A Little More Each Day

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

Tuesdays on the Run: Rating January

For Tuesdays on the Run this week, we’re rating our month. I love this idea in general, but am a little tickled by it in terms of this particular month as I’ve had weeks at a time when I didn’t run.

Wins in January:

  • Kept running through the last bit of my taper, just like the plan outlined!
  • Marathon!! (Duh!)

Supermom!

Castaway Cay challenge

  • Cut off my running break to start moving again and start training for the Flying Pig Three Way Challenge

Demerits in January (flashback to high school drill team days!):

  • Took recovery a little too far and didn’t work out at all for two-plus weeks

I didn’t intend to stop exercising all together for those two weeks post-vacation. It turns out that I have a hard time making myself exercise if I’m not training. Oops. However, it means I got lots of rest and recovery after the marathon so that’s a good thing, right?

All in all, I can’t give the month that included my first marathon anything less than an A. However, next month I’m stepping it up in mileage and speed work and will have a much steeper grading curve for myself.

How did your January go?

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

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Back in the saddle (finally!)

 

Can I say I’m back in the saddle when I’ve really only run once in the last few weeks? Sure I can – it’s Monday, so let’s aim for an optimistic note! Seriously, I took a nice LOOONNNGGG rest from the marathon and now it’s time to move again. It turns out that I sleep in and find excuses not to exercise if I’m not actively training for something. That alone makes race registrations worth it, right? Thankfully, this week starts a new training plan so I’m ready to go again.

I don’t have much to wrap up from last week, in terms of work outs but other goals are going well. I tore myself away from the news enough to run on Sunday. I cooked new foods including a keeper of a Greek chicken salad and that sushi salad I showed you a pic of earlier this week. I tracked my food all week and finished up a book on my shelf (Kitchens of the Great Midwest – interesting collection of intertwined stories). I also meditated every weekday, although weekends are still a struggle in that regard. Still, lots of wins for my goals for 2017 which is good amidst all of the chaos in our little world.

I’m traveling this week to DC for work. Work travel has been a bigger disrupter of my food and fitness plans over the last year than it has been in the past, so I’m outlining a clear set of goals for myself to help me stay on track.

– I have two workouts scheduled while I’m gone: a 3 mile easy run (Tuesday, after I arrive) and a speed workout (Thursday morning). Both can be done on the treadmill fairly readily and are thankfully short, so I have no excuse for missing them. It’s always fun to pack as much workout gear as work gear when I travel for business.

– I’ll be at a Marriott and while my meeting includes a continental breakfast, I will make the choice to get oatmeal and fruit as a healthier option from room service before I head down to the meeting. I don’t have to give in to pastries. I can take advantages of other options.

– I can still meditate in the morning and may even have the time to try out some longer meditations without my usual home duties.

Like I’ve done with travel in the past, I’m going to take advantage of real time accountability and post my food on Instagram. I used to be great about staying on track when I traveled, but for the last year have fallen into the well of french fries and pastries far too often! This will be especially important as I expect travel to be a little more chaotic than usual in and out of DC this week. Stress eating won’t fix anything.

This week marks the first week of my training plan for the Flying Pig weekend in May. I’m running the 5K and 10K at Flying Pig on Saturday, followed by the half marathon on Sunday. My primary goal is to support the amazing Meg through the hills of the first half of her marathon (as the courses overlap at the beginning). I’m going to use essentially the same training plan as I did for my back to back half marathons in the fall, with the addition of speed or hill work for one of the weekday workouts as I’ve really noticed the lack of that kind of workout in my running. I’ll definitely want to be ready for the hills that occur along that half marathon course!

Not much of a wrap up this week, but I promise next week will include actual running! I don’t even have any fun fitness or food related pics this week so I’ll leave you with this instead:

Goof

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

weekly wrap up

Have you run Flying Pig? Leave me links to your recaps or advice on the course below! Also, Skyline Chili: Love or hate? I’ve never tried it but think that’s probably going to be part of the visit.

