Monday, January 30, 2012

In Honor of Sherry Arnold - Virtual Run

I know I owe you a race report from Tinker Bell but first, I need to get the word out about something that is so important to me, and my fellow runners, all over the world. There has been a heartbreaking event among the running community that shakes me. I love to get up and run in the mornings, even in the dark, the cold, and sometimes a little rain may not stop me. What happened to Sherry Arnold stops me in my tracks, makes me take pause, and feel just a little less comfortable being out solo. I used to run with my German Shepard (mix) but now I carry mace... I'd like to say it makes me feel better, but it doesn't. The events that transpired on January 7th, 2012 were senseless, horrifying, and shattering to so many. Like an earthquake shaking lives from sea to sea, it has rocked our sense of safety and leaves me questioning why things like this happen.

So now what? What do we do? The only thing we can, continue doing whatever we can to honor a life taken from this earth, doing what she loved, run. February 11th, I will be running in honor of Sherry Arnold, wife, mother, teacher, runner, so many things, and yet stolen from her were the things she will never get to be, like grandmother... It breaks my heart, even though I have never met her, so many of us leave the house in the morning, never even contemplating there is a slightest chance we won't return safe and sound.

If you feel this loss, and want to join me (and MANY others) in honoring her, visit Shut Up + Run's Blog post with all the details on how you can do just that.

Remember that life can be so unpredictable, always tell those you love, that you love them, every chance you get... My thoughts and prayers are continuous for Sherry's family. I pray that she will be found and laid to rest properly, and justice served to those responsible for this heinous and such unnecessary act. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

If Confidence Fits...

Lately, I've been thinking about what confidence means to me. Confidence has always been something I have struggled with. I often wonder why it is I would question my own abilities to do anything. It was more of an issue when I was younger, and yet I have always wondered why am I afraid to fail? It's crazy because deep down I know I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. It's that evil doubt that creeps into my mind and starts making me question myself. I have proved this time and time again (not to toot my own horn by any means) with each challenge that comes to me, or I seem to find myself a part of, I come through. I may not always be perfect, I do stumble, and there are times where I fall, but confidence isn't about never failing, it's about getting back up and trying again.
How successful can someone be if they never fail?

I would say in the past year, I have done things that I just didn't think I would be able to, I do fear the unknown. I feel anxious and scared to try new things, go places I never have and get involved in situations where I may just not be the best. It reminds me when I used to tell my son, You can't quit because it's hard, you have to learn from the experiences of trying.

In the past year, I have run distances I once thought were too far, completed a sprint triathlon (which included an ocean swim), knowing I'd likely be last, and was determined to do so much more with my running than just show up, I was going to do good work, and benefit someone besides myself. If you ever wonder what it is you are meant to do in life, don't think of it as one big thing, but maybe a bunch of little things that scare you...

"I don't believe you have to be better than everybody else.
I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be."
~ Ken Venturi

So how does one gain confidence? I guess the first step would be to determine why it is you think you cannot do something, then do it anyway. If you tell yourself you could never do, see, accomplish, then you will be always be right, 100% of the time. I never thought I'd run a half marathon, or complete a triathlon, or an 8+ mile obstacle run. I never thought I'd want to, but it was more likely I feared that I would fail - so it was easier to avoid it by simply denouncing the notion that I wanted to even try.

"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each
experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face...
we must do that which we think we cannot."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt 
So here I am, while this post was started days ago, I sit in the Atlanta airport, waiting to board my flight to Anaheim, CA. I will be meeting new people, seeing Disneyland for the first time in my life, and running my second half marathon. I know I will have fun, once I am there. I am also thinking about leaving my family for a few days, and I know they will be fine, I will miss them. 
I am confident that this experience will be so wonderful. I am confident that I will enjoy myself and I a confident that I will be bringing home some pixie dust for my little angel. Anyway, confidence is not something easily gained, but seemingly easy to lose. We have to see a situation, be realistic in our goals and expectations, and celebrate our little triumphs and collect them within ourselves...that is how I think confidence works, we have to build it through experiences over time... sounds like a math equation huh? 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Run? It's 60 Degrees!

