Friday, December 31, 2010

Camerica ...

In case you didn't realize, we had a fantastic time on our trip to Disney. While we were there, we established some general rules for navigating the parks. J usually split from us immediately after walking through the gate to grab a FastPass for our favorite rides. Then we'd meet either at a show or an attraction with a historically short wait. It worked well. We rarely waited more than 10 minutes for anything and we were able to piggyback our FastPasses on each other.

In addition to having rules for navigating the parks, we also had rules about what we would and would not do. Country Bear Jamboree and Hall of Presidents? Never going to happen. Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest? We'd probably get in a fist fight for the last FastPass.

There were also rules that applied to our children.
1. 3D shows/attractions are a complete waste of time. The girls FREAK OUT and scream through the whole thing.
2. If you are tall enough to ride, you HAVE to ride. At least once. Because you don't know if you like it unless you try (this is how we know 3D rides don't work for them). And most of the time, they like it. Some of the girls' favorite rides were Big Thunder Mountain, Expedition Everest, The Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror.
3. You can go on anything that you want, even if everyone else thinks you are crazy/strange/boring. Mom is the only one who can veto your selection.

Because of rule #3, Doodle ended up seeing the "O Canada" movie in Epcot. Out of the blue she decided that she HAD to see it. The rest of us weren't feeling it as much. So, J agreed to go with her while the rest of us explored (read: shopped).

After we met up again, she said the film was good and she never mention it again. Until yesterday.

We were eating dinner, then out of the blue, this conversation occurred:

Doodle: Dizzle should have done the Camerica thing at Disney.
Me: (with no clue as to what she was talking about) Oh, yeah. She really should have.
Dizzle: (to me) What did she say?
Me: I'm not sure.
Doodle: Dizzle should have done the Camerica thing at Disney. It was good and it was very small.
Me: Huh? What was it about?
Doodle: You know, the Camerica movie.
Me: Oh, you mean the CANADA movie.
Doodle: Yeah, Dizzle should have seen it.
Dizzle: What's Canada?

Does anyone else think I should buy my kids a map?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Three Things Thursday, Goals Edition ...

I've always been the type of person that does well with goals. I attribute that to the fact that I tend to see them as endpoints with a predetermined route. They are not suggestions. Or wishes. Or dreams. Instead, they are my finish line and I just need to do the things along the way to make it there. And although I have many goals for 2011, they all fall into one of three categories.


  • Clean up my diet - I lost 70 pounds in 2004 and other than during pregnancies, have maintained quite well. But, my diet sucks. (Seriously. I ate 48 600-800 calorie cupcakes in 2010). I am a notorious calorie counter. I know how much I need each day to maintain my weight, but I often use up those calories with low-quality foods (i.e. sweets). And I am done with it.
  • Eat no more than 25 cupcakes - This really goes with the first one. I know I can't go cold turkey from cupcakes, so instead, I am cutting my quota in half.


  • Pay off our consumer debt by the end of the year - As I mentioned before, J and I have gone to a cash only budget. It has been working and is helping to show me that all the things I thought I NEEDED were really just things I would LIKE to have.
  • Spend $0 on clothing - A few months ago, I whittled my wardrobe down to 35 items (running gear excluded). And have LOVED it. I have everything I need and I have zero unused items. (And we all know I have more than enough to run in ...) Because of this, I feel like I can make it a year without spending anything on clothing. However, this is not to say, I won't get any new pieces. I probably will, but they will either be given to me or purchased with a gift card.


  • Run 2,000 miles - This one seems kind of daunting, but not impossible. In 2009, I ran 921 miles. As of this morning, I have run 1797.87 in 2010 (and I have 10 more on the schedule). I figure if I managed to add 880 mile this year, I can surely add 200 in 2011.
  • Run a sub 1:55 half marathon - I should have this one in the bag, but it is going to be more of a mental challenge than a physical one for me. All of my current PRs from the 5K to 10 miles put me under this time. I just need to believe I can do it.
  • Take 30+ minutes off my marathon - I have yet to have everything go right on marathon day and my PR reflects it (4:49), leaving me to believe that shaving a half hour or more off my time is not only possible, but realistic. I mean, really. 5K PR puts my goal marathon time at 3:43:24 and my half marathon PR puts it at 4:04:43. It's going to come together in 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 goals: accomplished

2010 was a pretty big year for me and my family.

I became certified as a running coach and started my own training business. I was also fortunate enough to travel quite a bit for races, toeing the line in Bermuda, Florida, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and Washington. We went to Disney. Twice. J ran his first (and second) half marathon. Dizzle and Doodle each ran their first race, a mile and a half mile, respectively. Dizzle also started kindergarten and lost two teeth. Dilly learned to walk and talk. Simply put, 2010 didn't suck.