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Word for 2017: FEED

I know this is a weird word to choose for someone with a history of obesity and disordered eating, but bear with me. I put off setting intentions for 2017 until I finished 2016’s big goal: my first marathon. The marathon was amazing experience and it really did require every ounce of the physical and mental effort I put into it, but it consumed A LOT of my personal bandwidth. This year, what I’d really like to get back to some of the things I let slide while I focused on the marathon.

    • Feed my family: I LOVE to cook, but over the last year I’ve found myself defaulting to the quick and easy or eating out far too often. There’s nothing wrong with quick and easy, but I used to balance that with joyful cooking, where I tried new things, cooked with Oliver, spent time dwelling in the smells and senses of cooking and learned new things. I want to get back to that. What does that mean? New recipes, reading the cookbooks I’ve been ignoring since I received them as gifts, involving Oliver in cooking, going to cooking classes and anything else that brings back joy to our kitchen. I’m already back in the saddle. Check out this gorgeous sushi salad:

Sushi salad

  • Feed my body: I definitely let my attention to those good nutritional habits I established when I lost weight slide during marathon training. This was partly due to mental fatigue and partly due to a “reward” mentality, although really mostly the former. Once we got back from our cruise, I started tracking diligently in Weight Watchers again. I haven’t weighed in yet (battery is out on the scale), but I’m focusing on fruits and veggies, reasonable amounts and how much BETTER I feel now that I’m eating this way. I forgot about that feeling as my diet slid over the last 6 months.
  • Feed my brain: Along with stepping away from cooking, I stopped reading last year between the marathon and being consumed with the chaos of reading about politics and world events. I’m already doing well in my goal of reading more this year, like we discussed earlier this month, and really loving the time spent with books again.
  • Feed my spirit: I’ve always had this intention to meditate because it is supposed to be good for stress (which I have!), lupus (ditto!) and mental clarity (desperately needed!). I’ve finally managed to get that started! Almost every morning, I’ve settled on my cushion in the living room before everyone else was awake to use the Breathe app and take a few minutes to center. Something has finally clicked and I’m really noticing a difference in how I “let go” of the stress in my days.
  • Feed my relationship: Darrell and I had such a great time on vacation together, even just doing “nothing.” I am so grateful to have a partner who is supportive and fun and trusting and grounded. Seriously amazing and I should honor him and us more with time and focus. I want to be sure we have date nights every month and happy hours every couple of weeks and also, that he has time to himself for things he enjoys to make up for all of the time he makes adjustments for my schedule and my job.
  • Feed my self-esteem: I’m proactively shutting off negative thoughts in a way I’ve never been able to before, especially impressive given the undeniable fact that I’ve regained a lot of weight. Every time I start a negative thought about myself, I’m finally able to interrupt it and counter it. I’m not sure if it is the meditation helping with that or the fact that I hate the act of that positive countering (awkward!) that helps me nip those thoughts in the bud, but I’ve definitely noticed a difference!

Naughty mom

While I got this particular “You stop that!” finger for daring to say Green Lantern was one of my least favorite super heroes (true), I can envision it every time I find myself getting too negative in my thoughts about myself.
Notice what’s missing? Yeah – big running goals for the year. I’ll set smaller goals along the way potentially, but I’m still a little mentally worn out from the marathon. I want to get back to speed work and get back to yoga, but I just don’t have the mental energy for a big running goal. I have a big running weekend coming up in May, but that is more about supporting a friend than it is my own personal running. Who knows – maybe when fall rolls around, I’ll be itching for a good half marathon run, but for now, focusing on these other intentions feels right.

I hope you guys all have a great weekend! Do you have a word for 2017?

 

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Castaway Cay Challenge 2017

When I decided I was crazy enough to run a marathon, it didn’t take Darrell long to come up with the idea of doing a cruise afterwards. I’m always on board for extra medals, so we got in touch with our travel agent and then tacked on registration for the Castaway Cay Challenge. For certain Disney race weekends, they offer the opportunity to run a special edition of their usual Castaway Cay 5K on the following cruise (more on my prior experiences with the usual 5K here and here) to earn the Castaway Cay Challenge medal.
Castaway Cay challenge

This set up meant there were a lot of runners on my ship. Four of the six of us at our dinner table had run during the weekend. I was proud of us for not talking exclusively about the race weekend and I’m sure Darrell was relieved by this! I also got asked by lots of cast members about race weekend and got lots of extra congratulations, even without wearing my medal around the ship. There even were special “recovery” drink options in the coffee shops and bars.

