Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Year, A New You?

The Internet is officially flooded with 101 ways to change your life, start now, jump to it and go go go! Well sure, the new year is and always has been some unofficial mark of new beginnings, as if a date on a calendar should shove us into some deep contemplation of all the things we failed to do this year, and all the things we want to do in the year to come.

When people ask me what my new year resolutions are, I visibly cringe. Seriously? Well lets see, I can go with old faithful, lose x amount of weight and maybe by some grace of God fit back into that stack of premarital jeans that honestly are probably out of style or will at the very least require a good dusting... My response is usually that of, I don't really have any. I am of the mindset that we are, and always will be "works in progress".

What a Diet plan huh?
Sure I say it's always a good time to start fresh, set goals, and begin with those baby steps into the future of health and wellness. We all need to incorporate exercise into our lives, with some kind of regularity, and educate ourselves to find a healthy balance in nutrition... So really it comes down to lifestyle changes that will stay with us and adapt with us as we flip the calendar month after month.
kinda reminds me of a fried egg!
I just can't imagine telling myself I can't have something to eat, depriving myself? Having said that, it's quite clear - I don't "diet", hell the word has die in it... really that doesn't sound like the direction I want to go? No. I will say this, brace yourself, I am NOT perfect! There I said it... what a relief! I love coffee with 1/2 & 1/2 and sugar, I love chocolate ice cream and cake. I can eat my weight in Mexican food, especially those evil baskets of chips they plop in front of you with salsa... What I strive for is balance;  mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally and nutritionally.

So when I see others try to portray the idea of perfection, (and who knows, maybe they are as close to perfect as a human specimen can be?) well to them I say, congratulations. I honestly cannot spend hours at the gym, my abs will likely never be super chiseled (I like to think I was close once after my first born was like 2, so possible after giving birth) and while it may work for others, giving up meat and dairy is just not something I am into.  Does this make me a less reliable source of information, motivation and maybe even, inspiration to others?  In my opinion, I think this makes me a realist. I wouldn't say that I will never be rock solid again, I just know that right now, my focus is to be as healthy as I can be without stressing myself over comparing body fat percentages and pace times with others. Can I bench my weight? No, no I can't. I was working the upper body the other day and I am still sore. Do I someday want to have carved arms? Sure, who doesn't? First step, stop setting yourself up for failure by tearing yourself down... I think it's easier to remodel then build from rumble, but maybe I'm wrong?

I just hate the cycle that we often find ourselves in, it's like we are ultimately never satisfied. I suppose this can be a positive, it keeps us moving - as long as it's in the right direction, right? Well what if all we do is pick ourselves apart, always looking to the person next to us and saying "Why can't I be like her?" when we should be enjoying the people around us for what they bring the table. We should embrace our lives, enjoy our lives, and yes, do all things possible to protect our lives from preventable disease. So yes, I would always advise to exercise most days of the week doing it what ever makes you happy and fulfilled. You have to enjoy it otherwise it won't last. I can't give out nutritional plans, but I will say this, find things you can do to make better choices more often then not. 

So this year, as in years passed and all to come, I will continue my existence doing all the things that fulfill me, excite me, and make me happy. I refuse to run on empty both in joy and in calories. If you want to be successful in your goals for your life, be realistic, be focused, and most of all, be positive. If you slip up, fall behind, gain an inch or a pound, or indulge - it's not a failure, it's life. All things with moderation and balance, it really is the only sustainable plan for overall health.

p.s. One year I did make a resolution, it was to be nicer to people... After a few days I realized, I am who I am... so I just don't bother trying so hard anymore!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oh All My Lousy Runners!

Post Lousy Run
Well first I must say a heartfelt THANK YOU! When Heather & I decided to put on a Virtual 5k to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I could not even have imagined the support we'd receive. We ended up with 178 registrants, and raising over $2500 for the cause! So seriously, I am beyond humbled. Of course, with 178 Lousy medals to package up and mail out, it's going to take me a little while to get it all done... you know, in my spare time!

The Actual Lousy Medal!!!
I was actually ready to do the mail merge to print the mailing labels. I had carefully formulated the columns to Proper case, concatenating the City, State & Zip code, to then realize the only labels I have are the extremely small (and personally, I deem them useless) a whopping 1/2" by 1 & 3/4"... yeah, useless. So looks like I will be busy this weekend, well Sunday during Gabby's nap anyway since Saturday I will be interning from 7-4pm... yay!

Just days before this run I found out that a running mom friend was told her cancer was back. DaDiva is an inspiration and a positive spirit who brightens lives through her sense of humor and unparallelled presence... When I headed out for my Lousy Medal Run, I had a few things on my mind and one of them was my little green monster (which is how I affectionately refer to her as she is back on chemo) - it was what pushed me to have one of the best runs I have had in so very long. All I could think of was if this amazing woman can run a marathon on chemo, and now run our lousy medal 5k just days after restarting chemo - well friends, I have no excuses, I must run, and run I did. I'd say like the wind, but it was more like an average pace of 9:19, but for me, it felt like a gusting of emotion and determination.  

