Monday, August 1, 2011

Training is "Officially" Underway

Last week was "unofficially" week 2 of marathon training. I logged just over 20 miles and gained 3 pounds. Uh. I'm confused. I'm eating like a horse, yes, but I'm burning crazy numbers of calories (in comparison to pre-training burn, of course). Not going to worry about the number on the scale, just the number of miles. Right?

So, today marks the "official" start of the training - it is Week 1 Day 1 of the training plan I'm using. I still have (MANY) moments when I think, "What ARE you thinking?" Those usually start around mile 3 when my body starts protesting the 100% humidity sucking the life right out of me! 

I have already tackled today's run. It was a steady 4.25 miles (9:42 pace) with some pretty good hills. Left the house around 6 a.m. and several times thought, "I could still be asleep. You're an idiot." But now that the day is rolling, I'm glad it's done, and I'm looking forward to pushing the distance a little further tomorrow (Of course, that means rolling out of bed earlier. Ugh!).

All that to say, I'm on track (I know, it's Day 1, but cut me some slack!), but still having sanity-doubting moments! 123 days to race day...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot, Humid and Snakes...Oh, My!

Week 1 of marathon training in the books. I still can't believe I'm really doing this. I've visited the race website several times just to "confirm" my registration.

Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 3.2 miles
Saturday: 6 miles

18 miles total for the week - and that's about 8 miles more than last week! So thankful for the overcast skies during yesterday's long run (God answers even our "smallest" prayers!). It's been really hot and humid this week and to be honest, I am NOT really enjoying running very much right now. I know that will change in the fall, but the thought of the long runs BEFORE fall does not make me look forward to this.

So, I had my first encounter with a LIVE snake this week and didn't even know it. My neighbors came to tell me that they are pretty sure I ran right on top of a water moccasin that was coming out of a wooded area in our neighborhood. WHAT? It was fairly small (they ran over it coming to tell me it was there, thank goodness!) but it was a snake nonetheless. I think it might be time to invest in a headlamp for my nighttime running.

131 days until race day (OMGosh! That freaks me out a little!)!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I've lost my mind...

I'm committing. I wish it was to something super fantastic like saving for a vacation home in the Bahamas, or even for my boys' college education...but it's not. To most people, it will sound absolutely absurd and utterly ridiculous.

I'm paying someone else money so I can run 26.2 miles. Seriously.

December 3, 2011 - that's 142 days away for those watching the ticker - in Memphis to raise money for and awareness about St. Jude's. Could there be a greater cause? I think not. But I could just write them a check and be done...right?

Regardless, I am hoping all the 26.2 veterans will provide some encouragement and advice along the way. I'm going to need it, especially until this miserable Mississippi heat starts to give way to the cooler temps of fall.

Stay tuned...and wish me luck.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm embarrassed...

I'm embarrassed. Good blogging requires continuity. The last month has really been a blur. Luckily, I've run more than I've blogged (to find a bright spot?).

We went to the beach the first week in June, and I thought (or maybe I hoped) things would slow down a bit upon our return. No dice. I managed to get in a few 2 - 4 mile runs while we vacationed in Orange Beach. It was so fantastic to have designated pedestrian lanes on the road and not have to fret about traffic. Well, at least not as much as normal. The humidity was pretty rough, but the sounds and smells of the ocean totally made up for it. Despite the chaos, I've managed to log about 10 - 14 miles per week.

I leave Friday with our youth group for a trip to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. I'm excited about the cooler weather and planning to get in some miles while we're there. They will be hilly miles, I'm certain, and probably done EARLY in the morning, but I'm ready for some new terrain and I'm pretty sure I'll need the time to keep my sanity.

I'm finding a lot of enjoyment in my running - despite the miserable heat and humidity that mark summertime in Mississippi. I have refreshed my playlist recently, gotten comfortable with my summer pace and I'm trying to mix up my routes as much as I can.

