Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm still here...

I survived Ragnar, and I have SO much to say about it.  It was incredible.  But, I have to spend some time sorting through the pictures and thinking about what I want to say about one of the best experiences of my life.  So, the post will be up in a day or two. Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

This is it...

I'm leaving tonight for Saratoga.  My team starts our Ragnar legs at 8am tomorrow.  To say I'm freaking out is an understatement.  I have reached the point in my nervousness where I am questioning why I ever signed up for this in the first place.  I'm also trying to find any reason to drop out.  But, I have 11 other people relying on me, so I can't.  I guess I just have to get through it.  I hope it ends up being a good event.  It doesn't help that they're calling for rain both days.  Oh well, it is what it is.

I'll see you on the other side...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just Run

“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”
                                                                                           ~John Bingham                                                                                                                               

Sometimes, I need to remember this.  I have been struggling with running lately.  Not because it has been hard, but because I have felt unmotivated.  I have actually been doing really well this summer.  My pace has improved and I am a stronger runner than I was last year.  But, I'm in the midst of a blah phase.  It's not surprising.  That's the thing about running.  It isn't always wonderful.  Every run isn't enjoyable.  Sometimes there are phases when running just sucks.  But, there are also times when running is amazing.  When you can feel your feet flying beneath you and you feel invincible.  When you can't imagine doing anything else.  I have been running long enough to know that the lows are always replaced with highs.  The crappy runs are always overshadowed by incredible, perfect, magical runs.  Those of us who run do so because we're always striving for that perfect run.  The one that clears your head and makes sense of the world. The run that grounds you.  The run that makes you feel superhuman.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it makes all the crappy runs worth it.  

Today, I had one of those runs.  It didn't start out great, but I quickly settled into it and my legs started working independent of my head.  I just let myself go and surrendered to the road, and it was great.  I ran 9 miles with an average pace of 9:04.  That's not a great pace for fast runners, but for me it's awesome.  It was exactly what I needed as I prepare to run Ragnar at the end of the month and a half marathon two weeks later.  It's what I needed to move past my negative running phase.  It's just what I needed.

Today, I didn't worry about my pace or my training or how far I had to go.  Today, I just ran, and it made all the difference.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm not afraid

Consistently Inconsistent.  That's me...or at least my blogging.  But, unlike before, I'm not going to fret about it.  I have lots to say, and I'm going to put it out there for you to read.  But, I can't commit to a schedule and that's OK.  Posts will appear as I have the time/energy/motivation to write them.  This is my "crazy"time at work, and I'm definitely feeling it.  Which means some of the other things in my life will receive less attention.  Since I'm not willing to allow that to be my children or husband or my own health and fitness, things like blogging and TV watching are the logical victims.  I'm still eating healthy and exercising, and I have a lot of posts half-written in my head.  Soon enough, I'll commit them to paper screen.  On the plus side, I'll have a ton of posts in October when I finally begin catching up :)

The big fitness focus right now is training for Ragnar.  I suddenly realized it is only two weeks away, and I'm starting to feel that familiar anxious feeling I get whenever an event gets close.  Do you guys get that too?  I know that I'll be able to physically do it, but I'm still a ball of nerves and anticipation.  This event is a big "out of my comfort zone" event, and I know it will result in some sort of personal growth.  But, with growth comes fear.  Honestly, I'm more worried about the in-between stuff than I am about the three runs I have to do.  I know I can handle those.  What I'm concerned about is how I will handle sharing space with six other people during the 30 hour time frame.  I don't think I have ever mentioned it on here, but I have an intense fear of other people throwing up.  I know it's weird, but it's true.  I totally panic and freak out.  So, I'm already nervous that someone in my group will get sick in the van...seriously, I'm so nervous that it is something I'm thinking about each day.  So, for me, this part of the event is much more challenging than the running part.  But, as one of my favorite people once said:

Do one thing every day that scares you
                                      -Eleanor Roosevelt

So, I'm embracing my fear and using Ragnar as an opportunity to grow.  I know there will be scary and intense moments that take me out of my comfort zone, and that's exactly what I need.  There is always opportunity for personal growth, and we need to seize those opportunities.  So, I'm seizing mine.  Let's just hope I continue to remember that as I wait for September 28th to get here.