I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t quite the same as the usual 5K (not that I don’t love the usual 5K!). A few key differences:

  • As opposed to the usual 5K, registration had a cost associated and was done before you got on the ship. The Castaway Cay Challenge was one of the many stops we made at the Expo while picking up everything for the marathon. Exchanges were available on the ship if you needed to exchange your shirt size. It was nice to get to skip my usual check-in at the Guest Services desk to register for the 5K.

Castaway Cay

  • There were shirts and other goodies specific to the Castaway Cay Challenge, in addition to getting the race shirt with registration. The designs of these were much more colorful, including the ship, Mickey and the beach. I actually prefer the more subdued race shirt, but that may be because I already have shirts for the regular Castaway Cay 5K similar to the added purchase Challenge shirts, so I didn’t grab any of those.

 

  • There was also an information session on the cruise that was specific to the Challenge 5K. I confess I was doing the dessert experience at Remy, so I didn’t go to this, but one of my tablemates (who’d never run on Castaway Cay before) found this session helpful.

 

  • The course was a little bit different than the typical 5K course on the island. After a long walk out to the airstrip, we ran down the wide, paved airstrip before turning onto a narrow paved path that paralleled  Serenity Bay, the adult beach. Because we ran out and back along this section of the path, it got very crowded. Unless you were at the very front of the pack, you would have had to shuffle around a lot of people to find space to run. We were in the “jungle,” without any real beach views, but we did get lovely glimpses of the boat and the sunrise every once in a while.Sunrise
  • The course continued back out to the airstrip (where there was a water stop, with little bottles of water) before heading around the loop for the observation tower and then out for the finish line. I love that they had Swiss Family Robinson characters at the observation tower. 🙂 It livened up the otherwise dull loop to talk to them. They were discussing between themselves exactly what a “selfie” might be when I passed.

 

  • Speaking of characters, they said the course had an “adventure” theme, so other than Beach Goofy at the start:
    GoofyThe other characters were dressed in adventure gear, including a pirate-ish Minnie and Mickey and Chip and Dale in their Rescue Ranger best:
    Rescue rangers
    How did my run go? Oy. This was the most physically painful run of my life. I mostly walked this 5K, because every step I ran hurt everything from the waist down. Even though this was an untimed 5K, for some reason I was adamant that I would meet the 16 minute mile cut off and not walk the entire thing. Thus, I kept an eye on the Garmin lap time for each mile. When the time drifted up to 15:30 for the projected mile time, I’d run again until it dropped, then go back to walking. Unconventional intervals, to be sure, but it got me through and each mile was slightly faster than the last. I even ran all of the last 0.1 to a grateful finish. 🙂

Castaway Cay finish

I was quick to grab my medal and my usual runDisney goodies (banana, Powerade and box) before heading back to the ship. We were all required to check back in to the ship after the race before officially getting back off the ship for the port day. There were a TON of non-runner people waiting for all of us to get back on the boat so they could out to start their beach day. Sorry guys!

All in all, it was fun to get the extra medal and I loved doing the 5K earlier in the day (cooler, plus more time on the beach later!). However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to cruise post-race just for the Castaway Challenge again. It wasn’t that much better than the normal race on the island (which is free and comes with the same cute Castaway Cay 5K medallion). Cruising post-race for the rest and relaxation . . . that’s another thing all together. 🙂

The Tuesdays on the Run link-up today is about how much you’re willing to pay for a race. Somehow I thought this little 5K, which I paid a small fortune for when you consider the cost of the cruise, fit the bill. Be sure to check out Erika, Patty and Marcia for the rest of the link up!

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Walt Disney World Marathon (Part 2)

And now . . . for the rest of the marathon story (part 1 yesterday!)

I was worried that my motivation would flag when I got through the Magic Kingdom, because that section is definitely the highlight and is at the very beginning of the race (miles 5-7 ish) but I carried on with my intervals without much flagging. I had mentally divided things up into chunks: Magic Kingdom (yay!), Animal Kingdom (to Everest or not to Everest?), ESPN Wide World of Sports (survive the suck) and EPCOT (finished!!). That grouping really helped me to avoid getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of miles I think.

