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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I was crying too hard to really see the screens

I cried for 20 minutes today about my training log. I probably would have still cried even if I wasn't pregnant. But being pregnant certainly didn't help.

I've been using the Runner's World classic log since approximately 2009. That's about 5 years worth of data: shoes, miles, races, PR's, calories etc...

I'm not as hardcore as some runners but I need to know basics such as weekly, monthly, & yearly mileage to help me assess my progress and help plan future goals. I'm also a 500 mile "time for new shoes" fanatic so I need that information as well.

The classic log did all of that and in a clean, simple format that was easy to use. I could input my data in a matter of minutes, see what I needed to see, and be done with it. easy, peasy.

Yesterday, I tried to log on. Nothing. Cleared my browser cookies. Nothing. I kept getting the same annoying picture of a half naked man running with this ridiculous smile on his face. Like anyone looks that good while running. 

In a moment of insanity, I decided to import my data to Runner's World new training log. 

Yea, that didn't go well.

So many charts, so much information I don't care about. Too many choices, decisions I have to make. If I need to watch a how to video to figure out to log my data - we have a problem.

I started to panic.

Then I couldn't find my shoe data and that's when I started hysterically crying.

I called my husband who didn't answer (which in hindsight was probably a good thing. It's never wise to call your out of town husband hysterically crying over the demise of your training log. He probably won't be as sympathetic because he's too busy being relieved that you and your children are still alive) and this was our ensuing conversation via text.

There you have it people. I was crying too hard to see. I had to take my glasses off.

It's not so much the lost data (although that really aggravates me), or the new log. It's more the change, another reminder that things never stay the same. It's the adjustment I have to make when I was perfectly content with the way things were. Now, I'm going to go to bed like the 85 year old cranky old woman I am.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

beware the cranky pregnant lady who hasn't been able to run

I was in a foul mood last night.

This week's runs have basically been poop. Each and every mile was hard and I walked more then I ran.

When you're a runner, walking feels like failure. Ridiculous, I know but I wear irrationality very well.   

I didn't even want to attempt a run today. 

I went to bed feeling all pathetic and sad for myself. Oh poor pregnant me, with my gigantic belly (which isn't really that big), and insatiable desire for anything chocolate or sugar laden that's inevitably going to make me feel puffy and miserable.

8 Funny Annoying Moments when Pregnant! >> meme, pregnancy, pregnant, funny, jokes, humor, baby, expecting, memes, pics, images --> www.pregnancyfat.com/8-annoying-moments-when-pregnant/index.htm
(I judge my puffiness level by whether or not my wedding band leaves an indent on my finger)

Thankfully, the mood passed and I woke up this morning determined.

I decided to walk the first mile of the 3 miles in an attempt to warm up my Achilles tendons, which has been the major source of my problems this week.

I stretched my calves at the half way point and then was able to run the entire way back home! WOOHOO!

I could literally feel the weariness and frustration fall away. I felt like myself again. 

It's amazing what one good run, no matter how short, can do for the soul.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Running @ 22 weeks pregnant

22 weeks and I'm feeling every single one of those weeks. Goodbye regular jeans, hello maternity tops and leggings. Goodbye sleeping through the night, why hello bathroom I haven't seen you in, oh I don't know, 20 minutes?

Physically, sciatica has been rearing its ugly head and I've been struggling with abdominal ligament pain. Neither of those are helpful when trying to maintain a regular running routine. 

On Friday, I was determined to go for a long run. I had two & a half free hours and planned on logging 10 miles. That didn't go so well. I ended up doing about 8.5, walking most of the way. 

At certain points, I had to stop myself from bursting into tears. To go from running with no pain to being barely able to run at all was so frustrating. I would have been ok with a gradual descent into walking but to be thrust into it with no warning - that was a little more then I could deal with. 

I took Saturday & Sunday off; took naps, drank lots of water, and just relaxed. I decided that I would try again on Monday on a trail near my Dad's house with no expectations other then to enjoy a beautiful, sunny (yet chilly) afternoon. I had to walk once or twice during the first few miles but then I was able to run pain free the entire 2.5 miles back to the car! 

I'll take it.

I think I may need to adjust my schedule and run every other day instead of running three days in a row. At this point, rest days are always a good idea.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and this year I'm thankful for a healthy family, a relatively easy pregnancy, and the continued ability to run.

It is a blessing to be a runner.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 21, 2013


If I was a super hero my fatal flaw would be pride.

Over the past week and a half, I've probably told about 5 people that, at 20+ weeks pregnant, I'm still running the same amount of mileage I was before I got pregnant.

Then Wednesday happened.

Pride cometh before the fall. 

My 4:45 am 5 mile run started out fine. Then at about a half a mile in the pain started. I knew instinctively that it wasn't the baby which would explain why I walked until it lessened and ran until I couldn't. Then I took my maternity belt off and the pain completely disappeared. I was able to run the rest of the way home.                       

Of course, my husband made me tell my Doctor at my appointment later that day. She gave me a look and then proceeded to tell me it sounded muscular and that if it continues I should stop running. I'm pretty sure all the color drained from my face and my breathing got a little funky at this point. She tried to make me feel better by telling me I could walk.

Obviously, she's not a runner.

The rest of the appointment went well. The baby is fine and other then the possibility of not running for the next 4 months, I am fine too.

I want to run. I secretly want people to praise me and be in awe of the fact that I'm still running. I want them to think I'm awesome.

Pesky pride.

Thankfully, I still have common sense and a low tolerance for pain. If I need to, I will stop running. I will cry. I will probably become a gym rat and practice more yoga. And I will definitely stop bragging about myself.

Now, I can only hope that my long missing ability to exercise self control will kick in and I won't eat my weight in cookies and other yummy holiday food. 

A girl can hope.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

8 Things You Might Not Know About Me

My friend Katie over at http://avoicecrying.blogspot.com recently caved into participating in a Facebook fad and posted about 8 things you might not know about her.

I want to be like her so I'm doing it too.

So here it is: 8 things you might not know about me.

1. I used to roller blade all over my neighborhood as a kid. I fancied myself a long track speed skater/figure skater extraordinaire.  
mine were not pink.

2. I am obsessed with the Olympics. Summer, Winter - it doesn't matter. I will watch any sport, at any time. Well, except for handball. Don't get me started on handball.

3. I have ulcerative colitis. Basically, the lower part of my colon hates life and becomes inflamed and swollen. Thankfully, I can control my flare ups with diet and medication.

4. White Christmas is one of my most favorite movies of all time. And not just at Christmas time. I know the whole thing by heart, including songs & choreography. I'm pretty confident that Bing Crosby would have had to get a restraining order against me.

5. I am a cat person. When I was born, my parents already had Fiesty, who used to guard me when I laying on the floor. For my 8th birthday, my Aunt gave me Oreo. I would hold him in my arms like a baby and sing to him. He died 3 months before I got married and I'm convinced he held on for as long as he did because he was worried about me. I still miss him.

