Sunday, May 29, 2011

Military Appreciation, New Friends, and holding it together!

When I woke up this morning I felt sore, just a little, nothing biggest injury yesterday didn't come from the mud run but by walking into a table at NY & Co - shopping... yeah I Anyway, my first thoughts as I woke up from a deep slumber was, oh why is that alarm going off & I miss my dad. It was 3 years ago today he passed. He was recovering from his last hospital stay, at home on oxygen. We all thought things were getting better, I mean he finally said he was ready to make a change, change his diet, be more active. Sadly he never got to show us all that he meant that. I won't go into the details of that evening, but there is always a small part of me that felt guilty that I couldn't save him. I have been trained in CPR since I joined the service when I was 17. Why didn't it work? I guess it was already too late.

This morning, as I was nursing Gabriella, I was thinking how awesome it would have been if he could have met her. He was kind of a tough guy, but had a soft spot for long eyelashes and a sweet smile. She is so beautiful, there is no doubt in the world - he would have loved her. I tried not to get too emotional, after all it was only 6:15am. So we got ourselves together and headed out to the Military Appreciation 5k. Stephen sat in the back with Gabriella (I swear the rear reclining seats have me driving Ms Daisy more often than not!) and I heard him tell her how today we were going to think about Grandpa and how she didn't get to meet him...I almost lost it. 

We arrived at the packet pick up just in time. I met up with Heatherand Kelly before the race. It was really cool because I've talked to Kelly in our running moms group on Facebook but you never really think you'll meet people that are in these groups. She was here on vacation and I thought it was awesome that she decided to do this 5k!
We all run different paces, Heather runs like she has a rocket up her butt (and I mean that in the nicest possible way and only a tad bit of, I'm in the middle, averaging about a 9:30mm, and Kelly is about a 12mm. When it came to start the race we gave high 5's all around and headed to our estimated places amongst the modest crowd. It was 8am and probably already 80 degrees out, and I just knew this race was going to be a tough one. I wasn't really expecting to come out with a PR, so really it was just about getting out there and showing my appreciation for our veterans as well as active military. 

I started off pretty good, a solid and surprisingly easy feeling 9mm pace for the first mile. I thought maybe if I could keep it up, I would pull a PR after all! As the second mile approached I could feel a slowing of my pace and an increased need to pee, seriously, this whole 6 month old has impacted me in ways I never thought, I found myself wondering why there wasn't a port-a-potty at every mile I also felt the sun beating on my face, and I kept thinking I could use a little help moving... I wish I had a really inspiring story about how I felt myself being lifted and carried across the finish line, as if my dad was a wind at my back pushing me to some astounding PR... but nope, that didn't happen... knowing my dad he was up there looking down, shaking his head wondering why in the world I would be running when no one was chasing me!

Heather had what she called one of her worst 5k's at 25 minutes and change, a result I would probably have taken the whole crew to Tommy Bahamas for a round if I had accomplished... and she placed 1st for her age group!

I finished in 29:33 (I think, official results haven't been posted yet) - which is about par with my last 5k finish of 29:22 from May 7th.  I placed 2nd for my age group. I will always say, I love small local races, it's good for the ego... I am about to get serious with my cross training, so watch out! I feel like my next race, an 8k on July 2nd, will have me setting a new PR.

The best part of the day for me was being able to snap this shot of Kelly. She just heard that she placed 3rd for her age group... I literally just turned around and snapped it, I didn't even look really... Running a 5k to support veterans, $20 (well for me it was free *veteran*), meeting up with friends to run on a hot morning - $3 in gas & a bottle of water, capturing your new friend with such a genuine expression of surprise, elation & accomplishment - PRICELESS!

So at the end of this hot, humid, emotional morning, I found myself smiling... how could I not? It's not about PR's or awards (although these things are nice)... it's about sharing experiences with people. At the end of the day - it's about making the most of every day, remembering moments of the past and continuing to live in the present... I know for me, these moments won't be forgotten...

In remembrance of Clifford T. Harris, August 30, 1946 - May 29, 2008... 
I miss you Daddy!

