Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Priorities vs Actions

My personality has always been one where I am always striving for better...more...perfection.  It is no surprise that I have been the same way with my running....always striving for a moving target.  I cross a finish line and look to the next...reach a time goal and want it faster...hit a distance and want to go further.  Is it good to have goals set for yourself and focus to reach them?  I think it is but there is always a sacrifice that comes along with it.

I wear many hats in my life...wife, mom, daughter, sister, teacher, runner, friend, blogger, ambassador...but there have been times when some of the hats I've been wearing have come at a cost to others.  I always strive to be the best at each thing that I do...which is a strength but can stretch me very thin leaving some of my most treasured hats looking tattered and worn.  By striving to go further, faster, more I have found myself at times with little to give as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend....This has caused me to look really hard at my what REALLY matters in these moments and if my actions are reflecting this.

The runner in me wants to do it a sub 1:50 half, run another marathon, run all the races all the time...but the wife and mom in me wants to look back on these years and not see time I wish I could get back.  I want my daughters to see what a healthy mom/woman looks like but I also want them to know without a doubt that the are a priority in my life.  I want my husband to have a wife that is healthy and happy but I also want him to never doubt that he is #1!  More than anything...above the prs and weight loss...I want my actions to reflect my heart's priorities.
This has been a back and forth struggle for me...I know where my heart's desires are but I also love that feeling of setting a goal and working my ass off to get there.  I am coming to a place in the year when I have more time...summer is on it's way (even though looking outside today you wouldn't know it) and with that brings me time...time to put my money where my mouth is.  I have two choices...I can set yet another goal knowing I have the time to work, or I can use it to make it a summer my girls will that I will look back at in September and know it was full....full of memories that we all will treasure! 
Will I hit the roads this summer early as the sun is coming up?  YES!  Will I work hard to earn the body I want?  YES!!  But there will also be days spent just being...letting moments happen...sitting on the back deck watching fire flies sipping wine...without a thought of pace or mileage.  It will be a full summer...a full life!
Do you struggle to want it all?  How do you make it all fit?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday Motivation

This weekend a friend of mine completed her first marathon...26.2 miles to prove to herself that she could do it!  It made me think of after I completed Boston...making it across that finish line taught me that I was capable of doing far more than I ever thought!  I had the strength within me...there was nothing I couldn't do!  There are times when we think of doing something, whether it is running, or swimming, or biking, or starting a new job, going back to school, starting life name it...that we think we can't do.  We all have the strength to do it!! 
Go out there and show your strength!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Considering that I have thought it was Thursday for the past two days...I'm pretty psyched that it actually IS in fact Thursday!  Letting my brain dump're welcome!

To pin or not to pin...I was contacted by a company that is working with KickStarter to develop a product called the Slick Bib.  The video is actually pretty funny when talking about the effects of using safety pins to put your bib on, but I honestly have done just about everything from pricking myself to putting holes in my shirts.  Plus I'm always the one with the crooked bib!  The only drawback of this is that you have to wear the same shirt but I do think it's a cool idea!  Check it out for yourself!

Sleep please...We are all busy and as a working mom, sleep is the first thing sacrificed when I have things I need or want to do like run, hit the gym, catch up with my hubby, do laundry, and of course catch up on Real Housewives (Ramona is legit crazy am I right?).  Because I am a teacher, the summer has traditionally been a time where I can sleep in a little more and "fill my battery" so that I can spend another 9 months waking before the sun.  However, I often times get to the end of the year and reach the point where I am now....fall on my face tired!
I have been having severe eye twitches to the point where my eye just gives up and think it's trying to tell me something?!  I even posted something on Facebook (you know ask the experts) to see if there was something wrong with my brain but the consensus says....I need more sleep and less stress!  With seniors who have a serious case of senioritis and fires to put out each day, it looks like I'm going to have to focus on the sleep part!  I decided that, at least for next week (let's not get too crazy here) I was going to do my runs in the afternoon which will give me one more hour of sleep.  As I start to gear up again for my next half marathon in July, I want to go into this cycle feeling strong and not run down.  How do you catch up on sleep?

