A little sneak peek behind the scenes with ME – A Blog Writing Process Tour

HAPPY MONDAY friends!!  Did you all have a great weekend?  I know I sure did!  The weekend started off a bit rocky with me picking up Ashton at daycare on Friday afternoon and him quickly throwing up ALL OVER ME!  I will spare you the details, other than to say it was not how I pictured my Friday afternoon looking.  Anyways, he was thankfully better by Saturday morning and we went to swim lessons where he started a new class and swam all alone without Robyn or I in the pool with him.  It was awesome and terrifying all at the same time!

ashton pool

We also had a toddler birthday party and a lot of park/outdoor play time.  All in all it was a great weekend!  So, today instead of doing my usual Monday morning Weekly Recap post, we are going to switch things up a bit!  Why?  Well, earlier last week while I was checking my email I noticed I received a message from one of my favorite bloggers, Mike from Running Around the Bend.  Of course, I quickly opened it to see what it said.  Mike had been invited to participate in a Blog Writing Process Tour by Susie (another awesome blogger I follow) and he was paying it forward and inviting me to participate in it.  I had two very quick thoughts in rapid succession, first, I was really honored he would ask ME, I mean, there are a TON of other really cool bloggers out there.  Second, what was this tour really about?   I continued to read the email and basically, by answering a few questions, I divulge all of my top secrets to you.

top secretHaha!  Just kidding, I have no secrets.  It’s just a cool way to let you into my little corner of the blogisphere a bit more.  After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided to stop over thinking it and just say “YES!”  So, that leads us to where we are today.  To start off, there are some guidelines.

- Acknowledge the blogger/blog that invited you to the Tour.
– Answer some questions about your blogging process
– Choose 3 bloggers to plug, give a short bio of the blogs and link to their sites.

Similar to what Mike and Suz did, I am going to rearrange and regroup some of these so it flows better.  Why reinvent the wheel when they did it so well the first time?  So, let’s get started.

 

Background & My Nominations

As I mentioned above Mike invited me to this tour via Suz.  You can check out both of their posts here and here.  I’ve asked Meranda, Jenna, and Olena to participate in the tour.  I’m really interested to see how they manage their process along with their busy lives!!  They are all really amazing women and bloggers, so please go check them out!

 My Writing Process

So here are the questions I was asked to answer:

1. What am I working on? 

This is a pretty loaded question and the one I was the most nervous to answer.  I guess the simplest answer is I am working on me.  I want to be the best possible version of myself.  At home, I want to be a kind, caring, patient (hardest thing for me), loving, fun, and adventurous wife and mom.  I want Robyn and Ashton to be proud of me and to continue to build a home full of  lot of love and laughter.  At work, I want to continue to grow and learn and work on things that matter, invigorate and challenge me.  I have some very specific goals I am working towards career wise and everything is falling into place right now, which feels good.  Fitness wise, I want to constantly be making improvements.  I want to get faster in my running.  I want to lift heavier.  I want to hold a one-legged crow pose for more than 10 seconds.  I want to continue to build strong relationships with you all because I feel like I have found an awesome little online family and I enjoy interacting with you all so much.   I want to continue to be a great friend and confidant to my friends and family.  I want to push the limits in all aspects of my life and see what I can accomplish.  You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take…I don’t want to look back 1, 5, 10 years from now and regret that I didn’t do something I have always wanted to do or that I didn’t give 100% to everything I tried.  I expect that there will be failures, and I want to learn from them and use them to make me a better, stronger person.  And I want to blog about a lot of this stuff along the way too!  That is what I am constantly working on. Pretty simple, right? :)

2. How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?

I’m not an elite athlete, I can’t run a 5 minute mile, I am just ME…a wife, mom, and working professional who happens to love taking about running, fitness and my family.  There are a million other blogs just like mine out there. I guess what distinguishes me from everyone else is my experiences and my voice.  We all come from different backgrounds, have had different life experiences that color the way we see the world and have different goals.  We all have different writing styles, purposes for our blogs, things that drive and motivate us.  This is just my tiny little corner of the internet where I use my voice to discuss the things that means something to me.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I had been reading a handful of running blogs for close to 4 years and always found myself feeling inspired and loved reading about others experiences. I had tossed around the idea of starting my own blog quite a few times but I got nervous thinking it was way too much work or I wouldn’t have the skills to get it up and going and of course, what would I talk about and who would read it?  Finally after doing a lot of research, I threw caution to the wind and started this little blog last September.  I decided I was going to write about all the things I was passionate about…running and general fitness training, my struggles and successes, my family, friends, work and anything else that was on my mind.   At the time, I really needed a creative outlet and I figured if no one read it, it would serve as an online diary of sorts that I could look back and reflect on.  I am SO glad that less than a year later, I have this incredible group of readers friends with diverse backgrounds and interests that I truly enjoy interacting with and learning more about everyday.  You perspectives make me a better, more knowledgeable person, so thank you!

4. How does your writing process work?

say what

My process is that I don’t really have a process, I just write in the moment for the most part.  I don’t schedule posts weeks or days in advance. I usually write them the morning they post or sometimes the night before, but 95% of the time, I write them in the morning and hit publish.  I don’t revise and edit other than for grammar or spelling errors.  I typically write off the cuff and speak like I would if I were chatting with you face to face. My writing isn’t very technical and I don’t spend time pouring over my word choice, I just let it go where it does in my head.  I don’t have a long list of things I want to blog about (although I wish I did because sometimes I draw a blank.) I usually just write about my life, what’s going on in the here and now, although if I read something that I want to talk about, I will.  This is one of the few things in my life that isn’t really planned out, I just go with the flow.  I don’t want this to ever feel like an obligation, if that makes sense.  I want to write about the things I want to write about when they interest me. Pretty simple and straightforward!

Well, that’s it!  Thank you again Mike for inviting me to participate in this great tour and don’t forget to check out MerandaJenna, and Olena!

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Question of the day

What made you want to start blogging?  Do you have a writing process of do you “wing it” like me?

