September 30, 2014

That cookie runner

I woke up at around 4:00 this morning to thunder and lightening, so I decided that I would do my run tonight instead of in the morning. Once I took the kids to their bus stops, though, the weather was absolutely PERFECT for a run. It was 54 degrees, overcast, and an occasional very light drizzle of rain. If there was ever perfect running weather, this was it.

I put on capris and a short sleeved shirt, which was the right choice for the weather. I decided not to look at my Garmin at all (not even a little peek) through the run. I didn't want to see a slow pace and feel discouraged for any reason, so I just wanted to run without giving a thought to my pace at all. As soon as stepped from my driveway onto the street, a man on a bike went by in the opposite direction. We exchanged "good morning"'s , and then I kept going.

About a mile in, I saw the same man on the bike. This time we said, "hello", as we passed. Seeing someone once is no big deal; twice is slightly awkward, because you've already exchanged greetings. But then I saw him AGAIN at around mile three. This time, he stopped and said, "Hey, you're that cookie runner, right?" I laughed and said I was. We chatted for a minute, and I learned his name was Greg. He had seen Stephanie's blog because they are both self-proclaimed "weather geeks", and found my blog through hers, which is how he recognized me. That was fun! Usually, one or two people will recognize me at a race, but never while I'm just out for a run.

I had an absolutely fantastic run today! I didn't look at my pace, but I imagined it was probably around 10:00/mile, which was fine. But what made it so great was the weather and that I just had a good day. Some runs are good, some are okay, and some are terrible, but today's felt really, really good. When I heard my Garmin beep after mile five, I pressed the button to stop it, and then I just sat on my porch for a few minutes while I cooled down.

My average pace ended up being 9:35/mile, which really surprised me (in a good way). I was even more surprised to see my splits, and how close they were without even trying.

I'm hoping for identical weather on Friday for my long run! (Oh, I am not doing that half-marathon on Saturday with Nathan after all... I forgot that Noah has a cross country invitational that day.)

I had plans to meet Jessica for lunch at a new local restaurant called Public House. They use all fresh, local ingredients, which is very refreshing for this area. I hadn't tried it yet, but Jessica said it was great. It was good to see her, because it's been a long time since we've gotten together. I've had such a busy few months that I haven't really seen any of my friends for a while, so it was nice to catch up. The food was good, too! We split an order of fried pickles (my favorite appetizer) and they were awesome.

Shortly before we left, a couple of young soldiers walked in wearing their uniforms. After seeing everything my younger brother went through, I have a special place in my heart for young guys in the military, so I paid their tab before I left. (A "pay it forward" from the stranger who gave us those tickets to the Renaissance Festival on Friday!)

Noah had his second cross country invitational today. The weather was definitely better for running today, so I was curious to see how he'd do. I picked him up from school, and then picked up Eli, and we drove to the meet. The ground there was much softer than at the last meet, and the grass was longer, so I was a little worried for Noah having to run on that. He said he was really nervous.

His race today was only 1 mile (it was 1.3 last time). Eli and I went to the starting line to see him off, and then we rushed to the finish line. The kids started coming it at the six-minute mark. I was expecting Noah between the 9:00-11:00 timeframe, based on his last race. He came in at around 10:45-ish (I don't have the official results yet). He wasn't very happy, and said he was "almost dead last". It didn't help that his friend on the team came up and told him that he (Noah) finished in 118th place (while the friend finished in the top 20 or so). This kid is super competitive, and always makes Noah feel bad about his running pace.

I told Noah that he did awesome--he finished in 10:45-ish, which is much faster than he was just a couple of weeks ago. And due to the course being more difficult (soft ground, longer grass), he should be very proud. It's hard to get him to see the value of improving his pace over keeping up with his friend.

I laughed when I saw the photos I took of him. He apparently takes after his mom in race photos--his eyes were closed in all of them!

His next invitational is on Saturday, so I hope that he has a great race. My older brother is supposed to come out and watch :)

September 29, 2014

Motivational Monday #80

Happy Motivational Monday! Hopefully everyone has had a fantastic week. It's been challenging for me--I was hoping that the longer I did intuitive eating, the easier it would get, but the opposite has been true so far. I haven't binged, which is the most important thing to me, but there are times where I eat too much for reasons other than hunger (usually on the weekends). My weight hasn't gone up, so I'm glad about that, but I would definitely like to see it go down ;)

I always love reading your Motivational Monday stories, because they are so inspiring! Here are this week's submissions:

Marcie made a goal for 2014 to run walk/run one mile per day, every day. She also wanted to do a 5K race every month. She started with my Virtual 5K in January, and her time was nearly 60 minutes. She recently ran her first 10K, and her time was 1:18, despite the pouring rain! She's also dropped 30 pounds since she started training. Her husband, who ran with her, just completed his first half-marathon, too!