Crank it up...Yesterday I shared with you all about a virtual race I did with Jost Running.  The virtual race for next month is called Crank it Up....and we're throwing down the challenge flag to those of you out there that are ready to crank up your running...or miles you're covering.  The challenge is to sign up for either the half marathon or marathon....and then cover that distance in June!  Break it down over the 30 days...cover the distance any way you can...and earn yourself one of these bad jacksons!
I mean really....I know you're dying to sport a giant record Run DMC style at the beach this summer!!  Yesterday I said that I was doing the 10k but since I'm throwing the challenge to all of you....I'm putting my miles where my mouth is!!!  My only question is....who's coming with me?!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What's Your Brave New Route?

If you've been a reader for here for any time, you know that I just love me a virtual race!  They are super convenient because you can run them whichever day (usually) and wherever you want!  Sometimes you can earn prizes or massive, awesome medals, and other times you can support a worthy cause.  When I discovered Jost Running, I found out that I could do both!  Earn myself a massive medal....
and support great causes!  This month's virtual race at Jost Running supports the ALS Association.  You can register for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or marathon.  I chose the half since I had just run Ragnar and I knew that I would be able to cover the distance no problem.
 The point of this month's race was to seek out new routes and go on an adventure with running.  It may seem weird but since we moved to our new neighborhood 2 years ago, I have not really explored the neighborhood and all it's side streets.  Basically I tried once and got WICKED lost and had to use my GPS just to find my way home!  That was how our neighborhood got it's nickname "The Bermuda Triangle"!  Since then I have focused on the same 2 routes each time I head out the door!  For this run I decided that after my usual jaunt on my one go-to route, I would add in snaking around my neighborhood like Dora the Explorer.  I was surprised by what I found...trails that I earmarked for exploring when I wasn't alone...houses that were awesome...neighborhoods I never knew were there!  I wouldn't say that I am an expert just yet on navigating my neighborhood, but I'm glad that this virtual race forced me to get out of my comfort zone and be "brave"! 
I was also pretty psyched when I looked down and saw that I had covered the 13.1 in 2:01!  I would have thought snaking around my neighborhood and not really focusing on pace would have resulted in a slower pace.  I'll take it and know that I am in a good place for my next half in July! 

There is still time to enter this virtual race yourself...get a sweet medal and support ALS!  Up next for me with Jost Running is The Crank it Up 10k to support the National Young Arts Foundation!  You can again choose the 5k, 10k, half marathon, or marathon.
Who's going to crank up the tunes in June with me?

I was provided a voucher from Jost Running to participate in the race but the opinions expressed are 100% mine!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Motivation

Admittedly, I fell hard off the healthy wagon this weekend.  We had a cookout and I had a blast with our friends but I lost sight of my goals and indulged more than I should have.  Last night I felt mad at myself for not having the self control that I need to have...for taking my eyes off my goal.  However, this morning it is all brand new!  I have a new day to make the right choices and get back on my way.  The important part in this journey is not being perfect but instead not falling and staying down!  Here's to a new week!!
How do you keep your eyes on your goals?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Five for Friday...Lessons Learned at #RagnarCapeCod

Spending 2 days, well just over 27 hours in a van with 6 other people...running to the furthest point on Cape Cod, you learn many things about yourself and others alike.  Though it is hard to narrow them down to just five, bear with me as I reflect a bit over last weekend's experience.

1.  You can meet people for the first time and leave them feeling like you've just made 4 new friends!
Even though I had been a reader of Beth and Lisa's blogs, this was the first time meeting them and Betsy and Brian.  I feel so thankful for having shared this experience with them!  We laughed and chatted like we had known each other for years...supported each other and lifted each other up...shared inside jokes and sweaty seats!

2.  Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate!!!  I lost sight of this at times and admittedly battled stomach pains which I attribute to hydration.  Even though it isn't super hot, you need to hydrate...early and often!!

3.  You CAN overcome your fears!!  At Ragnar I stared several fears in the face and laughed as I watched them back down!  Fear #1...running in the dark, alone, on a secluded path....did I mention I was alone?
In the past, I would have backed down from this challenge letting my fear of something happening to me take over.  This time I had no choice and aside from the few baby fox and fishermen, I ran a peaceful run alone in the dark!  I even caught myself thinking the other day that I should run more around my neighborhood in the early morning...I mean I have to use all that reflector gear at some point!!