This is my 5th year doing the North Myrtle Beach Winter Run, but this year instead of the 5k, I opted for the 15k. I specifically remember last year feeling like the people who chose to run 9.3 miles were probably at least twice as crazy (if not 3 times!) but then again, last year this time I was 8 weeks postpardum. I really can't believe how fast time flies, another year already?

I admit, I was a little nervous, this was my first 15k. In the wise words of my dear friend Sarah, "Hey you will PR today!" - that was like music to my ears! She was right, my first 15k means my best 15k time…But I was nervous for 2 reasons, 1 - I haven't exactly been training for the Half I have next weekend. Tsk Tsk…I know. 2 - I didn't want to hurt myself before the Tink 1/2…. Since I haven't run more than 5 miles since my last Half in October, all I could think about was twisting, rolling or pulling something major. That and I guess you can say, I kinda suck at the long run. I know, I know, I need to train more, I need to figure out the whole hydration and nutrition thing, I am definitely not the best role model for distance running, or maybe any running… Maybe I will pledge to try harder, and really work on a training plan or at least the sticking to it part.

I was pretty excited to see that Mother Nature was going to take it easy on us this year. Usually it is freezing or raining, or worse - both! This year, it was overcast, breezy and about 60 degrees! I almost didn't know what to do…run with the jacket or without? Where would I put my gummy lifesavers? I can't wear my arm sleeve for my iPod, in case the jacket has to come off… see I don't have these issues with a 5k!

I figured it all out, iPod is clipped to my sports bra, gummies are in my jacket pocket, and I will just tie it around my waist when I was getting too warm. My attire for today was driven by my latest Schwaggle purchase from PRO Compression - I had to choose between purple and lime green, decisions, decisions… Lime it was! I love these socks, there is something about running in compression socks… My calves didn't cramp or feel tired…love, love, love.

Now, lets talk hills (which again, I am in Myrtle Beach, so it's not like Mt. Everest) - I wasn't expecting any change in elevation but at 1.3 miles in and again at 4.5 miles, I was shuffling up hills. It was crazy because even with hills, I felt pretty friggen awesome. I was so worried that I would crap the bed halfway in but I didn't - I just kept telling myself, you are half way there, no problem, its just 3 more miles, you are doing great, you got this… When I hit Ocean Blvd I was greeted with what felt like tropical storm force winds. At first the run was breezy but nothing to severe. As if the last 1.5 miles wasn't going to be challenging enough, here are the headwinds from hell. YAY! My time took a nose dive, but I just had to keep pushing through it… I remember when I ran my first half back in October and I was struggling so bad around 8 miles; my shoes, my foot, my spirits were just not 100%. I honestly think this race has helped me realize that I can do this, and it's not as hard as it was before, it can only get better from here.

In other crazy running mom news - I registered for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. So this will make my race schedule 3 Halfs in 28 days! Half Fanatics here I come!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Frost Becomes Her...

It's insane how much I hate the cold, I grew up in New York, but somehow I knew I didn't belong...give me the beach, and even more importantly, give me the heat! So what's a girl to do when she hates the cold yet performs her best runs when it's under 40 degrees? Yeah, I don't know either...

Today I ran the second race of the Myrtle Beach Race Series, Press for Time 5k. The proceeds from this race benefits a variety of both adult and youth programs at the Coastal Carolina YMCA.

I, of course wore my new dress code, shorts with high socks, today I rocked my SLS3 Butterfly compression socks in "Hibiscus" or as I call it - hot pink... I love these socks - absolutely thrilled with them.

It's been a long week (or really 2 weeks since I added that 25hr/wk internship on top of a full time job!) and there was a small part of me that could totally have stayed home and snuggled in front of Mickey Mouse Club House with Gabby BUT I made a commitment and so I was off to the race in the frigid temps that only come in January. It figures that it's been in the 50's+ this past week and not today. 
This is Julie pressing 70% of her BW
This race was interesting because it was comprised of two elements. A bench press, which for each rep you can deduct 30 seconds from your run time and then the 5k run. Males were required to press 100% of their body weight while women needed 70%. Just before heading in to make a complete fool of myself on this bench, I ran into a friend of mine, Julie. She is super nice and we were talking about the bench press. I told her how on Monday I came to the conclusion that I either had to 1) somehow be able to bench 20lbs more than I had been or 2) lose 30lbs by Friday - neither of which were happening. She actually ended up cranking out 2 reps and I of course I did not fair so well. There were little hopes of me pushing 105lbs but I had to try.

