Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Erie Half Marathon 2014 Recap

This past Sunday I ran my 9th half marathon at the Erie Marathon.  
This is my hometown marathon and I just love it. 

Here's a little truth for you- while I'm out there I think about what I'm going to write here.  I wonder what sorts of stories you'd like to hear.  Do you want me to tell you about the really sweaty guy who stopped to pick up discarded shirts on the side of the course? Do you want to know about the girls who were singing songs behind me while I was running? (it was cute for awhile)

Ultimately I decided you just had to see this view from somewhere near mile 4:

This was just one of many amazing views I enjoyed out on the course.  You seriously could not have ordered up a more beautiful morning to run.  I'm so glad I was there.

So, I got to the starting area early and snapped a little make-up free selfie for you.

There was a time when I wouldn't have posted a picture without make-up.  
Now I hope that when you look at it you can see how happy I am. 

I walked over to the starting area and it was easy to see that I was in the right place.

Yes, they all had big long lines.  But, I had stopped at a McDonald's on the way down to Presque Isle State Park where the race was happening.

Thankfully, my local runners club had plenty of ports-potties ready for the marathoners & half-marathoners.  
Plus, the restrooms at the State Park were open.

Someday I will be able to run a half marathon without taking a potty break.  
But, it hasn't happened yet!

I'm happy to report that I remembered to pin on my personalized bib...

Last year I left it on the kitchen table.  This caused me no small amount of stress.  Even though the race is chip-timed and my chip was secured to my shoe, I still hated that I looked like a bandit.

My training wasn't as stellar as I had hoped it would be.  During the month of August I really struggled with migraine headaches which derailed some of my runs.  Worse than that, they sort of beat me down mentally.  
I was no longer feeling very confident in my own ability to go the distance.

I started this race feeling strong and for the first 9 miles or so my splits were pretty good.  But then I really started to struggle.  I was tired and my legs were not happy with me.  So I took a few more walk breaks than I had planned and had a little chat with myself.

I made it to the finish line feeling pretty proud of myself.

My time was okay for me, although not what I would have wished for.
I struggled more than I would have liked, but I finished under my own steam.

I collected my medal, a water bottle, and hugs from Ken & the girls.  
And I remembered that I love to run and that I am blessed to be able to keep moving forward.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Running Confession- No Bucket List for Me

I have a confession for you.

I have no running goals. It's true.

I keep reading about friends tackling their first marathon or training for a triathlon or training for an obstacle race.  They say that these things are on their "bucket lists".

I don't have one.

I love running.  But, I don't feel a deep desire to go further.

This weekend I'll tackle my 9th half marathon.  Despite the fact that my training hasn't been all that I'd hoped, I'm feeling pretty good about it.  I love the half marathon.  It takes me out of my comfort zone without monopolizing my life.  The idea of training for twice that distance leaves me a little cold.

I also don't care about my time.  My PR was earned in June of 2013 and I'm fine with it.  If I'm feeling awesome this weekend and go faster, I'll have a little personal party in my head.  But, if I don't, I'll still celebrate the accomplishment of finding the finish line once again.

I'm satisfied with my current mileage.  I'm good with my current speed.

And now my plan is to just keep running.

Do you have a long Bucket List?
or Are you satisfied with your current accomplishments?

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Monday, September 8, 2014

My Color Run 5K report- only a month late.

Hello friends & happy Monday to you!

I was just looking through my pictures and realized that I never told you about the Color Run we did in August!  I'm so very sorry.  Since it was a month ago I considered just moving on, but some of these pics are fun.  I wouldn't want you to miss my little blueberry...

This was the first time the Color Run has come to my little town.  It sold out early and everyone started getting a wee bit worried.  Could we handle a run with 10,000 bodies?  Where was everyone going to park?  

(Side note: in Erie PA we act like we're being tortured if we have to park more than a block away from our destination.   We understand that people in bigger cities routinely walk 20+ blocks to get where they want to go, but that's not how we roll in these parts.)

Katie, Mandy and I got dressed in our brand new white t-shirts and decked out in our Color Run themed bling.

Please note- fun, cheapo sunglasses are a must for a Color Run.

We found our friend Brennan...

Umm... we don't know the big photo-bomber guy in the background. ha!

Downtown Erie looked like an advertisement for Clorox.

We got rolling- really appreciate the wave starts!- and nobody was clean for very long.

