the challenge for the week and some “side dishes”

Good morning everyone! (<— yep, I’ve been behind all day!)

Yesterday, I forgot I had to work today for a few hours.  I kept thinking it was another relaxing day of VACATION!  Did you all have a good break?  Mine was nice… I ate, slept, ran, shopped and was all over social media.  It was actually pretty nice to spend some quality time on my own and with Simon.  And on twitter :)

You know what I else I did this weekend?  I signed up for this!

One of my dear gal pals Falon signed up and I basically want to do anything she does so I checked it out.  I’m glad I did – I’m really excited!  You can check out a detailed description here but it’s a program where a bunch of people (over 600) have signed up to complete a different challenge everyday and support one another.  The cool part is we are paired up (with a total of 3 different people throughout the program) with another participant and we motivate and encourage each other.  Isn’t that a neat idea?  What I love about the challenges are they are based on overall health – not simply physical fitness.  This was/is a huge selling point for me.

Another cool tidbit?  I won a roll of Rocktape from Wine to Weights!  This is a brand of KT tape and they have the cutest designs!  I am super pumped!  Thanks Rocktape and Wine to Weightlifting!

Lastly, it’s Monday so what is the challenge this week?  While I was “pinning” this weekend (oh, how I LOVE pinterest!) I saw this on the healthy page.  Here is the deal – 20-30 air squats (wherever you are at physically) before every meal.  For the purpose of this challenge, let’s do it before breakfast, lunch and dinner even if you are a grazer and don’t eat 3 specific meals.

Remember your form for air squats!  You don’t want your knees to bend in toward each other (a problem I have) and as my crossfit coach taught me, before you dip down, push your butt out – like you are closing the car door with your bum when your arms are full of groceries!  Keep your back straight, your chest out – your upper body doesn’t really move much.

Here is a demo – please ignore the speedy way they are doing them in the beginning.  It gets to some good instruction after they are done showing off a bit!

Finally, I think I mentioned I was going for the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak!  So far so good… even yesterday when I felt like this:


I felt icky and running sounded painful.  Plus, I felt like my legs were tired from the 7 miles I did Saturday.  At the last possible second before the sun went down I got out there.  Rather than the 2.5 miles I planned, I did 4!  My legs were definitely not as sore as I perceived them to be earlier and some of my icky-ness went away for the duration of the run.  Consistency is my friend!

triple crown – my 5k version

Want to enter an incredible give-away?  Head over to my fellow Panty Raider, Amy’s site Running is Cheaper than Therapy for the chance to win entry into the Blue Ridge marathon.  Seriously – this beast of a 26.2 looks INSANE!  And crazy fun of course!!

yeah… running this is immediate and epic bamf status

As I’ve mentioned (maybe a million times?), this past weekend I hit the road for three different 5k’s.  To be honest, this wasn’t intentional – I completely got my dates mixed up and didn’t realize all three were the same weekend when I hit the “submit” button.  Nevertheless, I don’t regret any of them!

1.  Friday night my friends and I drove up to Grand Rapids, MI for the Yule Run, I’ll Walk 5k (7 pm start).  My friends and I did it last year so it’s nice this is becoming a bit of a holiday tradition.  It turned out, I would be the only one to run as the others walked with the cutie-patooty baby and puppy.

It was cold.  Or I was cold – not sure which one.  The course is mostly flat and it started right on time.  I started running and I was worried I had gone out too fast.  I was seeing 9:30’s on my garmin.  I took control of my breathing and decided to keep pushing it.  I crossed the finish line at about 29:50!  I was THRILLED!  My garmin said the same and that the course was even a tad bit long (just a smidgen but still brings my overall pace down!)  My overall pace is listed at 9:34 on the website.  I was shocked.  I had convinced myself I couldn’t run faster times anymore so this made me really happy.

awww – me and the other goils when we were all done!

The rest of the night was spent with friends, Chinese food and a tasty beverage – it was a great night!

2.  Bright and early Saturday morning (8:30 am start) was the Turkey Trot 5k.  I’ve done this race quit a few times and somehow I always forget how HARD this course it!  Man, it’s beastly!  It was my friend’s first 5k so I was jazzed to share this with her.  I’m a loser and forgot to take a pic of us together but you’ll have to trust me!  She did so great!  I was super proud of her!  Me?  I ran over to the start since it was really close to my apt and I knew I was in for a tough 3.1 miles.  My legs felt heavy and uncooperative!

these are two of my buddies – don’t they look awesome?!