So, what are you going to do today that scares you?

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Friendly Reminder

I just read this fabulous and honest post from Ms. Smart of The Smart Kitchen.   As I'm trying to find my blogging mojo and figure out how to fit blogging into my already chaotic life, it's posts like these that help me realize that blogging should be fun and enjoyable, not obligatory and forced.  I LOVE writing, and if I had it my way, I would write all the place of my "real" job.  Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I don't have that option (luxury?).  So, I have to find ways to write in between all of the other awesome things that make up my life.  I'm no longer in graduate school, so I'm not writing numerous research papers, or that pesky thesis (which I LOVED).  So, I need to get my writing fix elsewhere.  That is one of the reasons I started this blog.  I want to research and write about interesting health and fitness topics.  I want to improve my "informal" writing skills.  I'm so used to writing very structured research papers, and blogging allows me the opportunity to improve my creative writing skills.  But, most of all, I just want a place where I can put pen to paper or, more accurately, fingers to keys :)

However, in the past couple of months, as life has gotten busier, I found myself stressing over my blog.  I felt guilty if I didn't post at least three times a week, and in the evenings I began to see blogging as an obligation keeping me from other fun things.  Honestly, I don't really have any readers, so there's no reason for me to feel pressured to keep up with an "appropriate" writing schedule.  There isn't really anyone to notice if I slack off.  But, that's the thing.  I began to feel pressured to gain readers.  See, I've had this blog for a year now.  I know I don't put in a ton of effort commenting on other people's blogs and such to develop a strong readership, but I was hoping to gain a few readers.  Since my numbers have remained small, I began to put pressure on myself to blog more, comment more, join more blog events, etc. so that I would establish my blog.  But, more than that, I just wanted to be part of the blogging community. 

Well, you know what, I just don't think it's in the stars.  I don't have the time to devote to blogging all the time, and I'm OK with that.  Because, when it's all said and done, I'm really blogging for myself.  I just want a place to write, and if no one else reads it, then that's OK.  The words are still there.  And, really, I am part of the community.  It doesn't matter how many people read my blog, it just matters that I show up and much as I feel capable of.  I'm still planning to move forward with this blog because I love it. I'm just going to make sure I stop putting pressure on myself as I do.

So, Ms. Smart, thank you for those words of wisdom.  They helped me refocus and reprioritize, which is just what I needed. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

August Foodie Pen Pals

The Lean Green Bean

Happy Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day!  It's one of my favorite days of the month.  I know I've said it before, and I'm going to keep saying it...I LOVE Foodie Pen Pals.  Lindsey of the Lean Green Bean really did something wonderful when she created this program.

Unfortunately, I don't have anything to show you from my pen pal today because of some glitches.  But, if you want to see what I sent Kate, my pen pal, check out her post on her blog Food Babbles.  Kate is a wonderful blogger who cooks and bakes some amazing things.  I'm so happy I discovered her blog through this program. 

So, another month of Foodie Pen Pals is over.  If you don't already participate, I strongly encourage you to do so.  I have met some great bloggers and blog readers through Foodie Pen Pals.  If you want more information, click HERE.

Back soon with another post.  I think the creative juices are flowing again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just not feeling it...

It's been a while, hasn't it.  When I decided to start a blog last summer, I knew that it would be a big commitment.  I read a lot of blogs, and I know how annoying it can be to keep checking someone's blog only to find a post from two weeks ago.  Of course, there are always things that will cause a blogger to have to take a little hiatus, and that's completely understandable.  But, for the most part, blogging should be pretty regular.

