Tuesday, November 30, 2010

my 35 items ...

I had quite a few requests yesterday to see what 35 pieces I decided to keep in my wardrobe. So, here it is. (Note: as a running coach, I do not need "work" clothes, so the vast majority of my items are casual.)

My Closet
My Pants DrawerMy Shirt DrawerThe items are as follows:
  1. jeans
  2. navy pants
  3. black dress pants
  4. pink shorts
  5. khaki shorts
  6. plaid shorts
  7. black skirt
  8. blue baby doll top
  9. pink Nike tee
  10. yellow Nike tee
  11. purple Nike tee
  12. black Nike tee
  13. black Punk Rock Racing tee
  14. blue Reebok tee
  15. pink Disney Princess Half tee
  16. white TMB Endurance Training tee
  17. gray MTT tee
  18. pink Running Skirts tank
  19. polka dot tank
  20. green/blue tank
  21. short-sleeve white hoodie
  22. Running Chics gray thermal
  23. long-sleeve lime/white striped hoodie
  24. NYD 10K long-sleeve tee
  25. Indianapolis Marathon long-sleeve tee
  26. RLAM Half Marathon long-sleeve tee
  27. navy/white striped sweater
  28. gray short-sleeved sweater
  29. brown turtleneck sweater
  30. khaki/white striped sweater
  31. beige sweater
  32. charcoal gray sweater
  33. brown striped dress
  34. blue dress
  35. brown tank dress
And just in case you were wondering, I donated 44 items, which consisted of 4 pairs of dress pants, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, 4 skirts, 4 dresses, 7 sweaters, 15 tee shirts, 1 tank top and 4 dress shirts. It scares me to think of the amount of money I spent on all of those excess items ...

Monday, November 29, 2010

simplifying ...

I've mentioned my OCD tendencies one or twice or a thousand times. I don't like clutter. Or excess. Or disorder. Or unfinished projects. Or spontaneity. I am far less stressed when there is structure and schedules and I know what to expect. You might say that I am lack excitement or I am boring, but I like to think of myself as well-prepared and task-oriented. It works for me. And it seems to work for my family. And recently, I have noticed that being slightly OCD can help me simplify my life.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a purger. I have no problem getting rid of the things that have lost their purpose in my life. Old clothes that don't fit, items that I no longer use. I have never really felt the need to hold on to something because I might need it some day or because I associated it to a memory I have.

Recently, I stumbled across THIS blog post and I thought it was an interesting concept. The post sets a challenge to the reader to limit their wardrobe to 33 pieces for three months. Ultimately, the project is intended to show you that you can live with less, something I think most people can benefit from.

So, I decided to accept the challenge with a few modifications.

1. My challenge was not going to last three months. It was going to be a permanent change. Anything that left, was NEVER coming back. And anything that comes in new, MUST replace another item, not "rebuild" my wardrobe.

2. My challenge limited my wardrobe to 35 items, all which have year-round versatility. Items that don't count in the 35 items are wedding ring, underwear, sleep, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout). In addition to these items, which were part of the original challenge, I also didn't include my 10 pairs of shoes (which include three pairs of running shoes currently in rotation) and accessories (i.e. my watch, my necklace and my RoadID).

And that was it. I cleared my closet and my dresser. I kept only the things that I LOVE and that FIT me properly. The rest was donated.

That was one month ago. And do you know what? I haven't missed a single item that I got rid of. I never wanted to wear something that wasn't there and I never second guessed something I kept. (It's worked out so well that I am planning on reducing my daughters' wardrobes to 35 items as well).

Plus, the challenge has come with added benefits.

  • My laundry load has become lighter.
  • I can ALWAYS find exactly what I am looking for.
  • I don't stress about which outfit I am going to wear. There aren't enough options for that.
  • Simplifying my wardrobe has motivated me to simplify other areas of my life. I've been clearing out the excess in all areas of our life, creating more space/better space management.
  • Eliminating the excess items has also pushed me to cut back on the "time-suckers" (i.e. Facebook, blogging, my BlackBerry). I am trying to have a few "unplugged" hours each day. Over the Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday - Sunday), I did my best to avoid "time-suckers" all together. I left my phone at home when I went out. I didn't touch the computer. Instead, I spent time with my family and friends without the interference.
  • We are managing our finances better. Eliminating the "need" for excess items has curtailed our spending and is allowing us to pay off our debts. We are more thoughtful with how we spend and we have axed our credit cards, hopefully FOREVER.
Honestly, I have yet to see a negative side to this simplicity. I only wonder why I waited so long to do it ...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

giving thanks ...

It's funny to me that so many people ONLY feel the need to profess what they are thankful for at Thanksgiving. I honestly believe that appreciating and being thankful of the things in your life needs to happen on a daily basis. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. And things could ALWAYS be worse. We need to take stock in all the good and shift the focus away from the bad. Perspective is the key.

I only say this because I can remember being a child and expecting things to be handed to me on a silver platter. I didn't know or understand all that my parents did to provide for us. And now that I have my own family, I do and I hope I can impart that message to my daughters. To help them see that it is not the material things in life that matter, but rather the experiences and people that fill our days.

In the past year, I have had plenty of moments that I have been thankful for and plenty that I would like to forget. And I am stronger and wiser and better off because of all of them. I have worked to remove negativity and replace it with positive people, experiences and energy. And today, like everyday, I am feeling blessed by all the things that fill my days, including ...