Carly has been working on weight loss and running, and has had some very successful milestones. But now, thanks to her new healthy lifestyle, she is in a position to teach kids about health and fitness! She recently took over the Physical Education position at her elementary school, so she gets to teach fitness all day long. A couple of years ago, she never would have imagined that she'd be a PE teacher, but she passed her certification and LOVES her new job!

Jen finished the Bellingham Bay half-marathon in Washington over the weekend, beating her goal time by 14 minutes! It was her second half-marathon, but the first one that she did by herself. She set a goal time of 3:00, and finished in 2:46!

Rachel just celebrated her six-month anniversary of when she started working on getting healthy and fit! One of her dreams has always been to be a runner, and when she started her journey six months ago, she signed up for a 5K each month--walking at first, then adding a little running, and working to be able to run the whole race by the sixth month. She chose The Color Run as her goal race, and somehow wound up with three 5Ks and a 10K on the books in September--and is proud to report that she was able to run ALL of them! Yesterday was her goal race, and she said it was an awesome way to end the month. She's also down 62 pounds!

Christy recently completed her third half-marathon: the US Air Force Half Marathon in celebration of the US Air Force's birthday! She finished in 2:41:48. Training was going great, and she had a fantastic 10-mile run in June, but her family got orders to move, her kids got sick, her husband had to travel for work, and fitting in the training runs was difficult. But she stuck with it, and proudly crossed the finish line!

Thomas ran the Corvallis Fall Festival 5K just a week before the Portland Marathon (which he is also doing) and got a shiny new PR! He ran the course in 20:38 (a 6:35/mile pace... I know!!). He's been training hard all summer for the Portland Marathon, so I'm sure I'll be updating with his sub-3:30 PR next Monday ;) (Thomas's blog)

Jessica ran/walked a 5K over the weekend! This is very significant for her, because if you may remember, I wrote about Jessica last month for Motivational Monday. She was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer, and underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to fight the cancer, and was just getting back to running in August. She had actually been registered for the Montreal half-marathon since before her diagnosis, but her doctor recommended that she change over to the 5K because of everything her body had been through. She had a seizure three days before the race, and then the day before the race, she started chemo, but her doctor said if she took it very easy, she had the okay to do the 5K. She, along with her two future brothers-in-law, completed the race is 47:28!

Ashley has been running off and on for about two years, as a way to keep off the 30 pounds that she'd lost. Over the past year, she's been backpacking through Central America, so she hasn't done much running. Once back in the states, she decided to get back into shape, and she registered for a 5K--her first race ever. She was discouraged during training, because she used to run sub-9 miles, and was now struggling to run sub-10 miles, but she kept at it. The race was called the Red Hare Chase 5K, and her only goal was to run it under 30 minutes. She was thrilled and surprised when she crossed the finish line in 28:15! She even earned third place in her age group :)

Don't forget to check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post for more stories!

September 28, 2014

Faster than a speeding bullet

We had another fun day with the family today. Last night, the kids ended up staying at my parents' house, so this morning, Jerry and I decided to go for a run together. I didn't have a run on the schedule, but ironically, was in the mood for a nice, relaxing "jog"-like run. Jerry said he wanted to pick our route, and we ended up going on a trail through the woods. 

The weather was really nice, but it was pretty tough running on the trail. So much for a nice Sunday morning jog! Then I heard a bunch of gunshots. From a shotgun. And I remembered that it's hunting season, right as we were running through the woods. There was shot after shot, and I kept expecting to feel a bullet hit me--it was so scary, because the guns sounded so close! I sprinted the last little part of the woods to get the heck out of there. I thought it was funny when I saw the graph of my pace. Can you tell where the gunshots started? ;)

Just before that part, I was telling Jerry how I may walk the rest of the way, because running on the rocks and grass was hard. Then we heard the shotguns, and they totally lit a fire under me. I need to use that strategy for my next race! haha

My brother, Brian, got in from Minnesota at around noon. Jerry and I cleaned up the house and invited my whole family over here to watch the Tigers and Lions games. I made a big pot of chili with toppings, and we had a pretty low-key afternoon. I don't watch sports, so I showed my mom that card game app to download on her iPod, and taught her how to play a few games.