So, despite my failure to blog about it, the running goes on. I hope July will bring a little more downtime (and I'd be ok with some cooler temps!) as I have a list of ideas for posts.

Stay hydrated, my friends.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Swimsuit Edition

It's been two weeks since I have had a chance to post and things have been a little harried around here.  Family, work and church have kept me hopping, but I've managed to squeeze in 10-13 miles per week despite the chaos. Weird to think six months ago, I was running nearly that in one day!

We are gearing up for our first Walton Family beach trip (Orange Beach, in case you're curious!) which has produced much anxiety about donning a swimsuit. You'd think I would be a little more excited given my smaller size (and relatively speaking, I am!), but it's still a swimsuit. Nevertheless, here it is - oh, and that's NOT me, although I could see how one might make that mistake (bhahahaha!).
Found at:
in case you'd like to be my twin!
It's totally age (and mom) appropriate, but I do feel pretty in it and it looks decent enough...not quite like the model, but "very close" (cough, cough). I love the colors and the strap is removable for any opportunities to soak up some rays sans two sweet boys.

Anyone enjoy shopping for a swimsuit? Maybe it's just me.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Market Street 5K is in the books!

We did it! I am so proud of Jeff for his stellar finish in his first 5K. He says first and last, but I'm confident this race was just the catalyst for him to increase his intensity and distance. He's way too competitive to NOT enjoy a little racing every now and then. So, here's a recap...

We left Louisville around 6:30 a.m. to drive to Columbus. A very quiet ride over as Jeff was too sleepy and I was too focused to say much. We arrived and I immediately found the bathroom (of course!). Jeff got us registered while I took care of business. We were bummed to learn that we wouldn't be getting those matching shirts we had hoped to wear all day...darn. Pre-registration is important, people!

After finishing at the registration point, we walked out about 1/4 mile from the pavilion to the starting point to begin stretching. We struck up a great conversation with another runner who just happened to be from Louisville, too. Small racing world, huh? He was running his second 5K and was gunning for a 26 minute finish - pretty sure he made it because we could see him just a little ahead of us. Yay!! We saw a few other familiar faces before the race began and spoke with them as well.

Promptly at 8, the race began. It was an out-and-back route on a great shaded trail with little to no incline. Temperature was about 60 at the start - pretty much perfect running weather. I took off a little faster than I should have, but was determined to maintain the pace. First mile in 8:37/mile. We were staying together for the most part and trying to create some space for ourselves; we're big people and take up a lot of room when running shoulder-to-shoulder!

Around 1.4 miles, we started passing the runners on the return leg and knew we were almost to the turnaround. Second mile in 8:53/mile. During the third mile, I chose my "rabbit" and began to pick it up a bit. When I passed her, I picked another one (this one had on bright pink shorts which made her "fun" easy to chase, by the way). Third mile in 8:46/mile. We hit the last stretch already at a pretty good sprint and ran the last .1 mile in 7:43/mile. 

Our times were 27:02 and 27:05 (I think the official times were 27:07 and 27:10, but it wasn't chipped timed and they were having trouble with their card system, so I'm going with the Garmin). I finished just a few steps ahead of Jeff although I was certain his long legs would eventually pass me. 

Market Street 5K - May 2011
Columbus, MS
My goal was 27 minutes or better, so I'll definitely take 27:02 (and now start pushing for under 27!). We stuck around for the awards ceremony - just in case I placed in my age division and sure enough - 2nd place! I was shocked because there were over 200 runners this year. 
2nd place
Women 35-39
All in all, it was a great day to run and both of the Waltons were pleased. I anticipate my sweet husband will be a little sore later today or tomorrow, but I am so incredibly proud of him. Not just for finishing the race today, but for sticking with this whole running thing for the past 4 months. He's a big guy and running hasn't been easy on his body. He inspires me with his perseverance and determination to keep going!

Big shout out to the senior Waltons for keeping our boys for us, too!

