I Scratched the Itch + WIAW

2013-11-04 19.50.51On Monday I spoke of my race envy. As you get to know me better, you’ll find out I don’t sit on something like that for too long. Hubby and I tend to make decisions really quickly, which in the case of races is probably a good thing. No chance to second guess ourselves!

As I was searching through spring races, the St. Pat’s 17K caught my eye. It is 10.5 miles and a dress up race! At least I have plenty of time to plan a fun St. Pat’s running costume. So, I sent off my form today! I also decided I’m all in for the Cellcom half marathon in Green Bay. It’s May 18th and I’ve heard a lot of positive aspects of the race (running through Lambeau, great crowd support)! So, even though I’m jealous of all those who are racing now, I’m super excited for upcoming races. It will really help to motivate me through this winter!

On the food front- today is What I Ate Wednesday hosted by Jenn at Peas and Crayons! I had an especially good food week. I’m trying to mix up my meals more (yah alliteration :)). So far, so good. Here are my favorites from my week!

Favorite Baked Good:

cookiesI made an extremely good batch of chocolate chips cookies. Of course I don’t do “normal” cookies, so I tried Zucchini Applesauce Oatmeal cookies  from Two Peas and Their Pod. I love how the zucchini keeps the cookies moist. They’re very tasty even 5 days after I made them.

Favorite Breakfasts:

2013-10-31 06.23.09Gluten free toast topped with Laughing Cow wedge, sliced avocado, and 2 egg whites with a side of kiwi and coffee.

pboatmealPeanut butter and jelly oatmeal. It’s made just like it sounds- mixed in pb and jelly (and chia seeds) into my oatmeal. How have I never thought of this before?! Sooo good.

proteinpancakesMy Banana Cinnamon Protein pancakes topped with Peanut Butter Co Bees Knees and lots o’ cinnamon.

Favorite Lunch:

2013-10-30 11.44.32Salad with hard boiled egg, spinach, kale, cucumber, shredded carrot, feta, sunflower seeds, and yogurt dressing. I never get sick of salads because it’s so easy to change them up!

Favorite Dinners:

quinoabowlI spread one tortilla with laughing cow and filled it with cooked quinoa, veggies, and chicken sausage. I also added some shredded cheddar cheese and topped it with avocado.

2013-11-01 18.20.44Quinoa with avocado, a wedge of laughing cow, sunflower seeds and the veggie/chicken sausage mixture from the previous meal.

It will be hard to top these eats from this week. So many good things! Enjoy your Wednesday, friends!

Are you planning on running any spring races? Which ones? What are you favorite salad additions?

pile-on-the-miles-2013

Pile on the Miles update: 9.5/40 miles

Be social & follow grab your kicks!

Twitter: Grab Your Kicks      Facebook: Grab Your Kicks     Instagram: Grab Your Kicks

 

Advertisements

Brewers 10K Recap

This past Saturday, hubby and I participated in the Brewers 10k race in Milwaukee, WI. This race was a combined “mini-marathon” and 10k. We signed up for this race first because of the awesome perks (running of the field, Brewers ticket voucher, race medal, tech shirt, beer after the race) and then decided to participate in the Fox Cities Half Marathon (which was the weekend before). There were 6 days between running the half and the 10k, but I took it easy during the week and all went well! Last week I went to Centergy, Core, and ran on the treadmill for a couple miles.

Day before race meal– Dunkin Donuts egg white sandwich & pumpkin iced coffee for the drive down on Friday. I was starving after work and knew it would be a while before we ate dinner. We dropped the furry guy off at our doggy darecare place to board him for the night. I may or may not have shed a tear.

dunkin

We headed right to Miller Park to pick up our race packets (no expo, sadly). We did get to take a sneak a peak of the field while we were there though. I’m always in awe. So cool.

brewers

Night before/morning of race meal- We ate at the restaurant inside our hotel, Jimmy’s Island Grill & Iguana Bar. It had a lot of personality for a hotel restaurant. I loved the caribbean decor in and outside of the place. I ordered the Caribbean Jerk Chicken Salad, which was huge, but tasty. Morning of the race I had a cup of coffee and a banana with peanut butter.

