Friday, January 31, 2014

Fitness Friday: Challange Accepted!

Most people start some kind of New Year's workout challenge and this year I was no different.  I actually completed 3 challenges, none of which required running because injuries suck donkey balls but that's a different post entirely.  The first challenge was BethBob's #raceshirtaday Instagram challenge.  I gotta say, NAILED IT! I went 31/31 - a perfect score :) I really loved this - wear a different race shirt every day this month.  I only wore a couple to work (like today's Jax Bank Half shirt) because casual dress isn't really supported.  What was really fun was writing a blurb on Instagram when I posted the shirts.  It gave me a chance to relive some of those races and dig out some really old shirts.  I have race reports on most of these races here if you care to read them.
The second challenge was put on by the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Squats and Push-ups - what's not to love besides everything?  Nailed this one, too.  I ignored most of the rest days and working out for 15-20 minutes in the morning has become a pretty cool routine.  I made it to the 3 rounds of 50 squats and 30 push-ups (modified).  Another success!  (Shrinking Jeans does a monthly workout calendar every month so if you want to get in on the fun, check back later today or tomorrow when Lissa posts the next calendar.)

Lastly, one of my girlfriends found this plank challenge from Athleta and we've been checking in each day on Facebook with how we've been doing on our planks.  This has also become part of my morning routine and I'm proud to say that while I didn't make it to 5 minutes (honestly, I think this was unrealistic), I can do a solid 3 minute plank now and can stretch it to 4 minutes with a 30 second arm position change.  This has also become part of my morning routine.

Did you participate in any fun workout challenges this month?  How did they go?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Pacific Ocean

2 years ago today I met up with these ladies and ran the Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon.

I couldn't leave California without putting my feet in the Pacific Ocean.

I'm wishing for a beach big-time now. We're on our 3rd snow day in a row with no end in sight. If anyone would like to stuff me in a suitcase & send me somewhere warm and beachy, I'd be very appreciative.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Training Tuesday: oh my aching butt!

55 miles this week and almost all of them on my bike in the basement.  I spent quite a bit of time trying out a new saddle this week and then more time on Saturday (after my 27 mile ride) back at the bike shop getting re-fitted for my bike.  I ended up with another new saddle plus the most expensive bike shorts I've ever purchased.  Hopefully this week's rides will start to be more comfortable.

I've been sick all week and my workouts have suffered.  I've continued to work on my planks, squats and push-ups but the cardio has really sucked.  I'd managed to get up to a 4 minute plank by Saturday, but Sunday I could only do 3 minutes.  The squats and push-ups are progressing.  I think I'm going to keep them going after the month's challenge is over, but with some rest days because my shoulders are absolutely pissed.

Monday 1/20/14 - BIKE 11.11 miles in 45 minutes (14.8 mph).

Tuesday 1/21/14 - Cross training (WALK) 3.61 miles in 1 hour. I tried to throw in some jogging but I couldn't run for even 20 seconds.  This workout sucked balls.

Wednesday 1/22/14 - BIKE 10.7 miles in 45 minutes (14.2 mph).  I wanted to get in at least an hour but I had no energy at all. I couldn't hit any of my cadence goals and I gave up after only 2 tabatas.

Thursday 1/23/14 - sick day.  I did nothing except my morning challenge work.

Friday 1/24/14 - Cross training (ARC) 1.46 miles in 35 minutes. Plus RUN!! I ran 1 whole mile in a very slow 10:54 on the indoor track. My heel felt pretty good but I finished with an achy achilles and feeling like all my running speed has left the building.

Saturday 1/25/14 - BIKE "long run" 27.2 miles in 2 hours (13.6 mph).  So slow but I got it done.  My ass was NOT happy, even with the new seat I'd been using.  Went to the bike shop in the afternoon and I have another seat to try for the next month, plus some other adjustments were made to my bike.

