I had the opportunity to visit Ground Zero in 2007 when I was pregnant with Nick and it was an incredibly emotional experience.  Nearly 6 years after the tragedy, there were notes to victims, photos of loved ones, flowers and memorials that had been freshly placed.  It was a bitterly cold March day, but there were hundreds of people there paying their respects to the lives lost that day.  Each year, on the anniversary of September 11th, I usually watch coverage on the History Channel, which is almost always a documentary I have already seen several times, but it's how I honor the memory of the brave men, women, and children who perished that day. 

"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I need help

I cannot get myself out of bed to run in the morning.  I'm now 0-3 in my attempts and although I have the best intentions, I've yet to make it out of bed early enough to run.  Today was as close as I've come to making it out the door, in that I was actually somewhat coherent when my alarms went off and pondered getting up, but it still didn't happen. As I've mentioned, I am not a morning person, but I can't use this as an excuse anymore.

I have a few theories (or more aptly, excuses) as to why I haven't been able to get up:
  1. I am not getting a lot of quality sleep.  My little guy is not the sleeper his older brother is (or was at this age) and Mama is tired.  He is still waking up in the middle of the night (anywhere between 1 and 6 a.m.) and 18 months of no more than 6 hours or sleep at a time is taking its toll.  I know it is just temporary, but I really function better on 9 hours of sleep. 
  2. I'm a night owl, which I guess coincides a bit with item 1.  While I know I should really go to sleep fairly soon after the boys go to bed, I find that I stay up late to enjoy my time to myself.  It's my time to spend time with Matt, blog, read, surf the web, watch tv, or catch up on housework (it should be noted that the latter is a last resort). 
  3. I'm a bit nervous to go running in the morning.  I don't have to get up at o'dark thirty to run thanks to my drop-off schedule for the boys in the morning, but I still need to get outside by about 6:15 or 6:30 and it's still somewhat dark outside.  My regular running trails are fairly wooded and I just get a little creeped out by myself at dusk and therefore would assume daybreak would be no different. 
I just think I need to get it over with and get the first morning run under my belt and I will feel much better. I know from (very minimal) previous experiences that working out in the morning is a great way to start the day, but, I have to get out of bed and out the door first!  

Do you have any advice or tips to share for getting up in the morning to workout?  Short of having someone blare a bullhorn next to me or dumping a bucket of ice on my head, I'll try anything! 

(I also want to wish a happy Wednesday tomorrow to a dear friend!)

"Sometimes running sucks. You're tired, it's early and cold. You don't wanna. 'Til you lace up and remember why you love the run." 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Something exciting happened today...

I was featured on one of my favorite blogger's posts!!  I am SO excited!  I've been following Katie ( for several months, in fact, she was the second running blog I started following and I'm so glad I found her!  Katie lost 125 lbs (!!) over 16 months with diet and exercise, particularly running.  She loves cookies (I mean, the really, really good ones from Mrs. Fields with two chocolate chip cookies with buttercream icing sandwiched between them. YUM!) and she began running so that she could continue to indulge her sweet tooth, hence the blog name Runs for Cookies. She blogs about maintaining her weight loss, running, and the challenge that is daily weight maintenance.  Katie's advice led me to ditch the Couch to 5K program (I by no means mean to diminish the program, it is a great program, it just didn't work for me) and do my own thing in terms of increasing my mileage at a rate that was comfortable for me. I love reading Katie's blog and I appreciate her candor about weight loss; it really is an up and down, roller coaster ride of a journey and I appreciate that she shares her highs and lows with her readers, but never gives up.

Each Sunday, Katie asks her readers to share their triumphs and she selects a few for her Motivational Monday post.  I was feeling so proud yesterday after my 4 mile run, so I decided to submit my story and achievement and Katie was sweet enough to include my story this week!   I opened her post and was scrolling through the page, when I happened upon my story and photo!  It was pretty cool, I'm not going to lie. Check out for some awesome, inspiring stories and to read about yours truly (10th story on the page).  Thank you, Katie, for inspiring me, and others, to reach our goals!  

I forgot to mention last night in my post that after my run I didn't have any issues with hot flashes or dizziness!  I was quite relieved.  I did some research and found out that others have experienced the same thing and answers ranged from sodium deficiency, to dehydration, or low blood sugar.  So before I headed out for my run, I guzzled a bottle of water with an electrolyte infused water enhancer and I also sucked on a Werther's candy to get a little sugar in my system.  I stayed hydrated on my run, but didn't over do it and I ate another Werther's when I finished my last mile.  I'm not sure which of the above helped with the strange symptoms, but I'm going to keep following that routine since it helped.  

