Monday, February 24, 2014

Easy run

Today, I decided to do an easy run following my long run on Saturday, but the easy run made me question the logic of taking a rest day yesterday.  I actually didn't feel too bad or too sore yesterday like I thought I would, but I was definitely sore today as I ran.  My calves were tight and my right hip ached and I wonder if I did myself a disservice by not running yesterday to get some of the kinks out.  In any case, my easy run wasn't quite as easy as I'd hoped due to the soreness, but it was still nice to get outside and run.  I was aiming for three miles, but I had a meeting this afternoon that I needed to get back to the office for, so I ended up doing about 2.36.  It should have felt like a really short run to me given that I ran 7 on Saturday, but it didn't feel all that short.  Tomorrow, I have a date with some hills during my run!

I am on day two of my crunches and planking routine and while it's not a great streak, it's progress.  I love the way my abs feel after doing crunches, but I am still learning to love planks.  I probably never will, but I did push myself to do a third plank tonight instead of just two.  I am only able to hold each plank for about 20 seconds, but as my core gets stronger, I hope to increase the length of each plank.  Who knows, I may even throw in some crazy side planks down the line.  Way, way, way down the line.

I appreciate the feedback you all gave about loosening my shoestrings to help alleviate the sensation of my feet falling asleep when I run! I remembered today to loosen my right shoe, but not my left.  It felt a bit strange at first having the shoe a bit looser than normal, but I do think it helped my foot from falling asleep.  Now the trick tomorrow is to remember to loosen both shoestrings.

I'd love to know what you would recommend for chafing.  I don't normally have problems with chafing, but on my long run on Saturday, I had some issues with the waistband of my capris riding against my skin.  It wasn't awful, but I would definitely like to avoid any further chafing, particularly since my long runs are going to increase over the next few weeks.  I've heard great things about BodyGlide and I've also heard that using regular Vaseline can help, too. I'll be honest, the thought of putting Vaseline on before a run is strange to me because I'm not a big fan of the consistency and I imagine BodyGlide has a similar consistency, but I also could do without the chafing, so I'm willing to give it a try.  How do you deal with chafing while running?

"Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them." 

Some of my current favorite things

I had a blissfully quiet day today, filled with lots of napping!  I went back and forth about going for a run, but ultimately decided to take a rest day.  I did a few crunches and planks, though, to get in some core work and now the trick is to keep up with those exercises regularly!

It has been awhile since I shared some of my favorite things, so I thought I would today.  It's certainly a random assortment of things.

  1. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.  I love, love, love this song.  It is impossible not to smile while listening to this song.  It's is also impossible not to clap along.  This is also one of Nick's new favorite jams.  He is frequently heard around the house singing "Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof..."  The video is also a gem.  I need a little happy in my life, so thank you Pharrell. 
  2. "Ways to Go" by Grouplove.  I also dig this song.  The video is strange, but the song is darn catchy and will be stuck in your head forever.  You're welcome. 
  3. "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry.  When I first heard this song, I wasn't sold, but after listening to it a few more times, it has grown on me and I love it.  Again, strange video, but that is status quo for Katy.  
  4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  I mentioned yesterday that I was listening to this book on my run and I can't say enough about this book.  I'm not finished with it, but it is amazing.  It has been on my reading list for months, but I haven't been doing much reading lately.  I picked it up in audio book form from the library before we left for Ohio and I listened to it on our trip while Nick was sleeping or watching movies.  It's a true story primarily set during World War II and it will captivate you.  I've also been listening to it in the car on the way to and from work and it's hard to leave the car because the book is that good!  
  5. Raspberry Lemonade water enhancer. I can't get enough of this raspberry lemonade drink mix.  I love raspberries and I love lemonade, but I was still reluctant to try this.  It is delicious and probably my favorite of the drink mixes that we have.  I still love the fruit punch, but I have been drinking the raspberry lemonade several times a day.  I know it isn't as good as drinking plain water, but it sure beats a soda. 
  6. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. JT has always been a fave of mine (going back to his 'NSYNC days) and Jimmy Fallon is hilarious.  However, when you combine the two, it is pure comic genious!  The Christmas SNL episode with the two of them was a classic and I hope that JT will  make many more appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! 
What are some of your favorite things currently? 

