Monday, June 30, 2014

First Day of Training

Well, today was my first day of my Napa Ragnar training and it started with an off/rest day.  I can handle that!  In all seriousness, though, it was a bit hard starting a training plan with a rest day.  We discussed that a bit on our BAMR Ragnar group page on Facebook last night and some of us were going to stick to it and others were going to run.  It all comes down to making the plan work for you and your schedule, though, so to each their own!  It helped that the weather cooperated with my rest day; we had treacherous heat indices, which made the decision to not run a bit easier.

Tomorrow, I have an easy three miles on the schedule and Wednesday is an off or cross-training day.  I am going to make it a cross-training day, though, because I joined a local gym today!  I am excited to have found a gym nearby that is a reasonable rate so I can ride the recumbent bike or do the elliptical for cross-training.  It will also give me the opportunity to do some weight lifting and strength training, which I am excited about.

I also had to share a pretty huge NSV from today.  I got a free drink at Panera this afternoon with my lunch and since it was a small drink instead of the large, I thought maybe I would get a Pepsi.  1) It was a small drink and 2) I was taking it back to work, so therefore, no opportunity to refill it with more Pepsi.  I spent a good minute having a internal debate with myself and ended up going for the unsweet iced tea.  A small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Happy first day of training to all of you beginning your fall plans today!

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Feeling a little klutzy

I had a great weekend, spending much of it at the pool with my Mom and my two little fishes!  Much like their mama, my boys could spend all day in the water and that is fine by me.  You know you've had a good time at the pool when you end up conked out on a chaise lounge like this:

Sweet baby boy napping on his NiNi
My other sweet (almost 7 year old!!) boy
I normally consider myself to be a fairly solid person on my feet, but the past few days have challenged that theory.  I have become rather klutzy as of late.  Friday morning, I'd like to place the blame on the maxi skirt I chose to wear, but I think it is more of a case of me forgetting how to walk when wearing a maxi skirt.  I kept tripping over the fabric of the skirt and ended up wearing it way above my waistline to avoid a major spill.  Prior to that epiphany, however, I managed to get one of my heels (not the shoes I was wearing, by the way, as I was wearing flats) stuck in the maxi skirt.  I realize how ridiculous that sounds, and believe me, it was ridiculous.  As I was collecting my shoes and the boys' shoes before we left the house, I must have stepped over one of my pairs of heels in the kitchen and got one of them stuck on the hem of my maxi skirt.  I didn't realize it until I went to leave and stepped down the first step leading to our back door.  I heard a strange sound and when I stepped down, I stepped onto the heel and scraped my toe.  Truly a ridiculous and perplexing incident!

Then, this morning, I managed to fall down the last few stairs leading to our basement.  I was a little groggy and still a bit asleep, I guess, but I thought I had reached the bottom step and clearly, had not.  I landed on my right shin with my left leg under me, but it doesn't seem like I did any damage other than a little bit of rug burn on my shin.  Luckily, I was not carrying Jack; he was a few feet behind me and ran up to me saying "Mom otay?  Mom?  Ow?"  Such a sweetheart, just like his big bro.

I'm just glad that, so far, my klutziness has not caused any significant injury!  Here's to a little more caution as I move around my day-to-day life!

I wanted to share a recipe that I came across last week that has been a great addition to my breakfast and lunch meals lately.  I wanted to get back to eating steel cut oats in the morning for breakfast and I try to mimic the taste of Panera's steel cut oats with strawberries and pecans.  I could never replicate the right combination of the pecans and cinnamon, though.  Until I came across this recipe for candied pecans from Pinterest.  The pecans were fairly easy to make and the batch I made last Sunday evening made enough to last for two weeks of meals! 

Normally a good holiday treat, I've found these pecans to be a wonderful addition to my steel cut oats at breakfast (add in some fresh blueberries or strawberries for even more deliciousness) as well as my salads at lunch.  I've also been known to grab a few to satisfy my late afternoon sweet tooth! 

What new recipes are you enjoying this summer? 

As I was looking for a quote tonight to end my blog, I came across the below quote and felt like it was meant for me.  I continue to think a lot about my Dad and, in fact, this weekend while swimming, I was saddened by the fact that I'll never get to swim with him again and neither will the boys.  I've been thinking a lot about the missed opportunities ahead, so this quote was fitting.  Thinking about the love and not the loss, I also saw some lightening bugs on the way home tonight and it made me smile because Dad would always take me out to catch lightening bugs when I'd visit him every summer growing up and I look forward to continuing that tradition with my boys. 