Three Films

Well, here we are friends…back to Friday!  It’s time for the 10 Day You Challenge, we are getting down towards the end.  I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have.  Today, we are on three films.  This, like the other days is incredibly challenging, mainly because I love a lot of movies for a lot of different reasons. We watch a lot of movies in our house and Netflix is our BFF.  However, I am not one of those people who will repeatedly watch movies over and over again unless I REALLY love them (I don’t watch re-runs of tv shows I’ve seen either.)  So, for this part of the challenge,  I am going to just tell you three movies that I CAN watch over and over again and never tire of, they all elicit some sort of emotion in me that never goes away each time I watch them, which is why I keep going back for more. 10 day you challenge Three Films    

1. P.S. I Love You ps i love you movie I am not an overly emotional person, but I ugly cry through this movie EVERY SINGLE time I watch it.  It is such a beautiful story of love, loss and living.  It doesn’t hurt that I am also a huge fan of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and that he and Robyn look so similar (it’s not just me who says it either.)

2. The Hangover hangover I remember seeing this movie in the theater the first time with Robyn and some friends and I was laughing so hard I was crying and my stomach hurt. I remember Robyn turning to me at one point and asking if I was okay. We both love this movie and can recite lines from it and it still makes me laugh hard.  I was disappointed in the  follow-up movies in this franchise, they just cannot compare and are not worth watching (in my opinion.)

3. Napoleon Dynamite nap dynamite This is another classic in our house that cracks us up.  We have seen it too many times to count.  It’s definitely an “odd comedy” and you have to enjoy the kind of humor to understand it, but both Robyn and I love this movie.

 

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday! :)

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Question of the day

What are some of your favorite movies?  Do you tend to like one genre or do you like diversity?

Give it a rest

Grab your beverage of choice and let’s have a little chat on this rainy, gloomy Boston morning shall we?  So, lately I’ve noticed with a couple of the running blogs I follow that they are facing injuries that are sidelining them for running.  Another thing I have noticed is that these same runners were just coming off of marathons or bigger races and took little to no rest in between their last training/race and their next training/race cycle.  When reading about their injuries, I found myself shaking my head saying to myself, “Of course you are injured, your body needs to recover.”  It made complete sense to me why their injuries were occurring, our bodies NEED rest.  Training for anything, especially marathons or longer distances can be very taxing on our bodies, even for those in tip-top shape.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I get that you don’t want to put in all that hard work for months, run a race and then sit around doing nothing and lose all the fitness you worked so hard to gain, and that is not what I’d advocate for anyways.  BUT…only taking a few days off of running and then piling the miles back on, even if you feel perfectly okay, just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and feels like a recipe for disaster injury (these are of course, all just my personal opinions, I don’t know what other people’s motivations, goals, etc are).  I am by no means a doctor and of course, everyone’s body responds differently to training, mileage, etc, but as I was reading Running Times online, I came across this article and it validated my thoughts and made a lot of sense to me. (This is just a snapshot of the full article, I recommend you read the whole thing!)

give it a restNow, this is just MY experience, but after both of my full marathons, I took a break from running and focused on a lot of cross training.  After my first marathon I took to the Insanity program and was more fit and ripped after that training cycle than I had ever been while running.  As many of you know, post Boston this year I started the T25 program.  I took a few weeks totally off from running (I was still cross training), even though I physically felt fine and have just as of late been sprinkling in more weekly runs, and guess what?  Not only am I feeling re-energized with running but I am getting FASTER?!?  I think the rest from a lot of running coupled with more intense cross training has left me mentally and physically stronger while letting my body recover from pounding out the miles during my last training cycle.  

I started thinking about this more on my drive home the other night.  Now this is just my assumption/observation, but while I love social media and blogging, I think that it’s possible that people (and the bloggers I have been reading that are in this situation) may be falling into the idea (or pressure) that if they aren’t constantly training for something and talking about it, then they are somehow less of an athlete or will have nothing else to talk about since they hear of others who are doing back to back marathons, ultras, etc.  It’s that whole comparison trap/keeping up with the Jones mentality.  Like I said, I’m going out on a limb and making an assumption, but I see a lot of that in other situations on social media so I am sure it COULD apply in this instance, for some.  Social media can be a great platform for motivation, advice, etc but I think it can also add a lot of undo pressure to constantly perform at a certain level.  

Okay, I’m going to get off my soapbox that our bodies need rest…but I want to hear from you all down in the comments. 

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Question of the day

What are your thoughts around taking a running rest period between training cycles?

Weekly Wrap Up

Good morning friends!  It’s kind of wet and gloomy here in Boston this morning, but that is totally okay.  After a gorgeous weekend of perfect weather, I am more than okay if it rains during the week if that means we can have weekends like we just did!  This weekend was full of family, friends, hiking, and lots of great food (including the most ridiculous birthday cake!) Last week was my last week with the T25 program,  I’ll do a full recap of the Beta Phase in the coming week so stay tuned!  But here’s what my week looked like!

Week 7/7-7/13

Monday:  It was REALLY hard coming off a super long weekend.  I felt really refreshed mentally, but had a hard time getting going until I stepped into the gym and queued up my T25 Beta Rip T Circuit video.   A few minutes into my workout, the switch flipped and I was super focused and felt like I got a REALLY great workout.  After T25  I wanted to get in some ab work so I tried a new Blogilates video, Extreme Abs, it was hard and it felt good.  I felt like Monday really set a good tone for the rest of the day!  I couldn’t get to my normal lunchtime yoga class because of a meeting, so I was glad I felt accomplished in the morning.  Ashton didn’t have daycare on Monday so my niece watched him at our house so after we got home and had dinner, we all went out for ice cream.  It was such a great treat during the week and of course, Ashton was in heaven!

ash ice cream mon night

Tuesday: Tuesday morning I started off with T25 Beta Core Cardio and then decided to do a short run.  I got in a relaxed 3 miles in 27:15, so a 9:03 pace run and my ankle felt really good, which was a great sign, so for all intents and purposes I think it’s better.

tuesday run

After my run, I wanted to get in some ab work but didn’t feel like a video so I put on some of my favorite tunes and had a plank a thon.