Mandy typically doesn't love to run.  She says it hurts her neck. 
But during this race she was woo-hooing the whole time!  
She said it was the best 5K ever!

I was really impressed by the organization of this big event.

Packet pick-up was quick and easy. Parking turned out to be no big deal.  
(we walked 6 blocks from our car and did not die)

We even managed to find our friend Brennan again at the finish.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the course.

I sure hope that nice officer didn't have to go and try to be intimidating after this...

We took ourselves home and started the cleaning process.

We kept finding little patches of blue for a couple days after the race.

Have you ever done a Color Run?

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Getting "YogaLean" starting today

**this post contains affiliate links**

Happy Friday friends!

Just a quick stop to tell you about the great book I'm reading.  I was given an advance copy of Beth Shaw's YogaLean: Poses and Recipes to Promote Weight Loss and Vitality-for Life!.

I pre-ordered the book ages ago on Amazon, but when Beth Shaw invited people to join her for a little 7-day YogaLean Challenge, I had to say yes.  I wasn't required to give a positive review, in fact I wasn't even asked to blog about it, but I always like to tell you guys when I'm up to something.

I have read most of the book at this point.  If you're looking for specific food lists & meal plans, this is not the book for you.  (really? do we need any more meal plans? how many times do we need to be told that chicken & broccoli are better for us than cookies & potato chips?)

There is a focus on our awareness in this plan.  Meditation is encouraged as well as an entire chapter on de-cluttering.  Mental clutter, physical clutter- this book encourages us to sweep away the things that are not serving us in any part of our life.  (the chips aren't serving me)

YogaLean also recommends a morning run or walk as well as an evening stroll after dinner.  These walks are not only getting me more active, they are very stress-relieving.

This is the post-it that I just put in my planner...

Be Here Now.  Not in the past, not worrying for the future... 
just being a part of this moment.  I think this is healthy, I think this mindset will help me as I focus on healthy living. 

I'm starting my 7-Day YogaLean challenge on a Friday.
Weird, right?  Aren't you only allowed to start things on a Monday?

I'm doing this on purpose because the weekend is when things usually go crazy.  
Not this weekend. 

I started by cleaning out my refrigerator and freezer.  I want to be able to see the foods that will support my YogaLean journey this weekend and in the coming week.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

My P90X3 Summer

Hello friends!  I know- it's been awhile.  I think I can officially say that the blog fell off my radar for a little while.  But, I'm back and we've got some catching up to do.  I think I'll spend the next couple of posts letting you know what's been going on around here.

First, I'm officially a P90X3 finisher!  I did 90 days with Tony Horton and lived to tell the tale.

Before I give you my review, I should tell you that I'm not a Beachbody coach and I don't intend to become one any time soon.  I feel like that's important to note because sometimes it's hard to find reviews of Beachbody products from someone who isn't trying to sell you anything.

So, I spent this summer following the Classic plan.
(there are several plans you can choose from depending on your goals)

I wasn't sure what to expect from the workout series, but I really like it!

The Program

I appreciate the fact that each workout is 30 minutes long.  The 30 minutes includes the warm-up and the actual workout.  There is also a cool down on each video which is in addition to the 30 minutes- but most are only about 2 minutes long.

Each DVD included a "Cold Start" workout.  This is sort of an extended warm-up.  Tony recommends that you use the "Cold Start" if you're doing the DVD immediately upon waking up or if it's February 
and you live in Minnesota.

I actually never did the "Cold Start" so I can't tell you anything about it. Sorry friends.

My Favorites & Not-So Favorites

While I liked all of the workouts, I did have a couple of favorites.  

I really love "The Challenge".  It's a push-pull routine.  All you really do is push-ups & pull-ups of various styles.  Since my upper body is typically my weak spot, this was a real challenge for me.  But, I really enjoyed it!

I also love the Pilates DVD.  I was a Pilates junkie years ago, but I wandered away from it when I fell in love with yoga.  This DVD reminded me why I liked it in the first place.

The "Dynamix" DVD is one that I really think every runner should own. 
(note to Tony Horton: sell it separately.  The runner people need it)
These mobility exercises feel amazing the day after a long run.  I really think they're better for recovery than complete rest - at least for me.

The DVD I dreaded most was MMX.  It's just really stinking hard.  It's the only one that made me actually stop & stare at the screen saying, "What now??".  I never grew to love it, but I did it.  
Someday maybe I'll be hard-core enough for MMX.

