Oct 13, 2014

The Beast

We made it to October! It's birthday month for me and 10 mile course month for the Road Race Series! Today I'm talking running, are you really surprised?!
I got super lucky and met some awesome runners back at the beginning of the Road Race Series. Being that they are awesome, they let me into their running world that is Run365. Some people in this group are on huge, huge run streaks and they are so inspiring! They always take a group pic before races. I've just been late to like the last 4 races. I was terrified of being late to this one though. I was warned over and over again about getting there extra early to get parked and get to the start location. I left at 5:30 am and got there with plenty of time to spare. Plus I ran back by my car around mile 4.5 so next weekend I can layer up if I need to and drop my outer layers on my car when I come back by if I need to. 

Anyways, this course....wow! You local people, if you have never gone running or hiking or just exploring at Shelby Forest, you need to like right now! It is gorgeous!
How beautiful are those trees and that little path through the woods?! Yea I stopped to walk more than once. I just didn't think to snap a photo until nearly the end. I wish I had taken a picture of the hills though. I was mostly trying not to fall down them and then having to hike up them. No time for pics there. 

I had heard of "The Beast" but I didn't know that was this race! I totally know why it is called that though. It is so very challenging but it's very rewarding. I would say it is up there with my one half marathon. At one point in the race, I looked over at the lady beside me and asked if the hill we just conquered was "the big one"....and she laughed. Like, she got a real chuckle out of my question. By the end, I knew why that was so funny to her. I just can't say it enough, that race was amazing! And hills. Oh the hills. And did I mention...hills?! 

All it all, it took me forever to finish. Like forever. But that's ok. I didn't mind the time. I got my second favorite race picture out of it. And got two pretty funny pictures from it when looked at back to back....
These photos were taken just seconds apart. Makes me laugh because right after the start of the race, a guy behind me yelled, "Ok we are past the camera guy we can walk" haha! I'm so guilty of trying to look like I've been running fast all day when I see a camera. 
And a big thumbs up at the end, almost over! 

So tell me what your favorite race is. And do you have any funny/memorable race photos? Please share!! 

Sep 25, 2014

Finally Took the Leap

I finally took the running plunge and got myself a GPS watch. About time right? I am just such a cheapo and kept telling myself I didn't NEED one. Well, then a youtube ad for the TomTom Runner got me. 

I usually just set my goal for either time or distance and run, but this weekend I tried out the race feature. Oh my, if you have this watch and you are competitive, this feature will be your favorite! I got the watch in time for my first 10k at the beginning of the month. And since the second 10k was the same course, I set my watch to race mode. Throughout the race the screen showed two arrows one was me currently and one was where I would have been at the same race time in the race. At the bottom it displayed either + or - the yards compared to your run you are racing. The watch vibrates to let you know when you move from 1st to 2nd place and vice versa. 

From mile 1 forward, I was beating my original time. Then I started watching my yards ahead. I met a new friend during the race (don't you love when that happens??) and I ran intervals with her starting at mile 3. I was around 350 yards ahead of my previous self but we spotted someone that my new friend knew, Mrs Colleen. I have seen her at races before but never spoke with her. She is a cancer survivor and as she put it, she runs to beat her cancer. It was nice stopping to speed walk with her and talk for a bit. We pushed on through the last mile (with two hills, by the way) and I managed to beat my time by 2 minutes. I'll take it. 

Next up is my 10 miler next weekend and two weeks after that. I wish I had already logged a 10 miler so I could use the race feature on my watch again. It has been such a big motivation for me! I can't wait to see what it's like using that feature next year during 5ks. 2014 is the year of distance running. 2015 is going to be the year for speed! 

So tell me your favorite watch feature? Or what motivates you? 

Sep 24, 2014

Tag You're It

My sweet friend Natalie over at May the Schwartz Be With You tagged me to complete a few questions and tag some other friends to join in the blog hop. Natalie is a friend I "met" through blogging who happens to live in the very same area as me, not just the "big city" we are close to. Natalie even teaches a yoga class at the gym I'm a member of! Unfortunately, our schedules never seem to line up to be at the gym at the same time. Maybe one day. Anyways, Natalie and I have so much in common but are also so different. Isn't that what makes a good friendship? Make sure you go read the questions that Natalie answered. 

