A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Friday Five: Goals for the last week pre-marathon

It’s a little over a week until the marathon. If all goes well, a week from right now, I’ll be finishing up at the expo. I’m sure I’ll be feeling the same jumble of nerves from anxiety and excitement that I am now, but about a thousand fold more. I took today off for some time to myself and actually ended up picking O up early so I’d have a distraction from my thoughts! So much for treating myself to a day off from mom-dom. 🙂

I’m also working on lists. If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of lists. My list of priorities for the next week:

  • Stress less: Save my mental energy for the race. 26.2 miles is going to require a lot of focus, which can lead to mental fatigue as much as physical fatigue. I’m wrapping up some small tasks at work, but don’t have anything huge looming since we’re still going to be into that coming-out-of-the-holidays mode. I’ve got some new books to read and new bath salts, so I’ll be sing those to help me ease into active relaxation mode as much as possible!

Rest and relaxation time

  • Speaking of relaxing, I’m going to sleep! I know I won’t sleep well Thursday night before we leave on Friday morning, nor will I sleep well Saturday before the race Sunday. Thus, I need to make sure I get to bed early every other night this week so I can be as well rested as possible coming into this.
  • Focus on fueling: There’s no need to carb load all week or anything, but I will try to keep “fueling a marathon” in mind as I make my food choices for the next week. I’ll be focusing on high quality proteins and whole grains – and avoiding the New Year’s booze. There’s plenty of time post-race for drinking. 🙂 (Drinking anything but water anyway – there will be definitely be lots of water over the next week!)

 

Important to keep these nearby for warm weather runs!

Important to keep these nearby for warm weather runs!

  • Foam roll and yoga: Yesterday, in addition to my six mile run, I did a yoga class at the gym that was focused on hamstrings. It felt so good to focus on stretching things back out! I’ll try to keep that up for the next week so I get to race day feeling as pain-free as possible.
  • Envision the finish: Every time I find myself getting anxious, I picture the finish line (perk of having done Disney races before – I know what they look like!) and myself coming across it. Even in my imagination I’m honest – I’m slow and I’m hurting, but I do it. I finish the marathon. I picture this over and over again, to have it firmly set in my mind that OF COURSE I’m going to finish the marathon. I have a feeling I’m going to really need this around mile 20 . . . and 21 . . . and every step thereafter. 🙂

Can you tell I’m talking to myself a lot? All of the things that could go wrong keep circling my brain. It could be miserably hot in Florida. It could be so cold and wintery here that we can’t fly out or my mom can’t get here. Something will happen to my mom while she’s here alone with Oliver, which would be horrible for both of them. Seriously – this one worried me enough that O and I walked through how to use our phone to call 911 today! Thank goodness relaxation is on the to do list. A little reading and a bath every night should help – and maybe a little glass of wine now and then to help settle things won’t be too bad for marathon fueling, right?

I don’t remember being this anxious before my first half, but then again, back then I was more worried about the toe I’d broken on my suitcase right before the race than anything else. Maybe I should add “Don’t break any toes or other body parts!” to my list.

Conveniently, my to do list was 5 items, so I’ll be linking up with Meranda, Lacey and Rachel for Friday Five!

Friday Five 2.0

Any one with big plans for New Year’s? Whatever you do, stay safe!!!

 

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2016: Year in Running

This has been a roller coaster of a year. Today, the little girl is me is a more than a little heartbroken about Carrie Fisher’s death. As a girl, she amazed me as a totally different kind of princess. Princess Leia was tough and smart and brave – so different from your average Disney Princess. I appreciated that role and her performance in that role more and more as I grew up. As an adult, I respected her advocacy for the role of women in society (I LOVE her response to a dad complaining about the bikini scene here!) and for support of mental health services. Hers was a voice I enjoyed and that will be missed.

Personally, 2016 has been a year of big professional successes, lots of new stresses in the world, continuing on the lupus learning curve and of course, lots of running miles. Those miles have come with their own ups and downs.

