Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the year review

2012 was a great year.  It hasn't always been awesome, we've had our ups and downs, but hey, that's okay too, that's the joy of life!

January and February
I was injured most of this time.  Therefore I didn't run much.  It was a dark time for me.  I didn't know if I'd ever get better.  The hubby had been gone for 4-5 months by then, and I thought I might lose my mind.  I didn't want to run, I didn't want to do anything.  I wanted to sulk in my misery.  And I did.

Late February
The hubby returned from a six month deployment and all was back to normal (well as normal as anything gets around here)

Pam won a free entry to the Shamrock Half in Virginia Beach but since she had already paid for hers, she gave it to me (seriously, she's the best best friend anyone could ever have!!!).  I ran the half with her until mile 10, I couldn't hang with her any longer.  I was coming back from injury, the goal was to finish, and I got to hang with my buddy for the weekend!

Note to self: the sweaty band looks stupid on me.  Always wear a visor!  Always!
We went to Busch Gardens for J's spring break in April and had a blast!

Birthday month!!!!  I celebrate the entire month, especially since May is also mothers day!  I ran the local 10K, and PR'd.  I also went back to school in May, classes started on my birthday!  Lucky me!

What?  You don't wear a tiara for your birthday?  You should!!  Oh and the #1 on the cake?  That's cause I'm #1!!!

10K race.  The pic is blurry, and it's the only one I have, I like to think it's because I was going so fast...

4 The Wounded 5K trail run with 100% of the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.  How can anyone NOT do a local race for that?  Wounded Warrior Project is near and dear to my heart.  I would one day LOVE to work with Vets.  They are my most favorite people in the whole world.  We also did Run Amuck at Quantico.  By far the funnest, coolest, hardest run I've ever done.  And I'm soooooo doing it next year!!!!!  Oh and MCM training started in June as well!!

The hubs and I after 4 the Wounded

Hubs and I before Run Amuck.  We got pretty muddy to say the least!!

Lots of running and studying.  Nothing else.  I ran nearly 140 miles that month, and probably studied 140 hours.

Our family vacation to the caribbean via cruise boat.  It was an amazing seven day vacation away from all things technology.  Back to family.  'Cause that's way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it (uh huh, uh huh)!  (you soooo have that song in your head now!!)

J on the speed boat

J trying to "run" in the water...

On the beach in St.Marteen

End of August was back to school for me, and middle school for the kiddo!  YIKES!!!

The local Women's 4 Miler, which I was kinda injured, but still PR'd!!

Women's 4 miler
I remember being in lots of pain in this pic.  Lots.


Marine Corps Marathon.  I PR'd there too!!  Seriously, best race ever!

J and I at Runners Village before the race

Why thank you!  I AM awesome!

New marathon PR!!

Richmond's Half Marathon.  I PR'd, yet again!!!  I got accepted into the LPN-RN program!!!  The kiddo had his first orchestra concert.  I fell and got pretty banged up!  And I spent Thanksgiving with my little family, just the three of us!

Only pic of me at Richmond!  I was speedy that day!
Ha, remember this?  I think I still may have a paint chip in my lip!

Santa Hustle Half with my besty!  (Still cannot believe I got that girl in a tutu!!!!!)  My kiddo turned 12 on half marathon weekend, and we got to spend it with some cool peeps!!!  I spent Christmas for the first time ever without my parents.  It was weird yes, but it was also nice with just my boys.

We are the cutest Santa's I've ever seen!

Wow, looking back I had lots of PR's this year!  What can I say, I had a good year.  I quit my full time job and went back to school.  I ran more (mostly because I had more time to do so).  I trained for MCM in the middle of a full school load, and honestly, I think that running helped me stay focused in school.  I have lots of family support, both near (hubby, kiddo) and far (parents, friends).  When I don't think I'm gonna make it, I'll text my worries, and usually in a matter of minutes, I'll get a motivational text back telling me I'm awesome.  I know I'm awesome, but sometimes I forget and need to be reminded.

