A Few of My Favorite Things

Well we woke up to a winter wonderland this morning…actually more like howling wind and the sound of sleet beating into the side of the house is a little more like it. We’re in the midst of a Nor’easter…and it’s a few days shy of Spring! Ughh…so today I’m focusing on all the things I’m loving right now instead of the fact that at some point today I will have snow blow the driveway!

On a positive note, I didn’t think I’d get a chance to wear my new boots this year…guess I was wrong!

It has been a while since I’ve done a post like this but there are some items I am truly enjoying of late. First off in the running gear world, this blue fleece pull-over from the Gap is awesome. They actually say it’s light gray but I think it looks like a baby blue color.  It is so soft and so comfortable. It feels incredibly light-weight but it keeps you so warm. I just wore it yesterday on my less than enjoyable run. I set out to try and log a few miles outdoors because of the pending snowstorm forecast. I figured it might be a few days before I get outside again so I tried to take advantage of the extra hour of sunlight and the 40 degree temps. It didn’t go well. My shin was killing me and I was chased down by a barking dog. I screamed so loud…the owner was able to call the dog home and I continued on my way in tears. Even though I have a big dopey dog of my own, my fear of dogs is still very real!

Up next are these gray skinny (slightly distressed) jeans from J.Crew Mercantile. These babies are soft and stretchy and so extremely comfortable. It doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing jeans. They are lightweight as well and will be a great piece for the Spring and Summer. Maybe that nice spring weather we were having in February will show up again next week. At any rate, I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of these.

So this magic makeup eraser cloth I got off of Amazon after reading a recommendation on a blog I follow. It works strictly with water and I can’t believe how easily my mascara comes off. I actually hardly ever wear mascara because of the chore of removing it, but since I got this little gem in my stocking, I don’t have that concern. The backside you can use to exfoliate. Pretty cool. You just wash it in your normal laundry load. The box said it can be used 1,000 times!

I just finished Chip and Joanna Gaines’ book “The Magnolia Story”. What a great little read. I really enjoyed this book. I’m already a big fan of the couple and their show and of course, Joanna’s awesome decorating style, but this book made me like them even more! It’s a quick read so if you’re looking for something to do on this snowy March day…grab a copy and start reading!

Another favorite thing is this cookbook I got for Christmas, Run Fast Eat Slow. So far I’ve made a handful of the recipes in there but the sweet potato breakfast cookie and the superhero muffins are awesome! The flu fighting chicken stew was also really good but did not heat up well for leftovers. I’m looking forward to trying out more recipes.

Then finally the last thing is a new blog I’m following called Buttons and Barbells. My friend Bekah recently launched this blog which showcases her love of crafting and cross-fit. She is really talented with all the sewing projects she tackles. Her quilts and blankets are beautiful and her crafting talents go beyond sewing to include a whole host of creative little things that anyone can make…well maybe not everyone… but you get the point. So if you haven’t already, give her blog a look. I actually dedicated a post to some of her crafts a while back. You can see some of her items here.

Well that’s it for today. I’m going to try and hit the treadmill today since we’re hunkered down in here due to this mid March snow storm! Have a good one!

 

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Press Pause

Well hello March! February you snuck by without anyone noticing. So here we are in the third month of the year already. In a few short weeks my baby will turn 9! Wah….

Life is about to enter the busy phase. As much as this tease of warm days has made me want Spring so badly, I do love the winter nights where we have no where to rush off to and we can eat dinner, do homework, and snuggle on the couch. Pretty soon it will be a race to get in and out of the house and to the ball field in time for a practice or game. Dinners will be served on the go or at 8pm or courtesy of the snack stand. We’ll be scrambling to fit it all in and it will pretty much continue that way until the winter comes around again. The days will fly by and I’ll be writing about how I’m sad things are slowing down as we wind back down into winter. Funny how it goes like that. I guess you just have to enjoy the season you’re in.