– I’ve learned that I can do a lot if I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I can run 20 miles in marathon training. I can run back to back half marathons in the I-35 challenge. I can keep running in a race when I know I’m nowhere near my target times.
Success!

– I met a few of my running and fitness goals for 2016, by running the I-35 challenge, hiking Pulpit Rock (definitely a highlight of my year!) and generally keeping running. It still amazes me that I’m still “a runner,” now four years into this adventure. I also met one of my 2015 goals by volunteering at a local race.

Obligatory selfie

– I’ve embraced races as training runs. I used several half marathons in my marathon training and really liked the camaraderie, the distractions, the prepping of the course and water stops and of course, the bling at the end! Of course, I’m worried that the fact that I was taking these races “easy” because they were training runs has dulled my “racing edge” (whatever that is for a back of the packer) and I won’t feel that jolt of adrenaline I need to finish 26.2 miles in 12 days. (12 days!!)
Waiting for medals!Ready for a marathon medal!

– I missed some goals too. I never trained for that faster 10K. I definitely didn’t PR the Papillion Half Marathon. This year, I’ve gotten slower than I’ve ever been. Speed hasn’t really been my focus. I think, like Patty discussed, that having so much on my plate professionally and with the focus on so much distance between the back-to-back half marathons and the marathon have both distracted me from pushing my pace. I also fell off the strength training wagon yet again. It’s a miracle (knock on wood!) that I’ve stayed injury-free so far in marathon training given that! Like all “failures,” these are definitely a trigger for some self-examination and learning as I look to next year and post-marathon life.

Ultimately, all of these ups and downs are things to learn from and to build upon. I’ll be spending the next few days contemplating my goals for next year, especially as I’ll be looking at post-marathon life. I suspect next year is going to focus on things a little shorter and a little speedier after surviving the marathon.

Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting our link up!
ToTR logo

How was your year in running? Anybody else feeling ready to be done with 2016 and on to 2017?

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Weekly Wrap Up: Happy Holidays!

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m currently enjoying a quiet, CLEAN house with a napping kid and very little post-Christmas chaos. 🙂 I’ve definitely just jinxed myself, but for now I’m definitely enjoying a happy holiday! Thanks as always to Tricia and Holly for hosting our link up!

weekly wrap up

I’m glad for some peace and quiet after the craziness of the build up to the holidays. It’s funny that there’s always so much chaos right before Christmas, with shopping, work parties, scrambling to finish work before the break and everything else (like my last big marathon training run right before the holiday!) but then the holiday itself is fairly peaceful for us since it is just the three of us and we stay home.
Toys for momWe had a lovely Christmas, with lots of gifts and laughter. Oliver got me superhero toys of my own to add my collection so that we can play together. I also got knee high Wonder Woman socks that I wore out to breakfast this morning:
Wonder Woman!I got lots of new cookbooks as well, that I’ll be sure to share with you guys  when I try them out. Now that I’m almost done with marathon training (EEK! Less than two weeks until the race!!), I’m about to have a lot more free time on my hands for cooking. 🙂 Speaking of gifts, Oliver ran across this guy in his stocking and said “Mom, look at this jolly fellow!” We might watch too much BBC.
Jolly fellow

As it is less than two weeks until marathon day, I’m knee deep in planning for the trip. I’ve organized my freezers and pantry so my mom can find things to keep her and Oliver fed for the week. I’m working on gathering things I need to bring with me and printing out all of the papers for the race and the post-race cruise. I’m neurotically over-planning things for my mom because this will be the first time we’ve both left Oliver for this long. I keep reminding myself that she raised three kids so she’ll survive one five year old!

I’ve also taken my marathon shoes out for their first run. Thanks to yet more ice and a pre-Christmas stomach bug, last week wasn’t great for workouts but I did at least get a long-ish run in on Christmas Eve. The training plan called for 12 miles, but I could only get 10.5 in before a fog rolled in that was dense enough that I started to worry about safety and visibility. It was a weird foggy and rainy Christmas, that’s for sure.