I haven't written in almost two weeks, and I have no real reason.  Maybe it's because the semester just started at the school where I work and I spent the last two weeks cramming as much summer fun into my few remaining days as I could.  Maybe it's because after a FULL day or working and parenting, I just don't have it in me at 10pm to write something.  Or, maybe it's because I just haven't had much to say (who am I kidding...I always have something to say).  Regardless, my blogging has been pretty lackluster as of late.  Luckily, I don't really have many readers at this point (hmmm...maybe there's a correlation here), so I might actually be the only person who notices.  But, I made a commitment to blogging, and I have to get back on track.

So, rather than harp on what I haven't done, I'm going to ficus on what I can do.  I can start blogging regularly again.  I'm never going to be a once-a-day blogger.  It's too much with a full-time job and a family that needs and deserves my attention.  But, I am going to shoot for 3 times a week.  I think that's reasonable.  Sure, I could do a bunch or quick posts with three lines about what I ate or did, but that's not how I like to write. I started blogging because I love to write, so I would rather do three longer, thoughtful posts.  I can also change the design and layout of my blog to make it more appealing.  It's time to change the look around here.  And, finally, I can actually take the leap and move this blog to the new domain and make the official name change that I have been planning for quite some time. 

Let's see what happens!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pumped Up!

So...I finally tried Body Pump.  After months of talking about adding strength training to my weekly workouts, I finally took the plunge.  I have been wanting to try Body Pump for a while, but there is only one fitness center in my area that offers the classes.  Of course, it's the gym that I'm not (wasn't) a member of.  My Dad teaches spinning at our local YMCA, and in exchange, our entire family gets free memberships (my Dad, me, Paul and the kids).  So, it has been hard to justify paying for a membership at another fitness center when I have a free membership...even if the YMCA doesn't have many classes or fancy facilities.

I originally thought I would just buy passes for the class, but for my birthday Paul and my parents bought me a two month membership at the fancy gym.  So, I activated the membership and immediately jumped into Body Pump.

I took two classes this week, each with a different instructor and I'm hooked!  I LOVE it.  Sure, my arms are killing me and I can't bend them in certain directions or raise them over my head and my legs feel like they did when they first started running.  I can barely walk down the stairs.  But, it feels awesome.  I love that I'm pushing myself to use my body in a different way.  Plus, strength training will make me a better runner.

The classes are tougher than you think when you first start, and by the end my legs and arms were shaking as I attempted to complete just one more set.  I really feel like I pushed myself both times.  I'm starting to learn the routines and the lingo and I'm already feeling comfortable in the classes. I'm definitely going to go 2 - 3 times a week.

If you haven't tried Body Pump yet, I highly recommend you do.  You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I turned thirty-six on Friday.  On Saturday, I ran 6.3 miles in 55:30 with an average pace of 8:49.  It was my fastest run ever.  I may be getting older, but I'm definitely not slowing down.

I know a lot of people stress about getting older, but I have to say, I'm really enjoying this age.  I feel like I have finally grown into myself, if that makes any sense.  I'm comfortable with who I am.  My twenties were fun, but my thirties are more "real."  I just feel comfortable in my own skin, which is something I didn't feel in my twenties.

Two weeks ago, one of my best friends posted pictures from her wedding on Facebook.  The wedding was ten years ago, just as I was turning 26.  When I looked at the pictures, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Most people look back on pictures of themselves from their early to mid twenties and wish for their old bodies or their youthful faces, but I looked at that picture with disgust.  I was so unhealthy, and it showed.  I smoked, drank a lot, ate horribly and I was about 30 pounds heavier.  I just didn't look good.

When I commented on the picture, I said:

Wow! I can't say I'm happy to see this picture of myself on facebook, but since I LOVE you it's OK. At least I can say that after 10 years and two kids, I'm actually in better shape and healthier than I was that day.

That's the thing that impresses me the most.  I am in way better shape than I was ten years ago.

When I say I can't fit into jeans I wore in college, it's not because they're too's because they're too big.

