Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011 :)

I had an awesome 10 miler this morning with great friends!  I LOVED my Knuckle Lights - they really illuminated the path!  I only needed them for the first thirty minutes, but they were incredibly helpful.  I'm really looking forward to using them on a night run to see how they help :)

I also loved the Smartwool socks - my feet stayed warm and I didn't get any blisters (which I typically do on a normal day).  Not that I'm hoping for snow, but I'll be curious to see how good my feet feel when it's freezing and wet outside.  Time will tell in MI :)

Got home and made a DELICIOUS French Toast breakfast for myself and the kids (my sister's kids are staying with us through Wednesday).  It was the first time I used the new griddle I received as a gift last Christmas and I love it as well :)

I talked everyone in the house into a nap after lunch with the promise of staying up until midnight to beat pots & pans.  It was amazing!  Now I just hope I can make it that long!!

I'm off to try making homemade Chicken Noodle Soup to eat over mashed potatoes - something one of my running friends told us about a few weeks ago that I'm dying to try.  Worst case scenario, we'll make some pizza :)

I can't believe that 2011 is almost over - it has been awesome:
  • it brought me confidence in my running
  • I joined an amazing running group and made some of my new best friends
  • I finished a MARATHON! 
I don't know how 2012 can beat this, but I can't wait to find out!

Happy New Year's Eve everyone - be safe!

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Running Things!!

After Christmas, I did a little online shopping and quickly forgot about it all.  So when I received some of my goodies today in the mail, I was so excited!!
I finally purchased some Smartwool running socks.  It's cold and wet in MI (although still no snow) and I needed something better in terms of socks.  I've checked a bunch out and asked a million runners and Smartwool is by far the highest recommended brand.  Thank you Amazon gift card from work.  Can't wait to try them on out on tomorrow morning's 10 miler.

Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred has been talked about by just about every blogger I know, so I figured I'd use the remaining $5 at Amazon to try this out.  "Lose up to 20 pounds in 30 days"  Sign me up!!  I'll be experimenting with it tomorrow after the run, so I'll let you know how that goes. 
This also magically appeared at my front door, don't have any idea where it came from :)  Apparently my husband didn't get the hint, so I took care of it at 60% off.  Check out the Shrek bell and Michigan football ornament you can barely see in the background :)
I won a pair of Knuckle Lights from Sheri at Running through Life and just got them in the mail today.  I can't wait to try them out and since it'll still be dark at 7am when we start our run tomorrow, I'll get the chance right away!  I can't believe how bright they are just inside the house!  I'll certainly let you know how it goes :)
Finally, we have my nieces and nephew over for the week :)  It's going to be so much fun!  They're 5, 7 and 11 and FULL of energy.  It's only been a half day so far and I'm pooped!  Ask me by Wednesday how I'm feeling :)  Today was sugar cookie making and we all got out alive and in bed at a reasonable hour!!

Hope things are going well for you all in prep for the New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!  Ours was a lot of fun :)  Our nieces and nephew presented us with personalized Michigan aprons since my hubby does an amazing bbq and I supply everyone's favorite desserts throughout the year.
"Uncle Pat" and "Aunt Rosie" - Great gifts!!

Christmas Eve was spent at my sister's for Murphy Family Christmas - just my immediate family.  It was a lot of fun and hilarious as we tried to take a family picture in front of the tree - but ended up completely blocking it out :) you can kind of see the top of her tree coming out of my head...
Christmas Day was a fun time with family and today, my husband and I slept in past noon!  That's almost 12 hours of sleep :)  No better way to start off two weeks of vacation!

It was a very lazy day until my husband had to go to work and I took our boys out for a quick couple of miles.  They're lazy dogs, but can handle 2-3 miles at a time.  We're having a mild winter so far in Michigan, and Jake, Dex and I enjoyed our 40-degree run mid-afternoon.  Plus, I got the chance to try out the I-Fitness belt I won from Jeff at Detroit Runner and I love it so far.
I took my license, credit card, cell phone and house key and had plenty of space to spare.  It didn't move or bounce and actually kept the contents dry inside.  I can't wait to try it on a longer run soon. 