I finished this one (which was approximately 12 hours after my first!) in 33 mins and some change.  I think my overall pace was about 10:34 (38?).  Once I saw this part, I wasn’t as disappointed.  In reality, as soon as the “gun” went off and we started up the hill my goal was 33 mins or under so I was happy with this.  Afterward, we headed out to IHOP and I had my first ever IHOP pancake.  Tasty!

3.  My last 5k was the Jingle Bell run and it was at 2 pm on Sunday afternoon.  By this time, I was LOW on motivation!  I was sitting in my recliner and wondering if I was going to get up and actually run.  I was beat and while I wasn’t horribly sore, my legs were definitely tired.  Luckily, I realized I had made all of these races massively public so I got off my bum and went out there.

right after the jingle bell run – man, I was happy and proud!

The weather was beautiful and I was slightly overdressed.  The race got started a little later than it was supposed to but then it was “go” time.  Funny enough, at this moment I was still wondering if I was going to be able to pull this off.  We hit the road and I felt like I was running in slow motion.  Turns out I was running sub-10 min miles so I kept focusing on the mileage countdown.

Oh man, finishing was SO HARD!  Haha, but I crossed the finish line in 29 mins and some seconds and had a 9:24 pace!  Wahoo!  This course was much flatter than Saturday’s so this definitely helped!


*I need to stop underestimating myself!  I know this is a recurring theme here but it’s a recurring theme in my life overall.

*A few months ago, I bought some tights that I thought would be good for winter running.  Turns out they are recovery compression tights.  I figured this out Saturday evening and wore them that night and for the race the next day.  I think they really helped!

*Running all out 3 days in a row is hard.  Plain and simple.

*I didn’t stop at water stops for the first or third races.  I can get through 3.1 miles without a water stop in the middle of Nov.

*It was a good boost of endorphins, confidence and FUN that I needed to infuse in my lackluster marathon training.  Oh yeah, I’m still training for a marathon (<— kind of a joke as of late!).

*Not to brag, but my form kinda rocked!

here are some of the lights from the Yule run!

It really was an ideal weekend of racing weather-wise and it also really helped me kick off the holiday season.  So happy I didn’t succumb to the nagging voice in my head that said, “you are too tired to do this!”  Thanks so much for all of the support!

yeehaw! it’s friday (i’ve been tardy all day… now it’s saturday…)

*Special note – I wrote this yesterday and somehow forgot to hit “publish”… oopsie

Wahooooo!  I have a winner for the Aspaeris pivot shorts and Sweat Pink shoelaces!

Meghan from Uncooked and Unwalked – you are my first winner!  Yay!  Congrats!  Shoot me an e-mail at and let me know what size and color of pivot shorts you want and I will get them to you.  You can check the Aspaeris shorts website for fit and color choices!  Okay, so I am super excited to get these to you!  Oh and your pink laces?!  I promise, everyone will ask you where you got them – they are quite the conversation starter!

Can I just tell you how much I am into the tv show “Scandal“?  It makes me feel smart as I watch it – kind of like the West Wing used to.  Man, I LOVED the West Wing!  You know what used to worry me though?  People actually thought Jed Bartlett was the President of the United States.  EEEEKK!  Of course Jed Bartlett seemed like a great president but he was A CHARACTER ON A TV SHOW!

LOVED this show!

I do get discouraged at times when people don’t know very simple things about this country when men and women  and their families are fighting so hard to protect our freedom.  C’mon people!  Just know the basics and I will be happy!

Tomorrow I have an all day training session for teaching.  I teach a class during the Fall semester for incoming students.  I enjoy teaching but it is HARD!  Haha, there is so much that goes into it so if you are grateful to a teacher – tell them!  ***This went pretty well today.  I met up with my student facilitator who is amazing and I heard some cool ideas I want to integrate into my class.