When the year started, I put in place a few goals to keep me motivated throughout the year. Here's how they turned out -

  • run 1000 miles - accomplished on 8/14, as of this morning I sit at 1787.87 on the year.
  • run a 2 hour half marathon - accomplished on 9/26 at the You Go Girl! Half where I was paced by Tall Mom to a 1:58:02
  • run a sub-25 5K - accomplished first on 5/29 at the Autism 5K (24:09) and again last Sunday (22:55)
  • run a sub 7:10 mile - accomplished, sort of. I never did the mile time trial I wanted to, but my last mile of Sunday's 5K was a 7:08. I'm counting that.
  • eat less than 50 cupcakes - accomplished, as of today I have had 48 cupcakes this year. It scares me to think of how many calories that adds up to or how much cash I spent on them (they run $3.25 each).

Not too shabby, right? Now I just need to think of some goals to help make 2011 even better ...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

untapped speed ...

On Sunday, I was supposed to run my last race of 2010 - a 5K. I was super excited for it. After a fantastic 8K PR in November and a strong base established, I was primed to run fast. Plus, the 5K is a distance that I LOVE, but never seem to build into my race schedule.

So, I was all set. Uber-cute outfit picked out. Mental game on point. And despite running 24 miles in the two days prior, I felt strong. I was going to crush my PR (24:09). But then, it snowed.

And for the first time in a VERY long time, I wasn't a "runner first, logical thinker second." J didn't want me to drive to the race (honestly, the roads were bad) and I actually listened to him - taking my first DNS EVER.

I was totally bummed. I wanted, no, NEEDED to know how fast I could run. So, I put on my uber-cute outfit and hit the treadmill for my own Christmas 5K.

I set the treadmill incline to 1%. I hit the button for the pace I was hoping to run (7:30) and I was off. The first mile was comfortable, so I pushed it a little. But still, mile two seemed to fly by, so I sped up again. And when I finished, the display looked like this ...

Yeah, that's right. 22:55 (7:23 pace). A 1:14 improvement over my 5K PR from May. And then I started thinking that maybe Mel's right. I might have some untapped speed in me after all ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

our Disney Christmas ...

Like I mentioned before my little hiatus, J and I surprised our girls with a trip to Disney for Christmas. When we loaded up the car early on the morning of the 15th, they didn't really know what to expect and we didn't really know how they'd react, so we videotaped it. Personally, I think the reaction we got was pretty funny. Dizzle freaked. Doodle cried (not because she was so happy, but because Dizzle figured it out first). And Dilly barely even noticed. Typical.

So, do you want to see it? Thought so. (Note: When Dizzle's guesses that we were going to see Katye, she meant Katye from Long Legs on the Loose. And watch the video of the end. The last thing Dizzle says makes me laugh every time.)

Good stuff, right?

Once we arrived in Orlando (we were also joined by my mom and sister, Angie Pants), our "relaxing" vacation became anything but. We spent almost every waking minute at the parks getting our fill of rides, shows, attractions and unhealthy foods. It was magical.

Over the course of our nine day trip we ...


ate things like this (I did manage to run 37 miles to counteract these indulgences).

went on safari.

traveled by boat.



kept our kids up WAY past their bedtimes.


goofed around.



and played some more.

took the best family portrait ever.

Every second of our trip was amazing. Well, mostly. Those two days when Dizzle had a stomach bug and was puking here and there, kind of sucked (and yes, I am a horrible mother and filled her up on Pepto and Motrin and made her suck it up. And be honest. You'd probably would have done the same.)

Anyway, this trip reaffirmed a few things for us.
1. There is no question that Dizzle and Doodle are adrenaline junkies. They LOVED Tower of Terror, Big Thunder Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and Expedition Everest.
2. Dilly proved that she is an endurance athlete in the making. Her 23 month old legs WALKED the vast majority of the time.
3. J and I are big kids. We had as much, if not more fun than the girls.
4. I am done with giving the girls "things." I would MUCH rather give them these experiences. To show them the world and create memories that they will cherish for so much longer than some gift they unwrap on Christmas morning. And I know that if they really thought about it, they'd feel the same. Trust me. I saw their faces when they saw Cinderella's castle light up ...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

oh, to be five ...

Most little kids are thankful for their mom and dad, their pets and maybe even their favorite toys. But not my kid. Here are the four things Dizzle is most thankful for ...

Yup, that's right.