I found the quote below and it spoke to me.  I've mentioned feeling out of sorts and I need to keep the below in mind.  It will get better!

"Be strong because things will get better. It may be stormy now, but it never rains forever." 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Today I ran farther than I ever have

I ran 7 miles today and it felt good! I was going back and forth in my head about whether I wanted to run 6 miles today or 7.  I was leaning towards 7 for several reasons, though.  1) I had a run earlier this week that really challenged me and made me wonder for a brief second how I was going to do a half marathon in a few weeks, so I figured getting in a higher mileage run would be good for me. 2) I have been nervous about this distance since before I began training.  I knew I could run 6 since I did my 10K in October, but anything above and beyond 6 miles was a huge question mark.  I was tired of this lingering doubt I had about whether or not I could run more so I wanted to do it to prove to myself that I could.

It took a little persuading to get myself outside to run today, though.  It wasn't because of the weather, as you might expect.  The weather was gorgeous, but I am feeling very out of sorts and wanted nothing more than to lay in bed all day.  I took a long nap, but then decided I had better get outside to run before the sun set and I am really glad I did.

I need this run on so many levels.  It was a huge boost to my confidence and it was good for my soul.  There is so much going on in my life right now and while I have much to be thankful for, I am also incredibly stressed, overwhelmed, etc.  To be able to go outside today, put in my headphones, turn on a great audio book I am listening to (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand; just superb), and start running was glorious.  For about 90 minutes, I didn't think about anything other than putting one foot in front of the other and the great book I was listening to.  When I got to my car, I realized I hadn't given a second thought to any of the stresses in my life and I really needed that "me" time.

My pace was slower than planned, but I knew I would need to conserve energy to get in 7 miles and when I started out, my calves were very stiff and crampy.  I loosened up eventually and settled into a good groove.  Near the halfway point of my run, a woman ran by me in the opposite direction, made eye contact with me, and raised both hands up in the air in a celebratory way.  It made me smile and I did the same back to her.  It was a nice little boost at the midway point.  We ran by each other a little while later when we both turned around to head back and did the same celebratory motions.  I should have asked her name, because I think she would be a fun running pal.

The farthest I have ever run in my life!

My MapMyRun app is a little off on my total mileage and the only reason I know this is because I started at the .0 mile marker on the trail, ran to the 3.5 mile marker, and then turned around and ran back.  I did have a weird side effect happen to me today that I have noticed before, but never really looked into.  Sometimes when I run, I notice that my right foot falls asleep, however, today both of my feet seemed to fall asleep.  I read on another post that sometimes loosening your shoestrings helps, but I wonder if anyone else has experienced the falling asleep sensation in your feet while running and what you do to remedy the situation.

All in all, it was a really great run today and so I say "half marathon, here I come!"

"It always seems impossible until it is done." 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Looking forward to a long run

I'm feeling so glad to be back in my running groove!  My friend Mary and I went for a great 4 mile run tonight and it felt really good (and we even went up a pretty substantial hill).  We ventured down a new part of the path and it was fun to explore a new area.  It was great looking at some beautiful houses that they have on the outskirts of the park where we run.  It was good to have such an amazing run tonight, because I could definitely use the boost of self confidence in advance of a long run this weekend.

I've run three times this week and they were all 4 miles in length.  Obviously, I've deviated a lot from my training plans, but I still feel very confident about the half in a few weeks.  I would like to do 6 or 7 miles tomorrow, which would be awesome!

Do you have any plans for the weekend (running related or otherwise)?