  • My loving and supportive husband. He encourages me to follow my passions, understands my quirks and is there for me 100%.
  • My three beautiful daughters. They light up my day (even when they are driving me crazy). They give me reason to live the best life I can, to be a positive example and to cherish the moment.
  • My mom and sisters. The older I get, the more I appreciate them. We don't agree on everything and we all have our moments, but in the end I love them more that I can express.
  • My running solemate, G. She gets it. Good run. Bad run. And every run in between. She pushes me and lets me push her back, something that should not be underestimated.
  • "The Posse." Runners first, logical thinkers second. They are all crazy enough to sacrifice sleep to run with a friend (even if they have "better" options). They know when to push the pace and when to hold back. We are united by a common love and drive with a little bit of healthy competition thrown in just to make things interesting.
  • My body. No, it's not perfect. But, it has created three of the cutest creatures I have ever laid eyes on. And it proves to me everyday just how powerful it is.
  • A healthy family. Enough said.
  • Patience. My girls can prove to be a challenge. And the one thing that keeps me from complete insanity is patience. And coffee. But mostly, patience.
How are you filling your days?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

10 years later ...

This Saturday is my 10 year high school reunion. I always thought I would be excited for this day, but honestly, as it gets closer, it's kind of losing it's appeal.

I think part of this stems from the fact that I had a "movie scene" reunion in my head. You know the one. The girl who everyone expected to turn out one way, shows up and shocks everyone with how she has transformed herself in the years since they last had contact. But now, with the prevalence of Facebook, I feel like I already "know" everything I want to about the people in my past. And they could just as easily find out about me, if they so desired.

And if we are being honest here, I'm not really a social person. I have a few uber-close friends and that's pretty much it. I don't really "try" when it comes to friendships. Like with love, I feel that if people are supposed to be in your life they will be. Friendships should be easy. The ones that are tend to last and those that aren't will eventually dissipate.

With that said, of all the people I went to high school with (I graduated with over 400 people), I only still speak to one person. And she's been one of my best friends since I was three. So, I'm sure Saturday night will be interesting.

But, maybe I am wrong. Maybe I will have a blast and the night will be worth the 80 dollars J and I forked over for it. You never really know.

What I do know is that you are about to be treated to a flashback.

This is my senior portrait ...

And this is me and G on Halloween ...

This is me as the quarterback for our Powder Puff Football team during the fall of senior year ...

This is proof that "the quads" (shown below) ...

are a genetic gift. I've had them all along ...

(Note: I wore those sandals to my senior prom. And I still have them.)

Was your reunion worth the trip back home?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

you wanted to know, questions 56-65 ...

When I had my 1,000 mile giveaway, a requirement for entry was to ask me a question. Any question. And I promised to answer them in a series of posts. Here are questions 56-65 ...

Shelley asked, "Don't your legs get hot, running in knee socks?"

They used to. But not so much anymore. I guess I have become acclimated to them. And honestly, I just don't like to run without them. In the winter, the socks are a wardrobe lifesaver, allowing me to wear my skirts year-round. And in the summer, I look at them as UV-protection. They are the perfect combination of fashion and function.

Lish asked, "Do you stretch? Before or After? Do you have a routine?"

I have touched on this before, but in case you missed it, I don't EVER stretch. I've just never made time for it in my routine and I don't feel like I have been negatively affected by it. Some people are all about stretching, and that's cool. I'm just not into it.

With that said, if you are going to stretch - NEVER STRETCH COLD MUSCLES. Warm up before stretching. Or, better yet, stretch AFTER your run.

Shanda asked, "What's the most played song on you Ipod?"

I don't run with my iPod all that often and I only have 53 songs on it, so all of them have about the same number of plays. But, there is a winner. With 2 more plays than the rest of the songs, "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas, comes out on top.

Paige (Two Runners and a Brown Dog) asked, "Do you have any aches and pains that just won't go away? I sure do!"

Fortunately, no. I do always get the same pain in my knee (going up and down stairs) when I need to replace my shoes. Other than that, I usually feel pretty good.

Runners Fuel asked, "What is your favorite time of day to run?"

I have two times.

The first one is at 5:30 a.m. I love getting out there while most people are still sleeping. Plus, it's so nice to have my run done before my day starts. The only drawback of running at that time is that I have to force myself to get out of bed. No matter how early I go to bed, waking up at 5 a.m. is never easy.

The second time is around 9 a.m. And I'm not really sure why. I just like running then.

Jesser asked, "What is your favorite leisure thing to do aside from running?"

Easy. Watching TV. I have dubbed myself as, "The Most Active Couch Potato." J and I watch a TON of television and thanks to Tivo we never have to miss our favorites (reality TV and teenage dramas, in case you were wondering). I have never been interested in going out. I would much rather lounge in my pajamas and hang out on the couch. I know. I'm boring. But, I'm cool with it.

Nicole asked, "If there's one thing that you want your girls to learn from your running, what would it be?"

That's a tough one. I think that there is a lot that can be learned from running and I would love for them to take it all in. But, I guess if I had to choose one thing, I would hope that they would take away a love for being active. To see that, for me, running isn't about walking away with a medal, but rather walking away with pride in what you have accomplished. Yes, it would be great if they all decided that running was something they wanted to do, but I know it's not for everyone. I just hope that they can see the love I have for the sport and they can find that for something that they can feel the same way about.

Sarah asked, "What's your favorite restaurant and what do you get there?"

I have rarely found a restaurant that I didn't like. Honestly, I just LOVE food. But, the item that I most often crave is a Chicken Burrito from Chipotle. And I always order it just like this: chicken, rice, black beans, lettuce and HOT salsa (I LOVE spicy food). J says I'm missing out by not ordering the cheese, sour cream and guacamole. But, I have to disagree.

