Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We've Moved!

Hello to all of our loyal readers!  Amy and I have been discussing ways to make this little blog of ours better, and decided it might be time for a change... a BIG change... as in we've packed up and moved.  

Here is the link to our new blog  Sisters, Strides and Stuff 

Since a lot of our blog was about running we have changed "spaces" into "strides" so our running hobbies have a home now.  We will still be posting about things we do as sisters, the strides we take to becoming better runners and other random stuff that keeps us, and our readers, entertained!

We hope you will follow us to our new blog and enjoy it just the same!  

                           See ya there!

                        Amy and Ashley

Thursday, June 21, 2012


So, I'm still going strong with this running thing, I am still going on my scheduled days, 3 or 4 times a week and sticking strong to my Couch to 5k plan.  I moved up a level for 2 runs this week and it was a bit of a struggle so I think this weekend i'm going to change from "Time" to "distance" and i'll add my 3rd mile to the run but not worry about exactly how long I run at a time as long as I get that distance in (in about 45 minutes) i'll be happy.  Anyway, this week our temperatures were into the mid to upper 90's and the humidity was like trying to breathe under water.  This past Sunday I knew it was hot but I couldn't just sit and look out the window so I went for a run... part way through I found myself taking extremely deep breaths during my walking intervals.  I was by myself so I started to worry that I had made a mistake going out alone when it was so hot and unbelievably humid.  I was feeling OK but just knew I had to slow it down and just get home safely so that's what I did, and when I got home I felt good but was a little worried about so called "hot runs."  Needless to say... that didn't scare me THAT much because I went out again a day later when it was 96 degrees.

                      Fear #1 :  Running in less than ideal weather
                   MY Solution:  Bring cold water, pace myself, dress appropriately, and listen to my body

I am one of those people in the world that really annoy the dare devils and risk takers,  I like a plan, usually a strict to the point plan, and I am a natural planner, therefore the unexpected things don't make me happy (even good things)  I really like to know whats ahead.  I don't run with music (see Amy's last post Dropping the Earbuds to read a little about music and running)  but I HAVE and I admit it does make it go faster. For me though... I find myself taking the earbuds out of my ears numerous times to check my surroundings.  That's a safe thing to do but I think I may be a little paranoid about things following me.  

                Fear #2 :  People, Cars or Animals following me... being followed in general
                                  My Solution:  Go faster   = )
Yes you're pretty Mr. Duck but do NOT follow me!

I am also one of those people who is known to be hard on myself if I fall short of a goal.  I am trying this running thing as a weight loss method as well as a stress reliever and just all around enjoyable activity.  I thought I would be faster at my runs by now and I'm staggering by a minute or two each time.  Some intervals are fast and I think "whoa"  but some really let me down and I almost want to say out loud "Seriously I was NOT going that slow"

            Fear #3 Not progressing as I feel I should
        My Solution:  Stick to it

While there are plenty more things that worry me about running the one thing that tops all others is my breathing... I fear that I will never get the hang of breathing like a runner when i'm out there.  Sometimes I get the hang of it and I feel great and sometimes I can't get it right and it hurts.  I'm afraid that I'll stop liking my runs if I can't get the hang of it.

           Fear #4 The dreaded stomach cramp
      My Solution:  ??????????

So there you have it  runners I need some advice...

                                          What did you fear when you started running?
                                             How did you discover your solutions?
                                           How did you get your breathing timed right? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dropping the Earbuds

   When I started running, I was a slave to my iPod.  In fact, I distinctly remember being nervous for my first run with a buddy because I "couldn't run without music."  My, how things have changed since then.  
  Today, I typically do not run with music.  My general rule of thumb is no music for five miles and under.  I have run 7 with no music (or buddy...I never have music when I have a buddy), albeit that one was not by choice, haha.

The other day, Ashley mentioned that she had read something about music distracting you from the true joy of running and asked if I agreed with that.  So, I thought I would take a look today at the positive and negatives of running with music.

Why music is good...

It provides a needed distraction
Running is a very mental thing.  Sometimes, your brain will convince you that you can't when your body really can.  Music can be a great distraction from that little voice that says, you can't do this...this is too hard.  I know that for me, music was a huge help when I started out as it helped me keep that voice quiet.  Additionally, the playlist my brother-in-law made for my first half marathon was a lifesaver at times.  Somehow, just when the going got rough, the perfect song would come on to keep me going.