We took a quick walk after work tonight, partially due to high humidity and heat and partially due to waning sunlight.  It was great family bonding time, although I could have done with a little less humidity! 

Don't forget to check out Katie's blog if you are looking for some inspiration; she has an amazing story to share and great advice for anyone looking to ramp up their running or lose weight. 

Likewise, if you have any triumphs or milestones to share, feel free to post in the comments section below! 

"Running is hard to explain. Yes it hurts. Yes it is one of the best feelings in the world. Somehow that makes sense...if you are a runner." 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

4 miles and some change

I ask you again to bear with me as I toot my own horn a bit (maybe a lot); guess who ran 4.05 miles tonight?  This girl!!  I wasn't sure it was in the cards today, because we had a lot of rain this morning and it was super muggy.  We waited until near sundown, though, to go out to avoid the high heat of the day and it wasn't too bad.  Luckily, we have been blessed with gentle breezes on these hot, humid days and it does help quite a bit.  Although, I'm still looking forward to crisp autumn days!

I set out for my run and Nick decided to scoot with me, so we had a nice conversation about where we were running to (the beach, in case you were wondering).  I've learned that it takes me a long time to warm up (or maybe just when it's hot? I guess I'll let you know in a few weeks if this is the norm) and my first two miles were in the mid-13:00 pace.  Not ideal, but it didn't phase me since it was hot and I was aiming for 4 miles.  No sense in wearing myself out early on.  I found my stride about 2.5 miles in and I actually felt pretty great.  

When the sun set, the temperature was actually quite pleasant, especially with the breeze and my legs felt super strong.  To increase my mileage, Nick and I took a detour on a side trail that some of the bikers use for a little off-road adventure. It was an adventure; note to self, scooters do not have the same tires as bikes and therefore can't handle the "off the beaten track" path like bikes.  I ended up carrying Nick's scooter as we both ran and thankfully, it was a relatively short path.  Scooters are heavy when you are 3 miles into a run.  

As I finished the last .5 of my run, I could see Matt and the boys up ahead and I got a burst of energy.  I was so damn proud of myself and I was shouting "Babe, I did it!" but he couldn't hear me because he was listening to music on the iPod and then I triumphantly put my arms in the air and nearly took out a biker passing me on the left.  To which I say, his fault because he didn't say "On your left" as he passed.  I'm sure I looked like a lunatic, but I didn't care.  I felt so good and I was so proud, nothing could have brought me down.  Matt went to give me a big hug and then told me that I "was hot."  I'd love to think that this was because I was so beautiful in my post-run state, but I'm well aware of the fact that it was because I was a sweaty beast.  Again, I didn't care. 

I've been hesitant to push myself to 4 miles for the past few weeks and I don't really know why.  I've hovered at the 3 - 3.5 mile range for some time and I just need to rip the band aid and push myself to the next level.  I knew in my head I could do it, but something was holding me back.  Maybe the heat?  Or maybe subconsciously I knew that after 4 miles, comes 5 and then 6, etc. and I psyched myself out.  

It's too late on a Sunday night to analyze the crazy ways in which my brain works, but I did want to say thank you to those of you who read my blog.  When I put my goals out there, like last night when I said I was hoping to get 4 miles in today, it holds me accountable knowing that you all are reading this blog and rooting for me.  I know that none of you would call me out if I didn't reach 4 miles, but it helps me to know that I committed to it online and I think of how great it will feel to post my results on my blog.  So, again, thank you!  

I came across another great blog last week ( as I was reading about the runners at Disneyland competing in the Half Marathon weekend festivities and I love the author, Linzie's, positive attitude and enthusiasm.  He completed a marathon today and tweeted the whole time, which was so fun to keep up with.  I can't promise that I will be able to do the same when I complete my 1/2 marathon, but we'll see.  In any case, as I do with most blogs I love, I went back and re-read some of his older posts and came across the below quote, which sums up how I feel about running.  Since I've become serious about running, I've learned more about myself and my physical and mental strength than I thought possible (barring childbearing, that's another strength affirming milestone and having my boys is the only other time in my life when I felt like Super Woman). 

Don't forget to check the sidebar for some of my favorite blogs if you are looking for some other great reads.

"...running doesn't change who you are. Running enhances the strong, tenacious, and excellent qualities you always possessed."