When we got home, I purchased some Smart Wool running socks online with a gift card and can't wait for them to get here to try them out!

Now all I have to do is find something to fill my time in the next two weeks before I go back to work on January 9th....  Good problem to have :)   Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

First Annual Coach Gina and Rose's Christmas Eve Morning Half Marathon

I think we have to come up with a shorter race title, but this morning's First Annual Coach Gina and Rose's Christmas Eve Morning Half Marathon was a success!  We have 5 pregnant runners in our group and wouldn't you know if you break 13.1 miles into 5 pieces, the result is 2.62 miles a piece??!!  Genius!!  So we had an informal half marathon and "Preggo Relay" as Coach liked to call it. 
Coach even made us medals!

We did 5 (different) loops of 2.62 miles a piece for an awesome early-morning half marathon! 
 In fact, it was less than 5 minutes off my best half marathon time!
Afterwards, everyone had to jet off to get to their respective families' houses but I had a bit of time to kill and was STARVING, so I stopped off at our local diner and had quite possibly the best breakfast ever!

Yes, there was whip cream on top of the hot chocolate, but I had to dive right in before I thought to take a pic :)

Now it's off to my sister's house to celebrate Murphy Family Christmas with these delicious things in tow:
pumpkin pie decorated with reindeer
and yummylicious brownies for hot-fudge sundaes!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Finally, on December 21st, we put our tree up.  This is the latest we've ever waited, but also the first time we've had a family wedding in December :)
I forgot how much I LOVE decorating our tree.  We don't have many ornaments, but they all have meaning.  We LOVE personalized ornaments and as we unpack them, all the fun memories come back.
Our topper is really bizarre.  I grew up with a star as a topper, Pat grew up with an angel and we have a snowman couple :)  Pat may say we shopped too late for our Christmas decorations during our first year and there were no stars left, so this is what we got stuck with, but I definitely don't remember it that way...  I thought we picked this topper for the cute snowman couple (ironic since we lived in Louisiana at the time), sparkly blue (my favorite color) and funky shape.  Every year he mentions buying a new one and I throw a fit that it means too much to me.  Win and win :)
So back to running....  I got in an awesome 7.5 miles Friday morning around DC.  I ran three miles from our row house to the Capitol,
ran around it (almost another mile with funky cross streets) and then three miles down the National Mall, past the Smithsonans - I LOVE this building which is the Smithsonian Institute main building
and around the Washington Monument.
I then turned around to loop the White House by the ellipse and back to our house for a solid 7.5 mile run.  I felt great afterward and was ready to head to the Bridal Luncheon :)

That night, the rehearsal dinner was SO MUCH fun, we stayed out way too late and I woke up with the brown-bottle-flu still wearing this lovely number
I rocked it Friday night, not so much Saturday morning.  I definitely wasn't going to get my miles in and was thankful for my awesome run Friday morning.

Last night was a solid 6.2 miles with the running group and now we're just gearing up for our half-marathon-just-for-fun Christmas Eve morning :)

And I found this fun bracelet as I was unpacking all the Christmas stuff tonight - I'm sure my running friends will LOVE it on Saturday for 13.1 miles :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Almost Back

I had the most amazing weekend at my brother-in-law's wedding in Washington DC.  In three days, we went to 4 wedding events, had amazing food, knocked people's socks off with my outfits and got in a 7.5 mile run around the Capitol and the monuments.  Loved it!
 Friday night at the rehearsal
 my new besties from TX and CO
 Saturday night before the ceremony.  
I think I like pics in front of the decorated tree since ours isn't even up yet!
The 5th Hacker - welcome to the team!
 My brothers-in-law, husband and me at our rehearsal dinner May 2010 with the original jerseys
My new sister-in-law :)  Welcome to the family, Melanie!
Three more days of school and a half-marathon on Saturday morning = another busy week for me, but I'll be back to normal soon!