6. I still sleep with a stuffed rabbit. My daughter asks for her sometimes when she's upset at night and then I can't sleep.

7. I stop at the halfway point during a run to take a breather. It started when I first started running when I thought I would die if I didn't take a break. Now, I just do it out of habit.  

8. I never wear makeup. I can count on one hand the number of times I have; one of those being my wedding day. When I was old enough to start wearing lipstick, my Dad told me if I did my lips would turn white. I believed him and here we are.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Great Debate

When my husband and I were dating and talking about the future, we had a very important conversation.

Live Christmas tree vs. fake Christmas tree?

I was adamant that our future household would never ever EVER allow a fake tree to darken our doorway.


Going to the tree lot and picking out the perfect tree was a rite of passage in my family. Akin to picking out the perfect spot on the beach. I took my responsibility very seriously. Even after my teenage angst took some joy out of the magic of Christmas, I still loved the sight and smell of a fresh tree.

My husband grew up with fake trees and could not understand my unwavering devotion. He, being a smart man, realized I was not going to bend and joined me in picking out a tree for our first Christmas together.

Over the next few years we moved, lived on a second floor with an unforgiving flight of stairs, moved into a college dorm apartment, traveled for most of the holiday months, and basically humbugged decorating for Christmas.

Now, we have two kids, ages 5 & 3, and decided we should probably make more of an effort to get into the holiday spirit. We still travel a great deal so a live tree isn't a good option. *gulp* A decision was made. We would buy a fake tree. 

Off to Target we went. I tried to soften the blow by having the kids pick out their own ornaments and being overly enthusiastic.

As I write this, the fake tree is assembled, the lights are on, and the ornaments are up. It's the perfect height and evenly shaped. I don't have to water it, or worry about needles. But it still makes me a little sad. Not that I had to compromise - it's what's best for our family right now - more like a tradition of my childhood has ended.

In the end, live or fake, decorating our Christmas tree is a way to spend time together as a family. A way to share in the joy of the Christmas season. I really miss the smell, though.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Running while Pregnant: The Basics

More and more women are making a conscious decision to stay as active and healthy as they can be during pregnancy. It's not uncommon to see pregnant women of all belly sizes walking, working out at the gym, or running. 

running while pregnant- thumbs up!However, I've noticed that most women are also unsure about what they can do during pregnancy. Once they are assured, by their doctor of course, that physical activity is safe; they are unsure about how to go the distance.

This list is by no means exhaustive; just a few things that have stood out to me as I ran during my pregnancy with my daughter and now during this pregnancy.

*Please make sure that you clear any and all physical activity with your doctor*

You Should Already Be a Runner - If you weren't already running before you got pregnant, I wouldn't start now. Running is hard. Running while pregnant is even harder. If you want to be active, start walking. Ask your doctor for options that are safe for you and your munchkin.
If you are an already established runner - keep it up! At 20 weeks, I'm running roughly the same amount of mileage I was before I became pregnant. It takes me a whole lot longer to cover the distance but I'm getting it done. 
The key for me is the long run. Once I get started and complete a few miles, I don't find it difficult to go long and slow. My shorter weekday runs are harder because I'm usually trying to get back in time for my husband to leave for work.

Ditch your watch - Unless you are an elite runner, you will not be setting any PR's while pregnant. The goal here is to stay active, burn off those extra "I just had to have that _______" calories, and maintain a sense of who you other then a baby incubator. 
I'm still using my Garmin to keep track of my distance. Just recently, I switched my screens so I see the time of day and not the time elapsed. It's much better for my self esteem.

Running Clothes - In the beginning stages of your pregnancy those cute Lululemon tanks tops will still look cute. As your pregnancy progresses, they just won't cut it. You'll probably be able to keep wearing your favorite shorts or pants but shirts are another story. 
At 20 weeks, I'm still able to wear my loose fitted running shirts but those days are rapidly passing. During laundry time, I've started scouting out my husband's running shirt collection. Even his men's mediums will give my belly more room and prevent a draft.
If you're not blessed with a husband that runs, you can wear your shirts for as long as its comfortable and decent. After that, you could scope out Goodwill or even wear a (gasp!) cotton t shirt. 

Shoes - I wouldn't recommend wearing shoes that have a ton of miles on them if you're running while pregnant. Things are already creaky and funky and old shoes will not help your cause.

Water -  As a pregnant runner expect to consume an ocean full on a daily basis.

Have a Potty Plan - This is vital. You WILL have to go to the bathroom while running. Maybe even more then once. Especially if your baby lives on top of your bladder.
Make sure you know where the nearest bathrooms are located on your route. If all else fails there is always a bush. It wouldn't hurt to carry some TP in a baggie that you can ditch at the nearest trash can.

Naps - If you run while pregnant, you will need to nap. Maybe not everyday but at least once or twice a week. I joked yesterday that I only have a certain amount of energy to expend everyday and working out or running in the morning uses it all up. By the afternoon, I'm pooped. Thankfully, I can nap. If you can't, make sure you are getting enough sleep at night - even if you have to go to bed before the rest of the world. 
Funny Family Ecard: I love all of my children equally. Except for the one that naps. I love that one more.

Maternity belt - when I first shared my crazy yet fabulous baby news with my online running group, my friend Shelley, an avid runner, told me I needed to get a maternity belt. For the month I had it before I lost it, it was very helpful. My lower back has been bothering me during this pregnancy and the belt gave me the support I needed. 
If I still can't find mine, which I'm sure I put in a "safe place" somewhere, I'm going to get another one because I think it will be the key to keeping me moving during the later weeks. 

Prenatal Yoga & Massages - Stretching works wonders for the pregnant body. Having someone rub those stretched muscles is even better. I recommend both VERY highly. 
I try to do yoga at least once a week. I use a video that I ordered from Amazon and I have also used YouTube videos. Again, use common sense. If you've never done yoga before, I wouldn't start while pregnant. You can google gentle stretches and start small. 
A good prenatal massage is worth the time and money. After 20 weeks or so, I try to get one once a month. It really helps with the little aches and pains that pop up during pregnancy. 

Most importantly: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND BABY! If you're tired, take it easy. If something doesn't feel "right" or "funny" tell someone. Logging a 3 mile run is not nearly as important as taking care of that amazing little person in your belly. 

Happy Running Mommies!

Related posts: Running @ 18 weeks pregnant & Running @ 20 weeks pregnant

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Running @ 20 weeks pregnant

This past week was the first week that I've actually felt "pregnant". I had to nap or risk falling asleep while talking to my children. I lost my maternity belt and I almost cried about it. Every room is my house is screaming for me to throw things away.

running while pregnant- thumbs up!Running was even hard. I ran about 10 miles during the week and each and every one of the miles felt impossible. My 5 mile run on Wednesday felt like I was slugging through knee high mud.

