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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

brother and sister

Yesterday, while taking a short walk through our neighborhood, my daughter got nervous.

I told her to continue holding my hand and to hold her Daddy's hand.

She said no. "Brother's hand." "You want to hold Brother's hand?" "Yes."

insert melting heart here.

W shifted his glove and baseball to his other hand and then took his sister's hand into his own.

For a few minutes, I was able to see the beginning of a relationship that I hope will grow and continue for the rest of their lives.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I got my kids to eat carrots.

My non vegetable eating children ate carrots.

No, it's not a miracle. I didn't even have to bribe them. I simply pureed some carrots and mixed it into my homemade macaroni & cheese. They cleaned their plates.

I stole the recipe from my Mother in Law and it is truly the best homemade mac n' cheese I have ever had. I will share it with you because I am kind.

Mom P's Mac n' Cheese
1 16oz. box of pasta (I let the kids pick which shape they want)
12 slices of american cheese
liberal amount of shredded cheese - cheddar, mozzarella
milk - salt - pepper - seasoned salt

Cook the pasta. Drain. Put 1/2 into 13x9 pan. I pureed 2 carrots with a few tsp of water and mixed half of the mixture into the pasta in the dish. Add salt/pepper to taste. Top with 6 slices of cheese and shredded cheese. I put the remaining pasta in a bowl with the pureed carrots and mixed before placing in the dish. Repeat with pasta and cheese. Pour milk over entire casserole (will look slightly soupy). Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes.  

I have delusions that I can try this with broccoli. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Product Review: Altra Zero Drop

After my last marathon, I could not bear to put my feet into my Asics GT-2000's. Although the damage was minor; a blister and at least three sore toe nails, I just couldn't do it. Almost two weeks later and I still have not unpacked them from my running bag.

For my first post marathon run, I went down into the basement and unearthed these beauties...

mine are green...
Please let me introduce you to the Altra Zero Drop. A little freaky looking right? Definitely not your run of the mill running shoe. This shoe has the roomiest toe box I have ever seen. EVER. It's one of their claims to fame. For my injured toesies it was like manna from heaven. This shoe is also supposed to provide you with the benefits of minimalist or barefoot running but with protection and cushioning. Basically, because the heel and the forefoot are the same distance from the ground it allows for a more natural foot strike, therefore helping to reduce the initial impact.

According to their website, this shoe should help reduce a number of common problems runners face. I struggle with big toe joint pain and my high arches and I are engaged in a constant battle. I don't have a full fledged case of plantar fasciitis but I can't wear flat shoes or go barefoot for long periods of time. 

So far, I've put about 14 miles on these things and I'm in love. I had some calf tightness but nothing a good stretch couldn't cure. 

I'm sorry Asics but I think it's time we say goodbye. I found someone else. I would say it's not you, it's me but that would be a lie. It is you. I'm sure you will find someone else and run many miles with them. Just not with me. Thank you for the last 10 years. You will always have a special place in my heart. xoxo

Hello Altra..... *wink, wink*

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Boston

As a runner, I am heartbroken. I am horrified that a race, similar to the ones I run in every year, was targeted  in such a senseless way. As I read through my twitter feed and realized what had happened, I immediately turned on my television. I literally gasped out loud when I first saw the footage. My first thought was about the runners. I know what it takes to cross that finish line - the time, the dedication, the mental strength. That someone took that away from them makes me angry.

wearing a race shirt in support
As a mother, I am scared for the future and what it holds for my children. 9/11. Newton. Boston. The world can be a frightening place. Before yesterday, the finish line at a marathon was the last place where I would be concerned for the safety of my family. I will continue to run marathons. Our family will continue to cheer. There will be, however, extra prayers and a heightened awareness of our surroundings. A seed of wariness and of sadness has been planted.

As a Christian, I am grateful that I serve a loving God. I am thankful that He is in control. I am thankful that His love is evident and plentiful in the Boston Community. I am thankful that even in the midst of chaos, He is the anchor.