Now for her questions for me:

Why do I keep a blog?
I originally started one just to document pictures and have a little diary of mine and my daughter's lives. Along the way, I started incorporating more than just our daily activities. I have added some of what is going on in our lives, some random things that interest me, lots of running, and basically anything I feel like writing about. I really like the way the blogging world has evolved and I have learned quite a bit along the way. 

What are my greatest strengths?
I feel like I should give a standard interview answer here. If you asked my husband, he would say I am the most organized unorganized person ever. Is that a strength? How about, I can be creative. Not always, but I can be. That's a little bit of a strength right? No, wait, greatest strength....vacation planning! I am great at planning a vacation. Not just like "hey we are going to the beach" but "hey we are going to the beach, eating here here and here, and I want to see this while we are there." Real planning. I would be a great travel agent. I am also a really good bargain shopper. That's gotta be a strength. If I am trying to save money, I will. 

What motivates me to run?
I signed up for my very first 5k because friends were doing it. I don't remember exactly but I'm pretty sure I hadn't run more than a block in the last 5 years before that. I worked out regularly so how hard could a 5k be, right? Oh boy. I felt like I had paid for torture and a tshirt that day! hah! After that I realized that I should probably add some running to my exercise routine. My family has a history of heart issues on both sides so I knew I needed to think about running as a way to not only maintain a healthy weight but also keep my heart in shape. Health has been the biggest motivator for me so far to basically answer the original question. However, somewhere along the way, mostly this year, I actually fell in love with running. Now my motivation is more my need and want to run. Heart health is just a lovely side effect from that. 

What is my proudest moment?
I should probably say something like graduating college. It was a really proud moment for me. I did it while working full time, taking care of a toddler, going to school year round and having up to 18 hours per semester at times. But I felt like it was just something I had to do. Not finishing was just not an option. Completing my first half marathon was another proud moment. I was almost sick I was so nervous about that race. I started that race not knowing if I would be able to finish it but I did. I can't wait for my next one to see improvements. My daughter also makes me very proud. As a mom there is something so special hearing someone else tell you good things about your child. It makes you feel like you are doing a good job as a parent especially if they get a compliment on their manners! 

That's all the questions Natalie had for me. I'm going to come up with a few of my own and probably tag a couple more bloggers on them so if you are looking for a few questions as a blog topic let me know! 

I'm going to try to be better and catch up my little diary blog. I have celebrated my 1 year anniversary this month!! I've "raced" two 10ks that I absolutely loved. I've attempted to become a morning runner. I've succeeded and failed at being a morning runner. I've watched 8 volleyball games so far this month. I reached my first mini goal with my St Jude fundraising! (I still have a little way to go so if you are interested in donating to the most amazing children's research hospital, click that little link please.) It's been a busy month and next month is even busier. Plus it's birthday month! Anyways, I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of fall. Tell me something good!

Aug 26, 2014

Race Recap: Road Race 5ks

This year in prep for the St. Jude half marathon that I'm running in December, I decided to sign up for MRTC's Road Race Series. You can sign up for the whole series ($65 if you are a MRTC member, which I strongly recommend) and you get 10 races! That is a bargain! Each month from July to November there are two races and the distances increase each month (5k, 5 miler, 10k, 10 miler, and half). You change locations each month too, so the 5ks are at the same place, 5 milers, etc etc etc. 

The first 5k was a few weekends over a month ago at a park in the East Memphis area. We basically ran around the block around the park to get to 3.1 miles. The route was simple because there weren't many turns but there are still some rolling hills. And it has the potential for having my running nemesis...running on an incline into the sun! For the first run it was sunny and it had gotten hot by 7:30 when I was on that last mile. That part felt awful but I liked knowing my route for this race. I liked seeing the next turn and seeing the finish long before I got there. And most importantly I loved having so many friends running this series too! {and insert picture we took at the first 5k that I can't find. This is another reason I need to post my recaps a little more timely hah!}

My plan for this series was to take it easy on the first race and push myself more on the second race. But one of the things I've learned about running is plans change. Right? 

