Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Operation Half Mary Training (I'm running for ME this time around)

Oh lookie! I'm running the Lincoln National Guard Half Marathon in less than a month and I just started training again! 

Isn't this the norm for me anymore? I mean, there's plenty of older posts (HTH Training Update, Half Mary Training 2015 Round #2) that prove I procrastinate and always wait until it's too late to start really training for time and a better PR. I almost always just beg myself to be in "good enough" shape to push through the miles and quite honestly, I've gotten used to it without giving myself a challenge. 

I like blogging because I can look back on my thoughts while training for running other races. I can re-read my words and remember my specific emotions that I once felt during a specific time period. For example, while training last year I wrote a post called No-Tivation. In this post I wrote about how my heart wasn't in this race. Specifically, "I think this time around what's happening is mentally, I'm just not wanting to train. Mentally, my heart isn't into this run. It's not my first and it's for sure not my last. It's an "in-between" race. A race that really doesn't count, per say, in the bigger picture of my racing career if you shall call it that."

To me, this is exactly where I'm at right now again. This is exactly how I feel. It's not a race that gives its runners a lot of chatter on social media, it's not one that you hear a lot about yet there are almost 13,500 of us runners that sign up each year to run together.

It actually kinda takes the pressure off doing my best and just pushes me to focus on being a better human instead. I like learning more about my limits with each new race and this one won't be any different.

In my personal life, there's a whole lotta emotional hot messy-ness going on. So, when I run, it's my "control" time. It's when I can go out and choose how hard I push myself. How much pain I can endure. To me, my running is the only time during the day I'm pushing everyone else's feelings aside and focusing on myself for once.

So, to answer everyone's questions a few weeks ahead of time. No I'm not pushing for a PR time. No I'm not actually going into this race with any ideal times or splits. No I probably won't post my official times on social media nor do I care what my mile paces end up being. I'm doing this one for me. I'm doing each and every single mile as a selfish way to heal and mend my soul.

I'm running for ME this time around.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Run With Grace 10k - Running On The Wall Review

Well, I barely squeaked through January and almost didn't get a race in! What a horrible way to start out the year by skipping a goal of trying to run a race a month! I ended up signing up for a totally cool Virtual Run through Running On The Wall to ensure I could get my race done for January. I still cannot believe I spaced getting signed up for a race but luckily this virtual race thing saved the day!!

I signed up for the Run With Grace Run because I loved the message behind it. Anyone who knows me knows one of my favorite verses that I consistently repeat to myself to help me get through races is "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13". 

What I loved about doing a virtual run was that I could do it on my own time, at my own pace and still complete a race for the month. With my schedule being totally up in the air due to so many things I loved that I had everything I needed at home to go out and run. The best part, check out all the swag that came with my race entry fee!

Ya, all that for only $30! No fighting to find parking, no waiting around for the start of the race, no fighting crowds just cool gear and my hometown city streets that I run all the time. I loved it! I totally have intentions of signing up for another one shortly, I'm just not sure which one to choose next!? I'm thinking either Never Give Up or Always Earned (because I love the bib holder!) but can't decide quite yet.
Alright so onto my race info...

I ended up deciding to break the 10k into two 5k's due to time as well as being waaaay out of shape. Like, I haven't ran in well over two weeks and I've been binge eating nutella like the winter storms have kept me inside with no food just nutella. It went alright, my stats show I got side tracked a few times and ended up walking a little bit while I got a phone call from a client on the first run.

I did the first 5k on Saturday and the second run on Sunday. I am OCD so yes, I did wear the exact same outfit both days to ensure that my pictures all "matched." On Saturday I took off thinking I could do this, I could get my run in and get a decent pace, I cranked up my tunes, got through that first (tough) half mile and realized that I was feeling alright. I hadn't ate all day but did take my pre-workout so I knew my stomach wouldn't really appreciate it but didn't realize that it'd be angry with me for this decision. I was in about mile two-ish and realized that this was a lot rougher than I'd expected. I figured I'd just jump back into running and I'd be fine. Wrong. Totally wrong. 