I was just checking out the schedule for the Runner's World Half & Festival, and I'm so bummed that I have to leave that Saturday afternoon. There are some great seminars going on that weekend! I got the latest flight available, which was 5:30 pm (and the airport is an hour's drive), so I'll have to leave at around 2:00 to make it home on Saturday night. I know I made the right decision to be here on Sunday for Nathan's marathon, and I'm really looking forward to that, but I just wish there was some way to be in two places at once ;)

Looking through the list of seminars today for the RW Half weekend, there is one that really jumped out at me. I'm so glad that it's at noon on Saturday, so I'll be able to go. Here is the description:

Seminar · Inspiration: How Running Helped Save a Soldier from Depression, Substance Abuse, and PTSDJoin us to hear Sean MacMillen, chapter captain of Team RWB (Red, White, and Blue) Lock Haven-Williamsport, tell his story. After 12 years in the U.S. Army – including three deployments to Afghanistan – this respected battalion executive officer left the service – and not by choice. "My life was in shambles," he says, "and I was in a very dark place." Learn how running, and his involvement with Team RWB – an organization that enriches the lives of America's veterans by connecting them with their communities through social and physical activity – helped Sean take back control from alcohol abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
This really hits close to home for me, because my brother, Nathan, has PTSD after two deployments to Iraq--and since he started running early this year, I've seen a big change in him (healthier and happier). I asked him if he'd write a guest post for my blog about it, and he may, but I really think that running has the ability to change people's lives (more than just physically). I can't wait to hear what Sean MacMillen has to say at his seminar. 

Anyway, here is a list of the weekend's schedule. If you're near Bethlehem, or are able to go that weekend, I really think it's worth it. I loved Bart Yasso's seminar, as well as Mark Remy's. There are all kinds of seminars to check out, and they are FREE--whether you run the races or not. 

Don't forget, if you do want to run the races, I have discount codes for 10% off:

5K: blogrunsforcookies5K
10K: blogrunsforcookies10K
Half-Marathon: blogrunsforcookiesHalf
5 & Dime: blogrunsforcookies5&10
Hat Trick: blogrunsforcookiesHat

It's only three weeks away, and I'm getting really excited! I think the last race I did was a 5K in July. The weather won't be nearly as hot for the RW Half weekend!

Speaking of races, Nathan asked me today if I would want to run a half-marathon with him next weekend, called Heroes on Hines. He has a 20-mile training run on the schedule, and he's going to run the half as part of his training run. I think I'm going to do it! It will likely be my slowest-ever half-marathon time, but running a race with a bunch of other people is much more fun than doing a long run by myself. And it feels weird not to have a half-marathon planned until at least November. So if it works out, I'd like to do it!

Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a photo of an accomplishment you'd like to share, you can email it to me at Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, subject "Motivational Monday", with a brief description, and I may post it on tomorrow's blog :)

September 27, 2014

Scavenger hunt at the park

I got some much needed sleep last night. My anxiety has been really bad lately, so I took a Xanax before bed, which helped me to sleep and stop worrying about everything. I woke up at 7:30, which is late for me, and felt great!

I wanted to get in some steps today, even though it's a rest day, because I'm participating in that iFit challenge with the Runner's World Half bloggers. The boys had a friend spend the night last night, so I decided to take the three of them to the State Park for a walk around the 5K loop.

When we started walking, I was trying to think of some way to keep things interesting for the boys on the long walk. I said that whoever spotted a squirrel first could choose the next thing that we'd have to look for, and so on. Then Eli had a better idea--he said that we should assign points to certain things we might see, and whoever gets the most points wins. For example, a squirrel would be worth 20 points, a spider worth 30 points, and a deer worth 100 points.

Here was the whole list we came up with. I used my phone to keep track.

The boys had a BLAST on this scavenger hunt. They really didn't even realize that they were walking/exercising. Normally, the kids complain non-stop when we go for a walk, but they didn't complain even once. They kept running ahead of each other to try to spot things first. We saw a ton of cranes, ducks, and geese, but not much else. When I go running there, I usually see a little of everything--squirrels, rabbits, deer, etc. I think the boys were so loud they scared everything off ;)

As we walked, there were some leaves falling from the trees occasionally, and they made up a rule that if you caught one in the air, it was 20 points. All three of them caught one once. It was funny to watch them try! In the end, it was really close, but Eli won by a measly caterpillar. The boys all thanked me for taking them there, because they said it was so much fun. I wish I'd have thought of that game a long time ago! Eli is very proud that it was his idea.