This week, I have three weekday runs (plus an afternoon at the pool today for cross training!) and 8 miles on Saturday. The Commitment Day 5K is on Sunday, so I’ll have that as well. That race holds a special place in my heart as it was my very first 5K several years ago. I’ve run it almost every year since then (missed one because I was on call) and can’t believe I almost missed registering for it this year! The weather this week isn’t too super cold and looks dry for the most part, so I should be able to get these runs in without too many hurdles barring more stomach issues. Finger crossed!

Speaking of weather, I’ve entered the phase of pre-race, pre-travel obsessive weather watching. My biggest concern is us getting out of town and my mom getting here. So long as we stay free of ice and serious snow, that should be okay. Of course, once we appear to be in clear that way, I’ll start worrying about how hot it is in Florida this winter and how miserable that’s going to be race day. I keep reminding myself that I don’t have a time goal – I just need to finish. If it takes the whole time the course is open because it’s 80 degrees in January, so be it. I suspect all of these pre-race worries are going to get really out of hand now that I don’t have Christmas as a distraction!

How do you handle pre-race worries? I hope you all had a great weekend and a great holiday!

 

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Holiday Happenings

This is my last full day of work for a while and I am SO ready for a break. Oliver’s daycare is closed on 12/23 and 12/26, so I’m home those days and decided to add on to that by adding some days off just for me next week. I’ll have to come in at least half days on Tuesday and Wednesday, but am treating myself to a day off Thursday and Friday. I’m going to do exciting things like reorganize my pantry and my freezer. I know, I know – wild and crazy. Definitely needed though and it will help my mental state to get my house a little more in order.

What else will we do over the holidays?

– Oliver and I are camping out in the living room in front of the tree tonight, with hot chocolate and Christmas carols. Last year, we did this and had a great time but I forgot about it completely! We have an advent calendar with pockets where I write in Christmas activities each day and apparently, I didn’t take this one out from last year! Oliver walked up to the breakfast table with it this morning, which thoroughly confused me as that wasn’t what I thought was on deck today (just a Christmas book – easier!). However, today is his last day of school and I’m not working tomorrow, so why not celebrate with a camp-out. (Note to self: Yoga will need to be on the workout schedule tomorrow to stretch out after a night with my almost 40 year old self on the floor or sofa!)

I do love our tree

I do love our tree

– Tomorrow, Oliver and I will prep cookies and treats for Santa and our Christmas Eve celebrations. I froze some of the left over cookies from our party a couple of weeks ago. This will be the first time I’ve ever done anything with cookies after freezing – hope it works! We’ve also got plans to make meringues, no-bake oatmeal fudgies and those rolo pretzel treats we loved so much at the Christmas party. We’ll definitely have plenty of treats even if the frozen cookies don’t work out.

– I get to “break in” new shoes – my marathon shoes! I needed a new pair of shoes, so I grabbed a new pair of Brooks Ghost 9’s with a coupon from Dick’s. I’ve got another 50 miles to run between now and the marathon, so these won’t be “new” on race day but still fresh. They’re also the same style I’ve been running in the whole cycle, so I’ll be fine with that.

– Our Christmas Eve tradition is to watch movies and eat appetizers and treats all day. I’ll be taking a brief (ha!) break from movies to run 12 miles. Fingers crossed that it’ll be during one of the movies I don’t love! Darrell and I also always watch a “grown up” Christmas movie after O goes to bed. We’ve already watched Christmas Vacation (although I can always watch it again!) so it may be time for Scrooged.

This isn't the healthiest family cooking photo, but I love it all the same. He's not nearly as compulsive about the number and colors of M&Ms per cookie as I am. :)

This isn’t the healthiest family cooking photo, but I love it all the same. He’s not nearly as compulsive about the number and colors of M&Ms per cookie as I am. 🙂

All in all, I’m looking forward to spending the next few days hanging out with my two dearest guys in the world. I’ll be able to cook for people I love, one of my absolute favorite things to do, and be able to get my runs in without waking up early. I hope your weekend is lovely as well!