I was thinking about all this when I came across this movement for the month of March on Instagram from Stephanie Rothstein Bruce called #presspause. It’s a movement to practice gratitude daily through the month of March, to press pause on your daily life and savor the moment you’re in for all its worth. I think this is great timing with it being Lent. In this time when life can get so busy slowing down for a moment each day to reflect on where you are in life sounds like such a great idea.There are so many little moments that occur in our daily life that bring us joy. For me drinking a cup of coffee when the house is still is one of them. Finishing an early morning run, looking at a magazine with a beer after work on a Friday, and laying up in my bed with the boys before everyone turns in for the night are a few others. They’re small things but they slow us down and they bring us joy. So I plan on doing this for the month of March. The hashtag for the movement is #presspause. If you’re on Instagram and want to join in just use that hash tag.

So March is going to be the start of my pre-marathon training preparations. I’m tackling the nutrition aspects first so that I feel good going into the training season that will begin in May. Right now our long run is about 10-11 miles one day of the weekend and then a 6-7 miles on the other day of the weekend. Through the week we’re sticking to 5 miles on Monday and Friday, hill repeats on Wednesdays and then strength training on Tuesday and Thursday. As we make our way to May we’ll start the increase in the mileage but for now this seems to be working just fine,  aside from a sore hamstring that I swear is a result of the elliptical machine at the gym. I’ve been stretching and rolling my hamstring but I find that it is a hard muscle to get to and it seems like nothing really gives it the stretch it needs. Any suggestions? All in all, I think come May I will be ready to start training…I hope anyway because I won’t run a marathon if I feel under prepared. It’s too long a run to feel bad.

So in other life happenings…the boys celebrated 100 days of school the other week. This week they are celebrating Read Across America and have had themed days all week.

We discovered that our dog visits the horse farm behind us and has befriended the horses there.

The weather has been gorgeous and we’ve been able to sit on the patio and use the fire pit! Although it’s freezing again now!

Aside from that, life’s been pretty quiet over here and as I mentioned earlier, I’m okay with that. I think enjoying this calm before the chaos is my press pause moment for today and writing a post on my blog. What is your press pause moment of the day?

Have a great weekend!

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Defending Champions

Well you’re looking at the defending snowshoe state champions 2017!

Yes that’s right, we ran the Spring Mountain SnowShoe race again this year. How fitting that I’m finally getting the race recap up on the blog and it’s a snow day here for us! We’re getting hit with the first significant storm of the season and we’re already in February. Yesterday it was 65 degrees and today…a blanket of snow! Sorry for the blurry crooked picture of my backyard.

Back to the race- so the race was held on Saturday, January 28th, at a small ski mountain in Pennsylvania. It was cold and since there was only man made snow the race was held entirely on the slope this year! Last year there was snow from mother nature, a lot of it, so the race meandered through the woods and you only climbed up and ran down the ski slope one time. This year was a little different, the course was definitely a challenge to say the least, but we both finished first in our age groups.

This year’s course had you climbing the slope in a diagonal pattern until you reached a straight passage that had a gradual incline. You ran up and down two bunny hills, and then made your way back down the mountain on the other side- again in a diagonal pattern. When you reached the bottom area you were then directed through another straight passage with a gradual incline and then you rounded the corner and headed down to the very bottom of the slope. As you came down you made your way back to where you started…and then you did it all over! Here’s a picture from last year’s race that someone sent me. It is a picture of a picture they saw in a local paper. Trish and I are the two toward the back. I am the last person in the pack.

That whole second time around was a major mental road block for me. I don’t know about you, but passing the same point twice in any race messes with my mind. Especially when the first time around is so brutal. Snow shoeing is tough. The man at the awards ceremony commented on the amount of not only physical toughness but mental toughness that is needed for this sport. It is truly a testament of your will power no doubt.