I'm working on being more consistent this year for a reason. Because skipping out of running for two weeks leaves my body feeling horrible, my brain telling me to quit and my heart to feel like I can't do it anymore. I need to work hard, I need to focus again, I need to just make the time to run.

I finished Saturday feeling so defeated and actually sore. My knees couldn't handle the impact since they haven't been used lately and I actually had to stretch afterwards to ensure I wouldn't feel the pain over the next few days. I felt horrible and knew that the second half probably wasn't going to be much fun the next day. Lesson learned, don't skip a workout!! 

I loved that I could run my familiar routes in town but still getting to consider it a race for the year. I'm really trying to include more races in my routine to keep me accountable. I've got a half marathon coming up in May and I realize that I need to focus more on training so I'm trying to jump into more races as part of my training. 

The second "half" of the run I completed on Sunday. Jumping into that second 5k I know I was already down on myself so I was just trying to stay positive and remind myself that the time doesn't matter what really matters is that I complete it without giving up or quitting. I struggled and truthfully considered quitting but I kept going. About two miles into it I finally hit the "I can do this" plateau and felt better and knew I could and would finish this race up.

When I finally hit that 3.1 mile mark on day two I let out a huge sigh of relief and smiled. I did something that was one of my hardest races in awhile. I pushed myself from not working out over winter break to doing a 10k (my second ever) in two days. Woop! #proudmoment

Although I may not have ran gracefully the entire way I still ran the race and ended up finishing it. What a fun and exciting race series, I'm actually really excited to sign up for another one on an off month that I need to fill again!!
And on that note, I'm also obsessing over their race bib holders! I've been eyeing them for awhile and just can't decide which one I want to get! Which one do you have or recommend?!

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Thursday, January 21, 2016


So I'm sitting down to get my 2016 Race Schedule and I was realizing that a few months were looking kinda bare. In an attempt to really fill my schedule up I looked into some new Virtual Runs.

What are virtual runs? They're basically runs that you sign up for online, then, you get to complete the runs anytime, at home, in the comforts of your favorite trails and time frame. You can run when it works best, basically, just make sure you track it so you can send your results in. Then, the company sends you a super awesome swag bag filled with various things! Some can include race medals, t-shirts, stickers and of course the ever popular race bibs are necessary!

So I'm needing a race for January and none in my area are working out. I'm opting to just run a virtual race that way I can do it when I have the time and still reach my goal of running a race a month.

Check out Running On The Wall to see what fun themed races they have. I'm debating between the Run With Grace and the Never Give Up themed packets. I just can't decide. I'll prob end up running both ;) 

Does anyone want to come run one (or two) with me?! I'd love to have a crew of us all run a virtual race together and link-up to see how we all did! Shoot me a message and let's line something fun up!

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Running Updates

I'm really aiming at hitting bigger runs and more miles in 2016. I realize that everyone's goals are to improve and work harder every year so this shouldn't be a surprise.
I'm planning on hitting at least two more new states this year to cross off on my #RUN50 project as well as running a race in every month if possible. I'll get my finalized race schedule together shortly but for now I know I'm planning on running the following:
May - Lincoln Marathon (Half Marathon)
June - Clarkson Fun Run (5k)
August - Duck & Dumpling Run (10k)
October - Market 2 Market Relay (76M)
November - Good Life Halfsy (Half Marathon)
I've got an awesome buddy that asked me to join up with her to motivate and hold each other accountable so I cannot wait to see what trouble me and Betsy get into while finding some fun runs to go run together this year! Everyone knows running with friends makes the miles less miserable plus we don't live by each other so we're virtual running which means we can each go at our own pace!
Stick around and watch my journey unfold. I have intentions to blog more about the daily life and my adventures. I'm horrible about getting posts done and posted (I seriously have about 40 in draft mode that are left unfinished!) 
Also, I'm running again everyday. I'm not sure if it'll turn into a #runstreak like last time but I've been working on logging miles and getting into the routine of getting back outside. 
It's not as bad out in the cold as I thought it'd be. I've always sworn off running in the winter but I've gotta learn sometime to toughen up so may as well start now. Hello 2016, I'm pretty excited to see what you've got in store for me! :)
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Saturday, January 9, 2016

--- Winter Running Essentials ---

Today was a day in my personal running history.