Currently, my house smells like chocolate and peppermint as I’m making Williams Sonoma’s peppermint bark quick bread for Darrell’s office tomorrow. That combo screams Christmas to me. 🙂 What’s your favorite holiday smell?

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2016 Bling!

This is always one of my favorite Tuesdays on the Run topics: Race bling! As I looked back, it turns out I got some fun bling there year.

This guy is already in use in my kitchen as a beer opener (from the Good Life Halfsy):
New medal

This one from the Jazz Half Marathon in New Orleans is adorable (and came with beer – which might be swaying my opinion of its cuteness!):
Jazz half marathon

Of course, this set was my favorite:
Success!

Finishing back to back half marathons was harder than I expected and yet finishing it did huge things for my confidence in my ability to run a marathon in January. Speaking of the marathon . . . I already know what my favorite medal for 2017 is likely to be. 🙂

What’s your favorite medal for 2016?

Thanks as always to Erika, Patty and Marcia for hosting our link-up!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Three Weeks to Go!

As of this morning, I’m officially in taper for my first (and likely only!) marathon. Less than 3 weeks until race day! Even better, despite the brutal winter conditions, this last peak week of training was one of the best weeks I’ve had this training cycle. Great note to end on! Now, I just need to stay injury free until race day. 🙂

Workouts

This week called for two 5 mile runs and a 10 mile run during the week. Like I said last week, there’s just no way I can do ten miles on a weekday with my schedule and my pace, so I set 8 miles as my target instead.  We had temps in the 5-10 degree range every day this week, with wind chills below that, but thankfully no ice so I was able to head out anyway. With lots of layers, I can handle super cold for less than an hour but longer than that gets into unsafe territory.
Quite the winter look

Wouldn’t those frosty eyelashes be a cool holiday party look? I’m super proud of how successful I was with my weekday runs despite the cold! Per the plan, I got in 5 miles Tuesday and 8 miles Wednesday. I was supposed to get 5 miles in Friday, but could only get in 3.5 miles before the ice showed up. I did at least get the last 1.5 miles as walking indoors since I couldn’t run outdoors. I think this was my best run of weekday runs all training cycle!

All week, I was nervous about the looming 20 mile run. This would be furthest I’ve ever run at one time and naturally, it would come up during the worst winter weather we’ve had all season.
Brrrr!

This was what I was facing Sunday morning. Even for all of my layers, that was more than I could safely do outside for 5 hours, not to mention the ice. Know what that means? That means the gym and the treadmill. For 20 miles. Know what else? I did it! I got bored, but my legs could definitely do it and I finished confident that I could go another 6.2. It’s amazing what putting one foot in front of the other can do!
Frustrating but done

The worst part was that the treadmill kept stopping at random points. It is far less satisfying to finish 20 miles with 0.12 miles on the wrap up instead of the badass 20 miles I know I’d run. Fortunately, I was prepared for this possibility and snapped pics of every stop screen so I could keep track of the miles.

One perk of the treadmill was that it gave me an opportunity to test out my race clothes. I can pretty much guarantee that the temperatures in Florida are not going to be the single digits I’ve been running in here lately. Happily, other than occasionally tugging the legs down of my Wonder Woman Sparkle Skirt, I had no chafing and everything else worked well. I also ran with just water and my salted caramels gels, as I don’t want to carry my usual Nuun and know I won’t be drinking the Powerade on the course (stomach doesn’t like it). Everything worked like it should, with no significant aches or pains and today, I’m moving pretty normally. I think I might be ready!

Aside from great runs this week, I also feel like I’ve gotten enough major work/school related things done to really take a breath and enjoy the holidays. This lovely invitation played a large role in the holiday feeling:
Lovely!