Sunday 1/26/14 - REST. I tried to do my morning challenge work and failed after a 3 minute plank. I didn't do the sides or my squats and push-ups. Spent the day on the couch with my computer.  Actually, not really.  In the afternoon I went out and ran 1/2 a mile around the neighborhood then played in the snow in my yard.

This week I need to add in some more running if I'm feeling healthier and my heel isn't too pissed off.  I have a nighttime 4.4 mile trail race on Saturday and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to run the whole race, but maybe I can run some intervals.  I definitely need to wear gloves and find something to cover my face.  Just being out for 10 minutes on Sunday was freezing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meal Monday: German Soup

It just keeps snowing and snowing and snowing.

When the weather looks like this outside, all I want is a yummy, warm soup.

Today, I give you German Soup!  This recipe came from an authentic German at one of our Lutheran Church potlucks, so you know it's going to be good.


5 cups chicken broth
1 can (16oz) sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp dried dill
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 medium potato, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 lbs fresh kielbasa, removed from casing and crumbled (I actually use the Hillshire Farm kielbasa and just slice it)
1-2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp pepper


Combine all ingredients and simmer until sausage and vegetables are cooked.  The hardest part of this recipe is chopping all the vegetables.  You can also make this in a crock pot if you have more time.  This recipe serves about 8 people and the leftovers heat up very well.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 23, 2014

3 Things Thursday: track team motivation

My HS junior daughter is a diver & runs track. She has these tags hanging from her swim/track bag & I love that the captains gave these out before each meet.

Here are 3 of my favorites:

That last one. Yah, that. That POS voice has been yelling at me for weeks and really needs to STFU.

What about you? Any other great motivating quotes from your kid's gym bag?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

#WIAW: mug cookies

Allow me to be sick and whiny. When I'm sick and whiny I want really bad for me foods. Might explain why, despite the crazy amount of workouts I'm still trying to get in (hello 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hour bike sessions), I'm the fattest I have been in the past 3 years or so.  It's gross.  I'm gross. But I guess I don't care enough because I'm still eating real food and not going to some shake-based program or cutting all foods that give me some shred of happiness or something like that.

So yes, I made mug cookies the past 2 nights.  Totally horrible for me and I can't even imagine how many calories.  But for a few minutes I felt better and my kids said "thanks mom, these are great".  My boy even wrote down the recipe.  Great example I'm setting, huh?

If you want to make them, here's the recipe:

Mix in a coffee cup:
1 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp bisquick
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp white sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk

Nuke for about 60 seconds and eat right out the the mug with a spoon.  These would probably be amazing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream but thank God I didn't have any ice cream in the house.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Training Tuesday

I don't have much to say this week.  I ended the week not feeling great and spend most of Sunday in bed or curled up on the couch.  I still don't know when I'm going to try running.  My heel isn't 100%, or even 70% but I'm getting impatient.


The cross training continues.  In addition to what is listed below, I've been keeping up with my plank, squat and push-up challenges.  I'm up to a 3 minute plank, 1 min on the sides, then 3 rounds of 25 squats and 17 modified push-ups.

Monday 1/13/14:  ARC Trainer 2.4 miles in 60 minutes.

Tuesday 1/14/14: 30 minutes of stretching and rolling.

Wednesday 1/15/14: BIKE 17.69 in 75 minutes (14.1 mph).  I really struggled with this ride for some reason.  I think I'm just mentally done with being injured.

Thursday 1/16/14: Elliptical 1.5 miles in 15 min.  Then I went to a very humbling, 45 min long group exercise class at the Y that prove how out of shape I am when it comes to weights.

Friday 1/17/14: REST plus a massage.

Saturday 1/18/14: Long "run" BIKE 34.5 miles in 2:30:10 (13.8 mph).  This seemed like an eternity and I'm pretty sure the lady parts still haven't recovered.