I also went to the midnight showing of “Avengers” Thursday night.  Okay, let me say this is a long movie – as in it ended at 2:30 am.  Wow – I am getting too old to do this and then try to get up the next morning for work and function!  When did this happen?!  I did enjoy the movie though so go see it!  I LOVE going to see movies and worked in a movie theater for 5 years.  It doesn’t hurt that I am a sucker for movie theater popcorn.  Last night I ate dinner late so I wouldn’t succumb to the temptation and I am proud to report I didn’t!  A win is a win people :)

haha, there were even movie-goers dressed up!

BUT what I am MOST excited for this weekend is THIS!

Yippeeee!! I love races!!!

and THIS!

Well… I couldn’t find any good pics of it but it’s the Borgess Run for the Health of It 1/2 marathon!  The Borgess 1/2 has been around for a while and this is the Kalamazoo Marathon‘s second year.  Last year I was pretty gung ho on running the Kzoo marathon but failed to train.  I thought maybe I could get ready for it in a month (can we say delusional?!) and then realized only running intermittently throughout the winter did not a marathon training make.  The Borgess 1/2 was my first ever 13.1 and I have very fond memories of this race.  Since I have the 25k next weekend and some other races in the line-up I decided not to run it.  Instead I am going to SPECTATE THE HECK OUT OF IT!  Haha, and completely mooch off of the enthusiasm of all of the other runners – can’t wait!  Not to mention, my friend Emily is going to kick some booty in the 1/2, another friend Becky is running her first 1/2 and my friend Brian is going to run his first full.  I can’t wait to be there to see them!

Alright, I have probably bored you all to tears.  Tomorrow I am going to have some FUN race reports, my own little announcement and hopefully some training to detail.  Happy Saturday everyone!

future trip home!

Have you heard the best time to buy a plane ticket is on Tuesdays at 3 pm?  I didn’t quite make the the 3 pm deadline but I did get my ticket today to go back and visit my family in Port Angeles, WA!  I didn’t even have to sell a kidney in order to afford it!

here is an awesome pic of Port Angeles (nope, didn't take it - click on it for credit!)

Port Angeles is on the Strait of Juan de Fuca (yes, I have always LOVED to say this!) and it’s about 3 hours northwest of Seattle, WA.  One of the slogans is, “Where the Mountains meet the Sea” since the town is nestled in the Olympic Mountains.  I’m not going to lie, this is one of the prettiest places in the U.S.  If you ever get a chance, come out and visit!

yes, this is a real tree - we grow 'em big out there!

Not only will I be spending some much needed time with my family, I will be running a half marathon.  My family has never seen me run a race and I am really excited to do with this race with them in attendance.  All of this fun business will be taking place in July.  This is where I am hoping for a 1/2 PR – sub 2 hours!!

chocolate? champagne? running? AWESOME!

Today I also realized I am going to have one heck of a busy summer!  I mentioned the waves of panic that swept over me the other night and I figured out today the only way to avoid this is to GET ORGANIZED.  Now, classic organization isn’t one of my strengths – I definitely have my own style.  This style needs to be tightened up a bit or else I am going to flounder!  So I started, “The MONSTER To-Do List” today.  It has the fun things I want to do and the mundane things I have to do.  Luckily, I also have mega-organized friends who have offered to help – thanks friends, you da bomb!  Once I have more of the fun stuff on there, I’ll put the list on here.  I am determined to have a FUN summer!

Oh yeah, and can I just say how MAD I am at Dairy Queen for introducing this?!

noooo!! why would you do this DQ?! some of us have training plans to stick to you!

My hips, thighs and bum hate you Dairy Queen… and kind of love you at the same time.  If you can’t tell from the pic, its funfetti cake and blizzard.  YUM!

Don’t forget!  You have until tomorrow at 5 pm to enter my give-away!

busy last couple of days

I’ve been working a lot the last couple of days so here is a recap of what I would have written had I had time…

Oh yeah, I got into this!

are you tired of seeing this picture yet? probably but I am NOT tired of posting it!!!

Yep, I am above and beyond excited to hit the streets RUNNING 26.2 miles in San Fran this October 14, 2012.  With my dear friend Danielle.  How could I NOT be excited?!  As I mentioned, this will be my first full and I am determined to train smart, run a solid race and become a marathoner.  I am also really looking forward to meeting up with other Sweat Pink Ambassadors and the women who made it possible at Fit Approach.