This evening, we went to my parents' house to see my uncle and his son (on my dad's side). My uncle drove up from Florida, and has been staying at my parents' house all week. I've only seen him a handful of times in my life, so we went over there for dinner. His son (my cousin) came over with his family, too. I think the only time I ever met him was at his brother's funeral (my cousin Christopher died in Iraq from an IED explosion). Finally, my dad's sister came over with her grandson. So it was basically a mini-family reunion on my dad's side.

After dinner, my dad made a little campfire in the driveway, so we sat around and chatted for a while. The weather was SO nice today! My dad put copper wires in the fire, so it made the flames really colorful. It's hard to see in this picture, but it looks awesome with a rainbow of colors.

Sitting around the fire like that made me think of Mark. On Halloween, we always used to bring Mark to my parents' house to celebrate his birthday, and then sit around the colorful campfire while kids came trick-or-treating. I'm not sure what the plan is this year, but it'll be sad that Mark won't be there with us. I can't believe it's been almost a year since the last time Mark was at my parents' house. He was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his birthday last year, and he wasn't able to come over afterward. (If you're a newer reader, you can read the beginning of Mark's story here, and the final post here--there was a lot in-between, from December through March).

Anyway, I'm tired, and I want to watch a show and then go to bed. My brother is coming in from Minnesota tomorrow!

September 26, 2014

Renaissance Festival and evening long run

I feel so good right now! It's been a long (but nice) day.

This morning, we got a phone call at 5:30 saying that the kids' school was canceled due to fog. Normally, they just have a two-hour delay when there is dense fog like there was this morning, but they were already scheduled for a half-day of school, so it made more sense to just cancel school for the day. The kids and been begging me yesterday if they could skip school today, because it was only a half day, so when they got up this morning, I told them they could skip (haha! I left out the part that it was canceled).

I had a long run scheduled today (well, actually, my schedule said a 5K race for this week, but I didn't plan to do that, so I just figured I'd repeat last week's long run of 8 miles). When school was canceled, I decided to just do my long run Sunday morning instead, so I could spend time with the kids today.

We wanted to do something fun with them, because Jerry was off work today, so we were browsing the internet for ideas. We finally decided to go to the Renaissance Festival in Holly, Michigan. I'd been there once before, but it was when I was in college (2000-ish), so I couldn't remember much. We were going to buy the tickets online, and I was shocked at how expensive they were--$22 for adults, and $12 for kids. I started looking for discount codes, and couldn't find any, so we just decided to hold off and get the tickets at the door.

We drove up there (about an hour and a half away) and when we got in line for tickets, a man asked me if we needed to buy tickets. I said yes, and he handed me three tickets and said he had extra. How awesome is that?! So we just had to buy one more ticket, and all four of us got in for the cost of a $12 ticket. I was so glad we hadn't bought the tickets online. The generosity of strangers is awesome.

We walked around for a bit, and watched a few shows. I really liked the magician and the acrobats.

Magician cutting a banana with a bull whip

I can't even!

Watching the jousting show

I have a photo of me in this cutout from 2000, and I wish I could find it!

Jerry looks like he was meant for this cutout

The boys all wanted a turkey leg for lunch. We should have gotten just one and let them each try it to make sure they liked it, because Jerry and Eli didn't even end up liking it! Eli may have liked it more if he wasn't missing so many teeth--poor kid, he has a hard time eating anything that isn't cut into small bites because he lost so many baby teeth at once. ;)

We stayed about three hours, and then headed home. I was thinking about how I'd skipped my run, and thought maybe I should just do it tonight, and get it over with. I didn't want to have to think about it all weekend. So at around 4:30, I got dressed to head out for 8 miles. I very rarely run in the afternoon/evening, especially a long run!

I wasn't sure how I'd feel, considering the time of day, the heat, and the fact that I was walking around at the festival for a few hours. So I decided to just run however it felt comfortable for the first mile, and let that determine what I'd aim for during the rest of the run. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good, and did the first mile in 9:46. So I decided to aim for sub-10:00 splits. I planned a 5-mile loop and then a 3-mile loop, so that I could get water after mile 5 if needed.

Toward the third mile, I wasn't feeling so hot, and decided that if I could hit all sub-10's for the 5-mile loop, I could stop after that fifth mile. Since I was technically only scheduled for a 5K, I figured it'd be fine to cut the run short at 5 miles. I made it a mission to hit sub-10's for the fourth and fifth mile. When I reached my house, Jerry had my water outside for me, so I gulped some down. I was trying to decide if I should aim for 3 more. I didn't feel terrible, so I knew I could do it. I asked Jerry if he'd finish it out with me, and he agreed. I needed a little something to get me through that last 3 miles, so a running partner was perfect.