Today, I ran in REALLY COLD conditions. 

And survived!!

Ok, so not earth shattering news but in my record book, I'm pretty dang proud of myself. I've always been a mediocre runner. Ran during the warm months, did a few summer races and then hung up my running shoes for the winter once the first snow fell.

But lately, that's changed. These last few weeks I've done more runs below 40° than I ever have and today I knew was going to be a tough day with the forecast showing a high of 15°. I am honestly a huge wuss when it comes to the cold and have been known to stay in my house for a week at a time without leaving because I hate the cold that much. Lately, I've been really trying to push myself and live outside my comfort zone so it was only natural to force myself to go give a "cold run" a chance and see how I felt while out there on the roads.

Well, it really wasn't that bad after all. I mean yes, I was cold, yes I didn't want to be out there, but guess what... I survived! 

I wanted to share with you what works for me when I go running in cold conditions. I know a lot of my followers often ask how I stay warm so I figured it'd be just easier to write up a quick post.

Winter running is all about layering!!

I normally wear at least two layers and sometimes three if the wind is really blowing. Today I kinda stuck with my two normal layers but added some extras due to the excessive cold that I knew I wasn't going to be used to. Lemme break the layers down for ya:

Layer 1 - I usually wear a tank under just a half zip or thermal shirt but today I work my Under Armor heart gear long sleeved shirt. It keeps me extremely warm so I don't usually layer it with much. I also wore my favorite trusty Nike Pro Dri-Fit thermal lined leggings. These are hands down my favorite pair to wear in the winter and totally worth the expense. I've got a few other brands of thermal lined leggings but I always resort to these when I know I need the extra warmth. Then, I wear just normal Nike active cotton socks. (Just one pair, my feet usually stay pretty warm on their own without needing to double up on socks)

After I squeeze into those goodies I usually go stretch and make sure everything is ready to go run. Once I get my second layer on I'm pretty warm and don't want to spend much more time in the house after that ;) 

Layer 2 - Next up is the thicker layers usually. I threw on my Nike FitDry thermal lined half zip today. Normally, I reach for my hooded thermal wear but since I knew I was planning on wearing my scarf/wrap I wasn't too worried about my neck getting hit with cold air. Then I layer over my leggings with a pair of Under Armor regular legging/tights. Nothing special about them, I've actually owned them since high school and still love them. Basically, the second layer just helps wick off the wind and keep some warmth on me. Then I lace up my running shoes. Usually I'm in just Brooks or Nike's but today I was excited that I got to try out my old Nike Shox. A few years ago I put some sheet metal skrews into a pair of older running shoes to help with snowy runs and after yesterdays slippery run I decided I could really use the extra traction. 

Now I'm slipping on my shoes to head out the door, I'm really warm and trying to give myself a positive pep talk about how much fun I'll have once I get going. Then I throw on my last minute necessities and get my gps tracker and heart rate monitors started.

Layer 3 - Accessories! The final bundling layer is about accessories and what "works" best for you. I have really been into my puffy vest this winter, it keeps my core warm which is a big factor on my attitude and total body warmth while out on the run. I typically reach for my armband to hold my phone but come summer I also enjoy my flipbelt as well. Today I ran with my new Under Armor heat gear gloves that were gifted to me by my bestie and also included some hand warmers as well in hopes it'd solve my "freezing fingers" issues but it didn't. (That's the one thing on my body that I can never seem to keep warm? Any tips/advice?) I decided to give my scarf/bandana a try that I got from StrideBox awhile back. It's a multi-use stretchy one that can be used as a headband, neck scarf, arm wrap or even a face mask so I figured it'd be nice to test it out as a face mask. I totally think it was my make or break for that run! The final necessity is my ear warmers, today I used my lovely Brooks one I bought awhile back. This layer really varies on the run and temps. If it's snowy or rainy I almost always opt for my Nike hat, it drives me nuts to have stuff flying into my eyes while dodging potholes. Other days I feel like I need a regular beanie style hat, just depends on my mood.