Before I knew it, we were nearing Animal Kingdom. There’s an unfortunate and smelly section where you pass the sewage treatment plant that is no fun, but otherwise I really enjoyed the Animal Kingdom section. Ultimately, I decided not to stop for Everest because I didn’t want to lose the good momentum I had. I was very aware that I was running the first half faster than I’d intended and wanted to keep moving before I crashed.

Expedition Everest

Again, this was a section I’d run before, back in the Jingle Jungle 5K (so fun!!) so I had great memories to keep me grinning through the miles. This is also where I hit the halfway point and sent my mom and Darrell a selfie to show how well I was faring so far:
Halfway
This spot was strategically chosen because I was pretty sure Oliver wouldn’t recognize this as Disney World if my mom showed him. She did and he told her that his mom was SuperMom. Cue tears again. That kid is so much of the reason I run.

When we left Animal Kingdom, I knew the real work was starting. Thankfully, on the way out of the Animal Kingdom there was a huge group of spectators cheering us on (Thanks Patty!) and that gave me a huge boost. I was officially beyond half marathon territory now and had the dreaded ESPN Wide World of Sports ahead of me. I have nothing against WWoS, but have read so many race recaps of how awful that section was and how many people had their races fall apart there that I was dreading it.

I stopped for my one and only character stop of the race to get myself psyched up for the last 13.1 miles:
Haunted mansion gravediggersI didn’t consciously decide not to stop for characters during the course. I wasn’t worried about time or anything. It was just that I hadn’t seen anyone I felt the need to stop for before this. Standing in line, when I knew still had hours and miles to go, had little appeal. I would have stopped for Darkwing Duck, who I’ve heard was present in years past, and had to stop for these guys from my favorite ride. I’m REALLY glad I had them use my camera in addition to the PhotoPass camera, because the PhotoPass pic loaded in my account is not me for this particular photo.

After this, it was up and going again. I definitely lost some momentum with that stop, but it was worth it. The miles between Animal Kingdom and WWoS (14-17 ish) were boring street miles, with lots of construction. When we got to mile 17 and started to head into WWoS, several people around me cheered that we were down to single digits left. Woo hoo! Thank goodness for that boost, because WWoS was pretty boring otherwise.

I think the bad rap WWoS gets is partially because a) miles 17-20 are tough no matter how you look at it: You’ve been going for ages, you aren’t close enough to the finish to really celebrate and a lot of people physically hit the wall at this point and b) we spent THREE miles here, running around sidewalks, the track and the baseball field. That’s more time than we spend in any other park, which definitely feels disproportionate. I’m happy to say that other than getting tired of sidewalks, I did well through this section physically and mentally. I never felt “the wall” – I’d stayed regular with my water at every stop and mix of Gu, Sport Beans and waffle like I’d used in training. I skipped bananas and the other treats offered on the sidelines because I hadn’t practiced with those. I was definitely tired of Gu by mile 20, but it held me in good stead through the miles.
Mile 20 WWOS

As we came out of WWoS and I realized that I was past the dreaded mile 20 (the peak of my training) and “feeling good”, I found myself in tears again at the realization that I was actually about to finish a marathon. I say feeling good in relative terms: my feet hurt, I was tired and I was slowing, but I was still running. At that point, I determined that I was not going to walk it in once I was past sweeping. I could keep running this thing (barring the hills of course – I definitely let myself walk those!).

We left WWoS and headed into Hollywood Studios for the briefest visit, past the Tower of Terror and down Sunset Boulevard, before we hit the sidewalk to EPCOT and safety. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t too crowded at this point like it had been at Wine and Dine. There was still plenty of people running, so things moved fairly smoothly. We rounded the Boardwalk and before I knew it, we were in EPCOT and the home stretch.