Dirty Myrtle Mud Run

Well another mud run in the books... I will say, I kinda liked the Myrtle Beach Mud Run better than the Dirty Myrtle Mud Run... Both were fun, but at the end of the day a girls got a preference! I was so happy that my son followed through and ran it with me (ok, he started after me, caught up to me to say 'hey' and then finished about 7 minutes before me!) was good.

Stephen & Gabriella left a little early, she was getting hot and has been fighting with this double ear infection, but they were cheering in spirit! The site was quite literally a field, a clearing for future housing and water trucked in. I was a little disappointed it was such a short course. The site said almost 3 miles but I will say - no where near 3 miles. My finishing time was 22:26, Joshua was 15:38... my current 5k pace is about 9:30 (on a good day) so maybe the course was 2.5 miles? Anyone who actually runs knows almost 3 miles means like 2.8 or 2.9 - for me a half mile is a lot - not close.

The obstacles, they were alright, I would have liked to see a better layout - I am not an engineer but with a blank slate, it could have been more creative. There was a tire carry - but not enough tires so people were standing around waiting for the others to loop around...

I am not slamming the event, it was a fun morning, I got covered in mud & felt like I burned some calories, so overall it was physical activity - which is great no matter how you get it! There were a lot of people out there, I even had a random guy ask me to take a picture with my phone and send it to him... So Dave Galfetti - if you didn't get the picture, let me know!

This shot of Joshua riding in the back of my father-in-laws truck is probably one of my favorites. He said, 'Mom make sure you get my number!' and then went on to tell me how much fun he had, that he wants to do another mud run and the best part of it & highlight of the entire experience, wait for it...

Joshua said, 'Thanks for signing me up mom...' - YES you heard it here... my 15 year old son thanked me... unsolicited, words of gratitude without an angle... anyone who has a teen knows how sometimes they use words to pad their real objective (something which usually requires your bank card & the mall!) - I enjoyed that 5 minute drive home in the back of the truck. Joshua and I made a connection, we actually had a real conversation - it was nice...

Saving these for next time!
Another bib & more bling

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memorial Day Lineup!

So the weekend is fast approaching (never fast enough if you ask me) and I have a few things going on. I have 2 races, and 2 anniversaries (one joyful and one, is a remembrance). Right now, I am sitting in my living room watching the last episode of Oprah, which is crazy because I never get to watch it and now it's the last one! Of course the only reason I am not sitting in the closet I call an office, is because my baby girl has a double ear infection, and I wanted to be home with her this afternoon... She finally went down for a nap at 345pm, so I am typing fast incase this is one of her famous 30 minute power naps!

Anyway, my races, I am excited! Saturday is the Dirty Myrtle Mud Run which I am doing with my son, Joshua. I am pretty stoked to see him jump in mud pits and enjoy an event! I have been waiting for this event for a while - time to get down & dirty once again!

Sunday, well it starts off with the Military Appreciation Days 5k at 8am, I know it sounds crazy, mud run & then a 5k the next day BUT my registration was FREE - why? I served in the US Army :) So I would encourage anyone in the Grand Strand Area who are currently serving or have previously served this country to  come out and participate for FREE! The end of the day will be a BBQ at  a friends house, which is great because I won't have to cook!

Sunday also marks the 3rd Anniversary of my fathers passing... I am glad to have some very positive and uplifting activities planned for this day. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, probably because my neighbor/friend just lost her mother to cancer this past week. I think about all the things he missed, and all the things I missed seeing him enjoy. For one, walking me down the aisle, another, the birth of my daughter. Somedays are hard, I know it seems cliche to say 'time heals all wounds' or 'it gets easier with time'... I guess I think it just hurts less, not that it stops hurting (maybe it does and I just haven't gotten there yet). Nevertheless, Sunday will be full of mixed emotions, but mostly positive because all I can do is think about all the moments he was here for and not focus on what has been missed. I can't bring him back, so I have to believe he hasn't really missed anything, he's been with me all along.

I saved you a seat daddy...
So that brings us to Monday, I know this is going to probably sound crazy, seeing how the 29th was my fathers passing 3 years ago, my 2nd wedding anniversary is the 30th. It wasn't quite planned to piggy back like that. Honestly, we had picked the first weekend of May but chose to push it out so that family could be there. As I looked on the calendar in the month of May, it was the first weekend which wasn't going to work, then 3 weekends of bike weeks (which wasn't really how I imagined my wedding weekend) and then the last weekend... so I just picked it (for some reason I was set on a May wedding!)... It was weeks later I realized what date I had picked...