So, there they are. My winter running essentials and explanations on why I love them.

Today's run was tough, when I took off the wind was with me so the first half of the run was fine. I started getting used to "breathing" through the face mask when I ran in an open patch and felt the wind pick up. Then came my turning point and I had to run against the wind. 

It. Killed. Me.

The wind was what made me want to run faster just to get home and out of the cold. That windchill will really ruin a run. I've ran in 20°ish weather before but with the windchill I realized just how much colder it can feel. Today the temperature was 13° but with the wind chill it said it was -1° out. I was prepared for cold, but I deff wasn't prepared for the wind that was blowing 18mph with it. I stopped for a second only to feel my face mask was stiffening up due to my moist air pushing through it. That's when my fingers started going number and my face started really burning. 

I can handle cold, I can push through the frozen fingers feelings, but I cannot do the cold face thing. Once my face burns I quit. That's when mentally, I start breaking down and planning the fastest route back home. I tried so hard and did finish my run without bailing but it's a learning curve with cold weather running. It's something I'll have to practice and learn to get tougher with.

Today's run wasn't epic nor a personal best for my pace. 

But today I ran with courage to not give up. 

Today, I ran to prove to myself that I'm a little bit tougher than I thought I was.

Part of being a runner is having a stubborn "I won't quit" attitude and today, that's the only thing that keep me going.


How do you do cold winter runs? Any fun winter gear or gadgets I should try?! Send me your tips/tricks/advice! Happy running fellow hardcore runner buddies!

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Project 365 (MixBook Referral Discount)

Alright let's face it, I'm one of those "wanna-be" scrapbookers yet I know I don't have the patience or energy to sit down and dedicate myself to creating these magical creations. I just can't focus long enough let alone make the decisions on how to design a page. 

But the bigger struggle is I'm too much of a picture taker to just let all of my digital files rot away on my computer. I have the need and desire to share all of these memories and have them somehow printed into pretty little books to share with my future grandkids!


I came up with a plan to hack away at special vacations as well as the day to day life. I wanted to ensure that I wouldn't forget what it was like living in 2015 or 2016 so I started my plan early in 2014 to document the daily happenings of my life. 

It started with a picture a day and quickly blossomed into Project 365 which is basically just a daily documentation of a single image. And I absolutely adore it despite all of the hours put into the editing of the pages!!

Mixbook - Create stunning photo books, cards and calendars! | Design your own photo book with Mixbook's easy online editor.

Gorgeous right?! I really do love it and thus far!

2015 went fairly smooth as well and I'm sitting down to create my book now! I think in 2014 I only missed a few days so I just filled with some random stuff I had within a day or two of those days. Overall, once I got the routine of making sure I reminded myself to take a picture it wasn't too hard. 

To view my 2015 book take a look here. - Project Life 2015 - I'm not quite done yet, actually, I'm just starting on it, but you can see how I kept the formatting the same just changed the fonts to match my current fonts of my other books I've created.

But what made the entire process a little easier was using MixBook for ordering the book. Basically I just dropped in my pre-made pages and ordered the book. It was shipped directly to my door and I am totally impressed with their printing since I've ordered from them often before.

The best part about MixBook is that it's all really easy to create fun books. You can get totally custom and create the pages yourself in Photoshop, or you can use their software and drag/drop photos and add wording. But don't worry, if you're not a designer and don't have the patience to get crafty you can use their pre-made templates and just drag and drop your photos into the designed pages then just add titles.

I love MixBook so much and I wanted to share a few links with you so if you choose to use them you can get $20 off your first order. Which means you could create a book and get one for free to see what you think of them! So, just click on the links provided, sign up and get to ordering! 


If you're interested in ordering a book of your own from a vacation or even to create a cute sign-in book for an event head over and use this link to get $20 off your first order.

**Edit to add, I've had a lot of requests for the templates I used for my book. I have them for sale on my Etsy site. They're great for creating your own books! Check them out and ask questions if you have any :)   PROJECT LIFE BOOK

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