Coming in to Epcot

We entered EPCOT in England and rounded the whole of the World Showcase. I swear that ball was never getting any closer. Thank you to the random woman (tears again!) who cheered us on by saying “You made it! You’re in EPCOT!” just as I was believing that Spaceship Earth was a mirage and I was never going to get there. Somewhere around here, I missed the mile 25 marker and as I knew my Garmin was very off in mileage, I had no idea how much further I had to go through this section. This last bit was definitely the toughest mentally, but I was able to convince myself that if I kept going, I’d be finished sooner. Also, I had no $$ for a margarita so there was less temptation to stop.

Once that stupid white ball finally started moving closer, it was over in the blink of an eye. There was the gospel choir and the finish line and I’m high fiving Donald and holy cow I’m a marathoner!
Screenshot (23)

Point of pride: RUNNING at the end of 26.92 miles, thank you very much. I still haven’t looked to see my official time. It’s around the 6:30-6:40 range, based on the Garmin. I really don’t care. I finished a marathon! I was hugely disappointed in that moment with how long I had to wait to get that medal. I know logistically they need to NOT be right at the finish, but I wanted mine as soon as I crossed that line. I’m not the only one, right?

I’m still processing what I think of all of this and the question I’ve gotten most, will I do it again? I might do it again. I’m sure I could do it faster – I’m currently the slowest I’ve been in my running life. I don’t feel the need to right now though. Just knowing that I can run 26.2 miles is enough. If there’s ever a temptation again, I’ll consider it at that point. Who knows – when they open the remodeled Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, I may be back. 🙂

For now, I’m basking in the glory of what my body can do when asked. We really are amazing creatures. Thanks to all of you for your support through this journey. You were part of the happy tears at mile 20 (and the threatening tears right now – holy cow was I unprepared for how emotional marathons are!).

Anybody else find themselves tearing up in big races? I expected tears at the finish (which didn’t actually happen) but not all of the emotion along the way.

 

 

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Walt Disney World Marathon!

It’s taken me a while to wrap my mind around the marathon experience and what I want to say about it, other than a step by step recap. We’ll start with the step by step (two parts, because it ended up huge!) but I can’t promise I won’t have more to say later. This is the kind of thing that sticks in your mind for a while, I suspect.

Like I said last week, this race felt like a huge win in terms of mental effort and my training. I ran the pace I expected (had been training around 15 minute miles for long runs, ran 14:40 in the marathon) and kept up my mental effort the whole race. My goals, prior to race morning were simple: Finish the marathon. I didn’t have any other goals in terms of time, intervals, etc. I’d told Darrell about my expected finish time, so he’d know when to be at the finish line, but also told him that it could very well be longer.

On race morning, I woke up before the alarm but pleased that I had gotten a very good night of sleep before that. I got out of the room quickly and quietly, without forgetting anything (win #1 of the morning!) other than my rain poncho. It wasn’t raining but that poncho would have been nice for wind protection. I rode the monorail from the Polynesian to Epcot, which was running as early as 3 am. The only downside to the monorail is that you’re dropped off quite a ways from the check in area. Otherwise, it’s great not to wait and stress about a bus – definitely quick and easy. We got dropped off at the entrance to Epcot and walked quite a bit to the bag check, which helped warm things up and settle my nerves a bit. I didn’t have any gear with me, thanks to having Darrell at the finish, so I headed back around to Race Retreat for breakfast and to stay warm for the hour or so before the race. Time seemed to fly by and before we knew it was time to start!
Race retreat characters

I’ve talked about Race Retreat before (here) and will say that again, I felt like it was worth it for my needs at the time. Staying warm, sitting and getting my brain right and of course, character photos. 🙂  It wasn’t long before we were heading out to the corrals. Thanks to lovely random runner who gave me her spare poncho to block the wind while we were in the port-a-potty line!

Just FYI for anyone new to Disney races – I had over 6,000 steps by the time I got to my corral, with all of the walking from the monorail to the race retreat tent to the corrals. Be prepared for LOTS of extra walking before the race.

My first clue that this was going to be a particularly emotional day for me came with Mickey’s kick-off for the first group of runners. He referenced all of the athletes out there to run and I had a “Holy cow, I’m an athlete” moment. Tears in the corral are normal for your first marathon, right?
We're off!When they started the corral, I had this moment of certainty that “I’ve got this.” It was amazing and absolute and got me started in the best possible mood.