"Hold on to the LOVE, not the loss." 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tent Sale and Motivation Tactics

My favorite local running store, Big River Running, was hosting its annual tent sale yesterday and today, so Mary and I went on a lunchtime shopping adventure today.  There were a lot of great deals on clothes, shoes, and accessories and I scored a CamelBak Big River Running water bottle for Nick's upcoming birthday (he wanted one for Christmas, but they ran out of the blue one he wanted last December) and this beauty of a Brooks half-zip pullover.

Hello gorgeous!
It was a little hard to think about fall and winter running today given that it was warm and humid as we shopped outside on the sidewalk near the store, but I couldn't pass up a great deal on this awesome cold weather gear.  It is going to be a great item to bring to Napa with me for Ragnar and for all of my fall and winter races.  It's a beautiful bright pink with yellow accents and it has reflective material in several places; nobody will miss me when I wear this.  Best of all?  It has thumb holes!!  Thumb holes have become quite possibly my favorite additions to running gear.

Mary scored some new Run Happy shorts and some super cute capris, as well as some new running socks.  It is always nice to have an abundance of good running socks (and outfits!) to cut down on the amount of laundry you have to do to get through the week! 

As the beginning of Napa training is on the horizon, I have been trying to get myself in the training zone.  I printed off the Ragnar training plan that Dimity and Sarah sent us a few weeks ago to scope it out and I hung it up in my office at work next to my National Running Day bib.  I think I am also going to print a copy for my fridge and I'm also going to log my workouts in a journal.  I started manually tracking my half marathon training in one of my cute blank books this spring, but I ended up relying more on my blog to track my training.  I'd like to do both online and manual tracking this time to hold myself accountable

Running motivation at work
How do you hold yourself accountable during training?  Do you prefer tracking your workouts manually or electronically? Or a little bit of both? 

I saw the below quote today on Facebook and it was so powerful (and so true)!

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second." 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A few NSV's

I was pleasantly surprised today that I didn't feel too sore after last night's Fit Camp class.  At one point over the weekend, it hurt to straighten my hair because my arms were so sore, so it was nice after all of the weight lifting last night to not feel too worse for the wear.

I've had a few NSV's (non-scale victories) lately that I thought I'd share, because I think those can be more important than scale victories most of the time: 
  • I haven't had a soda since Saturday, which doesn't seem like a long time, but I was having one every day for the past few weeks.  Baby steps!  I do miss my beloved Pepsi and while I'm not cutting it out permanently, I am going to go without for awhile to save it as a special treat. 
  • I have been drinking a lot more water over the past week and while I feel like I have to go to the bathroom every five minutes, being hydrated feels good!
  • I seem to have finally broken up with my scale.  We are still friends, but we don't see one another every morning and I am ok with that.  I am still weighing myself nearly weekly to check on my progress (or lack there of recently...ugh) but I am not obsessive about it.  As someone wisely told me recently Who cares what the scale says?  You just said you feel sluggish and your clothes are tighter, so it doesn't matter what the number on the scale says.  You know you have work to do. #Truth
  • I recently bought a dress through an online catalog and ordered it in a size that I would typically order.  When I got it and tried it on, it looked like a muumuu.  I like a muumuu just as much as the next person and in fact, they are quite comfortable and good for the beach.  It's just not necessarily what I'm looking for in a cute, work appropriate dress.  I sent it back to exchange it and I ended up ordering 2 sizes down, which is a size I have not seen in a long time.  Another dress I bought recently was the same; I bought it in a certain size, but in hindsight, I definitely could have gone down another size, which is again, a size I haven't seen in a long time.  It just goes to show that although I am not happy with the number on the scale at the moment, my body is changing in other ways and that's good. 
It's always nice to take a step back from the scale and think of the non-scale victories that have occurred! 

Have you had any NSV's lately?  