** Found the pics from last year's Market Street 5K and a before/after post is coming soon! WOW!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Racing Debut

Tomorrow is race day! I am so excited to actually be running a race tomorrow - AND WITH MY HUSBAND! I can hardly stand it (and he seems totally uninterested and unfazed by my excitement). It's been several months since I've competed in a race of any distance, and I've missed the discipline of a set training regimen a little.

Anyway, Jeff completed the Couch to 5K program a few months ago and has been running about 3 miles 3 times per week since. We were (finally) able to get our boys situated to BOTH make it to a great 5K nearby in the morning. YAY!

The Market Street 5K is a great out-and-back race on a trail down by the river in Columbus, MS. The course is completely flat and very shaded. The weather forecast for the morning is perfect! All that in taken into account: I am going for a 5K PR tomorrow - 27 minutes. It's ambitious, but I'm hoping my competitive nature will kick in and help me push a little harder. Last year, I ran the course in 32:05, so we'll see what I can muster up in the morning.

Will try to get some pics of the "happy couple" post race!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fast Like Mommy

One of my "purposes" for running (see blog title!) is to set a positive example for my boys. I don't ever want them to dread exercise or struggle with their weight like I have most of my adult life. 

Tonight, during bath time, I got some feedback on how this is going with the oldest Walton boy...

Me (overly dramatic, but very concerned): Riley!! What happened to your elbow? You have a scratch!

Riley (concerned, but no drama): I fell down and hurt it.

Me: Today? Did it happen at school?

Riley: Yes, ma'am (and he's learning manners - BONUS!).

Me: What happened?

Riley: I was running fast - LIKE YOU - and I fell down (emphasis added).

Seriously? My heart melted! I love that kid! I have no aspirations (or hope) of being a "fast" runner but as long as my boys think I'm fast, that's good enough.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh, summer! You've come too early!

It's April. In my book, that is a spring month. These last few weeks have not felt "spring-ey" though. The humidity is already creeping up and ugh - the bugs! I'm not sure which is worse!

So, here's my top five least favorite things of summer running in Mississippi:

5. Time doesn't matter. You can get up early or wait until later in the evening, but either way - it's miserable because of the 100% humidity.

4. Time does matter. I am so slow in the summer. Even when it's a short run, I feel sluggish and like I can't push my pace.

3. Bugs are gross. When I run at night, I feel them smacking my face or arms. Then I find them stuck to my skin when I come in and I'm even more grossed out. Oh, and don't get me started on the horseflies. Do I really smell that bad?

2. Clothes - or wishing for a lack thereof? Ok. Guys can run during the hot months in basically shorts and sneaks. Ladies, we have to keep everything covered and if you're like me, have to keep the jiggling covered, too. I don't know how many times I've wanted to shed some clothes, but unfortunately, my body is not the "typical" runner's body, and I'm pretty sure I need to just tough it out and keep my shirt on.

1. I stink. I'm sure my southern belle readers while be offended by my honesty, but seriously. "Glisten" is NOT what I do when I run in the summer; I am pouring sweat from every pore of my body. There is no "freshening up" after a run - a shower is a must.

There you have it. My honest assessment of summer running. What's your least favorite part of running in the summer months? Or do you L-O-V-E it?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Inspiration and My Friend...

One year ago today, I ran my first 5K. It was the Old Cotton Mill Classic that wound through the streets (and up the hills!) of the MSU campus. Eli was just 11 weeks old, and I had been running all of 5 weeks when the race began. I would love to write about this amazing experience of triumph and victory, and share that I was able to run all 3.1 miles at a record-breaking speed...but it wasn't that and I wasn't fast.

I struggled the entire course, and I think I finished in just under 35 minutes. My friend and colleague, Karyn Brown, was there with me every step of the way. She walked with me when the hills got the best of me. She encouraged and pushed me all at the same time. She slowed me down when I got the urge to rush near the end because she knew we had one more hill to climb. We had run several times together before that day and she always shared tips and advice that helped her complete her first 5K (and several more after!). I am forever grateful to her for holding me accountable when I didn't "love" to run. 