Recently, I've been doing my long runs with my running partner and today she left me all by my lonesome to run her first half marathon. I know. How dare she! (I am so ridiculously proud of her!) The original plan was to get up early and log 12 miles, but my daughter and a yucky cough that kept us, nixed that idea. I revised the plan and decided to celebrate reaching the halfway point of this pregnancy, 20 weeks, by running 10 miles.

In case you were wondering, it's hard to run 10 miles. It's even harder to run 10 miles when you're A. 20 weeks pregnant and B. your Garmin battery dies at 3.44 miles so you have NO idea how much further you need to go, or what time it is.

Despite the dead Garmin, which I continued to try to shut on and off at stop lights and an encounter with a dog, I kept plodding along. I plodded and plodded, ate some energy chews, and enjoyed the beautiful fall morning. Apparently, it took me a really long time because my husband was waiting for me in the driveway when I turned the corner of our street. I got a kiss and a lecture about how I'm pregnant and stubborn and I need to carry my phone with me on long runs.

I have to give my husband credit. He doesn't bat an eye when I leave for a run, or go to the gym. He supports me in my desire and need to stay active during this pregnancy. But this morning, he was nervous and I'm going to be a good wife and do what he tells me to do. So, if you see a pregnant woman trying to figure out how to play Plants vs. Zombies while running, you'll know it's me.

In case you can't read it my shirt says "still waiting for my uterus to fall out.*" Makes me laugh EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

*You can get one of your very own awesome waiting on my uterus running shirts here.*

Related posts: Running @ 18 weeks pregnant & Running while Pregnant: The Basics

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Running @ 18 weeks pregnant

Google pregnant runners and you will inevitably come across blogs upon blogs of amazing women that run up until the moment they give birth. Women who runs marathons right before and right after giving birth. Women who eat no refined sugar while pregnant and gain 20 lbs and lose that 20 lbs within 2 weeks. My personal favorites are the elite athletes that mourn the loss of their 6:30 pace.

I am not that woman.

running while pregnant- thumbs up!Sure, at 18 weeks, I'm still running. But there's nothing elite about what's going on here. I'm still running with a watch but its really just to track my mileage; keeping track of my pace would just be silly. 

I've been trying hard to watch what I eat, to make healthy food choices. Some days are better then others. Today was not a good day. With Halloween right around the corner my sugar consumption is getting out of control. I told my husband once we go through the kids' haul, he is taking everything to his office. Everything must leave the house. If anyone asks, I have no idea how those 5 Butterfingers got into the fridge.

Sugar addiction and physical changes aside, I'm feeling good. I'm still putting in a good number of weekly miles and enjoying long weekend runs with my running partner. The baby has so far been cooperative and caused minimal bladder distress, which if you have ever been pregnant, you know is the worst thing about running while expecting.

The goal is to keep running. To keep running for as long as I can. I have no racing plans, no PR's to achieve. I just want to keep running. It's nice to know that as I change, as my family changes, I still have running. It may not look the same or feel the same but at the very heart of it, it is the same.

Related posts: Running @ 20 weeks pregnantRunning while Pregnant: The Basics

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Race Recap: Cincinnati Half Marathon

For the record, Ohio is colder then Georgia. Especially when it's raining and the wind is blowing. These were the conditions for my seventh half marathon. Cold, rainy, and downright wonderful. Wonderful, you say? Yes, wonderful. Wonderful because I was able to run with two of my most favorite people.

I have never raced a long distance with friends before. It was comforting to not be freezing my bum off by myself at the start. It was great to chat and talk as the miles ticked by. It was helpful to have a friend refill my water bottle while I was using the bathroom. And, it was downright wonderful to cross that finish line with my best friend. 

During this race, I covered miles that I ran seven years ago during my first marathon, The Cincinnati Flying Pig. I ran past the section where I hit the wall and would have quit if my husband had been there to pick my lifeless body off the ground. As we ran, I thought about how that first time I was lonely, hurting, and questioning why I was putting myself through this. This time, with my best friend on one side and my college roommate on the other, I felt loved, supported, and encouraged. It didn't matter how hard it was raining or how tired I felt, I was with my friends and that was enough. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

water, water everywhere

I am the worst water drinker EVER.

I can go a whole day and only take a gulp or two. My Nalgene can sit on my kitchen counter and I never give it a second thought. 

As a runner, and now as an incubator of a new life, I need to drink water. Copious amounts of water.

The other day, while at Panera, I filled a plastic cup with a straw with water.

I ended up refilling that cup during the course of the day and drank 32 oz. That night, I bought a reusable cup with a straw from the supermarket. The next day I drank 64oz.

So, of course, I posted about this revelation on Facebook because everyone cares about my water consumption.

 And then my college roommate blew up my spot.

Thankfully, I already utilize wrinkle cream in my daily facial routine so hopefully everything will balance out in the end.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Profiles of Inspirational Women: Sarah-Ginny

I have the pleasure of running with a fabulous lady who has two fabulous sisters. During our many miles together, Austina has expressed how proud she is of her little sister, Sarah-Ginny, who started running after being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Sarah-Ginny has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her disease and share her story with us.   

Next time your alarm goes off and you start to talk yourself out of going for a run, think about Sarah-Ginny, and get your pain-free butt out of bed!

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects primarily, but not only, the joints. A very basic explanation of this disease is that your immune system begins attacking itself and causing damage to your own body and destroying healthy tissue.

There is no cure for RA, but in some cases (for instance mine) you can slow the progression or even stop it. I was 30 when I was diagnosed, so I have longer for this disease to progress, and that alone motivates me to try and get healthy so that I can help keep the RA from getting worse.

When were you diagnosed? I was diagnosed in May 2012. My youngest child was six months old and I knew something was not right with my body. I never suspected anything like RA, (to be honest I thought it was something that only the elderly struggled with, not a 30 year old mother of 3). I thought it was something involving my hormones after giving birth.

I went to the doctor, complaining of pain and tiredness. They ran lots of tests, and a few days later I got a call from the nurse saying, "Your tests results came back and it looks like you've tested positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis." I remember thinking it was a bizarre thing to just say over the phone. It was like she called me and said "Nice weather we're having, huh?" 

I was asked to come back for more testing because, not only is the disease different for everyone, but the tests are also confusing. Sometimes you test positive when you are negative, and sometimes you test negative when you are positive. SO I still had hope that my positive test was really a negative. I then went to see a Rheumatologist (where I am the youngest patient by about 30 years) and after more tests and x-rays he confirmed that I have RA. I asked for a summer break before starting the medicine so I could wean my son, and truthfully, so I would have some time to wrap my mind around what this all meant. 