My Results

No- I'm not going to show you dramatic before & after pics.  
This really isn't that sort of blog.

The scale really didn't move.  But, I feel stronger & firmer than when I started.

The other day I went for a morning run and when I came back I decided to jump into the pool. (this is my favorite way to end a run in the summer-time)  I took off my running shoes & my shirt.  I was prepared to jump in wearing my running shorts & sports bra when Mandy came outside.
She said, "It looks like your P90X is working.  
There's not as much fat hanging over your waistband as there used to be."  

ha! I'll take that as a compliment and call it a success!

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Friday, August 1, 2014

The Nutrition Rules I'm Breaking

I'm not a big rule-follower these days.  

In fact, there are a couple of nutrition rules that I'm now prepared to break.

There seem to be two camps in the world of fitness nutrition.

First we find those in the Clean Eating camp.  
These diets insist that one must eat all day long.  Meals & snacks must be spaced out every 2-4 hours throughout the day in order to fuel the fires of the metabolism.

The only time you are exempt from this rule is when you are sleeping.

The opposite campers are the Intermittent Fasting folks.

This group believes that going long periods of time without eating is actually good for your metabolism.  
If you're part of this group, you are now ignoring your mother's advice that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  

Many who practice intermittent fasting do all of their eating in a 7 or 8 hour window.  So for instance, you might decide that you only eat between 1 pm & 8 pm.  No brunch for you.

I've read quite a bit about both of these approaches and I think they both have some merit.

However, I'm not following either plan.  I'm trying something crazy.

I'm going to eat when I'm hungry.

If I'm not hungry, I'm not going to eat.

So for instance, as I write this post it's 9:55 PM.  I'm not hungry, so there's no food near me.  
Will I eat breakfast tomorrow?  Probably.  I usually wake up hungry.  But, if I'm not hungry I think I'll wait a bit before I eat.  No big deal.

It's so crazy it just might work.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another Open Water Swimmer in the Family

Katie was adamant.  She was not getting in the lake.  But then she changed her mind.  
I'm not sure exactly what conversation went on inside her head but she changed her mind and filled out a form and walked right into Lake Erie.

This was my view at the beginning of the 1-mile open water swim in Lake Erie this past Saturday.  Ken has done this particular event for the past several years.  He likes the challenge of swimming out past the buoys & breakers (where we're normally allowed to swim) and swimming one-mile in open water while being tossed around in big waves.

Last year he was 3rd in his age group.  This year he met his biggest challenge yet... 
a 13 year-old who decided it was her turn to brave the lake.

We saw a few familiar, encouraging faces on the beach while we waited for the race to begin.  Katie was particularly encouraged by Rachel, a family friend who coached Katie a few summers ago. 
(By the way, Rachel won this race last year leaving all the boys eating her bubbles)

You may be asking yourself why Ken & I didn't just say no to her.  You need to know that Katie is an excellent swimmer.  She's on a swim team and she swims at least a mile every day during swim practice.  
We knew she was capable of completing this race.  

We also know Katie.  We know that once she puts her mind to a task, there's just no turning back.  She's not going to be satisfied until the task is complete.  

We've learned to watch her fly.  It's much easier than trying to hold her down.

Now, while we were all pretty confident that Katie could swim a mile, she had never done it in open water.  And open water swimming is different.  There's no big black line on the bottom to keep you swimming in a straight line.  No flip-turns every 25 yards to give you a little momentum.  And stopping to hang onto the wall for a moment isn't an option.

As Katie described it, "You just have to keep swimming.  
And the only one who can get you back to shore is you."

The organizers had set up big buoys along the course and swimmers were instructed to keep the buoys on their right side.  Ken & Katie decided to pick off buoys one at a time.  See the buoy- swim to it.  And they thought perhaps it was an optical illusion when it seemed like the third buoy was refusing to get any closer.

The buoys were drifting out into Lake Erie.

The one-mile swim that my brave girl agreed to ended up being closer to 2 miles.

(I'd like to note here that this is the sort of thing that gives a mama new grey hairs)

I couldn't have been happier when I saw her swimming towards the shore and then running up to the finish line.  (She's on the left in the picture below)

We headed for Bob Evans for some breakfast and celebration.  
I don't think I've ever seen her eat so many hotcakes in one meal!

She asked me if I was going to swim next year.  
I reminded her that she's the brave one.

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