I had the most perfect wedding, it was beyond my expectations, it was the most beautiful day, all the people I love were there. My mom & son walked me down the aisle and I married my best friend. I was surrounded my family and friends, I felt like I was living a dream, and still feel like that! In the past two years we have faced some sad times, and a lot of joyous occasions and through it all, we have always been there for each other. Stephen, you are my best friend, my cheerleader and biggest fan... I am blessed to have found you and I couldn't imagine life without you. Together we make such a strong team and that is what inspired the creation of 'Team Epton' because everything we do, we do as a team.

I remember writing my vows and it still holds true:

Today we begin another chapter of our lives together. 
You are my best friend, you are the one I share everything with, my hopes, my fears, my dreams, and my secrets.  I have never felt I had to be anyone but who I am.  You have seen me at my best and at my worst;  you have cheered for my successes and comforted me thru my losses.  Today like yesterday and all the days that we have been together, and the days which lye ahead, I am committed to you thru the happiness and joy, the challenges, and everything we will see in the future. 
Before God, our families and our friends, I pledge my trust, faith and love to you and our marriage.  
Today I chose you. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

My butt in a rutt...

Wayne's View Photography
At 30, I would have hardly imagined my life as it is today. Honestly, the idea of being married & having a little girl was seriously so off my radar, like Area 51... Here it is, 5 years later and I am married to a wonderful man (our anniversary is approaching ;) I know you read this Stephen, so consider yourself reminded! - not that he'd, with a beautiful baby girl, who's almost 6 months old and already has 2 of the cutest teeth I have ever seen! Ok, Joshua, who is 15, has a bunch of teeth too, albeit, they used to provide a fair amount of thrill back in the day, but now they just cost me money to It's been quite a crazy 3 years since Stephen and I met up for a night at the golf range. So many changes in my life, and most of them positive...

Last night Preggers!

While I was pregnant with Gabriella, I dreamt of the day I could lace up my shoes and really get back into training... get back into tip top shape - I was convinced that I would be back in bikini form by March (feasible right?) Well here it is May, end of May, and I am not really feeling the whole bikini thing... honestly, I haven't been to the pool yet this season (well outside of swimming laps at the college),and it's almost Memorial Day! I looked at suits this weekend, and to spare myself the breakdown that swimsuits bring, (even when in prime condition), I decided to just keep moving along...

So under some delusion, I really felt like I wouldn't be the 'I just had a baby' lady, because I am not really sure how long I can get away with it. She is almost 6 months, and I know me, I haven't yet gotten to that level of seriousness. I mean, I talk the game, I know what needs to be done, but I haven't quite reached that point. I have a lot of excuses, and I know I am not alone! I have a treadmill, elliptical and resistance machine IN my house. I also have a hubby that turns to me Thursday night and says, 'Why don't you go for a run?'. I mean, I totally did - logged 5 miles, not too shabby - but something has been holding me back, and lord knows I am usually untamed when it comes to being active. So what gives?

Totally worth every pound ;)
I will admit to one thing, guilt. Yes, I have this feeling of guilt. At the end of the day when I should be dedicating at least an hour to my running, or weights, or whatever physical activity it may be... I feel like I should be home, not just home, but involved. It's not easy to be a working mom. I see her at 5am for her feeding, then the drop off at daycare is at 7:30am. I don't see her again until 5:30pm, and she is usually rocked out by 7:30pm. I live for the weekends, just to hang out with her. I guess a part of me just wants to be able to have it all... paycheck, plus family time, plus workouts...

I know I am not alone on this, I know there has to be other parents who are struggling to find the balance of it all... I want to get back to feeling awesome about myself, without it being at the expense of my family... lord knows there was a time when I'd wake up at 4am and work out for almost 2 hours every morning (later on the weekends) and man, I was solid... but the reality is, I am tired. Maybe just a smidge lazy, but overall, I just have misplaced my zest... anyone seen my zest? There is a reward for it... no there really isn't, but I need to find it ASAP!