As I "celebrate" my one-year racing anniversary, I am so grateful that I have had many people along the way to encourage and inspire me...but none more than my friend. Thank you, Karyn! Can't wait to run together again soon!

A side note: Karyn is a new mom to the most adorable little boy! Diwas Brown made the long trip from Nepal with his proud parents several months ago and is loving life with his new family! If you'd like to follow their difficult but amazing journey, The Brown Family blogs at New Brown Child.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I've lost it...26.2?

The whole taking-a-break-from-training thing has not lasted as long as I had hoped. Somewhere in my crazy head (I think it was actually around mile 4 of my 6-mile run today!), I decided I want to (try to) run a full marathon...this year (What? Are my eyes reading correctly what my fingers just typed? Who hijacked my blog?).

When I started running last year, the full 26.2 was a bucket list kind of thing. You know - when the boys got a little older...after the Promotion & Tenure process was complete...when I had more time to train, really. But now, I think I want to go for it...and in 2011.

I had planned to run St. Jude's 1/2 again in December, but I'm thinking I may just go ahead and register for the full marathon. It's a great race, amazing atmosphere, great course, far from home so no one will read the police report or see the news where I had to be transported to the know, all the great race pre-requisites for your first marathon. And if I think I can't make it the full distance, I can always turn off at the 13.1 mark and no harm done. Well, other than feeling like a complete failure, I'm sure.

Anyway. I'm putting it out there for all the world to read and comment on. I have no aspirations of qualifying for Boston with my time; I just want to finish...upright.

Marathoners - is this really possible? Have I totally lost it thinking I have time to train for this? 

Oh, dear...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Run Like a Mother...Really.

I am probably behind all my other running moms, but I'm just reading Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving - and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity


If you are a running mom (or a mom who wants to run...or a runner who eventually wants to be a mom...ok, just a female runner!), you really should read this book. Sarah and Dimity provide lots of great tips and the witty quips make me laugh out loud (often). They also have opposite approaches to running so between the two, we can probably all relate to their advice and experiences. There are 26 (nice!) chapters that cover everything from gadgets to cross training to injuries. I am learning a lot of new strategies and just purchased my first pair of "running socks" (did not realize what a difference this can make!). I know, I know. Anything to justify more gear, right?

Anyone else read it? Other good reads for runners?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's working!

The new approach is definitely working! I am a new woman...ok, at least a new runner?

The week in review since my break-thru:
  • Sunday: 2.75 miles in 26:48 minutes
  • Monday: Rest day (largely because of the terrible weather moving through!)
  • Tuesday: 4 miles in 38:10 minutes on a pretty hilly route on campus with no music (might as well change big if you're going to change, right?)
  • Wednesday: 2.25 miles in 20 minutes (8:58 pace!) around my neighborhood circle 
And, I've already packed my bag to run after work tomorrow. It's weird; I actually want to run more - and longer and faster - now that I don't "have" to.

I am also reading Run Like A Mother and anticipate there will be several posts related to this soon.

Hope you're all having a great week! Would love to hear what YOU do to change things up in your workouts! Ginny (who blogs at Happy Feet 26-2) had some great suggestions after my last post...what are YOURS?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Disaster Averted

When I re-read my last post, I realized it was pretty thanks for not calling me out on that! Apparently, the whining worked though!

Since then, the scale has moved! I weighed 159.0 this morning!! Woot, Woot! I haven't seen 150-something in a LONG time, my friends (Just for the record, I actually saw 158.4 three of the 17 times I weighed - I couldn't believe my eyes and just wanted to stare at the number!!). While I can't attribute it completely to healthy eating and working out because I participated in the 30-Hour Famine with our youth group Friday and Saturday, I'll take it! This brings my total weight loss in just over a year to around 74 pounds!