"You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sweaty Strength Training

I think in the past I've mentioned that I don't feel like I get a truly good, sweaty work out when I strength train.  I'm here to tell you that I was wrong in the most delightful way.  I went to Fit Camp tonight at Evolve Personal Fitness and it was another great class. It was different from Monday's class in that we did free weight work tonight instead of energy circuit training.  We also did a bit of plank work and I've learned that despite my strides in my planking ability, I have a ways to go.  It felt great doing the free weight repetitions and I was sweating up a storm!

It feels really great to be eating well again (barring the delicious desserts that I had at an event tasting for work this afternoon; yes, desserts plural, but I sampled a bit of each one instead of eating a complete piece of each) and working out.  It especially feels good adding strength training to the mix and while my muscles are sore in places I didn't know existed, I know I'm better off for it.

I'm really enjoying the classes at Evolve and while I am nowhere near as fit as everyone else, everyone is incredibly friendly and supportive and I've enjoyed getting to know others in the class and learning their stories.  We all start somewhere and while I am not where I want to be, I feel comfortable modifying the exercises to suit my ability and it is nice to know that I can only improve from here!

As a random side note, I don't think I can train again this summer in my capris.  Much as I love my Old Navy compression exercise capris, the heat is getting to me and I think I need to invest in a pair of running shorts or a running skirt.  Does anyone have any suggestions for running shorts or skirts that are a little bit longer in length (I'm not one for short shorts) that don't ride up?  I don't have thigh gap (and am proud of it!) and as such, do not want to worry about shorts that ride up or chafe! 

The reality of Napa training starting next week has set in and as such, it has helped me out quite a bit in the area of eating well.  I realize that this is going to sound somewhat vain, but it is working for me so I'm going to go with it.  Every time I want to snack on something unhealthy, I remind myself of Napa and it helps deter the craving and/or help me evaluate whether or not I really want said snack.  Of course I want to train for Napa and be as strong, healthy, and prepared as I can be for my legs of the race, but damn it I want to look good, too!  And that's where I sound vain, but I know there will be a lot of photos of this once in a lifetime trip and I want to look good and be comfortable in those photos.  I want to keep strength training while I train for the race so that I feel, and look good, for my Napa trip and that has helped me curb unhealthy eating this week.  I sense that it will continue to help for the next 12 weeks, so I think I'll go with it!

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Getting in the Zone

After a few weeks of a general sense of not feeling like myself, I feel like I am finally getting back in the zone.  I needed a little kick in the pants and my (tightening) clothes and my friend the scale told me what I needed to know this weekend.  I've started eating much better, I'm getting more sleep, I'm starting to work out again, I'm spending time with my guys, and I'm feeling overall 100% better.

I am set to start training for Napa next week, which is exciting, and in the meantime, I've started incorporating strength training into my routine.  I attended a fit for a cause event at Evolve Personal Fitness on Saturday and it was really nice to get a good workout in and benefit a local family whose son is battling cancer.  I attended a previous fit for a cause event last summer, as well as a small group training session, and I was really impressed with the knowledge of Doug and his staff and the way in which they motivated and encouraged their clients.  I saw on Facebook that Evolve was offering a two week trial and I knew that working with Doug would be a great way to get myself in gear for my upcoming training and to help me reach my weight loss goals.

I've been working on drinking a lot more water, not drinking soda, and eating as cleanly as I possibly can.  I also attended a Fit Camp class last night at Evolve, which was challenging but it also made me feel really great.  My muscles were pretty sore from Saturday's class, but Fit Camp helped work out the soreness and gave me something to work towards.  There were people of all levels of fitness in attendance and so I did not feel out of place at all, but I did modify some of the exercises to suit my level of fitness.  I'd love to work up to some of the more advanced moves, which I know will come in time.  I'm anxious to go back to Fit Camp tomorrow night and see what they have in store for us!

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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

1st Blogiversary

One year ago yesterday, on June 20th, 2013, I began the Project Lovely Laura blog and what a year it has been! I had no idea where this crazy little blog would take me when I wrote my first blog post.  I began this blog to hold myself accountable to my weight loss and running goals and it has definitely done that and more.

I've found a little corner of web space where I can share my triumphs and struggles as I work towards my goals.  I've also met (virtually) some really amazing people who I would not have met otherwise.  The weight loss/running/healthy lifestyle web community is an incredibly supportive, encouraging, and informative group and I love connecting with others who share similar goals.  I also love being able to share a bit about my family as this blog has been a scrapbook of sorts of our activities over the past year.  I love going back to re-read older blog posts to remember the highlights of our year.  