I told him I was aiming for sub-10's, but after a half mile, I said forget it--let's just slow down and run easy. My pace slowed to about 10:10, and with a quarter mile to go, I was feeling little better, and decided to just go for sub-10's all around. The last three miles was VERY tough, especially in the sun, but I managed to do it! I can't even describe how good I felt when I was done.

I couldn't believe it when I saw my recovery time--my Garmin determines how long I need to recover from a run based on how hard it was. Normally, it will tell me anywhere from 24-36 hours, occasionally up to 60 hours if it's really tough. Today? It wasn't even measured in hours, but in DAYS. Bahaha! At first glance, I thought it said 35 hours, but upon closer inspection...

Turns out I had burned 103 calories per mile--that's a lot for me! Now I can rest over the weekend, which sounds very nice :) My uncle is in town from Florida, so we have plans to have dinner and watch the Tigers game with him tomorrow night.

September 25, 2014

Gadgets and stripes

Today is already Thursday! I feel like I was just whining about my long run yesterday, but it was actually a week ago. Tomorrow, I have another long run, and I just hope I feel more motivated than last week.

After the kids left for school this morning, I got ready to run. I downloaded a card game app to my phone yesterday, and I really wanted to play it--but I told myself I couldn't play it until after I'd gotten my run done (just three miles). I had been browsing through apps on my new phone when I noticed one with a bunch of card games (I love cards). I discovered that it actually has "my" game--the one that I've been playing since I was probably Eli's age, and have never won. I play it (with actual playing cards) several times a week, hoping that I might win it someday. Anyway, it's on the app, which I was so excited about! It's called 13 Stacks. (The app is called Card Shark Collection, by the way, and it has all of my favorite games--well worth the $1.99 download if you like cards!)

Anyway, after getting ready to run, I felt a bit ridiculous with all the gadgets I was wearing (I forgot to take a pic in my running clothes, so I had to recreate it in my jeans):

Gadgets? What gadgets?
The Fitbit is so small (and I normally wear it under my jeans, attached to my underwear) that I don't really notice it. But since I'm wearing this iFit band for a few weeks, it feels awkward wearing my Garmin along with it. When I got ready for my run today, I had all three gadgets on, and felt a little ridiculous ;)

It was really humid this morning. I noticed it when I was walking Eli to the bus stop, and quizzing him on his spelling words. The paper that listed his words felt soggy by the time we got to the end of our street. So even though the temp was low (48 degrees), I still got really sweaty for a three-miler, and looked like I'd run much farther.

As I was running today, I was thinking about how hard this pace feels right now, when just a year ago, I was running 10+ miles at an 8:45 pace. I'm not necessarily upset about it, because I haven't been focusing on speed at all this year (I can't even remember the last time I did speed work, actually!); but I think I'd like to get back to doing some speed work after the Runner's World Half & Festival next month. I feel like I'm starting back at the beginning, and I'm sure it'll be really difficult at first, but hopefully my muscles (and my lungs) remember how to run fast!

I'm setting a goal to be able to get back down to a sub-2:00 half-marathon by May 2nd. What's on May 2nd? The 500 Festival Mini Marathon in Indianapolis! I've done that half-marathon four times (I walked it in 2008, 2009, and 2010; and ran it in 2011). It was the first race I've ever participated in, actually, and it holds a very special place in my runner's heart.

And in May, I'm going with some very special friends: my Ragnar team, From Strangers to Sole Mates, is having a reunion. I'm SO excited about this! So I'd really like to get back in good running shape for that reunion, and hopefully pull off a sub-2:00. Anyone else doing the Mini in May? If I remember correctly, it's the largest half-marathon in the country, so I'm hoping to run into a few readers.

Noah cracks me up! My mom's neighbor gave me some really nice clothes that she didn't want anymore, and when I tried on this blue and white striped shirt, I couldn't decide if it was really cute or not cute at all. I liked it on the hanger, but I wasn't sure if it looked okay on me. Noah was the only one around, so I asked him, "Do you think this shirt is cute? Or ugly?" He studied me for a second, then said seriously, "Well, I think it would look nice if you wore blue and white striped pants with it."

Haha! Jeans are out--I guess I need to find me some blue and white striped pants ;) That's what I get for asking a 10-year old boy for fashion advice. I ended up wearing the shirt--I like it!