eatsWe left about an hour before the 7am start time, however, because all the traffic for the race was taking the same exit, we ended up waiting for 30 minutes just to exit. I had a slight panic attack that we weren’t going to make it on time, but thankfully, we did. The race organizers also took note of the traffic and delayed the start time of the race by 10 minutes (thank you!). The race was very well organized!

morningThe actual run was much hillier than I was anticipating. I felt good physically right from the start. My hip, which I was concerned about post-half, was not a problem. At about mile 2 we ran right through Miller brewery buildings and you could smell the hops in the air. I wasn’t thinking PR before the race because I ran the half the weekend prior, however, as I neared mile 5 I thought I might be able to break it. I pushed myself as hard as I could at the end, not leaving anything left in the tank. It wasn’t quite enough, though. I finished in 53:38, 16 seconds off of my previous 10K PR. If it wasn’t for those hills, I feel I would’ve hit a new PR. Oh well, next time, right!

My splits:

  • Mile 1 8:22
  • Mile 2 8:17
  • Mile 3 8:25
  • Mile 4 8:50 <—large, gradual hill, not my friend
  • Mile 5 8:48
  • Mile 6 8:41

I finished 168/1766 for total men & women, 70/1235 for women, and 15/244 for women 25-29. I feel really good about where I finished! 🙂

2013-09-28 08.34.49

I have never seen so much food after a race! As we exited the corrals, we were given Air Pops chips, chocolate milk, granola bar, banana, cookie, water, and gatorade. I took most of it, but ended up eating just the banana and drinking water. We also had two drink tickets for beer, but I wasn’t feeling like beer at 8am after a race. It was a nice idea though.

medalOverall, our first “travel to” race was excellent! I have a bit of the post-race blues going on, but I’ll snap out of it. Races are just so much fun to look forward to! And after two in a row, I’m getting a bit spoiled. I’m a goal-oriented type of person and knowing there’s a goal ahead of me tends to push me harder in training. I’m not giving up running after the races this year though. It’s such a different story compared to last year and I truly have made running a part of my life. I couldn’t imagine giving it up now. I’m just going to enjoy running around my neighborhood for now and then, who knows? That’s the exciting part, right?! It could be anything! Because I’ve proven to myself that once I’m committed, there’s no stoppin’ me. 🙂

Do you get the post-race blues? What keeps you going?

Weekend Roundup

Guess who’s back, back again, Monday’s back, tell a friend…sorry, had to! 🙂 Time for a whole new week of opportunities to be the best me (and you)!

My hubby and I had a great weekend participating in the Brewers 10k run in Milwaukee. Look for the recap tomorrow, but let’s just tease it by saying we got to run on the field of Miller Park for the last .5 mile. #awesomesauce

After I uploaded my race information on Garmin Connect this weekend, I noticed that I have run 176 miles since July 18th. I’ve really surprised myself this year. So proud!

brewerscollageI’m sure you saw “National Coffee Day” floating around the twitter world on Sunday.  Before I joined twitter, I likely would’ve never heard of this “day.” I happened to stop at Dunkin Donuts on our way to Milwaukee Friday and saw the display for K-Cups. I drink K-Cups regularly, usually one a day, so when I saw $7.99 for a pack of K-Cups on sale for “National Coffee Day” I grabbed some. The manager mentioned they don’t offer this kind of deal even for Black Friday. Score! I have yet to try their pumpkin spice K-Cup, but I bet it’s just as good (if not better) than Green Mountain’s version.

2013-09-27 16.32.35

Like most bloggers, I’m a fall/pumpkin girl all the way. On our way back from Milwaukee on Saturday we stopped at the Outlet Mall in Oshkosh. One of my favorite stores there is Le Gourmet Chef because hello, they have so many samples to try! I found a little niche of “all things pumpkin” including this Spiced Maple Pumpkin Dip. The clerk recommended spreading the dip on english muffins or mixing it in greek yogurt with granola. We picked up cinnamon honey pretzels to dip with it and let me tell you, amazing.