When I left the house I was still thinking, why am I wearing shorts? I guess I subscribe to the theory if you look good, you feel good, and if you feel fast maybe you run fast? It's a mental game I play... Anyway, I arrived at the YMCA, freezing. I went in search of pins since I neglected to get them the night before when I picked up my packet. I then headed out to the course. Admittedly, the turn out wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but I fear the cold is a huge deterrent in this area... in other places 32 degrees in January is a heat wave!

Heel strike, might need some work...
So before I knew it, it was that time. Time to get in place, set up your iPod, find your satellite on your Garmin and get ready to move. With these temps, I was all too ready to circulate some blood! As I took off, I was hoping for under 30 (which is a standard goal) and secretly hoping to beat my best 5k time of 28:57 (October 2009)... I had been working on cross training at the gym, getting in some cycling, the Arc Trainer and running on treadmill doing a 5mph/8mph 3:2 interval for 30 minutes at a time. Anyway, I took off at a good pace, and mentally I felt strong. Physically, well I wish I hadn't rushed outside and took a minute to use the restroom, a lesson I seem to never learn! I had never run this course before but it was all newer paved streets. The course was closed which is always a bonus! There were slight elevations (but seriously, I live in one of the flattest states in the country), my Garmin calculated 20ft at the most, so it was nothing crazy. I ran most of the race at a steady pace: 9:10, 9:28, 9:20 and 8:42 (if I could just do 8:42, that would with a time [according to my Garmin] of 29:05. Bummer huh? If I could have just pushed a little harder during that second mile, I could have set a new PR...drats. None the less, I was happy with my time, and I really felt so awesome, it is definitely getting easier which means, time to push harder right?

Everyone looks better with Bling!
Post race I saw Julie, she was chillen on the curb. I asked her how her race was, she said it was alright, she finished under 28, which is a dream to me... that's the thing about running, we all have our own goals and expectations.  We got to talking about awards, wondering if we would somehow come out with any additional bling. I knew I wouldn't but hey, I won't count myself out until they are done announcing. A side note, when we were talking about the bench press, Julie had commented about how I didn't look like I weighed 150lbs (yes, I told you my weight) and of course, in my aww shux tone, said, thank you... She also said, "You're stomach is so flat", bless her - she may just be my new bestie... What is so crazy is that this morning as I was getting dressed it came to me that compression gear is the athletes Spanx! It really just sucks everything in (here is where I admit my tummy appears flat due to awesome undergarments - that and a strategically placed race bib!) - Oh how I really do love my compression gear!

Dean, Me & Julie
Later on when we were posing for our Pressed for Time 5k picture, I said to her, "Do these socks make my knees look fat?" - I guess to me it is the equivalent to the 'muffin top' I sometimes experience with an ill fitted pair of pants... I think when it comes to compression socks I have short calves in proportion to the size of my feet. I am excited though, not only did I order more compression socks to match more of my outfits, I ordered my first running skirt too (ok two of them)! One is reserved for the Tinker Bell Half in Disneyland and the other I am hoping arrives in time for the North Myrtle Beach Winter Run 15k next Saturday!

Oh and while unexpected, I am so stoked that I am currently the #6 female on the Dick's Sporting Goods Leaderboard for the Myrtle Beach Race Series!!!

You can see most of my race results at and a special shout out to The Digitel Myrtle Beach - Thanks for sponsoring me :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lets Get This 2012 Ball Rolling!

So here we are, almost a week and half into 2012. So what is going on? Well just a few things actually...