If there is one thing I have learned about myself is this - If I tell people I am going to do something, I do it. So here I am, announcing my commitment to myself. I am going to design my fitness plan, and my cleaner eating plan (notice I said cleaner? yeah, I should have been a lawyer), and make these changes! I have to work on my health and fitness...and try not to feel so bad about it... selfish? I hope not. crap, there's the guilt again...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Am I a SPARTAN!?!?

Do I really have what it takes to be a Spartan??? I know, some of you are wondering just what the heck I am talking about right? There is a Spartan Race in Winnsboro, SC on June 25th - Carolinas Super Spartan and I have been asked by fellow Exercise Science, running partner in crime, Heather, to carpool (such a mommy thing to do) to this race... This event is 8 miles of rugged outdoors, mud pits, pyro jumps and barbed wire...sound fun? Ah yeah - and a little crazy too!

This is the description off their website:
"The Super Spartan obstacle race provides an 8+ mile battlefield of insane mud running with 15 or more obstacles to test your physical strength and mental resolve. This mud fest of a race will have many trials to push you to your limits that any man or woman with resolve can complete! This endurance race consists of mud runs, trails, and both mental and physical obstacles and challenges. The good news is that after you complete your painful journey, there will be live music and a catered meal to soothe your aching joints. Top 3 Males and top 3 Females at each Super Spartan qualify for a free entry into the Spartan Death Race."

Ok, so lets be real, the chances of me actually being one of those top 3 Females qualifying for the Death Race, well slim and none, and slim isn't taking the The only way I would do that is if for some reason, the only females to register were me, Heather, and one other... chances, again, slim & none. Besides, I don't know how thrilled I am with the tag line of 'You may die' - well I guess it is inevitable, but I'd hate to go out like that...I am sure they aren't really trying to kill you (if I am wrong - someone correct me now!)

I *had* such a nice abdominal
I have run this idea by my hubby, I think he was finishing up his Wendy's baconator - so I was hoping to have him distracted...just kidding honey, I love you. Seriously though, this would be probably the most intense, insane experience since night fire on the range and delivering 2 children without an epidural(obviously three separate intense experiences)... When I think about going to this event I get butterflies, petrified yet excited little butterflies bouncing all over my once taut abdominal wall...

With 36 days left before this event, and having yet to commit, one thing is for sure - I need to TRAIN. I must start doing something - anything... my upper body strength is that of a small 5 year old boy... I caught a cramp the other day holding Gabriella and I am sure she only weighs like 14 pounds. Yes, I have work to do... could this be the motivation I have been searching for? Could this be what lights a fire under my so-much-bigger-than-it-used-to-be butt??? Then there is the question - could I complete it? Heck Yeah I could! I could do it, now will I? I guess then only way to know is to go... right?

Something tells me this is no mudda truckas mud run...yikes!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Filthy for a Good Cause

I tend to register for a lot of races, mostly running, although I plan on doing a triathlon this year, before I turn 36... When I saw the Myrtle Beach Mud Run, I thought, hmmm... sounds interesting... Then I saw that they were raising money for the Humane Society... I have to say, any event with a charitable tie - well it wins me over... I did an Autism 5k in April. I don't know anyone with Autism, but I think I felt awesome running because I knew my registration fee would be going to a good cause.

 So yesterday, Heather and I spent the better part of the afternoon crafting our little hearts out! Heather showed up at my door with bags in hand - shirts, paint, markers, bandanas and hot pink duct tape! Our four person team, the mudda truckas, were going to show up in style... handcrafted, creative skills all out, style... I tell you what - making the shirts was a lot of fun, who knew we were so talented?  And yes, we have no shame, we plugged our blogs on the backs of our shirts... nothing is better than some free advertising - right?

We went to packet pick up which was at the Marina Inn @ Grand Dunes, so I was pretty stoked to get my shirt, and a bracelet... I adore tchotchkes - especially from races :) I couldn't believe how fast the afternoon flew by - when I got home it was already 5pm! 

Courtesy of Creative Xpressions Photography
I was up coughing a lot last night, my angel (aka petri dish), has had green goo flowing and coughing all week... guess who started feeling like doodie on Thursday - yup, me. I was so worried that I would be sick for this weekend...

