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 :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fun 5K tomorrow, new blog look & upcoming giveaway!

Tomorrow I'm going to an awesome 5K to support my school's Girls on the Run team.  It is an amazing program for 3rd-5th grade girls that helps develop self-esteem and healthy lifestyles through running.  I'm proud to say I brought it to our school two years ago and it's going great!!

I'm planning on surprising my girls when I show up for the race tomorrow, but after a couple years of doing so, they may have an idea now :)  Either way, it's going to be a good time for everyone.  


As you can tell, I'm playing around with a new look to the blog.  It's far from finished, but I'm working on finding some great pics for a header :)  If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!


I'm so excited that I'm getting close to 50 followers, that I'm almost ready to host my first blog giveaway!!  Be sure to check back soon as I'm sure it is something that you all will be interested in!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2012 Running Plans

Since we're such a fun group of ladies, my running friends all decided to get together for dinner last night to discuss our 2012 race schedule.  We've been running together since June and while we've all been training, they've mostly been for different races.  We were really excited to plan some races for us all to do together :)

While we didn't actually register for anything last night, here's our 2012 basic structure - the big ones:

Jan 14th Nike + Women's Half Marathon - it's a virtual race that raised money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  It'll give us a goal through the winter blahs.

March 11th Shamrocks & Shenanigans - a shitty, two-loop, hilly 5K in Ann Arbor that means a lot to each of us personally.  (Patti's first race ever, Amanda's talked her hubby into running it as his first race this year and I was able to talk my entire family to run/walk it last year)  I wouldn't really recommend it, but we're doing it :)

June 3rd Dexter/Ann Arbor Half Marathon - it's a gorgeous course starting in Dexter and ending in AA along Huron River Drive.  I've never run it before (cause I thought it would be TOO HOT, but I'll live).  A lot of runners in our 501 Club train for this event, so it should be a lot of fun with a lot of support.  Their website doesn't have any info up for 2012 yet; apparently they don't plan as far in advance as we do :)

October 29th MARINE CORPS MARATHON!!  Yes, three of the girls who have just finished their first or second half marathon (and one whobwill finish her first half ironman in August 2012) are 99% committed to doing their first marathon!  I'm so excited for them and to run this race.  Now for this to occur, we need two things to happen:

1) All the marathon virgins to mentally commit - they have until March 7th
2) All of us actually get to register THE DAY registration opens.  I heard it sold out in 26 hours this year and it would suck for us to mentally commit and then some of us not get in. 

Of course, we'll throw some other races in there sporadically to keep things exciting, but it's fun to have a structure in place.  The Crim will be on there as well as Rock Cystic Fibrosis Half for sure on my schedule.  

I'm just so excited to get this show on the road and get back into a training plan!!

Any fun races you think we must do in the MI/OH area??

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chatting with a Pro

On our way back from Saturday's Iron Turkey, we gave a ride to Jason, an incredibly fast runner who joined our group while he's in MI for six months.  He's from Australia and gets 6 months of vacation every third year - isn't that nice :)  On top of that, he chooses to come to Ann Arbor regularly during this time. 
Built like a runner :)
Jason ran the Chicago Marathon in 2:47 this year!!  He's run three 10Ks in the past month and has WON them all!  We gave him a ride home and picked his brain the entire time.  I asked him if he cared that we were drilling him and he was cool with it; it's his norm when he's in the states :)

The one thing that stuck out for me is his race fuel: during a marathon, he eats 1 or 2 gels, depending on how he's feeling and before a marathon, he eats one lara bar and get this: a quad-shot expresso and a red bull! 
He's the one with the medal around his neck - for 3rd overall in the 10K Saturday
I don't drink coffee, but I'm willing to try it before my next race!  Holy crap, is that a lot of caffeine!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Awesome Iron Turkey Report

The Iron Turkey was a LOT of fun yesterday!  A bunch of girls from the 501 running group were running it together and we has a blast :)  
It wasn't until the night before the race that I realized in order to run the 5K and then the 10K, we were going to be running the same loop 3 times.  Double-loop courses always mess with me mentally but three times!  Yikes.  I wasn't sure what to think of this, but it proved to be just fine.  It was a gorgeous course and did not bore me at all!  That's great news :)

Rhoda, Liz, Amanda, Patti and I all took off together and had the goal of taking it easy to warm up for our 10K.  The loop was on a paved path through a metro park and was really pretty.  I thought it would be too crowded with such a thin path, but it proved to not be a problem all race.  

I finished the 5K in 33 minutes exactly, went back to the car to shed some layers and hit the bathroom and it was time for the 10K.  I liked not having down time :)  It wasn't long and we were off for the 10K.  

Our 2nd lap on the same course wasn't bad and on the third one; we finished the last half mile with the kid's miler :)  It was fun for us, but had we been racing this Iron Turkey, I would have been annoyed with the kids and their parents on the course (in our way).  Since we were running for fun and hammed it up with all the kids. 