My main goal for 2012 wasn't to run farther, or faster, it wasn't even running related.  It was to enjoy life and not let others bring me down.  I decided to live like the Honey Badger, and I'm proud of it.  I've lived my whole life trying to make others like me, or to please everyone else around me.  I realized that in 2011 that doing just that brought me down, and I just wasn't happy anymore.  I made myself a priority in 2012.  I found out that as long as my husband and kiddo are happy, then that is all that matters to me.  That is what makes me happy.  I love to see them both succeed in life and just be happy.  I realized I cannot change what people think of me.  I cannot change people who don't want to change.  My goals for 2013 will be similar, but a little more to add into the mix.

I'll post some 2013 goals soon!!  I still haven't figured all them out yet!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five Things Friday!

1.  I've been under the weather for the past week.  Those kiddos at the office gave me the funk.  I'm much better now and actually ran yesterday and today!  Granted, with lots of coughing which was very productive...and lots of loogies on the run...sorry fellow runners on the trail this morning....

When I looked up the word "loogie" to be sure I spelled it right, this is what I got:

(n.) A mass of mucous and saliva that is forcefully ejected from the mouth onto a person or object. 


2.  The hubby got me some new running gear for Christmas!  I have worn my new shirt on the past two runs, and yes, I DID wash it!  Promise!

3.  J and I took down the tree today.  In return of his service, I agreed to a Rock Band Battle.  I'm sad to say he won...I'm way out of practice, what can I say?

4.  I'm excited about New Years!  We've been invited to a party!  Beats last years when the hubby was gone and the kid and I went to bed at 10pm!

5.  I'm still sticking to my minimalist shoes, and so far so good.  I ran 5.15 in them today, which is the farthest so far in them this go round.  I actually ran in the grass most of the run, the knees thanked me!!  I swear I heard them say, AHHHHHH

Monday, December 24, 2012

Munchkin Monday!

Share.  Umm, no.  Mine, all mine!!!

The guy even put a few extra chocolate ones in there for me!!  Yay for holiday spirit!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fun, Flu, Friday!!!

- I've worked the past 4 days in a row.  I'm insane!  I do enjoy my peeps though, even if the flu is among us.  We make the most of it, and just keep on keepin' on!!  Seriously, pediatric nurses are the best...well at least I think so...mostly because I am one, and I'm awesome.

- I've had a great week.  I am officially done with school for a month, and I worked with my buddies.  I haven't run much, just three days this week, I plan on a long run tomorrow, but with the wind and cold, not sure if I'll want to get out of the bed.

- We exchanged gifts at work yesterday.  I had an awesome secret Santa.  I knew who it was immediately when I opened the gift.  Only one person in the whole world knows my favorite brand nail polish, and she got me three new colors.  And a box of goodies for an at home pedi.  Not sure if she's trying to say I  have jacked up feet or not.  But whatever, I do, I'm a runner, and I have a black toenail (dang you MCM training!!!), but I also have them painted black.

Gumdrop.  Seriously.  LOVE!!!!

- Because I've been out of school, my house is a little cleaner, and so is my brain.  I needed a brain break.

- The events from last Friday have played a HUGE part in my thoughts this week.  I've been more present in the kiddo's life.  Embracing every moment, hanging on to every hug just a little longer.  It is such a tragedy, and I've learned to live in the moment a little more.  And to love a little more too.

- I seriously cannot WAIT for Christmas!  I'm so glad the hubby is home and we get to enjoy our holiday together.  We will be staying home this year, which in all of my 33 years, I've never not seen my parents on Christmas.  I'm still not sure how I feel about that.  Even when we lived overseas we came to America for the holidays.  It'll be different.  And quiet.

- I learned how to make pretty bows for the Christmas presents this year.  I also buy coordinating wrapping paper each year.  My husband didn't get the memo.

Beautifully wrapped presents, can you figure out which ones the hubby wrapped? 

- I'm still wearing my minimalist shoes.  Not sure how far I'll be going tomorrow (if I even get my lazy butt out of the bed) so I'll be wearing my Nikes for the run.  And about a bazillion layers of clothes.