First, in major news, I have posted the proceeds from our TNT Lousy Medal Virtual 5k, it was just over $2500 and both Heather and I have exceeded our fundraising goals! We have less than 3 weeks before we head to the West Coast and run in the Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon!!! I am so excited to see Heather, meet our TNT team and run for a great cause. It's been a challenging road but we stuck with it, and it feels wonderful to have accomplished what we set out to do.

Next, I have joined Team Tough Chik which celebrates the strength of women in athletics, while maintaining our identities as women (or at least that is what I get from it, so I'm running with that!).  Designed by women for women, this awesome line of technical gear is not just stylish, but embraces the adventurous, fun loving and sometimes rugged wear and tear a woman can bring on. So Team Tough Chik is a seriously supportive, charitable and bad a$$ group of ladies, not afraid to work through blood, sweat, and tears, and do it all with style. I have some new gear coming, so keep an eye out for my reviews!

Also in blogger heaven, I have been selected as a FitFluential Ambassador! I am not sure if it's my candor, my realism, or my love of everything (well almost everything, I will never love a burpee!) fitness... Maybe it's my dream to be a triathlete? Or my on going desire to improve in running... who knows - it could be my new found love for knee socks!?! Whatever the reason, I am thrilled to be a part of a far reaching collection of fitness enthusiasts!

On the local tip, the Myrtle Beach Race Series continues, with The Digitel Myrtle Beach as my gracious sponsor. The next event on the old calendar is "Pressed for Time" which incorporates a bench press component to a 5k the following day. Now, I will admit, I should have been benching weeks (maybe months) ago in preparation but I thought I had 70% of my weight in the bag! Sadly, I found out last week, I need to press 105lbs, please refrain from doing any math to figure out my weight please...

Currently, I can do 85lbs, see my problem? By Friday I will have had to accomplish one of two things, drop 25-30lbs, or be able to bench 20 more pounds than I can currently. Each rep is 30 seconds, so I would likely need oooohhhh 10-15 reps!!! Hey, I am willing to give it a shot, see if I can press at least 1... might be my max rep but in a run, every second counts right? So if you haven't already, I urge you to register! The race series is fun & all the cool kids (like me) are doing it!

Coming up on the 21st is the 29th Annual North Myrtle Beach Winter Run, which is apparently the longest running event on the Grand Strand - very exciting! I've been doing this event since 2008 and it was my FIRST ever 5k race so I do it every year. This year I am switching it up and instead of doing the 5k, I am going to do the 15k! It will be my last long run before the 1/2 in Disney and what better way to log it than at the race that started it all...

So the rest of January will be filled with work, interning (boo! It really is cutting into my family time...), racing, and a little travel... but more on that later. First events first... Pressed for Time is on my radar, tonight, more weights!!!

Typically January is that month that most resembles a Monday but for me it feeling kinda Fridayish!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2 Races, 1 Day, 0 Regrets

We are in trouble - she's on the move!
 Ringing in the new year, well honestly I was fast asleep when the ball dropped, I am assuming it did. Gabriella was sick with a fever on Friday, and well I think she shared. Saturday, after being at the fitness center from 645am-3pm, I really started feeling so blah. So for New Years Eve, it was an exciting night of herbal tea, pj's and asleep by 930pm.

I really didn't know how I might feel for the first day of 2012. When I woke up the next morning, I was still not 100%. I debated whether or not I could or more so, would take my sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching runner butt to this Prediction Run 5k. The event started at 10am, so admittedly, I had a few hours to go through the pros and cons.

Pro: I have paid my money to the Virtual Run Against Cancer, and I have bought the canned goods for the Prediction Run.

Con: I feel like a dirty sock... I want to sit in a hot shower until the feeling of fever dissipates

Pro: If I get out and run, I will ultimately feel better

Con: If I sit around the house, I will likely feel worse and then guilty and regretful for not just putting on my big girl panties and doing the run...

Go! Go! Go! Gabby!
So that is what I did... I got dressed to include my latest hot pink Bondi Band, adorning the phrase "One Hot Mess", I thought it fitting given my situation...

My predicted time was 29:15, my actual time was 30:29, so I was 1:14 off... I guess if I was 100% I would have been closer but honestly, it was more about supporting the Running Club and the local food bank. I was hopeful that I'd get an AG award, but it was by closest prediction time and apparently there were many in the 30-39 group that had a better grasp on their own paces...