All of a sudden, the 10K was over in just 1:06:49, a couple minutes off my PR, which is exciting :)  I finished the Iron Turkey (9.3 miles) in 1:39:50, 10:38 average pace, and was pretty proud of that. 
The weather was gorgeous and we had a blast!  After the race, we all cheered our Coach in and then 'tailgated' in the parking lot with lots of baked goodies  and snacks.

It was an awesome day and beautiful course I might do again next year!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Iron Turkey!

So I peer-pressured into registering for a race this weekend - the Iron Turkey of the Dexter Turkey Trot.  At least peer-pressure was a good thing in this instance :)  All the girls from my pace in our running group are doing it, so I couldn't be left out.

I figured this would be the only time I'd be an Iron-anything, so I better go for it.  The races offer a 5K and 10K and the Iron Turkey is running both.  We'll be running the 5K at 9am and then the 10K at 10am, so we'll have some time in between.  Time will tell if that's a good thing or not :)

I haven't run more than 6.2 miles since the marathon, but seeing as though I'm almost 4 weeks out, I should be okay.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.  I'm not going all-out to race this thing; my goal is to enjoy the day and enjoy running with friends.

Isn't that what running should be all about??  

plus, we're supposed to get some 'special shirt' just for Iron Turkey runners and a medal, too :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Logging Miles

How do you log your miles?  Literally - do you right them down, use an excel worksheet, rely solely on a garmin, etc?  

I'm still running and would like to get back on some sort of a schedule; I've just kinda been all over the place since the marathon.  I'd like my weekly mileage to be around 20ish and complement that with strength training this winter.

In the past, I've logged on an excel worksheet in detail or I've printed out training plans and put them on the fridge, highlighting for completing the workout.  Since I finished the marathon, I keep looking at the fridge blankly wondering what I should be running - I'm so lost without a plan :)

Now I just need something simple.  It would be nice to easily keep track on my weekly and monthly mileage just to know.  But I've never done that before, so I'm wondering what you find simple to use??

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Dig Your Blog

So I've been a bit out of it the past few weeks blog-wise after the marathon.  I'm still running and enjoying it; my mind is just mush. 

Earlier this week I was nominated for a fun award from Danielle of Long May You Run.  Now is an awesome time to check her blog out as she's just about to run her first marathon!!

So I'm going to share 3 random things about me and then instead of tagging 5 people to do it, I'll highlight some of my favorite blogs to keep up with.  Enjoy!!

1) I love to bake.  It's one of my favorite things to do!  I bake for my staff about twice a week - which is a great way for me not to consume everything I make!  Chocolate chip cookies are a staple as I've finally found the perfect recipe.  I made a huge batch tonight and put it in the fridge til Sunday night (cookies are always better if the dough is refrigerated for a day or two). 
Look how big this tupperware of dough is!  I had to hide it in the basement fridge as my husband is a cookie dough monster. 

Cake Balls are another fan favorite!  Even though they're a pain in the butt to make, they are always loved everywhere I take them!
Double chocolate brownies are my newest favorite to make and I've been perfecting a recipe for a few months.  My staff all say they're delicious, but as broke college kids, I'm sure they love everything!

2) I am a licensed EMT, worked in the ER for two years in Louisiana, and am currently certified by the American Red Cross to teach CPR and First Aid.  I've always been interested in the medical field and while I don't regret my choices in life, if I had to do it over again, I'd go into nursing right out of high school.  I sometimes miss the adrenaline of working in the ER, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job, so it has all worked out :)

Now this one will either make you love me or hate me:

3) I have been listening to Christmas music since the week before Halloween.  I LOVE Christmas music :)  Now I'm not a crazy Christmas person in general - I don't do all my shopping in advance, I don't go all out on decorating the house, I just love Christmas music.  
John Denver and The Muppets is the BEST CD EVER!!  I seriously keep it in my laptop at work all year around, just in case :)  You never know when you may need it.  My IT guy has come across it a few times when fixing my laptop and has found it hilarious!

I also make my husband listen to this cd on repeat as we put up the tree every year.  Good thing we don't have that many ornaments! 

So if you're in the Detroit area, check out 105.1 or "Christmas 105.1" as they like to call it!

Instead of tagging 5 people with this award, I'm going send a few shout outs to some of my favorite blogs to keep up with regularly.  Check them out if you haven't already:

1) L.B. at Muddy Runner is such an inspiration to me.  He logs incredibly long stretches of running every day and has hit a 50 mile week recently.  He's just been chosen to be a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador which is really awesome!  Check him out.

2) Jeff at Detroit Runner was the first blog I have ever read and continue to do so daily.  By learning about his weight-loss journey through running, I gained the confidence to run and blog about it!  I was so nervous at first and slowly opened up by following his lead.  I've also had the pleasure of meeting him in real life (twice) and he's awesome!  He ran his first marathon this spring and then his second in Detroit (my first).  

3) Michael from Slowly Tri-ing is a lot of fun!  She participates in triathalons and is hilarious!  I love pics of her dog Jack and her husband is really funny on his blog, too.  Check her out and you certainly won't be disappointed. 

What is one random fact about you?