I was in corral I, based on my half marathon time and based on far faster paces than I’d been running in marathon training. I was worried that I would head out too fast with all of those faster people, but am so proud of myself for sticking to my plan to run my own race. Yes, those first few miles were faster than they should have been, but I stuck to my intervals rather than running more than I’d trained for.
Magic Kingdom

It was so reassuring to be running essentially the same path that I’d taken in the Princess Half Marathon in my first half marathon years ago. Places of prior success can be so powerful mentally. When I ran through the Magic Kingdom gates,I was reminded of Princess and how great I felt at the end of that race. I was also reminded of the upcoming Magic Kingdom and how great it felt to run through that park. I was thrilled to see that the Christmas decorations were still up when we got to Main Street. Christmas in the Magic Kingdom is definitely one of my happy places!
Christmas decorations still up on Main Street

One nice thing about this race overall is that I never felt as crowded as it was at the Princess Half Marathon. That was particularly appreciated on Main Street – it made it easier to step aside and get the obligatory castle selfie. Castle selfieLike Princess, we ran through Main Street and turned off to Tomorrowland. I was tempted to stop at Buzz Lightyear for old times’ sake, but I wasn’t in the mood for character stops. I was just enjoying the experience of running through the park. I was glad that the crowd was moving smoothly and that we were able to run through the castle too:

Through the castle

I can’t explain why it is so much fun to run through the Magic Kingdom, but I found myself skipping walk intervals through this section and running with a goofy grin the whole time. Definitely the right way to start a marathon!!

I paused in the Magic Kingdom for a real bathroom: Frontierland, no waiting! Then we were out the back, past the train, and on the street again. While I didn’t stop for characters in the Magic Kingdom, I did enjoy seeing my old friend Buzz and seeing Swami Donald out in the park. At the Hall of Presidents, Sam Eagle (Muppets) was poking his head of the top to yell at us which was a lovely little touch!
Sam Eagle

There were also parade floats out to see and on the back roads, old ride cars like the 20,000 leagues under the sea boats and the skyway cars. I felt really bad for the poor “grooms” out by the wedding pavilion on those back roads. No one was stopping for a pic with them. 😦

More to come tomorrow with the post-Magic Kingdom miles!

Did anybody else notice Sam up in the Hall of Presidents? Such a fun touch. I got as much enjoyment out of seeing the characters as I would have taken pics with them along the way. Who would your must-stop character be?

PS: Clearly this isn’t winter running gear and advice so be sure to go check out the rest of the Tuesdays on the Run link up for more info on surviving winter runs. My one word of advice: LAYERS. Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Cruising to Recovery

Nothing like returning from this:
Relaxing

To an ice storm in Omaha that has us stuck inside for goodness knows how long. The whole city is essentially shut down today and they’ve already cancelled O’s school for tomorrow. Gotta love winter – although give me snow any day over this ice nonsense!

Last week was all about recovering from the marathon and enjoying my first real kidless vacation since Oliver was born and not so much about workouts, so there won’t be much workout recapping this week. Mostly, I walked gently and slowly around the cruise ship and looked funny every time I got out of a chair for the week. The only workout I did was the 5K on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, on Wednesday. Wow did that hurt! A full recap is coming, in case they continue doing these challenges and anyone else wants to know how it works, but for now I will just say that it was the most painful 5K of my life. Turns out, even if your legs are feeling good enough to walk and take the stairs, running (even at turtle pace) two days after your first marathon HURTS.
Castaway Cay challenge

However, that Castaway Challenge medal is gorgeous so it’s worth it, right? Right. I spent the week eating and drinking too much, reading (LOTS of reading!) and taking naps. It was glorious!
Cruising

Now, I’m back in the real world. I’m ready to get back to moving, even if I’m not training for anything or doing anything strenuous for a while. I’m planning on at least 150 minutes of exercise this week, with some walks (once the ice clears!), yoga and maybe hopping on the exercise bike.