I began researching this disease and instantly realized that it would not be getting better or go away. In fact, the medicine doesn't even make you feel better; it just keeps you from feeling worse. So every morning I wake up and my first thought is, I hurt. It takes a great deal of mental willpower to get yourself out of bed each day. But when you have three kids looking to you for EVERYTHING, staying in bed is not an option. 

So while I took a few months to wean the baby, I looked around for "alternatives." I was so overwhelmed with the "eat-this not-this" diets that people claimed made them better. For every diet cure out there I found another that disputed the first and said theirs was the better the option. I did figure one thing out quickly - moving helps. As much as it hurts to move, everyone agreed that it helps. The thing with getting up and moving is the more you move and the stronger you get, the better you feel during the day.
What were/are some of your symptoms? How do they affect your day to day life? A person with RA has stiff and swollen joints, typically starting in the hands and feet and spreading throughout the body. I have arthritis in my hands, feet, knees, and possibly hips. I am not able to use my hands for small things like helping my kids with crafts because I have a hard time if there are small pieces or scissors involved. Also, as a result of the RA, I have developed fibromyalgia in my upper back. 

One of the worst symptoms is the extreme exhaustion. I can sleep for a full night and wake up feeling as if I haven't slept at all. I toss and turn all night because it hurts to lie down. When I wake up, I know just the simple act of putting my feet on the ground is really going to hurt.

Imagine waking up each morning feeling like you didn't stretch before an intense workout the day before, then you stood in line for the rest of the day wearing high heels, and then you didn't sleep the whole night. But there was no workout, no standing in line, and you did get a full night's sleep. You are just living your day-to-day life with RA.

How has being active been beneficial to your well being? I started walking the bridges in town with Baby B in the stroller. Then I started a diet using the Herbalife shakes, because losing weight and exercise is the best place to start when faced with most health issues. Then I started working out with my friend Martine, and I noticed that I was feeling better and I had more energy. Then she brought up the idea of doing a 5k and I thought that was a great idea. I liked the idea of having a goal to work towards. So I signed up and began to purposely train instead of just going for a walk to see a pretty view of the ocean.

I soon realized the 5k was almost a year to the day that I was diagnosed. It felt so great to cross that finish line, to accomplish that goal. I wasn't even the last person to finish! I felt like the past year of figuring out how to not let this disease control me was complete.

Occasionally, I will have bad flares and I know that I need to slow down and rest. But if I can lessen the frequency of the flares by staying active and improving my endurance by running - why shouldn't I give it a try? Not only do I love the physical effects of running, but it really puts me in a better mood overall, and I love that feeling.

What are some of your future goals? My goals are to keep my RA from progressing and for me and my family to live a healthy life. I will always have RA, but I want to work towards a life where that description is low on the list of things that I am known for. I don't want to ever have to say that I can't do something because I have RA.

These days, I am homeschooling my two oldest kids with the third running around us in circles. I haven't quite figured out how to run/walk with the kids, but I am trying. For me, the hardest challenge of living with RA is not letting it control me. This means not skipping a workout because my feet really hurt or everything hurts so bad it hurts to be touched. I know my body and I am learning my new limits so I know when to take a rest and when to suck it up and put one foot in front of the other.

I would love to works towards completing a longer race, specifically the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, S.C. When I was younger, there was an elderly couple in our church in Charleston that would participate in that race every year, and it amazed me. Being 80 didn't stop them, so why should feeling like an 80 year old stop me?   

Sarah & Baby B
(photo courtesy of Sarah-Ginny)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some Big News & a Race Recap: M&M 5k

This morning I ran a 5k.

Not a lot of mileage, not a huge crowd. Just a nice, low-key, local 5k to run with my running partner.

Except she wanted me to pace her to a sub 30 time. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous. After all, I am coming back from a knee injury and there's that other little matter of being 16 weeks pregnant.

Yes, you read that correctly. I'm having another baby.

Crazy huh?

That makes three little people running around this world with half of my DNA.

Other than being exhausted to the point of needing a nap every day at 2 pm, I've been feeling pretty good. My mileage has been steadily increasing and I think I'm ready to tackle the 13.1 next week.

Enough about that. Back to the race.

Last year, I crashed this race and helped my friend PR. This year, things are a little different, and I wasn't sure I would be able to help my amazing running partner reach her goal. I was having weird anxiety dreams involving running and Harry Potter (I've been re-reading the series). I also had some pregnancy related round ligament pain earlier in the week and was growing more and more worried that I wouldn't be able to run as fast as I needed to. Of course, I didn't share any of this with my running buddy. In fact, when she reads this she's going to be appalled. 

*I'm sorry and I love you Austina!*

The good news is, though, that my fears were unfounded. We both ran a great race. Sub 10 minute miles despite a nasty little hill towards the end. We both placed in our age groups and basically rocked it.

I ran a nice, slow 4 miles after the race and felt pretty good about moving at a slower pace, but it's nice to know that I can still run quick like a bunny if needed.

Austina & I wearing our medals proudly
(photo courtesy of David Jordan)

*For those caring, concerned individuals out there - don't worry I have my doctor's support. They know I'm a runner and know better than to tell me to stop :) Seriously though, I am cleared to run and would not do it without their approval*    

Saturday, October 5, 2013

friends that run together, stay together

Today was my last long run, 12 miles, before the Cincinnati 1/2 on October 19th. 

My husband was racing in a local 5k, so I had to get myself out of bed nice and early to get my miles in before he had to leave.

"Why hello 4:48am, aren't you dark and a little scary"?

I've been re-reading Harry Potter and at one point, while looking over a misty field, I was half convinced I could see a werewolf bounding towards me. My fastest miles were probably the ones where I was the most scared.   

This was the first solo long run I've done in awhile. The miles take a little longer to tick by and there's a lot more inner dialogue that can make your mind go all funky (cue misty field/werewolf thoughts). Overall, however, it was a good run and comforting to know that despite the step backs, I am and will be capable of finishing the race. 

I get to run this race with two incredible ladies: my best friend and my college roommate. Distance keeps us apart but running is bringing us back together. I expect there will be lots of laughter and even some tears. Totally worth the 18 hr round trip in one weekend.

thankfully they get it.

Have you been able to share your love of running with your close friends? Have you been able to race with friends?

Monday, September 30, 2013

a dream postponed

On Saturday, I was supposed to run my first ultramarathon - a 50k.

Instead, I ran 9 miles with my running partner through the country. I took my children to get their pictures taken and then we went to Costco.

Not so much running through the woods for 6 or 7 hours.

It's hard to postpone a dream. But that's just what I've done; I've postponed it. I haven't forgotten it, or lost it, or shelved it forever.

September 28, 2013 may not have been my ultramarathon debut but I am certain that it will happen. At some point, I will run an insane amount of miles in one day and live to brag about it, I might even include some fabulous, sweaty, post race pictures for your viewing pleasure.