Wednesday: I had plans to take my normal Wednesday morning spin class but when I got to work and tried to get into our second tower, the doors were on lock down and the fire alarm was going off.  I went back to my office and called up to the gym and they said they were not evacuated so I thought it was just a drill.  I tried to walk outside and enter into the second tower from the ground level but there were 6 firetrucks and they weren’t letting anyone in.  A bunch of us early morning gym goers were waiting outside hoping this was just a drill and we could get back in quickly but after waiting 30 mins we realized that wasn’t happening. I was really irritated because I had a full day of back to back meetings which meant I wouldn’t get to work out.  Luckily at 11:30 a.m. I saw that my noon meeting was rescheduled so I had an hour free.  At noon I ran up to the gym, got in a quick 3 mile run with an average 8:17 pace, showered and was back in my office for my 1:00 p.m. meeting!

wed lunch run

Thursday: In the morning I did T25 Beta Dynamic Core followed by my usual vinyasa yoga class. The instructor was playing around with some different moves in this class, which kind of threw me off. I won’t say it was a bad class, I just like our usual style/format better.  It was good to learn some new moves, but I don’t feel I got as good of a workout.  Anyways, in the evening I taught Group Power and did some very basic core moves for about 5 minutes when I got home.

Friday: It was my last “official”  T25 Beta workout, I did the Rip T Circuit and Speed 2.0 and then had to rush to get to my yearly physical.  Always fun! :)  I didn’t get anything else done because my Mom was in town, staying with us for the weekend, so the rest of the night was spent running errands, trying to get ready for the Birthday BBQ I was throwing for Robyn on Saturday afternoon!

Saturday: Today was a rest day and I spent the morning running around trying to get everything ready for Robyn’s birthday party in the afternoon.  I kept it small, only to about 15 close family and friends as Robyn really doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday.  Everything went really well and we had a lot of fun and ate some ridiculously good food, including the dark chocolate/PB cake I ordered for him from a delicious bakery in our area.

robyn bday cake

It was so rich and flavorful and super dense.  I think the cake itself weighed over 5 lbs, it was HEAVY, but the good thing is you could have a super small piece and feel satisfied!! I just wish we didn’t have 1/2 a cake still sitting in our fridge right now :)  All in all, it was the best kind of rest day!

Sunday:  On Sunday I drove my Mom back home in the morning and was sad to say goodbye.  We all had such a good time with her, especially Ashton.  He just loves his “gramma.”  When I got home, we did our usual Sunday things like grocery shopping, etc and then in the afternoon we headed out to a local trial and went on a little over 2 mile hike with Ashton and some of our friends and then we all went out for ice cream.  Ashton must have been beat up from the weekend because he was so tired when we got home that he couldn’t even sit up to play with his truck!

ashton too tired to sit up and play

A hike and ice cream was the perfect way to end an already awesome weekend!

Overall, this week went pretty well.  I am happy and sad to say goodbye to T25, although I definitely will incorporate the videos into my normal routine, just not in such a structured way.  I did pretty well with my core workouts, but there is always room for improvement.  I have a few things I am going to tweak over the course of the next few weeks and start to increase my weekly mileage again, so I am interested to see if/what will change as a result.  More on that to come!  I hope you all had a great weekend and your Monday is off to a good start!

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Question of the day

What did you do this weekend?

Anyone have suggestions for good core workout videos other than Blogilates?

Four Books

Hi all–how’s your week going so far?  I can’t believe another week has gone by and it’s Friday! Today is going to be quite busy, my Mom is coming to stay with us for the weekend, which I am REALLY excited about, I have my annual physical at the Drs, and I have a TON of shopping to do tonight, including picking up what I hope is an amazing birthday cake to get ready for Robyn’s birthday party tomorrow.  I am glad to have an extra set of hands to help for tomorrow, that’s for sure!

Anyways, sticking with our Friday theme over the past few weeks, we are continuing the 10 Day You Challenge.  Today is about four books.  As most of you who have followed me for some time now know, I LOVE to read, almost as much as I love to workout. I read at least 1-2 books a week, sometimes 3-4 depending on what is going on at home, so narrowing it down to just 4 books may be the hardest part of this challenge thus far. Because of that, I decided to list my 2 all time favorite books and 2 that were childhood favorites that I read to Ashton frequently and I still love.

 

10 day you challenge

Four Books

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Leemockingbird

I can’t remember the first time I read this book, I believe it was an junior high school, but it was a very powerful and moving story to me, one that I continue to go back and read and is by far, my all time favorite book.

2.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gatsby_1925_jacket

The Great Gatsby comes in a close second and is another classic that is so well written.  I actually do remember the first time I read this book, it was in 9th grade English Lit class and I remember feeling so engaged in the book that I could barely put it down.  I love the book so much that I can’t bear to watch the movie because I am so afraid they didn’t do it justice.  Anyone see it?

3. On the Night You were Born by Nancy Tillman

night you were born

I still tear up EVERY SINGLE TIME I read this book to Ashton, which is often.  It is my all time favorite book to read him.

4.  Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are_(book)_cover

It was a toss up between this book and The Monster At the End of this Book by Jon Stone. I love both so much, but I REALLY love the pictures in this book, so that along with the story push this one to the top of the list!

 

That’s it my friends. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Be safe, laugh a lot, get a good sweat on and I’ll see you all on Monday! :)

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Question of the day

What is your favorite book (adult or children’s)?

VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD

Hi friends, Happy Hump Day!  This week has been a whirlwind, starting off with my computer crashing at work,  leaving my Monday basically a wash and I wasn’t back up and running with my new laptop until almost 11 a.m. yesterday, so I was am in a bit of a panic with all the work I still need to get done.  Then, I got into work super early this morning as usual to get in my workout, well no dice.  The tower that our gym is in was evacuated and there were 5 firetrucks outside.  I waited for a half hour hoping it was just a small incident and they would open the building back up for us, but no.  So now I am sitting in my office bummed that I didn’t get my workout in this morning and I have back to back meetings from 9-4, so getting there during lunch just isn’t happening.  Well, like they say…gotta roll with the punches.  Anyways, I am going to keep this as short as I can.  While reading some of my favorite blogs over the course of the past few day, I saw that I was nominated by four pretty awesome ladies, Helly, Olena, Jenna and Hailey for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I was really flattered and honored since all of these women are incredibly inspiring and I love following their incredible journey’s, so for them to think I am inspiring means a lot to me, so thank you all for thinking I am worthy of this award!

 

veryinspiringblogger

Like a lot of other blog awards, there are rules!  So here they are:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated
  • Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you

I feel like you guys know so much about me…but here we go, maybe you’ll learn something new ;)

1. I haven’t eaten red meat or pork since 1999.  I eat a 95% vegetarian diet with a very occasional piece of chicken or turkey on Thanksgiving. I will eat seafood and love it, but it’s not Robyn’s favorite and since he cooks, we don’t eat it a ton.

2. I was in the Tri-Delta sorority in college. I NEVER thought I’d join a sorority, but I did and it was pretty awesome. Our house had most of the athletes in it, so it was a natural fit for me since almost all my soccer team was a part of it.

3. Similar to Helly’s not liking the distance stickers people put on their cars, I don’t like those family stickers, you know, the ones that show stick figures or whatever (sorry, I don’t mean to offend anyone out there reading this that has them.) I just personally don’t like them.   I would however laugh if I saw this on someone’s car.

stick family

4. I was a Political Science major with a focus on Latin America and minored in European History in college. I wrote my thesis on Drug Trafficking in Colombia and the political, social, and economical impact of Plan Colombia. I totally geek out on history and politics.

5.  Tying into my #4, I did a semester abroad my Junior year of college in Brazil.  It was heaven.

6. I used to chew my nails so badly that they would bleed and hurt to touch, then in my sophomore year of college, I bit them so badly that I got a terrible infection and had to be on IV antibiotics.  The Dr scared me so badly that I stopped chewing my nails and have had long nails ever since.

7. Robyn nicknamed me Sprinkles when we first started dating because of my freckles and it stuck, he still calls me Sprinkles 9 years later!

I read a ton of awesome blogs and I am sure a lot of these people have been nominated by others, but I want them to know I think they are pretty amazing and each one of them inspires me in one way or another.  Also, go check out HellyOlenaJenna and Hailey if you don’t already know them!!  My nominees in no particular order:

1. (My beautiful and bad ass IRL Friend) Kristin @ Sweat Courage

2. Courtney @ Tri Girl Chronicles

3. Michael @ Running Around the Bend

4. Susie @ SuzLyfe

5.  Julia @ Vegas Mother Runner

6. Kels @ The Blonder Side of Life

7. Kristy @ Runaway Bridal Planner

8.  Meranda @ Fairytales and Fitness

9. Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What

10. Rachel @ Undercover Diva

11. Lauren @Lauren’s Glass Slipper

12. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

13. Annie @ Strong Brees

14. Running Bear @ Spiritual Creaminess

15.  Miranda @ The Cupcake Triathete

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Question of the day

What’s one random thing I don’t know about you?

Weekly Wrap Up

Good morning! I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July weekend.  I kicked off my long weekend on Wednesday,which is why I have been fairly silent this weekend unless you follow me on Instagram where I have been posting bits and pieces of what has been one of the best long weekends ever.  Since I am totally slammed at work this week with a big project, I am going to get right into the Weekly Wrap up…so here we go!

Week 6/30-7/6

Monday: It was a pretty typical Monday, I did my T25 Beta Rip T video followed by some ab work then I did my usual lunchtime vinyasa Yoga class.  For some reason, I am really getting into my yoga classes lately, it’s a great feeling when everything just comes together (the moves and breathing!)

Tuesday: I woke up not feeling my workout but got in the T25 Beta Dynamic Core video and tried to run.  My right ankle was still really tender from the trail race on Saturday, so I only make it 1.15 miles before I decided to stop.  It wasn’t worth it for me to continue to aggravate my ankle and delay my recovery.  I finished off the workout with the Blogilates 5 best moves to flatter your lower belly video.

Wednesday: I woke up and my ankle was feeling a bit better thankfully. I did my T25 Beta Core Cardio video and then had my Wednesday morning Spin class.  I was sweating buckets and felt on top of the world after class.  In the evening I did some planks at home.

Thursday: My vacation had officially started so all I did was my T25 Beta Dynamic Core workout during Ashton’s nap since my Group Power class was cancelled because of the holiday weekend.  I kind of felt bad, like I should have done more, but we were too busy having fun for me to worry about taking any more time to workout.  After Ashton woke up, we ventured over to one of the local libraries that has an incredible toddler play area and stayed there in the glorious air-conditioned building for 2 hours.  It was 100 degrees out when we left at 6 p.m., I felt like I was melting ;)   

ash at library

Friday: When we woke up, the weather was nice but we knew we were in for some pretty bad storms so we headed to the Ecotarium in the morning to explore.  We love the Ecotarium and am thinking a yearly membership is in our immediate future!

ecotarium

During Ashton’s nap I did my Beta T25 Speed 2.0 and Upper Focus videos and then Blogilates 5 best muffin top melting moves video.  After Ashton woke up, we got on our rain gear and since it was still fairly warm outside, we played in the pouring rain for about 90 minutes.  It was such a blast. I won’t lie, as we were getting ready to go out, I wasn’t too excited, but once we were out there, jumping in puddles and catching rain in buckets, my mood shifted and I had a blast.  I know I say this a lot, but I truly am thankful for Ashton, he really helps me let loose and enjoy the little things in life.  Seeing things through his eyes is such a wonderful experience.

