Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Moving Comfort Vixen Bra Review and Giveaway ...

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, or have ever seen a picture of me, then you know that I am not exactly well-endowed. In fact, Dizzle once asked me, and I quote, "Did you have your boobies cut off?" Go ahead. Laugh. I did.

And even though I am OK with my pancake flat chest, I haven't stopped my search to find the perfect sports bra (i.e. one that supports, has a cuteness factor and maybe even adds a little "volume"). For the last three years, I have been wearing the perfect bra for active nursing moms. It's called the Fiona Bra by Moving Comfort.

Although, it's not technically a nursing bra, it does have these great adjustable Velcro straps that can easily be undone to nurse. I loved that bra. And I would have continued to wear it, but the smallest size it comes in is a B cup, and even that is too large for me.

Luckily, a few weeks ago, Moving Comfort sent me their Vixen Bra to test.

Moving Comfort says this about the Vixen Bra:

"Powerful performance meets cute design in this new pullover style, offering moderate contouring and maximum moisture transfer. Powermesh back and lining add support and breathability. Modified racer-back styling offers full range of arm movement and strap stability."

I was excited about this bra from the moment I opened the package. It definitely had the cuteness factor working for it AND it also had the slightest bit of padding, to give me that little extra "volume" I had been looking for. It was two for three before I even put it on.

Then came the real test. The run. I got dressed and headed out for a five miler. And the bra performed beautifully. I never felt like I was "bouncing." I felt secure without being suffocated. Not only did it provide excellent support, but it didn't shift at all. I had zero chaffing. This is a huge plus to me. I, like many women, have unknowingly fallen victim to bra chaffing only to find out how badly it had rubbed after I stepped into the shower. Ouch! Over the course of the last three weeks, I have logged close to 50 miles in this bra without a single complaint. Are you getting just how fantastic this bra is?

And now, thanks to the people at Moving Comfort, one of my readers will win their choice of either the Fiona or the Vixen bra. Here's how to enter (one comment per entry):

1. Visit the Moving Comfort website HERE, then come back and let me know what product you would like to try.

2. Become a follower of my blog and leave me a comment to let me know.

3. Become a fan of the Moving Comfort page on Facebook HERE and leave me a comment to let me know.

4. Become a fan of this blog on Facebook HERE and leave me a comment to let me know.

5. Repost this giveaway on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, mass text message, wherever and leave me a comment to let me know (one entry per repost).

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, April 7th. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, April 8th.

*although I was provided with this product to test, I was not compensated for the review and it is entirely my own.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

life as a mother-runner, emphasis on mother ...

Back on my 300th post, I asked you to comment with any question you wanted me to answer. The response was huge. Way too much for one entry. So, I have decided to categorize the questions and reply in a series of posts over the next few weeks. Last Friday, I let you know the entire story behind my sock obsession. Today, I discuss my life as a mother-runner, with an emphasis on mother ...

Carly asked: "What did you do before you became a stay at home mom? Do you miss it?" And Katie A asked: "Do you expect you will ever go back to work or do you think you will stay home until they are all in school and more independent?"

Carly, the short answer is NOTHING. The long answer is slightly more complicated.

During college, I worked in sports media for my university. And by the time I graduated, I had been promoted from lowly work-study to Athletic Communications Assistant. I served as the media liaison for several sports. Which included producing media guides, newsletters and programs for each sport, as well as writing press releases and feature articles. I also was heavily involved in the coordination and execution of the Penn Relays (one of the oldest track meets in America). I loved it. But, it was super time consuming and paid very little. I knew it was not a career path I wanted to continue to follow, especially once I started a family.

Once I graduated, I lived at home for six months and worked in banking. I never really saw a future in it. It was just something I did until I moved in with J and started my "real career." Six months after graduation, J and I got married. I still didn't have a real job. So, we talked it over and decided to start a family and I would wait to start my career until the kids were older. Now I'm not 100% sure that I will ever go back to work full-time (great use of that Ivy League degree, right?). I loved that my mom was always there to help with our homework, to make after-school snacks and to taxi us from place to place. And as annoying as I thought the supervision was at the time, I know her presence really helped to keep me and my sisters in line. And I'd like to do the same for my girls. So, to answer the questions - No, I don't miss it AT ALL.

Kilax asked: "How do you balance running as a wife and mother?"

Just like anyone else I guess. When you make something a priority in your life, you find away to make it work. For me, being a runner is equally as important as being a wife and a mother. I try my best to give my all to each aspect of my life without taking away from another area. Plus, I want my kids to see that I am more than just their mother. And running helps me do that. So, I have no choice but to balance it all.

As for the day to day logistics, I tend to do my runs when my children are not around. Like when one (or more) of them is busy with preschool or dance class or soccer. And a ton of my runs are done on my treadmill after they go to bed. J travels a lot and it is often the only way I get it done. The exception is my long run. 99% of the time I do those outside with my friends. J watches the kids and I get to escape, even if it's only for two hours ...

Jen asked: "I haven't felt like I necessarily like who I have become after being a stay at home mother. How did you own it?"

Being a stay-at-home mom is a challenge. It's a sacrifice. But that's just part of being a parent, regardless of whether you work or not. I think that I have been able to own my status as a stay-at-home mom because I have learned to take pride in what I do. Not everyone can handle being home all day with their children (or would want to), but I can. I have made that choice. And I am proud of that. I am proud that I am able to set an example for them everyday. To show them how to live their lives. To teach them what they need to succeed.

But, I think the thing that has helped the most is that I have found things for me, outside of my children. I run. I blog. I follow my passions (like becoming a running coach). The only true difference between the me I used to be and the me I am now is that I've lost that "me first" attitude. Now, I strive to find a way to fulfill myself, without adversely affecting my family. Some days it it harder than others, but in the end it seems to work. And no matter how bad the day might have been, I just try to remember to take pride in everything I've accomplished.

Robyn asked: "Did you ever think you'd have 3 kids by the age you are now?"

Three kids by the age of 27? No way, no how, no sir. I never even thought I would have three children at all. For most of my life, I had planned on two (perhaps delivered by someone else). But, after I had Doodle, I just didn't feel like our family was complete. Once Dilly arrived, I knew we were done. And even though things didn't go according to plan, I wouldn't change a thing. I enjoy being a young parent. It gives me an edge on being the "cool mom." Plus, when Dilly goes off to college I will only be 45. How sweet is that?

Monday, March 29, 2010

long run with J ...