I stopped asking "why" a long time ago. I'm not so concerned
with the "who" either. I'd rather focus on how we, as a community, can help. How we can support those affected and help them heal. The running community will rally. Endurance athletes are, by nature, stubborn. We will not stop running. Races will be held all over the country and people will run in honor of Boston.    

I, myself, ran a silent mile for the victims this morning. It was an early run, 5:30, just the birds and I. I prayed, and will continue to do so, for the runners that had their moment cut short. For the injured spectators that their wounds, seen and unseen, will heal. For the running community that will not be bullied into fear or submission. There are no words to express how proud I am to be a runner. My heart overflows.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Return to Running

I'm not going to lie: Knoxville was rough. As in maybe I don't want to run anymore rough. 

So I took the week off. Slept in. Washed my running clothes and put them in the drawer. I didn't think about running and I didn't talk about running.  

Not only did I not want to run, I didn't even feel guilty about it. That has never happened before. "What does that mean?" I wondered to myself. "Is this it?" "Am I done?" 31 years old, 5 marathons, and 6 halfs. Am I really finished?  

Clearly, I was burnt out and wounded. 

Thursday night, I was watching Project Runway (because that's what you do when you don't need to get up early to run) when Michelle, a contestant, said something that struck me. "And now the next step is to heal. And to regroup. And rejuvenate and get that inspiration to move forward." Now, of course, she's talking about creating a line for Fashion Week, but it occurred to me that's what I needed to do. I needed to heal. I needed to deal with what happened at Knoxville and move on.  

I needed to run.

So Friday afternoon, I gave in and went out for an easy 2 miles. As my feet hit the pavement, I thought.Thought about those marathon miles when I wanted to quit. Thought about how hard it was to keep moving forward when all I wanted to do was stop. Thought about how I doubted myself, my training, and my sanity. And with each step, the load became a bit lighter. The frustration and the sadness lessened. The truth of the matter is I finished. I didn't stop when that was all I wanted to do. I need to be proud of that. I need to accept Knoxville for what it was and move on. 

Later that evening, I ran a 5k with two friends. Two women who believed they would not be able to complete the distance. I watched them push past their limits and achieve their goal. If I hadn't been there, if I wasn't running, I would have missed it. I would have missed sharing that moment with them. That is why I run. That is why I will continue to run. So, thank you Austina and Kim for helping this runner heal and get her groove back.    


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Recipe: yogurt covered blueberries

I recently outed myself as a sugar addict and recently outlined my treatment plan. Part of that plan involves eating fresh fruit. As you can see, I'm still eating sugar just not shoving it in large quantities down my gullet.

I don't eat much fruit beyond bananas, apples, and clementines. I tend to be a fruit of opportunity kind of girl. If it's in the house I'll eat it but I rarely think to buy it when I see it in the supermarket. Or even worse, I'll buy it and then forget to eat it before it goes bad. I always feel a little bit guilty when that happens.  

I needed a new approach. Enter Pinterest. Speaking of which, what did we do before this marvel was created? I would have never thought to dip blueberries in honey greek yogurt and freeze them. Thankfully, Sara at The Caffeinated Chronicles of a Supermom is sharing her creativity with the world.

This little snack is ridiculously easy to make. Take a carton of fresh blueberries, dip them them (using a toothpick) in Dannon Oikos honey greek yogurt, put the yogurt covered blueberries on a baking sheet, and put those blue beauties in the freezer for about an hour.

Voila! A ready to eat, yummy, healthier snack option.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Race Recap: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon

So Knoxville. Yea. Two words: hilly and hot.

Q. Is the course very hilly? 
A. The course has some hills, particularly in the first half of the marathon.  It is not terribly hilly though. You can see a course profile in the race information page. The total elevation change is not dramatic, but there aren’t very many miles that are just flat. 