September 24, 2014

Unusual items seen on a run

Today was a rest day, but I didn't really want to completely rest, because we are having this iFit competition with the Runner's World Half bloggers. I decided that I'd go for a long walk today. After I got the kids off to school, I answered some email, and then spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide where and how far to walk. I was using Garmin Connect to map out spots to walk, and feeling really ambitious (mapping out 10-ish miles).

Finally, I just got annoyed that I was wasting so much time, so I threw on my shoes and headed out the door. Because I was walking, and not running, I brought along my iPod to listen to podcasts. I felt like I was walking FOREVER when I finally reached what I knew as the one-mile mark from home. I'd only walked a mile, but it felt like slow motion, and my thoughts of an 8-10 mile walk were gone. I was tempted to either break into a run, or turn around and head back home, but I kept going.

There are some weird things on the side of the road:

Lace panties

Naked Barbies


It's kind of funny, but out of the unusual items I see along the side of the road, underwear is probably what I see the most of. I see men's and women's underwear all the time--so weird!

Actually, maybe it's not that weird... remember the incident with my purple thong? ;)

Other unusual things I've seen on a walk or run: someone's iPhone; condoms (used--gross!); hypodermic needles; an entire McDonald's meal that looked untouched; at Easter time, there was a dead rabbit on the road--and someone had laid out Easter grass and candy Easter eggs out behind it; and I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

Toward the end of my walk (which ended up being 5.5 miles), I was starving for lunch, and all I could think about was an antipasto salad. I am not a salad-person, so this was a strange craving that came out of nowhere, but in the spirit of intuitive eating, I decided to get one for lunch. I was so hungry by the time I got home that I didn't even want to go very far to buy one, so I hoped that the local pizza place would have them. I was pretty impressed at how good it looked!

It tasted okay (I added Italian dressing after I took the photo), but I don't think I'd ever order one again. I still feel like I'm in the "doughnuts and Doritos phase" of intuitive eating, and I keep waiting for when I'll stop craving junk and start craving veggies or fruit. The salad was a start, I guess. When I think about it, my diet is gradually getting a little healthier than it was on August 1st, when I first started intuitive eating.

My weight today was exactly the same as it was on August 1st--I'll consider that a good thing. Like I mentioned yesterday, I tend to lose weight during the week, and then go overboard and gain it back on the weekends. I keep hoping that once I start to crave healthier foods, my weight will drop. But when I look at the fact that I've eaten whatever I've wanted, without measuring or counting anything, and my weight is the same--I'm happy about that!

So out of curiosity: What's the most unusual thing you've ever come across while out for a run, walk, or bike ride?

September 23, 2014

Race sign ideas

A few days ago, I received a new little gadget to play with, courtesy of Icon Fitness and Runner's World. It's called the iFit Active, and it's an activity monitor similar to a Fitbit. I love my Fitbit, so I wasn't looking for a new activity monitor, but Icon is sponsoring a little contest between the bloggers who are doing the Runner's World Half & Festival next month.

They sent each of us one of the iFit Active bands to keep track of our steps for a three week period. We can earn entries into a drawing by getting the most number of steps per week. The prize? An iFit enabled machine of our choice!! That's an AWESOME prize, and of course when I learned about that, I wanted to get as many steps as possible. The challenge started yesterday.

I have no idea what possessed me to want to run on the treadmill instead of outside yesterday, but that's what I chose to do. I only had three miles on the schedule, so I did them at a nice, easy pace on the 'mill. I was curious if the iFit band would know to count the steps when on the treadmill, and my step count was very similar to what the Fitbit read afterward. After I wear it a little longer, I'll do a short comparison of the Fitbit and iFit Active.

Jerry was off work today, so after we got the kids off to school, he said he'd accompany me on my four-miler. Jerry wanted to try running somewhere he's never run before, so we went to run along the River Raisin. We just did an out-and-back route. It was so nice outside today! I wore long sleeves, but again, after a mile or so, I wished I'd worn short sleeves. When the sun is out, it always feels warmer than the temp reads (41 today).

It was a good run today, and we managed negative splits again.

When we were done running, we went straight to the Verizon store. I'd been due for a phone upgrade since May, but I was holding out for the iPhone 6. I had an iPhone 4S, and it was in perfect condition, so today, they gave me $200 credit for trading it in. The iPhone 6 (16 gig) was only $200 because I was due for the upgrade, so it was essentially free! I ended up paying a little out of pocket to get the 64 gig one, but it was still a great deal. I'm already in love with the phone--I can't get over how much faster it is than my 4S was!