J and I don't get a lot of alone time. With three kids, babysitters aren't cheap. And our nearest family member lives three and a half hours away. And we never run together. For a multitude of reasons, including but not limited to: our differences in pacing and mileage, the fact that he's too tall to push a stroller (6'7"), the fact that I CANNOT run any significant distance pushing a triple, that whole babysitter thing. BUT, since we had some guest in town this weekend, J and I (along with H and her J) were able to sneak out for his long run. (Remember how I mentioned that J is training for his first half marathon right now?) Here's everyone pre-run. H's hubby is not a huge running fan, so he biked instead.
We set out for six miles. J warned us about the pace. And honestly, I was concerned. I always have a hard time slowing my pace to run with him. But I tried. And if I pulled ahead, I looped back to get him. We had a blast. And took a ton of pictures. These ones are my favorites:
J even felt so good as we approached six miles that he decided that we would go seven instead. (He's getting sucked in!) Anyway, his race is on May 16th. The girls and I were planning on cheering him on. But now, his parents will be in town that weekend for Dizzle's birthday. So, I offered to pace him. I really hope we can convince his parents to watch the girls. He supports my running so much that I feel like this is the least I can do for him in return.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Saturday started out like any normal day around here. And by normal, I mean jam packed. Like I had mentioned a few times this week, we had a house full of guests and now I can finally reveal why. On Saturday night, I threw J a surprise 30th birthday party. And he was totally shocked (somehow, we got zero pictures of it - bummer!)

I had been planning this party since last April. I hid half of my paycheck every week to save up for it and his gift (a trip for the two of us to Key West). It was a HUGE deal. Usually, when I want to buy something for J, I have to use our joint account or credit card. But not this time. This was going to be 100 percent from me.

The hardest part was covering it all up. Not only did I have to find a way to explain my smaller paychecks, I had to make an excuse for our out of town guests that he was going to buy. So, we had the girls blessed (baptised, christened, dedicated ... whatever you want to call it). Here are some pictures from the ceremony.

It was simple, but amazingly, it worked. He didn't question a thing. I will say, however, that planning and putting on two parties in the same day wasn't the best idea. It kind of stressed me out.

Thankfully, I did get a little stress relief in the form of a run with my bestie from college. H and her hubby joined us for the celebration and the two of us snuck out for 5+ miles before the festivities. Here we are pre-run.

It was so nice to have some alone time to catch up. The miles flew by. It really made we wish that we lived closer to each other. Luckily, I convinced her (without a real struggle) to come down this summer and race in the Sprint Triathlon I'm registered for (she's going to kick my butt. She's a former competitive swimmer and avid cyclist). Maybe I should start training now ...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tall Mom Virtual Race for the Cure 5K recap ...

When Mel announced that she was going to be hosting a series of virtual races in an effort to help her reach her fundraising goal, I knew I was in. She has inspired me so much over the past few months that I knew a donation was the least I could do in return. But, being the thrifty (read: cheap) person that I am, I wanted to get the most race for my money. So, I planned on running the half marathon option. But, then life got in the way and I downgraded to the 10K. I was bummed, but figured I could easily rock out a solid 10K, especially after last week's 50:36 10K run (which, in case you were wondering, is 2:41 faster than my current 10K PR).

So, it was the 10K. For sure. Until Friday morning. When I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to get in a FAST 10K (since I do not race for the fun of it) this weekend. There's a lot going on. A bunch of out of town guests. Parties. Food. It just wasn't going to fit into the schedule. So, I emailed Mel and dropped to the 5K. And can I just say that this was the BEST DECISION EVER?

Since I was squeezing in my run (and the weather sucked) I opted for the treadmill. Here I am right before jumping on.
I wanted to run 24:59, as one of my goals this year is to run a sub-25 minute 5K. Anything else would be icing on the cake. I knew I had to ease in if I wanted to maintain the pace that I needed to hit my goal time. So, I ran the first mile at an 8:00 pace. I was feeling good and decided to speed it up. The next mile clocked in at 7:51. At that point, I noticed that my ankle started to ache. I decided to muscle through and picked up the pace (partly to hit my goal and partly to be finished). With about half a mile left, my ankle suddenly felt fine. I think it was because I really had to focus on my form to keep the pace. Or maybe the pain just went away. I'm not sure. Anyway, the last mile was AWESOME. I completed the final 1.1 miles in 8:18 (7:32 pace). Sweet, right?

Add that all up and I finished in 24:09!! A 1:10 PR!! Not really sure that I can officially count it as a new PR, but I'm going to. Maybe I'll just put an asterisk next to it. Here's the proof ...
Overall, I am super pumped. See?
Sub 24 minute 5K, here I come!

Run Like A Mother: The Book Giveaway Winner ...

Just a quick post to announce the winner of the Run Like A Mother: How to Get Moving - and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity Giveaway.

Congratulations to Olivia's Mommy!
Email me with your contact info and I will take care of getting you your book.

And for all of you who didn't win, remember Run Like A Mother is now available nationwide. To learn more about the book and upcoming RLAM tour dates, check out their website HERE.

Friday, March 26, 2010

socks ...

Thanks for all the super fabulous questions you asked on my 300th post. I promise I will get to all of them, but there were so many (over 50) that I am going to break them into categories and answer them over the course of a couple posts. But, since someone will be leaving here today with a three-pack of my favorite socks, I figured I would tackle all of those sock-related questions first. (Some questions have been combined since they have the same/similar answers).

Daily Mom and Teamarcia asked: "Where the heck do you buy those wonderful socks?"

Most of them were purchased from Dick's Sporting Goods (I have never seen them on their website though). If I see a pair that goes with one of my skirts or are just super cute, I pick them up. The pair that I am wearing in the header picture, however, was purchased from Little Miss Matched in Disney.

AJH, Morgan, KC and Jen asked: "Are those running (or compression) socks. I only run in running socks and I have been nervous about running in anything else. Do you wear them as full socks or cut them? Do you get blisters? Do they fall down?"

No, they are not running socks. They are called Reebok All Sport Socks. They are more like soccer or volleyball socks. Although I have never gotten blisters from them and I wear them as full socks, I will wear running socks underneath them on race day just to be safe. And maybe I just have monster calves, but they socks have never fallen down. I'm pretty sure they've never even shifted.

Sissyruns asked: "Do you ever get hot in the socks?"

Not really. They are thick enough to keep me warm on cold days, but thin enough that I don't overheat in them. I wore them in Bermuda in like 1000% humidity and was perfectly fine.