We’re also getting ourselves back on regular eating after the cruise. In January’s Cooking Light, there was a 3 day reset menu that has been a lifesaver for these first few days back home! It feels good to get back to healthier eating (for me anyway – Darrell caved after less than a day). After that cruise, I don’t need any desserts or alcohol for the rest of the month. 🙂
Tuna quinoa toss

After all of my stressing, Oliver did great without us for a week! I think he’s enjoying this ice storm though, and getting lots of extra Mom & Dad time to make up for us being gone. I suspect part of the reason he didn’t miss us is that Nana had a scavenger hunt with a new present for him every day after school. Nana’s are meant for spoiling, right?

I promise next week I’ll more fitness to report! I’m working on my marathon recap, to post later this week, and on the Castaway Challenge details.

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

weekly wrap up

How did you ease back into workouts after your first big athletic endeavor? I only took a week off running after the back-to-back half marathons this fall, but think the marathon deserves at little more than that. That doesn’t mean I can’t move in other ways though!

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Reading goals for 2017

I miss reading. I used to read all of the time but have fallen off that wagon in the last few years. As Oliver learns to read and I find myself talking to him about the many joys of books, I find myself wanting to dive back into my favorite past time.

I’m a list-oriented person, especially now that I’m so busy with work and family life. Thus, I’m going to make a list on Good Reads with my goals for 2017 (here).

  • First on the list: Finish all of the books in my room!

2017 book goals

I got many of these as birthday and Christmas gifts and yet haven’t managed to finish them. I’ve had some for two years! These are definitely on the list this year. (PS Isn’t my bookend the cutest? He’s a cast iron bank/bookend)

  • I want to stretch myself a bit too, with some serious books in addition to the fun stuff. This list from Modern Mrs Darcy for challenging books is a good place to start. Seeking out #diversebooks was particularly interesting. I was sort of surprised by my initial hesitation as I started pulling up #diversebooks ideas, because I consider myself fairly open minded. We all have our hidden biases and stretching outside our comfort zones is a good way to challenge those and grow.

So what’s a concrete step I can take to meet this goal? I think I’m going to go with turning the phone off at 9 pm and read at least 5 minutes every night from one of the books on my list rather than my usual Facebook or Wikipedia reading. Of course, knowing me, I’ll get sucked in and read longer. I’ll need to set some kind of alarm so I can get to bed on time.

Before we left for the race, we also did a little reorganizing in the basement to bring our favorite books out onto the new shelves we have around the TV and to build a little reading corner. It was like visiting old friends, going through so many books I loved. I can’t wait to re-read them – once I finish this year’s list that is!

I’m getting myself off to a good start on the cruise this week! I brought three of the books on my list with me (Robert Galbraith, Gretchen Rubin and Deanna Raybourn) and have really been loving the quiet and rest that comes from sitting with a good book. I’ve spent hours sitting in lounge chairs on the deck and on our balcony with coffee (or something fruity, depending on the time of day!) and a book. Heaven!

Do you prefer to stick with old favorite authors and books or stretch yourself outside your comfort zone? The Deanna Raybourn book I’m reading was a gift from a student, who knew I was looking for something new to read on vacation and got it for me because she thought I’d like it. It’s not an author or book I’d ever even heard of. I am enjoying it and I’m so impressed at her ability to pick such a personal and thoughtful gift!

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Racecations verus Local Weekend Warrior?

I’m really entertained at the timing of this week’s Tuesday’s on the Run topic as I am on a racecation as this posts. Clearly I’m a fan of “racecations”!

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

ToTR logo

As someone who enjoys Disney races and doesn’t live in Florida or California, racecations are a necessary part of my running life. I tend to do a couple of travel races a year, including my annual drive over to Des Moines and the occasional flight to other races. Even though I have the luxury of being able to afford these trips, costs add up and so I avoid going too often. Between flights, hotels, food and race registration, things get expensive fast! However, the occasional racecation is worth the investment for me for a couple of reasons:

⁃       Making the race a big event can be very motivating! Honestly, I don’t know if I’d be able to mentally motivate myself to run for 6 hours around Omaha. The appeal of making it an event and of running from park to park was so helpful! It also helped that I was coming back to the site of success with my first half marathon (Princess Half Marathon at Disney in 2014).

I didn't get in line for the official photo in front of the castle, but there were photographers catching us in movement too (and videos!)