I've learned that I truly enjoy writing and it has been a wonderful outlet for me.  In the fall, I wrote a short story for a publication that I heard about online.  I submitted my story, but never heard anything back and I'm beginning to wonder if it was a legit publication to begin with.  In any case, though, I am very proud of the story I wrote and I thought it would be a nice story to share for the one year anniversary of my blog.  

Mind over Matter: How I Became a Runner

For as long as I can remember, I’ve despised running.  It’s quite unfortunate, really, considering running and I go way back to elementary school when I was asked to run my first timed mile.  I have vivid memories of running around the field where we played soccer and flag football and getting Popsicle sticks from the P.E. teacher each time you passed until you had completed the appropriate number of laps.  The field was expansive and to me, it seemed like we ran an infinite number of laps, but in reality, it was probably only closer to 10.  Running the timed mile was easy for some of my classmates, but for me, each step was excruciating; my chest burned, my legs ached, and I was never able to run a full lap, much less the entire mile we were asked to complete.  

By the time I reached high school, we had graduated to running four laps around the track and I still dreaded the timed mile.  The burning in my lungs, my legs, and nearly every muscle in my body with each step hadn’t disappeared with my youth.   I started each mile at a leisurely run before slowing to a walk as my other classmates blew ahead of me.  I ran only when I thought the P.E. teacher was watching and I almost always finished last.  

As I’ve grown up, though, I’ve met some amazing runners, many of whom are marathoners and I am always intrigued by their passion and determination.  I could never understand what would possess someone to run one mile, much less 26.2, but there was always a small voice in my head thinking If they can do it, why can’t I?  Having been overweight nearly my entire adult life, I decided it was time to get serious about my health, so much to my surprise, and to those who know me; I decided to start running in January 2013 to lose weight.   I downloaded the Couch-to-5K app and set off on a path that changed my life.  

The Couch-to-5K program is designed to get beginners to go from sitting on the couch to running a 5K (or approximately 30 minutes) in 9 weeks.  The first day of the program consisted of 9 intervals of 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking.   I balked at the thought of running for 60 seconds.  There is no way I can run for 60 seconds.  I was willing to give it a try though.   Running was exactly as difficult as I remembered; each second was a struggle and I kept my phone handy so I could count down the seconds to my next walking interval.  When I finished all 9 intervals, I was sweaty, out of breath, but pleasantly surprised and ridiculously proud that I finished.  

Each day I ran after that first day consisted of a similar pattern of I can’t and I did.  I would often look ahead to the next intervals with the same thoughts: I can’t run for 90 seconds, I certainly can’t run for 3 minutes, there is no way I can run 6 minutes straight.  However, each and every time I said I couldn’t, I did.  There were certainly weeks that I had to repeat to build up my strength, but I was always able to run the intervals in the program. 

I made it to week 6 of the Couch-to-5K program and decided to switch gears and try my own interval training.  One day on my lunch break, I decided to see what I was made of and challenged myself to run a mile.  I set out on my favorite path at a local park and it wasn’t long before I was looking at my watch to see how far I had come.  My phone said only .4 miles, but I pushed on.  Each time I felt like stopping, I’d challenge myself to run to the next landmark.  Run to that trashcan and you can stop for a walk break.  Something always happened when I got to the next landmark, though.  I kept pushing myself forward and before I knew it, I had run 1.1 miles.  For the first time in my 30 years of life, I had run a mile non-stop!  If I could have called all of my former P.E. teachers, I would have.  

As I kept pushing myself to run further distances, I realized that it wasn’t my physical strength that was holding me back, but rather my mental strength.  I always thought that I wasn’t built for running, but it was simply a case of mind over matter.  Never once did my legs feel like they would give out while I ran; it was always my head that doubted whether or not I could go on.  

With that in mind, I set out to run my first 5K in September 2013 and when I crossed the finish line, I couldn’t contain my excitement. It’s hard running 3.1 miles, particularly when your mind tells you to quit after the initial rush of the starting line wears off, up every hill, and around every corner.   It was truly a battle of wills and I had temporarily conquered the nay-sayer in my head that fall day.  