It combats boredom.
Let's face it...running for 90 straight minutes with no one to talk to can get boring, especially if there is no good scenery (heaven forbid you're on a treadmill...eek!).  Music is a great way to keep from getting bored.  Running is so much about motivation, and who would be motivated to do something that causes boredom?

It can help build a workout.
Sometimes, I base my speed work on music.  Every time the chorus of the song comes on, I will speed up.  I enjoy this workout much more than looking at my watch for time intervals...especially when a good song is on.  :)

Why music is (sometimes) bad...

It can provide an unnecessary distraction.
Not long after I started running, I remember running with a buddy who said "I can't believe how many people run with iPods...they are missing so much." At this point, music was a bit of a crutch for me while running, but her words really stuck out to me.  I'll be honest, at first, I didn't know what she meant.  Then I tried it.  There are few things more peaceful then the sounds of the outdoors as you run early in the morning.  Don't take my word for it.

It can become a crutch.
Lack of music for many people becomes a reason why they can't run.  This makes me think of the past season of The Biggest Loser...no excuses! :)

It might block some great things.
Some of my best thinking happens while I run.  In fact, I am that girl who says "I need to run it out" when I'm stressed about something or have a difficult decision to make.  The quiet of an unplugged run really gives you a chance to think, and I have come to some definite realizations while doing it.  I decided to buy a house while on a run.  I decided to suck it up and take my first plane trip while on a run.  I decided to run a half marathon while on a run (well...I guess that one makes sense, haha).  I have even come up with some of my best lesson plans while running.  Great things can happen when you get away from all those distractions and just do something for you.

What do you prefer while running...music or no music?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Where You Least Expect It

So, the other morning, I was flipping through the Menards ad from the newspaper, when I noticed this:

See that on the bottom?  I don't know if they always do this, but each page in the ad had a little inspirational quote at the bottom.

I have always been a sucker for motivational quotes, so I picked out a couple that I thought it would be good to think about this weekend.

Don't look for inspiration, be your inspiration.

Amy: I agree and disagree with this one. There are people in my life who inspire me to do things I never thought of.  However, I like this quote because it reminds me that I can be my own inspiration too.  As I typically say about running, it's amazing because you can compete with others, but the true victory is when you beat yourself.

Ashley:  I would agree with Amy on both Agreeing and Disagreeing but I think that I would be more likely to disagree because I am the kind of person who doubts myself and my abilities much more often than I should.  However if I know that there is something I am passionate about, I am my inspiration and strive to be the inspiration other people look for. 

Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.

Amy: Kind of goes along with the last one.  There is no greater feeling than looking back on something tough, whether it's running, work, or anything else, and saying whoa...I did that.  Of course, there is a time and place for biting off more than you can chew...I say, make it something you're passionate about.

Ashley:  I feel that I'd have to disagree with this statement.  Maybe it's bad of me to think that I don't believe this statement however, I err on the side of caution a lot in my life because I know that I don't have the best ability to take on much more than I can handle at a given time.  I know I CAN do it, but I also like to work up to my comfort zone and then push myself to go just a little bit further.  I am also proud of myself that with being a new runner I have never felt like I've bitten off too much... does this mean I should take bigger bites?  = )

Accept challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.

Amy: Victory here does not have to mean you won.  You just achieved it!  The first thing to come to mind is my first 5k.  I certainly didn't win, but crossing the finish line and knowing I achieved what I had said out to do (in my goal time!), was an amazing feeling.

Ashley:  If you read the post I put up on Thursday with the photo challenge result of wanting to cross my first finish line, I'd be repeating after Amy if I answered this question by verbalizing my answer.  I'm just getting to know the aforementioned feeling of "exhilaration of victory" and I absolutely love the feeling!

In other news, Happy Father's day to all the dad's out there!  We are fortunate to have a great dad, who we love very much!

Do any of these quotes resonate with you?
How did you celebrate Father's Day this year?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More to it...

Now that I've put about 5 miles on my new shoes, I can say I am still enjoying this running thing.

