Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Facebook giveaway and Christmas Eve Traditions.

 It's been quite the week.... Preparing for holidays, lots of treats and trying to sneak in runs.  I'm on day 44 of my holiday running streak!  I am excited that I've made it this far, but it's still a battle to make time for even just a short mile every day.  We'll see what Christmas Day brings!

Christmas Eve has a new tradition of taking Squeakers and Bugaboo out in the double stroller to go look at lights in the neighborhood... and Maybe to work off the cookies Santa will be eating tonight.  We worse blinking holiday lights which, I'd like to think, helped us be more visible in the fog we are having tonight.  Good thing Santa has Rudolph... or he'd have a heckofa time in our area tonight!

On a side note, I wonder how this tradition will morph and change as the kiddos get too big to be hauled in a running stroller...

Other big news... A GIVEAWAY!!!

If you aren't already following me of Faceook, let me announce my big news!  Well, I think it's big.

My Facebook page reached (over) 1,000 likes!!!  So to celebrate, I'm having an "Ultimate Runner's Care Package" giveaway to start off someone's 2014 on the right foot.  Click here to check out my Facebook page.  While the giveaway is going on, it'll be pinned to the top of the page.  

For this giveaway, I've teamed up with "Hands Free living with Hips-sister", Fitsok, The RunnerBox and Glimmer Gear.   You won't want to miss this.... and for a limited time, Fitsok and Glimmer Gear are offering my readers a discount on some of their products.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Race Recap: Ugly Holiday Sweater Run and Walk

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Logo by: Andrea Schwoebel  (http://andreaschwoebel.com)
A friend from Moms RUN This Town posted on Facebook about a free 5k, and before she could say anything else about it.... she had me at "free".

The race is free, but asking for donations for the Ladybug CDH Foundation.  Participants could bring 100% cotton receiving blankets, socks or hats.  If it was easier, cutting a check for the foundation was acceptable (and appreciated) too!

The race was a small and intimate affair, but so much fun and highly recommended!!  I am bad at estimates, but I think there may have been about 50 people participating today.

As noted above, the Ladybug CDH Foundation was receiving the donations made by participants. Click on their name to go see their webpage what they are all about!  They hope to raise awareness about a birth defect called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia and raise money for research and treatment.
$110 was raised in cash/checks and the charity received 83 pairs of socks, 42 hats and 64 receiving blankets!  I don't know how that compares to last year, but I hope the race is growing and will continue to grow in participants.

The 5k (or one mile option) was an untimed fun run that was held at Summerlake Park.  The park was very beautiful with the light fog, frozen lakes and streams and water fowl in the area.  There is also a dog park with in the park and a very dog-friendly race for friendly dogs.

The course is pretty flat, with a mild incline at the end of the first mile (or just after starting your second loop of the park).

The events started with a costume contest before the actually running or walking... What would an "Ugly Holiday Sweater" theme race be without costumes?

As you can see below, I went all out in my "Ugly Sweater".  I didn't just put on a sweater I found and decorated... I dressed up as a sweater!  

Once again, I forgot to ask people for permission to post their pics on my blog, so you'll have to trust me that there were some really fantastic, fun and festive holiday sweaters there.  One of the participants wore a "top hat" that was a brick design  with black boots on the top like Santa's feet on his way down the chimney.  Then the sweater was green and done up like a tree.

Eggnog was donated by Alpenrose, coffee from Starbucks, bagels from Einstein Bagels and some pastries and holiday cookies that I believe were from a local grocery store.

There was also plenty of door prizes too.  And to get a door prize?  All you had to do was show up, receive your drawing ticket and hold on to half of it while the other half was placed into the basket for the drawing.

While runners and walkers made their journey to finish one loop or three, the race organizers taped the winning ticket to the items and you could check to see if you had a match.

A fresh cut holiday wreath was available, 13 gift certificates to Veggie grill, gift cards to local running stores (Foot Traffic and Pace Setter Athletic), and a free race entry to a local race (The Bald Peak Half).

(Pretty awesome!  My family scored two $10 veggie grill cards and my running partner/sole sister got $20 to the local "candy store"... okay, running store.)


In the top right picture, you can see the "bones' of the costume.  My husband constructed a large pvc pipe "hanger to hold the XL sweater coat and with some foam, a belt and suspenders, the contraption somehow stayed on and relatively pain-free.

The next two photos on the right column are me in the first test run.

The bottom, middle picture is my Squeakers and Bugaboo after the race, and heading home.  Squeakers is wearing wool pants made out of a shrunken, felted (and ugly) sweater.

The bottom left picture is my "bling" for my creative masterpiece.  :)  A trophy that has to be more than 3 ft tall.... though I haven't broken out the tape measure for it.