"I know every mile will be worth my while." 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Positive Body Image

Wow, I didn't intend to be away from my blog for over a week, but I've had a lot going on in my personal life that needed tending to (sometimes it was just me).  I ended up going to Ohio last weekend to see my Dad and while it was great to see him, reality sank in about his condition.  Nick came with me and we had quite the adventure.  What is normally about a 9 hour drive, took us closer to 14 hours since we drove in snow nearly the entire way.  We saw so many cars on the side of the road and one jack-knifed trailer, so I was so glad when we arrived safely, even though it was 2 in the morning.  I think my Dad enjoyed the company and we were even able to see my Grandparents and Uncle for a little bit.  I wish we were all seeing each other under better circumstances, but it was good to see them nonetheless.

I was able to get in a 4 mile run on Tuesday and another 4 miles in yesterday, so I'm getting back into my groove.  The weather has been lovely here and all of our snow melted.  Thank goodness, between the drive on Friday in snow and the cold weather, I'm ready for spring. On Tuesday, I ran the hillier path in the park and I admit, I walked through some of it.  I was irritated with myself for letting my brain give up on my legs and I was honestly starting to think that I was never going to be ready for the half.  Yesterday's run was infinitely better and while I am still nervous about the half, I know that I need to ramp up my training and this will help build back my confidence.

One of the things I post about a lot on here is my struggle with the scale.  It's fair to say that I am a slave to the scale and let it consume me far too much.  Try as I might, I cannot break my daily routine of weighing myself after I wake up.  However, something happened on my trip to Ohio that has made me re-think my bond with the scale.

The hotel where we stayed had an indoor pool, which thrilled Nick, and was a nice diversion from the emotional stress of the trip.  On Saturday night, we went swimming and made friends with three children playing in the pool.  Almost as soon as we walked into the pool area, the three kids (two girls and a boy) called out to Nick and asked if he wanted to play with them.  We ended up playing in the pool for a bit and then sitting in the hot tub.

While we were in the hot tub, the kids were peppering us with questions about where we were from, why we were in Ohio, and how old is Nick.  We found out that the three kids were from another town, but had come to the hotel in celebration of the little boy's birthday (he just turned 10) and they were visiting their grandma.  I think they may have been cousins and the older two girls told me that they were 13 and 11 years old.  When they asked why we were in town, I told them that my Dad was sick and they told me they hoped he feels better soon.  As they started to leave, the oldest girl told me she would say a prayer for my Daddy.  I almost choked up and I thanked her.  All three of the kids were delightfully inquisitive, sweet, and charming and I had hoped to run into their family to tell them as much, but I didn't get the opportunity to.  As the kids went to leave, the older girl said something to me that stopped me in my tracks.

As she left the hot tub, she told me goodbye and mentioned that she was going next door to the exercise room to workout.  I thought it was a little odd and I said something along the lines of "oh, do you like to workout?" and she replied "No, but I need to lose 30 pounds."  I was speechless for a minute and probably had my mouth agape while trying to think of an appropriate response.  I finally said to her "You do not need to lose 30 pounds.  You are healthy and beautiful the way you are."  She insisted that she needed to lose 30 pounds and told me that she was 135 pounds and most of her friends were 100 pounds.  Again, I told her  how beautiful she was and that 135 pounds was a perfectly normal weight no matter what her friends weighed.  She grabbed her stomach and said "but look at this?" and I replied "Look at what?"  She said "look at my stomach. It shouldn't look like this."  I could not have been more flabbergasted.  Here was the delightful, beautiful 13 year old girl who was so obsessed by the number on the scale and what others defined as beauty that she couldn't see how truly beautiful she was.  I couldn't believe how skewed her perception of herself was and I wondered where she had picked up this negative body image at 13 years old.  I hope that my reiterating how beautiful she is eventually sunk in, but I also realize that I'm just some random lady she met at the pool at the Ramada, so my words probably didn't mean much.