In a strange, demented, way I am almost grateful for this knee injury. Before this, I took running for granted. I took for granted my ability to walk out my front door and engage in some much needed free therapy. To pound  the pavement, shake the yuckiness out of my muscles, clear my head, and become a better version of myself.

Now, every run is a gift. Each mile is a reminder that I am blessed. Missing a race is sad and disappointing but right now, running pain free is enough.

Have you had to postpone a goal, a race, or a dream due to injury? How did you handle it?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Profiles of Inspirational Women: Shelley

My friend Shelley is cool. Way cooler then me. She is a great writer, well read, intelligent, and kind. She runs like a billion miles a month, often pushing her two adorable boys in a stroller. She taught body pump practically until she delivered her second son. Yeah, she needs an umbrella because I sweat her so much.

She has graciously agreed to answer a few questions; sharing with us how she balances motherhood and living an active lifestyle.

Read. Get inspired. Get moving!  

My Story: I started running in 9th grade when my history teacher, who was also the track coach encouraged me to give hurdles a shot. I was a pretty serious ballet dancer, which he knew, and he thought my flexibility would be a good fit for the hurdles. I gave it a shot, and ran for two years until I broke my foot on a hurdle at a regional track meet. I didn't pick running up again until my freshman year in college where I was a walk on to the track team. I ran for two years in college, saw improvement in my times but after a semester in London and a series of injuries, called track quits during my junior year. I continued to run for fun, won a couple of 5k's and then the marathon bug bit hard my senior year of college. I ran with my best friend and we spent hours training together. One marathon turned into two, then a 50k, then a Boston qualifier and Boston itself. I took about six months off after I got married due to injury. After recovering from a nasty case of plantar fasciitis, my husband and I trained for a marathon together. That marathon was in 2006 and since then I've done a couple longer races including an attempt at 50 miles, a 50k and a really fun 12 hour race.

What Running Means to Me: I didn't really start distance running until my senior year of college. A handful of 5k's preceded my marathon days but as a former sprinter, running really long distances was intimidating. After college, running became a way for me to really connect with my best friend. We were living about an hour apart but would pick a race every 6 months to a year to run together. We met as often as we could for training runs. When I moved even further away we decided to try out a 50 miler. We called each other during long runs and enjoyed the day of the race together. It was a great way to stay connected. I ran with her after she had her kids, she ran with me after my first child was born. For me running is a way to stay connected to her as well as a way to keep my sanity. I am a better person when I run. It helps me keep a clear head, talk through life situations with a running partner or through praying. I love the time outside, the peacefulness of the sound of my shoes hitting the pavement and the quiet of the early morning.

Making it a Priority with Two Little Guys: I ran until about 30 weeks while pregnant with my first, although never more than 3 or 4 miles at a time. I ran until 40 weeks 3 days while pregnant with #2 and kept up 25-30 miles a week until near the end. Now that they are both a huge part of my life, running is a bit more of a challenge. I have two options: wake up when it is dark and run while my entire house is quiet or push both in the double stroller. I try to take option #1 as much as possible but with a little guy who doesn't always (or ever) sleep through the night, I sometimes hit the snooze and sleep in. It means pushing a lot of kid weight but, my two year old LOVES heading out for a run--especially if it means we will stop at the playground or Starbucks. My husband also likes to exercise, so he is encouraging and knows it is necessary for me to run!

Obstacles: My biggest obstacle right now is a lack of sleep. The lack of sleep leads to tired legs which leads to a bit of discouragement when I remember the runner I used to be. On those sleepy days, I leave my watch behind and focus on the fact that I am doing something that helps me be a healthier, happier person. Another obstacle is injury. Right now I am working through my first injury in eight years. A combination of running with a stroller and running on tired legs has contributed to the injury but each day I run is a blessing and I am trying to be responsible as I ice, stretch and rest when needed.

Advice: Get your spouse on board! Having a husband who understands that I like to run is a huge blessing. If he didn't encourage me to get out the door on some days, I don't know if I would. Exercise with your kids if you have to but do it as much as you can without them. I like getting up early to run because it gives me a little break as a stay at home mom. (If you do get up early have everything ready the night before, right down to having your shoes untied--it makes it a little easier). It allows me to have a few minutes before I am wiping faces, nursing a baby and changing diapers. Find a running partner or group that can hold you accountable and brag about your running on Facebook, a blog, or twitter. When I was pregnant I shamelessly posted almost every workout on Facebook through daily mile. Having people comment and encourage me online was a huge boost.

Goals: At the moment, my goals are mostly mileage related. This year I want to run 1250 miles, next year 1500. I would love to run a 1:40 half marathon but that might be a couple of years off as we look to add another member to our family in the next two years. I like to try to run between 30-35 miles per week as a number to shoot for and by the end of the year would like to be at 40. Eventually I want to work on my speed again, but right now my main goal is to simply run and enjoy myself. I am doing a 15 mile race this fall with my dear friend but don't have any real time goals. I love running for the sake of running, getting faster, doing long races, and sharing the activity with others are icing on the cake.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

living on the edge

Motherhood has been getting the best of me recently.

My daughter, who I thought was potty trained, has been wetting her bed at night. Last night was the 4th night in a week and at 4:30 am, with my alarm scheduled to go off at 5:20, I was less then pleased. Then she started singing. A rather loud and off key rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". When my husband's alarm went off at 5, I gave up and went for a run.

There's been a lot of giving up.

Yesterday she declared she was hungry then couldn't decide what she wanted. Then she didn't want cold yogurt which, of course, makes perfect sense because she's only been eating cold yogurt EVERYDAY SINCE SHE WAS 7 MONTHS OLD! Then she decided she wanted PB&J but only if I made it. Daddy wasn't allowed to do it. My kind husband took one look at me and decided I probably shouldn't be anywhere near a knife, butter or otherwise, and made the sandwich. He left it in the kitchen and I delivered it. After that she was all smiles, butterflies, and unicorns. By then my nerves were shot and I needed a nap. and chocolate. lots of chocolate.

I think I need to stop praying for patience because God is definitely using E to test my resolve. I'm not sure that's theologically sound but I'm living on the edge here, people, and it's not the edge of glory like Lady GaGa is always going on about.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

such a bad blogger...

 Ok friends. I owe you an apology. I've been a HUGE blogging slacker. 

I don't have any excuses, well at least not any good ones.

School has started and we've been getting back into our respective schedules. W started kindergarten and it's been an adjustment for everyone to have him gone all day. I feel like I never see him anymore. He's having a blast though and has already won his teacher's heart.

I may not be running in the 50k next week but I have been running. For the last two weeks I've been back to my 4 day a week running schedule. I'm not back to my pre-knee drama mileage but I'm getting there. I ran 11 miles this morning with my running partner and the knee cooperated.