*~* *~* *~* *~* *~* Tracy asked, "When training for a very hilly half marathon, which do you think is more important - hill repeats or fartleks?"

Easy. Hills. Hill repeats are essentially a form of speed work. And if you are going to run a hilly race, training on hills is crucial.

Canadian Runner
asked, "Do you have any none sporty activities that you like to do?"

Well, there's that whole TV thing I mentioned before.

But other than that, organizing. I am slightly OCD and HATE clutter. I have an incessant need to organize things and shockingly, I actually find it quite relaxing.

Zaneta asked, "What is the one non-healthy treat that you could eat TONS of?"

Well, as you are probably aware of, I am slightly obsessed with cupcakes from a local shop called Two Sweet Cupcakes. I ate so many of them last year that I set myself a quota in 2010. I capped myself at 50. I am currently at 43. And trust me, I will eat all 50 by the end of the year.

Other than that, I LOVE chocolate. So much so, that I have been known to eat chocolate chips by the handful. It's kind of sad ...

Monday, November 22, 2010

seeing pink ...

Last Wednesday, I volunteered to work Dizzle's Thanksgiving Feast. She was so excited for the party. Part of the excitement was because I was coming, but it mostly stemmed from the fact that she got to eat her first (and probably last) school lunch. All she kept saying was, "This is so cool! I get to eat off a tray!"

(I just think this picture is funny.)
Anyway, the kids were wicked cute. They all dressed as "Indian Princesses and Princes" (at least that's what Dizzle called them) and the teachers dressed as Pilgrims. It was a fun time for all and Dizzle made sure that Doodle knew what she had missed out on.

But, no worries. Doodle had a rebuttal. Her Thankgiving Feast is scheduled for today. And they get to put on a show too. Dizzle was instantly jealous. She knows how much fun an ACP Thanksgiving is (heck, she was part of the last two ACP Thanksgivings). She even asked me to take her out of school so that she could come with us. Finally, Doodle had one-upped Dizzle.

Or so we thought. Because yesterday at 4 p.m., Doodle looked like this. (Look away if you have a weak stomach ...)

Yes, you guessed it.


Fan-freaking-tastic! Now, we have to miss her Thanksgiving Feast, Dizzle is no longer jealous and I have to deal with an angry three-year old (and if you've met Doodle, you know this is bad).

But, you know what? Even with a fresh batch of pinkeye attacking my house, I am thankful. Because if nothing else, Doodle's illness saved me from the 1,200+ calories I probably would have eaten this morning ...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Run Naked Winner ...

Remember last week when I told you to Run Naked? Well, thanks to random.org, we are about to find out who will get the chance to do just that. But first, here are the photo submissions I received for my "Show me your reflective gear contest."

(Note: the vast majority of you said you don't own any reflective gear. PLEASE get some. Heck, Christmas is coming. Ask for some.)

OK, back to the contest. Here are the entries ...

Lesley @ Racing It Off

Marlene @ Mission to a(nother) Marathon

Karen @ The Burrows Underground

S Club Mama @ S Club 4

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail

I had two prize packs for this contest. And since it is my blog, I make the rules. The first prize pack was awarded to my FAVORITE picture. And the winner is ...

The remaining names were put into a hat and a winner was drawn. And that winner is ...

Ladies, email me with your mailing address and I will send you out your prizes!


There were 373 entries and thanks to random.org, the winner is lucky number 112 ...

Congrats Kadie! Please email me with your shirt choice (either women's cut or unisex), size, color choice and mailing address to claim your prize.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Motherhood of the Traveling Shirt ...

Thanks to the people at BornFit and Wifey (who chose me for this honor), I was given the opportunity to take part in the Motherhood of the Traveling Shirt.

If you haven't heard about this project, here's a little background.

It’s Magic. It’s a Blessing. It’s the Motherhood of the Traveling Shirt.
2010: The Year of the BornFit Mom

We can all use a little inspiration and motivation in our lives – some Magic if you will! That is why BornFit is launching the Traveling Shirt! We are all BornFit. And, sometimes a little kick start (or pixie dust) is needed to remind us of that special Mom within.

So how does it work?

Each of the 3 Magical BornFit Shirts will be traveling to places near and far, worn by a total of 36 special mothers from all walks of life. Moms will wear the Traveling Shirt, get fit and feel inspired. Moms beware…wearing this shirt will change your life in magical ways. Every 2 weeks the Magic will reach a NEW mom. BornFit will always be the guide, but the joy of sharing it with someone else will also bring incredible rewards.

For the past two weeks, I have had the shirt. And now that I have passed it on, I get to share my fitness story. You can check it out HERE.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three Things Thursday (J's Half Marathon Recap Edition) ...

1. As you know, J ran his second half marathon on Saturday. He trained for months and walked away with a 15 minute PR (2:42:10 in case you were wondering). I was lucky enough to run with him from mile 9 to the finish serving as motivator, pacer and race photographer. Here are a few shots that I got in those last few miles ...

2. Although J got a HUGE PR, he had a lot of stuff working against him. On Thursday night and Friday morning before the race, J got a severe case of food poisoning while traveling. He couldn't keep anything thing down, was suffering from body aches and had to fly home from Indianapolis on Friday afternoon. He called me and I could tell it was bad. I told him to try to stay hydrated and pray for the best.

Once he finally got home, he immediately went to bed for the remainder of the day. He slept straight through dinner, only waking for about two hours before going back to bed for the night. When he woke up on Saturday morning, he hadn't more than 400 calories in over 24 hours. He was weak and we didn't really know how he was going to hold up. But, being a "runner first, logical thinker second," he decided to run. Needless to say, he fought for that 15 minute PR.

