And now for the first half of answers ...
Chris asked: What, for you, is the most difficult aspect of running? Is is getting up in the morning, finding time, dealing with injury, etc. Personally, I think that finding the proper nutritional balance is the most difficult aspect of running. At this point, I have figured out how to manage my schedule and have been smart with my training, helping me to avoid injury. But, I almost always fail on the nutritional end. In fact, I can almost always link a bad run to poor nutrition or hydration.
Marlene asked: What are you MOST excited about for your upcoming trip/race in NYC? I think the thing that is most exciting about the NYC Marathon is the fact that it's my first race with true elites. I think it's pretty cool to run the same course at the same time (albeit much slower) as so many amazing athletes. Oh, and I've heard the swag is pretty sweet too ...
Twila asked: Do you have any sayings you say in your head while your run? Like personal mantras? Currently, I have been repeating my favorite line from a Lemonade Mouth (Disney movie) song - "Push it till you can't and then demand more." I love it and I feel like it really encapsulates what I aspire to do as an athlete. But, honestly, it depends on the day. Sometimes, I just tell myself that it would be embarrassing to stop and that's enough to keep me going.
And if you only had 30 minutes a day to work out what would do you? Run. I don't run because I have to. I run because I love to.
runaroundaroo asked: If you could take a family vacation any where where would it be and for how long? Disregard budgets, time off work and such... Easy peasy - Australia. For at least two weeks. It's been my dream destination FOREVER. And J and I are planning on taking the kids there sometime in the next few years. I'm thinking we will probably go for our 10th anniversary in 2014. I'm not sure if J is thinking the same thing, but I usually get my way ...
Jen asked: What is the favorite hair color you have had over the years? Pink. But purple looks really good on me.
Stacy asked: You have an amazing amount of confidence. Were you always a confident person, and if not, to what do you attribute your inner strength? I have always been confident, and I think that most of that has to do with my parents. They always told me and my sisters that we were "The $h*t" and so, I believed it. When you are constantly told you are the best, you begin to be just that.
With that said, I think that my confidence has definitely flourished in the last few years. There is something about taking hold of your life and transforming yourself that will boost your confidence. When I look back at who I was and compare it to who I am now, I can't help but be proud of the positive changes I have made and I don't see any fault in sharing my "pride". Plus, I am surrounded by people who support me 100% (even if they think I am insane at times). How could you not be confident when so many others are believing in you?
massage momma asked: What is your favorite thing to wear while running? I know you might be shocked by this, but my favorite thing to wear while running is a skirt and knee high socks. I don't care if it's 110*, I am still going to rock the socks. I even wear them under my tights in the winter.
And is there one item or piece of gear that you absolutely HAVE to be wearing when you do a race? Sunglasses. Even if it's not sunny. My race photos would be tragic otherwise ...
Shellyrm ~ just a country runner asked: Fast forward 7 - 10 years the girls are all active and busy with sports and interests, how do you see your active lifestyle (running/racing) evolving to handle the shift from your time intensive goals to theirs? Maybe it's just me, but I actually think that fast forwarding 7-10 years would show that my goals have grown to be even more time intensive. Right now, I train in the "off" hours, logging most of my miles when my children are in bed (early morning and late nights). I am often limited by their schedules and by a lack of child care. Once they are all in school full time, I am going to gain a whole window of training time. Plus, I really hope that by that point, all my kids will be running/racing with me.
Zoë asked: What is the longest your hair has ever been? Ever - between my shoulder blades. As an adult - just past my shoulders. This was me in 2007 (Note: I straightened my hair this day. It's actually quite curly.)
The Boohers asked: Where do you get your awesome socks? A variety of places. But my favorites are from Little MisMatched, Dick's Sporting Goods (Reebok All Sport Socks), and RunningSkirts.com
ajh asked: Does anything embarrass you? If so what? Most definitely. I just try not to let things bother me for too long. I'm quite good at just "shaking it off." But I will say, one time, my father called me out of work and told them I had explosive diarrhea. I'm still embarrassed by that one.
Caroline asked: Who would you like to meet? I think this is the most challenging question I've been asked. I can not think of an answer. Seriously, I don't really have an "idol" and there's not really a celebrity that I am dying to meet. Maybe the cast of NCIS? That way I could thank them for providing me with hours of entertainment on the treadmill ...
And what is something you cannot tolerate? Lateness. It drives me crazy. I am notoriously early for things and it irks me when others keep me waiting.