Then there is this business of the Grand Prize drawing... I am not sure if everyone thought to come back and leave a comment but I feel like with 10 days post race, and ample prodding... It is time to draw the winner... I know some had issues seeing their comment post, but I received the email (for each one) and have compiled the unduplicated list... First, lets see what we have up for grabs!

Now this package is geared toward the women, but hey if you are a dude and you win, you could make a lady friend very happy (assuming she is into the running thing too)... We have a princess tiara bling holder from Allied Medal, a Tough Chik 'iRun' t-shirt, iFitness head bands and a One More Mile belt. Total retail, around $100, not too shabby!

So without further ado.... The winner of the super duper prize package is....
Stephanie Christianson

Congratulations Stephanie! I hope you love this little bonus for supporting a wonderful cause!

I also want to post a few pictures that I got my hands on from those who participated... If I missed anyone's photos I apologize now!
Cheryl & Amber ready to run!
..and they have paparazzi?
Libby made these for her group
Leia & Wonderpup
Holly & Amanda got it done!

Libby's Group Photo - LOVE IT!!!

Kim &her princess

Jinny flexing :)

Ross's Inspiration
Kim got it done right before the snow!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bye Bye Hectic Holiday Season...

I just realized I haven't written anything since the 3rd...tsk tsk... Not that I am going to blame any one thing mind you - December has been a whirl wind in my world, as I am sure it has been for most of us!

The semester was pretty non eventful, much lower key then basically the previous 4 years I've attended. This was a part time semester with one night class and one lunchtime course. Neither very challenging nor writing intensive (which isn't making a case for why I have been MIA..hmmm) - Anyway, I ended up with another 4.0 semester, which would be my GPA if it wasn't for that pesky B I received in Exercise Physiology back in the Fall of 2008 (which seems like eons ago), it has me hanging at a 3.944 so it would appear I will never get that elusive Summa Cum Laude, Magna it is...

In the midst of finals, my little baby girl had to have a bilateral myringotomy, which is fancy for tubes in both her ears. We have spent so much money on doctors co-pays, antibiotics, not to mention taking time off from work. While scared to have our angel put under anesthesia, we couldn't be happier with the results. In the past week and a half, she has heard more and began walking more, giving us piece of mind that it was indeed the right decision. Hopefully when we go back to the doctor in January, she will score flying colors on her hearing test...

On a sad note, we said goodbye to Teeny Martin a.k.a. Granna, she passed on December 20th... She was a spirited woman, and even though she struggled with verbal communication, due to multiple strokes prior to when we met, she spoke volumes with her kind eyes, bright smile and all too clear expressions... I will always remember how she hated to be told to sit, and often tested the boundaries by trying to sneak around and get up to walk by herself... oh and her eye rolling was priceless. She will be dearly missed but I am forever grateful to have been a part of her life, and having her at my wedding, meet my baby girl, celebrate Gabriella's first birthday with us, and chase her around the house at many a family BBQ as she said "No No No"... she was always ready to go home by 430pm. I take comfort in knowing she is now in her forever home, watching down on us... 

So life in the Epton household never seems dull... we have Joshua who is obsessed with Drivers Ed and a car, and Gabriella who is just getting her legs figured out. Stephen is steady improving his golf game...maybe someday we will be traveling to tournaments to watch him? I really feel like I've been replaced by his new shiny golf

You'd think with classes over that I would have more free time right? Ah, not so much! I continue to be consumed with fundraising for the upcoming Tinker Bell Half, just booked my travel today - apparently only like 2.5 weeks late...oops! The Lousy Medal Virtual 5k was a huge success, we will be posting the Grand Prize winner here in the near future & seriously, I am so humbled by the sheer generosity and support of others... My crafting was not so successful. Two craft shows and little to show for it. Although I did have some running friends order some custom frames for their family which I have to say, I was so thrilled with how they turned out! So with the Lousy Medal Virtual 5k, Crafting for a Cure and the Bondi Bands, I will be about $200 shy of my goal - which is great in the grand scheme of things!

Of course, if you didn't know, I always have something going on... tonight I start my Internship, last part of this Bachelors in Exercise & Sport Science program. So last week I busted out my excel spreadsheet and worked it until somehow I found 350 hours from now until April 25th, to complete this deal. Yes, 350 hours on top of my full time job, my house, my family, my training, and ultimately my desire for a full night (heck 6 hours straight would be awesome) of sleep. How you ask? Well, not easily and not without sacrifice. Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband... he has said multiple times that it's something that needs to get done, and we will work through it. It would be silly to throw in the towel now, so close to finishing, so press on I will (woah, I went all Yoda on ya!) - finish this degree up and proudly sashay across that stage on May 5th... seems like forever away but I think the older I get, the faster time passes... 