Isn’t that awesome? Our gingerbread house was definitely less fancy than some of the others, but we had a great time together. After the gingerbread party, we went to see Santa and for the first time O wasn’t afraid. He left excited and awed! I also got my Christmas cards mailed, all of my packages mailed and all of my shopping done. I’m ready to relax and enjoy the holidays with my boys now!

My goals for this week are to keep up with my training runs and to eat for my marathon rather than falling too far down the cookie-hole. I have a bad habit of stopping running all together when I enter taper time and I have a hunch that would be a bad idea this time. This week, I’m supposed to run 5-8-4 and then 12 on the weekend. It’s going to warm up a bit into the 20-30s, so things should melt enough to do these safely outside. I’m also done with holiday parties (thankfully) and home for dinner every day this week, which should make it easier to make healthy choices to get things in better shape before the marathon.

I got my corral assignment this week (corral I), so I did the math and based on the usual corral release times, I’m going to have 7.5 hours to complete this. While I have zero time goal for this race (FINISHING=WINNING), my training runs have me completing 26.2 miles well within that time. I find that very reassuring. 🙂

This is feeling very real! After a good last week of training, I feel ready for this. The fact that the 20 mile run went well, just like the 16 and 18 before it, was reassurance that I really have trained for this. I really do have fitness beyond anything I’ve ever had before, even if lupus and weight gain have me slower than I’ve ever been before. I need to hold onto to this feeling of optimism as I’m sure I’ll be swamped with worries and doubts again over the next few weeks!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our weekly wrap-up!

weekly wrap up

What’s the furthest you’ve ever run on the treadmill? I feel like I should get some kind of badge of honor for this one. 🙂

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Weekly Wrap-Up: FOUR weeks to go

Last night, as we recovered from our cookie party, Darrell was running through our next four Sundays: “Next week, there’s nothing and then, it’s Christmas, then New Years and then the marathon.” First I corrected him that next Sunday isn’t nothing – it’s 20 mile day (yikes!) and then FOUR WEEKS hit me (double yikes!).
New favorites

Thank goodness I had these guys to soothe my nerves. LOL. This realization was a definite kick in the pants. I have been so busy that this has definitely been a less than ideal training cycle. My weekend long runs have been good for the most part (except this weekend – oops) but the weekday runs have been very hit or miss and there’s been no speed work or anything like that (intentionally with the Hal Higdon plan). I’ve learned a lot with this training cycle for sure. I cannot run 10 miles on a weekday with my pace and my work schedule. Really, running 3 work days at all is dicey for me. I need to factor that in to future training choices.

I also need to reconsider how I factor call weeks into my training plan. I always schedule my on-call weeks as “empty weeks” where any running I get done is a bonus. However, I’ve found that after the last couple of on-call weeks, it’s taken me another week to get back on track because I just get so wiped out. Darn lupus. I need to factor in a little on ramp to get moving again, but that allows for the serious fatigue I fight in these post-call weeks. It added a whole different level of stress this week to be trying to fit everything in (work, mom-ing, workouts, etc) and to be struggling with that sense of guilt that I didn’t get in 9 miles on Wednesday. I need to stop setting myself up for failure and make that first week post-call a little easier.

Every training cycle is a learning opportunity. Lets just hope the fact that most of my long runs have gone well will serve me in good stead in four weeks!

This week wasn’t ideal from a workout stand point. Of four runs, I got exactly ONE “right.” I was still too wiped from call to run on Tuesday. I ran on Wednesday, but three miles not 9. I got my five miles done on Thursday and felt vindicated that I finally got a run RIGHT. The fact that my “feels like” temp was near zero makes those 5 Thursday miles count extra, right?
Brrrr!

I looked like I was a mugger, but at least I got it done.

It was icy on Saturday, so I couldn’t run outside and Sunday, I ran out of time before our cookie party, so I ran 8 miles instead of the 14 on the plan. At least I ran some, right? I confess, I had a little more Christmas sangria than I planned so there was no heading back out to finish up after the party!
Cookie party!