This of course led me to think of myself.  Why is it that I'm so appalled by a child's negative body image, when my body image is just as bad, if not worse.  Why is it ok for me, an adult, to be so hard on my body? Is that how we got to the point that girls today at 12, 13, 14 years old are thinking that they need to lose 30 pounds?  This constant obsession with weight cannot be good for us.  See any tabloid magazine for further proof of our obsession; you cannot pick up a magazine without some story of weight loss or gain on the front cover.  So and so loses 50 lbs. See the amazing transformation or So and so gains 30 lbs. See the shocking new pictures.  Is this really the message we want to send ourselves and our children?

It is definitely something to think about.  I hope that my words had some meaning to that girl and above all, I hope that she has family and friends that will lift her up and help her realize that her beauty, her worth, her identity is not defined by the number on the scale.  I think we could all benefit from a little positive body image in our life, so let's stop thinking of ourselves as numbers on a scale, and start being thankful for the body we've been given.

"How I feel about myself is more important than how I look. Feeling confident, being comfortable in your own skin - that's what really makes you beautiful." 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Running = clarity

It was so nice to sneak in a run today!  With everything going on in my life at the moment, hitting the pavement today was just what I needed.  A little fresh air, sweat, and some time to reflect.  My friend, Mary, and I met up with two other friends and co-workers, Stacy and Greg, for a fun lunch run.  I ran 4 miles between our path at the park and running to and from campus and it felt good, although mostly after the fact.

Post-run shenanigans
We took a slightly different path than normal, mainly because the actual running paths at the park were snow covered, and it was quite a bit hillier than I'm used to.  It was challenging, but I pushed through and I'm glad I did.  I think part of the route we took today is part of the half marathon route in April, so that was good practice and a few hills never hurt anyone (although my quads beg to differ). My pace was slower than normal, but I consider it a victory that I got out to run today.  And did I mention the hills?

I ran without any podcasts or music and I think that made running a bit harder today, but on the other hand, it was really, really nice to just focus on my stride, my breathing, and pushing through the pain of the hills.  Having that solitude for nearly an hour was good for me.

Today's run will likely be my only run this week, but I will be hard at training again next week!  Half marathon here I come!

Speaking of half marathons (shameless plug alert), I've entered the ZOOMA Run to Napa Contest and if you have a moment to spare, I'd appreciate your vote.  Please click here if you'd like to vote!  (You can vote a day until the contest ends.)

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hug your loved ones a little tighter

Just a quick post tonight as I am exhausted both mentally and physically.  I received some heartbreaking news today and it was a jarring reminder that life is short, so hug your loved ones a little tighter, don't put off tomorrow what you can do today, and savor every minute of the craziness that is life.

I wish I could say that I didn't succumb to stress eating today, but the cupcake I had for a late afternoon snack and the Oreo shake and curly fries that I ate for dinner tell a different story.  I fluctuated between feelings of overwhelming nausea and an insatiable hunger, so I'm not sure what to make of it.  In any case, I will get back on track tomorrow.

It doesn't help that I haven't really been able to get in a good distance run in over a week (my race on Saturday was great, but not quite a "clear your head" kind of run).  It was bitterly cold today, but I checked the forecast and it looks like our temperatures will be in the 40's - 50's by the weekend and into early next week.  I'm looking forward to logging some miles when the weather improves!

"Enjoy the little things in life...for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things." 

Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Run

Fair warning, this post is very picture heavy!  Wow, yesterday's 6K was an awesome race and I was so glad to be a part of a little slice of St. Louis history.  As I've mentioned, participating in the race on Saturday afforded us the opportunity to cross the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge before it opened to vehicular traffic on Sunday.  How many times in your life can you say that you walked on an interstate?  Not many.