My race started off well. I felt good as we climbed the slope. That was about the only time I felt good. I think I fell about four times as I made my way up the hill. Every time I rounded a cone I would step on my own shoe and fall flat on my face. Once I made it to the straight pass I slowed down to a walk but it was a trudging through the snow kind of walk. I decided to try and pick it up back to a run and fell flat on my face…again. This time there were no corners to blame it on, I pretty much just fell for no reason. Once I got to the bunny hills I picked it back up to a full run. When you run in snow shoes you have to really pick your knees up and keep your steps even. It’s hard. As I rounded the corner after the bunny hill I headed down the slope. I felt like I was running out of control down the slope and I was doing everything I could to not just roll down it. I could hear my wrist or ankle cracking the entire way down and I felt like my bones were all knocking together. I actually had to laugh at the man ahead of me because his arms were swinging all over the place and then I realized my arms were doing the same! Once I was down and made it to the next straight pass I decided to treat it as an interval. There were blue ribbons tied to the trees sporadically through this area. So I used the ribbons as start and stopping points for my walk/run intervals. That worked well and kept my mind focused on that rather than on hating life.

So I made it out to the clearing and headed down to the turn around point. I used the same strategy in round two. The second round was really just me telling myself it would be over soon. I really just had to mentally coach myself through it and try to keep the thoughts of “why do I pay to do this to myself” at bay. That’s all I can say. I knew it was temporary and that when I got down this time I would be done. I was so happy when I crossed that finish line! All in all this is a very challenging race but also a lot of fun. There is a cute old couple who run everything and during the awards ceremony the old man thanked his wife for all she does and their grandchild brought out a bouquet of flowers for her. It was so sweet. They had an interesting antler crown with a little ivy wrapped around it for the overall female and male top finisher. Then the other winners received hand made trophies that you can see we are holding in the picture below.

I’m telling you this is a wicked workout and we were sore for the rest of the week. My quads burned for two straight days…but it was that good burn where you know you really worked your muscles. I’ve been eyeing up snow shoes…I might be adding them to my Christmas list next year! The race made running a challenge last week. Between calf issues and just general soreness the running miles were light and the ones I did log were a struggle. I took some rest days and refueled.

And then finally on Monday my run felt great…the 55 degree temperatures, home early from work, and a setting sun all contributed!

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Gym Intimidation

Happy weekend friends! We have a Saturday morning of basketball and then a pretty open schedule!

So with my new job (well 8 months now so not brand spanking new but close enough) you get a membership at the YMCA after 6 months of employment. I was super excited about this perk especially because I have a lot of evening meetings and work is too far to come home in between so having the opportunity to hit the gym in between work and meetings instead is ideal. Or is it?

I tried the gym out a few times. The first time I did nothing but walk on the treadmill. I forgot headphones so I basically watched Fixer Upper as I walked with no sound. Lucky for me it was a rerun and a show like that you’re really only looking at the houses and not so much listening to what is being said so that was okay. I tried to look around a little but the majority of the machines were occupied by what we all think of in our heads when someone says they are going to the gym to workout. So I left feeling less than fulfilled or pumped about an awesome workout I had. I figured that maybe my lunch hour isn’t enough time to squeeze a workout in.

I tried again a few days later but this time I went after work before a meeting. I actually did have plenty of time in between but I found myself doing exactly the same thing. I walked on the treadmill and watched the TV this time with my headphones. Although it did take me about five full minutes to figure out where to plug the headphones in. Ugh. So I called it a year and decided to head back beginning in January.

I went twice last week and twice this week so far. This is in addition to my normal running and home boot camps.So if I don’t get there it’s fine because normally I have already worked out. As I was leaving the gym I kept thinking about how I really would like to take advantage of the machines and equipment that I don’t have access to at home. It seems silly to go there and do only the things I’m used to doing when I’m not working out in the gym, but having no idea about how the weight lifting machines work makes it difficult to stray from my normal cardio work. There is a little room upstairs so I did try the bike this week and I did a plank workout I made up. I also used the inside track to do intervals. Slowly I’m trying to do more there but I must say the gym intimidation is real. I always workout, but for whatever reason, I feel like someone who is working out for the very first time in their life. I’d take running with a friend or solo over a trip to the gym any day. I’m determined to keep at it but I am hoping other people have tips about how to conquer the gym intimidation.

Do you have gym intimidation?

How do you get past that and get a good workout in?

What machines do you use at the gym? Any suggestions?