Sunday 1/19/14: REST - sick day with about 12 hours of sleep and vegging on the couch, followed by watching my Broncos advance to the Super Bowl :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Motivation Monday: sick & tired

I'm sick and tired. For realz. I really hope I can workout later today but the way I'm feeling now my guess will be that it isn't going to happen.

Do you workout when you're sick?

The next picture has nothing to do with anything other than Go Broncos!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fitness Friday: Themed Runs

My cousin tagged me in a post on FB this morning, asking if I'd heard of a bunch of themed runs.

Are you kidding?  Of course I have!  Here are just a few that I'd love to add to my list.  Themed runs are great if you want a fun atmosphere with no pressure for time.  In fact, a lot of themed runs, like the Color Run, aren't timed at all.

Neffmau5 Land 2
1.  Electric Run - as seen on The Bachelor this week! (Side note - I absolutely LOVE that Juan Pablo took a date on a 5k run.) Neon and a night time run with DJs.  Yes, please!

2.  The Color Run - while I'm not crazy about the thought of the color powder ending up in my eyes, nose and mouth, the end result just looks like a blast.  My girl really wants to do this one so I'm probably registering for the one here as soon as it opens.

3.  Warrior Dash - I loved the mud run I did a couple years ago and have been jonesing for another.  This one is 3-5 miles long and usually has around a dozen obstacles.  A cool medal.  A warrior helmet.  Plus, beer and turkey legs at the end.  Win-Win!

Have you done any of these runs?  What's been your favorite themed run?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 2012 Tinker Bell Half Marathon #runDisney

In honor of this weekend's Tinker Bell Half - a few pictures from the inaugural race in 2012. I so wish I was heading to Anaheim right now.

I loved running with Beki and meeting up with Barb and Andrea.  

Sleeping Beauty's castle and Disneyland will never compare to Cinderella's and Disney World for me, but I still loved running through the parks in California.  Plus, this was part one in my quest for my Coast to Coast medal :)

I couldn't leave California without seeing the Pacific Ocean.  On a related note, I really need a beach right now.

Are you running Tink?  Which Disney park do you prefer - Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday: #raceshirtaday

I'm currently participating in a fun challenge hosted by Discom-BOB-ulated Running - the Race Shirt a Day challenge!

A chance to dust off all those race shirts, post a picture to Instagram with the #raceshirtaday hashtag and wear them with pride. So far my streak is alive. Here are my first 14!

I have to admit, it's been pretty fun. Wearing each shirt and posting a little blurb about the race has made me think back to each one.  I might need to dig deep into the archives to make it the full 31 days but I'm giving it a shot!

If you want to participate, it's never too late!  Just start using that hashtag and posting those selfies :)

Do you have a favorite race shirt?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Training Tuesday: the anti-running plan

In case you hadn't noticed, there hasn't been much any running going on around these parts.  Too much training and racing in 2013 left me with a very pissed off left heel, complete with not just one but TWO heel spurs.  I'm an overachiever like that.  In an effort to get my heel to heal, I've been cross training like a beast.  I wish I could say a 2 hour trainer workout is a valid substitute for a 2 hour long run, but it really isn't.  Still, I'm putting in the work in the hopes that when my next race day gets here (in 18 days!), my heel is better, my running muscles remember what to do, and I still have the endurance to run for more than 5 minutes.  The race is only about 4.5 miles (new distance) and it's a trail run, so no matter what happens it's a PR, which helps take a little bit of the pressure off a bit.  Still, I'd like to be able to run the whole thing and finish in under an hour.

Here was the last week's training (every day also includes stretching plus a squat, push-up, plank challenge I'm doing):

Monday 1/6 - Bike 16.4 miles in 1:05:00

Tuesday 1/7 - Run 1 mile (untimed, I just had to go out and run in the -15* temps cuz I'm crazy like that), Bike intervals 11.34 miles in 45 min.  Yoga - 20 min.

Wednesday 1/8 - Arc Trainer - 3.08 miles in 1:15:00.

Thursday 1/9 - Bike tabata 11.25 miles in 45 min.