Saturday: I woke up early and wanted to get a run in since my ankle was feeling better.  The rain helped cool everything off and it was in the low 60′s when I headed out, it felt amazing.  I decided I wasn’t going to pay attention to my Garmin and just try to run by feel at whatever pace felt comfortable. I knew the course I was going to run, an out and back for 4 miles since I knew I would have enough time to run and then get in and shower and change before Ashton woke up.  Well, here is how it turned out.

sat july run

I am pretty shocked at my paces. An average of 8:10 is great for me and the fact that I got in 2 miles in the 7′s was so exciting for me.  It was a progression run without trying to be, which was even better. I sometimes think that when I don’t pay attention to my Garmin I run even better than when I pay a lot of attention to it (which is most of the time!)  After I got home, showered and dressed, Ashton woke up and we played with his bubble machine on the deck.  We laughed so hard and chased hundreds of bubbles!

bubbles on the deck

After running around all day, playing at the park and having a good nap, we headed to my brother and sister in law’s campground for the first time.  He got to play on the beach, walk on the docks with Robyn and took a dip in the water with me.  After we got all cleaned up, my brother in law Matt grilled up some dinner and we sat by the fire hanging out.  Ashton was enthralled with the fire pit and just sat in the chair staring at it, it was really cute!

camping

Around 8 p.m. we left the campground and headed to see the fireworks.  Ashton has never seen the fireworks before and we were a bit nervous to see how he would react to the loud noises, that and this was the first time ever that he was not in bed at 7:45 p.m.  We are pretty militant with his nap/sleep schedule and the fireworks didn’t start until 9:30 p.m.  Thankfully he was a total rock star.  He not only loved the fireworks, but kept talking about them all the way home saying, “Mama, the fireworks were fun, they go BOOM!”   We headed home and got him to bed around 10:45 p.m. and he (and me) passed right out.  I am really glad it all worked out!

Sunday: For all intents and purposes, this was a rest day.  When I woke up, my ankle was pretty tender again.  I can walk fine, but when I try to rotate it, I feel it.  The trail race last Saturday did a number on this ankle with the crazy terrain, so I think it just needs a bit more TLC.  Anyways, we got up late since we were out late and decided to kick off the last day of our long weekend with a leisurely breakfast at a new to us local restaurant. After we had our fill of eggs (for me) and waffles and pancakes for the boys, we headed out to the local outdoor market for some shopping and then grabbed lunch at one of our favorite little delis. After Ashton’s nap, we went grocery shopping and played outdoors.  Our niece came over in the evening and stayed overnight since she was watching Ashton Monday while his daycare is off and Robyn and I both have to go back to work.

So, considering the long holiday weekend, I am pretty happy with my workouts this week and all the family time I was able to enjoy.   I definitely got in more core workouts than last week which was the goal and I got in some good paces during my run on Saturday morning.  I hope my ankle feels a bit better this coming week so I can start logging more miles.  Next week is my final week with T25, so I have to figure out what I am going to tackle next, but I am definitely going to start increasing my weekly running mileage again, even though the only race I am currently signed up for is a 10k trail race in August.

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Question of the day

How was your holiday weekend?  Any fun stories?

Five Foods

HAPPY 4th of July!  I hope everyone had a great day celebrating.  We had kind of a washout here in MA today, but it still ended up being a great day.  We started the day off at the Ecotarium and then after Ashton’s nap we all got suited in our rain gear and spent about an hour and a half in the pouring rain, jumping in puddles, playing with Ashton’s water table and just having fun outdoors!  I would have never enjoyed being outside in the rain so much if it weren’t for Ashton, I love how he helps me find joy in such simple things, it’s so awesome!

So, because I was out enjoying the day with my boys, that is why this post is so late.  Keeping up with the 10 Day Challenge, today’s post is about 5 foods…as usual, its REALLY hard to narrow down my favorites in any of these categories, so I did the best I could.  Here we go!

10 day you challenge

Five Foods

1. White Flesh Nectarines

nectarine

The only fruit I don’t like is papaya, everything else is fair game for me. I LOVE fruit and eat it everyday, but white flesh nectarines are my all time favorite. I love the hard texture (like biting into an apple) and the light but sweet taste.  I have been buying these like crazy since they are in season and eating at least one a day.  I am going to be really sad when the summer is over and you can’t get them anymore.

2. Pad Thai

pad thai

I very rarely get cravings for food, but when I do, 90% of the time, it’s for Pad Thai.  I don’t eat it often, maybe 3-4 times a year, but it’s one of my most favorite dishes.

3. Pizza

pizza

Mmmmm pizza!  Every Friday night in our house is pizza night. Both Robyn and I share a deep love for pizza.  We have been trying out all the pizza places in our city for the past few years, trying to hit them all and we rate them in the hopes of finding the best pizza in the area.  We have a sticker system and everything.  I told you we love pizza!  For me, as long as it’s not Greek style pizza, I’m happy.  I’m kind of a purist when it comes to my pizza, so I love just plain cheese (or cheese with fresh basil…YUM!), but as long as there is no meat on the pizza or black olives, I will try any combination.  We recently had a crab rangoon pizza that was INCREDIBLE!  At first I was a bit leery, but it totally rocked!

4. Peanut Butter

mighty maple

I have had a love affair with PB since as long as I can remember.  When I was a young child I used to sit with the jar, a spoon and a glass of milk and be in heaven.  Not much has changed and at any given time, there are at least 3 different jars of PB in our house. Right now we have Peanut Butter & Co’s Mighty Maple, Jif creamy, Jif extra crunchy and  Marantha Almond Butter.  The only time in my life I abstained from PB was when I was pregnant with Ashton as I was told that if you ate PB (or anything with nuts) there was a higher chance Ashton would have had a peanut allergy.  I didn’t touch anything made with nuts, it was probably the toughest thing for me to abstain from.

5. Cheese 

cheese

I haven’t had a cheese that I can recall that I didn’t like.  I love cheese, especially specialty cheeses.  There is this great specialty cheese place near us that sells really unique cheeses from all over the world, many that I have never even heard of before.  It’s one of my favorite places to go.  Whenever we are hosting for a special event, we go there and get some really amazing cheeses and they help us pair them with the right meals, breads/crackers and wines.  It’s such a wonderful treat.  For our day-to-day cheese eating, we usually stick to a very sharp cheddar, muenster or a really good quality mozzarella.