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dreaming of Disney

Earlier this summer, I read a blog post about the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon and I have been hooked ever since.  Mind you, I have yet to run my first 1/2 Marathon (it's in April, registration opened yesterday, eek), but I'm already dreaming of what I hope will be my second 1/2.  The 2014 Disney Princess race is already sold out, so that rules that out, but I have my sights set on February 2015.

I figure, not only will this be a really fun race for me, but it might also be a great family trip.  I have never been to Walt Disney World, nor have I ever been to Florida.  I spent a few years of my youth in Southern California and have many fond memories of Disneyland, so I'd love to see how WDW stacks up.  Nick would be 8 1/2 and Jack would be not quite 3 if we went in 2015 and it would be in the off-season, so it sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.  

I also recently learned of a really neat program that would allow me to reach my goal of participating in the Princess 1/2, while also raising funds for a great cause, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  There are actually quite a few charity groups that run in conjunction with many of the RunDisney Races, but I am particularly drawn to St. Jude Heroes ( Their tagline is Run for a Reason and I love that while training for an intense race, I would not only be motivated to achieve my physical goals, but also to help raise funds to support a great cause. 

There are several different fundraising options ranging from $1,400 to $5,500 and while I would love to reach for the $5,500, I don't exactly know where to start.  I've done fundraising for other events with a modicum of success, but this obviously takes it to another level.  I suppose I am sharing this now, almost 1 1/2 years in advance, to see if anyone has any advice on raising this much money (particularly if you have participated in this program or something similar) and to let you know that you will probably be hearing about this on the blog over the course of the next year or so.  

I took somewhat of a rest day today, although I did get a bit of walking in while running errands.  I'm planning on a run tomorrow, hopefully a 4 miler without any residual dizziness!

"We all have dreams, in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort." 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weird Post-Running Issues

First of all, let me start this post by sharing with you that I did not run this morning.  This probably comes as a shock to no one.  My early alarm woke me out of a fairly deep sleep and I immediately turned it off.  Then the next alarm beeped and I turned it off, too.  I just wasn't feeling it and I knew I could sneak in a run tonight, if needed.  I've really got to figure out a way to get myself out of bed, though.  Any suggestions are welcome!  I hope that when it's winter and I have no other choice but to run in the morning that I will get up and go, but I have my doubts. Particularly when it's freezing cold out, staying in bed under the warm covers is going to be much more enticing.

In other news, I have had a few interesting post-running situations arise that I am still trying to make sense of.  The first, I guess, is a no-brainer; last Saturday while I was running in the brutal heat, my hands swelled up like crazy and my fingers looked like sausages.  Since I've lost weight, my wedding ring is super loose on my ring finger, to the point that I can shake my hand and it will fall off.  However, after my hot run on Saturday, I couldn't get it off my finger at all.  I meant to take a picture of my hands because they were that ridiculous.  I'm sure the swelling had to do with the heat in some way or another.  I assure you, I kept myself hydrated during that run, but maybe I hadn't hydrated properly beforehand. After cooling down a bit and drinking more water, the swelling went down and hasn't returned, thankfully.

Tonight's post-running adventure was a bit scarier for me.  Matt, the boys, and I went to the trail and I ran for 3.5 miles (hooray!).  The weather wasn't too bad; it was probably in the mid-80's and there seemed to be no humidity at all and a great breeze.  I drank plenty of water and I felt pretty good.  It was pretty obvious that I hadn't run since Monday, though, as my calves were cramping early on and I felt a wee bit sluggish at first.  I kept a sub-13:00 pace the entire time, which is great for me, but I didn't feel like I was overdoing it.  We got home and Matt started dinner for the boys, while I stood at the sink doing dishes.  All of a sudden, I felt very hot and got incredibly light headed.  So I took a break from the dishes and took a deep breath while I set my head on the counter.  I continued on with the dishes and a few minutes later, the same hot flash radiated through my body and I got light headed again.  I was sufficiently light headed that I decided to lay down right there on the kitchen floor.  Nick was super sweet, as usual, and asked if I wanted company while I was on the floor, so he laid next to me for a bit.  He thought this was good practice for how we might lay in a tent if we decide to go on the first Cub Scout Camp Out in a few weeks.  Matt brought me some water with an electrolyte additive in it as well as a few chocolate chips for a sugar rush.  It seemed to help and after about 10 minutes, I got back up and felt somewhat better.  I haven't had any more episodes since then (about 2 hours ago), so I think all is well.  I'm curious though, if anyone has any thoughts as to what might have caused this episode?  I haven't Googled it yet, but plan to.

