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'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 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?

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Awhile back I discussed how and why I like living in Illinois and I'll revisit those reasons by adding a new set of nature photos that I have taken this week.  For some reason I am loving taking nature pictures lately and I've discovered the "Vivid color" setting on my camera which makes nature pictures look fantastic!!


  My photo challenge from last week was:  Something I didn't expect....

and here is the result: 

                                                 Flying on an airplane!! I never thought I'd do it but here is proof.

For next week my challenge is:  Something Funny!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Needed Distraction

My upcoming half marathon is 6 days away...more like 5 1/2. shin splints are back.

Needless to say, I'm panicing a little.  Enter kinesiology tape.

If you know anything about shin splints or kinesiology tape, you probably already know that I was panicking a lot.  Because it took me until I sat down to write this post -- a good two hours after said shins were taped -- to realize that I had taped them completely backwards.

Much better.  Hope this helps!
Needless to say, I don't think my sanity can handle another all-running post today.  Enter Paige's Healthy Living Survey, which has been sitting in my favorites for just a moment such as this.

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Oat bran with ground flax, almonds, and banana.  I was super hungry before lunch.  Lesson learned: Peanut butter truly IS required for a good breakfast!

2. How much water do you drink a day?

Definitely not enough.  I would say probably anywhere between 2 1/2 and 4 glasses.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

I am strangly loving tempo runs these days.

4. How many calories do you eat a day?

Between 1800 and 2200.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

I looove PB on toast.  I count this as healthy since I'm addicted to organic PB.  I also like cottage cheese with oats.

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

Really into egg scrambles these days.  But the typical is some sort of main dish/sandwich/wrap with fruit and a little something sweet, like a kashi bar.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?


8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

Not sure I have a least favorite.  Although leg workouts have been boring me lately.

9. What are your "bad" food cravings?

Pretzels dipped in frosting...eek!

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Multi-vitamin every morning.

11. How often do you eat out?

I'd say about 2-3 times a week.

12. Do you eat fast food?

Very rarely.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

If you've ever read this know the answer to that one.  I have the best one ever.

14. Do you have a gym membership?

No, but this will likely change, and soon.  I am really missing spin classes.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

About 7.

16. Do you have a "cheat" day?

Not really.  I give myself an extra 100 calories on long run days, but don't usually use them.

17. Do you have a workout buddy?

Currently, no.  But can't wait to change that!  :)

18. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

My confidence has skyrocketed, and I feel a lot better in general.

19. What is the last healthy thing you did?

Didn't eat meat today.  :)  Rocking this new year's goal!

Your turn!  Answer some of these questions!

Any advice for my shin splints?  I would soooo appreciate it!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day!

Amy and I want to take a quick second to give a blog shout out to our mom.  Both Amy and I are close with our mom, like best friends with her even.  We spent the day shopping and enjoying some time with our mom as well today.

So in honor or our mom and everyone elses...

Happy Mother's day mom!  <3

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sisters through photography

I want to take the time to focus on part of the reason the title of this blog is "Sisters, Spaces and Stuff"  more-so the SISTER aspect of that.  Throughout our lives Amy and I have been compared and told how similar we are.  I think we're very different in many ways but in some ways exactly alike.   In my post last week, feeling like everything was spinning out of control, Amy took the initiative and in one way that we are similar we turned to dessert to feel better and on our "fro yo outing"  I began to feel much better about everything.   So I'll take this opportunity to write a little bit about what it means to be a sister and to HAVE a sister.

 Being a sister is....

  •                  Never worrying about not having a friend because you always will.
  •                  Kind of like a live in memory book... if I've forgotten, chances are she's remembered.
  •                  Someone who doesn't think you're weird because she probably has some of the same querks as  you do...
  •                  It's an easy shoe in for choosing the maid of honor in your wedding, and knowing she will do a good job with her duties.

  • A sister is motivation
  • A go to person
  • Someone you are able to laugh with about stupid things (like flipping off the couch) when we were kids in the house while trying not to get caught by our parents.
  • Like a mirror image of yourself even if you're as different as hamburgers and hot dogs...

  •                 A built in cheerleader.... even when its cold and rainy out.   

  •     Someone that will (almost) always forgive you after a fight

and when

shes more than likely going to remind me   = )

This week roles have reversed... if you noticed last week I didn't have a photo challenge challenge to Amy is to : Give me a challenge for next week.  = )

Ok next weeks challenge is:  Something you didn't expect.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mock Race Day

As with my first half marathon, my longest run (in my case, a 12-miler), which was Saturday, was also my "mock race." 

For starters, on Thursday and Friday, I tried out my carbo-loading plan.  I wrote about it here last week.  I'll admit I deviated from the plan.  Here's what I ate with approximate carb counts:

Breakfast: Cookie Dough Cereal from Fitnessista and toast (92 g)
Snack: Apple and coffee (25 g)
Lunch: Tuna with Rice and cheese, plus an apple, a granola bar, and a handful of check mix (teacher's lounges are FULL of snacks at this time of year!) (95 g)
Snack: PB Sandwich (40 g)
Dinner: Salad and Chicken Sandwich from Panera (91 g)
Thursday Carb Total: about 350...way off from the 520 ish I was shooting for

Breakfast: Overnight Yogurt Oats with Banana (75 g)
Snack: Apple, PB pretzels, and coffee (36 g)
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich with yogurt and pretzels (85 g)
Dinner: Pasta, chicken, and potatoes, plus cake (yay for retirement parties!) (143 g)
Dessert: Frozen yogurt with toppings (65 g)
Friday Carb Total: about 415 g...still way off

The next morning, I got up and at my race day breakfast of toast with PB and banana.  Then, I waited two hours (about as long as I will need to wait between breakfast and the start of the race) and headed out for my run.

Let me tell you, it wasn't easy.  I did three 4-mile loops, stopping for a quick water break after the first, and some water with two Fig Newtons on the second.  I decided against the Gu or the beans this time.  I wanted something that felt a little less "fake."  They seemed to do the trick.

When all was said and done, with walk/drink/snack breaks, I finished 12.06 miles in 1:48:57...right on pace for my sub-2 hour goal!

So, here is what I learned from the mock race:

I need to carb up better.  I'm hoping that if I get a little closer to the carb count I was shooting for the fatigue will hold off a little longer.

Bring on the muffins!

My running shorts will not work.  Definitely uncomfortable for that distance.  Currently trying out something new.  Any suggestions would be super helpful!

Make sure to time my snack near a water stop.  The Fig Newtons seemed to work, but hard to eat fast without water.

T-minus 11 days until my next half marathon!  Can't wait!  :)  Hopefully I will hit that time and get the big thumbs-up from my favorite cheerleader!

Do you run a "mock race," or am I crazy?