Monthly Archives: February 2014

Fabulous Friday: Confession Time

I’m spilling the cats and letting the beans out of the bag.

Wait. I think something’s wrong with that statement.

Never mind.

In this fitness-crazed world, filled with buzzwords like “clean,” “paleo,” “vegan,” “plant-based,” “whole food,” and on and on, I feel like a cheap hooker, hawking my health for just a taste of the comforting deliciousness I was raised on. Maybe its just the rebel in me, but from soul food to fast food, heat ’em up meals to the sweet stuff, being bad never felt so good.

So what are the comfort foods that tickle my fancy and satisfy my soul? Here’s just a sampling of what I’ve eaten this year alone…

10. BACON. You will never persuade me to believe that bacon is bad. Bacon is pure happiness. I am convinced that if we could get the Jews and the Muslims to eat bacon, world peace would ensue.

9. KFC Chicken Tender Go Cup… the potato wedges remind me of the local grocery’s “tater logs” I loved as a child.

8. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy. Just like mama used to make. Well, actually she did make it. Mr. Incredible’s mama, that is. It was finger lickin’ good!

7. Big Mac. Well, just make it a meal deal. Gotta have those McD’s fries! And, while you’re at it, order a coke… Water is NOT the proper pairing for a meal such as this.

6. Beer. Not just any beer. I’m talking dark lager – the kind that is a meal unto itself. That’s my recovery drink of choice.

5. Red Baron Special Deluxe Pizza. I can eat a whole one by myself in one sitting. I did eat a whole one after my last Half Marathon…. along with two of the aforementioned lagers.

4. Venti Caramel Macchiato. How many calories does it have? Don’t know. Don’t care. All I know about it: that’s a 20 ounce trip to Heaven.

3. Italian Creme Cake. It was actually just a bite, but, OH what a bite. The rest of the honking huge slice is waiting in my work locker… I was gonna share with Mr. Incredible, but am reconsidering. It’s just that good. Yeh, I’m stingy with my food sometimes.

2. Chicken and Waffles. With syrup. LOTS of it. Not the sugar-free kind either. Afterward, I ran my fastest 2 mile run to date. Need I say more?

1. Bologna sandwiches with, dare I say it… REAL mayo. Not just any bologna – THICK cut bologna. There’s just something about Springtime, honeysuckle and bologna that takes me back to the golden days of early childhood where my days were filled with blissful play. I wouldn’t trade that for all the quinoa in Kentucky.

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*Disclaimer: I actually DO like quinoa. I enjoy the healthy stuff, too. 😉

MOM TALK: A Few God-given Promises

I received another gem in my email and just had to share…

Mom Talk

So, I took this online quiz which informed me that I should only have one child because I’m “just not cut out for this motherhood thing.” Apparently, the makers of this quiz were unimpressed with my “go to meal” of boxed macaroni and cheese and my inability to hold someone’s hair back while they vomit. They would probably be horrified to know that I am expecting my fifth child!

What I found amusing is that the makers of the quiz pretty much touched on all of the areas in which we moms tend to compare ourselves to each other. You know how it goes. You see some kid at church with the cutest outfit. You ask the mom where she bought it only to discover that it was handmade. Meanwhile, you don’t even own a needle and thread. Or, maybe, you’ve never made a meal that was Pinterest worthy and no one has ever asked for the recipe for your end of the week Leftovers Casserole.

Motherhood was never meant to be a competition sport. We are all on the same team. We have different strengths and weaknesses. We have all been equipped for good works – just equipped differently. We are to do everything to the glory of God utilizing the gifts that we have each been given.

So, don’t be intimidated by that crafty mom who makes unbelievable treats for her child’s classroom party. Applaud her for her efforts because I promise she struggles in another area. On the flip side, don’t judge the mom who always signs up to bring the paper goods because she probably rocks at kissing boo boos and telling bedtime stories.

I’m going to leave you with just a few promises that you can claim, as a mother, regardless of your sewing or culinary skills.

1. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14.)
2. You are thoroughly equipped (2 Timothy 3:17.)
3. You have God-given gifts (1 Corinthians 7:7.)