My mom and I headed down to the race site early, since my mom was volunteering and needed to get there to help set-up the water station.  Luckily, I stayed in the car for a little while to stay warm, because it was about 17 degrees when we got to the race site with a windchill of 9.  For some reason, it felt so much colder than that.  I'm fairly certain it was colder the day that I ran the Hot Chocolate Race in December, but yesterday's race felt much colder.  We also had a dusting of snow on Friday night, so the roads were a little slushy (does anyone else feel like telling old man winter to bite it?).

After hanging out for a little while in the car, I headed down to the starting line.  Despite the cold weather, there was a large crowd gathering at the starting line.  Everyone was in good spirits and anxious to start the race and get warm.  After the playing of the national anthem and a few words from a special guest, Stan's daughter, Jean Musial-Edmonds, we were off!

The starting line
For some reason, the roads were much slushier near the starting line/finish line area, but that actually worked to my advantage. I almost always start off too fast during a race and I have a hard time pacing myself, but having such slushy conditions yesterday helped me slow down.  I settled into a good groove and made my way towards the bridge. I was able to see my mom on the way up to the bridge and she reminded those of us running that we would be running downhill on the way back.  It took me a minute to realize what she meant, but then I saw all of my fellow runners heading up a bit of an incline.  It wasn't too bad, though, because I think the excitement of seeing the bridge helped us get up the hill.

Laura, meet bridge.  Bridge, meet Laura.
Approaching the bridge
There were a lot of photo opportunities during this race and also a lot of reciprocal photo taking.  I took a few selfies, but otherwise, I was able to lend a hand to someone taking a photo and they always returned the favor, which was really nice.  I knew that I wasn't trying to PR in this race and I really just wanted to enjoy the unique opportunity that it presented, so I walked nearly the entire time I was on the bridge just soaking in the sights.  The bridge was a little slushy, too, so I didn't mind slowing down at all.
The bridge design is really neat, with two triangular towers with cables stretching from the top to the deck

View from underneath one of the towers.  Not a view you would typically see!

Another neat shot from the underside of one of the towers.
Another neat part of this race was that it involved crossing state lines.  I've mentioned before that I have a hankering to do a race in each of the 50 states and after yesterday's race, I can add Illinois to the list of states that I have raced in.  Technically, I was only in the state of Illinois for a few minutes, but I did cross the state line!  In all honesty, though, if I actively pursue my dream of running a race in each state, I will run another race in Illinois.

There it is peeking behind the stage for the ribbon cutting; the IL state line!
This is probably one of my favorite race pictures, so thank you to the nice lady who took this for me!
While the official name of the bridge is the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, I am curious to see what name will stick in our lexicon.  As one of our traffic announcers pointed out recently, rarely do we call a bridge by its formal name.  For example, if you listen to a local traffic report, you will frequently hear about delays on the Poplar Street Bridge.  Everyone can tell you where the Poplar Street Bridge is, but I doubt very many people know its real name.  The Poplar Street Bridge is actually the Congressman William L. Clay Sr. Bridge and before that, it was known as the Bernard F. Dickmann Bridge.  I've heard a lot of references to the new bridge as the Stan Span, which I think is pretty clever, so we will see if that name sticks.
View from the IL side heading back into MO.  There was a lot of ice moving down the river. 
Re-entering MO; welcome to St. Louis!
As the conversations about naming the bridge took place, another man's name and story were mentioned.  A construction worker named Andy Gammon died in March 2012 while the bridge was under construction.  It was a tragic accident and his family has been very passionate about having his name memorialized in connection with the bridge and rightly so.  I admit that I was a bit torn about my thoughts on naming the bridge.  Stan the Man was, and is, a huge part of St. Louis Cardinals history and the city itself, while Andy gave his life building the bridge.  I knew that eventually the bridge was named the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, but I didn't realize until yesterday that Andy was also memorialized.  As I came back into the city on the return leg of the race, I noticed a sign that said Andy Gammon Memorial Highway and I was glad to see that he was honored, too.
Andy Gammon Memorial Highway sign
Home Sweet Home 
I resumed running after I made my way back across the bridge and it was around this time that I realized my MapMyRun app hadn't been giving me the 1 mile, 2 mile, etc. updates.  It had stopped working at some point and while I'm sure it was user error on my part, it was still frustrating.  It wasn't really that big of a deal, though, since I was definitely not running this race for time.  As I came down the ramp from the bridge, I ran into the world's best race volunteer, my mom!  The volunteers for this race were awesome and I appreciated them so much!  I made sure to thank everyone I saw for coming out on such a cold, yucky day!  The volunteers were joking with us as they passed out the water cups by advertising "ice cold water" and they weren't kidding.  I grabbed a water cup (and a hug!) from my mom and I ran with it for a little while and it froze in just a few minutes.