The weekend of the second 5k in the series came around and my husband decided to go out to the hunting cabin to do some work before the seasons kick off. Hindsight: at that very moment I should have gone online and registered Brooklyn to run with me the following morning. I didn't. And it's my own fault. We didn't get there by 6:30 to get her registered. That was fine. Again, it was my own fault. But I realized just how much I love running because I was nearly in tears that not only was I not getting to run but I wasn't getting to run a race with my mini. She was actually really excited about doing it with me. Several weeks before, I told my husband I actually wanted to just go be a spectator one day and watch when the really fast people coming running in, so I guess I got my opportunity. Spoiler alert....they look just like regular runners only they make it look super easy! It was nice cheering for friends and strangers as they made their way across the finish line. We even got some pics afterwards. 

I usually have a donut (or two) after race Sundays, and even though I didn't race that Sunday I still stopped for a donut with B. 
Next up is the 5 miler recap. Anyone else run a series like this? Or run this series? Anyone prepping for St Jude this December?

Aug 25, 2014

New Routine

It's back to school time in Tennessee! I know a lot of areas don't start back quite as early as we do, but kids are out around mid-May in Tennessee so that means starting back in August. This year we aren't only getting used to starting back to school, we are getting used to having a middle schooler now. It's still unreal to say I have a middle schooler. I definitely had more anxiety about her moving to middle school than she did. I have learned to let go a little and let her learn some more responsibility this year. 
I threatened to come inside and take a picture of her by her locker, but she pretty much knew I was just messing with her. 

On top of school, she is getting used to playing middle school sports. Middle school sports = practice every single day. And you better be paying attention! I love it. I just have to fight the urge to yell, "Put me in, Coach!" at her games. I miss it, can you tell?
Cell phone quality pics because I can never seem to get my camera, a charged battery, and an SD card all together at one time. 

Back to School night was last week, and I felt even better about this year. They have so many teachers that truly love these kids and love to teach. Makes me very happy. Also, they are at the age where they get a little variety in their classes. This year they will all take Drama to help them get comfortable in front of people and prepare them for the presentations class next year. Some (mine) opted to take choir this year as well. So they get all their traditional classes plus some arts as well.

Remember when we used to get a study hall every year? And we had 7 classes a day? Yea, no. Now there's no study hall and they have 5 classes a day. Their year is divided into trimesters and sometimes their classes change from tri to tri. It's definitely different, but so far so good. And it's week 3 now so we seem to be back into our routine other than running late all the time. Wait, I think that IS our routine. Before we know it, it will be time for fall break! 

How's school in your area? Or how is school prep if you aren't already in school? Anyone with new middle schoolers this year?

Jul 28, 2014

Since You've Been Gone

Ok more like "since I've been gone" but I like song lyrics more. 

Today I thought I would list some things that have been going on since I took my little unintentional blog hiatus. Lists=the lazy girl blog post

#Firstofall, I chopped my hair. I say chopped because to me anything more than a tiny trim is a chop. I love the beach wave, messy curled hair that everyone is sporting but I knew that just wasn't going to be possible with my longer hair. I don't know why but when my hair is longer, curls just don't work. They won't hold or they end up looking like wet perm. Or they look flat and stuck to my head. None of those things are cute. So I chopped. And I'm actually itching to take about another inch off of it. 
That's preworkout hair vs post workout hair. I'm starting to master the curling wand. But I can't say I totally understand what makes it better than just a curling iron used the right way for beach waves/curls. I'm a newbie though. 

Next up, I may have mentioned here that I got pretty busy a few months back when my work partner was on maternity leave. I had to learn a whole lot of her job. I would say probably 70% of what she did. The silver lining to that was I just had to know it all for 6 weeks, right? Wrong! After being back a week, she took a job within our parent company but with a different business unit. Now I'm still doing my job and that extra % of her job. It's been a little stressful, but I'm making it. I see a light at the end of the tunnel by way of shoving off my old work on someone else. Winning! That has been part of the reason why I haven't felt like typing or being anywhere near a computer after working hours. 