We need to learn to appreciate each other’s gifts without devaluing our own gifts. What you do, fellow mom, is amazing. The day in and day out of it all takes commitment and hard work and it is not for the faint of heart. I’m proud of what you do – whether it’s homemade treats or store bought cookies. Whether it’s chicken noodle soup from scratch or Ramen noodles from a pack. There is no condemnation for those up to their necks in motherhood.

So, serve that boxed Mac and cheese with pride. Hold your head high when you deliver those paper goods to your child’s classroom. I know that’s what I’m going to do.

Carry on, moms. We are all in this together.

Meet the author:

Stacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is married to Michael Edwards, the Evangelism and Recreation Pastor at Living Hope. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Do you know a mom who needs encouragement? Why don’t you pass this on to her?

The Long Run That Didn’t Happen: A Bye Week

So last week ended up being pretty much a total bust. We were all sick, out of it, and, to add insult to injury, the weather was G – O – R – G – E – O – U – S.

I can’t remember the last time I was sick. I also can’t remember the last time we had sunny, warm, break-out-the-shorts-and-blind-everybody-with-my-pale-as-a-Cullen-legs weather. To have nearly a solid week of both at the same time was enough to make me absolutely miserable.

Though the week ended with a hacking wheeze, I’m thankful I at least kicked it off with a good start. Since I had pretty much settled into my new work routine, I instituted “Mommy-Daughter Monday.” Normally, during the workweek, since we work opposite shifts and I go to sleep a mere three hours before her usual time to awake, Mr. Incredible drops Baby Girl off at his parents’ house on his way to work. Mondays, however, are easy for me to wake up early since I’m able to go to bed at a decent hour the night before.

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So, this past week, for our first “Mommy-Daughter Monday,” I took Baby Girl to Toys ‘R Us and got her a playpen and foam mat. She has recently gotten VERY mobile and hard to contain! She’s liking her new play space, but I have a feeling we’ll need to expand it before long – she likes to be on the go!

Tuesday, the beautiful, warm weather arrived. Thankfully, I did get a run in this day, despite being sick. Baby Girl was feeling good, and it was warm enough for her, so I left the house with the jogging stroller, picked her up along the way, and got her out for about 4.5 miles of my nearly 6 mile run. I think she pretty much napped the whole way.

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It was all downhill from there. That night, I left work an hour early. I called in sick the next day. I would have done so again the next day, but don’t want to use all of my sick days so early in the year. I just loaded up with DayQuil and Pepto and prayed for the best.

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Friday came and went and I don’t even remember it. Saturday… sweet Saturday. By then I was finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I really wanted to get out for a run, and it was nice enough for Baby Girl to go with me… Awwww, but I didn’t go. Mr. Incredible wasn’t making such an incredible recovery, so I stayed in to hang with him.

I thought I would get all my household stuff handled on the weekend, and possibly start afresh Monday (if the weather were nice enough for Baby Girl, being that Monday is our day now). Even that plan had a monkey wrench thrown in it when I could not for the life of me go to sleep. The house got clean and I got exhausted. I ended up crashing after Church and lunch. Thankfully I slept that night and was able to have a great Mommy-Daughter Monday. It was too chilly for her to go out for a run, but part of it was spent grocery shopping. Who needs P90x when you’ve got a squirming 20 lb baby strapped to your chest while you squat, lunge and contort yourself through two hours grocery shopping?

So, tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday are looking to be good running days. The weather will be a tad on the chilly side, but nice for solo runs. My health has been regained. The rest did my body good – my foot feels fine again.

Do I feel bad about missing out on training? It would have been nice to enjoy another fair-weather run, but… feel bad about missing out on training? No. Not at all. I actually started my training plan a week early, so I was already trying to decide how to adjust it. A bye week just gave me the rest I needed, time with the family that we all needed, and got my training schedule back on track. Now, let’s see if I can keep it on track! 🙂

How about you? Did last week treat you well? How is this week shaping up? How is training going?

The Long Run, Week 8: Say Hello To My Little Friend

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Morton’s neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot. Your toes also may sting, burn or feel numb.

Source: Mayo Clinic

My little friend’s name is Neuroma. Morton’s Neuroma. And he can be a big pain sometimes.