Not too long after the water station, I crossed the finish line and grabbed some post-race snacks.  My official finish time was 57:53 (3K split 29:19), so not a PR by any stretch of the imagination, but an amazing race nonetheless.
Hello, finish line. 
On the way back to my mom's car, I met a really neat man.  There was a gentleman in bright orange coveralls walking a bit ahead of me, but I ended up catching up to him.  As I began to pass him, he asked me if I was doing the bike ride.  As part of the festivities yesterday, recreational bike rides across the bridge and six-mile timed trials were available for cyclists to participate in.  I mentioned to the man that I had just completed the run and he told me he was scheduled to participate in the 10 a.m. bike ride.  He said he thought he was overdressed for the occasion and I assured him that he wasn't and that, in fact, I was under-dressed for the weather (more on that soon).  He told me that he was turning 75 tomorrow (Sunday) and he thought it would be an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity to bike across the bridge.  He said his grandkids thought he was crazy and I told him that he really showed them!  He was really excited to participate and I just thought to myself if I have half as much zeal for life as he does at his age, then I will be lucky.     

After the race, my mom and I went to Starbucks to get some liquid warmth and by then, it was pretty clear that I had not dressed properly at all for the weather.  It was clear before then, I suppose, but there wasn't much I could do about it by the time I got to the race.  I plan to write an entire post about this later in the week, but after doing some research, I've come to the conclusion that I had frostnip (it's a thing), which is the mildest level of frostbite.  I am ok, but I definitely learned a lesson!  

"A single run can take you many places." 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Race Re-cap Forthcoming

I promised a race re-cap tonight, but I am so sleepy that I can barely keep my eyes open and that doesn't bode well for a coherent re-cap.  I will definitely post about the race tomorrow, but in three short words:  It. was. awesome!

Sorry to be a buzz kill, but I'm exhausted and my bed is calling my name.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, February 7, 2014

My first race of 2014 is tomorrow

Tomorrow, I am participating in my first race of the new year, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Run, and I am really looking forward to it for a number of reasons!
  1. I get to be one of the first people to cross the newest bridge connecting St. Louis to the east side!  I will be sure to take a lot of pictures tomorrow as I run across the bridge.
  2. It will be the second run I've completed this week and I'm going a little stir crazy, so it will be good to get some fresh air and run.  We have had snow and bitterly cold weather again this week, so outdoor running has been out of the question and I haven't been able to make it over to the rec center at work.  Excuses, I realize, but I'm also fighting some sort of chest congestion, so I didn't want to push my luck.  
  3. This race is a 6K, which is neat, because it isn't a typical race distance.  Stan Musial's number when he played for the Cards was 6, so this race is a 6K in his honor.  This equates to about 3.75 miles, which is a good distance for me at the moment; not too long and not too short.  
  4. The race swag is pretty sweet.  I like the Cardinal red shirt with a rendering of the bridge on the front, as well as the race bib and the commemorative medallion we received.  I love having the medallion as a little piece of St. Louis history.  My great-great Grandfather helped build another prominent bridge in St. Louis (the Eads Bridge) and while I didn't help build this bridge by any means, I think the medallion will be a neat memento to pass along to my boys and their kids and so on.  Someday, maybe my great-great grand kids will say My great-great Grandma ran across the Stan Musial bridge when it first opened!  Pretty cool!
    Front of the commemorative medallion
    Back of the commemorative medallion