Bibs were also available for fun at the race, as well as a link provided before hand to print out.  I just love the logo of the runner in the detailed sweater she has on.   

Race bib by:  Andrea Schwoebel   (http://andreaschwoebel.com)

So, I hope I've convinced you to give this one a try next year.  If anything, it's untimed, so grab a group of your friends and wrap yourselves up in yarn and Christmas lights ( you could call your team "hot mess") and have some fun while helping out some babies.

You can't go wrong and will be glad you went.  

(Don't expect me to outdo myself on this year's costume.  I'll probably be wearing it until it starts to unravel.  And now I have Weezer "Undone" stuck in my head.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Conquering "The Blerch" or my negative self talk...

The online comic "The Oatmeal"  describes the arch nemesis "The Blerch" as a fat little cherub who follows the comic author when he runs.  It is a wretched lazy beast who tells the runner to slow down.  Just stop.  Time to walk.  Let's just go home.  Go home and take a nap, eat some pie, or do something generally non productive.  Since seeing the funny illustrations to this topic, it really has made the idea more relateable.

Who doesn't have a bad run now and then?  Who doesn't struggle with negative thoughts and self talk now and then?


Everyone struggles with it at some point, and if you honestly think you don't, then pat yourself on the back or push yourself a little bit farther because I'm pretty sure even gold medalist Olympians have interviews where they have struggles in their sport.

I am so struggling.

I struggle with not getting a run in while the sun is still up and the excuses set in to skip out on my run streak and not continue since I don't really have gear for running at night.

I struggle with just wanting to be lazy.  There are about a million other things I can think of to do than get in 30 minutes of cardio.

I'm struggling with me and feeling lethargic with the lack of sun and cold weather.

I struggle at times with depression.

Probably nothing in comparison with some of the challenges others face and still get a run in.  That frustrates me too.  I can run.  I have the ability to do it.  Some are unable to and would like to.  Some have serious challenges and still get it done without complaining!

I have to conquer this laziness.  This apathy I am drowning in and rise above it.

A friend of mine gave me an early Christmas gift... and I love it.  With my new "Blerch" running shirt, I headed out last night to get the run in that I didn't want to do.

With my flashlight in hand and my sweet family following in the near distance ogling at holiday lights, I went out and pounded the pavement for a ten minute mile.

Life really isn't all that bad.  I don't know why I have such a lazy streak lately that is so hard to kick!  I hate it!  But with the crisp air, beautiful fog and lovely holiday lights, I killed my mile with a pretty fast pace (for me).    I got my run in today this morning.  Now to just keep my momentum up.  (And egg nog consumption down.)

Do you believe in "the blerch"?  How do you overcome those negative thoughts?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Streak and Hedonic Hunger

Day 32 of my Holiday Running Streak complete.  (My goal is to run at least one mile every day until New Years Day...)

I'm not covering the distance I'd like to... but today I was not warm enough and was feeling a little heavy...

It was my favorite annual event today... the "Cookie Exchange".  Bake a dozen cookies for each participant and trade a dozen with everyone to take home some new tasty treats.... to give away, of course!  But there are plenty there to taste too.

So, being mindful of how much I consumed and "Hedonic Hunger"...  I ate one or two too many and really needed to hit the street, freezing rain or not.  This might be exactly why many sign up to do this run streak!  There are plenty of seasonal treats right now that are pretty tempting...

I love this cookie exchange!  Last year, I made a cardamom black pepper cookie with juniper berry icing and the year before was a persimmon cookie with orange glaze.  My favorite cookie will always be "Santa's Whiskers".  

Well, this year, I was lazy and did a known favorite of my husband's.

Chocolate Chip Bacon cookies.

 Recipe makes 3 dozen cookies.
 6 slices maple-cured bacon, chopped
 1 1/2 cups white sugar
 1 cup softened butter
 2 eggs
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 2/3 cup cocoa powder
 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble.
Beat the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer in a large bowl until fluffy and smooth. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the chocolate chips and bacon. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Let stand 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy.  Maybe I'll look up my other cookie recipes for you in time before Christmas?

What are your favorite cookies?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Streak Day 30. The hardest mile ever... maybe the best one yet!

Day 30 of my holiday streak.  I wanted to give up this morning.  "Who cares?"  That voice keeps chanting in  my head.  "No.  Honestly.  Who Cares?  If you stop now and stop posting on your blog or facebook page that you are streaking... will anyone care?"    A much smaller voice reasoned "It's just a mile.  Go get it done and another day is in the books." 

Nope.  Not motivated.  

Then the even smaller voice of my 3 year old pierced through the argument in my head.

"Mama.  I want to run with you."