2.  This was a big week in my work world.  I got some good news, worked about 80 million hours, and feel like I got hit by a truck.  But it’s good – the academic year is over and I have about 12 hours of a summer break before my summer projects get up and running.  Do I mind?  Not really, at this point, I am thrilled to have the academic year done and over with and I am ready to have a good GREAT summer.

3.  MAJOR response to my give-away!  Wahoo!  Yay!  There is still time to enter!

4.  I’m running 13 miles today.  Ouch – I can feel it hurting already! ;)  But I’ve got this little 25k coming up and I need to make this happen!  I went for a run on Thursday.  I also decided one little egg sandwich wouldn’t hurt me… umm… HUGE mistake.  This equals horrifying results and a tough run.  I was able to salvage the run slightly by turning the last half into a tempo run but after 2.30 miles of running in the beginning I had to walk a half mile before being able to run home.

oh how you hurt me so lovely egg sandwich!

oh well… I guess my body has spoken, eh?

5.  I had myself a little arts ‘n crafts project.  I made presents for my staff and they turned out really well.  I was surprised  and quite pleased with myself!  I have two fairly useless talents – I am an excellent gift-giver and I make awesome foam for espresso drinks.  I’m sure both of these will get me very far in life.

I got the stripes for the men and the checked for the women
all done! I used fabric markers and stencils. they took some time but I love that they are practical and a fun gifty

6.  I’m going to get my books for the Reading and Running Long program today!  I love buying new books and am especially looking forward to buying books about running :)  I’m also going to buy the stick today.  My legs are TIGHT and have been for days.  Plus it will be nice to get out of the building.

ready to roll out these muscles

On Friday night, I was in bed and couldn’t sleep.  It was 4 am?  Later?  I had gotten to bed maybe an hour earlier (remember? I said it was a LONG work day!) and I started thinking about everything from this week/last few days.  Panic set in a bit, haha.  I had to do some major breathing exercises just to be able to fall asleep.  I’m hoping this panic will lead to energy/fuel to tackle all of the incredible experiences I have ahead of me!

happy thursday

I really have started to look forward to Happy Things Thursday.  In fact, I’ve started to pay more attention during the week to things that bring a smile to my face just so I can remember to write about them on Thursdays!  What a great side effect!  Actually being grateful!  ***Warning*** this is going to be a bit cheesy: I feel grateful for feeling grateful!  Yep, kind of lame BUT when I realize moments, people, things – whatever, I’ve missed along the way just because I wasn’t paying attention – shame on me!  Waking up to this has been an important part of my healing… so here is this week’s list!

1.  Umm… my pivot shorts/sweat pink laces give-away!  Haha, I love offering this gifty to folks!  Even better are all of the awesome comments and ways people use to motivate themselves.  It’s been fantastic.  One incredible bit of advice – be grateful for being healthy and “getting” to run everyday – I need to remember this!  Click here to leave your comment/entry to win!

1.5.  I.GOT.IN!  Seriously, I think I read the email 3 times this morning before I believed it was true.  There are also some other SPA’s (sweat pink ambassadors) running it so I will get to meet them IRL!  The cherry on top?  One of my best good buddies, Danielle, got in too so we are headed to San Fran together!  The city will never be the same… ;)

2.  Okay, so this is silly… but I can’t drink a bottle of wine on my own.  I probably should be happy this is the case but I hate dumping half bottles down the drain.  Then these caught my eye

mini bottles! so would it be wrong not to use a glass but just drink from the bottle?!

3.  Running and Reading Long – This is a fantastic program I am lucky enough to be a part of!  One of my fellow Sweat Pink Ambassadors, Laura from Laura Lives Life, has created a program that involves reading running books and training.  What I really love about this concept is integrating the mind and body connection.  There are approximately 10 of us and we will read from the books Laura has selected and also do our long runs “together”.  All of the participants are at varying levels of running and goals – ranging from 5k’s to half marathons.  Since my confidence with long distance has been a bit faulty as of late, I am thrilled with this chance.  Not to mention, becoming a more educated runner?!  Yes please!  You can click on the button below or it will also be added to my sidebar.

the program starts May 7th! looking forward to buying my books :)

4.  Groups of women – okay, this may seem like an odd category to be grateful for but let me tell you three stories:

1.  I went to yoga a couple of weeks ago and we go around the room to introduce ourselves and talk a little bit about our day.  I had a date afterward and shared this with the class.  The class was all women this day of varying ages and they all broke out into some applause and “ooooo – fun!”  It was so great!