Apparently, Dizzle is borderline hippie and I just didn't know it. I mean, if she wasn't going to choose her family as her favorite thing, couldn't she at least have chosen her running shoes? I'd get that choice ...

All joking aside, I am very thankful for the things in my life too. And I am especially thankful that this time tomorrow we will be en-route to Disney. We are about to surprise our girls with the ultimate Christmas present and will be making memories to last a lifetime. Memories that I will share here. Eventually. Like after we return ...

So, until then, may you all have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

some days being a parent stinks ...

Disclaimer: If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip this post all together. Don't say I didn't warn you ...

Note to self:

A: Do not allow your three-year-old to ingest 12 or more ounces of Egg Nog while shopping at BJ's.

B: Do not tell your child to "deal with it" when she says, "Mom, my tummy hurts. And it hurts more when you push on it."

C: ALWAYS have an extra box of baking soda on hand, because y0u never know when ignoring A and B will lead to this ...

Thanks Doodle. At least you kept most of it on the hardwoods ...

Friday, December 10, 2010

5 miles ...

For the first two years of my running, I think I had a mental block. I averaged 10 minute miles on my training runs whether I was running two miles or 20. I can't be sure why that happened, but looking back on it, I am starting to suspect it was because I "told" myself that that was the pace I could run.

But about eight months ago, I started to "run slower, to run faster." I found the proper pace zones based on my PRs at the time and I stuck to them. I built my mileage base. I stopped running every training run at the same speed. I became more deliberate in my training. And over the course of months, I saw myself (and my training posse) get faster.

The other day, G and I were talking about how "9 minute miles are the new 10 minute miles." And how without us even realizing it, we have managed to up our game. Obviously, we realized that our times were dropping, but we hadn't paid attention to how far we had come since this time last year (kind of like someone who loses a ton of weight, but they don't "see" it because the loss has been gradual for them).

Yesterday, we ran our five mile loop. The same five mile loop our group runs twice a week. When we finished, my Garmin read an average pace of 8:51. And we talked THE WHOLE TIME. All I could think was, "8:51? That's nuts. There was a time in the not so distant past when 8:51 would have been 5K race pace for me."

That's when I decided to go back and see the progression of pace over this five mile course. And here's what I found ...

On 9/8, we averaged 10:12
On 10/5, we averaged 9:49
On 10/26, we averaged 9:40
On 11/30, we averaged 9:19
and on 12/9, we averaged 8:51

And the intensity remained the same ...

So, what does this show me? Well, two things. First, that if you want to improve, you need to be deliberate about your training. And second, if you want to improve, you need to BELIEVE that you can improve.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

hot water ...

On Saturday, J realized that our hot water heater was leaking. Nothing major, but enough to warrant a call to our home warranty provider. We were told that someone would contact us to set up a service call "as soon as possible." Needless to say, "as soon as possible" does not mean quickly. So, we called again (on Monday) and got set up with a technician on Tuesday. In the meantime, we changed out the towel that was absorbing the leak every few hours and continued to go about our daily business.

When our service call actually happened on Tuesday morning, the plumber told us the water heater needed to be replaced and that it would be a one to two day turn around. We were cool with that. Everything was working fine and we didn't really mind swapping out a towel here and there. Plus, our home warranty was going to cover the cost.

But, then on Tuesday night (after my second run of the day), I took a shower. And when I came downstairs to swap out the towel, we had an issue. LIKE A BIG ISSUE. Like Old Faithful had erupted in our utility room. Water was everywhere and the shut-off valve wouldn't budge (we later learned the valve was shot).

I called J in a panic. There was no containing the water and I couldn't find the shut-off for the water line to the house. I tried to catch the water in a bucket, but that was pointless. When J got home 20 minutes later, he was able to cut the water to the house (well, partially), which slowed the flow of water. At that point, there wasn't much else for us to do. We had to sit and wait for a professional to come and remedy the situation.

An hour and a half later, the "on-call" plumber showed up to drain the tank and restore water to the rest of the house. It sounded great to me. Sure, we wouldn't have hot water until the unit was replaced, but that would hopefully be within a day. Easy peasy.

Except it wasn't. Because not only did our hot water heater provide hot water to our home, it also served an integral part in our home heating system. Meaning that if we don't have a functioning hot water heater, WE DON'T HAVE HEAT. And it's freaking 20 degrees outside. Needless to say, we are cold. And I'm not good with cold.

And to top it off, it is over 24 hours later and we still don't have any clue as to when we will be getting our new water heater. Apparently, it is "special" and is more difficult to obtain than your standard water heater. Right.

So, until it arrives and is installed we will be doing (or not doing) the following ...