"Not terribly hilly...". Mmmm. Thinking back that should have tipped me off. The problem is that I rarely ever look at course maps or elevation charts. If a race is a drive-able distance with two kids, reasonably priced, and at a good time during the year, I'm probably going to run it. This methodology completely failed me yesterday.

The second half of the race wasn't as hilly as the first but by then the temperature has risen at least 10 degrees. So any energy I had left after the hills were sucked from my body by the flaming ball in the sky. And can someone please explain to me why marathoners are like the red headed step-children when it comes to course planning? The first half ran through beautiful sections of Knoxville. Scenic and well to do areas. Then around mile 15 or 16 it got sketchy. Broken glass. Abandoned storefronts. The number of runners around me dropped significantly after we split from the half and if there hadn't been police officers at every intersection, (a big, huge thank you to Knoxville PD by the way) I would have been nervous. 

Then it was welcome to the highways of Knoxville time. I loathe running on highways. No one cheers for anyone on the side of a highway. There are no bands that race websites are always so excited about. It's like no man's land out there.  

The wheels fell off at about mile 19. I had nothing. Despite the copious amount of fluid I was drinking, I knew I was getting dehydrated. It got so bad that I seriously considered cheating and skipping miles 21 & 22. There was this huge loop and I saw mile marker 23 on the other side of the road. "Who would know?" I said to myself. The good angel screamed, "You! You would know!" The bad angel countered, "You are so tired. Everything hurts. Your toenails? Gone. You would only have three miles left. C'mon you know you want to." Only my love for Jesus and my pride kept me from crossing that double white line. 

Eventually, I crossed the finish line at the 50 yard line of the University of Tennessee football field. I have never been so thankful to see a finish line in my life. 

Marathons are hard. It doesn't matter if you're running your first or your fifth. It was strictly willpower and determination that dragged my pitiful body across that finish line. You really find out what you're capable of doing when you have nothing left. I am proud of myself for finishing. I am proud of myself for running the entire race. I am proud of leaving everything out there on that course. Marathon #5 is in the books. 

P.S. I may have had a semi traumatic race but the race itself was wonderfully run. There were inflatables and kids' activities at the expo. There were more then enough port a potties. The volunteers were amazing. They refilled water bottles for me and were incredibly encouraging. The spectators that came out to cheer were excited and supportive. The neighborhood of Island Home will forever have my thanks for the oranges at miles 21 & 22. So, if you're considering Knoxville make sure you check the course map and the weather beforehand and have a great race! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Product Review: graze

Last week I came clean about my addiction to sugar

The tipping point was when I read this blog post by Mommy Run Faster about overcoming sugar cravings. Each new tip was a smack to the forehead. 1. Drink more water. You would think as a runner I would have this one down. Mmmm not so much. I went one day a few weeks ago without drinking anything. Nothing. All day. 2. Identify your triggers. I struggle the most in the mid afternoon when I'm cleaning up from lunch or after putting the kids down for nap, I find myself going through the pantry and the fridge looking for something sweet.

I decided enough was enough. It's not so much the actual eating that bothers me as much as my lack of self control. I was shoving the cookies down so fast that I wasn't even enjoying them. Not cool.

I had to come up with a plan. More Water. More fresh fruit. Healthier snacks. This is where graze comes in.

graze is this awesome web based company that creates a box of healthy snacks, in sensible portions, and mails them to you. For $5 a box you get these great tasting, healthy, sugar craving quencher snacks and the best part? A lot of the snacks come with chocolate! Just tonight, my husband and I shared a snack of white chocolate, amaretti drops, almond slices, and coconut. It was as good as it sounds.    

Of course, graze is not the solution to my problem but it is one resource that I can use to conquer this pesky little sweet tooth of mine.

Currently, graze is by invite only (ooo so exclusive!) and I have 1 invitation code. If you are interested in trying it out, leave me a comment below and I will give you the code. First come, first serve.

*I have not been compensated for this post and all views expressed are my own.