In other news, I became a Sweat Pink Ambassador while I was away. If you aren't already following, drop what you are doing and go follow @fitapproach on instagram. (oh and add me while you're there too)
Other than that, our summer has been winding down. Brooklyn competed in the softball World Series a week and a half ago. That doesn't mean that softball is over for long though. Tryouts are in just another week. She is also starting middle school in about two weeks. Which means I will be attending a sports parent meeting and middle school orientation this week. Add volleyball camp to that list and we have a lot going on. I feel like our summer has been pretty busy but I'm sure it's nothing compared to how busy we are going to be going forward. I am pretty excited about what the future holds though. 

Now fill me in. What is something new with you that maybe you haven't shared to all of social media yet??

Jul 25, 2014

Race Recap: Stars & Stripes 5k

Let me dust off this old blog, and see if I remember how to do this. 

I have got to be better about writing my recaps. Too much time has passed since my Stars and Stripes 5k and I know I don't remember it exactly as I did the week following. 

I will start by saying that the M-town Race Series is easily my favorite race series. Ok, so maybe it's the only race series I've completed. Minor detail. It really has all the fun summer races in it. I felt like after each race I said, "That one was my favorite!" Stars and Stripes was no different. 

This was my first race that I would have Brooklyn & Jeremy there to cheer me on. Thanks to my friend Lora for bringing B. This made it possible for me to get there in time and not have to backtrack. Another awesome friend picked up my race packet so that gave us a little time to hang out, find our other friends, and take pictures of course. 
Sidenote: How cute are my friends?! I love dressing up for themes or holidays, so this race was great for that. So many awesome red, white and blue race clothes. 

On to the running portion...we had really great weather. I mean, it's July in the South...it is usually a million degrees+ outside. It was comfortable. Everyone seemed pretty chilled out at the start too. I was worried with there being so many people that it would be hard to get off to a good start. People spaced out a little and took their time getting up to the start. I was fairly close to the front, but I noted that the timer was at 2 minutes by the time I crossed the line. 

The course was mostly flat (or maybe I've forgotten rolling hills) and shady for the first half. I found someone a little faster than me and chased her for almost two miles. Then she apparently got a burst of energy that I was lacking, and she left me in the dust. My Nike+ said I was running slower than my PR pace, but I'm starting to learn Nike+ can be a little liar. My legs were getting tired on the last half mile but I was trying my best to keep running. I remember feeling like I was running through molasses or running so slowly I felt like I was actually going backwards at times. I got a little burst when I rounded the last turn. I gave it all I had because I knew my loves were waiting somewhere along the finish line. I happened to look up and see the clock said 35 minutes....which meant 33 running minutes for me. I was ecstatic! That may be slow to some. That may be fast, but for me that meant a PR. Official time- 33:39. My goal is a sub30 5k and I'm trying to do it by the end of the year. 

To celebrate my PR, I got a new tank and new running top after the race. So much for my "no new workout clothes" ban I put on myself. I also got a tank for Brooklyn and a running tech shirt for Jeremy. I got those with the stipulation they had to start running with me. Ask me how many times they have run with me since....if you guessed 0, you'd be right. 

After the race, we ate typical 4th of July food (hamburgers, hot dogs) along with typical post race foods (bananas, oranges) and hung out around the fountain. Once it got dark, it was time for some fireworks. 
This is apparently how you take pictures of fireworks these days. She missed half the show trying to take the right selfie #tweens

And being the hypocrite I am, then we took a selfie, eh um, I mean an usie? I don't know. And yes, I was so cold in July I had to get my race shirt out and put it on. And I was still cold! 

First M-town Race Series is over, but I think this is going to be a yearly tradition. I loved all these races even the Gibson which was my worst. I definitely recommend anyone in the area to sign up for all or at least one of these series races.