1. We will be sleeping with WAY more blankets than anyone ever should. I'm pretty sure that Dilly is going to get lost in the three queen sized blankets on her bed.

2. We will be wearing multiple layers and hats indoors. Not ideal, but at least I don't have to brush anyone's hair.

3. We will be snuggling. A lot. Which doesn't really suck at all.

4. We will not be doing laundry. Kind of sucky, considering I only own 35 pieces of clothing and I am wearing most of them right now.

5. We will not be using the dishwasher. And all of our dishes will be cleaned in ICE COLD water. (That will be J's job.)

6. We will not be bathing. I'm not into the whole cold shower in the winter thing. And although I know I could fill the bathtub part of the way with cold water and add boiled water to the tub, that is just too much work.

7. We will count our blessing that this didn't happen a week from now, right before or right after we go to Disney.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

potty mouth ...

For all of you who love a stories about bodily functions, here is a conversation I had yesterday with Doodle ...

Doodle: "Mommy. My side hurts."
Me: "Well, honey, you probably have to go to the bathroom."
Doodle: "NO! I! DON'T!"
Me: "Whatever, Doodle. Then stop complaining." (Obviously, I am really sympathetic.)
Doodle: (Whining) "But, my side hurts ..."
Me: "Then go to the bathroom."

Doodle stomps off and I proceed to pick up around the house.

Doodle: (all of 30 seconds later) "Mom?"
Me: "What?"
Doodle: "I am going to the bathroom."
Me: "I'm super happy for you."
Doodle: (not to me, but loud enough for me to hear): "I just can't stop pooping! I am pooping so much! I'm gonna fill the toilet up. I guess I really had to go poopie."
Doodle: "Mom? What are you doing?"
Me: "I'm putting away the laundry. Why?"
Doodle: "Well, I am going poopie and there is so much. I can not believe how much poopie came out of me. And my side doesn't hurt anymore. That is so silly!"

No, Doodle. What's silly is that you didn't just listen to me in the first place ...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

control ...

I have never claimed to be ladylike. In fact, I will openly admit to being quite the opposite. I have been known to wipe my nose (and my kids') with my sleeve. I unabashedly pick my wedgies. And I only wear a skirt when I am running. But perhaps my most unladylike behavior is that I burp with the best of them. I never try to hide it. And most days I make a joke of it.

Usually, the joke goes one of two ways.

1. I burp and blame someone else. The kids seem to find this funny. As long as they aren't the one who gets blamed.

2. I burp and tell whichever kid is closest that she "made me do it."

Most days, the girls appease me and laugh at my rather pathetic attempt at being funny. But recently, Dizzle just isn't having it. Yesterday, when I told her she made me burp, she turned to me and said ...

"Mom. We control our own bodies."

Right, Dizzle. I had forgotten that. Why don't you keep that in mind then next time you try to tell me that Doodle made you do it ...

Monday, December 6, 2010

feeling festive ...

Yesterday morning, I woke up to this ...
So, I ran 9 miles wearing this ...
Then once I warmed up, we did a little bit of this ...

And this ...
And this ...
And, yes. I was there too ...
And then we ended up with this ...
Yup. Definitely feeling festive around here ...

Friday, December 3, 2010

if I could change one thing ...

When someone asks me if I have any regrets or if there is anything I would change in my past, I have always said no. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, both good and bad. I have faith that I am exactly where I am meant to be at this very moment.

And if we are being honest, I am amazingly content with my life. I have a loving husband, three beautiful daughters and an amazing support system. There really isn't much I can complain about. Sure, some days are stressful and sometimes things don't go my way, but all-in-all, I am blessed. We all are.

But being blessed doesn't prevent you from being stupid. I will admit that I have made some dumb choices in my life. I've focused on the wrong things. I've stressed about things I can not change. I've gotten caught up in commercialism. In having the latest and greatest. The biggest and the best.

And that last one? Well, that's something I am committed to changing.

I remember being 18 years old and getting my first credit card. For the next four years, I was a credit card company's worst nightmare. I made a few small charges each month and paid off the entire balance WEEKS BEFORE the due date. They NEVER made a cent off of me. And in return, I was rewarded with an excellent credit score.

I remember how I used to make purchases. I was a poor college student who only bought what was NECESSARY. I always thought before I swiped. If I didn't have the money in the bank to cover what I was buying, I didn't get it. So, if that meant that I ate cereal or mac and cheese at every meal because that was all I could afford, I was cool with that.

Until yesterday afternoon, I couldn't really pinpoint when that mentality changed. I knew it was sometime after graduation and before Dizzle was born, but the exact moment alluded me. But, in my ongoing purging, I stumbled upon my "wedding portfolio" (the book I used to plan my wedding).