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Shoes!!

So which ones do you think I'm more excited for?
While the heels were on sale for less than $30, are for my bro-in-law's wedding next weekend, and go perfectly with this dress
It looks better on than on the hanger, I promise.  I'll show you after the wedding.

I'm definitely more excited for the Sauconys!!  It's the first time I've run in anything other than New Balance 758s and I LOVE them!!  Not only were they on sale, they feel great!

I was really hesitant to run in the new shoes outside in MI - it's been very rainy and snowy lately and I didn't want to get them dirty :(  I quickly got over that though and have loved them ever since.
The only downside to these new shoes is the pink.  I know.  I'm a girl; I'm supposed to love pink.  I don't.  Never have.  Blue is my favorite color.  So since the store only had pink and I love the shoes, I got them.  Imagine my disappointment when I got home and saw that they come in blue online (at the same sale price I paid!).  I was bummin' but clearly, I'll live :)

I can't believe it's been an entire week since I've posted last.  Sorry.  Here's a brief recap in pics:
baking my tail off
close up of delicious cookies for our running group's (called 501) holiday party
cake balls ready for the last step of dipping in candy coating
I've been shopping like crazy all week for our family Christmas that we're celebrating this Sunday - I know, it's insanely early, but it's the only time my two sisters and I, along with our parents can get together before Christmas Day.  So I need to get busy wrapping!! Yes, that is all for two nieces and a nephew. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Giveaway Winner!!

I'm so excited to announce a winner for my very first giveaway!  I know whoever wins this gift card to Road Runner Sports will LOVE LOVE LOVE the website.  I just got their catalog in the mail today... along with a surprise refund check from our escrow account... coincidence?  I think not!  More like a sign :) (yes, that is 1/3 stick of butter covering our address so you don't zoom in and stalk us)
So without much further blabbin' on.  I had 33 entries from really cool people.  I do have to say that I LOVED hearing your reasons for loving running - and I agree with them all :)
And the winner is.....
Lucky number 13... Danielle from Long May You Run!  Congrats Danielle!
Send your mailing address to hackerhalfmarathon [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll get your $25 gift card on its way :)

Thanks to everyone who commented and made me feel SO LOVED!  And now that I'm at the 50 follower mark, I'll be selling my autograph to the highest bidder :)  Have an awesome Friday everyone!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Snowy Run and final giveaway reminder

Last night's run started pretty rainy and ended as a Christmas wonderland!  Snow was everywhere!  It was sticking to my vest (that's what you get for running in a fleece vest and not dri-fit material) and by the end of the run, we were leaving footprints!  Just shy of 6 miles felt great with the 8 other members of our group that braved the weather. 

This is the first time I can remember having snow in Michigan in November - actual, accmulated snow on the ground, not just flurries.  My drive into work this morning was beautiful - the trees lining the interstate were covered in snow and it was so pretty.  Of course I don't have a picture of it; I was driving!!

Working at an elementary school, snow is a huge topic!  Everyone was hoping for a snow day today :)  But, since school wasn't canceled, we can now sled at recess!!  Did anyone else have sledding at their school?  I sure didn't but our kids LOVE IT!!

Don't forget to enter my very first giveaway by tonight.  I'll post a winner tomorrow :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rainy Runs and Baking Deliciousness

Be sure to check out my really simple, yet awesome giveaway if you haven't already. 