The run itself was 3 loops around the lake, which can be discouraging, like when you get lapped. I struggled with my breathing as Tonya and I fell further and further behind an 8 year old girl. I really can't decide which is worse, I suppose neither are bad... for them...I guess I am happy to see kids out running races and I will always be lapped by a dude with legs longer than my entire vertical existence. I dragged my tail around the lake, each time reminding myself that I am almost done, it's only 3.1 miles... short run, no biggie, just a warm It wasn't an awesome run, I didn't get that light as a feather feeling, but I got it done.

After I finished the race, Stephen & I took Gabriella to the park and she got in one of those little cars, but the one swing she could use was broken and the slides were too big... but it was enjoyable to just be outside, since it was freakishly warm for Jan 2nd... who wouldn't want to be enjoying 70 degrees? The sun was shining, the ghetto doves (pigeons) were out seeking scraps from the tons of people out and about taking advantage of the warm new year day! It really is refreshing to see so many active people out, especially the kids...

My Cheerleaders!
My second race, well it really wasn't like I ran two separate races, just supported two causes in one day. The Virtual Race Against Cancer supporting a fellow Team in Training member who was also working with Relay for Life. If she reached her fundraising goal (which she did), she is going to shave her head in May...Oh I cannot wait to see that!

So by the end of the day, I had run to support 2 causes, taken down the 6 window wreaths, 5 inflatables, 4 spotlights and we finally moved Gabby's playhouse from the in-laws to our Carolina room. We also flipped the carpet so my office is now defined as the wooden space and Gabby's space & house has wall to wall carpet!

I really couldn't ask for a better way to kick off this new year than to spend most of the day, outside, with my family... and I did end up feeling much better!

Fruit Flies, Tequila & Bananas

Anyone else love bananas? I do, and so does my baby girl. She is absolutely demolishes a banana. We've never had issues with fruit flies (I thought of gnats but I guess they are different) but all of a sudden, they were everywhere and we couldn't get rid of them. I mean we have quarterly pest control dudes that come and spray in and out. So to the Internet for a solution...

I found 2 interesting facts, well 3 really... 

The first, when your bananas are completely yellow, you can put them in the fridge and they will last longer and stay firm on the inside...I mean not for a week or anything but 4 or 5 days. I am ecstatic to find this out (how I didn't know that until know baffles me!)

The second thing, Tequila. Fruit flies love it, and coupled with the fact that they are not the smartest insect to ever roam the airwaves, if you put a funnel in a glass of tequila, they will fly in BUT they are just lacking the problem solving skills to fly back out... pretty cool but does it work? Well I had to put it to the test. Now, I don't like Tequila... I have had it twice in my life, and neither time I could get past the taste. Fortunately, when I got married, the venue had given us a margarita gift basket with 2 glasses, 2 packets of mix, and 2 mini bottles... So I rigged up this contraption and waited...patiently...

Those guys just hung out around the top just chillen. I was not hopeful at all. Wouldn't you know it, by the end of the night there were quite a few suckers just floating in the tequila... It's been sitting out for a few days now. Stephen thought he'd put out another glass with a funnel in case they caught on to the trap by seeing all their friends floating in the drink but my theory, they just don't have the capacity for that kind of reasoning...

The third thing, Ammonia is good for cleaning out your pipes... and I am talking like kitchen and bathroom plumbing - not your internal plumbing - just to be clear. Apparently these little pests like to hang in your sink pipes, especially when you have a garbage disposal. Who knew?

So there you have it, keep your bananas fresher longer, and while I don't like tequila, the fruit flies do... It seems like the new year is starting off on the right foot!

Oh and I am using the auto clean feature on my oven for the first time ever... When I bought my first house in 2000, I got a new oven. I sold that house in 2004, having never cleaned the oven - admittedly only using it a handful of times anyway. So in 2004 I built my house, and this is the first time I am cleaning it... yes, I don't cook much and now my house smells - I guess if I can get another 7 years before the next cleaning, I might just get out of having to do this