And second, and probably most importantly, I've had a major break-thru with my running this weekend. 

When running causes more stress than it's relieving,
something's out of balance and needs to be changed. 

To understand this, I need to go back in my journey a little. Last March, I started running. My overall goal for running was to lose weight and get my health back. Knowing how my brain operates, I set a long-term goal to run the St. Jude's 1/2 Marathon in December. This was my motivation to keep running (and justify all the money I was spending on gear, but I digress...). I did St. Jude's in December and in the delirium of my runner's high, I signed up for the Frostbite 1/2 marathon in January (five weeks later!)...and I did that, too. I was really ready for some time off - as in no-pressure-running-just-to-run time off. 

Instead of listening to my body (and my mind!), I began training for the Country Music 1/2 Marathon (April 30) and invited my sister-in-law to join me (it would be her first 1/2!). As the semester picked up speed (no pun intended, runners!), I fell behind in my training and even struggled to get my shorter runs in during the week; then, I began to struggle making time for long runs. All the struggling was stressing me out and stealing the joy of my running. It felt like one of the other million things I HAD to do in the day/week. It was causing more stress than it was relieving!

My sister-in-law (who I swear wears an "S" for Super Woman under her clothes) also had trouble getting in her training runs. In our womanly wisdom, we decided this weekend to nix the 1/2 and just plan a fun visit! We'll have a wonderful weekend with them and will go for a long run, just the two of us, for a distance of our own choosing without battling 30,000+ other runners Since we made this decision, I can't even begin to explain how relieved I've felt!

So relieved, in fact, that I went for a run tonight (on my rest day!) - JUST BECAUSE I WANTED TO! It felt amazing to run without worrying about distance or pace or anything - I just ran to run! I didn't HAVE to - I really WANTED to!

Some of you will read this and think I'm copping out and that's ok. I know hard-core runners will criticize, but what I think I did was avoid the fast-track to burnout. One of the purposes for my continued running is to relieve (some) stress in my life. It's relaxing and provides me some alone time to decompress. Because the other obligations in my life creating obstacles for my training plan, running was actually causing me stress. Defeats the purpose a little...

So, what's my plan now?

Three to four runs per week of varying distances (3-5 miles) with one mid to long run (6-8 miles) on the weekend depending on time and weather. May also try three runs and a kettle bell workout some weeks.

And my advice to others (new or old runners): Listen to your body! If you need a break from race training, take it. There's always another race to train for and no one's going to take your "runner card" just because you're not "in training" for something.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"S" is for Struggle

CONFESSION: This week has been abysmal in terms of my training for the Country Music Half Marathon (April 30). Today is Thursday, and I have run 8 miles so far this week. Further, I did not do a long run last week. Ugh.

Some reasons for this?

1. Work is killing me. Being on this side of the "end of the semester" is no easier than it was as a student. In fact, I might argue it's actually worse. I have tenure looming over my head so the pressure for research productivity is weighing heavy, a stack of papers that need to be graded so the students can move forward with their final projects, exams to make out, interns to hire for the summer, I'm chairing one search committee and serving on another, we've been in the midst of academic advising for the fall...Ok. You get the point. At the end of the day (which has been closer to 6 or 7 lately), I'm spent and the last thing I've felt like doing is lacing up the sneaks and going for a run. And then there's...

2. The overwhelming "Mom guilt." When I have to work more, my time at home is even more precious. It's pretty hard to give up those few awake hours I have with my boys - for whatever comes up or "needs" to be done. Enough said.

3. I'm really lacking commitment to the Country Music 1/2 marathon goal because I still haven't registered. I need to commit, pay the money and plan the trip (See reason number 1 for why I'm having trouble committing to taking a day off).