Inside the book was the final bill for our wedding. Not the dress. Or the favors. Or the photography (which was free by the way). Or any of the costs leading up to the event. Just the total price of the wedding and reception.


$6091 that was put entirely on a credit card. $6091 that I am probably still paying for.

As soon as I saw that bill, I remembered that moment. (And it instantly became the moment I would go back and change.) J and I had to pay for the wedding somehow and our credit cards were the only way we could at the time. And I'm pretty sure that when that charge hit, we became "OK" with carrying debt. It almost seemed like a necessary evil. I think I've known all along that it's not, but when you are carrying debt it becomes easier to justify more debt.

I really wish we could go back 6 years and change our spending habits. I wish we could return all of the items we wasted our hard earned money on and get a refund. But, it doesn't work like that. Instead, J and I are actively choosing to break the cycle. We have kicked the credit cards to the curb. We have set a strict budget. And if we can't pay for it in cash, we can't pay for it at all.

I know it's going to be hard to change our habits. And I know the "unexpected" will happen. But, I also know that I am extremely driven and when I set my mind to something, I find a way to make it happen. This will be no different. I refuse to let it be.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Things Thursday ...

1. Revenge of the Pinkeye - Remember last week when I posted that Doodle had been hit with pinkeye? Well, it seems that the eye of pink has taken permanent residence in our home. Dizzle was diagnosed with it on Monday and Doodle (after finishing both an oral and topical antibiotic) woke up all crusty again today. Seriously? Isn't one round enough? Dude, if this doesn't clear up soon, our Disney photos are going to be scary ...

2. Post Thanksgiving Immune Deficiency - Did you know that such a thing existed? Well, it does. For the past three years, I have gotten sick in the week following Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why, but it hits me pretty much immediately after Thanksgiving dinner and it hits me hard.

And because I am a runner first, logical thinker second, I have been running this week despite not feeling great. Yesterday was rough. I didn't know if I just lacked motivation or if my body was trying to tell me I needed a rest day. I hoped I was running low on motivation and headed out in 40+ mph winds with G, J, K and two strollers. Needless to say, sometimes I question our sanity.

3. San Francisco Stalking - Last January, G and I traveled to Bermuda for the Bermuda Half Marathon. It was a FANTASTIC girls' weekend and we decided that we wanted to make it an annual tradition. After much talk (of where we could stay for free), we decided to run the 2011 San Francisco Half Marathon. (Feel free to join us!)

Registration was supposed to open yesterday. So, like any sane person I stalked the website ALL DAY waiting for it to go live. But, it NEVER did. Apparently, there is some sort of technical glitch holding everything up. And although, I know the race probably isn't going to sell out on day one, I REALLY want to register. It makes it all official. And then, J can't change his mind about me going ...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Rewind ...

Holy Cow! It's December, which means that a BIG holiday is coming up quickly.

My birthday - there are only two months until I turn 29. And you probably should start planning your gifts now. I accept cash, checks, credit cards and running gear of all kinds. And if you are feeling really generous, go ahead and send me a Christmas present too.

Or, if you want to send me a gift to commemorate all I accomplished last month, I'm not going to stop you. And so that you have a reference point, here is my November 2010 in review ...

Miles Planned/Miles Ran: none - for the first time in forever, I ran without a training plan/140.67 (which brings me to 1609.15 on the year)

Rest Days Planned/Rest Days Taken: 8/9

Highest Mileage Week: 11/22-11/28: 34.3 miles

Long Runs Planned/Long Runs Completed: 4/4

Donuts Burned: 97 (my favorite statistic on Dailymile)

Current Book: None, unless children's books count. Which I don't think they do. Especially considering I have most of them committed to memory.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Cream Puffs. Have you ever noticed how I have a thing for desserts? Well, I do. And thanks to a $2.00 off coupon at BJ's, I have almost single-handedly consumed a box of 70 cream puffs. God, I hope J has been sneaking them too ...

Current Colors: Pink and Charcoal Grey

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

Current Song: Club Can't Handle Me - Flo Rida

Current Triumph: My 3:04 PR in the 8K two weeks ago. And a complete purge of my closet. And my pure awesomeness, of course ...

Current Goal: A new 5K PR at my December 26th race. Rebuild my base before heading into marathon training on Jan 1. Not go broke while on vacation at Disney.

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

Current Excitement: Did I mention that we are going to Disney? Like in 14 days? And that my kids have NO IDEA? (Note: We surprised them with a Disney trip in March. It was classic. You can see their reactions HERE.)

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, 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, 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.