Following my 5K, on October 13, 2013, I set out to run my first 10K.  I signed up for the race knowing it would be a huge challenge, but I thought that I would be up to it.  I was also trying to prove to myself that by doing this race, I could also do a ½ marathon in the spring of 2014.  In the weeks leading up to the race, though, my training fell by the wayside and I was only running once or twice a week and not more than 3.5 miles at a time.  I was nervous the morning of the race because I had my heart set on running the entire 6.2 mile race and I didn’t want to let myself down.    I felt mentally and physically unprepared, but nevertheless, I took my place at the starting line. 

I gave myself an out early on in the race, by saying I could stop for a brief walking break after the first 5K if I needed to.   I kept going though at the 5K mark, and every time after that when I wanted to stop and walk, I pushed the negative thoughts out of my head and slowed my pace a bit to conserve energy.  I put one foot in front of the other and step-by-step, I made it across the finish line.  

I was elated when I crossed the finish line and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  I knew in that moment, that I could do anything I set my mind to and that I could, without a doubt, do a ½ marathon.  Prior to that race, I told everyone I knew that I was going to do a ½, but there was always a nagging voice in my head that said I couldn’t.  That negative voice was permanently silenced that morning when I crossed the finish line and that race did more for my self-esteem than I can express.   

I can think of exactly three times in my life when I felt invincible; after the births of my two sons and the day I ran my 10K.  Now I understand exactly why someone would choose to run 1 mile, 13.1 miles, or even 26.2 miles; to feel that sense of incredible accomplishment and to know that you exceeded not only your physical capabilities, but your mental ones, as well.  

The runner’s high extends beyond running, though, and translates into all that I do.  I have more confidence as a wife, mother, friend, and in my professional life and since I began running, I’ve lost over 60 lbs. and kept it off.  I wish I could flash back to that day on the soccer field in elementary school and tell that little girl that she can do anything she puts her mind to, because she can and she will. 

I could stand to update the stats in the story given that I've now completed my first half and my total weight loss is no longer over 60 lbs (argh and more on that in a post later this week), but the sentiment of the story is the same and something I need to remind myself of daily.  I can do anything I put my mind to.  

I haven't forgotten about the Virtual 5K for my one year blogiversary, however, it should be noted that one should look at their calendar before making such statements.  I neglected to remember that I had to work late three nights this week, which left me utterly exhausted and without time to run.  Last night, Matt and I had a much needed date night and it was really nice spending quality time with him and I figured a run and blogging could wait.  So, I will be doing my 5K in the next few days and I will be sure to share when I do.

Thank you all for being a part of the blogging journey with me; I appreciate your support, your encouragement, and your comments more than I can express.  Here's to another great year of the Project Lovely Laura blog! 

As I've been preparing for Napa training (t-minus 9 days until my training plan starts) and getting back in my exercise, weight loss, and nutrition groove, I am reminded of a favorite quote of mine that I know I've used before on the blog, but it bears repeating.

"She believed she could, so she did." 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Project Lovely Laura Virtual 5K

I wanted to do something special this week in honor of my first blogging anniversary on Friday and I thought it would be fun to do a virtual 5K!  I participated in my first virtual 5K a few months ago in honor of Katie's (at Runs for Cookies) birthday and it was a lot of fun.

What is a virtual race you ask? A virtual race is a race that can be run anywhere, at anytime, at any pace you like using whatever method you prefer (outdoor, treadmill, participate in another race, etc.).  So in honor of the first anniversary of the Project Lovely Laura blog, I invite you to run or walk 5K (or 3.1 miles) at some point this week and let me know about your "race" in the comments section.  I'm working on creating a race "bib" of sorts so we can all document our runs, so stay tuned for that in the near future!

I'm planning to run my virtual 5K on Friday, so if any of my STL friends want to run together, let me know and we can have a group Project Lovely Laura run.

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Random Ramblings

Once again, I seem to have fallen off the face of the Earth and I didn't necessarily intend to do so.  I have been feeling very out of sorts lately and I'm not entirely sure of the cause, but I am picking up on signs that I am not myself.