-  I'm also staying far, far, FAR, away from all things, mall, Target, or anywhere someone can buy presents.  I'm staying home.  All weekend.  Unless we go to dinner.

How do you spend the holidays?  Do you always travel to see family or just stay home?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Minimalist Running

I've started running in minimalist shoes again.  I've had my fair share of injuries, achilles bursitis with tendonitis, IT band issues, and a stress fracture to name a few.  This past training cycle I had some foot issues, but I was so in deep with MCM training, I couldn't start from scratch again with minimalist shoes.

I got my Merrell Barefoot shoes for my birthday in May.  All of my non-running friends thought I was weird for getting shoes for my birthday.  Only a runner understands that shoes are a GREAT gift for a runner.  Just sayin'.  I was always intrigued by the idea of getting some.  I've had the above injuries and all of the research I did on barefoot running and minimalist shoes said wearing them could greatly reduce my chances of being injured again, if ever.  Running barefoot is the most natural way, but seriously, who can do that safely?  I looked at the Vibrams, tried them on, and realized those particular ones are not for me, mostly because I have a wide foot, my big toe is huge, and my pinky toe is hardly there.  I also read "Born to Run" over the summer, and that book will definitely get you thinking about at least trying it.

Right after I got them I started to wear them on short runs.  I was doing heart rate training as well, so I was already going at a slow easy pace, so I knew it'd be a great time to try them out.  It didn't take me long to get up to 6-7 miles in them.  I knew that I wanted to keep them into rotation while training for the marathon, but when the miles in the middle of the week hit 10+, it was hard to wear them and feel safe that I wasn't going to hurt myself.  So I stopped wearing them.  My foot started to hurt about a month later.  Ugh.  I pushed through the pain, made it better, and promised I'd get back to wearing them after race season was over.

And that brings us to present day.

I ran for the first time in them on Sunday.  A short 3.20 miles.  Easy peasy.  The next day my left calf was killing me!  That was to be expected, so I took Monday off from running.  I wore them again today, then I worked.  Note to self:  Not a good idea to run in minimalist shoes, then work the same day during the flu season at a pediatric office.  I ran 4.08 today in them today.  I felt great.  Funny thing is that I didn't have any foot pain since I started running in them.  My gait felt weird on Sunday since they force you to run the proper way.  Today was much better, and I was a little faster.  I did notice today that my left foot was louder than my right.  I figure it's partly because my calf was still a little sore from Sunday.  I don't know.  My foot steps are usually extremely quiet in those shoes, people hardly know when I'm about to pass them on the trail, I usually have to say "Good Morning" in order for them to know I'm around.  Today that was not the case, my left foot was smacking so hard on the trail, people in the county over heard it!  So I'm sure I'll be hitting the bike tomorrow morning instead of running.

I'm excited to be back in my Merrells.  I love those shoes.  I'm hoping I get to use this off season to get up to longer miles in them, and who knows maybe a half marathon in May?  Hmmm.....

Have you tried minimalist shoes?  If so, I'd LOVE to hear from you!!  Any advice is welcome!  If not, why haven't you tried them?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

An open letter to my son

My dearest J,

As a mother, my instinct is to protect.  Although my instinct is strong, I feel that yesterday it was taken away from me.  When I came home from my school yesterday I learned of the school shooting in Connecticut.  As I stood in front of the television, I cried for those children that innocently went to school that day only not to return.  I immediately thought of you walking to the bus stop just that morning, as I hugged you and kissed you goodbye, like I do every morning.  I thought of all of those parents that did the same thing to their children, not thinking it was the last time they'd see them alive.

I cannot protect you from everything.  You are twelve years old now, and in a blink of an eye, you will be on your own, living your own life and as a mother, I will worry about you constantly.  I want to protect you, I want to be around you constantly to prevent bad things from happening to you, but as you grow older I realize that I can't do that anymore.  I have to let go, but after days like yesterday, I want to tighten my grip, to protect you from these random acts of violence.