Friday 1/10 - Swim 1000 yds in 28 minutes.

Saturday 1/11 - Bike "long run" 26.5 miles in 2 hours.  This was HARD and I'm not sure the lady parts will ever recover.

Sunday 1/12 - rest

I managed to cover 65.45 miles on my trainer this week!  I'm not positive, but I think that has to be some kind of a record for me.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Motivation: the only failure is quitting

Today marks the kick off for the Winter Couch to 5k program I help mentor over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  I'm very proud of the over 125 women who have committed to becoming runners in 2014. Taking the first step and being willing to get outside of your comfort zone is a huge accomplishment.

However, I've already had some mention they have tried to complete the program in the past but they always "fail".  Or that they've done one workout and it was hard and "This is why I fail".  I'm very bothered by this automatic assumption that they are going to fail.

Here's a newsflash.

This applies to more than just getting through a 9 week C25K program.  Yes, learning how to run is HARD.  Starting any exercise program when you've been sedentary is HARD.  Having the courage to keep going when you feel like giving up is HARD.

If you don't like failing, then don't quit.  You are so much stronger than you realize.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fitness Friday: race registration karma?

It seems the universe is conspiring against me in my quest to start signing up for races. (Even though I'm not currently running - I'm getting antsy.)

I've tried for 2 days in a row to register for the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25k Relay.  
Fifth Third River Bank Run

Both days something went wrong - either I couldn't connect to the site at all or the coupon code I was given for unknowingly becoming their postcard image didn't work.  

I figured I could register for this one since I should be fine to run by May.  I hope the running God's aren't trying to tell me something because I'm really excited about this race now since I get to run the relay with Corey so I HAVE TO BE ABLE TO REGISTER!

Since I had it in my head to register for SOMETHING today, I decided to go for this one instead.

Don't worry, I'm not running a marathon in 3 weeks, or even a half marathon.  I'm going to run the 1/6th Moonlight Marathon the night before.  I figure even broken I can walk 4.4 miles but hopefully I'll be able to at least run most of it or I'm going to freeze my ass off.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


July 2007 in St. Lucia. With all the snow and ice and bitter cold making me miserable here in Michigan, I decided to post something warm :)

Yes, the French Angel is totally photo bombing me. Or maybe I photo bombed her?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Would you rather....?

I've been in a bit of a blogging slump.  This seems to happen at the start of every year when I run out of "recap" posts or when I'm on a running "break" and don't have a training plan to write about.

I saw this on Kimberly's blog yesterday and thought it looked fun, so I borrowed stole it.  

>>Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm? 

Since I've done both, I would have to say I actually prefer the snowstorm.  The snow, while beautiful and full of badassery, slows me down and that's frustrating.  But you aren't likely to die unless you fall in a snowbank, never to be seen from again (or until the snow melts in April).  Thunderstorms, with their accompanying lightening, scare me a little.  Now, if we're just talking a downpour on a warm day - the rain wins hands down.

>>Would you rather breathe through your nose or breathe through your mouth? 

Nose.  But if we are talking running, I can pretty much promise I'm breathing through my mouth.

>>Would you rather do 100 squats or 100 crunches? 

100 crunches.  There are lots of different styles so you could mix it up.

>>Would you rather have a baked good for dessert or an extra serving of your favorite entree? 

No brainer.  Dessert.

>>Would you rather run on a treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour? 

The street block for sure.  I really get bored on the treadmill and at least running around the block the scenery would change a little.

>>Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch? 

I'm with Kim on this one.  Headache. Side stitches are awful.

>>Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off? 

My rest days tend to always be on work days.  When I take them.  I try to do something everyday.

>>Would you rather be a race director or a race volunteer? 

I volunteered at my first race this year and it was so fun.  I think being a race director would just be full of headaches.

>>Would you rather spend your money on running gadgets [HRM, GPS watch, Headphones] or running shoes? 