You're such a good knee, yes you are.

Today's run gave me the confidence that the half marathon I have scheduled for October is doable. It feels good to be back on the road, relatively pain free, and getting my miles in.

I am a happy runner girl.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Recipe Review: Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I have a friend, Becca, who makes me yummy things to eat. When we're together, I can always count on a cookie, a cake, or a muffin to make an appearance - oh and chocolate chips pancakes and chewy bacon.

I am a lucky girl.

This past visit, I remembered to ask for (and did not lose) the recipe for these fabulous little muffins that I woke up to one morning. Becca kindly agreed to let me share this recipe with you because everyone needs a little chocolate banana goodness in their lives.  She's all about helping.

Becca's Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

- 3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup natural applesauce
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
- 1 cup AP flour (or 1/2 AP, 1/2 whole wheat)
- 1/2 cup Oatmeal
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add sugar and mix until well blended. Add in the egg and applesauce and beat together.
Without stirring, add the dry ingredients to the bowl. Once they are added, stir the dry ingredients a bit, then incorporate into the wet ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spoon into well greased medium sized muffin tins or tins lined with liners.
Bake for 20-25 minutes @ 350 degrees.
*if you can resist the temptation, let them cool completely before eating. Otherwise, they tend to stick to the liners - unless you like licking muffin liners and well then... have fun!

this is about as pretty as my food pictures will ever get
 I made 24 on Thursday. Today is Saturday and there are 5 left. Based on that information, I'll let you be the judge of whether or not they are tasty. 


Friday, August 30, 2013

My new favorite thing ever: Kindrunner.com

I ordered a new pair of running shoes the other day.

Online. And not from Amazon.

Normally, I'm a local running shop kind of girl. Well, not quite local, as I usually shop at the running store by my in-laws' house about 9 hours away. I didn't need shoes when we last visited, and I'm too lazy to make the 40 minute drive to visit the closest metropolis - so online I went.

When I finally decided which shoe I wanted - which was more stressful that I'd like to admit - I went to a few different sites to compare prices.  Usual list of suspects: Running Warehouse, Road Runner Sports etc... and then an unexpected rookie: KindRunner.
I first learned about KindRunner on Twitter. All these cool people that I follow were all like "buy shoes from kindrunner!" and "buy a pair, give a pair!" and "free shipping! free returns! free re-shipping!" So much excitement. So much use of the word "free".

Kindrunner, you had me at free shipping.

Kindrunner, you had me when you gave me the Confident Runner Price and saved me some cash.

Kindrunner, you had me when you said you'll take my gently used shoes and give them to people in need and then (if that wasn't enough) you will give me $10 in Kindness Cash Rewards. $10 that I can use towards my next purchase (or hoard like the cheap miser that I am).

Kindrunner, you had me when I received my shoes in a timely fashion, with a note stating that as one of your first 500 customers, I will receive free socks for life! Every time I buy a pair of shoes, you will send me a pair of FREE socks! And not just any old pair of socks, but a pair of fancy smancy Brooks socks!

Stick a fork in me, I'm done. I am a KindRunner for life. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

bad friend, awesome hermit

 Dear Mrs. ______,

With regret, your Callaway Gardens reservation has been cancelled.

Guest Name
Cancellation Number
Cancellation Date Friday, August 16, 2013
Arrival Date Friday, September 27, 2013
Departure Date Saturday, September 28, 2013

 It's official. My hotel reservation for the 50k has been cancelled. I am not running my first ultramarathon this September. 

I've never had to miss a scheduled race due to an injury. I've never had my training derailed and my monthly mileage literally cut in half.

It's been quite depressing.

What does a runner do when a runner can't run?

I am not a gym rat. I can not spend hours on an elliptical or treadmill. I need to run. I need to be outside. I need to lace up my running sneakers, watch my Garmin search for a signal, and listen to my heart beat in time to some random song on my iPod.

It's been hard. I've been impatient, stressed, cranky, and restless. I've had no motivation to blog. I find myself scowling at my run-centric Facebook feed. I haven't been on Twitter in forever. Reading about other people running and racing makes me sigh.

Thankfully, though, I think the cloud is lifting. I've been able to run a few times a week with minimal to no knee pain. This past Thursday, I finally went for a much needed run with my running partner.

I may not be running in my first ultramarathon this fall but I will someday. This knee isn't going to keep me down forever.          

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Product Review: OVERDRIVE Compression Sock + Ice Kit

I never win contests. Or raffles. Or giveaways. Especially if it's an item that I really want. So I was quite surprised when I received an email from 110% that I won an OVERDRIVE Compression Socks + Ice Kit. At first I thought it was spam. Then I thought it was a ploy to get me to sign up for something. Then I remembered I had entered their summer giveaway and I ACTUALLY WON!

So exciting.

I was even more excited when I received the kit and realized how freaking cool it is.

Basically, it's a pair of gradient compression socks with a sleeve that goes over top. You then place the included ice packs (that you can custom fit to the area) in between the compression sock and the sleeve. So you're getting the benefits of a compression sock and ice all at the same time. No more plastic wrap or being confined to the floor with ice packs and dishtowels (which is basically how I've been spending every night for the last month). You can actually walk around your house, cook dinner, or even venture outside if you're brave while helping your body recover. Genius.

My husband struggles with Achilles tightness and soreness so I saw his pain as a perfect opportunity to model this great product for my blog.

I am so in love with this concept that I'm five minutes away from ordering the Blitz Knee Compression + Ice.

Trust me, if you're using ice more then once a week and have problem areas that need some extra TLC - you NEED this product. I'm not even getting paid to say that people - it's just the truth. So head over to the website and hook yourself up. You will not regret it.

*All opinions expressed are my own and while I received the product through a giveaway I was not in any way compensated for this post.*

Friday, August 16, 2013

it can only go up from here

Today has been one of the most stressful days I've had in a long time.

This morning, in the pouring rain, I took my son to his first day of kindergarten. Last night he gave me a teary, neck crushing hug, song and dance about how he didn't want to go. He wanted to go to American Ninja Warrior and climb the Salmon Ladder and not fall in the water.  I sighed, kissed his forehead, and told him he has to go to school before he can be on American Ninja Warrior.

I think the excitement of a new lunch box and new shoes pacified him because, this morning, he sat right down in his little chair and obliged me with one last kiss with no fuss. I didn't even have time to be sad after I left him because it took me 20 minutes of wandering in the pouring rain before I could find my husband and be rescued from ankle deep water. I think the police officers directing traffic were starting to get suspicious.

And the drama continues....

