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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Monday, December 31, 2012


For the last few days, I've been writing and re-writing my end of the year, New Year, running review post in my head. I've been stalking fitness blogs on Twitter trying to find some inspiration.

I'm not sure what I want to say. How can I sum up a year that was completely beyond my wildest expectations?

Anyone who reads this blog regularly, even semi-regularly, knows I've had a fabulous running year. For the most part, I've been injury free. I've been blessed with a husband who lets me train and then drives me 8 hours so that I can PR in a marathon. I exceeded my own expectations and PR'd in a half marathon. I ran my first trail race and didn't kill myself. I'm faster now, at 31, then I have ever been before. My children are very aware that their Mommy runs (a lot) and they believe this is normal.

There are a few things I would like to accomplish in 2013. Two marathons, a 10k in under an hour, and more training on trails. I would like to strength train atleast twice a week and somehow make it back to yoga.

I also want to leave some things behind. Half of the drama that plays out in the recesses of my brain are a direct result of pintrest, facebook, and twitter. I compare myself to others and lay a ridiculous amount of unneeded guilt upon myself. I'm stealing an idea from a fellow blogger, Courtney, and instituting No Technology Thursdays. It probably won't go well but atleast my heart is in the right place.

I want/need to be a better friend to those who I love. Many of the people that are closest to my heart live the furtherst away. As the wise Baz Luhrmann once said, "Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young."

I'm excited about what this new year will hold. Some things will be changing (my baby is going to kindergarten in the fall!) and some things will stay the same.  I thank you for joining me on this journey. Let's see how many miles we can rack up in the new year and how we can change our lives.

Check ya later!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

the one where the wind drowns out P.Diddy

My Dad lives on a mountain. Big hills, no sidewalks, curves. Basically a wussy runner's nightmare. Throw snow into the mix and I'm out. I spent most of Friday night obsessively checking weather.com, watching as the chance for snow went up, and up, and up. I decided that I would move my long run from Saturday to Sunday to avoid the possibility of death by car.

8:00am Saturday morning: no snow. 9:00am still no snow. I started to get cranky. Mad at myself for being such a wuss. Finally, it started to snow and I felt better. I ate my french toast and enjoyed a day spent entirely in my pajamas.

Of course, not running on Saturday means I had to run today. The sky was clear and the sun was shining but it was WINDY. As in "stop in your tracks because you can't breathe, feel like your skin is being ripped off your face, snow blowing and hampering your inability to see" windy. I had to turn up the volume on my iPod because the wind was so loud.

I put on layers, silently thanked my mother in law for all the crocheted headbands she has made me, and navigated my way up my Dad's sorta kinda plowed driveway. Thankfully, the majority of the run was uneventful. There weren't enough cars on the roads to scare me into a snowbank and I only had to stop twice to brace myself against the buffeting winds.

I'm thankful that I have a race on the schedule, thankful that I have a goal to reach for. If I didn't, I would totally stay wrapped up in blankets on my Dad's couch and not move for the rest of our visit. As it is, I plan on doing nothing for the rest of the day.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

my kid is smart.

Angry Birds structure balanced on triangles....

Clearly, my son is an engineering genius.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas and why YOU should run in the Winter

Merry belated Christmas!

My family and I have been on the road, visiting family, since the beginning of December. 3 states, 3 Christmas celebrations, lots of presents, and even more opportunities to eat cookies.

I've never met a cookie I didn't like.

Even though we're on vacation, there is no vacation from running. I've probably run about 50 miles or so since we left. I went from running in shorts and a short sleeve shirt in GA to wearing cold weather tights and a jacket in NY. 

In celebration of winter running I thought I would re-post my Top Ten Reasons why you should Run in Cold Weather....


1. If you're embarrassed about being out there, don't be. No one else is out there, it's too cold (even in GA), and even if they are they're too busy trying to stay warm to pay attention to you. 
2. It's the perfect time to hide that body under layers of clothing. Every runner looks fat in the winter. If you start now you'll be skinny and svelte to wear spandex in the summer. 
3. When else is it socially acceptable to blow your nose in to your shirt and wear your snots proudly?
4. You can be like me and brag to anyone that will listen that you ran in ____ degree weather. I promise they'll be impressed.
5. Cold weather running gear is fun! Fun hats, gloves, jackets... the options are endless. I personally like to rock a multicolored neon headband that my mother-in-law crocheted for me. (Seth is wearing it in the first picture)
6. It's a good way to beat those winter blues. No one likes a cranky pants. Even if you only go out for 20 minutes it will clear your head, make you feel better about life, and save someone from having to give you an attitude adjustment.  
7. You don't sweat as much. Or at least its harder to tell that you're sweating - it could be frost.
8. The skin that's exposed to the air turns this awesome red color. It makes you look healthy.
9. Running in the winter will make you faster. The faster you move, the faster you'll be done and back in your nice, warm house.   
10. Hot chocolate! It stands to reason that if you burned enough calories running in the freezing cold you should be able to reward yourself with some hot chocolate goodness. 