2013-09-28 15.21.35

One of my first blog posts was a DIY race medal holder (pictured below, right). Confession: I just hung it up yesterday. I picked up a Half Marathon poster last weekend at the Fox Cities Marathon expo (made by BlueSkyRun) and they naturally make perfect wall partners. So, where did I decide to hang them? Right in my dining room, of course! Our house has an open concept so I can also see them from our living room and kitchen. They’re such great reminders of our accomplishments. Love them 🙂

medalholder

Hope you had a great weekend! Stay tuned for my Brewers 10k recap tomorrow! Enjoy your week and remember every day is a new day!

How did your run go this weekend? Anyone else race? What’s your favorite kind of K-Cup?

Fox Cities Half Marathon Recap Part 2

Time to recap the best part of the race-the actual run!

2013-09-22 06.51.44

It was a chilly start to the half marathon last Sunday, as the temps were in the low 40s. I shivered up until a couple miles into the race. I was really happy with what I decided to wear because as I warmed up I didn’t get hot.

Running Gear for Race Day

  • Mizuno Wave Elixir 8s
  • Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch
  • Pro Compression socks
  • Nike Filament Dri Fit compression shorts
  • Flipbelt
  • Champion long sleeve semi-fitted shirt
  • Koss FitClips
  • Fingerless gloves from Dollar Tree (bigger spender, I know)
  • BandIt Headband (Etsy)

One mistake I realized right away was that I should’ve worn my sunglasses. The sun was so blindingly bright it threw me off a bit in the beginning. It was difficult to see too much in front of me. I guess that happens at 7am on a fall morning.

I tried my best of remember information I learned at the Good Form Running clinic over the summer; namely to keep my upper body loose and use quick, short steps. I felt comfortable right out of the gate and settled into my race pace. I hit about a 9:00 min/mile pace for the first 8 miles. Before the race, I was guessing that’s the pace I would keep as I always run faster on race day (I train at 9:30 min/mile usually). I also attribute my quicker speed to all those fabulous signs out there! My favorite of the run: “Running is a pain in the butt, but you guys sure do have nice butts!” 🙂

My splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:53
  • Mile 2: 9:01
  • Mile 3: 8:46
  • Mile 4: 8:52
  • Mile 5: 9:06
  • Mile 6: 8:59
  • Mile 7: 9:07
  • Mile 8: 9:20
  • Mile 9: 9:37
  • Mile 10: 9:50
  • Mile 11: 10:13
  • Mile 12: 9:43
  • Mile 13: 9:39
  • Total time: 2:02:46

As you’ll notice my pace slowed as I got deeper into the race. This was because I began to feel my right hip tighten and begin to hurt. I was fighting through some pain, however, it was a blip on the radar compared to the pain I was in last year. As I passed mile 8, I thought of the debacle that was last year’s half marathon. I thought to myself, I’m not that same girl anymore. I’m a fighter. I also happened to see a sign that said, “Pain is only temporary.” Yep, keep truckin’ Nik. At mile 11 my music decided to stop and I could’ve reset it, but thought, why bother? I could see the park where the finish line was by then and decided to run the last 1.5 miles without music; just body and mind pushing myself to the end. I never realized the mental battle that goes on with runners before I called myself one. Yes, running is physical, but it’s also very mental. That’s one of the {many} beautiful things about running; it gives you confidence, that I can do anything mindset. And that’s why I love running.

As I rounded the corner into the park at mile 13, it rushed over me that I was about to finish. I was about to reach my goal. You work so hard for 5 months and then….it’s over. It’s bittersweet really. I loved training and I loved racing. My excitement radiated as I saw my dad waiting for me at the finish line. I couldn’t help but feel elated and emotional. Running will be forever tied to the loss of my mom. It has been a form of therapy for me. To see my dad and know the support he gives me; it’s hard to describe how much that means to me in words. My mom was always my biggest cheerleader with my dad being a close second. In some way, I feel that even though she’s gone, I can still make her proud.

2013-09-22 09.37.29

I was adorned with my finishers medal, grabbed my shirt, and headed to the finish line to wait for my hubby. My dad was sent text messages with our ETAs so we had an idea of when hubs would finish. I was amazed to see him cross right around his predicted time, a very respectable 2:29:59. I am SO proud of my husband. I’m the one who has pushed us to pursue races and luckily he’s always right by my side. I’m a pretty lucky girl, I know. 🙂

finishcollage

Many runners get that “now what?” feeling after a race. I am of course looking forward to the Brewers 10K this Saturday, but also enjoying the accomplishment that was my second half marathon. I proved to myself that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Honestly, I felt defeated after last year’s half, but without that struggle this half marathon would not have been as sweet as it is.