When you came home from school yesterday, I was so happy to see you, as I am every day.  Usually when you come home, I'm upstairs studying, and you always come up to the office to hug me and tell me how much you missed me.  I realize that one day, you won't do that anymore.  I embrace those moments.  Yesterday is proof, they can be taken away in a heartbeat.

But yesterday when you arrived I was in the living room, still watching the news on the school shooting.  You came to me, and I stood up and hugged you so tight, and told you I loved you.  I didn't want to let you go, I wanted to hold you forever.  I debated on telling you the news, but since you are older, I wanted you to know what this world can be like, that it's not always perfect.  I'm always completely honest with you and  I told you exactly what happened, then you and I watched the news together and I looked over at you and saw tears in your eyes.  You didn't understand why, and honestly, I didn't either.  Sometimes things happen in this world that no one can explain.  I didn't have the answer, and I don't think I ever will.  I remember exactly what you said, "Mom, those kids didn't do anything, they didn't deserve to die, they were so young."  You are so right.  For a twelve year old, you are wise beyond your years.

Last night your dad and I had planned on going to his company Christmas dinner.  You didn't want us to go.  You asked that we could all stay together that night, as a family.  We listened to your request.  We went to dinner at your favorite place and you had your favorite meal, a bacon cheeseburger plain with fries.  I listed intently as you spoke of your day, hanging on to every single word.  I knew in my heart that those parents that lost their child that day would give anything to listen to their child talk of their day, just one more time.

As I laid my head down last night, I kept thinking about all of those innocent children that didn't come home from school that day.  I cried again for them.  I had my child home with me, downstairs playing WoW with his dad, alive and well.  Eleven days before Christmas, after all the presents are bought and placed under the tree, you will open yours, those kids won't get the chance.

I love you J, with all of my heart, more than you'll ever know.  You are and always will be my baby boy.  I want you to know that the world we live in isn't perfect, but it's our world, and it's our reality.  For all the violence in the world, there is kindness too, we just don't hear of it as often as we should.  I will protect you for as long as I can, I'm your mother, and although I know it may drive you crazy at times, this is the reason why I am the way I am.  I cannot imagine losing you J, you are my whole world.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa Hustle Half Recap!!

Last Sunday, December 9th, the besty and I ran a half marathon.  Not an ordinary half marathon, one where you get to dress up and look like Santa!!!  It was in Knoxville, which is perfect since it's right between us!

A couple of months ago we were texting and saying how we needed to get together and do another race (we ran Shamrock in March together).  She looked online and found this race.  It sounded like so much fun that we couldn't NOT do it!  After conferring with my hubby and son (the race was on his 12th birthday) we decided we'd make the trip down to Knoxville for the weekend to hang out with the besty and her hubby.

The morning of the race the hubby got up and followed us down to the start line which was literally in the parking lot where we were staying, how convenient!  The birthday boy was still in bed.  Usually we make him get up and go, but since it was his birthday, we decided it was okay to let him sleep in.

It was so fun to see everyone dressed up and looking silly.  Pam actually agreed to wear a tutu.  I couldn't believe it!!  I tried to get her to wear one for Shamrock, but I got a solid NO on that one.  We knew this race was strictly for fun, and wearing a tutu made it even MORE fun!!  We saw someone dressed up like the Grinch and someone was actually a Christmas tree, thank goodness she was doing the 5K and not the half.

I STILL can't believe I got that girl in a tutu!!!!

The hubby is a pretty good sport for taking pics at my races (and he actually gets some of the best pics).  He took these also....

Look at all of those Santa's!!!

Seriously, how cute are we?  Even with hairy chests!!

Since Pam was coming off the full marathon the week before, we went slow.  I think her legs still felt like lead, so we ran when we could, and walked when we couldn't run.  We talked, we caught up, and we also ate candy.  It really was the best race.  We just settled in at like a 12-something pace and had a good time.  The best aid station was the Oreo one...