I couldn't have that happen - I was so looking forward to this event... I had to make it! So determined, despite the cough, scratchy throat, and crappy sleep, I got up around 6am. First thing, nurse my princess... then it was time to get ready!!! Dawning my hand crafted, kick ass, mud run race gear - I was so excited, I just wanted to get there and get started!!!

I think the one thing about this race that surprised me the most was all the running! I mean, I knew the course was like 3.5 miles, but somehow I didn't give that much thought, I was more focused on the MUD!

Creative Xpressions Photography
I couldn't believe that there were people who finished this event almost as clean as they started! I mean, seriously people - it's a mud run... isn't the mud the whole point? If you didn't get dirty, you didn't do it right!!! I had so much fun, diving into the mud pits, stomping through sludge and even scurrying through pipes which my brother questioned the smell of and as Heather said, made me feel like a ninja turtle! Can I be Leonardo?

I was very happy with our bling! Quite nice, if I do say so myself... and all the snacks & beverages offered at the finish were above & beyond! Gatorade & Mini Fudge Stripe cookies, this event - awesome!

Courtesy of Creative Xpressions Photography
Anyway, there was no way on this side of the Mason Dixon Line that I wasn't going to get completely, and totally, covered in mud from head to toe... and I like to think I did a pretty good job of it! I will say kudos to my team members for embracing the spirit of the mud run... we all came out of it pretty freaking filthy!

Heather said she wants to do it again... so I said, well there is always the 28th! I am already registered for the Dirty Myrtle Mud Run - Lets see if she is up to another one for 

Of course in true team spirit, I think we should wear our team shirts and of course take it to the next level, I saw these socks at Dicks Sporting Goods... oh how fun!

p.s. the best thing we did was to recruit my father-in-law, he drove our dirty asses home in the back of his truck!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another goal set in motion...

So anyone who knows me, knows, I am always thinking about what's next... it's a blessing, and a curse. Anyway, after talking to Heather, post running clinic, I was committed to register for my certification exam. See we have big plans, not to be too vague right now, but trust me, we are conspiring something fabulous! Last night, we decided to set a deadline on our exam, end of May we are going to sit for the ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist exam! So today, feeling like the semester is over and I have a little free time (depends on who you ask really), I did it... I registered. Friday, May 27th, at 1:00pm, I will test my knowledge, I will prove that the past too many years of studying have been worth something, and my 3.938 GPA means more than

Now, well - I am nervous. What if I fail? What if I completely blank, choke, lose it? I know, I can't think like that... I am pretty smart, I know my stuff... and yet I worry about it. Worry is like paying interest on a loan you haven't taken, at least that's what I keep telling myself. I thought though, maybe I should keep it to myself, because if I do fail, people are going to ask me how it went and then I will have to admit failure... I guess then failure is NOT an option!?!?

I suppose if I let the thought of failing preclude me from putting my plans for the future into motion, well I would still be single, living with my mom (yikes!) and maybe not even potty trained? hahaha ok, lets not get crazy, I love my mom but seriously, could not live with her.

We cannot live in fear of what we may fall short of achieving, otherwise we would surely never achieve. So, I have my stack of study materials and I am going to make the time to review all this information I have been exposed to in the past 3+ years, and proceed confidently.

Lets face it, if I didn't worry about not achieving this goal, I would have to question if my goal was worth achieving...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day...

I was planning this deeply thought out, sentimental blog about moms, being a mom and everything about mothering...I feel a little bad because I just didn't have time (I am a mom) and now it's almost 10pm, I am finally on the computer and pumping (multi-tasking - yay!), and for whatever reason, I am just not feeling all that mushy... I guess what I can say is, never did I think I would so freely pick someones nose, catch their puke in my hand, and deal with huge explosions of doo doo (cover this in a minute)...all with vigilance and without contemplation...I am a mom, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

This Mothers Day was different from those in the past since this is Gabriella' first! Boy she wanted to make sure she spent as much of this day with me as you ask? She was up every 2-3 hours last night...