Christine Jensen asked: "How did you get started with the fun socks?"

The socks started with my last marathon. The weather was on the cool side, but I was without question going to wear my running skirt. So, the night before the race, I was out shopping and saw the pink striped socks. I bought a pair (for both G and me) and have been wearing them ever since.

Meg, Marlene and Darlene asked: "Which pair of socks is your favorite and why?"

Most of my socks are the same type just in different colors. But my current favorite are these (Dark Pink/Light Pink/Black Striped). Just because I think they are super cute.

Wow. You all are really interested in socks. Too bad I only have one package to giveaway. And the winner of that package is ...

Jamie @ SweatyHugs - Jamie is a mom of 2 who will run her first half marathon this fall. Stop by and show her some love.

Jamie, email me with your contact info and I will send out your socks ASAP!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three Things Thursday ...

I am super short for time today (more on that in a second), so here it is. Three Things Thursday ...

1. I woke up this morning hoping that this Thursday would be less stressful than last Thursday. And it was. For like 10 minutes. I have been so busy with our plans for this weekend (house guests, parties, etc) that I kind of neglected to remember that today was Doodle's birthday celebration at school (remedied by some last minute baking). Add to that a board meeting that I also neglected to remember and some early morning drama and let's just say, it's been a fun day. Fortunately, I have a much better attitude about it this week.

2. Yesterday's run was AWESOME!! Dilly and I headed out for four miles while Dizzle and Doodle were at dance class. It was a simple out and back, pushing the stroller with my Newtons on my feet. We finished in 34:14. Yeah, that's a 8:33 pace. Here we are afterwards.

Wonder how fast I am without the extra 50 lbs?

3. I won a running skirt on Monday over at Long Legs on the Loose. I am beyond excited. And am deciding between the pink and white dots or the floral print. Any suggestions? Oh, and Katye thinks I sold my soul to the running skirt gods to win. I swear I didn't. It was fate. Really.

And if you want to win something, check out my Run Like A Mother Book Giveaway. Entries will be accepted until Friday at Midnight!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

300th post and maybe a surprise ...

I started this blog in February 2008 to chronicle my life as a wife, mother and runner. I wanted my kids to be able to look back at their childhood and the memories we created. The good. The bad. The ugly. I hoped that in my writing they would find an understanding of me not only as their mother, but as an athlete and a woman.

Over the course of the last 299 posts, this blog has morphed. It used to be a place where I would sporadically post with our latest happenings. But now, it has become so much more. Now, I use it to as a daily recap of our lives. I write about the girls' crazy antics and their milestones, our vacations and school trips, our successes and failures and of course, my running.

To mark my 300th post, I thought it would be fun to look back at where it all started. My very first post. So, here it goes:

February 12, 2008
It hasn't always been this way ...

Every once in a while, I have one of those days where you question who you have become. Today has been one of those days. As I changed my third poop-filled diaper and wiped a runny nose with my bare hand (neither of which were my own), I thought, "When did I become so comfortable with bodily fluids that I really found it ok to wipe someone else's nose without a tissue?"

There was a time that the mere thought of all those germs crawling on my hands would have made me cringe in disgust, but today I simply wiped and continued to go on with what I was doing without giving it a second thought. Some people say that you lose the ability to care about those things after you have a child. Spit-up and poop become facinating topics of conversation and a handful of runny snot is nothing more than a minor blip on the radar. For me, I lost my concern for germs (and "normal" conversations) when I had my second. Once Doodle arrived, I couldn't worry about those things anymore. Why bother? Just think about it. My other daughter, Dizzle, was just about two when Doodle was born. How can you stop a two year old (even the most well-behaved) from touching their baby sister with dirty toddler hands? You can't. It is beyond impossible. And maybe it's just me, but really, is it that important? I figure there are bigger things to worry about, like making sure that your toddler doesn't knock out your infant with a quick jab when you're not looking. Trust me this can happen! But let me back up a bit, this rant was meant to be more of an introduction than a digression into sibling relationships.

My point was that at some point I lost the person I thought I was and this new and better person has emerged. The things that were once important to me (mainly me), have been replaced by new, more selfless things (mainly my kids and wonderful husband). And surprisingly, I am extremely happy about this. Now don't get me wrong, I still LOVE myself. Who doesn't? But now putting my family first makes me feel like a better me. That and running (more on that another time). In those moments that I am thriving (or surviving) as a wife, a mom, and a runner are the best. As draining as those tasks can be, they are equally invigorating. Everyday that I mother makes me want to be a better mom and everyday I run makes me want to be a better runner. Crazy, when you think that just six or seven years ago, children and running anywhere (except maybe to the fridge), weren't even on my radar. Like I said, it hasn't always been this way.

It's funny. As much as this blog has evolved, it has kind of stayed exactly the same ...

And now a thank you to all my loyal readers, followers, commenters and lurkers. A giveaway open only to those of you in my elite bloggy family. One reader will win a three pack of my FAVORITE socks. You know the ones. The pink striped socks (and two other pairs also of the pink variety) that kicked off my obsession. I'm wearing them in this picture.

Here's how to enter:

1. Leave me a comment to let me know you are reading and while your at it jump on the bandwagon and officially become a follower.

2. Ask me a question. Any question. And I will answer them all in an upcoming post.

3. DO NOT REPOST THIS GIVEAWAY! Like I said, it's for the elite ONLY!

The giveaway will close at midnight on Thursday, March 25. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, March 26.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

it's deja vu ...

I'm not sure who got the memo last night. But, it's official. Dizzle has a broken elbow. AGAIN!
Just like last year, she went for her follow up appointment and the x-rays revealed a crack. Poor kid. So, she'll be rocking a cast for the next three week. She's taking it all in stride. Although, she did cry when I told her they were going to have to cut it off. To read how she reacted the last time she had a cast removed, click HERE.

Even with the cast, she asked if she could go on a run last night (can I just say I love that I am brainwashing my children?). So J took both Dizzle and Doodle out for part of his run. Here they are just before heading out. Yes, they know how to rock the socks too.
Doodle went first, running .33 in 5:22.
Then Dizzle jumped in for .85 in 13:04 (from what J tells me Dizzle runs like me. Super fast out of the gate. Her first .3 was in just over four minutes).
Dilly was there too. She can barely walk, so she serves as a better cheerleader right now. But, she is wicked cute.
Afterwards, I took the girls in so that they could "refuel" with some G2, and J finished his run (he's eight weeks out from his first half marathon!) All in all, another super evening in the Blanchet house ...
And don't forget to check out my Run Like A Mother: The Book giveaway!