I have started to see that it's really not all about working your body to it's max, discovering muscles you never knew you had, stretching without feeling like you look silly (because you know with out those stretches you will be hurting!), and constantly battling yourself for a good time per mile and overall.  I have never looked at the weather report or thought about the weather as much as I do now.  I have never thought about the arches of my feet as much as I do now, and I have never felt as good as I did asking my "runner" friends/family how to battle sore calves only a mile into a run.  On Tuesday I started off with my head held high and an 11 minute mile pace and realized at interval round 3 (see C25K training plan) about 1 mile in that I had started off way too fast and pushed myself a little harder than I should have for being such a newbie.  Let me tell you, my calf muscles were hurting ON FIRE!  I had to stop my run and stretch on the side of the path I was on.  Once the initial burning  stopped I was able to start going again but I ended up skipping a run interval and walking it with a quicker pace instead.  The longer walk time helped me out and I was able to finish up running.  Matt usually comes with me and we agreed that we were going to add another mile to our course.  I was done with the "running" part a little over a mile into it so I just power walked the rest.  Toward the end my legs were NOT happy and I just could not figure out what was wrong.  

      Since then I haven't been able to fully unbend my right knee without shooting pain.  I've determined that I might have my first minor "runner injury" and I am chalking it up to the fact that, confident in my pace or not, I just can NOT start off at an 11 minute pace and I need to start slow and build up to that pace.  I ended up skipping my run today and my body is mad at me but I'm determined to give my knee a day of rest so I can get back out there this weekend!  While slowing down to keep myself from further injury I have realized just how pretty some sights are while out on a run. Had I not turned to this enjoyable exercise I may have forgot something as beautiful as this!  

Plus... without getting into running I would be missing a lot of quality sister time!

Last weeks photo challenge :  Something you're looking forward to-
Crossing my first finish line!

If you haven't read her introduction yet, check here to meet Amy (and eventually my) new running partner... LIBBY!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Running with a Dog

Well, guys, last week I did something pretty exciting.

Say hi to Libby!  I adopted her on Friday from a shelter in the area.  She's a three-year-old Beagle mix.

If you know me, you know I'm a rather ambitious person.  So, after last month's half marathon, I immediately started thinking of what to do next.  I knew I was tired of running alone all the time, and I didn't really tell anyone, but my first thought was, maybe it's time to get a dog.

So I did!

Eventually, I would love to run with Libby.  So, among the copious amounts of other dog research I've been doing (I've never had a dog before, so this is a major learning experience), I did a little reading on training your dog to run with you.  So, here are some tips that I'm going to keep in mind that might be helpful for you as well!

Start slow.  Just like my own training, I have to start Libby off slow.  She is currently recovering from surgery, so once her recovery is over I plan to start increasing her walking distance.  Next, I plan to add some short speed walking into the walks, and gradually building up to a short run.  I don't plan to take her out on my long runs.  I will, of course, keep a close eye on her throughout to make sure we're not overdoing it.  The goal is to have a good, reliable buddy for my 3- or 4- milers.

Teach her to heel.  This will likely be the biggest challenge, although I think she will learn quickly.  Little lady loves her some rabbits.  I also need to keep her from switching sides so she doesn't trip me.

Teach courtesy.  While Libby has been great with people and other dogs so far, I need to teach her not to go up to them while we run.  One suggestion I saw was to carry a bone and throw it the other direction as a distraction if a tricky situation comes up.

Bring water.  Dogs don't sweat, so I need a way to cool her off.

Give her a day off after the run.  Of course, she will want to walk, but she's not training for anything, so she gets more rest days.  :)

Make running fun!  Won't be difficult.  :)

No half marathons in Libby's future, though.
So, I have a lot of work until we get to that point, but I can't wait to run with my pup!

Do you run with your dog?  Any suggestions for me?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

 Due to a good deal on Groupon Matt bought a 1 night stay at a resort in our area so he and I decided to use the deal and get our night stay last night.  We turned it into a whole "Date day/night"  and made a plan to visit Matt's family that lives further away from us and watched his brothers little league baseball game.  Then we enjoyed a nice family lunch and made our way to the resort.  When we got there we looked out onto the balcony outside our room only to see that a WEDDING was about to start.  So we camped out and watched a cute little couple tie the knot.  It was kind of bittersweet that at this time last year we were up to our elbows in our own wedding planning (thank goodness that's over and done!)  We enjoyed a nice quiet dinner at one of the townie restaurants that we love but don't get to go to often, and then we battled in a fun game of miniature golf where I dominated the Golfer that Matt is beating him by 5 points.  There was not a lot of people there so we were able to snap pictures of our date night.  How fun!

 Here is the small recap of our fun day Instagram style!

Hole #2 I got a Hole in 1... this may have helped me gain my lead!