3. When I picked up J at mile 9, he was hurting. I tried to be positive and he basically told me to "shove it." It was all good though. I've been there. I knew what he was going through. We were pretty silent over the next two miles, but then at mile 11.5, J told me his foot was really hurting - with every stride. So, we slowed a little, walking a tenth here and there. He muscled through and finished strong on the downhill. But once we finished, he took notice of how bad his foot really was. And now, he's rocking a boot.

After all of this, I'm not sure that I am going to be able to convince J to run another half marathon any time soon, but he definitely has the running bug. His plan for 2011 is to focus on 5Ks and 10Ks and work on his speed. And I think it's an excellent plan ...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

like the energizer bunny ...

Over the past five years, people have told me stories of "mythical children," who run around like the Energizer Bunny. In all of these stories, the child in question has more energy than anyone else on the planet. He (or she) can go for hours on end without a break. But, then, in an instant, the child is out cold. Most likely passed out on the floor due to an exercise-induced coma.

Apparently, my brother-in-law was one of these children. He would do laps around my in-laws' house for hours. Then out of nowhere, the house would get quiet and the BIL would be found sleeping on the floor of some random room.

These stories used to give me hope. People would see my children and tell me, "Sure, they are REALLY active. But eventually, they'll crash." or "Going to school will catch up her. One day, she'll come home begging to rest."

To all the people who have ever said those things to me, I have one thing to tell you.


I am in my sixth year of parenting. And that scenario has NEVER come to fruition. And I am really beginning to doubt that it ever will. And it's ALL MY FAULT.

You see, I always thought my kids were wired differently. That they had some backup system that switched on when they started to fade. But, now I realize that it's not faulty wiring. It's GENETICS. And I am the SAME EXACT WAY. I just didn't realize it until yesterday.

Yesterday was a typical day around here. I dropped Dizzle off at school. Doodle, Dilly and I ran some errands. When we got back, I decided to pick up a bit. And before I knew it, seven hours had passed and the only time I had stopped was to eat lunch and to pick up Dizzle from school. I was an organizing machine without an off switch. I started in the kitchen and worked my way through every room in the house. I couldn't control myself. My purging instincts were taking over and I couldn't reign them in. And this is not the first time this has happened. Just two weeks ago, my sister called me on this "Energizer Bunny" behavior. She noted that I hadn't sat down all day. That I jumped from task to task until everything was done. I didn't see it then, but this is EXACTLY what my kids do (except they usually create a mess, rather than clean it.)

I'm not quite sure why the "Energizer Bunny" emerges in me and my offspring. Maybe it's because we are all overly "Type A." Constantly striving for perfection. Maybe we just really HATE being bored. Maybe we just really like to exercise.

What I do know, is that I have always been the type of person who starts a task and NEEDS to finish it immediately. When things are left undone, I feel uneasy. I can't relax. I can see unfolded laundry staring at me. Toys left on the floor call my name. (J is not afflicted by this and he probably thinks I am crazy.) I just don't work well with chaos. Or excess. I need structure and order. It puts me at ease. And if my kids get that trait from me too, we are going to have the tidiest house on the block ...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

on to the next ...

Guess what started today?

Seven weeks of re-establishing my base.

12 weeks of marathon training.

National Marathon (and hopefully a new PR), here I come ...

Monday, November 15, 2010

HCA 8K Recap ...

Location: Richmond, VA
Date: 11/13/10
Temperature: 38 degrees
Official Time: 38:54 (7:46 per mile), 3:04 minute PR
Place in Age Group: 13/369
Place in Gender: 90/2344
Overall Place: 385/3743

The Course:

Fast and flat. Out and back.

This 8K course takes a straight shot up Broad St., which has a gentle grade, for the for the first two miles of the course. Just after mile 2, participants turn left and make their way over one block to Grace St., where they head back towards the finish. Runners are greeted with a the only climb of the course at mile four. It is smooth sailing after that, as the course flattens out and turns right onto 3rd street. With less than half a mile to go, runners turn left onto Cary St. and head downhill to the finish line.

(Note: This has been and will continue to be my favorite course in Richmond.)

The Good:

The Course: I love this course. It is PR friendly and easy to navigate. And the downhill finish is KILLER.

My Pace: My goal for this race was to run sub-8 minute miles for the duration of the race. Simple enough. All I would have to do was check my Garmin to see if I was on pace. The only problem was that I didn't want to obsess about my time. And for me, NOT looking at my Garmin is the only way to make that happen. So, I opted to wear my watch, but cover it with my sleeve. Instead of watching the clock, I would listen to my body. If I felt like I could push it, I would. If I needed to back off, I'd do that.

The strategy worked. I hit my goal and I didn't check my watch until the finish. Here are my splits.

Mile 1: 7:44
Mile 2: 7:56
Mile 3: 7:53
Mile 4: 7:50
Last 0.97: 7:30

My Placing: Prior to the race, I looked at last year's standings. I knew if I ran sub-40, I would place well in my age group. But I really didn't think I would finish as well as I did overall. I was 13th out of 369 in my AG, 90th out of 2344 in my gender and 385th out of 3743 overall. Kind of made me feel like a rock star.

My Outfit: Seriously. Do I have style or what?

My Music Selection: For the first time in pretty much FOREVER, I changed my race playlist. And then, I set it to random before I ran. Yet, somehow, the PERFECT songs came on at the PERFECT moments. I was pumped throughout the race and there was a song during every mile that reminded me to push myself.

My Mental Game: I NEVER doubted myself. Even for one second. I felt strong and I knew that if I pushed myself, I would walk away with a PR. Now if I could only do the same thing in the longer distances ...