Monday, March 22, 2010

the newest members of my running family ...

Last night, J and I took the girls on a walk around the neighborhood. Our house is located on the corner of a cul-de-sac. That cul-de-sac is on a street that circles around to make a mile loop. It's low traffic and perfect for walking.

Things started off fine, but about a quarter mile in, Doodle started whining. And if you ever met Doodle, you know, she whines BIG. She was saying over and over, "I'm tired." But we trudged on.

Then, about halfway through, J told Doodle that if she ran, we would be home faster. And it worked. Suddenly, my 3 and 4 year olds were running the half mile home (holding J's hand, of course, we were in the street and I'm all about safety). We would try to get them to run to the next sign or next parked car, but when we got there, they'd stop for all of three seconds and start running again. Dilly (in the stroller) and I "chased" them the whole way. It was so much fun. And I was instantly daydreaming about when they are older and we can be one big running family.

And speaking of my running family, here are the two newest members. The Wave Rider 13 (yes, I just got new shoes, but my now even legs have changed my gait)

And three pairs of neon socks.

Pretty sweet, right?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

a mental run and giveaway winners ...

Some days you run and everything just flows. You finish feeling light on your feet and invigorated. Today was not that day. Today my legs felt like lead. My lungs were fighting me. And my heart wasn't in it. It was a mental run. A constant struggle between me and that little voice that tells you to quit. Today, that voice won. I cut my run short. Something I RARELY do.

Things started out fine. Fay, Kate, Spencer and I headed out through the streets of Richmond over the James River.
It was nice. I stopped to take these pictures and then I just couldn't get started again. My brain shut off. I even considered asking one of the girls who were meeting us at the midpoint if I could have their keys to drive their cars to the finish. But, my ego is too big for that. Instead, I ran on with G (she joined us at mile five). I felt like she was pulling me the entire way. I just wanted to stop. But, I knew with every step we were getting closer. Near mile seven, we stopped for a few more pictures. Here we (Kate, G and me) are crossing the Nickel Bridge (oh, can I just mention that the entire second half of our run was a never ending hill? You know the kind. The ones that don't seem like much of a hill but just stretch on FOREVER!)
G and I dropped off Kate at her house around mile 7.5. And headed back to the cars. I had planned on 10, but nine was all I could muster. I just wanted to go home. We finished in 1:30:41, a decent pace considering the hills. Here's the post run shot ... I'm smiling so HUGE because I don't have to run anymore!
Once I got home, I jumped on the scale and realized that I was crazy dehydrated. I consumed about 32 ounces of liquid, during and after my run, but was still two pounds less than when I left. I'm thinking that might have played into my mental breakdown. Oh, well. I always have next week to redeem myself ...

And now, for the real reason you came here. The winners of the Training Tag-Alongs giveaway!!

The three winners of a Training Tag-Alongs Tee are:
Teamarcia at Running Off at the Mouth
Dallas B at OBX Running Mama
RunMom at Secrets of a Running Mom

Please email me your shirt and size preference, along with your contact info and I will pass it along to Training Tag-Alongs to get you your prize.

And the 10 winners of a 26.2 sticker are:
Michelle at LetsRollMama
Shelby (didn't link back to a blog)
Darlene at My First 5K Blog
Nicole Joy at NJoy Life
Heather at Run Faster Mommy!
Allie at That Girl is a Running Fool
1NYGirl at KBrunsDisney
Mel at Tall Mom on the Run
Jen at Setting You Free
Momma Twitch at Run Momma, Run!

Please email me your contact info and I will mail you sticker this week!

Congrats to all the winners. And don't forget to check out my Run Like A Mother: The Book Giveaway!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Run Like A Mother Book Review (and giveaway!)

Unless you've been living on a distant planet, you probably know that I don't read books. It's not that I don't like to or even that I don't want to. It's just that I am the type of person who has an incessant need to finish the things she starts. Immediately. And since I have three young children, it is a rare occasion that I get enough time to make it through an entire book. So, instead, I tend to stick to magazines (or blogs) where I only need to make it to the end of the article to feel like I have accomplished something.

But, a few months back, I was offered a chance to review Run Like A Mother, How to Get Moving - and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity, by fellow mother-runners (and bloggers), Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. I immediately jumped at the chance. Their blog (which has now moved HERE) was one of the very first I ever read. I have always been inspired by their journey and was excited to be one of the select few to get an early look at their book.

So, when my copy arrived last week, I was eager to dive in. Run Like a Mother is structured in many ways like a blog. Broken into 26 chapters (with a .2 between each chapter, their nod to the final stretch of a marathon), the book reads like a conversation between friends. Barely able to contain myself, I put the girls to bed early (seriously) and got to reading. Let's just say I had high hopes for this book and by page three, I knew that McDowell and Shea had delivered. In the very first chapter, McDowell writes,

"When I run there's just me, with no agenda, putting one foot in front of the other, relishing the simplicity and grace of the motion. The trip-trap, trip-trap of my heels lull me into a dreamy space where the reality of my ulcer-inducing life doesn't faze me. Running is more powerful than any drug I've taken, and I'm fairly certain it's the elixir that has allowed me to maintain a sliver of my former self - and my sanity."

I read that paragraph and immediately turned to J and said, "I could have written this. It's like they are reading my mind. You NEED to read this too. It will make you understand why I run." He looked at me like I was crazy, but I was hooked. I didn't look up again until I finished the very last page.

McDowell, Shea and the numerous other mother-runners, who they quoted in the book, (including my buddy, Tall Mom Mel) inspire the reader to run. It's hard not to relate to their stories or to take away something from the multitude of running and mom related topics they touch upon. Unlike other running books I have read, Run Like A Mother, was truly written with the busy running mom in mind. Instead of discussions of VO2 Max and ideal body fat percentage, as the reader, you will find easy to understand snippets of useful running information that the everyday runner can benefit from (men and women alike). Whether it's tips on when you should replace your shoes or what to do when you need to pee mid-run and there isn't a toilet in sight, you will find it in this book.

Run Like A Mother is a must read. Their message transcends gender and whether or not you are a parent. McDowell and Shea show a true passion for running in their writing. A passion that can be appreciated by all runners.

Run Like A Mother, How to Get Moving - and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity will be released on March 23rd. You can learn more about the book at their website and blog, Run Like A Mother: The Book.