What did YOU do this weekend?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Runner? Yes!

Hello Everyone!

   I've officially crossed the bridge into actually enjoying running this week!  I could not be any more proud of myself and I absolutely LOVE the way I feel after a good run/walk.

  Here is the story!  

This past weekend I asked to tag along with Amy and a friend of ours while they ran, I was going to walk.  As we got started I told myself I will not lose sight of them if I can help it, but I did end up losing site of them over a bridge.  But as I was going along my walk I started to feel like my legs weren't moving as fast as my brain and body wanted them to... so I pulled out my phone and revisited that good 'ol "Couch to 5k" app.  The 5 minute warm up walk seemed to take FOREVER I was waiting so impatiently for it to tell me to "start running now" and once it did off I went.  I finished the first interval and as I was walking I could see a really pesky hill up in front of me, I told myself "my app is going to tell me to run at the bottom of this hill and I'll be stuck running up it"  of course that DID happen but I dominated that hill and ended up getting back to our "meeting place" a few minutes before Amy got back.  I shared my running news and said "I'll do it again tomorrow!"  So that was Saturday.   On Sunday I was going to enjoy going for our "Sunday sister walk" and then I was like "you know what I'm going to run this"  pull out trusty app, get it started, and sure thing chicken wing we were off!  Matt was walking behind us and he said to me me afterwards "The first time you guys started off running I smiled, I was so proud of you"  Thanks Hubs I'm proud of myself too!!    Move forward to Tuesday, I was chomping at the bit all day long to get out there for my run.  I dominated it calculating about a 12 minute/mile pace.  I felt AWESOME afterwards and went again today.  Today was a little warmer than I'm used to so I didn't do as well as I hoped.  I walked a little more than I had been walking, but I still managed to keep the walking pace fast enough to shave 1 minute off my total time.

                                                         Yes those ARE my feet next to Amy's!

I've made huge strides this week and I am LOVING this.... loving it so much actually that my bank account has started to hate me... Welcome... my new RUNNING SHOES (and also the photo result for last weeks photo challenge - Something New)!

New Balance 860's.   Never did I think I would talk about shoes like I talk about my car but here I am.  I put the first 2 miles in these loveys today and let me tell you it felt like I was running on a cloud!  LOVE THEM!

Next photo challenge:  Something You are Looking Forward To?


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Buddy Up

In the weeks since my last half marathon, I have been focusing on running in a different way.  For one, I have been running with buddies more than I have in quite some time.  It's pretty awesome.  So, I thought today would be good day to post the benefits I see to running with a buddy.

You are less likely to skip a run.
My college roommate/number one running buddy and I were just talking the other day about a text message exchange we had last fall as we were both hinting toward the other one not having to make the trip to meet up if she didn't want to.  We laughed at ourselves trying to get out of it, but not wanting to disappoint the other.  Scheduling a run with a buddy is a great way to make sure you go out, even if you're not 100% into it that day.

Yay for buddy motivation!
It can heal a wounded friendship.
Recently, a close work friend and I had a falling out.  We talked it out and ended up scheduling a run together.  Eight miles later, we had totally reconnected and felt back to normal.

She/he can push you to do more, when you think you've got nothing left.
My roommate let me beat her for my first 5k, and only let me walk once.  She rocks.

A buddy provides a needed distraction when things get tough.
I find that the miles fly by when I'm with a buddy.  Of course, I may be going a little slower because I'm likely to be chatterboxing, but every glance at the watch has me going "are you sure we've been going that long?"

A buddy can provide another needed distraction--from the numbers that drive you crazy!
Lately when I'm running with a buddy, I don't worry about the pace.  I worry a little about the miles (just because I'm trying to keep my mileage above 10/week so I don't start slacking), but the time is not a factor.  I just try to focus on doing the last thing I benefit from...

Running buddies can renew your love for running...and help you form one you might not have known you had!

Who's feet are those?  Hmm...maybe she'll tell you Thursday.  ;)
Of course, I can't run with a buddy all the time, or else I'd probably lose the joy in that as well.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  Currently, however, I am loving having some buddies to run with, and really loving running again (still?)!

Tell me about your running buddy!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Where I Stand

I've been thinking a lot lately about changing up my workout routine.  I was amazed how great I felt after a nature walk with Amy on Sunday.  I had energy that I haven't had in awhile and I felt good about myself and where I stood at that time.  I got myself out of the habit of taking long walks and didn't realize how much I missed it until I went again.  If you ignore what your body is asking you to do (like exercise)  you also miss out on things like this....