4.  Finish lines are to ALWAYS be celebrated!  I've never been so happy to see that huge, orange arch in my life!!
I know there was a team picture taken at the finish but does anyone know where it is?
Our team worked hard together...van 1 and 2 gave it our all each time we stepped out of the van...we worked hard and earned a 71st place together...something to celebrate!!

5.  For each celebration, there an even greater sacrifice on the other end.  While I was making a 192 mile trek to P-town, my husband was holding down the fort and these little ladies were missing their mom.
Catching up on sleep was not a priority when I got was lifting the burden off my husband...spending time cuddling with my girls...trying to get back to normal as a family knowing I threw them all off kilter.  It is important to recognize the sacrifice of others.

5+.  HAVE A BLAST (and work on your jumping face!)  It is a race...yes.  Each leg you want to run your best...yes.  You want to pass as many runners as you can...yes.  However at the end of the day...enjoy the belly laughs, inside jokes, and crazy things everyone says after not sleeping for many many hours!  Have FUN!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

#RagnarCapeCod Part 2...During

So where did I leave off?  Oh yes the decorating of the van!  I would be silly not to show you even more pics of my frog jumps plus a first group picture of the day!
We were on our way to meet Van 1 in Duxbury for our first exchange and to start our part of this 192 mile journey to P-town!
There we were briefed...kind of...on safety (to my defense Lisa is a Ragnar pro and knew she would know what to do and what not to do) grabbed our shirts and waited for Jen to come on down!
Can't forget a selfie with my big sis Amy aka our fabulous driver!
Once we could see Jen's Spandits and yellow tutu we knew our fun was just about to start!
A slap of the bracelet and Lisa was off down the beach!
I was the last person in our van to run and as Lisa and Betsy cruised through their parts of the relay, the sun started to go to bed (and after being up since 5am I was ready too!).  Beth and her husband Brian flew through their legs (seriously after his first leg Brian earned himself the nickname Meb...that man is fast!)  Jill flew through her leg and I almost missed her as we were climbing down the stairs to my exchange!

A slap and I was off to run my first leg...4.8 miles along the Cape Cod Canal!  The first mile clicked by in 8:08 as I was trying to chase the one and only other runner on the canal...some may call it speed I just call it desperation not to be alone!  It was purely by the grace of God that I did not freak out during this leg.  The canal trail is a paved bike path that runs along the canal...very secluded from the road.  It was just me...the water...and a few fishermen as I ran along, over the bridge, and back along the canal.  Fear never entered my mind after that first mile!  Fortunately I was able to catch at least 2 runners and had my first 2 kills for the night!
Quickly after that we headed to our first sleeping station/intermediate school gym.  One quick change and wipe down with the Shower Pill and I was in my comfy clothes looking for a little rest.  One thing we learned was that a parking lot full of relay runners is....LOUD!  I think I scored maybe 2 hours sleep before we were up looking to start our next group of legs.  Since I was the last runner in my van I could have slept more but I was also the only person in the van who knew where the heck we were so I was navigator.  I will say that our Dad would have been proud of how well Amy and I made our way!
As the sun came up over Harwich I was ready for my next leg as Jill rounded the corner!  I had a few things to my advantage during this leg...I normally run early in the morning so 5am wasn't bad, I knew the route because it was part of the Cranberry Half Marathon which I have run several times, and it was only 3.1 miles.  Most of the route was on a bike path which meant no climbs and not a lot of turning...just a straight shot into Harwich!  I had fun finding people running and reeling them in before I passed them.  It helped me to pass the time and keep focused on the finish!  I averaged a 7:59 pace and was psyched to turn the corner and hand the bracelet over to Jill R waiting on the top of the hill.