Intuitive eating is still going well. I have a hard time on the weekends, though, because we've had busy weekends for the past month or so. We were in Punta Cana, and then my brother's wedding, and then Jerry's birthday. So what's been happening is that I'll lose about five pounds during the week, and then overdo it on the weekends and gain it back. I haven't been binge eating, because the intuitive eating has really helped me get a grip on that, but on the weekends, I've been eating more than normal or when I'm not actually hungry. So I'm really going to try to keep the weekends the same as the weekdays as far as my eating goes. There's no reason NOT to, because I'm not restricting my eating at all during the week.

I keep meaning to do some sort of "What I Ate Wednesday" post, to show what a day of intuitive eating looks like for me, but I always forget about it by lunchtime. I'll try and remember to do that soon. It's not super exciting, but it's definitely different than how I ate on Weight Watchers.

My brother's first marathon is in less than four weeks! It's actually been pretty fun planning how I'm going to support him during the race. My parents, the kids, Jerry, Jeanie (my sister), Kendall (Nathan's girlfriend) and I are all going to the race. I've run that race, and last year I spectated it, so I know a few good spots to go. We're going to go to the starting line, then miles 8, 15.5, 19, 22.5, and the finish line.

Kendall and I are going to get together and make some signs soon, and I want to do something creative. Anyone have any ideas for signs? Maybe signs you really liked seeing at races that were different from the norm? My two favorites are "Remember when you thought you couldn't do this?" (inspirational), and "Hurry up! The Kenyans are drinking your beer!" (funny). My brother would enjoy the funny signs most, so I'd like to come up with a couple more.

September 22, 2014

Motivational Monday #79

Happy Motivational Monday! There are lots of stories to share today, so I'm just going to jump right in to the good stuff :)

Jennifer had a very busy weekend--she ran two back-to-back half-marathons! She had committed to completing the Marathons of Wisconsin series, which consists of running at least a half-marathon in five specific races this year in Wisconsin--and one has to be a full marathon. Last year, she really enjoyed the Brewers Mini-Marathon, and wanted to run it again this year. It just so happened to fall on the same weekend as one of the races in the M of W series. So she did what any crazy runner would do, and ran them both! ;)

Mia started running in February, and not long after, she fell, causing her to break her fibula and sprain her ankle. After months of physical therapy and a 20-pound weight gain, she is finally back to running and hiking. She's lost half the weight, and she recently ran her farthest distance to date--4 miles! She's running her first 5K in October, and is super excited for it.

Ashley just finished her first 5K! She was happy with her time of 42 minutes, especially considering the heat (105 in Phoenix--yikes!). Four years ago, she was at her heaviest weight, and decided to do something about it. She lost 40 pounds, and felt so great that she decided she was ready to start a family. She believes that her healthier lifestyle contributed to a happy, healthy pregnancy. After her son was born, she had a hard time getting back to the routine, but she's in a good place now and has lost 12 pounds of "baby weight". She feels great!

On Saturday, Celeste ran her fastest 5K ever. She typically runs a 5K between 30-32 minutes, and once or twice she barely hit the sub-30 mark. She and her husband just ran a very small race in Osakis, Minnesota. She actually almost didn't run, because the weather wasn't great, and she wasn't feeling very good. But she crossed the finish line in 28:30! Celeste and her husband have lost a collective 100 pounds, and have run over 100 races together. (Celeste's blog)

Mallory just ran her first 5K distance! Last week, she had her fastest 2-mile time, and was really nervous about adding another mile onto that. But she "shut out the doubts" and just did it. She met a friend, Andrea, in Zumba, and the two started running together. She said that having a running partner has made a huge difference in her motivation. The two have even lost about 40 pounds each over the last few months!

Amy reached a huge milestone yesterday: she ran/walked 7 miles! She completed the Disney 10K in February, and her knees gave her problems afterward. She thought she'd never run more than 6 miles again, but she felt great during this run, and kept moving (despite the fact that it started to rain). She said while she was running, she kept thinking back to when she first started--she was gasping for breath within seconds. She walked some 5K's, and started to make real progress. There was one race that was very upsetting, and almost caused her to quit: she was given a size XL race shirt, instead of the 2XL that she was used to. The shirt didn't fit, and she was very upset that she wouldn't be able to wear it to the race. She was able to wear the shirt yesterday, and it's very big on her now!

Last year, Rachel and her mom completed their first 5K at the Colorado Walk to End Alzheimer's, in honor of her Grandma Charlie, who was living with the disease. Sadly, Grandma Charlie passed away in December, but Rachel and her mom turned their team of 2 into a team of 22 this year! They raised over $1,000 for the Colorado Alzheimer's Association. This was the first 5K for many of the team members. Grandma Charlie's sister, "Aunt Bee", proudly walked the entire distance to honor her sister and other siblings fighting the disease. Rachel says that Team Charlie's Angels is proof that anyone, at any age, can complete a 5K!