Wild Flowers

Sister time!

Sunshine, shade trees and peaceful quiet of the morning.

I think this should become something on my agenda every weekend AND through the week! 

Photo Challenge:  Something Old

My baby picture!  I'm not saying I'm old.... but its the oldest picture I could find right now.

For next week:  Something New!

What are some things you would love to do more?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What We Ate Wednesday: Pre-Summer Edition

The original plan was to document our food on Memorial Day.  It didn't happen.

The wind was producing a minor grill debacle, which commanded our attention over food photography.

Nonetheless, here we are for our blog's 3rd WIAW!

Peas and Crayons

Head over to Peas and Crayons to join in the fun!

Amy's Breakfast
6:15 am

For breakfast today, I decided to try the Triple Oat Breakfast Bake from Bran Appetit. You can't really see it in there, but it was delish!  Instead of apple, I had a pear, since I can't resist buying giant bags of them when I go to Costco and am now on the race to finish them before they go bad.  This breakfast definitely kept me full, which makes me happy.

Amy's Morning Snack
9:15 am

I could have done without it, but I had an apple and sipped on an iced coffee throughout the morning (picture to come with lunch).

Amy's Lunch
11 am

I work lunch duty at school (last Wednesday that I have to do that...woot!), so I had to snap a picture of all my food for the day before I left this morning.  Lunch consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, some carrots, and cottage cheese.  Plus, gotta have my Diet Dr. Pepper.  I'm on such a pop kick lately...it's bad news.

Amy's Afternoon Snack
3 pm

Think I snack enough?  After school and before my grocery store trip, I munched on whole wheat tortilla with PB.  Mmmmm...

Ashley's turn!


So I had been eating Multi-Grain Cheerios and adding my own peanut butter to them.  Now I've discovered these Peanut Butter Cheerios and let me just tell you they are AMAZING!  By far one of my favorite foods right now, I could eat them for every meal for months if I wouldn't be looked at like I was crazy!

Lunch 1:00
I'm on a win/lose battle with weight loss and to keep my calorie count lower I have a Weight Watchers brand meal every day for lunch.  Today I had a Broccoli and Chicken meal, not one of my absolute favorites but with the little bit of protein in it I feel full for longer during the day.  On top of that box is the wrapper of what usually is my mid-morning snack but today I had it with my lunch.  Its a strawberry fruit strip and they are delicious!


Tonight we had a staple meal for Matt and I.  Taco Salad!  We are both huge fans of tacos and I decided to make taco salad.  Definitely a winner. 

I rarely snack during the day so I didn't forget snacks but if I DO have a snack its usually a Clif Energy bar that I'm currently out of until my next grocery store trip!

Until next time....what did YOU eat this Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Don't Call it a Failure

As you may know, I ran my second half marathon last weekend.  My goal was to finish in less than two hours.  My time was 2:03:21.

Missing my goal this narrowly was something I was dreading the possibility of.  And it happened.  I'm not a fan of failure.

I think the worst part about missing this goal is that I knew I could do it, and I was soooo excited for that.  I had made my own training plan and was rocking it pretty consistently.

Then, the weather forecast came out, and the start time got bumped up.  Major heat predicted.  And I couldn't beat it.

Yay for non-flattering post-race pictures!
Luckily, I (think I) am past the stage of beating myself up about it.  I decided to take the logical route and make it a learning experience.  I've been running through things in my head, and I think my "fatal" mistake was that I didn't take the heat seriously.  I figured I would be finished before it got too hot and didn't worry much about it. 

I should have brought my own water.  When I panicked and got shaky in the last two miles, I think water would have helped calm me down and cool me off a little.  In the past, I haven't wanted to carry it, but this, I think, would have been a goal-saver.

I also should not have put so much into the time.  I PR'ed, and that's awesome.  I needed a reality check when I saw the e-mail about the heat warning.  Instead, I scoffed at it and assumed I was better.

As far as running goes, I have been quite successful as far as the goals I have set for myself.  This has given me a lot of confidence, but I am trying to change my perspective and learn that missing a goal can make me even better.  So, I'm going to take a little break before my next half, but here are the things I'm going to make sure to keep in mind:

  • Nobody's perfect.
  • I ran over 13 miles.  There are an awful lot of people who can't say the same.
  • Don't force yourself to run.  Now that I am not training, I would like to keep my mileage above 10 a week.  However, I'm not going to force myself to run.  There are a lot of other workouts I have been looking forward to trying, but haven't had the time.  I will run when, and because, I want to.
  • Don't let anything make you not love running. (How's that for a double negative?) I am making sure to get back to running with buddies and not worrying about distance or time. This has been huge for me in disappointment-ville.