The guy tried to get us to take a whole tray.  I have to say, it was tempting!!!  I seriously LOVE Oreos (hence the title of my blog)!!!!  We actually walked past it and went back to take this pic...and I may or may not have picked up more on the second trip....

The ending was the best finish pic I've ever had...

We were still smiling!!  BTW, I just realized it looks as though I'm not wearing shorts...  

And it's not a Christmas race without a candy cane for the finish!!

Even though it was a PW (Personal Worst) for the both of us, it really was one of the BEST races I've ever ran.  It was seriously the BEST 2:44:45 of my LIFE!!!!  Running with one of your very best friends is the awesome-est thing ever!!  I wish we lived closer together so we could do it more often.  When you share you love for running with someone, it really is special.  I'm glad we have that, because when we are together, it doesn't feel like running!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fuel Belts, Birthdays, and Aging Doggies

I bought a fuel belt the other day.  Anyone who knows me, knows I think they are silly.  I understand the concept, but man do they look silly.  This past training cycle for MCM, I realized what a great idea they are.  I was so tired of running the same 4-5 mile loop, drinking, then running the SAME 4-5 mile loop, drinking and so on.  There is so many different routes I can take if only I didn't have to make sure I was back at the truck every 4-5 miles.  So then I realized I needed a fuel belt.  The past summer/fall, the hubby would ride his bike with me while I was running so he had all my fuel needs with him.  Well now that it's cold, he's not a fan of getting up and riding the bike.  I realized last Sunday when I was on a 10 miler I could've used a drink or two, but since it was cold, I made it just fine, but I wonder, how much faster I would've been if I would've had a drink....(even though I was super fast for me!!)

This is my new fuel belt, she doesn't have a name yet, any suggestions?

This Sunday not only am I running a half marathon with my besty, it's my little boy's 12th birthday!  Wow, where did time go?  I just don't know.  My kid is one of those little people that acts like he's an adult.  Since he was about 3 years old, we could have a conversation with him like he was just one of us.  But seriously, he's great, he makes me laugh and smile every day of my life.  We've been through a lot with dad's multiple deployments and Army stuff, he's always been my constant, and I've always been his.  He'll always be my little boy, no matter what.  So one might ask what a 12 yr. old wants for his birthday...well my kid got Call of Duty Black Ops, and a robe.  Not any robe.  A black leopard fuzzy robe.  Seriously.  Yep, that's my kid.  And what is the besty getting him for his birthday?  Fuzzy black slippers to match.  He's gonna be in heaven!!

Seriously, as if I'd forget that kids birthday...

I've noticed my Lola limping a little lately.  I think she may have some arthritis in her back leg.  When we went to the vet last year, he told me it's common for dogs of her age to develop it.  It's not terrible, but this morning she was whimpering a little.  Broke my heart.  She is almost eight years old, and for her to be in pain, I don't like it.  Once she gets moving around she's fine, it's just that morning walk outside that hurts her.  My baby girl is getting old.  So instead of going to the Dogg House with her big brother Oscar, she'll be hanging out with my hubby's friend all weekend that spoils her rotten.  Knowing she'll be there instead of being with her brother, where she thinks she has to keep up with him, gives me piece of mind.

  Arthur who?
I love the Dogg House momma!! Lola is gonna miss out!

So do any of you run with a fuel belt?  Did you feel silly at first?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday's Tutu Tidbits

-  I have made some tutus for the half marathon on Sunday with the besty.  They are super awesome!

Seriously, cutest tutus EVER!!

And their maker (ME!) has added such detail

-  I have been stalking the weather for the race.  Not great.  As of today the high is 70, low of 50, with a 30% chance of rain.  Good thing we are running this for fun!!!  I'm not sure I'll be able to handle the cute long sleeve Santa shirt for the half marathon.  My "magic" number for long sleeve is 35 or under.  It's not even going to be near that on Sunday.

-  Because of that weather situation, our outfits may have to change a bit.  I've got to find a red running shirt, STAT.  That's cool, I love going to Dicks Sporting Goods!