Take this past Saturday for example. After WEEKS of zero pain, Mr. Morton inexplicably decided to remind me of his existence. It started with some soreness on the ball of my foot Thursday, leaving me limping in to work. I tried switching insoles, then took all of the insoles out. The relief was minor. By the time I set out on my long run Saturday, I was prepared for three hours of torture.

Surprisingly, my foot hurt more when walking than running. As a matter of fact, the pain completely subsided for much of the run. Now, AFTER the run was a different story. After 15 miles of pounding the pavement, I had a red sore spot on the topside of my foot… and could barely put weight on it. THAT may have been more from my dropped metatarsals/hammer toes/lack of padding on underside more so than the neuroma, though. I have a veritable cornucopia of foot problems, apparently.

If you would have asked me 6 months ago, all I would have been able to tell you about my foot pain is that I had a very odd callous and a bunion. The first doctor I went to a few years ago basically scoffed at me when I explained I wanted my nearly life-long foot pain checked into since I was making it a goal to run a marathon. After a quick glance at it, he told me I needed to file the callous and nothing could be done for the bunion until it causes unbearable pain.

THANKS. For nothing.

I am so grateful I ended up finding a doctor who, WONDER OF WONDERS, actually took an x-ray! What?! What voodoo magic is this “x-ray” you speak of?

So, my new doctor discovered my little friend, Morton, and his “running” buddies (har har) – Hammertoez, DroppedT, NoPHAT, Buni, and Arthur (that’s my little pet names for what collectively adds up to what I like to call… My Funky Foot).

For the confused, that’s Hammer Toes, dropped metatarsals, no fat to pad my foot, bunion, and arthritis. 😉

So, that made for seven of us out there running. I’m not one for social runs… I’m more of the quiet loner. Naproxen usually keeps my annoying little friends at bay, but doesn’t seem to be doing the trick at the moment. I’m thinking I may need to go back to the doc for another round of shots so I can leave Morton and The Funky Five in the dust.

How about you? Do you live and run with foot issues? What do you do to manage it? Have you ever had a doctor scoff at your running goals?

Midnight Mommy Tip #9

Ever have one of those nights when the baby wakes you up for a feeding and you’re so foggy tired, thinking “I don’t know how long I can keep going like this,” only to discover its not the middle of the night, it’s only 9 pm? Yeh, I got nothing. No tips here. Just pray to God that it doesn’t happen two days in a row… Or more!

Fantastic Friday: 10 Things I Love About Tuesday

Those who know me well know that I hate the over-commercialization of holidays. On this day that was set aside for the celebration of love, our society has made it more about “stuff” and less about the things that truly matter. It really and truly annoys the fire out of me.

So, as strange as this may sound coming from a woman, I refuse (and have refused for many years) to participate in the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Does this mean I don’t celebrate love? On the contrary. Mr. Incredible and I have our own (long-standing tradition) way of celebrating… with Tuesdays. What’s so great about Tuesdays? Well…

10. Valentine’s Day only comes once a year, but Tuesdays come every week!

9. In our house, Tuesday could come on ANY day, even a Friday…

8. There can even be more than one Tuesday in a week!

7. You don’t need to be reminded to get a Tuesday gift – Tuesdays are spontaneous and random.

6. When I get a Tuesday, I know it truly came from the heart.

5. A Tuesday can be a little, everyday thing. (Like k-cups when I’m running low, or a bag of jolly ranchers for Mr. Incredible – his fave Sunday morning candy.) It says, “hey, I’m paying attention.” THAT speaks volumes.

4. No one expects a Tuesday – no pressure increases the joy and excitement of giving and receiving.

3. There are no advertisements constantly bombarding me to “BUY A TUESDAY!”

2. Tuesdays are our own little special way of celebrating love – unique and quirky… just like us.

1. God gave us the greatest Tuesday of all when our daughter was born… on a Tuesday.

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Are you put off by commercialization as much as I am? Do you have any quirky traditions of your own?

MOM TALK: Overwhelmed & Ill-equipped

I get these wonderful little gems in my inbox every week called “Mom Talk” and sometimes they really are very timely for what’s going on in my life. I won’t bore you with the details of my life, but suffice it to say major life changes, be they related to work, family, or personal struggles, can easily become overwhelming. When changes in the three come together at one time, it can become a perfect storm. Finding peace in the eye of the storm is essential to maintaining harmony. How do you find that peace? By crying out to the very Author of Peace… Jesus.