2.  There are a lot of Sweat Pink Ambassadors and it has been really neat meeting fellow ambassadors who are all on the path to living a more well lifestyle.  I love that I sent a tweet announcing my give-away and others retweeted to help promote it.  I love that I have “met” other women through blog comments/posts who are like me in some way, shape or form.  I love feeling like I have a community with me every time I turn on my computer or lace up my pink laces!

3.  My Ragnar Relay team, The Panty Raiders!  I have never met any of them but they have been super supportive!  Whether it was sending flowers and condolences when my mom passed, facebook messages or just their general enthusiasm for our team and soon-to-be-experience, I couldn’t have asked for better teammates!

Basically, I love being  part of groups of women who rally around each other to support and cheer each other on!  I used to believe I got along better with men but what I have realized is I didn’t fully appreciate what being part of a group of women means.  I am so lucky!

5.  This awesome cupcake? cake? pan!  Not only is it super cool BUT it was on sale – love it just a wee bit more!  I can’t wait to make these cupcakes, they are going to be HUGE!

yeah, these suckers are going to be a major mouthful!

Needless to say, it’s been a BIG Thursday for me!  I even had to take a mini- time out because I was just kind of overwhelmed with the awesome-ness of today.  I’m sure my 8 miler run tonight will be all kinds of  jaunty and hopefully it helps burn off some of this energy or I may NEVER sleep again!  Thanks for all of the support!

aspaeris pivot shorts & sweat pink laces give-away!

Happy Wednesday everyone!  This week just happens to be one of the busiest for me out of the entire academic year.  While I am incredibly happy it is almost over, there is another part of me dreading the impending workload.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind working hard.  But it’s kind of like staring at a giant hill and wondering how the heck you are ever going to run up it in one piece.

You know what eases the stress/anxiety a little bit?  Offering my first ever give-away!  Great scott, am I ever excited!  Not only is it totally awesome but it’s kind of like Christmas when you know you got someone a cool gift :)

So, what do I have for you to win?  Aspaeris Pivot Shorts and Sweat Pink shoelaces!  Wahooo!!

this is a pic "borrowed" from Aspaeris site since I had some troubles getting a pic!

Yes, this picture below magically becomes the picture above… How?  I don’t know, like I said, magic

trust me, I never thought these would fit me... but they do... and again, they are magic

And what better to highlight your new Pivot shorts with than some hot pink laces?

trust me, the laces will bring you good running mojo!

By now you are probably asking yourself how you can win such good stuff – well, all you need to do is leave a comment about what motivates you when you REALLY DO NOT want to work out.  I would say  I have struggled with motivation off and on and I would love to hear some tips/secrets that you have.  In fact, I am willing to reward you for them!

Also, check out Aspaeris on facebook and “like” them – it’s a great way to find out when they are running deals.  Oh yeah, and because they are radical.

If you remember, Aspaeris are sponsoring my Ragnar team, The Panty Raiders.  But this isn’t why I am doing the give-away.  In fact, I purchased a pair a few months back and have been so happy I did.  What are the major benefits?  I love the effects of the compression without the “I can’t breathe” side effect.  They are really comfortable and I have worn them both during runs and for recovery.  In a pinch they also work great as “spanx”… not that I have ever had to do that or anything.

From the Aspaeris site:

We created Aspaeris™ to help protect female athletes from injury and enhance their performance with advanced compression apparel. As a female-centric company, we believe that the performance demands female athletes make on their bodies are unique. Our goal is to develop a deep understanding of those demands and create products that specifically elevate performance and protect her from non-impact injuries.

So, they rock basically.  I am running the give-away until next Wednesday, May 2nd at 5 pm.  Sorry, but I will only be able to ship to the U.S.  Yay give-away!  (yes, I am a big dork!)

In other news, I knocked out 6 miles yesterday.  I felt pretty good during the run but later my back was killing me.  This morning?  Same story – sore back.  I’m fairly certain I need to strengthen my core to support my running mileage – anyone ever have a similar issue?

Can’t wait to read all of your motivation tips!