The Weather: It was 38 degrees at the start of my race. And I dressed perfectly for it. By the end of the race, I was warm, but not overheated. It made holding my pace that much easier.

The Race Length: This race reaffirmed to me that the 8K is my favorite race distance. I love it and wish it was offered more often.

My choice NOT to switch to the marathon: After the stomach bug hit me during the Indianapolis Marathon last month, I considered getting Marathon Redemption at Richmond. And even though I was telling everyone I was sticking to the 8K, I won't lie and tell you that I didn't consider switching races at the expo.

Everything seemed perfect to run the marathon. G would be by my side. The weather was perfect. I was healthy and uninjured. But ultimately, I knew the 8K was the right choice. Not only was I beyond ready for it, running the 8K gave me the opportunity to pace J to the finish of his half marathon and G to the end of her marathon (both of them finished with HUGE PRs. J improved his time by 15 minutes and G cut hers by 37!).

I ended yesterday with 23 miles under my belt and was able to share/shape their race experiences. It was amazing to be there with them and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

The Bad:

Wait. There was no bad.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

did someone say sub-40?

Yeah. I did. Check out #13.

That would be me. And my sweet, new 8K PR.


3:04 FASTER than my previous PR.

4:26 FASTER than my previous best time on that course.

Full recap tomorrow.

P.S. J (despite having food poisoning), G and EVERYONE I train with also PR'd yesterday. And we are talking HUGE PRs. Talk about an AWESOME day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Run Naked Giveaway ...

I want you to Run Naked.

Got your attention, didn't I?

OK, so I don't really want you to run without your clothes on. If for no other reason than it's getting really cold outside and I don't want you to get frostbite. (There are other reasons too, but I'm sure you can figure those out yourself.)

So, you probably want to know what I mean, right? Well, it's simple. I want you to be seen when you run. And a surefire way to do that is to Run Naked.

Run Naked Sports is an apparel company, attempting to make reflective gear more fashion forward and fun. Here's what they have to say ...

"Why Run Naked? Comfort. Freedom. Safety.

When you are running in low light conditions, bits of reflection on your shoes usually doesn’t cut it. Reflector vests can seem like a punishment of discomfort. Reflection will only protect us if we wear it. Run Naked Sports is making reflection fun.

Be seen. Be free. Be safe."

What more could a runner want?

Personally, I run at least half of my weekly miles in the dark. I already don a headlamp, but I'm not about to wear a reflective vest. It's just not my style. So, when I stumbled upon Run Naked Sports, I was pumped. Simple designs. Extreme visibility. A match made in heaven. I wanted to Run Naked.

So, I contacted Joan (the woman behind Run Naked Sports), who greeted me with fantastic customer service and was nice enough to let me test her product. She sent me the women's short sleeve tee (black) in a large (medium would have fit, but I sized up since I fell between sizes). Here I am before an early morning run, last weekend (I tried my best to keep the reflection to a minimum for the picture) ...

Super cute, right?

I can not speak highly enough of this shirt. It is ultra-comfortable (I've been wearing it when I'm not running, too). And it is MASSIVELY reflective. The slightest bit of light is all it takes for you to be seen. And that's something we all NEED as the days get shorter and shorter.

Now, for the fun stuff.

Thanks to Joan at Run Naked Sports, ONE lucky reader will win their own Run Naked tee (available in both Men's and Women's cut). Here's how to enter (separate comments please!):

1. Become a follower and leave me a comment to let me know.
2. "Like" Run Naked Sports on Facebook HERE and leave me a comment to let me know.
3. Visit Run Naked Sports website HERE and leave me a comment to let me know what color shirt you would choose if you won.
4. Leave me a comment to let me know what you currently wear when you run in low-light conditions.
5. Repost this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and leave me a comment to let me know.

FIVE (5) BONUS ENTRIES: Email me at racingwithbabes (at) yahoo (dot) com with a picture of you in your current reflective gear. Be creative. I'll pick my favorite and send them a surprise.

Entries will be accepted until Saturday, November 20. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Sunday, November 21.

Friday, November 12, 2010

when expos attack ...

This time tomorrow morning, J and I will be racing. We have been training for this day for months and are both ready to crush our current PRs (J, in the half marathon and me, in the 8K.)

But before toeing the line, we needed to pick up our race bibs. So, last night, I took the girls to the race expo, where we met up with G, the illusive Dave and Earth Momma Mer. The plan was simple.

1. Meet around five. Check.
2. Pick up our race bags. Check.
3. Scope out the booths. Check.
4. Spend zero dollars. Check.
5. Keep the kids reigned in. Fail.

Ever wonder what would happen if you let a five year old and a three year old with sticky fingers attend a race expo? Well, wonder no more ...

The vast majority of this was NOT INCLUDED in the race bag. If it was FREE, my kids were taking it.

With that said, the experience was far from bad. The high points included ...

  • The fact that the expo itself was sweet. I would have been there for hours had I not had the kids with me OR if I had an unlimited budget.
  • P.F. Chang's was giving out fortune cookies with running-themed fortunes. Mine couldn't have been more perfect for me. It said, "Eat to run. Run to eat."
  • Dizzle, who was on the hunt for free food, found a table of GU and said, "Is that free? Or is it regular running GU?" (I seriously love that my kids know what GU is for).
  • The girls made these adorable signs for J and me ...

Cute, right? And if PRs come from channeling the energy of butterflies, unicorns, rainbows and smiling suns, then J and I are golden ...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

why I hate business trips ...