So, without further ado, I share with you…

Mom Talk:

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the stage of life you are in right now? Maybe, one day, it feels like you have everything under control. Then, little by little, the ground begins to give way beneath you. Then, before you know it, you are in over your head. You begin making mistakes at work. All of a sudden, you can’t pull yourself together enough to even make a grocery list. You feel like you are drowning.

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,

When my heart is overwhelmed;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:2

There is something you need to remember. Satan is the author of lies. Everything about him is evil and deceptive and his intention is to steal every bit of joy from your life. He will do his very best to convince you that you are ill-equipped for the life you currently have. He wants you to believe that God has randomly dropped you into the role of working mom or single mom or homeschooling mom and then not equipped you to do it well. Listen closely. It is not your abilities that Satan wants you to doubt. He is attacking your faith in the One who has placed you where you are right now. Satan wants you to begin to doubt the goodness and provision of God.

Satan will try to convince you that God simply did not equip you well enough for this season of life. And, if you buy into that lie, anxiety and fear will begin to grow.

Are you feeling overwhelmed right now? Ill-equipped?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Are you scared? Anxious? Worried you may mess it all up? Go to His Word. Everything you need to equip yourself is within those pages. All Scripture is God breathed, so that you can be equipped for every good work. And, not just equipped, but thoroughly equipped.

If you are staying in the Word, you are thoroughly equipped for every task you encounter. You are thoroughly equipped to be a godly mother, a supportive and loving spouse, a productive employee, and the servant that you are called to be.

There will be those days when you feel the waters rising and you begin to feel overwhelmed. But, long before Satan has a chance to pull you under, follow David’s lead in Psalm 61 and cry out to the One who is never overwhelmed by your circumstances.

Meet the author:

Stacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is married to Michael Edwards, the Evangelism and Recreation Pastor at Living Hope. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Do you know a mom who needs encouragement? Why don’t you pass this on to her?

FUEL THE FIRE: Cedars Frostbite Race Recap & EnergyBits Review

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This week’s scheduled 14 mile long run coincided with The Cedars Frostbite Half Marathon, an insanely inexpensive and fairly local-to-me race that runs through the Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Lebanon, TN.

For this race, I fueled SOLELY with EnergyBits, which is 100% pure organic spirulina algae. These one-ingredient bits of real food contain the highest concentration of protein in the world, over 40 nutrients, and have nearly twice the antioxidants of goji berries. EnergyBits meets FDA regulations (I tried to do some fact checking on the consumer-unfriendly FDA website, but gave up after two hours of searching only produced a non-comprehensive database (that may or may not have even been what I was really looking for) that I couldn’t access because the .xls spreadsheet had “too many cells” for my iPad to handle). Anyhow, moving on…

EnergyBits algae is grown organically in fresh water tanks. I was impressed by what NASA has to say about algae: “1 kg of algae has the nutritional value of 1,000 kg of fruits and vegetables.” Apparently astronauts and Olympians have been eating algae for decades. And here I just thought it was a hippy thing!

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Honestly, I probably never would’ve tried EnergyBits if not for their wonderful Brand Manager, Jonathan, reaching out and offering a free sample. I normally use gels for fuel, and I was fairly content with them… except for the sticky mess they make when I put the empty packets in my pocket. When Jonathan reached out and I started learning about EnergyBits, I became excited at the idea of an organic, real food alternative. And…. well, I struggle with eating enough fruits and veggies, so this could really help me in that department, too.

THE GOOD

Yes, I’ve already stated lots of good, but here we go with some good I personally experienced in my own little trials. Originally, I planned to test EnergyBits on a short run, and then my race. but then…

Life happened.

Sometimes it sucks when “life happens” and sometimes something great happens. This time, something great happened. My first trial ended up being 13.1 miles on the treadmill early in the morning before working my 7 am shift. I took 20 bits just minutes before running… and I forgot all other forms of backup fuel in my locker downstairs. I was not about to quit my run to go get any gels, so I decided that this would be a truly good test.