Despite being sleep deprived, I had an enjoyable day. We went out to breakfast and then to the mall, I was going to get those Brooks Trance 10's but then the store didn't even carry them! During our visit to NY&Co. (I had some city cash to spend), Stephen informed me that Gabriella was stinking up the joint & he was going to change her (he is an awesome dad), so I took my phone out of the stroller incase he needed Well, about 5 minutes later the emergency call for back up was received! Now yesterday we took her to doctors care for her eye (puffy yucky junk) and she exploded...
I found myself reaching up to change her on a changing station made for someone 6 ft tall, only to find we had 1 wipe left & it was dried up! I felt like if this whole episode was on camera, we could have won FHV..I was using tisses and water to clean her was a mess! Before we left today I grabbed the wipes from my bag and also put in more clothes & diapers... Well lets say when I found Stephen, his first words were - "We are out of wipes!"... the seat, the stroller, my princess's new outfit - destroyed... *sigh*

We spent the rest of the afternoon with the family, relaxing a little. We headed home to prepare for a BBQ dinner. It was about 5:30pm when I was convinced (by Stephen) that it was perfectly fine for me to go on my run... everyone was going to be over around 6, but I really needed to do this - it was the virtual Run Like A Mother 5k...
I had the t-shirt, now I just had to get out there... So I get ready, step outside and the rain drops start. Stephen looked at me and said, just go run! So I took on the motto of the post office like it wasn't Sunday and hit the road! It didn't rain long, although after it stopped - I wish it would have kept going - holy humidity batman! I managed to crank out a 9:29 pace, ran 3.25 miles in 30:51...all the while thinking about everyone coming to the house, and here I am, out running! That and the smell of BBQ all over the hood was making me hungry!

Well I will say this, I had an awesome Mothers Day. My sweet hubby made it so special, and I got to have dinner with my mom and mother-in-law too! It was a great day filled with food, shopping and a fabulous run... I really couldn't ask for anything more... so as far as being sentimental, I say, I enjoy Mothers Day - everyday... I love my family and know how loved I am... I celebrate that every day of my life. So it might not be the big outpouring of feelings, but hey - not everything is a Hallmark.

Happy Mothers Day all you Mothers!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Postpartum PR...Check!

Well I did it... I broke through to the other side of 30 for my 5k time! It was a chilly morning (56) for this time of year and damp too! The baby hadn't been feeling well, so we decided I would go to this race solo (which was a bummer) - no need to make things worse. It was a small local event, so I ended up getting some bling (I like bling) - I placed 2nd for my age group, a nice boost for the old ego ;)

I really think this running clinic I am doing on Monday nights is working! I felt so good out there today, and I wasn't alone in reaching my goals. Marilyn also surpassed her goal, I asked her before the race if she had a goal and she said, first she wanted to finish, and then maybe under 35minutes - well she finished in 33:06 - which is so awesome! Shelia also placed, first for her group! There were quite a few members of the Grand Strand Running Club - nice to see that ya know?

Kristen was there with two of her three kids, Kayla and Cameron ran the race and everyone placed & got a little Kayla was so excited to get a medal, and Cameron, well that little speed devil blew by me and finished in 28:02 (did I mention he is 8?!?!) Kudos to Kristen for getting the kids out there, what a nice Mothers Day weekend tradition... I wish I could convince Joshua to run a race...

I also want to send a huge shout out to my fellow Exercise Science Geek Heather, who graduated from Coastal Carolina today! I know this semester hasn't been the easiest, but I am so proud of you! You were definitely being tested in so many ways in the past few weeks, and you kept it all together... you are destined for greatness my friend :)

I was hoping to get this up earlier, but we ended up taking the baby to the doctors this afternoon, diagnosis: conjunctivitis and what may be the beginning of an ear infection... *sigh* she was so tired tonight but just wouldn't go down, she is rocked out now, for how long, I have no idea...

Tomorrow is another day, and another 5k :) Virtual Run Like a Mother 5k should be fun, I love love love the t-shirt... they have onesies too, which I have shown great restraint by not ordering! I also know in honor of Mother's Day, there is a breakfast in store for me after I get done running (canceling out calories...I run to eat!) so hopefully I can get out early... well, with Gabriella, I am sure early won't be an issue!

Guess it's about that time, last feeding for the princess. I hope to get at least 4 hours of straight sleep (this will be included in my nightly prayers) but I don't really know how well that will really work out! Well it is what it is... I've functioned on less sleep so it will all be fine...