So, I haven't really ever gone on a business trip. I think you actually need a job for that. OK, maybe once, I kind of had a business trip (my coaching certification course). But even then, it was more like a day at work rather than an actual trip, since I drove home after each session.

J, on the other hand, has been on half a million business trips. A large part of his job is to audit events and attend meetings all over the country. Some are heavier travel months than others, but being the one who "holds down the fort," I often feel like the travel is non-stop (I know in actuality that it's not.)

For instance, J had trips last week and this week and next week. His current adventures will get him home a mere 17 hours before he toes the line at the Richmond Half Marathon on Saturday. (Nothing like cutting it close.)

Now, I will admit it. Sometimes, it makes things easier when J is gone. I have my schedule and I can stick to it without interference. But most of the time, I REALLY hate it. And this is why ...

1. I miss J. I love him to pieces and not seeing him totally sucks. Plus, the vast majority of my time is spent with people age five and under, and some days I don't get enough adult interaction.

2. It is really hard to get my kids ready for the day without any help. By choice, we drive Dizzle to school. When J is here, one of us takes her in while the other one stays with Doodle and Dilly (who is usually sleeping). If J's not here, I have to wake up Dilly a good hour before she would normally get up and have all three kids ready to walk out the door by 7:30 a.m.

3. Certain errands don't get accomplished. There are some places I don't like to go with my children. The list includes, but is not limited to, the bank, the grocery store, the post office. When J is home, I can usually sneak away for solo trips to these places. When he's gone, things don't get mailed and we eat from the pantry.

4. Bath time is a NIGHTMARE. Getting three tired children cleaned up and ready for bed is a hard task when both parents are present. Take one out of the mix and things go from bad to worse.

5. I eat more than I normally would. I am an emotional eater. And boredom is a BIG trigger for me. Once I get the girls in bed and have nothing to do and no one to talk to, I eat. I know I shouldn't but the little self-control I have goes right out the window when the boredom sets in.

6. Business trips mess with my running schedule. Early morning runs are out. Non-stroller runs are out. And unless I want to pay a babysitter (which I don't), the treadmill becomes my running partner. And sometimes, I'm just not feeling it.

7. I get crazy jealous that I don't get to go. Sure, J has to work. But, he gets to travel the country, eat at awesome restaurants and sleep peacefully without the threat of a screaming child, all of which sounds pretty fantastic to me.

You know, now that I think about it, moms should get business trips too ...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

guess what ...

WE WON!Thanks to everyone who voted for us!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cubs on the Run ...

You may or may not realize this, but I have a hard time saying no. I am confident in my abilities and I often take on more things than I should. Usually, everything gets done and we all walk away in one piece, but sometimes that just isn't the case.

At this current moment of time, I have the following OFFICIAL titles:

It's a lot. And J works long hours and travels, so I don't always have a support team in place. I'm not complaining. I like our chaos. But with that said, I was PLANNING on saying NO to anything else that came my way.

Well, that was the plan. Until a notice was sent home from Dizzle's school. It was a request for parent volunteers. Parent volunteers who like to run. (You can see where this is going, right?)


Here's the deal. Dizzle's school is launching a running program called "Cubs on the Run." It's objective is to get kids moving. To show them that running for fitness can be fun. That running is not another sport's punishment. (Did I mention how I COULDN'T say no?)

I tried not to get involved. I really did. I even called G to have her remind me that I already had TOO MUCH going on. (She failed to do that and told me to volunteer.)

So, I ended up volunteering and Dizzle joined the group (as if she really had a choice in the matter.) This morning was the first session. And can I just say that it was SO MUCH FUN?

The group is small. There are only 12 children in the program. But every last one of them was so excited to be there. We started by walking a few warm-up laps and then let the kids see how many laps they could run in six minutes. Dizzle, the youngest in the group, finished 4.5 (just shy of half a mile) while some of the older children ran 6 or 7. We hope that we can repeat this exercise at the end of the four weeks to show the kids how their hard work has paid off.

You know, I'm kind of happy I didn't say no ...

Monday, November 8, 2010

mileage mania ...

On August 14, I reached my 2010 goal of 1,000 miles. The most I had ever run in a single year prior to that was 923. Obviously, I was psyched.

But yesterday, November 7, was even better. Because on a costumed run (we dressed as ROAD KILL and SAFETY SISTERS), the last long run of G's marathon training, I broke the 1,500 mile mark. Any guesses on what I'll be at on December 31?

Oh, and did I mention I looked wicked cute in the process ...

D, 3L, me and G before the run (freezing our tails off)

Us at mile 3 (Yes, my quad is real ...)

Running through Hollywood Cemetery about to hit mile 1,500

Me, G and D around mile 6

Looks like fun, doesn't it?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

time to train?

Potty train, that is.

I have been avoiding all the signs. Dilly almost always tells me when she's wet. Either by taking off her diaper and throwing it in the hallway. Or by telling me that she's "stinky." She follows us into the bathroom and is quite fond of the words, "pee," "poopie," and "potty." I've tried to shut my eyes and ears to these things, but yesterday, she did something I couldn't ignore.

Just before lunch, Dilly was in our playroom. J walked by and noticed that she had taken off her pants and was only wearing a diaper. He told me to pay attention because she would probably shed the diaper too. I agreed and continued doing whatever I was doing. A few minutes later, I did a "hallway check." We were all clear. The diaper hadn't been thrown.

But, I may have slightly overlooked something. Sure, the diaper wasn't in the hallway, but that didn't mean that the diaper was actually on her.

That's when it happened. J walked into the playroom and saw Dilly totally naked standing next to an empty toy bin. The only thing was that the toy bin WASN'T ACTUALLY EMPTY. Yes, it was free of toys, but Dilly had decided to pee in it. Fantastic!