And, one lucky reader can win their own copy, thanks to McDowell and Shea. Here's how to win (one comment per entry please!):

1. Become a follower of my blog and leave me a comment to let me know.

2. Become a Fan of Run Like A Mother: The Book on Facebook HERE and leave me a comment to let me know.

3. Repost this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else you can think of and leave me a comment to let me know (one entry for each repost).

Entries will be accepted until Friday, March 26th. Winner will be selected at random and announced on Saturday, March 27th.

it's a different day ...

Thursday sucked. Plain and simple. But thanks to some good friends (and quite a few bloggy buddies) I decided that Thursday's negativity was going to stay with Thursday. Friday was a new day. A day full of potential. And although, I had a new cheery outlook. I was still stressed beyond belief.

When I woke up, I had hoped that someone else would have cleaned my house and planned Doodle's party. Shockingly, that didn't happen. So, I spent the majority of my morning, cooking, cleaning and decorating. Things were coming together. Definitely on the upswing.

My morning of being Suzy Homemaker was followed by a visit to the Witch Doctor. In case you forgot, he's in the process of readjusting my pelvis so that my legs are the same length. It's working. I can stand in a neutral position, which is probably something most people take for granted. There has been a slight downside to the adjustment though (other than the huge time commitment. I drive 25 minutes each way, three times a week to see him). I am noticing a change in my running gait. Nothing huge, but my left side (the once shorter side) is significantly more fatigued than it used to be. He says this is because my right side had been doing the majority of the work and now it is equalizing. I had kind of perfected running unevenly. Now I need to adjust. It's really just more annoying than anything.

Back to my point, we headed back from the doctor and I scrambled to finish party prep. Somehow, it all got done (with a few minutes to spare). The party was fantastic. Don't believe me? Take a look.
Doodle had chosen a flower theme. Note the cupcakes. Our main activity was a rice krispies treats decorating station. The girls loved it. After consuming a TON of candy, they all headed upstairs and decided that the party was now a PAJAMA party and everyone came back down wearing either Dizzle or Doodle's PJ's. It was hilarious!

Once everyone left and I had put the girls to bed, I took a second to think and realized that Friday was just as jam-packed and stressful as Thursday. I just managed to keep a better attitude on Friday. And I was left feeling accomplished rather than drained. So, as a gift for surviving another day, I rewarded myself with a run (I know, only a runner would see that as a reward). I jumped on the treadmill for a core run. I would run a mile, then stop and do 100 crunches (working hard on Katie's challenge). I repeated this for five miles. It was a nice switch from my normal running routine. Plus, since I was breaking the workout into mile increments, I didn't get super fatigued (I averaged 9:15 per mile). At one point, I even considered doing 10 repeats instead of five, but it was getting late and I don't like to run too close to bed time.

Isn't it crazy the difference a day can make?

And don't forget my Training Tag-Alongs Giveaway ends tonight!

Friday, March 19, 2010

sometimes, it starts with a fall ...

Thursdays have a reputation of being a bit of a challenge for me. I'm constantly running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Usually, by 5 p.m., I am ready for EVERYONE in my house to be tucked away in bed. But in the past few months, I have been trying to simplify my life. Preserving the things that I hold closest to my heart and eliminating the things that are, well let's just say, less important. And this has paid off. I have greatly reduced the amount of stress in my life, which makes everyone around here happier.

Until yesterday. Yesterday was a completely different story.

I probably should have known it was coming. I was scheduled to work in the classroom at the girls' preschool. That means that we need to be there even earlier than usual. And the girls (a.k.a. my alarm clock) woke up late. This left me scrabbling for help. Fortunately, J hadn't left for his business trip, because his help got me out of the door only two minutes behind schedule.

I had planned on squeezing in my run after I dropped off the girls (I needed to be back there at 10:40 to be in the class), but on my way there it occurred to me that Doodle's birthday party was Friday afternoon. As in one day away. And I had done NOTHING. The house was a mess. Nothing was prepped. I hadn't even figured out what we were going to do at said party. So, I changed my mind and headed home with Dilly. I put her down for a nap and tried to get organized. It kind of worked. But Dilly wasn't really cooperating.

45 minutes later we headed back to the preschool (it's a 20 minute drive from our house), and things calmed down. I was mentally prepping for the afternoon and all I had to accomplish. We were seconds away from leaving school, when Doodle had to go to the bathroom. I ran back in with her and left Dizzle with friends on the playground (hers and mine). The next thing I know, I hear crying. And I am positive that it is coming from my child. I lifted my head to find the President of the school with a crying Dizzle, who had, and I quote "taken a pretty hard fall."

FANTASTIC! I cleaned her up and headed out to the car. But on the way, I realized that she was holding her arm weird. All up against her body. And she was favoring the other side. I had seen that behavior before. It was last January. Also after a "pretty hard fall." That time, she ended up looking like this: (For the story click HERE)
Um, yeah. Fun, right? Long story short, I called up G. Asked her if she could take my other kids. And took Dizzle to the ER. This time, she ended up looking like this:

And again, they told me it was not broken BUT elbows fractures are really hard to read, especially on someone her size. (SHOCKER!!) So, we should have a follow up appointment in a couple days to get another read (in January, this follow-up appointment showed a break). Until then she is rocking a soft cast.

Things got better after that. Doodle only threw a 10 minute tantrum when leaving G's (biting, hitting and pinching included). It was super! I was half expecting G to rip me away from Doodle and strap her in her car seat for me. Eventually, I got her in. But the screaming continued. THE.ENTIRE.WAY.HOME. It was 5 p.m. and I was so DONE.

Sick and tired of all the whining, I fed them all and put them in bed. EARLY. At which point, I headed to my treadmill. I needed to burn off some steam. And I did. 6.2 miles in 50:38. Hardest run of my life. (But, that's just a teaser. More on that run at a later date.)

It was a long day. Ever since Dizzle fell, I felt like I, too, was falling into that abyss called negativity. The party is still not planned. Nothing is done. I've barely cleaned. I kind of feel like today is going to be a climb ...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Three Things Thursday ...

Welcome to all my new followers! If I haven't stopped by to say hi, leave me a comment letting me know. And now, (drum roll please) it's Three Things Thursday ...

1. Thank you so much for all of your comments, suggestions, resources and everything else after my post on Tuesday. Apparently, I am not the only one battling her children over food. I got a record number of hits on this post and quite a few personal stories via email, which really helped to put the situation into perspective.