    Race bib, shirt, and medallion
  5. My Mama is coming to volunteer at the race, so I will get to see her smiling face at the water station near the finish line!  I love that my mom is getting involved with races, too!  
  6. This race is the beginning of my 2014 race season and I have a pretty full calendar this spring/summer!  My upcoming races include the St. Patrick's Day 5 mile race in March, my half in April, the Zoo 5K in May, the Komen St. Louis Race in June, and many more!  
I suppose I should call it a night, since I have an early wake-up call in the morning!  Stay tuned tomorrow for a race re-cap.

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

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stress, stress, and more stress

Sometimes being a grown-up blows.  I think back to being a kid when my biggest stress involved deciding what cartoon to watch after school (Duck Tales or Tale Spin or Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, so many choices) and I miss that carefree time.  No bills, no job stress, no gnarly commutes, no real sadness, just innocence, optimism, and living in the little bubble that was my world.  I don't mean to wax poetic, I am just feeling a bit nostalgic and truthfully, a little overwhelmed.

I alluded last week to the fact that someone I love dearly is going through a tough time and I didn't mean to be cryptic, but I also wasn't quite ready to share.  My dad is having some health problems and while there are some indications that things are somewhat better (at least superficially), I am not sure what the long-term outcome will be and it is a bit overwhelming and stressful.

I don't think I've ever felt more like an adult in my life; it's quite a culture shock when you are used to your parents caring for you and you have to switch gears and take care of them.  There is a lot of information to process with the added complication of not living in the same town (or state for that matter) as my Dad.  I didn't blog last night, because all I wanted to do when I got home was curl into a ball and go to sleep and I did just that.  My awesome hubby took the boys downstairs, fed them dinner, bathed them, and got them to bed, so I could go to sleep.  It felt good to get some extra sleep and that always seems to give me a better outlook on things.  

The other thing that helps me get a little perspective is running and unfortunately, I haven't been able to run since Monday due to old man Winter making his presence known.  We got probably another 5 or so inches of snow and today, it has also been incredibly cold.  Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder, so I'm hoping to go to the Rec Center on my lunch break to get in some cross-training on the elliptical.  I didn't make it out for a long run (or any run) over the weekend, but I did go for a run on Monday and got 3.5 miles in, which felt good. 

I have been stress eating a little bit, but certainly not to the extent I normally would.  I did have a Pepsi at lunch today and a cookie from Bread Co., but I refrained from a Pepsi at dinner (I ordered it, but before the server could walk away, I changed my order to a water.  I was good!), which I considered a small victory.  I have really been trying to watch my soda intake and have been doing really good.  I try to only have a Pepsi once a week or so and last week, I had one on Friday and one on Saturday.  Sometimes I don't really have much of an appetite and other times, I'm ravenous, so I just need to be mindful of what I'm putting in my stomach when those hungry episodes come around. 

I have the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Run on Saturday, so I am really looking forward to that!  It will be a neat experience to run across the new bridge to Illinois before it opens to vehicular traffic.  I'm hoping that some of this snow melts and that the temperatures are a little warmer on Saturday.  I'm not picky; I'd settle for the 30's at this point. 

Do you have any races on the calendar this weekend? 

"Worry less, run more." 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Running Brings Us Together

I've been thinking a lot the past week about the blog swap that I participated in with my fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador, Kristen.  I re-read our posts on our respective blogs and I was amazed at how different, and yet, how similar our stories were.  We come from different backgrounds and we have taken different paths in life, but in our early years we both had great disdain for running only to find that we loved it! I was reminded of how powerful running can be in that it has the power to bring together people from so many diverse backgrounds.