Apparently, she was sick and tired of waiting for me to potty train her. Go figure.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

you wanted to know, questions 51-55

When I had my 1,000 mile giveaway, a requirement for entry was to ask me a question. Any question. And I promised to answer them in a series of posts. Here are questions 51-55 ...

OrangeBlossom asked, "What was your first running injury? Did you run through the pain for a while and then take a break or did you just push through?"

My first running injury was a cyst in my ankle joint. It started to cause me pain about four weeks before my first marathon. And yes, I ran through the pain. And it was a dumb thing to do.

I thought that I could muscle through anything, but after my last long run before the marathon, I could barely walk. I went to the doctor and he suspected a stress fracture and sent me for an MRI. He told me that if I ran, I risked shattering my ankle. I told him that I had trained for 16 weeks and wasn't going to miss the race. (Yes, I realize the stupidity in that.)

Despite my attitude, I did go get the MRI. Unfortunately, the results didn't come back before the race, so I didn't see any good reason NOT to run. I made it to start line, but about six miles in I was already feeling the pain. I knew that I had to be conservative in order to finish, so I walked the first minute of every mile and ran the rest. Then at mile 16 or 17, the cyst ruptured and I was convinced that I had shattered my ankle. I could barely move. I called J and told him that I was going to be much later than expected, but that I would finish. I walked the next four miles. Then just after the 22 mile marker, my foot went numb. I popped two Advils and ran the rest of the race.

It was an incredibly dumb thing to do. And I wouldn't recommend it.

Momma Twitch asked, "On days that you don't want to run (which I'm sure are few and far between), how do you get your self going? What do you tell yourself?"

Usually, all I have to tell myself is that I won't regret running, but I will probably regret skipping it. I run five days a week, so if I am really not feeling it, I almost always can rearrange my runs or swap my rest days.

And if that doesn't work, I pull out an old picture of myself. Seeing the old me definitely keeps me motivated.

amomontherun asked, "What is your most embarrassing running experience?"

I'm not really sure that this is embarrassing, but it's the best I have. (And it could have turned out to be REALLY embarrassing.)

During the second 20 miler of marathon training last fall, I was wearing my pink cheetah skirt with a pair of underwear that I had not worn to run in before. Everything started out fine. G and I headed away from her house and a half mile later, disaster struck.

My underwear were completely off my butt. What could I do? I tried to pull them back up, but they wouldn't stay. I couldn't bear the thought of dealing with that for 20 miles. It would be horrible. Suddenly, I knew what to do. I told G that I would be right back. I ran off the side of the road and found as much cover as I could. Off came the running skirt. Off came the crappy underwear. Back on went the running skirt.

And I continued running.

Elizabeth asked, "What is your recovery routine?"

Drink some water. Eat some food (if I can remember to). Take a shower.

I wish I put more effort towards proper recovery, but I already feel like my running schedule takes up a lot of time and as soon as I walk in that door, my mommy hat goes back on and I am on-call. Maybe when my kids are older and more self-sufficient I'll make time for things like stretching, ice baths and massages ...

Parker_4 asked, "You run so much. Do you struggle with injuries?"

Fortunately, no. I have had injuries in the past (when my mileage was MUCH lower), but I have gotten over that whole "run through the pain" thing. I train smarter and slower and listen to my body. If I need a rest day, I take it. If something feels "off," I take the appropriate measures to remedy it before it is a real issue.

Friday, November 5, 2010

lucy turns 11 ...

No, I don't have a cat named Lucy. Or a dog. Or even a fish. (I'm not exactly an animal lover.)

But, I am a lover of adorable workout gear. And where can you get adorable workout gear? That's right, at Lucy. And it just so happens that Lucy Activewear is celebrating their 11th birthday tomorrow with a HUGE sale.

So, if you are looking for some new clothes for the cooler temperatures or if you just want to send me a gift (I wear a small and you can email me for my address ...), then print out the above coupon and take it to the nearest Lucy store or click on it and shop from the comfort of your own home.

Happy Shopping!

my Christmas card obsession ...

For as long as I can remember, I have been using a computer. As a child (I'm talking 5 or 6 years old) we had a Commodore 64 and when that computer "died," it was replaced with the latest and greatest (as was each subsequent computer). Because of this, I've always been a fan of technology and how it can make our lives simpler.

But as much as the world has gone digital, I can't seem to let go of a couple of "old fashion" means of communication. I still have a land-line. I can't bear to pay my bills electronically. And I ALWAYS send Christmas cards. And not just any Christmas cards. Holiday Photo Cards from Shutterfly.

You might even say that I am obsessed. OK, I am obsessed. It's just that I can ALWAYS find the perfect design on the Shutterfly website. With styles ranging from "simple and classic" to "bold and modern", I'm never disappointed. Plus, photo cards are super cute and I love to see how the girls changed through the years. You want to see how they've changed too, don't you? Well, here you go ...


And the soon to be distributed (family members look away NOW), 2010

So, how do I end up with such amazing Christmas cards?

For me, the process is simple.

1. I take a zillion and one photos throughout the year, in search of the "perfect shot."
2. I start to narrow down my selection of card designs in late September/early October.
3. I choose a design, a photo and have 100+ cards printed. (I use all the photos that don't make it onto the card in calendars that I give as gifts.)
4. I address and stamp all the cards by hand and have them in the mail the day after Thanksgiving. (My Christmas card is sure to be the first you'll receive).
5. I sit around and wait for cards in return.

Yeah, I'm not OCD at all ...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday ...