I would like to report that immediately after posting Dizzle decided that she was, in fact, hungry. In one sitting, she ate her entire breakfast (which she had walked away from earlier), lunch and half a cupcake. I also spoke to her pediatrician yesterday, who agrees with me that she is displaying control issues (these "battles" are apparent in other aspects of her life as well, the food thing just bothers me the most). Dizzle's doctor told me to keep on doing what I am doing. Which really helped. I trust her opinion and it made me feel like I'm not screwing up my children.

2. I was recently asked how my children got their nicknames. The funny thing is, we don't really call them by the names I use here anymore (although we used to). They have become like blog code names and have lost their real world appeal. I really only use them in my writing because J appreciates the sense of anonymity they provide (I never used to use my name either, but obviously that's no longer the case and if you were to "friend" me on Facebook, you'd know my kids names pretty quickly, too). Anyway, here is how their code names came about.

Dizzle - J used to sing a made up song to her that started, "K-Dizzle, Dizzle ..." At some point the K got dropped and she became Dizzle.

Doodle - As a baby, we called her Mac-a-doodle. That name also got shortened and we were left with Doodle.

Dilly - Each of my children had a nickname when I was pregnant, Dilly's was actually Piccadilly, which was picked in part because it could be shortened to Dilly ...

3. There are some super giveaways going on around the Blogosphere. Including my Training Tag-Alongs Giveaway, where you can win a t-shirt for your favorite little training partner. To enter, click HERE. For all of the other great giveaways, check out my sidebar. Except for the running skirt ones, I really want to win those. So, be nice and don't ruin my chances!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

it's patrick's day ...

No, that is not a typo. In my household of non-Irish children, today is Patrick's Day. I have told them repeatedly that it is in fact, SAINT Patrick's Day, but they do not seem to care. Instead, they wrote this song and have been singing it for the last 20 minutes ...

It's Patrick's Day,
It's Patrick's Day
Today, today is Patrick's Day,
It's the day we care and the day we share,
Oh Patrick's Day is coming,
I'll tell you the colors of Patrick's Day,
The color of Patrick's Day is green,
Oh, it's Patrick's Day,
It's Patrick's Day,
The greatest day,
It's Patrick's Day

Pretty funny, huh? This Patrick guy must be pretty lucky if he's got his own day. And you can be pretty lucky too. All you have to do is check out my giveaway ...

running during pregnancy ...

I just want to start this post by saying I am not an expert about running during a pregnancy (although I am certified in pre and postnatal fitness). This is simply my experience. What worked and didn't work for me. It is particular to my situation. I am happy to share what I know, but always consult your doctor (the stuff you read on the Internet isn't always the best.)

OK, so a few weeks back I wrote about how I caught the running bug during my pregnancy with Dilly. From that post, I received several requests for more information on the topic. So, I compiled your questions and decided to retell my pregnancy running journey. Here it goes:

In May of 2008, J and I decided to try for our third child. I had just completed my first marathon two months earlier and was racing 5Ks and 10Ks every weekend (running about 20-25 miles per week). Not quite sure how my running would affect my fertility, I decided to keep everything about my training program exactly how it was. A firm believer that things happen for a reason, I figured if I was meant to get pregnant I would.

And it worked. Two weeks later, I conceived Dilly. And it affected my running immediately. I was still able to maintain the intensity that I was used to, but it drained me so much more. In fact, three days before I got a positive test I was on a 5 mile training run that kicked my butt. I was so fatigued that I knew that either I was very sick or I was pregnant.

Once I got that positive test result, I decided that I was just going to listen to my body. On the days I felt good I would push it. And on the other days, I wouldn't. During those early weeks of my pregnancy, I raced in a 10K and two sprint triathlons. I also trained for my first half marathon under the supervision of my doctor. (Fortunately, for me, I had a doctor who supported my active lifestyle). At 17 weeks, I finished that half in brutally hot conditions (seriously, at one point there was a woman wearing a similar outfit who had passed out and G nearly had a heart attack thinking it was me ...)

After the half, I dropped my training into maintenance mode. I was running 15 miles per week (three 3 milers, one 6 miler). And although my mileage (and pace) dropped, I continued racing, finishing several 5Ks, an 8K and a 10K through the fall. My final race was a 10K at 35 weeks. I was huge and waddling, but I finished and actually beat 32 people in a time of 1:04:51. I continued running until the end of my pregnancy. My last run (7 miles) was three days before I delivered.

Personally, I felt like running during my pregnancy was the best decision I made. I had an easy pregnancy, easy labor and quick recovery. Fortunately, I was not plagued by many of the things that other pregnant runners I know have experienced (bladder issues, extreme pubic bone pain, swelling, etc). For me, it was an amazing experience that taught me about how much by body can handle.

Now to your questions:

1. I really want to try a Running Skirt, but wondered if you were able to wear their regular (non-maternity) style skirt while pregnant? Did you just order your pre-pregnancy size and let the band fall below your belly? Did you find it stayed up OK?

I did wear their regular skirts when pregnant. In fact, that is pretty much all I wore. Maybe should sponsor me ... I have the maternity skirt in a size small and it did provide great support (I have still been known to wear it). But wearing a Bella Band when you run can accomplish the same thing as the maternity skirt.

2. Did you ever have to get a support belt while preggo? I'm finding I get about 20 minutes out on a run and have to find a bathroom! The belly is really pressing down on everything and just didn't know if there was anything to do or if that's part of the whole running while pregnant deal.

I own a support belt and never wore it because it made me look like I had muffin top (yes, I am that vain). Personally, I didn't have bladder issues. Again, Bella Bands can be a very supportive alternative.

3. Did you find your body felt different running pregnant vs. not pregnant? For example, I find my legs are "heavier" while running, I never feel light footed. And they're burn a little the whole time I'm running. It's just not nearly as comfortable as it was non-pregnant, so I wonder if that too is just part of the experience?

Yeah, so running pregnant is a whole different experience. My legs felt like lead from day 1. I never felt like I could get to full speed. I saw this as my body's way of telling me not to push it to hard. The best thing you can do is listen. My main discomfort came from pubic bone pain after I ran. I usually was fine during the run, but sometimes I would come home and it would hurt to try to cross my legs. It was worse if I did a hilly route. I think the best tip I can give you is listen to your body. If you feel good, push it. If you're not having the best day, slow it down or take a rest day.

4. What was your running schedule like? Did it change once you got preggo? Did you run every day? How often did you race?

During the first half of my pregnancy I followed a half marathon training schedule that peaked at 30 miles per week. Once that race was over, I went into a maintenance program, running 15 miles per week on average. I ran four days a week (which is what I still do). And I raced nine times in the nine months (but it wasn't once a month).