-  I got my flu shot today.  Ouch!  I'll be working at the pediatric office in a few weeks when I'm out of school, so I thought I need to get vaccinated since the flu is prevalent here.

-  I also got to see my work buddies today because they gave me my flu shot.  Man, I miss my peeps, even if they're armed with needles!!

-  It has been unseasonably warm here, which is strange.  I've worn a t-shirt and jeans, without a jacket for the past two days.  I'm enjoying it, but dang, if I didn't know any better, I'd think that it was April!!!

-  I'm currently struggling with going with my gut instinct.  I know it's for the best (for me and them), but I feel like I've let a few people down that are close to me.  I know what's right and what's wrong for me.  Although I'm still trying to tell myself I did the right thing.  Hopefully one day they'll understand.

Are any of you having unseasonable temperatures?  What are you doing to enjoy them?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I've found it!!!

I think I found my running mojo!!

Yesterday I wanted to run but got on the bike, mostly because I didn't have enough time to dedicate to a run, and it was freezing.  I used to love running in the cold, now I just want to lay in my warm cozy bed!  (I'm thinking some new cold weather gear will motivate me...)  So I rode White Lighting (bike) for 20 min, then I got on Killer (rowing machine) for 5 min.  My upper body was still a little sore from the fall on Thursday night, but I pushed through since I didn't do anything all week.

Last night we went to one of the hubby's co-workers house for a party.  It was a "Food of all Nations" party.  Each guest had to draw a country about 2 weeks ago, then bring a dish the country is known for.  How cool is that?  The hubs drew Germany.  Thank goodness.  We lived there for a while when he was in the Army, so I know a few things about their food.  Their main course dishes suck.  So I chose a dessert.  My grandmother was full German and she used to make German Chocolate Cake.  Of course she was an amazing cook, so I relied on Betty Crocker for the cake, and I made the icing from scratch.  It was a hit!!!!  I brought home only a few pieces!

After a night of eating my weight in food, I knew needed to run long today.  I have a half marathon with the besty next Sunday, and I only ran 42.1 miles last month.  The last time I ran was last Sunday and I did an 8 miler.  I really wanted to get a 10 in before the race.  I probably would've been fine, but she's coming off a marathon so she's in MUCH better shape than me!

I got up around 9:00am and decided I was going to get out the door.  The hubby and I were still full from the night before so our Sunday breakfast could wait.  He asked how far I'd be going and where I'd be running (Safety First!!) and I told him 8, 9, or 10 miles.  Not sure.  I didn't know really (I LOVE being able to just RUN!) so I took off, drove across the major road, parked, and got out.  I felt AWESOME!  I mean really awesome.  I didn't know how long I could keep up the pace, I was around 9:18 at mile 5, but I kept pushing.  I didn't carry any fuel with me (oops!) but I felt okay.  It was cool this morning, so I knew I'd be fine.  I just ran around for 10 miles.  Official time was 1:33:47, a 9:22 pace!!!  WOW!!  I was so happy.  I thought it might be a PR, so I came home, checked and sure enough it was the first time I ran a 10 mile training run in the 9's!!!!  I needed this run to make me feel like me again!!  I may have found my running mojo 5 weeks after MCM.  I wasn't really burnt out, I just didn't want to run.  One thing I've done different this time is I have kept up my cross training, mostly biking and rowing, so that may have saved me from any fitness lost.  Yay for PR's!!

And in case you were wondering, my face is looking much better from the fall.  Well my lip is anyway.  It's not nearly as swollen, so I don't look like my husband punched me.  The bruise on my chin is getting darker, and it's still swollen.  My mouth is still pretty sore, I cannot eat very well with my mouth closed.  I can cover the bruise easily, but yesterday it was a little harder since it's darker.  Oh well.  It'll get better, and hopefully I'll be able to eat with my mouth closed soon.  Who knew that you used your chin so much to keep your mouth closed while eating?!?!

It's been so funny getting some strange looks.  People just can't look away, they'll look, look away, then look again.  Too funny!!!