1. Thank you to everyone who "liked" my photo for the Running Skirts Halloween Contest. I truly appreciate it. With that said, if you didn't head over there yet and want to help me and my little sister win for our "Tortoise and the Hare" costumes, you still can. All you need to do is "Like" the Running Skirts fan page HERE and then click "like" on our photo HERE. (I am so not above begging ...)

2. Speaking of Facebook, I was messing around on it yesterday and clicked on "Page Suggestions." When I did, it showed me a list of my Facebook friends who have the most "likes" in common with me. Here's the list ...

Does anyone else think it's odd that the 15 people I have the most in common with are all fellow bloggers? It's probably because we are all runners and all love a good giveaway, but don't you think it is strange that none of my non-blogging friends were able to break into the list? Just saying. (Note: the top 25 people were all bloggers, I just couldn't get the whole list in my screen shot).

3. And if you are Facebook friends with me, you might have noted that I found out my bib number for next weekend's 8K and I COULDN'T BE MORE EXCITED. (I'm totally a numbers person.)

Anyway, my bib number is 15275. Do you see why this is a good number? No? Well, I will explain.

My goal for this race is sub-40. My current PR is 41:58, which means I need to beat my PR by 1:59 to hit my goal.

Well, 152 + 7 = 159 and the race is 5 miles long (OK, it's 4.97, but it's close enough). Basically, this bib number was designed especially for me. And that has to be a good sign.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

slumber party ...

I mentioned last week that Dilly is no longer sleeping in her crib. She made the transition to her queen size bed (which she looks mini in) and has been sleeping like a champ. Ever since Dilly upgraded her evening accommodations, Dizzle and Doodle have wanted to bunk with her. On Monday night, we finally gave in.

Couldn't you just eat them up? (And yes, I am ignoring the fact that it took them FOREVER to fall asleep. And that they all ended up back IN THEIR OWN beds.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

please vote for me ...

Remember those wicked cute Tortoise and the Hare costumes that my sister and I wore on Halloween? (which you all said you LOVED by the way)

Yeah, those ones. Well, we submitted our photo to the Running Skirts Facebook Fan page HERE for their Halloween Costume Contest. The three photos with the most "likes" win an outfit from Running Skirts. And we'd REALLY love to win.

So, we are asking (begging, really) for your help. Would you vote for us? PRETTY PLEASE?

Here's all you need to do.

Head over to the Running Skirts Facebook Page HERE and "like" their page. Then find this photo in the RunningSkirts Halloween Contest album (you can click on the one in this post to go directly to it) and "like" it.


October Rewind ...

10 down, two to go. Here is my October 2010 in review ...

Miles Planned/Miles Ran: 154.2/168.1 (which brings me to 1468.58 on the year. Only 31.42 until 1,500!)

Rest Days Planned/Rest Days Taken: 9/12 (That whole marathon thing took more out of me than I suspected it would.)

Highest Mileage Week: 10/4-10/10: 39.5 miles (taper and recovery make for low(er) mileage weeks)

Long Runs Planned/Long Runs Completed: 5/5

Donuts Burned: 121 (my favorite statistic on Dailymile)

Current Book: Funny. Did you really think I was going to have time to read a book while I was suffering from Taper Madness and subsequently recovering from my marathon? Really? Well, obviously you don't know me that well ...

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: CHOCOLATE. We bought 60 FULL-SIZE candy bars for Halloween. Guess how many trick-or-treaters we had. FOUR. Leaving us with 56 FULL-SIZE candy bars. Add that to all of the junk my kids brought home and it's just a recipe for disaster ...

Current Colors: Turquoise and Green

Current Drink: Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee. With the temperatures dropping, I find myself drinking it non-stop just to stay warm.

Current Song: Take It Off - Ke$ha

Current Triumph: My 17 minute marathon PR. Oh, and dropping the eight pounds I managed to pick up during Taper Madness ...

Current Goal: Demolish my 8K PR (41:57) on the 13th. I am so.very.ready.

Current Blessing: Pretty much everything. Life is pretty sweet right now. And I don't take that for granted.

Current Excitement: I am SUPER pumped to run the HCA 8K on November 13th. And I am BEYOND EXCITED for our Christmas present to the girls - A trip to Disney in 42 days!

Monday, November 1, 2010

spooky ..

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love sweets. I love trick-or-treating. And I LOVE dressing up (Shocking, right? I'm sure that you'd never guess that by looking at my running apparel ...) In fact, I already have the girls' costumes for NEXT YEAR already picked out. You might say that I am mildly obsessed. But, my obsessions are not important. What is important is that my kids had a blast yesterday.

We started the day with some pumpkin carving (which was messier than I would have liked). Then after a quick nap for Dilly (who's sleeping like a rock in her new bed), we headed out to Dizzle's soccer game, where she scored her FIRST GOAL EVER! It was an awesome moment. The look of surprise on her face was CLASSIC. And just moments after the shock wore off, she scored ANOTHER GOAL. It was total rock star material.

After the game, we headed over to Dizzle's BFF's house for our traditional Halloween celebration and trick-or-treating. For the girls, it was pretty much heaven. Both Dizzle and Doodle got to chill with their best friends. They stocked up on WAY TO MUCH candy. And they laughed the entire time. It was fantastic. Here, take a look at some of my favorite shots from the day ...

Me and my sister in our "Tortoise and the Hare" costumes
All the kidsDoodle and BOur whole groupMe and G (Note: J as a track and field athlete standing behind us)Doodle and B on the huntDizzle running to the next houseDilly giving me the "evil eye" when I tried to take her candy
Cute, right? I so can't wait until next year ...