And how sweet it is. 🙂

afterrace

Fox Cities Half Marathon Recap Part 1

There is so much to awesome running stuff to share that I am breaking up the weekend into two posts!

2013-09-21 12.07.12

Last Sunday my hubby and I ran the Fox Cities half marathon in Appleton, WI. This was our second half marathon, the first being Fox Cities half marathon ’12. It was an exciting, exhilarating experience that I will not soon forget. I had a personal best of 2:02:46 which was 52 minutes faster than last year (yep, it was that bad). What made the difference this year was figuring out the puzzle that is my digestive system. I FINALLY feel like I have control over my body and how I feel during running. Being regular has helped stave off stomach pains and the need for a restroom stop during the run. After the run my stomach felt great! I believe it was a combination of eating and hydrating properly before and during the run that led to my success.

The day before the race hubby and I picked up our packets and checked out the expo.

expo2

Some of the notable booths included a pole dancing exercise program (pole and everything…), Bondibands headbands, Fleet Feet, Run Away Shoes, and Blue Sky Run. Blue Sky Run is a relatively new company that sells headbands, posters, jewelry, and medal hangers related to running. I love the half marathon word collage posters they put together. They will even create a personalized poster with your race/finishing time! Check out the poster I picked up at the expo here.

expo3

I stopped at the a chiropractor booth to check the alignment of my spine. Apparently, the bones in my neck are misaligned (?). Not sure if I agree with that. I also checked out “the stick” roller which felt really good on my calves.

prerace2

The night before the race I laid out all the running gear I needed. I ate a stir fry of chicken & veggies over spinach and quinoa for dinner. I don’t believe in consuming large amounts of pasta and meatballs the night before. That just doesn’t work for me. The thought alone would slow me down on race day. I ate something I would normally eat to ensure no “surprises” on race day. Do what works for you, right?

racemorning

One of my favorite parts of race morning is the excitement from my husband. He blasts “pump up” music at 5am and it really does help wake me up and get me ready to run! The morning was a cold one is the low 40s, so I kept my jacket on as long as I could. The atmosphere was electric and corrals were packed. 5,000 fellow runners took to the roads on Sunday in either the half marathon, full marathon, or relay.

sunrise

It was an absolute beautiful morning with blasting sunshine coming over the horizon (didn’t wear my sunglasses=newbie mistake). I reminded myself frequently that I put in the training and did everything I could have done to physically and mentally prepare. The community support for this race is amazing, with people lined on almost every street. It makes a huge difference to hear someone call out your name with encouragement!

I will be recapping the actual running in an upcoming post. Stay tuned, friends! 🙂

What’s your favorite running mantra? What’s your perfect race temperature? 

An Ultra Marvelous Monday

Feeling ultra marvelous today because my half marathon was yesterday! I’m still in the post-race glow; in awe of what I accomplished. I feel so blessed to have the body and mind to complete 13.1 miles. Surprisingly, I felt like 13.1? No problem. It doesn’t seem that far to me anymore because it’s obtainable. I finished in 2:02:46! A whopping 52 minutes and 10 seconds faster than last year’s half marathon. I’d call that progress. 🙂 And no stomach issues to report! High five!

I will do a more in depth recap of the race this week, but for now just a snipet of the excitement I felt yesterday!

FCM13

Other marvelous things that happened this week…

Marvelous is…new Mizunos! Sara at LovingOnTheRun mentioned this great deal on Mizuno Wave Ronins from Running Warehouse. Because I’m also a PaceSetters member (local running club) I got an extra 15% off! The shoes came to a total of $24.88, not bad for a pair of Mizunos. They’re a little stiffer than my Wave Elixirs, but I think they’ll be good for speed work.

shoes

Marvelous is…the energy I get from exercising. I can feel a significant difference at night if I haven’t worked out during the day. In the past, I would’ve assumed exercising would make me more tired at night, but I find when I’m eating nutritious foods and running I have much more energy. Besides running, I have continued to attend my favorite classes at the gym including Group Core and Group Centergy. These classes complement running beautifully, as Core helps to strengthen problem areas (i.e., glutes/hips) and Centergy builds strength while stretching out my tight muscles. Because I attend core regularly, I went on Saturday before my half marathon without feeling sore for the race.