I really want to push myself to run 4 miles this weekend, but after my dizzy spell tonight, I'm not sure if I should.  I don't want to overdo it, so I'll see how the weekend goes.

Maybe I should program my phone to shout the below quote at me every morning.

"Get up and go. Just do it. Run." 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Early Morning Running

This is going to be my reality...soon.  I am slightly dreading the end of Daylight Savings Time.  I love when it stays light so late in the summer for a multitude of reasons.  Not the least of which is that this summer it has allowed me and the boys the opportunity to exercise outdoors after work.  For awhile, I was pretty religious about working out during my lunch hour, but honestly, my mileage has increased so much that I don't really like running at lunch right now without having access to a shower post-run.  I'm pretty sure my co-workers, especially my office mates, are appreciative of the decline in my lunch running.  So, with that being the case and with extended daylight hours dwindling quickly, my only option is going to be early morning running.

I am NOT a morning person.  Never have been, never will be.  I am a night owl and can easily stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading a good book or watching a movie, but trying to get me out of bed pre-7 a.m. is damn near impossible.  Luckily, given my morning drop-off schedule for the boys, I don't think I would have to get up all that early to get a run in.  I've read that some people get up at 5 or 5:30 a.m. to get a run in before the morning routine kicks in for their family, but I think I could swing hitting the trail at 6:30, which isn't awful.  It's not great, but it could be worse.

Here's the rub; I have now tried twice this week to get up early to go for a run and it has been a complete failure.  Yesterday morning, I woke up with a disastrous headache.  Jack woke up before my early "get up and run" alarm went off and the throbbing in my head meant a run was out.  Matt was a trooper, though.  First, he put up with my crabby ass, secondly, he sent me back to bed and got breakfast made for the boys and their lunches prepared.  The combination of 3 ibuprofen and some extra sleep helped alleviate most of the headache.  I had some meetings yesterday afternoon, so I decided not to run at lunch and I had a few meetings up at Nick's school last night, so yesterday ended up being an unexpected rest day.

Last night, I decided to hit the hay early to prepare for an early morning run today.  I settled in at around 10 p.m. (which, truth be told, should be my regular bedtime.  I'm often up until midnight or later, though) and laid in bed, not sleeping.  For 2 hours.  After the first 30 minutes or so, I turned the TV off so that wouldn't distract me, but I still couldn't sleep.  It was super annoying.  Naturally, when I was finally feeling a little sleepy, Jack had a bit of a fit and wouldn't calm down and go to sleep.  Not the most restful night, therefore, I may have hit the snooze button a number of times this morning and skipped my run.  I again, didn't work out at lunch, and had a meeting at Nick's school tonight, so another rest day for me.  I should have done the elliptical last night or tonight, but maybe I need these rest days.

In any case, I plan to go to bed soon in the hopes (really high hopes) of getting up early tomorrow for a run.  So to those of you who see me on a daily basis, please ask me tomorrow how my run was.  Maybe the guilt of knowing that you will ask me about it will make me get out of bed at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

I also received some really exciting news today and I can't wait to share it with all of you.  I'm awaiting a bit more information before I share, so consider this a teaser.  Perhaps, I should clarify a bit, as I imagine some of you reading this have vivid imaginations and your minds have just gone a million different directions.  This exciting news is relative to my weight loss journey and my affiliation with the Sweat Pink Community.

"Ask yourself: 'Can I give more?' The answer is usually: 'Yes.'" 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It's Tuesday, but it feels like Monday

Such is the way with long weekends, but I'm going to be messed up all week on my days.  On the bright side, at least I will be messed up in my favor.  It definitely felt like Monday today, but it's already Tuesday.  Sweet!

The Roeseler's went on a walk tonight before dinner and it was lovely.  The weather was gorgeous and the boys provided ample entertainment.  Jack was feeling especially social tonight and in addition to trying to say "dog" every time we passed one on the trail, he also started saying "Hi" to people as we passed.  He is normally a little more reserved with human folk, so this was a nice surprise and super cute.  Nick was a speed demon on his scooter and it was fun watching him zoom down the hills.  Apparently he is faster than I think, because almost every one who passes by tells us how fast he's going.  Although, maybe this is just to entertain him?  In any case, it's been great watching him build up his courage on the scooter this summer.  He was so timid earlier this year and was unsure of his balance, but now that he is comfortable with his balance and braking abilities, he keeps looking for bigger and better hills to zoom down.