4. The scale's not budging. Over the past year, I've been able to see the results of my efforts - in my clothes and on the scale - and this has been a significant source of motivation. I think my scale might be broken because it hasn't moved in several weeks. While I know this is not what I should be worried about, it does motivate me as I'm a results-oriented kind of gal.

5. Oh, and the weather has really been miserable. It was so beautiful a few weeks ago, and I was loving spring running. Enter cold, rainy weather. Yuck. 

So, there you have it. My confessional for the week: I am struggling. I have a list of reasons why, but I guess if I have to find a bright side - I am working on finding solutions for all the issues and getting my groove back. 

Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beach-front Running

Yesterday, I arrived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a two-day conference. My husband tagged along  (he grew up on the Coast) hoping he could visit with friends while I was in the sessions. We left the boys with the grands (a BIG thank you to them!!) and it's been a nice little get-away for us both. 

Cool thing?

We BOTH packed our running gear and went for a 4-mile run along the beach this morning! It was a beautiful morning, perfect temperature - I really enjoyed our run!

Just a couple of thoughts from the experience...

1. A change of pace is nice...for life and running. I miss my boys something terrible, but it's been nice to spend a little time with my husband between the conference meetings. Our run together this morning was icing on the cake. It wasn't my "best" run ever in terms of pace (Bob Harper's kettlebell  workout is still kicking my tail!), but it was new sights, sounds and even smells.

2. I am so proud of my husband! He "left me" twice during our run to pick up his pace a little but we finished the run together. He got new, properly fitting running shoes on the trip down, and I think he's going to enjoy running much more now. I worried when he started running in January that he wouldn't stick with it through the rough time to get to the point where he wants to run and actually enjoys it...but I think he's getting there. I'll be surprised if he doesn't finish his first 5K in under 29 minutes (I'm trying to talk him into a guest post on his C25K experience - stay tuned!).

3. I think I'm going to like my new shoes! I have been wearing the Nike Vomero (3 and 5) since I started running and I've been scared to try anything different. But, I'm giving the Brooks Glycerin a go and so far, I like them. The fact that they look like mint chocolate chip ice cream helps a little, too!

4. I will never forget to pack a sports bra again. Enough said.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My New Running Partner?

So, my husband is a recent "graduate" of the Couch to 5K plan. I've offered to run with him the entire time he's been training and he has declined. But I'm pretty good at wearing him down (i.e. nagging until he gives in!) and...

He finally caved!!

We ran 3.2 miles (9:34 pace) together yesterday after the boys were off to school and I, personally, loved it! Still don't think he was all that excited about running with me, but he did it anyway. 

I am so proud of him for sticking through the program and next week, we are headed to get him some new running shoes. I think this purchase alone will make his running more enjoyable! He'll be signing up for his first 5K race in April; and he even mentioned needing another stroller so we could do races and running  with the boys (maybe he DID enjoy it!!). I suggested a double stroller...that he could push, of course.

So, that's my big running news (so far) for the week!

Note: A longer post to follow about my one-year running "anniversary" when I finish grading this stack of papers!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When Waiting Turns to Worry

** WARNING **  This post has nothing to do with running!

Sunday night, I shared with our youth group some things that were on my heart that I have been struggling with. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to constant worry and here's the short version of what I shared. I hope it helps you find a place to "put" your worry....

Ever feel like you’re always waiting? I DO! I am so impatient and feel like there’s always something – or someone – I’m always waiting on.

When I was a child, it was birthdays, Christmas, summer break or maybe family vacations.

As a teen, it was driving, dating, proms and then graduation.

In college, it was Christmas/spring/summer break, graduation and, really, marriage.

As an adult, it was starting a family, vacations or even the daily wait of 5 o’clock when I can get home to my family.

And now, as a mom, I spend a lot of time waiting – first, I was waiting on the boys to arrive, then their first words, their first steps, their first whatever.

When you really think about it - I’ve probably spent the greatest part of my life “WAITING” on something – or someone. But I don't wait very patiently. In fact, I’m often very impatient. I want answers and results and oftentimes what starts out as rather innocent WAITING turns into WORRY.