Yesterday afternoon my daughter hurt her leg. She won't put any pressure or weight on it. I was sure she would be fine when she woke up this morning - she wasn't. After a consult with her doctor's office, we headed to the walk-in clinic so she could get an x-ray. She was not pleased. There was a lot of screaming and comments like "boy, she's strong." I bribed her with everything I could think of including but not limited to two packages of Curious George fruit snacks, a Curious George movie, chocolate milk, and lollipops. She complied to a point and everything looked normal, so we're at home watching lots of television and resting on the couch.

per E a blankie must be covering her leg at all times
And if that wasn't enough...

There's water in my basement. Apparently, there is a pin sized hole in the basement wall that's leaking. Leaking enough to be noticeable. Leaking enough to be annoying.

You should be able to quit and reset a day like you can reset a video game. That would be so awesome.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How Running Changed My Life: Jason Guillorn

The first time I met Jason was a water fountain in our local park. We were both training for a marathon and chatted a bit about training and races. At the time, I assumed he had always been a runner and a healthy, fit individual. It wasn't until very recently that I learned he used running to completely overhaul his life. 

1. What is your story?
My story began in February of 2011 when I was the heaviest I have ever been at 225 pounds. I wanted to start losing weight not only for myself but mostly for my family. I'm a husband, a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a co-worker and a friend. I want to be around for them for a long time. 

I had never been a runner so I knew that it was going to be hard. I downloaded the Couch 2 5k app on my iPod and started running 3 days a week. After I finished the 5k program, I then progressed to a 10k program, then a half marathon program, and then a marathon program. I recently became a certified running coach through Road Runners Club of America. I also help coach a kids track & field team and we are starting a cross country team this fall through Fusion Sports and Recreation. I am also a part of a local running club, Crown Chasers, and am excited to get it up and running. 

2. How has running changed your life?
WOW.......so much! The obvious stuff is the weight loss, 45lbs to date, and the smaller clothes. I love to drink water, I would have never said that before my journey started. I used to drink close to a 2 liter of Coke a day. I also love all kinds of fruits, vegetables and healthy foods now. I have encouraged others in my life (family, friends and coworkers) to make some lifestyle changes. I could say the biggest change in my life is that I feel like Jesus has given me PASSION and purpose for my life. 

3. What obstacles have you faced?
I would say the biggest obstacle for me has been trying to balance my family, work, volunteering, and my training. My wife Tracy, and our kids have been so supportive of my running. 

4. What advice would you give someone who is just starting on their running journey?
I recommend you first go see a doctor and make sure you get checked out. Then just get out there and WALK! Start slow and work your way up to a running program. I would then say to find a good program or hire a running coach to help you out. One thing I regret not doing is keeping a journal of MY STORY. It would be great write everything down and take pictures of yourself. Also, let family and friends know what your goals are and let them help you and encourage you while on your journey.

5. What are some of your goals?
I would like to qualify for the Boston Marathon at some point. I am watching two of my goals come into maturity now. Those goals are the formation of Crown Chasers and my volunteer work with Fusion Sports and Recreation. I am so glad that I GET to be a part of both of them. With both of these ministries I hope that I can help kids and adults make some life style changes.

Jason and his wife Tracy, July 2010
photo courtesy of Jason Guillorn
Jason and Tracy, May 2013
photo courtesy of Jason Guillorn

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

50k training: week 4

It's been over 2 weeks since I've had a successful run. I'm not even going to depress myself by calculating the mileage I've missed. 

The knee is not better. Participating in the 50k is becoming less and less of a reality. I'm sad and frustrated. 

I've made an appointment with an Orthopedic doctor and I'm hoping he will be able to shed some light on the problem and get me back on the road.

I just want to run again. 

No Outlet

Running is my stress relief. It provides me with the opportunity to walk (or run) away from life's frustration, anxiety, sadness, and disappointment.

So what do I do when I can't run?

Wallow. Seethe. Cry. Lash out. Pout.

I don't even want to be near me.

It's like being on a taper multiplied by a 100. Or day 2 of a caffeine detox. Or when you've been visiting family for over 4 weeks, have slept in 5 different places, and haven't been able to run in over a week. Oh wait; that's exactly what's happening to me.

Not being able to run, especially in some of my favorite places, has been harder then I had imagined. It's almost painful to see other runners sweating, breathing hard, and enjoying their runs when I'm stuck in civilian clothes and only sweating because its hot. 

Life is hard and it's harder when you have no outlet. Dear knee. please hurry up and heal. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

50k Training: week 3


2 miles. That's all I ran this week. It wasn't even a full 2 miles, it was more of a ridiculous fast walk where I grimaced and clenched my teeth the whole time.

My knee is better but still not 100%. We've been on vacation so I haven't been able to go see a Doctor so I've been icing it and resting it as much as a mother of 2 on vacation can rest.

I'm not going to lie, I'm not really handling this well. It's been awhile since I've taken this much time off and to do it during training isn't sitting well. Thinking about all the miles I'm missing and the days disappearing - ugh.

I keep trying to remind myself that I went into training with a good base already established. That this is just a setback and everything will be fine. Then I imagine the giant woods on the giant mountain that I'm supposed to run in and my stomach drops. Under the best circumstances I was going to be out of my element; missing a week or more is just frightening.

All I can do is wait it out and hope it gets better soon. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if it doesn't. 

Week 4

Mon: 0    Tues: 2    Wed: 4    Thurs: 6    Fri: 0    Sat: 14    Sun: 8    Total: 34

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

knee drama

As I mentioned in my 50k training: week 2 post I did something funky to my knee.

On Saturday, I ran 10 miles and then walked around the island of Manhattan for hours. As I walked down the steps leaving the High Line, I put my left foot down and immediately felt a painful twinge in my knee. It got worse as the day progressed and by bedtime I couldn't bend my knee at all. 

It was noticeably swollen the next day and I began to wonder if I had banged it and the stress of a long run and walking was just too much. 

I have missed 2 runs, or 8 miles, because of this ridiculousness. I'm trying hard to remember that I have a good mileage base and resting now ensures I'll be healthy to run later. But it's hard to keep things in perspective when your training schedule keeps moving forward and you're standing (or sitting) still.

Today it's better but still not a 100%. I'm hanging out in a recliner, watching cartoons with my kids, only getting up to switch ice packs. It helps that we're in the middle of a heat wave so I don't feel as guilty for being lazy, oh, I mean resting.

Hoping against hope my scheduled 2 miles happens tomorrow... 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

50k Training: week 2

Week 2 and already we have a hiccup. I did something to my knee. I'm not sure what: one minute it was fine and the next it wasn't. Now it hurts to bend it - I'm walking down stairs like a robot. 

I'm making the aggravating decision to skip today's 6 miles. I normally have Mondays off so I'm hoping 2 days of rest and ice will take care of whatever this is because I refuse to be sidelined with a ridiculous, out of nowhere injury.

I've also been struggling with tight Achilles tendons. This happens from time to time but seems particularly worse this time around. Yesterday's 10 mile run was downright horrible for the first 5 miles, even after I stopped two or three times to stretch them out. I think the hilly terrain I've been running this last week or so hasn't helped the situation.  