5. When did you return to running?

I was released by my doctor at three weeks (most doctors won't release you until six weeks). I ran my first post-baby race, a 5K, when Dilly was 24 days old.

I hope that helps all of you future mamas out there. If you have other questions, feel free to contact me at

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

will you just eat already?

As you may or may not know, I struggled with my weight for a long time. Like an entire decade. And considering I'm only 28, a decade is a LONG time. At my largest, I weighed in at 220 lbs. I looked like a swollen version of myself. Don't believe me? Look HERE.

Fortunately, I had a ton of self-confidence (and still do, in case you hadn't realized). I kind of had a take it or leave it attitude about my size. Either people were going to like me for who I was, or they weren't. I wasn't going to waste my time worrying about it. But then something changed, well, two things really. I was getting married and wanted to look good AND my father passed away. The combination changed my perspective on how I should be living my life. I cut my portion sizes and upped the cardio. And slowly the weight came off (and has stayed off, other than during my pregnancies).

Currently, I am at a comfortable weight. It is one that I do not have to work hard to maintain. I eat freely (but wisely) and workout. I rarely weigh myself. I'm at a good place. I like to think that I set an excellent example for my children.

But my problem is that I don't know if just setting an example is enough. I am the mother of three beautiful little girls, who at some point, will be faced with real world opinions of what is beautiful. I want to stress the importance of health over the importance of weight. I don't want them to struggle the way that I did. I want them to make the right choices from the start. But how do you do that without doing harm? How do you stress that overindulgence isn't the best idea without making them think that overindulgence will make them fat? Or that not eating doesn't make you skinny, just unhealthy?

I'm already having food battles with my children. Most of these battles are the typical, "I'm a toddler, I'm going to do what I want" battles that everyone sees. But Dizzle is hitting me with a new one. And it scares me for the future. She will not eat. And if she does eat, she never finishes her serving. I can not understand this. I love food too much. I almost always clear my plate. I know she is hungry. She constantly asks for food. But we are having a power struggle. She wants control, but I am not about to give it up (this is what scares me the most, as I have heard that most eating disorders are rooted in control issues).

Basically, she wants to eat what she wants to eat when she wants to eat it. And I give her what she is allowed to eat, in amounts that are age appropriate, when I say it's meal time. If she doesn't eat her lunch, I offer what is left to her when she asks for a snack. And if she doesn't eat it then, she gets it for dinner. And if she still doesn't eat it, she goes to bed hungry. I HATE being harda**, but I don't want her to think that she can just get what she wants and I really want her to see the importance of eating for health. (I have caved on occasion and let her choose what we are eating, but the same thing happens) It's such an unnecessary struggle. I just wish I could get her to see that.

Any idea how I can just get her to eat already?

And don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

these things come in threes ...

Dear Doodle,
Three years ago today, you entered this world. 7 pounds, 8 ounces of blond-haired, blue-eyed cuteness.Every year since, I have written you a letter on your birthday. One day, I hope you can look back on these messages to you and get a clear picture of who you were, at least through my eyes. There is so much that I want to say to you. Memories I want you to hold close to you heart. Lessons I want you to take with you forever. I've thought long and hard about what I would write here. How to best express my love for you. But I don't think I need to. You know. I tell you everyday through my actions and words. Instead, I have compiled snapshot of you at this moment in time. Maybe it won't be 100 percent accurate in a year, a week or a day. But at this very moment, on your third birthday, it is ...

The THREE things I love the most about you:
1. Your smile. It is infectious ...
2. Your compassion. It shows a maturity beyond your years ...
3. Your love for all things active. You are a natural athlete and I love that we share that characteristic ...

The THREE things I don't love so much about you:
1. Your temper. I have never seen such a fiery individual. You are quick to overreact and let a situation escalate. You get that from your father. Maybe you could turn this fire into passion ...
2. Your lack of volume control. You either scream at the top of your lungs. Or mumble. Both are horrible to deal with. Let's find a middle ground ...
3. Your stubborn nature. Just like your temper, you have more hardheadedness than anyone should have. It's your way or the highway. Unfortunately for you, I am the same exact way and you often lose out. Yet as much as I dislike this quality, I don't want you to drop it. I just hope you can find a way to turn it into determination, which will take you much further ...

The THREE things you could eat forever:
1. Cheese. In all forms ...
2. Frosting. It's the only part of the cake you eat ...
3. Black beans. Yes, you read that right. You've loved them ever since you could feed yourself ...

The THREE things that set you apart from your sisters:
1. Your hair and eyes. Dizzle and Dilly are so similar looking. You are distinctly beautiful ...
2. Your athletic prowess. You are naturally agile and strong ...
3. Your knack for how things work. I wouldn't be shocked if you became an engineer. You break things down just to put them back together. You have a mind for puzzles. It's amazing to watch ...

The THREE funniest things you say on a daily basis:
1. Oopsy daisy.
2. Knock, knock. Who's there? Banana. Banana who? Aren't you glad you didn't open the door?
3. Do the ham and cheese. Do the chicken wing.

The THREE things you give me that I can never get enough of:
1. Kisses (even the slobbery and snotty ones) ...
2. Something to smile about. You constantly make me laugh. And the funniest thing is, I'm usually laughing the hardest when I should really be punishing you ...
3. Reasons to show you my love. Everything you do and say, good and not so good, is just another reason to love you. And NOTHING will ever change that ...

Happy birthday Doodle. Thank you for making my world complete.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

breaking through to double digits ...

I just want to start by saying thank you to Mucinex DM for being so AWESOME. I actually slept last night. And on this morning's run, I BARELY coughed (well, after the first mile anyway).

But this post isn't really about me. I just wanted to give a little bloggy love to my running buddies, Alex and Alyssa (both members of Team Run Like A Mother). For the very first time today, they ran 10 miles. Previously, Alex had only gone seven and Alyssa's furthest was eight and a half (on a day that she was sick and I wouldn't let her stop. Yeah, I'm a good friend like that).

They rocked it! Here we are post-run. (Me, Alyssa, Alex and Courtney)

We finished in 1:46:46 and now they can both be confident heading into the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on April 11. Congrats ladies. I was happy to rock it with you!

And don't forget to check out my GIVEAWAY!

Training Tag-Alongs Giveaway ...

Like most of you, I am faced with the task of balancing life as a mother (or father) and a runner. You know how it is. We squeeze in runs during preschool and after bedtime. We plan races around our everyone else's schedule. We sacrifice sleep (and sometimes sanity) to stick to the training plan.