Time to lace up those shoes and get moving.  If there isn't many on the world wide web who "care" about my journey or my struggles through it... there certainly is someone outside of myself who does.  My children.  

I helped Bugaboo pick out some warm clothes and we powered through a mile.  An entire mile!  Together. 

My best little running partner...
It wasn't a miracle mile.  Actually I kept trying to bargain with her if I could turn around now and take her back home to her daddy so I could get my mile done.  Nope.  She wouldn't have it... and as cranky as I was becoming to just "hurry up"... I realized that I hadn't even wanted to run in the first place, and now she got me out there.  I wasn't going to kick her to the curb and tell her she couldn't be there with me.  What kind of example is that?  Yeah.  I like running-time to be "me time" to clear my head and think straight and piece together my sanity at times... but this was different.

Was it an awesome run?  No.
Was it fast and full of heart pumping endorphins and exhilarating?  No.

Not every run can be that.

Was it goofy, full of laughs and looking for "huge pine cones"?  Yes.


After a loooong 20 minute mile, we came inside to a nice cup of hot chocolate.  Well, Bugaboo had some.  I'm not having a sweet tooth right now so I'll keep the 100 calories I burned on the longest one mile ever and savor her happiness to bond on a run and snuggle up after.

"Where did the marshmallows go?"

Day 27 of the run streak in 17 degree weather.
Besides, Day 27 was my euphoric run.  Hold on to those... they just don't happen every day.  What fun would that be if they did? 

Any secrets to overcoming those negative thoughts or lack of motivation?  Share your secrets with me!  :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

25 things I've learned in 25 days of running. (My holiday running streak.)

I started my running streak on November 11th and today marks day 25!  I have to admit that I started early as kind of a "practice run" because I hadn't been running at all after my 15K race and was burnt out.  I didn't think I'd keep it up.  So... here's what I'm learning about myself and about running in general on this journey!

25.  I should probably foam roll daily.

24.  A hot shower feels really good after a cold run.
23.  I really have an amazing, supportive husband to watch the kids for me to sneak in those daily runs.
22.  I don't like to run with music anymore.  It's easier to hear my pace or how my feet are shuffling and to focus on what is going on around me. 
21.  I really can do this.  I'm on day 25!!!  I don't have to do a huge training run every time... Just a mile if that's all I have time or energy for.
20.  On day 20 I learned I can run a 10 minute mile!  Well.... 10:03.
19.  I can get into size 10 jeans!  When I started running in January, I was in "22W".  
18.  Those cute metaphors about falling 99 times and getting up 100 times do not explain how hard it really is to get back up after a fall!  I had to chant to myself  "Get up!" as I laid there looking up at the sky trying to figure out what happened to my great run. 
Day 16 of my running streak.  Everything is scabbing over nicely now!
17.  Sometimes you just have to sneak a run in while doing errands.  On day 21, as the family loaded up into the car to go to the Christmas tree lot... I ran ahead 2 miles before they came across me en route and picked me up. 

16.  I can beat my family the 2 miles or about 22 minutes it takes me to run to the grocery store.  It takes my husband that long to load two kids into the car before being able to get the car on the road...
15.  It feels good to get a charity mile in.  Go check out this app if you haven't yet.  It will help your motivation to run for others.  
14.  Wood bridges and docks covered in frost are very slick. Yikes!  I don't think I ever crossed one so early in the morning before this run streak.
13.  Get up early enough and there is an untouched world full of beauty and some wildlife.
Day 15-  3 blue Heron.  One in flight on the bottom, middle picture.
12.  And 7 days later, the same place at the same time can be just a freezing and rained out path.  But at least I got out there... right?

11.  Cat calls leave me on edge.  I really don't like them.  Can't a guy just holler "Good job!"

10.  Running everyday means a lot more laundry.
9.  Your socks don't have to match.
8.  This also made it obvious that I have plenty of running shirts but need more pants.
7.  It is easy to throw on a t-shirt to get a quick mile in, but it is uncomfortable to run in jeans, slacks, or yoga pants that were just "a little too big" when lounging around the house.  Baggy pants are no good.
6.  What feels like a SLOW warm up now, used to be my "full out" fast pace.  I'm improving!

5.  Cold ears hurt like an ice cream headache.
4.  It didn't take long to figure out where a mile landmark is in any direction of my front door.
3.  I'm not drinking nearly enough water in a day.  My goal is 90 oz. minimum.  I think I had a glass of water with my lunch today... maybe.
2.  Snot rockets are just gross.  No thank you.

And #1:
The digital "your speed" sign can register me!  9 MPH baby!  Yeah.  I should probably rely on my Garmin for more accurate pace readings... 

Any surprises or revelations you've come across because of running? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Recap: Uberthons' Turkeython! My first Turkey Trot... or waddle.