 

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Question of the day

What is on your list of top 5 favorite foods?

XTERRA Trail Run Series (#2)-French River Race Recap

Hi Friends, Happy Hump Day!  Today is my last day in the office this week, so I am rushing to get all my stuff done so I can enjoy an extra long weekend with my boys!!  So, I have a little race recap for you.  As many of you know, in May I did a recap of my very first trail race (and run), the XTERRA Trail Run Series at Wallum Lake, which also happened to be the very first race I have ever placed in!!  Well, the second in this race series, the French River Trail Race was this past weekend.

french river logo

So, today we are going to recap this race, okay?  Sit back and relax, it’s kind of long!!  So, my race prep started off on Friday evening with me running around like a lunatic realizing the shorts I wanted to wear were dirty, so I was up late washing clothes.  Did I have other suitable shorts to wear? Of course, but they weren’t my “LUCKY” shorts.  I know I am a bit weird, just go with it.  So after doing a few loads of laundry and having all my clothes clean,  I laid out my racing outfit out the floor to make sure I was satisfied with all my choices.

French river race outfit

I made the mistake at the last trail race wearing a long sleeve shirt…I learned my lesson, that and well, it was expected to be in the high 80′s so a tank was the only reasonable option I could think of.  I recently bought this purple tank and have worn it for a few sweaty gym sessions and loved it so I thought, let’s give it a whirl for the race.  I had my trusty compression sleeves, my Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes , my “lucky” Nike tempo shorts and sports bra and my Wrightline socks.   My new to me item for this race was a brand new Bondi Band head band I just received in the mail.  It matched my shirt so I figured it was a minor new thing, so if I hated it, I could just toss it.

So, with my clothes all laid out, I relaxed for the rest of the night, watched a movie with Robyn and went to bed.  I didn’t realize when I initially signed up for this race that it was an 11 a.m. start time…WHAT??  Seriously, anything later than an 8 am race, especially in the summer months is just NUTS!  Am I right?  Anyways, I got up around 7:30 a.m. and coincidentally, Robyn was up making us all pancakes for breakfast (he did the same thing before my last trail race and I placed) so I figured this may be a good sign and of course that he was going to be locked into a new breakfast tradition before races whether he liked it or not! :)  Since the race wasn’t until 11, I wasn’t worried about having a heavier than normal (for me) breakfast, I had two wonderfully delicious raspberry pancakes and played with Ashton until 10 a.m.  Since the race was only about 6 miles away from our house, I didn’t have to leave super early to get there and get my bib, check in, etc.

I got to the race location in about 15 minutes and I was surprised to see the place was PACKED. At first I was confused, but quickly realized from all the signage that there was a triathlon going on before the race, which is why the parking lots were almost full.  Of course I started to panic but realized I still had 45 mins so it would be okay. It took me a bit to find a parking spot and ended up having to park quite a bit away from the action but it worked out well.  I jogged over to registration, got in line to get my bib, which took less than 5 minutes and then jogged back to my car to finish getting my stuff ready.

french river bib number
So, after I got my number attached, I grabbed my handheld water bottle (another lesson learned from the last race,) applied some more sunscreen and bug spray and attached my tracking device to my right ankle.  This was the first time I have used this method of tracking.  At first it felt weird but after a few minutes I didn’t even notice it.

french river tracking

 I made my way back to the starting line and quickly jumped into the portapotty line which moved quickly and then stood against the EMT van where I was shaded from the sun.  Now this is where everything starts to go downhill.

As we are waiting to line up for our race, the race director came over the intercom and said that we are going to be delayed by 30 mins because triathletes were still on the course and they had to make some adjustments to the course.  What?  At this point it was already in the low 80s and HUMID. I’m the first to admit that I don’t do well in really hot weather.  We joke, but it’s more truth than anything that when I think about the sun, I burn.  The heat just wipes me out in general so I wasn’t expecting to have a great race given that it felt like it was getting hotter by the minute and now we were delayed which means being outside for that much longer.  I wasn’t thrilled but at that point, there wasn’t really anything I could do.  I went and got a cup of Gatorade to stay hydrated and stayed in the shade as best I could.  

At around 11:35 a.m. they called the runner’s over the loud-speaker to make their way to the finish line (which was also the start line.)  We cheered on the last few triathletes as they crossed the finish line and then listened to all the announcements for the race by the race director and then the 18k runners were off.  They did a staggered start so we waited about 10 minutes and then the 8k runners lined up. I got my Garmin powered up and triangulated and then we were off. 

We took off running towards the woods and I heard my watch beeping a lot, I was confused and looked down to find that it was on a run/walk program so every 30 seconds it would beep to tell me to run or walk.  Now, should this have been a huge deal?  No, not really, but it ANNOYED ME TO NO END!!  I was afraid to stop it and try to fool with it for fear of messing with the mileage I already logged so I just dealt with it the entire run.  I felt pretty good for the first mile and while the trail was technical, it was nothing too crazy.  Famous last words….

After the first mile, I felt myself slowing down due to the heat and was thankful I had my handheld water bottle.  I was still at the front of the pack, even though I felt like I was crawling.  But, oh no, the crawling was coming.  I thought the last trail race had tough hills.  I laugh at my ridiculousness now.  The hills we encountered in this race were so steep I didn’t see one person run up any of them.  Everyone, even the pack leader stopped to walk. There were even a few hills that we had to get low into our legs and grab for rocks in front of us to help us up the hills.  It was much more hiking than running and my legs were burning and every time we got up one hill, there was another one waiting for us.

About 2 miles into the race, we had to cross the French River.  Now, when I think of crossing a river, I usually think of a long jump over a moving stream or hopping rock to rock over the water.  There were no rocks and no hop to get over this river.  We literally had to run through almost knee-deep water to the other side.  At first I was like, “Are you kidding me?”  I was freaking hot and tired and having a hard time regulating my breath and I knew I still had a long ways to go before I was done with this race, but after I was in the water, it felt so refreshing I wanted to lay in it for a bit to cool over, but I kept moving (very slowly.)