I never felt an energy spike. I never felt an energy crash, or lull of any kind. Throughout the entire run, powered by only 20 bits at the start, I felt like a well-oiled machine. Just a steady energy flow. My knee gave out before my energy did!

So, I felt extremely confident in my choice of fuel leading up to the Cedars Frostbite Half Marathon…

It is one of the last stops on the Tennessee Running Tour race schedule, and all of the races on their calendar have the same fee – $20 with a tech tee, or $8 without. I sprang the extra $12 for the tee, and ordered mine 2 sizes larger than usual. I’m glad I did, because it is perfectly oversized, soft and supremely comfortable. I’m wearing it now as I lounge around, icing my ankle and typing this.

Another good point, for me, was the small crowd. I don’t know how many runners there actually were, but it was a small pack of runners from my view. I was near the back of the pack at the start, and you see how close I was to the starting line.

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This was nice as it allowed us to really thin out on into the race. Not being stuck in the midst of a crowd allowed for greater enjoyment of the forest, and running in general.

I absolutely loved that, just past the first aid station, not quite 4 miles in, we turned onto a dirt/limestone/gravel/mud road that made for a much nicer trail than road.

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We stayed on that for a few miles and I had fun squishing along and jumping mud puddles.

The feeling of being off the pavement did wonders for my legs and put a smile on my face. My right ankle had been stiff and sore (the reason I’m icing it now) causing my left hip to hurt for all the compensating it was doing. Leaping, hopping, and just enjoying the mud seemed to ease the pain and was refreshing.

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At mile 6 I took my second helping of EnergyBits. I had swallowed 20 or so little discs of algae without chewing about 20 minutes before starting the race. I knew an aid station was coming up after the 6.5 mile marker, so I decided to experiment… and chew my bits.

THE BAD

First, the bad with the race… Nothing much to report here, except for only two things.

1. When I entered online I forgot to change the year on my birthdate on the electronic form. I caught the error on my confirmation email (it had my birth year as 2014). I immediately emailed the contact listed on the Cedars Frostbite website, notifying them of the issue. I received a reply that my birth year would be updated in their files. Last night, I saw an email from a different person with Cedars Frostbite, asking for my age. I emailed back, but today, when I went to check results on the board, I was listed as “unknown” for the age groups. Honestly, it didn’t matter on this day, as my time would’ve put me in the 20th spot in my age group, but it is definitely something to keep in mind for the future – DOUBLE CHECK ALL FORM FIELDS BEFORE CLICKING THE SUBMIT BUTTON!

2. They ran out of pizza. Huge bummer. I actually got to the counter just in time for the last slice. I felt bad for all the runners still coming in. There were some cookies, oranges and lots of bananas still left, but nothing beats pizza after a long run like that. It’s so good, we stopped on the way home and got a couple for supper!

Now, then, I’ll address the only bad thing I found about EnergyBits – the annoying rattle of the bits inside their tin. I noticed a few looks from other runners as I rattled along, but I just acted oblivious. About 2 miles in, my head was sweating, so I pulled my beanie off and stuffed it in my pocket (so now you know why it looks like my belly is pooched out in that photo above!). That nicely muffled the noise. On my next run with EnergyBits I will try putting cotton balls in the tin to keep the bits still and silenced.

THE UGLY

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Picking them out of my tin left my fingers covered in green, but that wasn’t really that bad. I just wiped them on my jacket – it’s getting washed after this run anyhow. I had been warned about the taste. Some say EnergyBits taste very GREEN, others call it earthy. I’d agree with earthy. It’s really not bad. The really ugly part was my teeth!

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So, THIS is why I say “It’s ok to swallow!”

As I chewed, they seemed to grow in my mouth, becoming a big wad of cow cud that stuck in my teeth, coated my mouth and made my lips green. (Hmmmm, sounds great for a Shamrock Shuffle!) I was picking at my teeth for the next 3 miles, trying to clear them out and get every bit of nutritious goodness into my belly where it could do some good. By the time I finished the race, my teeth were mostly clear of all the algae, but my tongue was still green!