Getting older isn't always a bad thing!

Monday, August 6, 2012


I'm blogging from my phone because I don't have access to a computer right now.

It has been oppressively hot here the past week. The kind of hot that makes you feel like you're running through molasses and breathing in steam. I know those of you in the south are used to this kind of weather, but I live in Upstate NY. We have winters that get below zero. I'm not conditioned for 90 degrees and 98% humidity.

Running has been awful. I ran four miles yesterday, which is an easy distance for me, and I thought I was going to collapse the whole time. I just can't stand running in the heat and humidity.

Luckily, the humidity broke this morning and the temps dropped into the low 80's. My run this morning was much better. I'm thoroughly enjoying my summer and I don't want it to end, but I'm really looking forward to running in the cooler fall temperatures.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

After missing Foodie Pen Pals last month due to my travel schedule, I was so excited to join again this month.  I really love this program!  Foodie Pen Pals is entirely Lindsey of the Lean Green Bean's creation.  I LOVE this program.  Each month that I participate, I meet new bloggers and discover fun new foods.

This month, I was paired with two non-bloggers, and I had so much fun both sending and receiving my packages.  I sent goodies to Becky, who is vegan.  I had so much fun picking out her treats.  Since Becky doesn't have a blog of her own, she wrote a guest post for my blog.  Here's her write-up on the exchange:

This was my first month participating in Foodie Pen Pals and I was lucky enough to receive a box from Willow! 
I am vegan and she was careful to include only delicious vegan treats for me.

In my box, I got a nice note from Willow and...

All Natural Pop Chips
I love potato chips.   I have seen these at my grocery store for ages and have always wanted to try them.  They are really good- different- light and airy but they still taste like potato chips and are healthy too!

Archer Farms Simply Balanced Berry Blend Freeze Dried Fruit
I just tried this is and it is so yummy - I have a feeling it will be even better mixed with vanilla soy yogurt for breakfast tomorrow!

Archer Farms Pecan Sticky Bun Granola
I have a serious granola addiction.  I tore into the bag immediately and it is awesome!

Archer Farms Roasted Almonds
Who doesn’t love nuts?!!?

Tazo Iced Green Tea
The insanely hot summer we are having demands cool drinks in mass amounts.  This will be perfect.

Justin’s Maple Almond Butter
I love this stuff so much that I sent it to my pen pal in her box this month too.  Great minds...

Perfectly Simple Cranberry Almond Bar
I’ve never seen this bar before, but I already know it will be the perfect pre-gym snack.

Willow- Thank you again for putting such a great variety of treats together for me! 


I'm so glad you like the box, Becky!  I really had so much fun putting it together for you.

My box came from Ruby, who lives five minutes from the Mexican border!  She was great about putting together some fun treats for me that I could not get in my region. 

This first item is like sheets of candy apple coating, but it looks like it might have some spice to it.  Ruby wrote in her note that I should cover apples with it, so I'm saving it for a few weeks when the apples in my region will be in season.  I can't wait to try it out!

The is some kind of hot sauce that is typically drizzled over fruit (as per Ruby's instructions).  I tried it over watermelon and it added just the right amount of spicy kick.  I loved it!

Ruby also sent two granola bars, which I immediately added to my snack drawer at work.  I already ate one of them :)

I haven't tried the noodles, honey, coffee or tea that Ruby sent yet, but I'm really excited to!

Thank you for a wonderful package, Ruby!

Foodie Pen Pals is such a wonderful way to get to know other bloggers and blog readers and discover fun new foods.  If you aren't already part of the Foodie Pen Pal Program, I encourage you to join!  Lindsey does a great job of pairing everyone up each month and organizing the whole program.  Here's what she has to say about it:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by August 4th as pairings will be emailed on August 5th!

If you want to see what all of the other participants sent and received, head over to this spot and check it out.  Over 1000 people participated this month.  That's a lot of food love!