We hit one long downhill that was sort of a reprieve from all the climbing we had been doing, but it was so rocky and steep that I slipped a few times and had to concentrate hard on my footing.  Thankfully I didn’t fall but there were a few close encounters and my right ankle felt really beat up from all the weird landing on the rocks.  We hit another 3 or 4 steep hills and at this point I felt defeated. I was really struggling with my breathing which probably had little to do with the heat but more the terrain since I struggled with this in the first race too.

I had to walk, A LOT.  I never stopped which I am happy about but walking, especially walking up every single hill was is really messing with me mentally.  I know I am in good shape, I work out hard and I should be able to handle a 5 mile run (hell, I killed my last few runs at paces MUCH faster than what I was doing.)  I KNOW logically that trail running is a different beast and the fact that these are very technical trails that are more like hiking in the woods than trails just packed with dirt and some rocks here and there, but still…mentally I felt totally defeated.  I kept trying to tell myself that I just needed to keep moving, one foot in front of the other.  I know I was not the only one struggling, as I could see a few people in front of me and behind me going through what I can only guess were the same emotions.

The trails were labeled with red arrows for us, but there were times where it wasn’t clear which direction we were supposed to be going.  There were a few times where I was grateful there were a few other runners around me as we were all confused on which way to go and at one point during a stretch where I was alone, I made a wrong turn, but thankfully I second guessed myself and turned back around fairly quickly.  Come to find out, this was a very common issue with all the other runners (I’ll get to that in a bit.)  Anyways, I hit the 3.5 mile marker or there abouts and came across another obstacle…about 50-75 feet across of pure mud.  I tried to stay up on the side banks where it looked like the mud was packed in tighter but I still ended up trudging through mud up to my knees and almost lost my shoes on a few occasions, thankfully I was able to grab them before they were lost.  I was glad I had on my calf sleeves because the mud was so high and I knew I would want to get that off of me as soon as the race ended. There is something so gross to me about dried mud, I don’t mind wet mud, but dried mud, no thank you.  I just hate it…don’t judge.

After getting through the mud pit I was faced with another hill.  At this point, I just laughed…with tears in my eyes.  I pushed through and passed a few guys who I had been trailing for the past mile or so.  I crested the hill and had to take a left hand turn.  I heard my Garmin beep and knew I hit the 4 mile marker and I had a pep talk with myself.  I was almost there, I just had to keep moving.  We hit a relatively flat section for about 1/4 a mile and I kept my head down and focused on my erratic breathing, just trying to get things under control.  I took a right turn up another hill and realized I could see the finish line through the trees.  I stopped to walk for a few seconds to catch my breath so I could push it through to the end.

I took a few deep breaths and fixated on the finish line that was a little over 1/4 mile away.  I hit a straightaway and tried to relax.  There were volunteers who were directing runners towards the right path to get to the finish line and I took a sharp left and gave what little I had left in the tank to push myself through the finish line.  I have never been so happy to be done running before.  I stopped my Garmin and it said the time was 55:22, I did the last 8k in 43:42.   I didn’t get a picture of my Garmin after I stopped it, mainly because I was just beyond disappointed in myself and I was trying to catch my breath.  I was just DONE.  A volunteer, a young boy, gave me my medal with a huge smile.  I thanked him and walked over to get a cup of Gatorade and a girl I met at the last race came up to me and started to commiserate about how hard that course was.  I couldn’t really formulate my thoughts other than just to agree with her while I was drinking.  I stayed for about 5 minutes and wanted to start walking back to the car so I could get out of my shoes and stuff and get home to shower before heading to a birthday party with the boys.

I walked over to my car and snapped a photo of my shoes. It’s not super clear but I had to dump mud out of the soles of them.  I tried to clean them off as best I could before throwing them in the plastic bag I had in my car. Thankfully I had that in there because there was no way I was putting those dirty shoes, socks and sleeves in my new car with its cream-colored interior! HA!

french river dirty shoes

Here is my post race photo! Smiling because I am done and get to go home and shower! :)

french river post race

And my final picture with my medal.

French River post race and medal

I got home and Robyn asked me how it was and I just grunted and said “Fine.”  He didn’t push since he clearly knew I wasn’t happy with my performance.  I quickly took a shower and it took me a while to scrub the mud lines from my ankles.  I  got out and got ready for the party we were going to.  I had some quiet time to reflect on the race and while I was really glad I didn’t have to completely stop like I did in the last trail race, I was seriously pissed at how much I walked.  Seriously, every single hill had to be walked.  I know I was not alone on this,  the course was really tough and technical, but I was and still am just pissed at myself.  I am really competitive with myself so this was a huge blow to my confidence.  I had a really hard time getting my breathing under control.  I tried to work on more rhythmic breathing but it just wasn’t working on this course.  I know every race is going to be different and it helps us grow and learn more about ourselves, but it’s really hard when you know you are in good shape and get your butt kicked in a 5 mile race, you know?  Especially when I did SO MUCH better in the last 8k I did.

Anyways, I kept checking my email to see what the final race stats were since I didn’t wait around after I finished.  We finally got an email at around 10 p.m. that night from the race director but the stats were not in that email. It was a well thought out and much appreciated email apologizing for the less than stellar race.  He stated (among other things):

“The confusing markings on the course easily take the top spot for “needs significant improvement”, which was also a contributing factor to the start time delay (early race had similar issues). Our plan to reuse markings for multiple races completely backfired. If you would like to send me your gamin (or other) gps data for today, I’d greatly appreciate the opportunity to review it in an attempt to isolate bad turns on the course as well. If there was anything else on the top of you mind, please share it with me (good or bad); it’s how we grow into a better event management organization. Again, I’m very sorry about today.  I’ll mail out any awards to the top finishers. Unrelated to the poor course marking and varying distances covered, I heard the timing was in question for a number of runners. I’ll work with the timing company to find out more info.”
I appreciated him taking ownership of the fact that there were a lot of issues with the event and his apology was heartfelt.  I have a lot of respect for him sending out that email, which is why I will run the last race in this series and continue to support the XTERRA organization.  I know that no race is perfect and sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to.  I know my race personally sucked for a lot of reasons, but you know what they say…”On any given Sunday…”  Maybe my next race will be my best one (and Xterra’s best one), or maybe it won’t, but you won’t know if you don’t get out there and try!
 