 

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Welcome 2017

Happy New Year and a big welcome to 2017! Can you believe it, 2016 has ended and we are embarking on a fresh new year? How exciting. I love the promise of a new year with all the goals we think about and the many things we hope to accomplish over the next 365 days. The new year can really give people hope about what’s to come and it allows you to shed what was and embrace what is and hope for what’s to be.

I received a text yesterday from a good running friend and she was super excited about how this would be the year she is turning her health around and slowly but surely going to pick up her running again. I felt so happy for her because that is a great feeling when you feel like you finally have the opportunity to make the change and you have a renewed attitude to see you through it. I’m excited for her and for all of us because we all have that opportunity. And we don’t just have it when the calendar turns the page we have that same opportunity every single day. We can wake up and start new.

The end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 were really hard for me. I was in a very awful spot and was struggling to just make it through the day. I decided to make changes and when I did, it made all the difference. So if you’re stuck in something or find yourself in a situation that no longer serves you or makes you happy, I encourage you to take the steps to change it.

I know that is easier said than done because often the problem is that we want to change so badly but we simply don’t know how. That was my situation last year. I didn’t know what to do to make the change but with the help of family and friends and support of my husband,I decided to have a little faith and to start making the changes I needed to make me happy.

I quit a job that I hated, put some hard hurt feelings behind me so I could start healing, I ran…I ran a lot, I found a new job that I really like, and I moved on and slowly restored my spirit. The year ended so much better than it began and I learned so much along the way. So I welcome 2017 with open arms because our year and our life is what we make it. Happiness is a choice…choose wisely!

I wish you peace in the new year and I hope whatever your goals may be, that you run happy!

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New Training Cycle

Hello! Welcome to a new week. Mondays are hard, especially rainy cold Mondays! So wake up and do something small that you love. I love having a nice cup of coffee and typing up a blog post. We are on a rest day today and that worked out just fine with the rain. I had no problem staying in bed.

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I have a confession to make about the Runners World Run Streak I talked about in my last post. I was all set to participate again this year and then the next weekend I took a rest day and completely forgot about the streak!!! I didn’t realize until the next day! So my streak came to an end. However, I encourage all of you to keep at it if you’re participating. While I took a rest day, I have been running or working out all the other days.

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I even got to join the YMCA through my work! I tried it out this week. I watched an hour of Fixer Upper over lunch while I walked on the treadmill. I am going to figure out some type of routine schedule to get over there during lunch or in between work and evening meetings when I stay at work. Maybe I can find a class or something. We’ll see but I’m excited about it.

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The other thing going on that will require more deliberate rest days, is that we’ve decided to train for the Lancaster Marathon! I don’t think that is the official name, I think it is called the Garden something or other. There is both a half and a full marathon option. My plan is to train for the full and then make a decision closer to the date. We decided to do a long run and see how we felt. We agreed if we felt good at 13 miles we’d move forward and start training. Well we only actually ran 11 or 12 miles but we felt good and so we’re moving ahead. I have an appointment with the doctor this week to follow up with my kidney and as long as I’m good there, I can start documenting the training cycle.

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This training cycle I am going to really focus on hydration and nutrition. I want to see how the proper attention to both helps in race day performance. I already know that strength training and rest also play a major role in training so I will be focusing on those items as well. The marathon is in April, so we will have hit or miss weather for sure, but I think as long as we’re well prepared we will just have endure whatever conditions we’re dealt.

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Yesterday we did a 13 mile early morning run in chilly 24 degree temps. The run felt great though.

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Later in the day the whole family participated in a little run called the Santa Scurry. Excuse the blurry picture!

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It was so fun for the boys. Josh walked and stayed with Brooks as he ran on and off. Nolan ran the whole thing! I couldn’t believe it. That was the furthest he has ever run and he was a hurting turkey by the end but he dug deep and finished strong. I was so proud of him. Not only because he had just run a little over three miles, but because he didn’t give up even when his body really wanted him to. The race raised 525 pounds of food for a local food pantry!

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Well I hope you make it a great week. I love this holiday season and looking at lights on my tree!

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