Nearly every running blog that I read or every runner that I meet says the same thing: I never thought I would be a runner or Previously, I couldn't even run a mile and yet, every person has become a runner and has well-surpassed the mile mark.  I fall into both of the above categories and here I am in the midst of training for a half-marathon.  We all come from different backgrounds, different stages in our life, different ages, different genders, different physical abilities, and varied reasons for taking up the challenge of running; and yet, when we lace up our shoes and hit the pavement, we become united in a common goal to challenge our body and our mind to reach beyond our limitations.  We all began as skeptics and yet, we fell in love with running and keep pushing our boundaries.

I guess the real point of my above rambling is to say to anyone out there who is questioning whether they, too, can be a runner, the answer is yes.  If you search the Internet, you will find so many wonderful running blogs that began as doubtful journeys and turned into amazing successes.  Running is certainly hard and I think you will find that is also a common theme in the running blog world, but in my experience, most good things are often hard and more than worth the hard work.  So have faith in yourself and your abilities, put on your shoes, and hit the pavement.  You'll find that you learn so much about yourself and you'll want to keep running to learn even more!

Editors Note:  The above thoughts make complete sense in my head and I know what I'm trying to express, but I am really tired, so I don't think it is translating well on-line, so forgive my random thoughts today! 

I love the quote below; I feel like at 31, I am just learning how to sail my ship!

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship." 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

It's official...

I've signed up for my first half marathon!  There's no turning back now and that is really, really exciting!  I had planned to sign up by the end of the day today, because I thought in doing so, I would be guaranteed to have my name printed on my bib.  However, I went back to re-read my e-mails from the race organizers and it clearly said you needed to register before February 1st to have your name printed on your bib.  Fail on my part.  This is what happens when you don't read e-mails clearly (or more likely when you are uber-stressed and have 81 million things on your mind, but I digress), but it's ok, because I've decided I will probably buy some scrapbook stickers and put my name on my bib anyway.  For some reason, it just sounds really neat to have my name on my bib.

As I was scrolling through the GO! St. Louis Facebook page tonight, I came across a link they posted to a Daily Burn article featuring the 50 best half-marathons in the U.S.  It was a really great article for many reasons; the half marathon I am participating in this spring is listed as the Missouri race (awesome!) and this was also a great way to flag some races for my lofty goal to run a race in each state.  I recently heard about the Mayor's Midnight Sun Half Marathon which is featured on this list as the Alaska race and I'm sold.  I love Alaska (Matt and I honeymooned there almost 10 years ago) and the race is held on the summer solstice (aka the longest day of the year), which I think is pretty awesome. Check out the article here.

I guess reality is sinking in about the half marathon as it seems much more legit now that I'm registered!  I know I will be ready to tackle it head on, but now more than I ever I need to be mindful of my training plan, eating well, and taking care of myself in all aspects of my life.  I am so excited about this race and I can't wait to cross the finish line!  I had hoped to get a 6 mile run in this weekend and I haven't given up on that yet, but I am waiting to see what the weather is like tomorrow.  The sidewalks and roads were very slick tonight, as the rain we had during the day was starting to freeze as the temperature dropped.  The last thing I need to do is slip on some ice and hurt my tailbone, again.

Tonight I had the pleasure of taking my mom out to one of our favorite, special occasion restaurants.  It was a special occasion, after all.  We were celebrating her one-year anniversary of being smoke-free!  I promised her this time last year that we would go out to celebrate on her one-year anniversary and celebrate we did!  We had a delicious dinner complete with an amazing bottle of moscato, steak, and dessert.  Yum!  Mom, I am so proud of you for taking control of your health and quitting smoking!  We want you to be around for a long, long time and we appreciate it so much that you are now smoke-free!  Congratulations!!

Have you participated in any of the races listed on the list of the 50 best half marathons?  

I love the quote below, because I know I will never be an elite runner nor will I ever win a race, but I will sure give it my all!

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