With a little break and a fresh perspective, I will meet my half goal. Maybe it won't be at my next race, and I'm *trying* to be OK with that. Racing is fun, and I don't want to lose that feeling.

Have you ever missed a big goal when you knew you could do it? 
Any advice for moving on?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

We hope you're enjoying a nice long weekend with friends, family, and relaxation.

Ashley and I went for a nice walk this morning, and apparently, according this picture, needed to go slow to exercise caution of elf children.  We didn't see any...maybe next time...

As we know, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, so, here we are, sitting on the patio drinking rootbeer floats and talking about our plans for the summer.  

Might as well document our Summer Bucket List!  We let Matt play along too, so we gave each of us 3 picks for something we must do this summer.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Go fishing.

2. Eat a nice dinner outside.

3. Go to the zoo.

4. Go to a Milwaukee Brewers game.  Got the hotel booked...now just need to pick some seats!

5. Tour at least one brewery.

6. Have an official picnic.  No tables allowed.  Basket optional.

7. Read on the beach.

8. Run a 5k with at least one friend, preferably more.

9. Capture summer in a photograph.

Let the summer begin!

Of course, we have to take a moment to express our endless appreciation for all the people who have made huge sacrifices so that we can do any of these things.  We are so fortunate, and always appreciative of those who have given everything for our country.

What is on your summer bucket list?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

View from the outside

Hi All!  Hope you guys are staying cool if it is warm where you are!
First I want to touch on my perspective of the half marathon Amy ran this past weekend.  I think I was more nervous for her that day than I was on my own wedding day.  I was watching my clock, and just crossing my fingers to see her burst of pink "runner-ness" come up and over the hill of the finish line.  I stationed Matt at the top of the hill so he would see her coming and signal for me to start watching (and also because he is the loudest in the cheering squad so he would give her the energy boost until she got to me because I'm 2nd loudest), I stood in the middle where I could see the race clock AND get a picture of her crossing the finish line.  A good friend of ours brought her baby to cheer too so she stationed herself with my mom on the other side of the finish line in the shade.   I've also discovered that I'm like the "soccer mom" at Amy's races, this race I knew it was going to be warm, so I packed a BACKPACK, yes a backpack, with snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses and a bottle of water for everyone in our cheering squad, and 3 different maps of the course.  I had planned that we would see her cross the starting line, then walk about 1/2 mile to what would be  mile 8 (It was a water stop so I knew she would slow down as to not spill her water and to safely eat her snack), then we walked another 1/2 mile back to the finish line to cheer for the ending of the race.    Smart "race mom" YES!  Dorky?  Maybe... Will I ever drive the stereotypical "soccer mom" mini van? NOPE!  I can say that I know I couldn't run a race in 2 hours and 3 minutes, and I will forever admire Amy's stamina.  I can say I'm just as glad as she is that its over.  I'll be there to cheer on anytime I can be and I'm always sure to mark her races in my calendar even if they are just "might run" or "maybe" but running in the heat made me scared for her!   Onto the next adventure (which I'm fine if its a little bit cooler outside!)

Pre-Race... not too bad yet but......

I'll take this!!

Since this post is already wordy I just want to share some pictures that also go along with the title of this blog...

Some scary storm clouds on our horizon.

and photo challenge:  Something Funny-

I'll let Matt be part of the blog today.... It's a known fact that I LOVE to people watch, I just love it, and it never fails that there is ALWAYS someone at any show or concert that we go to that make us laugh because their dance moves are simply awful.  When we went to Vegas in April we went to a concert and there was a lady there who thought she was just an angelic dancer, during a certain song she just kept making the same face that Matt is making in the picture above and we were laughing so hard it definitely made a memory for the memory books!

Next photo challenge??    Something Old

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Couldn't Beat the Heat: Race Recap

My second half marathon was this past Sunday.

As you might know from my previous posts, my goal was to finish in under 2 hours.  I'll cut right to the chase and tell you I did not meet my goal.  I'm pretty disappointed, but I still feel like I ran a pretty solid race.