But, we are not the only ones who are affected by our active lives. Our little ones tag along on endless runs, suffer through monster treadmill sessions and give up time on their vacations, so that we can do what we love. And it's about time that we thank them. That's where Training Tag-Alongs comes in.

Training Tag-Alongs is a Richmond-based apparel company that recognizes the dedication, support (and tolerance!) your little one has for your exercise addiction! Here's how the company was started,

"When the founder's pride and joy arrived in May of 2005, she didn’t let the trials of motherhood stand in the way of fitness. She picked up a jogging stroller and pounded the pavement. Through heat, rain and snow, her son was always along for the ride. Less than a year later, she qualified for the Boston Marathon with a blistering-fast 26.2 miles in Virginia Beach. It was in Beantown, after a fruitless search for a souvenir for her favorite training partner, that the Training Tag-Alongs concept was born! Now, with the help of the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing (a.k.a. “husband”) and Vice President of Product Testing (a.k.a. “son”), Training Tag-Alongs boasts a wonderfully unique and creative collection of T-shirts, stickers, and bibs."

Here are just a few of the adorable designs available.

Now, thanks to the great people at Training Tag-Alongs, three lucky readers will win their choice of one of these shirts for their training tag-along. (All of my girls have worn the "Marathoner In Training" shirt, which has been a big hit with my gang). PLUS, an additional 10 readers will win a 26.2 mile marker sticker (see picture above).

So, do you want to know how to enter? (One Comment Per Entry Please!!)

1. Check out the Training Tag-Alongs website HERE and come back and tell me what you would choose if you win.

2. Become a follower of my blog, or tell me that you already are.

3. Become a fan of my Facebook page HERE, or tell me that you already are.

4. Repost this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, your local library, wherever and come back and tell me that you did. (One entry per repost).

5. Tell me how you show your tag-along how you appreciate them for all of their support.

Giveaway closes at Midnight EST on Saturday, March 20. Winners will be chosen at random on Sunday, March 21.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

today's run and a Recovery Socks follow-up ...

Thanks for all of your kind comments yesterday. I swear I'm not that fast. It's really the shoes. I cannot slow down in them. Trust me, I was trying. Anyway, I'm still feeling kind of crappy today. Well, actually, let me clarify. I feel fine ... EXCEPT for this wicked cough and slight nasal congestion. And although, pretty much everyone has been telling me to rest, I didn't have a choice. I was scheduled to help lead a 10K training team run and I wasn't about to miss that. Plus, I knew we would be running considerably slower than yesterday, so I figured it would be easier on my lungs (um, yeah, about that).

The group's first five miler was on the schedule today. Here I am just before heading out.

I was with the middle of the pack today, where we averaged 11:45 miles. It wasn't really a good run, but not really a bad one either. I think minus the coughing, it would have been just fine. I was, however, really excited to see everyone finish. There is just something inspiring about watching people accomplish what they once thought they couldn't.

On a completely different note, I said I would give my Recovery Socks a second chance. And I did. After the Princess Half on Sunday. Here I am waiting for the Dumbo ride at the Magic Kingdom (note the socks).

I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to see how well they work after a hard effort followed by hours more on my feet. And can I just tell you that I am now a true believer? Sure my legs were still tired (who's wouldn't be?), but when I woke up the next morning ... I felt nothing. My lower legs were 100% (my quads were still achy though). So, after much thought, here is MY professional opinion on Recovery Socks:

Get a pair if you are consistently running over 10 miles on your long runs. And wear them strictly for recovery, not during your run (I saw no benefit in that, well maybe if you are a 2:30 marathoner ...) Otherwise, save your money. These things are not cheap ...

Friday, March 12, 2010

not the best idea ...

Remember how I told you all I was feeling under the weather? And how I was going wait until Saturday to run? Well, shocker, shocker. That didn't happen. My mom and aunt are in town today and I just wasn't able to pass up the opportunity for a kid-free morning run (and music-free since my iPod was dead - FAIL). Plus, it was like 60 degrees and I was super psyched to test out the Sweaty Bands I received in the mail earlier this week (expect a full review and perhaps a giveaway in the future ...)

So, I put Dilly down for a nap. Got dressed. Look at this spiffy number I put together (the socks are from Little MissMatched picked up in Disney).
I planned on taking my Newtons out for four easy miles. Mile 1 was not so easy. My legs were golden, but I could only make it a few strides before I was hacking up a lung. I considered turning back, but you know me, that wasn't going to happen. So, I trekked on. Eventually, the coughs were farther apart, but they never stopped. And when I ended my run ... well, that was even worse. Let's just say it might not have been the best idea I have ever had ...

(but, in case you were wondering, I still finished the 4 miles in 35:57, 8:59 pace)

Our Disney Vacation ...

When J and I decided to take the girls to Disney, the half marathon was an afterthought. We picked a date and it just happened to coinside with the race. The real reason for our trip was to celebrate the girls' birthdays. And since this trip was their gift this year, we decided not to tell them where we were going until we got there. We just loaded them up in the car and told them that Mommy had a race. Didn't tell them where. Or when. And they didn't question it.

We left at 8 p.m. so the girls (and I) slept through most of the drive. And somehow, despite there being signs EVERYWHERE, we made it to the hotel without them figuring out where we were. In fact, Dizzle thought we were in Rhode Island. Don't believe me? Well, look ...

Funny, right? They eventually figured it out.

They pretty much screamed the rest of the day. Talk about getting exactly the reaction you wanted. They were shocked and overwhelmed. J and I were beyond happy. I won't bore you with all of the details, but we spent the next six days living at the four Disney parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios). We pretty much opened and closed the parks. I wore my Garmin one day and not including the time we were indoors standing in lines, we walked 5.3 miles. Add that up and we covered some 30 plus miles over the course of the week (and Dizzle walked every step). The kids were constantly exhausted, but always wanted more.

There were so many memorable moments on our trip. I learned that my children are 100% freaked out by 3-D films, but Dizzle will rock a fierce rollercoaster (Expedition Everest) that some adults can't even handle. Doodle showed us that she will do ANYTHING to get out of walking (J carried her on his shoulders most of the trip) and Dilly can sleep anywhere (she passed out during the Finding Nemo show). Most of all, I learned that there is nothing as amazing as experiencing pure joy through the eyes of your child. I can not wait to take them back to experience it all over again. But until then, here are some of my favorite pictures from our trip ...