Tues: 4 / I was scheduled to run 2 but it was overcast and there was a cool breeze so 2 turned into 4. I ended that run with a smile on my face.

Wed: 4 / We were visiting my Dad and he wanted to take the kids to the Crayola Experience so I switched Wednesday & Thursday's run and ran 4 on the trails. Another run that ended with a smile.

Thurs: 2 / This run can be summed up in one word: painful. My husband said that the grimace on my face was actually scaring him. My Achilles were burning and were so tight that I wasn't sure I'd even be able to finish the run. There was a lot of stretching going on after that run.

Sat: 10 / It's easy to achieve negative splits when the first half of your run BLOWS HUGE CHUNKS. Between the humidity and the lower half of my legs, I seriously considered laying down in the fetal position and never getting up again.  Thankfully, some Gu Chomps, a visit to the bathroom, and some more stretching led to a much better second half.

Week 3

Mon: 0    Tues: 2    Wed: 2    Thurs: 4    Fri: 0    Sat: 12    Sun: 8    Total: 28
Clove Lakes Park  photo source

Silver Lake Park photo source

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Product Review: Simple Hydration bottle

Simple Hydration Bottle
photo courtesy of Simple Hydration 

I asked my husband, Seth, to write a review of the Simple Hydration bottle because I'm still too pooped from my first ever back to back long runs. He kindly obliged. Enjoy! 

For her birthday, my wife received a Simple water bottle. Simple was running a special whereby if you bought one water bottle, you got a second at a discount - as a result, I ended up with one. I already have a FuelBelt and a Nathan 20oz handheld bottle, and didn't need another water bottle. Nevertheless, Simple advertises itself as being able to be shoved into your pocket or waistbelt - making it a combo handheld/belt bottle - so I decided to give it a shot.

I used the Simple for the first time on an 11-mile run over some serious hills in addition to my FuelBelt. I figured that even if it was a complete bust, I'd have fluid backup. 

The Simple worked fantastically. It fit right into the back of my running shorts, and never shifted. This, despite the fact that I removed and replaced it several times over the course of my first 6 miles. Once it was empty, it stayed right in place. For the first mile, having something down the back of my shorts took some getting used to, but after that, I hardly noticed it at all. 

When I first saw the bottle, I was worried that it would slowly shift up by back and fall out somewhere - at no point in my 11 miles did it shift at all, either when it was full of water, or empty. When I was carrying it, the ergomatic grip made it easy to hold on to. The bottle holds 13oz, which means that it wasn't too heavy to hold on to for extended periods of time. The cap is plastic - not rubber - but that didn't seem to cause any problems shooting water down my throat.

Since the bottle holds 13oz, it is useful on its own for shorter distances in the heat of summer, but - as I experienced - it can easily be used to supplement other hydration systems.

On the negative side, the water didn't remain cool at all, and was rather warm when I drank it - but it is unfair to expect anything else from a water bottle that was stored in the back of my waistband for nearly an hour in 80+ degree weather. It also did not have - like my Nathan bottle has - any storage, but - again - I plan to use this bottle on shorter runs or as a supplement when I have other storage options. In fact, using the zip-pocket on a handheld can increase the weight of the bottle, making it uncomfortable to haul any significant distance.

I plan to use this Simple bottle on all of my shorter runs (or at least those where I feel the need for mid-run hydration) and as the first option on my long runs in combination with the FuelBelt. I hope that the plastic cap holds up to repeated use - if it does, this may become my most used bottle of choice.

*There has been no compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are our own* 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Profiles of Inspirational Women: Randi Owens

I first met Randi in 2012, at her first 5k, a race we were running in to help friends raise money for an international adoption. I was immediately struck by her determination and desire to get healthy and change her life. She is the perfect example of how running can be the catalyst for monumental change. 

What is your story and why did you decide to start running?

This is me back before I started taking care of my body. I didn't realize just how far I had allowed myself to go downhill. I have struggled with my weight since my early teen years, but this was at the peak of my weight. I would see people running on the side of the road, and I would wish that I could be one of them. I just didn't know how to start... I would try to run, but after 30 seconds I would be so winded that I would have to stop. I was not really happy with where I was, but I didn't change it either. However, during one season of the Biggest Loser in 2009, my oldest sister and I, and a few friends, decided to have our own Biggest Loser challenge and the person who had the highest percentage of weight loss would win the money at the end of the 10 weeks. That's when I lost about 60 pounds! But once the challenge was over I gained about 30 back. I didn't know what I was going to do to motivate myself to lose weight again.
You're probably wondering where the running comes in, January 2012 my friend, Maggie, asked me to run a 5k that would take place March 17, 2012. I decided, why not? I've always wanted to be a runner, and I need something to motivate me to do it, so I signed up, bought a pair of running shoes, and started training. I didn't have any idea what to do really, I would just go out, run as far as I could, then walk some, then run, then walk... Over the next few weeks my running built up, but not as quickly as I would have liked. But I kept going because I could see a change in my body. I was also going to another friend's house for personal training 2 days a week. I have never regretted the decision to sign up for my first 5k, the only thing I regret is that it took me so long to become a runner!
How has running changed your life? Running has given me a new confidence in myself. I know I am not the fastest runner, I have days, weeks, months when I just don't want to lace up the shoes and hit the pavement... but my body hates me for it and craves it... I know that sounds weird, but it really does! I love the feeling of pushing myself, and setting goals and meeting them.
What obstacles have you faced? I moved to Viet Nam for 8 weeks (April 17-June 12)... I continued to run, but there were no hills and Ho Chi Minh City is at sea level, so when I got back to SC I have noticed that I am really having to work harder to keep up the pace, and to be able to run hills. I know that it will come back to me with training, but it has caused me to miss PRs in races since I've been back.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting on their running journey? NEVER GIVE UP! I know that sounds cliche and all, but it's true. I went a month without running, but during that month I kept telling myself to get back out there... I did, eventually! Running may seem like something you may never be able to do, but believe me, if I can do it, you can too! 
Practical advice: Get a good pair of running shoes!!! No joke! It's the most important part of your running wardrobe! Bad shoes can cause foot problems, knee problems, and/or make you not want to run. Go to a running store and let the people there fit you for a running shoe. Good running shoes aren't cheap, but they are worth it!!!
What are some of your goals?
This year... 
Run a sub 40 5k.
Run a 5k without any walking breaks.
Run 13 races. (I have done 6 already!)

Long term...
Run a Marathon before 27/7/2015 (to celebrate turning 30, but before I turn 31).
Run a race, marathon or half-marathon, on every continent... okay, maybe not Antarctica! 
Do a triathlon!

After Randi's first half-marathon (Jan 19, 2013)
photo courtesy of Randi Owens