watch

core

centergy

Marvelous is…seeing this face after running 13.1 miles. He makes me smile. 🙂 I am definitely one of those obsessive dog owners who takes way too many pictures of her dog. #SorryImNotSorry

Murphy

Marvelous is…fall shows started! I am a huge fan of New Girl and The Mindy Project. Morgan on the Mindy Project is my favorite character on TV. So many good one liners. In fact, someone put together “27 Reasons Morgan from The Mindy Project Is the Best“. My favorite is “He Loves to Work Out.” I also love that we have Hulu Plus and can watch episodes anytime we want!

tumblr_mgp9g1wNvZ1qzw6dco2_500

What a glorious weekend! It was much needed after a hectic week. I’m definitely back into the swing of things with speech therapy and IEPs. Oh joy 🙂

Hope everyone has a great week! I am already looking ahead to our next race which is the Brewers 10K in Milwaukee this Saturday! It’s like Christmas around here with all the races going on!

Anyone have a fall race still to come? Which one? What is your favorite fall TV show? 

Half Marathon Playlist

Happy Friday! Finally the weekend! And not just any old weekend…race weekend! Half marathon is finally {almost} here 🙂

In training for the half marathon this Sunday, a key motivator to my training over the past 5 months was new music. I used to measure my success in the number of songs I could run through and I hated running to a song that wasn’t motivating. Now, I measure my runs in miles/time, but still find that running to music I love makes a huge difference in the numbers I see on my garmin.

I love perusing other running blogs for new music. It’s something I frequently do to keep new music cycling through my playlist. As far as music service goes, I use google music. We had a free 30 day trial and then I decided to continue with it. It’s $8/month and completely worth it in my opinion. I can add pretty much any song I can think of to my playlist. My playlist automatically updates on any other device I use (i.e., my phone for running). I’m undecided whether I want to keep paying for it after the half marathon. I’m thinking yes because I would really miss the great music I’ve added. I used to buy each song from iTunes, but that gets expensive or boring if I bought a limited number of songs each month.

This is the playlist I will be running to during my half marathon this Sunday. Music tends to be very personal, so you may or may not have similar taste in music. I tend to like pop/current songs the most. Oh, and rap music. I’m that girl out there, running and singing to my favorite songs on race day. I really don’t care who hears me. When I’m “in the zone” my body and mind are focused on the race. I sometimes feel like I’m flying; body and mind being pushed by the music pumping through my earbuds. It’s such a exhilarating feeling. Just writing this is getting me pumped for that experience on Sunday!

HalfplaylistMy favorite songs are “Wake Me Up”, “Shawty Got Moves”, “We Own the Night”, and “Magic.” They are guaranteed to pump me up when running! It also helps that I know the words and can sing along. I figure that singing while running is helpful because I take deeper breaths and if I can hold a “conversation” (i.e., sing to myself) then I know I’m not pushing myself too hard. I have to remember to pace myself when I start!

Now, if you’re next to me on race day and hear me, I apologize because it more than likely will not sound good. If this bothers you, speed up or slow down because I can’t promise you I’ll care and stop singing to be nice. When you’re in the zone, you’re in the zone. 

Have a wonderful weekend! I am looking forward to recapping a great half marathon next week. Fingers crossed!

P.S. GYK got a little facelift 🙂

Your turn amigo! What are your favorite songs to run to? Do you like new music you’re unfamiliar with or oldie but goodies?

13.1 Miles of Dedication

FRIDAY! Feels like such an accomplishment to get to Friday after a week working with my speech kiddos again. Though I’m busier, exercise and eating right is definitely helping me not fall asleep at 8:30 like I used to! Yah, energy!

The half marathon I’m running is one week from Sunday (!), September 22nd. During one of my training runs for the half marathon, you might remember me mentioning Debbie. She’s the 61 year old who I had a hard time keeping up with! Debbie has run 12 half marathons and told me that she runs each mile for someone. I thought this will be a great way to make each mile memorable during the half marathon. I want to savor each step, each block, each mile. I am dedicating each mile to a close family member, friend, or someone I may or may not know.