  • I am stress eating a lot; pizza, frozen yogurt, candy, you name it.  I seem to be using food as a coping mechanism and I am really going to make a conscious effort to nip that in the bud this week.
  • I have been grinding my teeth at a night, which I am prone to do, particularly when I am stressed out or nervous.  I haven't done it in a while, but luckily I still have my mouth guard to use when needed.
  • I am biting my nails, which again, I tend to do when nervous or stressed. 
  • I am not running (except for the race I did yesterday, more on that in a moment) and have no desire at the moment, despite some pretty amazing weather we've been having the past few days.  I will be starting my Napa training plan soon, so I think that will give me the kick in the tush that I need. 
  • All I want to do is sleep.  At night after the boys are in bed, I'm not too far behind them, which has meant no blogging, no reading, no core work, etc.  Surprisingly, I still feel incredibly tired on a daily basis, which is a bit ridiculous considering how much sleep I've been getting.
  • I'm pretty weepy, but I am cutting myself a fair share of slack for that considering today is my first Father's Day without my Dad.  I think subconsciously I have been preparing myself for this day for the past few weeks.  I have been thinking about my dad a lot and missing him like crazy.  I know at some point this will get easier (I hope?), but it is really hard right now.  I've been replaying over and over again in my head the moment when he passed away as well as the last few days I had with him.  Today we went to church to see Nick perform some of his VBS songs with his friends from summer camp and I practically cried through the whole service.  I feel bad for being such a downer today, especially since it's Father's Day for Matt, but I am just really struggling right now.  Matt had a great idea, though.  I always sent my Dad Maull's BBQ sauce for Father's Day.  Maull's is an amazing local BBQ sauce and you can't find it outside of St. Louis.  Dad loved it from all the time he spent in St. Louis when my parents were married and from visits to see us, so I would always ship him a few bottles for summer grilling season.  Matt suggested we bring a little Maull's to Dad's grave today, so I brought a little container and poured a bit on the grass by his grave.  We all had a little dab, too, in Dad's honor.  I feel like I have kind of been walking around in a daze lately and I am not sure if this is a normal part of the grief process or something more, but I am keeping an eye on it and taking my anxiety medication to help. 
I didn't intend for this post to be so heavy, but I did want to explain a bit about why I have been absent for a few days.

Yesterday was the 16th annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure and my mom and I went downtown for our 5th Race.  It is always an inspiring and emotional day and it's a cause near and dear to my heart.  I have been involved with our local affiliate for the past few years as a volunteer for the Race, but this year I took a step back, which in retrospect was a wise decision given all that has transpired this year.  Mom's company had a team, so I participated as part of team OHL and we had a great morning.  We couldn't have asked for better weather; it was sunny without a cloud in the sky and the temperatures were in the 70's.  

Me and my sweet Mama before the Race
I ran a fair share of the race, but I did take a few walk breaks.  I haven't run in about 10 days (since National Run Day, I think), so I gave myself a little leeway.  I met up with Mom just before the finish line and we finished the last part of the race together, arm in arm, which was lovely.  Love you, Mom!

The Race for the Cure is always a great race to interact with others and be inspired by those who have fought breast cancer.  I had a great volunteer give me the best high five as I was about 3/4 of the way through the first mile (all uphill, by the by) and my mom and I met a survivor after the race who was 93!  I also spent much of the morning remembering a woman who we lost to breast cancer this year, Tara Boland, who I had the privilege of meeting 2 years ago.  She lost her battle in April of this year, leaving behind a loving husband and 4 beautiful young children, including Sam, who she delivered after being diagnosed while pregnant and going through chemo during her second trimester.  Tara was an amazing woman and if you'd like to know more about her and her story, please visit her website

On another note, I've had a pretty successful week tracking down STL 250 cakes.  It has become quite a fun little adventure, but luckily I have a few more months to track them all down!

Outside of Left Bank Books
Missouri Botanical Garden
Soldiers Memorial Cake,which was behind a locked gate and not publicly accessible
Soldier's Memorial (sad face because that was as close as I could get to it)

Peabody Opera House 
Scottrade Center (St. Louis Blues)
St. Louis Cardinals Cake from a few weeks ago
Nick and I after Cardinals Night for his school
Since I will be starting  Napa training at the end of the month, I am going to ease back into running this week and start getting my diet under control, in the sense that I need to start eating better to fuel my body properly.  I'm also looking forward to celebrating the first anniversary of my blog this week (June 20th) and am thinking up some fun ways to celebrate.

Happy Father's Day to all of the Dads out there, especially my husband, Matt, who is an amazing Daddy to our boys.  I love you, babe!