C'mon people join the revolution! Running the winter is fun, unless you get hypothermia.That would be bad. So use some common sense, dress appropriately, and have a good time. Note: if you're squeamish about boogers, bring tissues.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

the one where I go bright and bold

I've been living a very colorful life recently. If you can't tell by the picture my new running sneakers are purple, hot pink, and lime green. They are quite striking. They also match my neon running headband perfectly. I've been turning heads.

I've moved back to my trusty Asics GT series. I was a little hesitant considering my New Balances helped me PR in practically every race this year. Hopefully, the neon power will give me that extra little push.  

I also got a pair of trail shoes, Yes, that's right, a pair of shoes dedicated solely to the pursuit of trail greatness. I have no choice but to use them or my running log shoe mileage counter will mock me. They are also bright and bold. I have a thing for color. 

I'm excited to see where these two pairs of shoes will carry me in 2013. Two marathons, another trail race... a whole new set of PR's? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

hate a little less and love a little more

I don't know where I stand on gun control. I don't know what role mental illness may or may not have played in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I'm not sure what more could have been done to prevent such a horrific situation from occurring.

All I do know is that I am a mother. I have two children, one of whom will be a kindergartner next year. Knowing that there are parents going to bed tonight without their child tucked safely in bed rips my heart apart. I've cried, I've prayed, and I've squeezed my children until they've begged me to stop.

If this tragedy has taught me anything, its that you can not kiss, hug, cuddle, or tickle your children enough. You can not tell them you love them enough. Since Friday, during moments of frustration (and believe me there have been many), I've had to remind myself to be grateful. Grateful that my children are still sitting in front of me. Grateful that they are still here to do things that drive me crazy. Grateful that this Christmas I will be able to experience the joy and wonder of presents under the tree with my children.

Life can change in an instant. Driving down the street, sending your kids to school, going to work - you never know what can happen. Life is short. We all need to spend our days complaining less, encouraging more, and loving the people most important to us. I believe that's the best way to honor the victims of Newton, Connecticut, and victims of violence, worldwide. Hate a little less and love a little more.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

the one where I struggle with elevation charts and geography

Tuesday marked the first day of my training for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

I know what you're thinking. "Um, Lauren. Didn't you just run a marathon?"

Why, yes dear reader, I DID just run a marathon. Less then a month ago actually.

It all happened quite quickly. One minute I'm looking at the elevation chart for the Kings Mountain Marathon and the next thing I know I'm laughing uncontrollably. Not a happy, deep belly, laugh - more like a nervous, "oh snot what did I get myself into" kind of laugh. I showed Seth the chart and his response was immediately "no".

The next thing I know I'm asking Seth what state "is on top of us" and frantically searching marathon databases. Up popped Knoxville and 15 minutes later I was registered. It's all kind of a blur.

I've made the outrageous declaration that I want to run 2 marathons next year. My long term goal is to join the 50 States Marathon Club and you need 10 states to get in. I have 6 to go. JUST TO JOIN.

I'm warning you all now - depending on where you live - I might need to crash on your couch for a night. I have a lot of states to visit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Victoria Bryant Trail 10k rundown

I ran my first trail race on Saturday. I was more nervous then I was before my last marathon.

Since the marathon, roughly less then a month ago, I've run about 20 miles. I had the stomach flu and a sinus infection. My husband and kids were sick and we traveled to three different far away places in a week. Needless to say, I was feeling quite unprepared.

I had no time goal, no expectations: other then finishing without throwing up, breaking a bone, or falling on my face. My poor running partner, Saron, was dealing with her own illness and sleep deprivation. We huddled together at the start, nervously laughing about the real possibility of us getting lost. As the race started, we exchanged promises of sticking together and taking it easy.

It was hard. There were hills (like a ridiculous amount of hills), roots, and rocks. Miles 1-3 took forever. We walked a few, stopped for a breather, and talked about everything from running to clothes. We encouraged other runners and each other. We admired the beauty of Victoria Byrant State Park and congratulated ourselves on even being out there. An hour and 25 minutes later, we crossed the finish line. 5 minutes later, we learned that Saron had placed second in her age group and won a medal! I'm not sure who was more excited her or me. 

Saron and her medal!
I don't know that I'll give up road racing anytime soon but there is something special and unique about trail running. There might just be a trail marathon in my future.