And while “waiting” is probably ok. Worry is not. Let me repeat that – waiting is probably ok. But when our waiting turns to worry, we’ve got problems. God very clearly tells us throughout His word NOT to worry. Not because our problems are trivial or not important, but because He has our back, so to speak.

Let’s look at some scripture on this:

Read Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

So, there’s no denying this. Right? God clearly says NOT to worry. And when we worry, we’re essentially saying, “God, my problems are too big for you.” Or maybe you think, “God, I don’t want to bother you with my little problems. You’ve got bigger issues at hand.” Or worse yet, “God, I don’t need you to handle MY problems – I’ve got this.”

Let’s stop for just a second and watch this video to get a better perspective on how distorted this view of our worry actually is.

Wow! The God of universes yet unseen tells ME not to worry? The God who designed galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars knows how many hairs – even the gray ones – are on MY head?

The thought may seem preposterous but it’s so true. God LONGS for a relationship with us. He longs for us to bring our problems to Him. He longs to share in our joys and victories. And it is in this relationship that we can be freed from worry.

Some may not truly understand this idea of longing - from God’s perspective - until having own your children. I didn’t. But now, at the end of the day, there is nothing I want more than to wrap my arms around my boys and hear about their days - to laugh with them and spend time with them. And there is nothing else that will satisfy that longing. Spending time with someone else’s kids is not going to get it done. I want my boys and only my boys.

And this is what God wants from us – our time. He longs to spend time with each and every one of us – because we are His children. And when we give it to Him, our worries will begin to disappear. He will comfort us. He will guide us. He will make clear our path. He will love us unconditionally. He will rejoice in the victories of our days. If He can do that - what do we have to worry about?

Henry Blackaby, the author of the “Experience God” study once wrote,  “If we walk with Him closely today, we will be the center of His will tomorrow.”

How incredible is THAT thought? That a God so immense wants ME at the center of HIS will.

So, when we’re feeling anxious about things and it begins to turn to worry, we should take it to Him and GIVE it to Him. Don’t take it to Him and continue to carry it around and stress and worry. Leave it as His feet.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray continuously.” As our preachers said this morning, we should seek continual and unbroken conversation with God. And as you know, conversation requires both talking AND listening.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” These are eight powerful words – especially in today’s society. Some of you have had a hard time being still and staying focused during this brief devotion. But this is actually the key to letting go of our worry. GIVE the worry to Him….

and then let Him be God.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oh, and I'm Famous!

Ok. Not really, but my new friends (Terry and Meredith Sullivan) that I mentioned meeting at the Frostbite 1/2 marathon thought my journey from fat to fit worthy of a Spotlight on their website! Truly humbled!

Many props to Terry and Meredith for what they are doing to get Mississippi moving and (hopefully!) out of last place in all the health categories!

3 Random Things

This weekend, I enjoyed an amazing girls' weekend with three girlfriends from college. We met in Memphis (they all live in Arkansas) and spent Friday and most of Saturday laughing, shopping, and well, eating. I was SCARED to get on the scale this morning - even following a 5.5-mile run. But, somehow, despite the gluttony, I managed to lose weight. Apparently, laughter is great exercise!! So, I am now 1.4 pounds from a significant milestone in this journey from fat to fit...the 150s. I haven't seen 150-something in probably 10 years! Stay tuned, friends! I'm motivated and the Tagalongs are gone; this could be the week!

A non-scale victory this weekend: Spent WAY more than I wanted to (or should have) on a new pair of jeans, but the fact that they were a size 31, seemed to make it ok in some crazy way. According to the Big Star Jeans sizing chart, this is a 9/10. WHAT? While that might not seem "small" to some, I bought a pair of pants two weeks after Eli was born that were an 18W. I'll take a 12 or 10 ANY day, my friends! 