I didn’t get in line for the official photo in front of the castle, but there were photographers catching us in movement too (and videos!)

⁃       Getting away from day to day responsibilities can make it easier to rest mentally and physically before the race. At home, I’d be running errands, doing chores and working up to the last moment.

There are disadvantages too, beyond the cost.

⁃       You’ve got to have everything with you because there’s no running back home for something at the last minute.
⁃       You lose the chance to practice on the course itself, which can be really helpful so that you know what to expect.
⁃       You have to resist the urge to play tourist and tire yourself out before the race. That’s a particular risk with Disney races!

A nice hybrid option I use a lot is to look for races anywhere I’m traveling (like the Jazz Half Marathon this fall). If I’m going somewhere for work or family, might as well take the chance to try a new race while I’m out there anyway. Google your location and dates or check out the running club in the town you’re visiting to find options.
Post race
Local races on the weekend have their own charms, beyond being cheaper and more convenient. I’ve found new running trails and met other people in the Omaha running community. A mix of both local and travel races works best for me right now, but who knows what the future will bring. Maybe I’ll be a little old lady with a RV and a full racecation schedule in my retirement. 🙂

Which do you prefer: racecations or running local weekend races?

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Marathoner!!

What a week! First off, I had EXACTLY the marathon race I trained for and it was a fantastic time:
Did it!!I’ll post a full recap when we get back from the cruise, but for now, let me say there were happy tears and a great mental race. Also, lots of awkward hobbling in the aftermath which is entertaining my husband a lot. 🙂 Truly, knowing you all were cheering for me was SO powerful and part of those happy tears. Thanks so much for supporting me through this!

Brief fly through of the rest of the week: Coming up to the race, my focus was on sleep (sort of successful), drinking well, eating well (pretty good! Remembered that French fries aren’t ideal carb loading) and running enough to keep moving. I didn’t worry about mileage targets but tried to shake things out. 

Weekly Workouts 

Monday – Walking and stretching (and the movie Moana – which we loved! Downloaded the soundtrack for race day!)

Tuesday – Easy run with pickups (but oh so cold!)

Wednesday – Even colder easy run, which made me REALLY grateful that I wasn’t running 26.2 in January in Nebraska. Brrr!!

Thursday – No running because of unexpected overnight snow, but snow shoveling Thursday morning was workout enough. 

Friday – Early morning wake up for our flights, with airport walking, expo walking and walking from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian for dinner. Darrell was amazed at how much walking there was at the Expo – he was over 10,000 steps between the airport and the expo and we did the bare minimum at the expo with no shopping!

Saturday – Lots of rest and reading (and an early bedtime!). As you’ve all heard, the half marathon got cancelled because of the storm (and there was thunder, so it sounds like they made the right call). Loads of people got out to run anyway and we had a great view of lots of costumed runners from our room in the Polynesian. I love the dedication!

Half marathoners

Sunday – Race day! I promise a full recap will come next week, after the cruise. For now, I’ll just say that as soon as Mickey counted down 3, 2, 1 and our fireworks went off, a little voice in  my brain said “I’ve got this” and I carried that with me for 26.2 miles. Well, 26.92, because I’m bad at running tangents apparently. It was a great experience, even if my feet feel broken today. 🙂

We're off!

We celebrated after the race with an early dinner at Sanaa, which I highly recommend for the mango margarita and bread service alone (although the butter chicken was also divine!).

Sanaa to celebrate
Now, we’re off for some grown up vacationing on the cruise. Oliver is having a fantastic time with Nana and I’m riding that post-marathon high, so hopefully I’ll be able to relax and enjoy these next few days away from responsibility. 🙂

I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to run this marathon and for the rest that’s in my future. Thanks so much to all of you for your support through this journey!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link-up! I can’t wait to hear all about Holly’s race and her shiny new PR! Congrats Holly!

weekly wrap up

If you were one of the half marathoners with a cancelled race, would you have run it anyway? I think I might have it were my first and there were others out doing the make up run or if it was part of one of the challenges. If I was just here for the half marathon and had done HMs before, I might have taken the chance to have the day off in the parks, I confess. 🙂

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