And what is your dream race, if money is not a factor? The London Marathon. J and I started dating on a trip to England and I think it would be the most awesome thing to go back there and run that race with him. I think that if there is a half marathon option, I could probably convince him.
cql asked: Why wasn't Dilly in the RW pictures? For a few reasons.
1. They didn't ask her to be. I submitted a picture of Dizzle, Doodle and me and that's who the photo editor requested.
2. She didn't have the wardrobe.
3. She's 2 and 2 year olds don't always cooperate.
And what do you love most about blogging? Here's my top three:
1. Blogging allows me to document my family and our experiences on a daily basis. One day, I know my children will appreciate this.
2. It has afforded me many experiences I would have otherwise had, including meeting like-minded individuals, traveling to races, and being featured in Runner's World.
3. The free stuff doesn't suck.
Kortni asked: What is the best and worst running advice you have received? Best advice - If you want to improve, build a stronger base. Worse advice - Don't run so much. You are going to hurt yourself.
And, do you prefer to run solo or with your posse? Most days, running with my posse. But a solo run every now and then is nice too. It teaches me to appreciate always having someone to run with.
Linz asked: Can you tell us more about your experience upping your mileage? Your high weekly/monthly/yearly mileage has always impressed me - how did you get there? For a long time, I was running somewhere between 18 and 25 miles a week. Even for my first and second marathons, I peaked at 36 miles. When I decided to increase my base, I did it very slowly. Basically, I just stuck to the 10% rule and once the mileage of my mid-week runs was at about 6 miles, I added a 5th day of running. Adding that extra day, gave me the ability to spread out my total mileage better. Recently, I have added a 6th day which I am a HUGE fan of.
If you are going to build your base, you just need to be smart about it. Don't jump too fast in either distance or pace. Lots of easy, slow miles are the key. My body likes 40-50 miles per week. My mind wants to log 50-60 miles per week. Eventually, I will get the two to agree.
Melissa asked: What tips do you have for avoiding running injuries? There are a few things you can do, but I think the number one thing is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Pushing through pain is just stupid. And you know the pain I am talking about. Pushing through discomfort is one thing, but pain is another. I try to live by the rule that if my pain is a 3 or more on a scale of 1-10, it's time to stop.
Also, it's never smart to mix increasing mileage with speed. If you are running all of your miles at tempo pace and then you start adding longer runs, you are just setting yourself up for disaster. Think, "one thing at a time."
XLMIC asked: Was your husband your first? You know what I mean. Yes, he was (and my kids better take that to heart). First serious relationship. First everything. He is and ( I feel confident saying) will always be my one true love.
And who is your celebrity crush? Why? Andreas Thorkildsen - Reigning Olympic Champion in the javelin (I'm a thrower at heart)
(source: norway.com)Why? He's Olympic champ. And pretty much unstoppable in his discipline. Plus, did you see him? Isn't that reason enough? (And yes, J knows about my crush ...)
And if you could only read one blog from now on, which one would you choose? Mile Posts.
Holly asked: What question do people ask you the most? Don't you get hot in those socks? or Are those socks compression? Do you like them?
And do you/did you watch Biggest Loser? What do you think of Anna Kournikova? I watch the weigh ins. That's all I care about. As for Anna, I don't really have an opinion. But, I don't know if she's qualified to train people (as in certified). If she is, then good. If not, then why the heck is she a "trainer"?
Lucy asked: Do you have a pump up song you listen to before you run? If so, what is it? I almost never listen to music when I run. But, in general, I am loving "Determinate" by Lemonade Mouth.
Deanne asked: What motivated you to get started running? I started running to "lose the baby weight," but I kept doing it because I became passionate about it.
And what motivates you to get going on your daily workouts? I don't see workouts as an optional thing. Just like anything important, I schedule them in my day. When workout time rolls around, I get it done, even if I don't feel like it. I've yet to regret it.
And what motivates you to keep going until your workout is over? I don't like to think of myself as a quitter. I want to finish what I start. That almost always keeps me going.
Jess @ Blonde Ponytail asked: I think I know that cupcakes might be your fav post-race fuel, so what is your fav pre-race fuel? I have a mild obsession with Luna Protein Cookie Dough Bars. I love them.
And do you get car/van sick? Actually, yes. But usually only when I have overeaten, am dehydrated or can't see out the front window.
And who would play TMB in a movie? Someone totally bada**. I don't think I have a doppelganger, so I think it would have to be someone who shares my sheer awesomeness.