One of my favorite pics from the day...I feel like I'm looking strong.

For starters, I slept horribly the night before.  For my first half, I figured it was a total fluke that I slept OK.  I must have been right because this sure was not the case this time around.

However, I did keep reminding myself that I was racing on the little sister's lucky number.  Had to make the biggest cheerleader proud, especially on her number!

So, I got up around 5 am for the customary PB toast and banana breakfast.  Yum!

Then, I met up with the family to head to the race.

The race sent out warning e-mails days earlier about the predicted heat.  I figured that, since I was running the half and not the full marathon, that I would beat it.  Not the case.

Started off in the shade...this was good.
I started getting warm in the first mile.  Unfortunately, a lot of the course was in the direct sun, which made it a struggle.  Plus, I realized I forgot to re-tie my shoes, which made me all sorts of nervous.  Yay for mental roadblocks.

The race was a little tougher than I expected to start, but about two miles in, after I tackled a big hill at the 3 mile point, I started to get "comfortable" in my pace, which was right where I needed it to be.  Ashley, the BIL, and my mom stationed themselves at mile 8, which was an excellent pick-me-up.

Giving Ashley the time update..."It's gonna be close!"
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the spectator excitement to wear off.  The next mile or so was in the shade, and then full sun.  I felt myself slowing down.

Then, the 9:10 pace group passed me.  I knew I needed to be in front of them.  I admit it; I cried.  I felt totally defeated and almost walked.  Then I told myself that I should at least run it out as best I could.  Maybe I wouldn't make my goal, but I was still determined to PR.

Then came the dreaded hill...again.  This hill came just before mile 11.  I powered up without walking, relaxed on the way down.  Then I hit the bottom and decided I would give myself a slightly longer walk break at the water stop.

And this is where trouble insued.

I started walking and got the shakes.  Fingers and knees.  Not good.

Started running again...and knew there was a problem.  I was not going to be able to run this thing out.  I stopped again.

And I panicked. 

None of my training involved heat like this.  I had never experienced shakiness like this.  Suddenly, it occurred to me that I might not be able to finish.

I allowed myself some more walking, ran a little, walked again, and couldn't stop thinking of how much I would disappoint my cheering section if I walked across the finish line, and how much I would disappoint myself if I didn't PR.

Then, a girl passed me who I know from work.  I saw her at the start, and I was, I admit, excited when I passed her.  I made myself start to run again.  I considered asking if she wanted to run together, as I knew I needed something to get me to the finish.  I was straight-up scared.

Just as I was about to ask her, she stopped to tie her shoe.  Here was my opportunity--a goal to beat.

So I kept on running and did not stop until I crossed the finish line.

2:03:21.  I didn't meet my goal, but I did beat my previous time by well over three minutes.  Let me tell you; I don't know if I've ever been so releaved to be done with something.  That was scary.

This post is getting long, and I will definitely be touching on this subject again soon.  For now, I have to say that I am disappointed, but still proud of myself for making it through, and still loving running just as much as on race morning.

Before I go, though, I have to give a large shout-out to the most amazing cheering section.  These people are fantastic supporters for me, and I really, truly could not have finished this race if I didn't know I had this people waiting for me at the end.

I am one lucky girl.
Anyone race this weekend?
Any tips for hot weather racing?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eventful Sunday

The two of us have had quite an eventful Sunday!

Our day started at about 5 am when we had to wake up to get ready to head to Amy's 2nd half marathon.

The weather in Chicago is always an interesting experience, and this Sunday was no exception.  The start time got changed multiple times, and ended up starting pretty early due to the heat predicted for the day.

Amy was all decked out in her pink to make sure she was easily seen.  She will update more on the race in a couple of days, but, long story short, the weather was too warm for running, but pretty great for cheering!

After the race, coffee was indeed a necessity.

Soon enough, it was time to head home for naps and relaxation.  Amy, however, had promised dinner to Matt and Ashley in exchange for them being super helpful by picking up her race packet.  Enter a restaurant Amy  has been wanting to try for quite awhile: Which Wich!

We had intended to do a New Recipe Night, but a 5 am start to the day just did not give us the motivation to cook.  So, we called this a New Restaurant Night. We all agreed we would definitely go back.  You get a cute little bag and fill out everything you want on your sandwich.  Amy was thrilled to have her black bean burger after a couple days of carbing up!

How was your Sunday?
Is it hot where you are?