I woke up on Sunday and it wasn’t a big surprise that I was REALLY sore.  I haven’t been sore after a race since Boston.  I knew given the difficulty of the course that I may be sore but I felt like I fell down a few rocky hills, everything from my shoulders to my ankles were tight and achy.  Even today, 4 days later, my right ankle is still a bit tender.  I hope in another day or so I can get back out there and run. I tried yesterday morning but no dice. I made it a little over a mile and had to stop. 
Anyways, on Tuesday afternoon the final race results were finally posted.

 

Place No.   Name                 G Ag Div      Div   City           St Final   Pace

===== ===== ==================== = == ======== ===== ================= ======= =====

    1   151 Dominic Mastromatteo M 13   1      JUNIOR Worcester MA       49:07  9:53

    2   150 Gianna Mastromatteo  F 15   2      JUNIOR Worcester MA       51:48 10:26

    3   131 Brian Mulcahy        M 40   1      MMAS  Northbridge MA      52:04 10:29

    4   146 Rebecca Luneau       F 42   1      FMAS  North Grafton MA    52:51 10:38

    5   136 Sara Zwicker         F 33   1      FOPEN Leicester MA        55:22 11:09

I took FIRST place in the women’s open division (ages 20-39) and 5th place overall.  I literally cannot believe it.  How did I manage that with such a slow (for me) pace?  I walked what I am going to estimate was close to a mile of hills and still placed? I was and still am in shock considering how much slower I ran this race vs. my last one and how crappy I felt about it and myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I am happy I placed, even if it was a small field of runners, but still, I really never thought that was a possibility with this race.

Well,  that’s my recap of my second trail race and my second time placing 1st in the women’s open division.  I am not counting on that happening again, but you never know…maybe running smaller races has its advantages ;)

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Question of the day

What was your best and/or worst race experience?

 

Weekly Wrap Up

Good afternoon friends!! It’s a scorcher here in Boston today with temps in the 90′s! EEK!!!  I hate to complain about the weather since we have about 9 months of cold, but my pasty white skin can’t take the heat and sun like that, so today, I am thankful I work in an air conditioned office!!!  How was everyone’s weekend?  Do anything fun?  We had another busy but fun weekend filled with birthday parties, a race (for me), and a trip into Boston to the Aquarium and Faneuil Hall.  It was perfect and this week is a short week for me with the 4th of July holiday, so I’m only working Monday- Wednesday!   Anyways, enough about that.  Let’s see what happened last week in the Weekly Wrap Up!

Week 6/23-6/29

Monday: I did my T25 Beta Core Cardio followed by a 5 mile run in 42:37 (8:31 pace) and it felt AHH-MAZING!!  I finished up the workout with some core work on my own (my Blogilates App wouldn’t load on my phone for some reason! BOO!)

 Tuesday: I had an early morning with having to get to the airport (only to be delayed) en route to Philly.  So, essentially, this was a rest day.  Once I landed in Philly, we checked in, grabbed lunch at The Palm (it was fantastic!) and then was in sessions from 1-5:30 p.m.  We headed to the cocktail reception and then had another incredible meal at Buddakan and called it a night.  A lot of good eating/drinking and no exercise…OOPS!  

Wednesday: I was travelling with my friend and colleague Dee and we decided at dinner the night before that we would meet early in the morning and get in a good run togehter before sitting all day at the conference.  We met up at 6:30 a.m. and got in a great run while taking in some of the sights near our hotel.

philly run

 I didn’t have my Garmin, so I don’t know how long we went but I am going to say it was at least 4-4.5 miles.  It was really muggy but it was really nice to run and chat with someone, something I haven’t done in a REALLY long time and it made me realize how much I missed running with others.

Thursday: After a long day on Wednesday (and a delayed flight coming back home), resulting in not seeing Ashton before he went to bed (so bummed!), I woke up and was totally not motivated to workout out but I pushed through the T25 Beta Rip T Circuit video and then did my usual Thursday morning vinyasa yoga class.  I felt quite a bit better after yoga, it was just one of those classes where everything clicked and I left feeling better about the day.  I taught Group Power in the evening and cuddled a little longer than usual with Ashton before bed so I didn’t get in anything else for the day.

Friday: I did the T25 Beta Rip T Circuit and then T25 Beta Dynamic Core and then spent a good amount of time foam rolling in anticipation of my race on Saturday.

Saturday: I had my 2nd in a series of 3 trail races put on by Xterra.  It was an 8k race and it was pretty terrible (from a performance and execution standpoint.)  I’ll recap it in more detail later this week.  Am I glad I did it? Yes.  With that said, I don’t have high hopes for the last race of the series, but we will see how it plays out.

Sunday: Rest day.  We took Ashton into Boston for his very first visit to the Aquarium.  WE all had a good time, although Ashton really had more fun jumping up and down off the viewing sills than anything else.  But I guess that is what is fun and exciting for a 2 year old! :)

Ash aquarium

After the Aquarium we walked over to Fanueil Hall and took in some of the sights.  Going back to Fanueil Hall is always really nostalgic to us since that is where Robyn and I met and fell in love, so its fun to go back there  with Ashton now and point out to him where we used to work and places we used to like to visit. 

So friends, that was my week.  It wasn’t ideal with some work travel thrown in there, but all in all, I am pretty happy with it.  I wasn’t as great with core workouts as I have been in past weeks so I need to jump back on that train this week so get on me if you don’t see some good core work listed next week, okay?  I need you all to hold me accountable ;)

Have a wonderful week friends!!

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Question of the day

How was your week? Weekend? Anyone race?