And Happy Father's Day to the best Daddy a girl could ask for, my Daddy.  There are so many times that missing him takes my breath away, but I am also grateful for the memories that we had over the past 31 years and for all that he taught me.  I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for him.  I love you and miss you, Dad, every day.

"He wasn't a hero, known by the world. But a hero he was, to his little girl." 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Weekend Fun

Happy Saturday everyone!  I hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend!  The Roeseler's have had a busy, but fun family weekend.

Last night, we went to the Zoo for a member preview of a few new exhibits, including Painted Dogs, Andean Bears and Sun Bears, and we had a great time.  The weather was beautiful and since we didn't get there until a little after 6, the exhibits weren't too crowded.  We loved looking at the new animals and it was so fun watching the boys have a great time.

Nick as an Andean Bear
Jack the Andean Bear

This fun, photogenic hippo!
Today, we went to a birthday party for a dear friend and we had a great time hanging out, eating bbq, and swimming.  We had quite a few thunderstorms prior to the party, so I wasn't sure that we were going to be able to swim, but serendipitously, the rain stopped right around the time the party started and it stopped long enough for us to swim for a few hours.  Just as we were getting out of the pool, another smattering of storms came through.  Both boys (and Matt and I) will sleep well tonight!  Thank you for inviting us to your party, Mackenzie!  We had a wonderful time celebrating with you and hope you have a great time being 5!

I'm hoping to get out for a long(ish) run tomorrow, so the quote below is quite fitting!  It's actually fitting for every run!

"Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independent of logic." 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy National Running Day!

I admit, I was a little reluctant to go for a run today, which is crazy, considering it is National Running Day!  I have been in quite a slump the past week or so and just need to get back in a groove.  I was using every excuse in the book tonight; It's too humid, It's cloudy, I think it might rain... Luckily, my friend, Mary, gave me the little push I needed to get out there and we went for a run after work.

We did a little over 2 miles and then we stopped by the tents set up by GO! St. Louis to grab a free beer, water, and pretzels.  We always see fellow runners when we go to the park near our office, but it was really nice today to see so many of us out there doing what we love.  Thanks, Mer, for getting me out the door tonight to go run!

Lovely view on our run
It was really nice to get back out and run after nearly a week and a half off and it was equally nice to run on a relatively flat path after all of my hilly runs the past few weeks.  An added bonus was getting pictures with two more STL 250 cakes!  I appreciate my friends and family being game for stopping frequently for cake photos.  I'm up to 12 cakes now!

Forest Park Visitors Center cake 
Fair St. Louis cake with the St. Louis Art Museum in the background
I hope that wherever you were today that you got to celebrate National Running Day and go for a run, if you wanted!

I run to...

Prove to myself that I can
Be a healthy, strong example for my sons
Find my inner peace
Lose Weight
Push my mental and physical boundaries to the limit
See where my legs will take me
Explore parts of my city that I've never seen before and re-experience other areas in a different light
To enjoy the solitude of the open road
Mary and I post-run with the great "I Run Because..." bib that GO! St. Louis provided us tonight
All runs should end like this!

I'd love to hear why you run, so please feel free to comment below!  

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tomorrow is National Running Day 2014

Tomorrow is a bit of a national holiday for those of us who are self-appointed running nerds.  Hi, I'm Laura and I'm a running nerd!  The above badge was created from the resources page of the National Running Day website, so hop on over to create your own badge.  You can also pledge your miles to support selected charities using the Charity Miles app on your smart phone!

I missed National Running Day last year, so I'm very excited to participate this year, particularly since one of our local race organizers (GO! St. Louis) is hosting a free, informal run tomorrow evening at a local park.  As an added perk, there will be free beer samples, as well!  It sounds like a fun way to celebrate the day with other fellow runners.

Check out your local running store or race organization to see if they, too, are hosting a group run for National Running Day. Or gather a group of your friends and head out for a run or enjoy the peace and solitude of a solo run!

To quote my favorite Mother Runner's, Dimity and Sarah, wishing you many happy miles no matter how you chose to celebrate!

"There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul." 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Update on the weight loss challenge

I realized that I teased an update on the 32 by 32 Challenge a few weeks ago and haven't come back to it! I've come to the conclusion that this challenge was making me crazy about my weight and causing me to have an unnatural obsession with the scale, so I've decided to forgo it.  It is fair to say that I had a slightly unnatural obsession with the scale prior to this challenge, but I definitely wasn't doing myself any favors by setting another super challenging goal.