I enjoyed my first turkey trot this year... and if You haven't done one of these yet, you've gotta give them a try.  There are tofurky is your thing, chances are you'll even find a tofurkey trot near you too.

I participated in the Uberthons Turkeython which was held at the local mall.  I'm pretty sure there were no shoppers that morning, and the ample parking was all racers and their friends and family to cheer them on.  

The race charity benefits a program also put on by Uberthons called the UberKids Enrichment program, which you can read more about by clicking here.  They were raising funds for scholarships for kids who would otherwise not be able to participate in that program.  Another aspect to the charity was kids participating in the kids' dash were encouraged to bring a new toy and/or tree ornament and kiddos could dash with the toy/ornament to place under the tree for the Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

The morning was a freezing 30 degrees Fahrenheit as runners did a 2.5K loop to warm up or stand about jumping in place to try to stay warm.  I wore my crazy turkey costume... and though you might think that would help provide some warmth... I started the race with a numb butt.  So., there ya go.  No extra insulation there with 11lbs of pillow fluff inside my fabric turkey.

 The course was a 2.5K lap around the parking perimeter of the local mall.  That was as close to a shopping center I wanted to be on Thanskgiving morning... but not everyone may feel the way i do about that.

There are events for everyone with a 2.5K run or walk, 5k run or walk and 10K run, along with a relay with 2-4 team members (for a 10K total distance).  Each lap was 2.5K, so for a 5K, run around twice and for the 10K I lapped the mall 4 times.  

The course is billed as relatively flat.  Let me tell you about that. My first 2.5K around, I noted one hill.  Okay, not so bad.  There is one uphill portion that is a little bit difficult, but I'm chugging right along... trying not to burn out with this huge turkey costume on.  On the way back to the start/finish to start my second loop, I thought there was a nice down hill portion.  Not too bad.

The second time around the 2.5K loop, I distinctly remember counting 4 hills. 4!  That's not very flat for a 2.5K.... then the third time on the loop, I decided that the whole thing was nothing but uphill.  But to clarify my bias, my suspenders on my turkey had come loose and I had to carry the damn thing.  I stopped and asked two seperate volunteers managing traffic on the road if they'd help me reclip it... but it just wasn't working out.

As I neared the finish line for the final loop, I ditched the turkey at the JC Penny store entrance and ran as fast as I could.  Literally.

I am proud that my 15 minute a mile pace last April has improved to about a 11:30 minute mile... but when my friend who had long finished her 10K saw me about to start my final loop, she asked if she could join me.   I was grateful for the company as my legs were wobbly like a thanksgiving jello mold and I wasn't sure if i was going to make it... Much less stay upright.  I had taken a spill two days before the race and had road rash on my knee, elbow and both palms.  I didn't want to biff it again.

Well, she wasn't going to let me take a leisurely stroll.  She kept just a step ahead of me, hollering back at me how many more minutes I was from the finish at this pace.  Okay.  That was helpful.  I can't keep this up for a lifetime, but i can keep doing this for one more minute and 28 more seconds.  We passed her husband who volunteered to take race photographs.  On that final loop, I didn't even look his way to smile... much less exert any extra energy to wave.  I asked between puffs if I threw up if we could slow down.  My friend said something about waiting to vomit after the finish line.
 She's a beast!  

Well, I ran a 10:52 minute mile for that final loop.  I'll take it.  :D  

As I crossed the finish line, she grabbed my turkey costume for me, so I got to carry him across the finish.  Poor thing missed out on 2.5K of the race, but he finished too.
If you are looking to do this event in the future, packet pick up was three days and open for 7 hours.  So it was relatively easy to beat the lines on race day to get your bib.

Uberthons also had a second bib that racers could write what they were thankful for and pin to their backs.  I enjoyed seeing the ones that I could as people passed me.

Race photos (as of this writing) are still being edited but will be offered for a reasonable price of $5.  It's 4 days post race, but it's also important to remember that the photographer is a volunteer with a full time job too.  (After volunteering at three different races, I have a totally new perspective how much a race is held together by volunteers.)

The crowd is HUGE and very friendly.  There were more than 1,200 participants. I did get pushed once by a "very serious" athlete who was probably pissed that this wide turkey butt was blocking his path to a PR... but I didn't stumble to the asphalt and scrape my knees, so no harm done.  My crazy swinging pilgrim's legs kicked a little girl as I passed and I apologized profusely to her... but I don't think she even noticed.  

The bling is not to be messed around with!  1/4" thick and very heavy, the medal is beautiful.  I also won a grey fleece blanket for my turkey getup.  :)

It was a great morning.  (And day 18 of my Holiday running streak!)

What did you do for Thanksgiving?