I was also very excited to hit up the Corner Store in Chatham for a breakfast burrito...SCORE!!!
We then headed to Nauset High School to rest again and get psyched up for the last part of the relay.
These Shower Pill wipes were clutch!!!
We had a lot of laughs at the different vans and tagging them with our frogs!  This exchange was a lot less lively so I feel like I got a good hour sleep before we were headed out!  This part of the relay boasted a beach at every exchange and honestly some of the best scenery of the whole thing!  My favorite was the cliffs in Wellfleet where the sand dropped hundreds of feet to the beach below.  I forget how beautiful this part of the Cape is since it is still an hour away from where we are.

One thing in the back of my mind this section of legs was my 9.6 miler.  Yes I can run 9.6 miles no problem...but I was battling stomach cramps (dehydration???) the last leg and I had only slept about 3 hours in almost 24 hours.  I was also so nervous about letting my team down.  They were awesome and volunteered to run with me or meet me along the course but I knew I had to face this beast head on.  I had to prove to myself that I could do it!!
The last handoff!
I have to say that I said more swear words in that first mile than I have in a very long time.  It was uphill through SOFT ankle deep sand....You've GOT to be kidding me!  By the time I got up the hill my quads were toast but I kept my eyes forward!  We wove our way through Truro, up and down hills and along streets lined with Summer cottages until I saw the most amazing sign yet...Welcome to Provincetown!  Not to say the next 4 miles weren't hard...maybe the hardest I've ever run...but just one boot and rally and I saw the next awesome sign...1 mile left!!!
I sent a picture of the sign to my team so they would know when I would be crawling...I mean climbing up the WICKED steep hill to the top (seriously Ragnar...did we have to scale the side of a mountain to get to the top?).  I saw my team and we ran to the finish together...well almost since I didn't realize that they had showered and were in flip flops!!
I was so excited to hugs my teammates and get our medals but the most special hug at the finish was from my big sister!  I had to fight tears...she knew how I battled that last leg...the relief that it was over...the joy that I faced my fear and won!!

There are so many thoughts I have now that I am a few days removed from the relay but I'll say stay tuned!!  Thank you for following along this journey!!  I'll leave you with one last picture that basically sums up this a good way!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Liebster Award Honors!

I'm taking a break from all that is my pictures are being bitchy about uploading...and I'm doing a fun survey that I was tagged in my the one and only B.o.B or Beth if your in the know!!!!  She is an amazing runner and triathlete training right now for her big Ironman!!  She's awesome and honest and real about her training...check her out! 

 Here are the questions she threw to me!

1. What is your go to snack?
I'm a big fan of almonds or a KIND bar but lately I have been really craving walnuts and blueberries!  It's funny because my snacks change with the seasons...catch me noshing on pineapple or cherries in the summer!
2. What is your favorite at home easy meal to make?
You can usually find some sort of taco salad or something to that effect on our dinner table at least once a week.  I prep the veggies ahead of time and then I can throw it together in a hurry by just cooking ground turkey.  Plus my hubby can include more toppings if he wants.  However, if I can convince him to grill...nothing is easier than throwing some chicken and steaks on the grill while I roast asparagus!  YUM!
3. What is your favorite way to unwind?
I love relaxing with a good book but these days I find myself falling asleep by page 2!  My all time favorite way to unwind is me...on a beach chair...toes in the the beach!  AHHHHHH can't wait for Summer!
4. How many pairs of running shoes do you currently own?
Ummm yeah I'm pretty sure this is inching it's way above 10.  I have 11 pairs now and 9 of those are Saucony!!!
5. What was the best part of your day today?
 Since it's early I would say the best part so far was either my good morning hug from my oldest (the best sleepy hi mom hug!) or when our youngest said, "Love you Mom" as I was leaving for work!  Melt my heart moments!
6. What was the worst part of your day today?
Trying to connect to the wireless network at work...there have been issues and so our tech person changed the password and it is just making me want to punch someone in the throat!! I'm done!
7. What time do you get up every morning?
If I'm going to the gym it is 4am...if I'm running at home it is 4:30 or so.  If you ask my husband I'm sure he would disagree!
8. What is your favorite tv show?
This is a hard one!!  Can I say Dawson's Creek?  