The group did a nice 8 miler yesterday in a different route out in the country.  We passed a lot of big, beautiful houses as well as a farm with a bunch of horses.  This is the first time I've seen horses do anything more than just stand there - 2 were actually chasing each other!  It was a lot of fun to watch and a great way to break up the run out on dirt roads.  I just wish I had my camera with me  :)
After last Tuesday's above run in the cold, miserable, pouring rain I feel like I conquer anything!  So, when it was sprinkling this morning, I didn't hesitate to get dressed and hit the road.  I ran a fun route I have only run once - on my first 18 miler - and was looking forward to doing part of it again.  In what seemed like a blink of an eye, 5 miles were done and I turned to head home.  I finished 8.25 miles soaking wet - you can kinda tell from this pic, my shirt was just sticking to me! 
I was so proud of myself and felt so great when I got home!  It's amazing what a great run will turn you into - I came home, took a hot shower, did all the laundry and baked up a storm!  

Check out these peanut butter kiss cookies - my husband's favorite!  I've never made them before and had a lot of fun trying out different variations.  
With my husband's expert taste-testing skills, we determined the old-fashioned drop cookies coated in sugar were the ultimate winners, so I finished the batch!
Not to be overdone by my husband's favorite treat, I made mine: banana muffins and this batch turned out divine!!
Hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Funny, Great Runner Gifts and My First Giveaway!

If you haven't checked out The Boring Runner's funny post on Thanksgiving as a kid vs. an adult, go do it now - it's hilarious!  I always enjoy Thanksgiving since it's such a low-stress holiday :)  My job is to bring the pumpkin pie, which turned out perfectly in my new Emile Henry pie pan.


Rebecca at Thru Thin and Thick put up an awesome post showing 7 great stocking stuffers for runners and after I read them aloud to my husband, I'm proud to say that I have them all but 3 & 7.  Hint, hint, honey :)


I'm so excited to be offering my FIRST GIVEAWAY!  This blog has been so helpful for me to develop my confidence in running and I have many of you to thank for that.  Thanks for sharing your kind and helpful comments and putting up great posts which have helped me navigate from new runner to marathoner in under two years :)

I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Road Runner Sports.  Treat yourself to something nice or buy something for your favorite runner :)  There are so many options to choose from.  I was turned onto this website by Michael from Slowly Tri-ing.  I won a gift card from one of her giveaways a few months ago and first purchased a case of Sports Beans which I blew through in marathon training :) 

Last month, I purchased these great Compression Tights in navy and I LOVE THEM!!  Their website is very easy to navigate, shipping is really quick and they have a 60-day return policy on shoes!  How awesome is that - you can run in them and if they aren't perfect they accept returns. 

Here's all you have to do to enter:

1) be a follower of my blog and leave a comment saying so (I not-so-secretly think I've 'made it' if I hit 50 followers!)
2) tell me your favorite thing about running :) or any other fun fact about yourself for another entry

You have until Wednesday, Nov 30th to enter and I'll pick a winner randomly on Thursday, Dec 1st.  I'm so excited for my first giveaway!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lots of Running Lately :)

I've been loving my running just-for-fun lately and have been putting some serious (for me) miles in.  Saturday I got in 7.5 miles with my fav girls from our group.  I joined the group in June and still look forward to our Saturday long runs as time to catch up and have fun with friends!  Love it!
Sunday was the GOTR 5K with the girls from my school and then some more miles with my dogs.  It was great to run with my girls and their parents. 
Monday was my favorite running day so far.  Our school has been offering a Turkey Trot on the Monday before Thanksgiving for five years now and I never took part.  I had a bunch of reasons:

1) the first three years I wasn't a runner and didn't think I could make it around the property once (1 mile).  How sad is that?  First graders could do it, but I was too nervous...

2) Nov 09 I had just started running and should have done it then but was too embarrassed to "Run Out Loud" - what would the kids say, what would the parents think??

3) Nov 10 I should have ran with the kids - I had just finished my first half marathon - why wouldn't I run with the kids?  I was still afraid of what they would think/say and didn't want to be seen in my spandex pants!  Ha - I'm an adult afraid of what K-8th graders would say to me about my outfit and running skills - are you kidding me?  hello, self-esteem issues....