There is a part of me that feels defeated about the challenge, because I'm not one to back down typically, but for the most part, I feel at peace with my decision.  I've drastically reduced the frequency of my weigh-ins; having shifted from a daily morning weigh-in to only weighing myself once in the past week (on Saturday).  That feels like a huge victory to me and I feel a little less crazed.  I'm still watching what I eat (for the most part; I wish I could quit you frozen yogurt!) and I definitely still want to lose weight.  However, over the next few months, I want to focus on Napa training and not obsess over the number on the scale.  I've given a lot of thought over the past few weeks to how far I've come the past year and to me, that is so much more important than the number on my scale.  I absolutely want to lose weight, but I also want to get stronger and faster and those can't be measured on the scale.

I know I could have lost 32 lbs. by my birthday in August, but at what cost?  Working out like a fiend, eating like a bird, making myself crazy over every .10 of a pound on the scale?  None of that sounds appealing to me at the moment.  Life is too short and I want to focus on being strong and healthy (both mentally and physically), so I will continue to run and watch what I eat and lose weight in a healthier, less obsessive way.

Here's to recognizing that we are strong, powerful, smart, beautiful people who aren't defined by a number on the scale!

"Although your weight may fluctuate, the way you feel about yourself doesn't have to."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I'm back!

While it may seem like I have fallen off the face of the Earth, I am here!  I took a much needed week off to recharge my batteries.  I don't think I turned my computer on at all over the past week and instead, I read a bit, snuggled with my boys and watched cartoons while we ate microwave popcorn, caught up on some t.v. shows, and slept.  It was quite delightful actually and much needed!  My brain has been on overload this week and I needed some time to process my thoughts and reflect a bit.  Not only did I detach a bit from the interwebs, but I also detached from working out.  I haven't run all week, nor have I been keeping up with my core work.  I feel refreshed though after a week off, so I'm looking forward to a fresh start tomorrow.

Last week was Nick's last week of school and we celebrated by going to the Cardinals game on Friday night.  His school sold tickets as a spring fundraiser, so we got to see a lot of his friends, his principal, and both his teacher from this year and his new teacher for next year! We had some afternoon thunderstorms on Friday, so I was a bit concerned that the game would be cancelled or on a rain delay, but luckily the rain moved through and took some of the humidity with it!  The weather was great, but unfortunately, the score was not and the Cards lost to the Giants.  We had a great time, though, and stayed until the very last pitch.

After much anticipation, we received some additional information this week about our Napa Ragnar adventure, including our training plan.  It's a 12 week plan, so technically speaking, I don't have to start until June 30th, but it is nice to have the plan ahead of time.  Although, I am a little intimidated by it, particularly because there are some days that call for two-a-days, i.e. running once in the morning and once again in the evening.  It makes perfect sense, because the two-a-days are designed to help your body acclimate to running on tired legs, since that will be the case during the race.  Running on tired legs and with little sleep is something I'm not particularly used to, so two-a-days will be great practice.  I'll definitely need to plan accordingly since sometimes it's hard just to get one run in!  It's definitely feeling more real to me that I'm going to Napa in just a few short months to run with some fantastic women!

In other exciting news, I've officially signed up for my second half marathon!  Crazy, I know, but I've got the bug and I'm looking forward to training properly and more consistently for this race.  I'll be running The Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Half on October 12th and I can't wait!  I ran the 10K version of this same race last year and had an amazing time.  Halloween (my favorite holiday), costumes, chilly fall air, what else can you ask for?  I will have to compare my training plan for Napa and my half to see how they stack up, but I think training for Napa will be sufficient training for a half, based on what I've seen so far of the Napa plan, which includes long runs every weekend up to 11-12 miles.

What races are on your calendar for this fall?

I feel it also appropriate to share that I finally took my half marathon medal out of my purse yesterday and hung it in my room.  It has had a place of honor in my purse since my race in early April and it finally felt like it was time to take it out nearly two months later.  Seeing the below quote made me smile as I thought about all of my race finishes, although I do feel compelled to add to the last line:  "or at least until you take your medal out of your purse."  

"The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs, within days. But the glory of your finish will last forever."