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SUMMING IT UP

Coming in at 2:18:08, I finished the run in the 2:15 – 2:20 time range I had HOPED for. My 13.1 treadmill run two weeks ago took me 2:25:00, and that was with my knee acting up in the final mile, causing me to mix in some walking. I didn’t know how many hills this course would have and how big they would be or how they would affect me… or how my knee would behave. My knee was fine throughout the run, thankfully. This time it was my ankle and hips, but I pushed through. The hills weren’t bad at all – nothing like the ones I train on. I did walk some on the hills, though, trying to find relief for my ankle.

All my little personal pains aside, this is definitely a race I would do again. It had a friendly, laid-back atmosphere and was family-friendly. There was a big playground near the start/finish, so I know in the future baby girl could be having fun with that while I run. There are also lots of trails to explore. On this day, Mr. Incredible enjoyed about 5 miles of the hiking trails while I ran. It really meant a lot to me that we both got to enjoy the great outdoors.

As for the EnergyBits, I’m sold on them. Once again, I experienced a steady energy flow and never felt like I needed something extra. On my treadmill run, I was absolutely starving afterwards and INHALED my breakfast. This time, though, the second portion of bits sustained me even after the run. I took my time stretching, I ambled over to the results printouts, I shuffled through the crowd to get a plate of food… all without feeling hungry, much less starving like before. Hunger came a little later, but by then I had my pizza in hand… and a bagel with peanut butter… and a banana… and a peanut butter Clif bar… and later a few more slices of pizza at home. Hmmmm, maybe next time I should eat a few more EnergyBits post-run and see if that helps the pizza craving?

STAY TUNED

I know as I increase my distance to the marathon, and onwards to my plans of running Ultras, I’ll need more calories to fuel my run. So, I’m experimenting as I go, and I’ll share with you what I find as I test more products. Hopefully, I’ll find some more companies as generous as EnergyBits so that I can share more than just words of experience. So, keep your eyes peeled for more to come in the FUEL THE FIRE series!

And, stay tuned for a FUEL THE FIRE giveaway in March! I’ve teamed up with some other bloggers for a Blog Hop Giveaway in March, and I’m putting together some goodies for you so that you can FUEL THE FIRE in you! If you want to give EnergyBits a try, then this is a giveaway you will want to enter as the friendly EnergyBits team has offered a sample to include in the prize package. If you’d like to know more about EnergyBits, visit their website at www.energybits.com.

So, tell me, did you run this weekend? How did you FUEL THE FIRE?

Fantastic Friday: 10 Things I Love About Winter

Ten things I love about Winter …because sometimes I need a reminder.

10. Soft, fuzzy socks & pj’s

9. Curling up in a ball under a warm heavy blanket on the couch

8. Soups & chili – The ultimate Winter comfort food. Sure you can eat ’em during Summer, but who wants to?

7. I love when I look out the window and see a big, fat Cardinal perched on a branch. Amidst the dreary landscape, that bright pop of color just livens up the moment.

6. The warmth from a steaming hot cup of coffee in my hands (even better if it’s Starbucks…. Even greater still is if I’m in Seattle at Starbucks). This is something I enjoy year-round, but the pleasure is heightened during the cold of Winter.

5. Wearing layers. I don’t get to dress up often, but when I do it’s fun to play with layers. Summer is too hot to really get to do this, unless I want to pass out from a heat stroke. While Spring & Fall allow for layers, it still tends to be a bit warm for it. Winter, however, is perfect for it!

4. Winter is the time for feasting. From Holiday parties to simply warming the house while baking goodies for family and friends, Winter is the time to eat, drink, and be merry!

3. Snow. We don’t get much of it, so it really is a novelty that I can’t get enough of. A few weeks ago, I went on an EARLY morning 4 mile run before work and my little world was covered in snow and ice, sparkling like diamonds under a full moon. It was absolutely enchanting.

2.FIRE. I LOVE FIRE. There is nothing more comforting than cozying up to a crackling fire on a cold day.

1. It’s so much easier for me to run in the cold. I want to stay warm, so…. I RUN. Training is easier for me to stick to when I know I can run at anytime day or night since I don’t have heat advisories to work around. This is why I scheduled my first marathon for Spring – I set myself up for success, knowing I would stick to my training plan through Winter.

So, there you have it – a few of my favorite things about Winter. What do you love most about Winter?