Erin and her husband completed their first half-marathon yesterday! They had been registered to run one last weekend, but it was canceled, so they signed up at the last-minute for a different race. It poured rain most of the race, but Erin was very happy with her finish time of 2:15. She also reached her secret goal: to beat her husband! ;)

Jen was very proud of her little guy, who ran the Terry Fox Run at school. He ran the entire mile, without stopping to walk!

Don't forget to check out more stories on the Motivational Monday Facebook post!

September 21, 2014

Noah's first XC invitational

My internet was down all day yesterday, so I couldn't write a post. Charter finally came out this morning to fix it. It's so strange not having internet when I want it! I found myself thinking, "Oh, I'm going to Google that..." and then remembered that I couldn't. Or going to balance my checkbook, but not having access to my account info online. We've gotten spoiled, because everything is so convenient and quick.

Today, I wanted to make a pineapple upside down cake for my dad, because it's his birthday and that's his favorite. When I was looking online for a recipe, I was SO overwhelmed. There are so many different recipes for the same cake! I actually kind of miss the days when there weren't all those options--you just used the recipe that was in your cookbook. My dad's cake ended up turning out good, though:

Anyways, yesterday was Noah's first cross country invitational. It was at the State Park, so he was familiar with the location, but we had run on the paved bike paths. For cross country, the entire race is on grass. It was a really pretty day outside, but kind of hot for an afternoon race--almost 80 degrees. I was nervous for Noah, because neither of us had ever been to a cross country invitational before, so we didn't know what to expect.

When we got there, it seemed so chaotic. There were a LOT of schools there, and each school had a tent (or two or three) set up somewhere that the runners could put their stuff or relax until race time. We signed Noah in, and discovered his team hadn't gotten their team shirts yet, unfortunately. They pinned a tag to his shirt, and then we had over an hour until his race time (we were told to get there at 1:00, and his race was at 2:20).

Once all the kids were signed in, the coach walked them around to show them their course (a 1.3-mile makeshift trail on grass). My dad came to watch his race, too, so we went over to the starting line together when it was time to line up. There were hundreds of kids at the starting line (I just looked up the results, and there were 216 total in Noah's division). It was kind of crazy to me to think that they would all start at one time (the races aren't chip timed, and there isn't a staggered start).

The horn sounded, and it was instant chaos. I was taking a video of the start, and I lost track of Noah. As I was taking the video, I saw a few kids fall, and other kids plowing over them or falling themselves. It was scary, and I immediately felt panicked for Noah.

I finally spotted him. He looked like he was really pacing himself, and he fell to the back of the pack, which was fine and what I had expected. My biggest concern was just that he would get discouraged.

The race was so short that my dad and I immediately went over to the finish line to watch for the kids coming through. The first kid, a sixth grader, came through in 7:00 flat. That's a 5:23/mile pace!! In the top 10 or so kids came this one boy who was carrying one of his shoes--it had obviously come off while he was running, so he carried it and ran with one shoe the rest of the way, still finishing with a 6:00-ish mile pace.

When Noah and I ran together at the State Park on Thursday, I took note of his 1.3-mile split, because I knew that was going to be the distance of his race. He did it in 17:00 even, which is a pace of 13:05/mile. I told him it would be awesome if he could hit a 13:00/mi pace at his race, and to do that, he'd just have to push himself a little harder than when we practiced. I told him that by the end of the season, he could probably have a pace in the 10:00's if he kept training.

About 12 minutes in, my dad looked at the clock and said we still had about 5 minutes before Noah would come through. Shortly after he said that, I spotted Noah!

He looked like he had pushed himself hard, and he crossed the finish line with an official time of 12:32 (9:38/mile pace). (There was confusion about whether the course was 1.25 or 1.3 miles, but the official results list 1.3, so we'll go with that.) He placed 161 out of 216. I was completely dumbfounded when I saw him cross the finish line with that time--I didn't even think he'd hit that pace during the whole season, let alone the first invitational!

Noah was exhausted, and he bent over for a minute like he was going to throw up. I handed him a bottle of water, and he said he thought he was going to puke. He had really pushed himself hard, and it just blew my mind how much time he took off of his practice run! I asked him if he had fun, and he said yes--so that was the most important thing anyway. He's really proud of himself and he really likes cross country. I'm so glad!

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