I'm currently in a "Real Housewives" reality ANYTHING phase!  Basically if it's on Bravo I watch it!  Scandal and Grey's Anatomy are on break and so is Homeland so reality TV it is!
9. What is your favorite running route and why?
I would say my favorite route ever is back home in Newport, RI.  It starts at my parents house and hits all the hot spots including mansions, and cliffs that lead to the ocean.  I love running this route not only because the scenery is beautiful but it helps me to feel home again!  

At home I love running in our old neighborhood which was quiet and had ocean views at every bend...yeah basically give me the ocean and I'm happy!
10. Who has been your biggest fitness inspiration to date?
 Honestly there are amazing runners who I know I'll never be like my girls Kara and Shalane
I just know my stubby legs will never take me along as fast as these ladies' legs do!  That being said it is all of you that inspire me each and every day!  Real people...setting goals and breaking right through them...seeing every obstacle in the way and making it matter the speed you all inspire me to reach down and pull the best version of myself out!  My girls do inspire me to be a good example for them but it is all of you that keep me pushing!  Thank you for pushing yourselves and being honest with the process!!!

Since I'm awful at singling out just 10 people....because I'm an elementary school teacher and I don't want to leave anyone out...consider yourselves tagged!!! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#RagnarCapeCod Part 1

The bags have been unpacked...funky laundry has been washed (and rewashed)...sleep has almost been caught up on...and memories are still fresh in the brain.  Sounds like a great time to attempt to recap one of the most unique and awesome races I've ever run!  I figured I'd break it into three parts...a before, during, and after!  Today is the before.

In true style of a busy working mom, I had little to no time to pack until the night before!  Yikes!  I made a quick stop with Em after school to Bayside Runner to pick up some last minute essentials...
Em even grabbed a honey stinger waffle which she is now convinced makes her faster than a car!  A reflector vest, some fuel, and a blinking light later and we were home to wait for Jill who was coming to stay!

After some dinner and laughs the ladies were tucked into bed and I was faced with getting all of this...
into this awesome Apera Bag!  I have posted about these bags before but seriously this thing is amazing!!  I fit all of this stuff PLUS my shoes no problem!  Even better was that it was still comfortable to carry around all packed up.  The straps didn't dig into my shoulders or anything! 
The next morning I was up before the ladies to get in a shower and some quiet time (in hindsight perhaps I should have slept in considering I had 18 hours before my first leg!).  In no time the girls and hubs were out the door and Jill and I were ready for our teammate Kyle and his awesome mom to pick us up!
Kyle dropped us off with our other Van2 teammates and it was so awesome getting to meet them!  Lisa and Betsy had come to the Cape from Tennessee and Beth and Brian were here from Arkansas.  I have been a longtime reader of Lisa's blog and have gotten to know Beth through hers as well so I was really excited to meet them as well as Betsy and Brian who I've exchanged many emails with!  After some time and some collecting of supplies it was time to decorate the van (to the strange looks of many #swaggering folks around us!) and head to our first exchange in Duxbury.
One of the things we decorated our van with were these hilarious frogs...considering that I was already getting punchy, I decided to act out the poses...yeah too much caffeine already! These frogs became what we tagged other vans with later in the race!
Up next....DURING Duxbury and beyond!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Motivation

This past weekend, don't you fret you'll get a full rundown, was an amazing experience.  I met some awesome people...had a lot of laughs...ran a lot of miles...saw beautiful sights, but one of the things I learned...mostly through my last leg...was that I can do it!  My charge to you...go out there are find what that is for you!  You have it in you...whether it is running or lifting or crossfit or spinning or can do it!!!  Don't be the one holding yourself back...find out what you are capable of!!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

#RagnarCapeCod Bound!!!

Hi all!!  Up and out early today to have a running adventure for the next 36 hours!  Today is RAGNAR CAPE COD!!!!
Come along on the journey from Hull to P-town, MA on my Instagram or Twitter!  
See you on the flip side!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Just a few pics from around these parts lately!
Newport 10Miler
Not the most flattering but that's what you get for wearing a tutu and a baggy t-shirt!
Boston Marathon
Waiting for the runners
She cheered for everyone!!
 Boston Marathon
The elites and inspirations

Quiet times and fun
Finding birds with Papa!