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When Life Hands You Lemons…

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When life hands you lemons… forget about making lemonade. Make lemon meringue pie! Tangy, sweet, deliciousness – THAT is how I choose to live my life!

Work Report:
I’m adjusting quickly and easily to the night shift, thanks to a fantastic support team – my family. Mr. Incredible had a rough start to the week, in order to allow me to load up on sleep before the start of my shift Monday, but he was able to catch up on some sleep thanks to the rest of the fam. His parents and sister live nearby and are INCREDIBLY helpful. Hmmmm… maybe from now on I should refer to them collectively as The Incredibles? Yes, I think so. 😉

So, the big concerns I had before this week started were sleep, eats, and running. How has that all worked out so far?

    1. Sleep: less than what I was getting, but it’s in the 7 – 8 hour range, so that’s actually good. I’ve experienced zero drowsiness while driving home, and been able to fall asleep within 15 minutes of arriving, so that is excellent.

    2. Eats: this has been a bit of a challenge. I’ve not eaten much at all at home this week. Twice, I ate within two hours of waking, and the other two times I only downed a protein drink after running. At work, it’s a different story. I arrive with time to eat my super-duper oatmeal and then I eat every 2-3 hours during the 10.5 hours shift. I’ll have to experiment some to get myself back on my feed at home.

    3. Running: this one turned out easier than I expected. I rearranged my training schedule this week from M/W speed, F/S easy runs to T/Th speed, S long/easy. The only thing I really had to contend with was the guilt I felt at taking time for myself during that first run. After talking to Mr. Incredible and reminding myself that I’m actually getting MORE time with her during her waking hours EVEN WHEN I RUN, I was able to shake that off.

And that leads to the greatest night shift pro – more quality time with family. We’re only four days in, but so far it’s been great!

And now… on to more lemons: today’s run.

First it was a GPS fail. Half mile in, my phone reports to me that I’ve run a mile in five minutes. Well, honey, I’m no Kara Goucher, so I know something’s screwy. I restart my RunKeeper app and try again. Less than a minute in, I’ve apparently run a forty second mile. My HORSE can’t even run that fast!

So, I decide to forget tracking the run and simply proceed on perceived effort. With the battery not being sucked up by my app, I would take pics of all of the snow, ice and frozen ponds.

I turn the camera on and… camera fail. It’s more like storage fail. Not enough space on my phone for more pics because I have over 1,200 photos and videos still waiting for a backup.

Well, then, put the phone up and work on that mind-body connection for my perceived effort run!

Overall, it was a 6.3 mile run to a particular stop sign and back – 1 mile warmup, 4.3 miles hard, 1 mile cool down.

My warmup mile was probably faster than it was scheduled to be, at least I know I had hit the half mile mark in 5 minutes. I was supposed to be warming up at an 11min/mile pace. It was cold, though – lower 20’s without the windchill – so I really just wanted to get warm. Plus, it IS easier to run faster in the cold.

Once I put the phone away, I basically kept myself at the edge of an asthma attack, huffing and puffing and blowing like a winded barrel horse exiting the arena at the Calgary Stampede. For four miles.

There was a lot of inner dialogue going on:

Run hard to that fencepost and then you can take a breather.

Charge up that hill! Lift those knees!

Ok, now just keep the pace on the downhill and keep going.

You can rest at the bottom, but you gotta push it up the next hill!

You can make it to that mailbox. YES, you can!

Skip and dodge the ice like a kid playing hopscotch… Play, have FUN!

Yes, you’re lungs are burning, but do you want to regret not putting extra effort into it, or do you want to collapse in a pool of satisfaction at the end?

Even after pushing hard, I wasn’t really satisfied, though. I’m slower than I used to be. MUCH slower than where I want to be. But that is what drives me – the desire to go further, faster, and be stronger.

Afterwards, baby girl was napping, so I wrapped it up with some stretching, Sun Salutations, plank, side plank and two sessions of 7 minutes with Sima. Yoga is a new endeavor, and I swear, trying to keep up with Sima was about to kill me. Maybe I should be ashamed to admit that about only 14 minutes of yoga, but hey, it is what it is. And you gotta start somewhere, right?

Do you practice yoga? Did you run today? How did it go? How is work treating you this week?