A friend shared the below link from the American Heart Association about "How to Start Running" and I thought I'd share it with you.  I think all of the tips shared below are accurate and I have also added my own tips.

  1. Get medical clearance:  do as I say not as I do.  I admit, I did not get medical clearance from my doctor before I started running and in hindsight, based on my starting weight, I probably should have. 
  2. Choose the right shoe:  Yes, yes, yes.  This is super important!  A pair of shoes can make or break your running goals in a heartbeat.  I highly recommend visiting your local running store to get a proper fitting.  Most stores will analyze your gait and tell you things about your feet that you probably never knew before (pronation, for example), which will help you purchase the right shoe for your foot type.  This helps you avoid injuries and get the most out of your runs. 
  3. Know proper running form:  I took a running form clinic earlier this summer at a local running store and it was great!  I honestly should have considered good running form well before this point, but it never crossed my mind.  You can look into similar running form classes at your local running store or simply do a Google search, as there is plenty of information on the web, too.  Admittedly, I'm still a work in progress when it comes to good running form, but I'm certainly aware of it every time I run and am trying to improve.  It can be overwhelming at times to try to remember all of the components of good running form, but one of the things my instructor told me in class is to focus on one area at a time.  Say you head out for a run one day, choose to focus only on your cadence that day and then the next time you run, focus on your foot strike. 
  4. Start at a slow pace:  Absolutely. Slow and steady wins the race!  If you need to, do as I did and start with a walking/running program that incorporates intervals of walking and running where the walking intervals gradually decrease as the running intervals increase.  A fast pace will come with time, but you need to build up to that.  I'm still running at a slow pace, but it's ok.  I'm building up my endurance and my muscles so that someday, I can shave time off my pace. 
  5. Set small goals:  This might be another case of do as I say, not as I do.  Sometimes, I wonder if I'm being too aggressive with my goals, but I also live for a challenge.  So, do what you have to do.  If setting big goals pushes you and works best for you, go for it.  Or, if setting smaller goals leading up to a larger goal works for you, then so be it. 
What other tips would you share with new runners?

So to anyone who is considering starting to run, I say: 

"Just start. The only thing you'll regret is not starting sooner!" 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you have enjoyed the unofficial "last" day of summer as much as I have!  It's bittersweet; I love summer, especially when it's as mild as ours has been (save the last week or so), but I also love fall and am looking forward to a chill in the air and my favorite holiday, Halloween!

We went swimming today for the last time of the season (boo!) and it was actually one of our more successful outings.  Jack, much as he loves the water, is usually only good for about an hour and a half before he's had his fill and is ready for a nap.  Today, though, I wanted to enjoy as much pool time as we could since it's closing, so we headed out early, I packed lunches for the boys (completely forgot one for myself, oops), and I decided to bring Jack's stroller to the pool with us, so he could take a nap if he got tired and Nick could swim a bit longer.  My mom's good friend is in town and so she and her sister came with us and it was fun having a big group at the pool.  It was also relatively empty at the pool when we got there, which was an added bonus.

Nick and I had a marathon jumping contest in the deep end and it was a blast.  I haven't jumped that much in years and I felt like a kid again.  The giggles from both of us were aplenty!  I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I love that my boys love to swim as much as I do!  Jack did pretty well, although he never did take a nap.  He ended up swimming quite a bit without his water wings, which he enjoyed immensely.  I could tell by his face that he was thinking I'm free! I'm free!  Daredevil, that one is.  He's not even 18 months old and he thinks he's Johnny Weissmuller.  (That reference made me smile.  That's a goody from my Grandpa Steffen.  Whenever we'd talk about swimming or putting Nick in swim lessons when he was a baby, Grandpa would say "Who do you think you are, Johnny Weissmuller?"  Side note, I miss my Grandpa.)

We ended up staying out for about 3 hours, which was great, except that I didn't put sunscreen on myself, nor did I remember to put sunscreen on Nick's face.  Gah.  Not a Mom of the Year moment.  He was lathered up from the neck down and as he reminded me, I did remember to put sunscreen on his ears, which was helpful, I suppose.  Needless to say, he is a bit rosy cheeked and I resemble a lobster.  We had a great summer at the pool, though, and I know that we will all be excited next Memorial Day when it's open again!