So FINALLY, Nov 2011 was my year to finally run the Turkey Trot at school with our kids.  I started with the mile fun run with a group of 2nd graders then made another loop with the 5K starters.  I ran out of time to finish the 5K (so yes, I only ran 2 miles), but I run the After School Program and had to go be ready for the kids to come to me once they finished the 5K (before me).  

In conclusion, it took me RUNNING A MARATHON to be confident enough to run 2 MILES at school with my kids.  Hmmmm, something sounds off here.

I will say that I had a blast and it opened up all sorts of FUN conversations with kids AND parents about my running!  Hooray, I'm finally out of the running closet at work :)

Tuesday night was a soggy, soggy run with 4 other friends from our group.  Typically we have about ~25 runners on Tuesday night and even though it had been raining hard all day, it really didn't cross my mind to skip the run.  Apparently, I was in the minority, since only 5 people showed up!  We rocked out an awesome 6.2 hilly miles in the POURING rain and cold weather.  After a certain point, it really didn't matter that it was raining anymore, we were beyond the point of saturation and our only goal was to avoid the big commuter busses splashing us on the sidewalk.  The 5 of us had a great run and it only took a long hot shower, bowl of soup, cup of hot chocolate and fleece pjs and blankets to warm me up afterward :)  
So, in 4 days, I've logged 21.7 miles :)  I know this isn't a lot to some people, but it is a lot for me.  I rarely run consecutively - in fact Sunday and Monday are my typical rest days.  It feels great though to run back-to-back-to-back days like this though, who knows, I'm shaping up to be a L.B. Jr :)  Go check him out, he's on 46 days of consecutive running!

I'll probably get in some miles today before we head out for shenanigans tonight and some more solo miles Turkey Day morning before going over to see our family... then with Fri-Sun off, this could be an awesome trend!

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

GOTR 5K and DOGS 5K :)

I got the chance to rock out the Girls on the Run 5K this morning with 10 girls from my school.  One of the coaches wasn't able to be there, so I stepped right in as an assistant - I'm not one to just stand around anyway :)  It was awesome getting the girls all ready for the race - the energy was amazing!!  
The 5K started on time and went really well - they updated the course to alleviate the bottle necking and it went really smoothly.  I stuck with a couple of girls in the beginning and as soon as they felt strong I sent them off and hung back with one of our girls that wasn't quite feeling it this morning.  We ran and then walked and ran and then walked and walked some more...  I left it up to her to set the pace.  When we finished the 3.1 miles 45 minutes later, the huge smile on her face let me know that she enjoyed herself!!  

It was awesome running with the team, chatting with all the girls and their parents and then hanging out after the race.  This is something I've done each fall and spring for two years now and I REALLY enjoy it!!

Not to mention my favorite local running friend Rebecca is on the 5K planning committee - she totally rocked out her area today!  The volunteers really made this race awesome for all the girls.  I believe they had over 700+ 3rd-5th grade girls participating, PLUS all their support people :)


Even though I did a 5K this morning, it was all for the girls and I wasn't really feeling the burn.  I wasn't quite content changing out of my running clothes once I got home.  So, I grabbed my dogs and headed out the door.  I was planning on running our own little doggy 5K, but my below fat and lazy dog proved to be unfit for such a distance.
Every time we start out, they are so fast the first half mile, make it through mile 1.5 no problem and then fatso Jake starts slowing down.  As much as I wanted to push them through to get to the 5K for my own personal benefit, I knew it wasn't worth it.  So after a little over 2 miles, we walked.

Jake's had some health issues in the past week or so and has been on steroids and taking it easy, so I didn't want to push him.  It was nice to just be outside in this gorgeous day!  We finished out 2.75 miles by the time we got back home and they were both pooped.  Dex spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the couch, now that we finally let him up on it :)
Grand total of 5.85 miles for the day, which I'll put on my running log, but it sure wasn't anything like my 8 miler yesterday with the 501 girls.  It took me to today to realize sometimes it's just not all about me :)