I am looking forward to completing this chapter, and I already have big summer plans... What are they you ask? I plan on finding my toes in the sand more this summer than summers before! Especially since I started this degree process back in March of 2006... a lot of summers were consumed with accelerated coursework! Of course working from home will help with that, 10 minutes to the beach + 40 minutes on the beach + 10 minutes home = 1hr lunch...oh yeah, something to look forward to! No more studying, no more papers to research and write...this summer I am all about relaxing! (Someone remind me of this post in May please when I inevitably will find something to get involved with!!!) 

That my friends is December in a nutshell! Stay tuned, later this week will be the Lousy Medal reveal, race report and announcement of the Grand Prize winner!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rivertown Reindeer Race

The Rivertown Reindeer Race is in Conway, SC and this was the first time I had run in Conway period. The morning was in a word, FREEZING. The brain child I am decided that I would wear long socks, shorts and a long sleeve top - needless to say, I was not warm. Of course Stephen pointed out that the chicks wearing knee length capri's and short socks had just as much skin exposed if not more. My thoughts, I should have worn long pants, leg warmers, gloves and ear muffs! It was only 36 degrees, which in some points north of the Mason Dixie line, may not be terrible, but to this NY transplant with no affection for the cold weather, can I please have the 60's back?

As I checked in, trying to ignore the stares of people thinking I am completely off my rocker, I was pleasantly surprised by the pretty awesome tech shirt, in green (awesome) that was in the swag bag. I debated putting it on, but Stephen said it would be like wearing a rock t-shirt to the concert... Apparently back in '90 I wasn't cool at that Motley Crüe concert - my bad... Anyway, I didn't put it on but it worked out ok since I had a sports bra, compression tank and a long sleeve cold weather shirt (my core was toasty at least!).
I ran into Jenn, if you remember we did the Turkey Trot together (me the 8k & she the 5k) and if I had known she was going to do this too, we would have carpooled! She decided this morning at 7am she'd brave the cold, and she took 2nd in our age group! NOW, had I come in 4th and not 5th, I would have teased her that if she'd slept in - I'd have some bling! The times for the female 35-39 group are crazy!

Top 5 by Age-Time: 36 - 21:30, 38 - 25:47, 38 - 27:14, 38 - 27:18, 36 - 29:45 (the last one being Either I have to start kicking it up a notch or seriously live up the time I am 38! Of course with the one speed demon chick, I can only hope for a first in age group if she never shows It's all good though, I loved my race... speaking of which, my race!
So again, I had never run in Conway, SC despite it being about 15 minutes from my house. They really don't have too many races, but if they did - I'd run them all! This course took us through the residential areas where Spanish moss and older homes lined the streets. It was like something out of an old book. People and their kids were on their front porches, cheering people on as they were huddled under their blankets. It was by far one of my most favorite races. As Jenn said, "It was such a pretty course"...indeed it was. I didn't realize how many hills there were in Conway. I joked (half joked really) about how we should train a little on these streets - I need to get some hill training in! In case you don't know, Myrtle Beach is probably one of the flattest areas you will find in the US (not sure if this is a fact but in my opinion it's true - further research is

I always try to look around and guess who might be in my age group. I was sure that the grey haired lady in the purple tights was over 39, and the little girl (who beat me in the end by a ONE second) was way younger... but other than that I kept my Garmin covered and my focus on my run. Up and down a few hills, around a few corners and I was approaching the finish. Jenn cheered me on as I was about 50 yards from the end. Stephen was my paparazzi (as usual, and I love you for it!) and I think I saw Gabriella clap her hands! What a great way to finish!

I do want to give props to the population who I am most in awe of, the 2 gentleman and 1 lady who are in the 71-99 age group. Y'all, they floor me...
          ********** FEMALE 5K RUN AGE GROUP:  71 - 99 **********

Place Name                  S Age City               St Finish  Pace  
===== ===================== = === ================== == ======= ===== 
    1 Delores Horn          F  72 Pawleys Island     SC   31:07 10:01 

           ********** MALE 5K RUN AGE GROUP:  71 - 99 **********

Place Name                  S Age City               St Finish  Pace  
===== ===================== = === ================== == ======= ===== 
    1 George Hagan          M  75 Murrells Inlet     SC   28:21  9:08 
    2 Terry Williams        M  71 Conway             SC   30:13  9:44 
Seriously, I am PRAYING to someday populate this age group - after all it may be my only shot at 1st in Age Group...lmao!!!

Well I am happy the turn out was so good, it benefited the Red Cross, so another great race for another great cause! I'll be looking to see if Gabby makes the news, the camera man thought she was so cute with the antlers on, well actually she is SO cute!