This is a really hard call.  I'm all about the gadgets, but I have most of what I need.  Shoes need to be replaced often, so I'm going with shoes.

>>Would you rather run in a relay or do the run portion of a distance triathlon? 

Relays are so much fun.  Gotta go with the relay, but if someone wanted my slow ass to run the run portion of a triathlon, I probably wouldn't say no.

What about you?  Pick one or two of these and tell me what you'd rather do.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 Races in Review: the Year of the Half #runchat

February 2013

Groundhog Half Marathon - The start of the year of the halfs.  This race was the most fun one can have running through 14 inches of fresh snow with some of your very best running friends.  I was completely unprepared for this race but it really didn't matter.  It was 100% run for fun.  Dressing up like Miss Sunshine didn't hurt, either.

April 2013

Martian Half Marathon - This was supposed to be a training run and turned out to be a 17 minute half marathon PR when I finished in 2:10:36.  The weather was crap, the course was changed the night before because of flooding, and I was sick.  Didn't matter.  I killed that course and I got to meet Lori!

Rivertown Races Half Marathon - I tried very hard to run this as just a training run.  It was fun to run with Mindy and just take it easy.  The weather was crazy warm and this was another race that changed it's course the day before the race.  For an inaugural race, it was handled well and I'd consider running this one again.

May 2013

5/3 River Bank Run 25k - Looking back at this race report and reading that I'd just planned to use a 15.5 mile race as a training run for my "A" race - the Bayshore Half - seems laughable now.  WTF was I thinking?  What ended up happening was a really great run, even paces, and another PR.  I took just over 11 minutes off of my only other 25k from 2 years before, running a 2:41:33 (a 10:25 pace).  I had fun, talked to lots of random strangers, and just got lost in the moment.  I snapped this selfie after the race, and wouldn't you know - the RBR people ended up using it for some of this year's media.  I managed to snag a free entry for 2014 out of the deal :)

Bayshore Half Marathon - This was my "A" race for 2013 and I scored an A+.  I took another 3 minutes off my half PR and this one stood for the rest of the year. 2:07:09 is my new time to beat.  This race will probably always be a favorite.  Beautiful scenery, the weather was awesome, and I got to run with a ton of my friends.  We stuck around afterwards to watch friends finish the full.  I rarely get to be a spectator at races and watching friends set marathon PRs was pretty freaking special.

June 2013

Get Lost in Running - Not an official race, but a race series based on the numbers from the movie LOST.  To kick off the series, I had already run the 4k race but I got to run the 8k with one of my favorite people in the whole world.  Corey was in Michigan for her nephew's graduation and she braved some nasty rain to drive over to my side of the mitten and run.  There's a pretty good chance this 8k is my fastest ever (we averaged a 9:18 pace!), but since it wasn't a real race, I don't know for sure.  All I know is I had a blast meeting up with Corey and we have some pretty awesome running planned for 2014.  I went on to finish the entire series - 4, 5, 15, 16, 23, 42k - before the end of the year and earned the series medal.  I still need to hand the medal hanger but I have to say, it was probably the most fun virtual race EVAH.

July 2013

Reed's Lake 10k - The PR streak continues!!!! I signed up for this race at the last minute and by race day a few days later, I didn't even want to run.  I met up with friends before and decided to try and reach that elusive sub-60.  I did a great warmup with Pete and even saw Cat on the course at one point.  The brain gets fuzzy when it's dehydrated (it was muggier than F*ck) and I wasn't sure I'd hit my goal, but the stars aligned and I nailed it - a 58:50!!! I found my friends again and we realized all 4 of us PR'd that day.  It's crazy how you can go into a race expecting nothing and pull an amazing run out of your very tired ass.

Tri Del Sol - I had planned on completing a few triathlons in 2013, but running sort of consumed my life.  At least I had registered for this one way back on New Year's Eve, so if forced me into crosstraining.  This race was so much more a mental challenge than my 2012 tri and I honestly don't know if I'd race it again. I hated everything about the swim and almost didn't even start.  The fact I finished was a huge accomplishment. 