Print

Mile 1…is for my husband. I never thought he would take up running with me. I am SO proud to call him mine and to have him next to me on race day. How did I get so lucky?

brewersgame

Mile 2….is for the lady who left us all too soon, my mom. She was my rock, my hero, my heart. I miss her terribly, but hope she is there with me in some way on race day. Love you forever, Mom.

Mile 3…is for my Dad. I have seen changes in him in so many positive ways. He has slowed down his hectic lifestyle and better appreciates the people around him. He is stronger than I ever thought.

Mile 4…is for my brother. I hope he finds happiness and content in his life.

Mile 5…is for my grandma. She’s about to turn 88 and still drives to her cottage and back. She’s spunky and can talk your ear off (in a good way :)).

Summer-Christmas 2011 013

Grandma, Me, my brother, my mom, and my dad from Christmas ’11. My mom was confused what her present was….yup, that was my mom, silly as can be.

Mile 6…is for my speech kiddos. They’re the reason I get out of bed every morning. I promised myself growing up that I would find a profession I love. Done.

Mile 7…is for the residents I used to work with as an SLP at a nursing home; those with dementia, Alzheimers, dysphagia, and stroke survivors.

Mile 8…is for those fighting ovarian cancer. Cancer sucks.

Ovarian-Cancer-Header

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

Mile 9…is for those who have ever lost someone close to their hearts. I feel your pain.

The rest are for me to savor my surroundings and recognize how blessed I am to be able to run 13.1 miles. All the doubt, difficulty, pain, tears, it’s all worth it in the end. I’m about to change “I’m going to do it” to “I did it.” What’s better than that?

camping

Happy dance! Excuse the no make-up. We were camping!

Have a great weekend!!! 🙂

Who would you dedicate a mile to?

Candy Corn, Running, & We Cut the Cord {MIMM4}

 Is it Monday already? Hope everyone had a great weekend! Doesn’t get much better than Packer season starting, does it? At least not in Wisconsin :).

It’s link up time to Marvelous in My Monday via Katie at Healthy Diva Eats!

Marvelous is…that fall is right around the corner. I know most bloggers are with me on the greatness of all things pumpkin (check out Jill Conyers post on 25 healthy pumpkin recipes, yum!), football, Halloween candy, and cooler running weather. Just happens to be my favorite season. Look what I found already! Candy corn overload.

2013-09-05 16.08.08

Marvelous is…running 7.7 miles solo. I love group running, but am happy I can run on my own too.

2013-09-07 09.17.27-1

Sweaty selfie is a must, no?

2013-09-07 07.56.41

And a shoe selfie too, obv.

Marvelous is…Pro Compression socks after a long run. I heart you.

2013-09-07 11.22.58

Speaking of a million dollars…someone actually won a million dollars from the lottery at the local Express station we go to all the time. I guess we have to start buying lottery tickets more often. Like even when the lottery isn’t at the “highest it’s ever been.”

Marvelous is...the half marathon is 2 weeks away!!! Just found out my bib number, 5402. In 4/5 races I’ve had even numbers on bibs. I’m not really superstitious, but I like receiving even numbers.

2012-09-21 18.03.21

Last year’s bib, an even number, my good luck charm.

Marvelous is…saving money. We cut the cord, cable cord that is. As someone who thought I couldn’t survive without cable television, I’m doing just fine (I know you were worried, right?). Though I missed the Miley performance at the VMAs…oh wait, I didn’t want to see that anyways, I’m okay with having regular old antenna TV. I am still surprised they just broadcast these channels for free. Seriously?! Why weren’t we doing this a long time ago? We generally only watch the major networks anyways and we subscribed to Hulu Plus so I can catch up on any shows I miss. We’re paying half as much a month (still have the internet, obviously) and I’m not watching TV as much!

This week I’m continuing to taper, so not too many miles are on the schedule. The “long” run is only 5 miles, what a change! I actually get to do speech therapy this week! Yah! Have a marvelous week friends!

What’s your favorite fall food?

Do you have cable or do you subscribe to Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime for movies/shows?

Anyone else looking forward to fall shows starting? Which ones?