I went on a run tonight and had high hopes for an amazing run due to the fact that it was in the mid-80's with a fantastic breeze; a vast improvement from Saturday.  My run was ok.  Not amazing, but not miserable like Saturday.  I wanted to see if I could pick up my pace and possibly increase my mileage to closer to 4 miles, but I learned that I need to change up my route if I want to accomplish my mileage goal.  I favor a particular spot on the trail and it's about 1.2 miles each way.  Since I've been averaging about 3.1 - 3.2 miles on my runs recently, this means I do a lot of double backing on the trail.  It's starting to get boring though, so I think I need to keep going on the trail, which is a bit out of my comfort zone as it involves crossing a pretty major road, until I reach anywhere between 1.75 - 2.0 miles and then turn around to achieve my mileage.  I did 5K tonight, though, which is nothing to sneeze at.

I could tell it was Labor Day on my run; many of the houses I ran by had their BBQ grills blazing and the smell of BBQ was so enticing, particularly since I knew Matt was at home grilling up our holiday feast!  He grilled up some pork steaks and corn on the cob, yum!  It was delicious and a great end to the long weekend!

What did you do this holiday weekend? Did anyone participate in any weekend races?

Love the quote below; applicable to much in life and it certainly speaks to me and my running journey.

"If you can't excel with talent, triumph with effort."

Japanese Festival

I love long weekends, although I am sad to see summer come to an end.  Today, we braved the heat and headed to the Botanical Garden for the annual Japanese Festival.  Matt's company is a corporate sponsor for the Garden and on occasion, we are able to go to special events/exhibits for free.  His company had a few free passes for the Japanese Festival (which is an immensely popular event for the Garden) and Matt won a pair!

It was wicked hot this weekend, which we were hoping would deter some people from venturing out to the Garden since Matt isn't a big fan of crowds.  We decided that it was too hot for Jack-Jack though, so my Mom watched him while we went (thanks, Mom!). We got to the Garden about an hour and a half after the Festival opened and we were pleasantly surprised to find a spot on the main parking lot.

We headed straight to the area where they were holding a Sumo wrestling demonstration; something both Matt and I were anxious to see.  It was blazing hot, but we found a spot in the shade, luckily.  We learned about Sumo from three former wrestlers who were originally from Hawaii and it was fascinating.  Unlike American sports, where athletes have ridiculous salaries and signing bonuses and an off-season, Sumo wrestlers live and breathe Sumo 24/7.  The wrestlers talked about their training and life in the stables, as well as demonstrating some common moves.  We were even treated to a few matches!  They asked for several kids to come up to the stage to practice some moves and we asked Nick if he wanted to go up, but he was too bashful.  Later, they asked if any adults in the audience wanted to take on one of the wrestlers and I tried to get Matt to go up, since he finds it fascinating, but no dice.  Although, he did say afterwards that he wished he had gone up.  After the show, we were able to meet the wrestlers and they autographed our program.  Nick was a bit shy when meeting them, but he loved getting their autographs.  Our unanimous favorite wrestler was Sunahama (below in blue).  The guys were really great and we are fortunate that they come to St. Louis each year (I think this was their 9th year at the Festival) to share their sport with us.

Us with the Sumo wrestlers (L-R Sunahama, Kamikiiwa, and Koryu)
After the Sumo demonstration, we headed to the Japanese Garden, which is my favorite part of the Garden and a fitting place to visit during the Japanese Festival.  The Lotus flowers were in bloom and were quite stunning!  We also got to see a dashi strolling through the Garden, which Nick loved.  It's a beautifully decorated stage built on a cart that is carried around during festivals, typically with musical accompaniment. 

Dashi at the Japanese Festival
Storm clouds were beginning to roll in at this point, but we also wanted to go see the Japanese Drums demonstration, so we headed back to the amphitheater.  The Taiko drumming presentation was also very cool!  It started to rain a bit and the wind was really gusty, but it kind of added to the ambiance of the drums, which was cool. The storm blew over, but we were getting hungry at that point, so we headed out and took Nick to Steak 'n Shake for lunch.  It was a really fun afternoon and a great way for all of us to learn a bit more about Japanese culture.  It was also great Mommy/Daddy/Nick bonding time, although we did miss Jack-Jack (he would have loved the drums!).

I had high hopes for a productive afternoon, but the heat did me in and so I settled for a long nap instead.  I figured our walking around the Garden constituted as a workout for today.  

"Definition of a really good workout. When you hate doing it, but you love finishing it."