We had my entire division over for a cookie decorating party Sunday afternoon. It was my first official party in my life, I do believe. Everyone seemed to have a good time, especially the many children running screaming around my house. None of this is a good excuse for shorting my long run, but we had a great time. 🙂

With four weeks to go, not only do I need to get my training back on track to finish strong, but I also need to get my food back in shape. Sunday afternoon’s cookies and booze were lots of fun, but definitely not optimal marathon fueling. I have a few weeks to finish strong!

This week, my goals are simple: Run my miles, drink more water (and less booze!) and eat fewer holiday treats. I’m going to run 5 miles Tuesday (which means going to bed at 9 pm tonight so I can wake up at 5 to run) and 5 miles Friday (5 am). My training plan calls for those runs on Tuesday and Thursday, but I have a 7 am to 7 pm day Thursday, so I know a Thursday run won’t happen. The training plan calls for 10 miles Wednesday and I’m going to be honest with myself – that isn’t happening. However, 8 miles can happen. I’ll wake up and do 3-4 miles and then run the rest in the afternoon before and during O’s swim lessons at the gym.

Twenty miles is looming for my weekend. We have plans Saturday, so I’ll be doing twenty miles on Sunday, no matter how I have to get them done. If it is icy/slippery with snow, I’ll go to the gym and run on the treadmill but I REALLY hope that doesn’t happen. I really need to get this done in one chunk for the mental aspect as much as the physical training. Thus, the whole family knows that nothing is being scheduled on twenty mile day, no temptations and no distractions. Wish me luck (and dry roads!)!

I confess I’m nervous about twenty miles. I keep reminding myself that 16 and 18 miles both went well. I can do this.

Do you have a low temperature at which you just won’t run outside? Darrell is not thrilled with the idea of me running twenty miles in single degree temps this weekend, but I’d rather do that than run on the treadmill for twenty miles!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up!

weekly wrap up

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Tuesdays on the Run: What did I learn this year?

This week’s Tuesday on the Run link up is reflecting back on what we’ve learned this year. Boy is that a doozy for me! I’ve taken on a lot of new challenges in the last year, professionally and in my running, and it turns out, the biggest thing I’ve learned is the same with both.

You can do anything if you keep putting one foot in front of the other.

One foot at a time

One foot at a time

This year, I’m tackling a couple of big running goals. I ran back to back half marathons in October as part of the I-35 Challenge, running both the Kansas City Half Marathon and Des Moines half marathon in a single weekend. By the second half of the Des Moines marathon, I was seriously feeling the miles. My mantra for these races was definitely “one step at a time – just keep going.”
Success!
That mantra has served me well with long runs for marathon training so far this fall as well, especially with the 16 and 18 mile runs. I’ve got the twenty mile coming up and then a race in five weeks! My self-talk game has been strong with these runs. Just keep going. Turns out, if you just focus on taking one step after another, eventually you look up and you’ve covered a previously unthinkable amount of miles.

Equally important to the “Just keep going” self talk has been the balancing effect of “It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going.” In the grand scheme of the world, no one cares if I run a 4 hour marathon (ha!) or a 6 hour marathon. That’s been a huge shift from last year’s running goals, which focused on (and achieved) new time PRs. That’s not what this year has been about and I’ve had to remind myself of that over and over.

I keep having new responsibilities added at work and am trying to balance those opportunities and challenges with my family and my self care needs. I remind myself of the same things. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and we’ll get there. It doesn’t matter how fast we go. I really think the lessons I’ve learned with my running this year have been hugely helpful in my professional life as well and I’m so grateful for that.

As I tackle 20 miles next week and 26.2 miles in January, I will hold this lesson in my mind. I can do anything when I keep taking one step after the other.

What have you learned this year?

Thanks as always to Patty, Marcia and Erika for hosting our link up!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Five weeks to go!