Streets of Fire 8k - this was an evening race and the 2nd run in a double for relay training, so I wasn't expecting anything more than to get in a 2nd 5 mile run for the day.  I've only run one other official 8k and this one was a PR by almost 6 minutes (although my virtual 8k with Corey was about a minute faster).  I ran most of the race with my friend Jenn and she really pushed me at the end - I clocked a sub-9 mile for what might be the first time ever in a race!  The best part was the beer and pizza at the polish hall afterwards though :)

August 2013

The Fred 200 Mile Relay - In August, I checked something off my bucket list by participating in a 200 mile relay.  It was incredible in so many ways.  I faced my fears of running doubles and triples.  I ran at night in night gear.  I lived in a van.  Over the course of less than 24 hours, I clocked about 18 miles.  It was exhausting and exhilarating and I hope I get asked to run it again.

Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon - When a huge group of girlfriends suggested we all head down to my home town and run a half marathon together, I jumped on the chance.  What I didn't think was how raced-out and broken I would be after so much racing all summer and finishing a relay just a few weeks before.  This weekend was so fun, but the uber-hilly race pretty much was the nail in my coffin.  I finished this race really injured and questioning how the rest of the year was going to play out.

October 2013

Shrinking Jeans Ghostly Gallop Virtual 10k - I wasn't going to include this since it wasn't an official race and I never even wrote a race report, but I changed my mind and put it in anyway since I included the LOST series.  I ran the 10k as part of a weekend long run (I think I ran 8 that day) and finished my 10k portion in 1:03:59. Not bad for a training run.

December 2013

Jax Bank Half Marathon - I capped off the Year of the Half by traveling to Jacksonville, Florida and running my 6th half of the year and 10th overall.  I wasn't 100% healthy and pretty much knew all hopes of finishing the year with another PR were probably shot.  Getting down there and being hit by the humidity and then rainstorms during the race just solidified that.  It was still a great weekend and I got to meet up with some DailyMile friends and drink a lot of local beers.  I fought hard and finished with my 4th fastest time ever (beating my 1st half marathon time by about a minute).  I'm not convinced Florida loves me since I've run 2 of my hardest halfs there, but I'm not giving up on southern climates yet.

In case you weren't counting, that makes 13 races in 2013 :)  Yes, I know 2 of them don't really count, but for me this is a pretty big deal.  It was a busy, busy year and I think I learned a lot about myself as a runner.  Some of those thoughts might make it into a future post, but mostly I learned the valuable lesson of training to race and not racing to train.  I'm now struggling to take the month of January off from running so I can come back even stronger and faster in 2014.  Who knows, I might even have some pretty huge race goals this year.

How did your year shape up?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Motivation: Running with the Sisterhood

Run with the Sisterhood
In case you aren't aware, I also write for the most awesome site - The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  I help with their Run with the Sisterhood Facebook page, as well as mentor new runners through a Couch to 5k program.  I absolutely LOVE being a part of this incredible group of ladies.  When Lisa announced the start of the next C25K program yesterday, my phone just about blew up with people joining our group.  It's so exciting!

If you've ever thought you'd like to try running, this is the perfect opportunity.  Join our running community and private Facebook group (private means only members of the group can see your posts) let us help you get started. All you need to do is commit to running 3 times a week and checking in over on Facebook so everyone can cheer you on.  Easy-peasy!

Several times a year, Shrinking Jeans organizes a virtual race.  This spring we are hosting the Shamrock Shuffle 5k/10k to be held Sunday, March 16, 2014.  You can run, walk, run/walk, whatever - and there are even mile options for the kids.  Click here for info on how to register!

Happy New Year 2020

It looks like my M.O. is to open this blog when I get the notification the domain name renewed. LOL oh well. I hope everyone is having a n...