Yikes! Five weeks until I run a marathon! That makes the fact that I did exactly ZERO running for the last seven days a little nerve wracking. I keep reminding myself that I built this into my training plan, knowing that I have a hard time running when I’m on call. Last week was killer. I worked 12-13 hours every day and only made it home for bedtime one weekday. It was physically and mentally exhausting. My NSV is definitely the fact that I didn’t binge eat or even make too many bad choices despite the fact that I was crazy busy. It’s a relief to be done and I’m looking forward to getting back to workouts. 🙂

My boys are the bestI am so grateful for my guys. Darrell and Oliver bought me flowers on Sunday while I was working because they knew I was having a rough week. Oliver also picked up some new Christmas earrings for me with little jingly bells that made me smile all afternoon. I’m a lucky girl!

Speaking of Oliver, I have to tell you guys what he wants for Christmas:
Crazy Christmas

Seriously. Thank goodness Santa found where she could order just one of these, although my local Village Inn offered to give us one, complete with jellies.

Not much to report on the workout front last week, but this week is back to the grindstone. I’ve got four runs this week, with a long run of 12 miles on the weekend and then my 20 mile run coming next week. I’m looking at my schedule to make sure I can get these last two long runs done all in one chunk because I really feel like it is going to be key mentally to have that under my belt here at the finish.
Perfect snow!I’m going to have to work around this stuff. Thankfully, Omaha is pretty good about de-icing most of the time and I love running in snow. I have lots of winter layers! I confess, I’m glad to see the snow because now it really feels like Christmas.

Hopefully everyone else had a more active week than I did! Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up!

weekly wrap up

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Friday Five: Gifts to Myself

What a week! It’s been a doozy here, with long days and lots of stress for me and my staff. This afternoon, when I went to refill my coffee at 3 (bless Crane Coffee and free refills!), I got everybody else drinks too. It’s a little thing, but definitely a morale boost after a rough week.
Coffee

I’m nearing the end of this tough week, but the holidays never slow down, so I spent some mental energy today thinking of the things I’m going to gift myself to help make the holiday season a little less stressful.

1 – Guilt free time to catch up! As we speak, I’m sitting in my quiet office, catching up on lots of email and little nagging tasks that I haven’t had time to get to this week. I’ve got Christmas music on and zero mom- or wife-guilt since Darrell’s at a party I wasn’t invited to for his job and Oliver is at his daycare’s parents night out enjoying pizza and movies. It’s amazing how soothing this little moment of time is for my brain, even if I am technically hanging out working at 7 pm on a Friday night.

2 – Breakfast with Oliver: Tomorrow, I’ll have breakfast with Oliver. I know I just said I’m enjoying a couple of hours off duty from mom-guilt tonight, but I also miss the time with my kiddo. I’ve missed dinner and bedtime most of the week because work has been so nuts, so knowing that he and I will be able to use our usual breakfast date to chat and catch up is so nice (knock on wood that call doesn’t interfere!).

3 – Shoes (and other little literal gifts to myself): When I’m stressed, I shop or eat. Since I’m trying not to stress eat, I find myself taking advantage of holiday sales for me too. I bought myself cute new pajamas and these funky little shoes from a J Crew Factory sale. It’s amazing how much they make me smile (and they’re comfy!).
Fun new shoes

4 – Cooking class! In addition to buying a couple of new physical things, I’ve been on the lookout for an experience to gift myself too. I signed up for a class at a new place near my house that does cooking lessons. We’re making a Christmas brunch-themed menu which should be fun. I’ll learn a couple of new recipes, plus have some wine and yummy food – wins all around! I’ll be sure to give you guys a full report!

5 – Holiday music: I always get a couple of new CDs for Christmas music and this year, I think as a reflection of how chaotic life has been lately, I chose soothing CDs from Amy Grant and Idina Menzel. I particularly like the Idina Menzel because I imagine that Elsa (Frozen) is singing to me. 🙂

Do you find gifts for yourself during the holidays? I highly recommend it, even if it is just five minutes to yourself with a cup of tea.

Please be sure to check out the rest of the Friday Five link up  at Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness.

Friday Five 2.0

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