And finally, I love running on Sunday mornings! I've always reserved Sunday as a "day of rest" in my training. Partly because it's biblical and partly because Sundays are somewhat hectic at our house because of Jeff's schedule and responsibilities at the church. But, because I didn't get my run in yesterday, I got up early and ran this morning. WOW! No traffic. Perfect weather. Amazing playlist to get my heart ready for worship this morning. Pretty sure I'm going to be working some Sunday runs into the schedule a little more often.

So, there you have it. A few random events/thoughts/milestones from my weekend. 

Oh, and if you're ever in Memphis and can get to a Huey's, EAT THERE! It was the best burger I've ever eaten and the onion rings are as big as your head. Calories don't count during girls' weekend, right?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Busy-ness is not a friend to running

This week has been nuts and next week is not looking much better! I know I am entirely too busy when I don't have time to get a run in, or at the end of the day, I don't have a run left in me. Last week, I think my total mileage was less than 15 miles and this week, I'm at 9.5 miles with only two days left. Ugh!

This is what happens to my running when there is no race on the horizon, thus I continue to preach the importance of having something to work toward to keep you accountable. If you want to start running, but don't think you "have time" - signing up for a race forces you to MAKE time. No one wants to shell out the cash for a race and be a no show or not be able to do your best!

So, next week, I will be committing to a race in March. I'm pretty sure my next 1/2 will be in April in Nashville, but I will also be seeking out something before then. I'm open to suggestions if there's a 10K nearby.

Happy weekend!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

10 Reasons I Run

A few nights ago on Twitter, people were posting reasons they run (#whywerun); there were some really great comments. It made me start thinking about the reasons I run. I'm quickly approaching my one-year anniversary of lacing up the sneaks and the reasons have definitely changed from my initial motivation. So, here are...

The Top 10 Reasons I Continue to Run:

10.  It's a great excuse to buy great looking work-out gear.

9. I like the look of surprise on people's face when I say, "I'm a runner."

8. It's an age thing. As I get older, I need to "feel" younger and running certainly makes me feel better about aging (most days, anyway!).

7. I can eat (almost) whatever I want without gaining weight.

6. I FINALLY like the way my legs look in shorts.

5. I think race t-shirts are cool.

4. I want my boys to remember me as an active/healthy mom who could keep up with them. I love the look on Riley's face when I "race" him around our circle on his bicycle.

3. I love all the technology (my Garmin 405, Nike+, Twitter chats, Daily Mile, etc...)!

2. I'm too cheap to join the gym. I'd rather spend the money for a gym membership on new clothes!

1. It's pretty much the only time I have to myself during the day. As a working mom and wife of a youth minister, my days are filled with people. Running provides my serenity time and the further I run, the longer I have to myself. I see a marathon in my future, folks. :-)

So, what about YOU? Why do you run? Or if you don't run (yet), why do you want to?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Not long after Saturday's post-race blog post, I received a text from one of my sweet girls working the race for the JR Miss Committee telling me I won a medal! WHAT??

I won first place for my age division (31-40). Now that's just pretty darn cool. Certain this will be the only time that ever happens for me - a "benefit" of smaller races, perhaps?

But check out my sweet hardware!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Redefining "WINNING"

I ran a 5K this morning. Not a big 5K with thousands of runners, music and streets lined with supporters; but a small, local 5K to benefit an adorable little boy in our community with Sanfilippo syndrome, a genetic error of metabolism. Quinn is 5 with a life expectancy of 10 - 20 years...but no one's told him that! He was cheering on the runners and having a great time (You can visit his Caring Bridge page to see his full story)! As the mom of two healthy boys, my heart breaks for Quinn's parents. I simply cannot fathom what they are going through as they work to help find a cure to heal their sweet boy.

I've seen several people since finishing the race, and I'm still proudly wearing my "I Ran for Quinn" sticker. The first thing they asked was, "Did you win?" Which has me thinking...

How do I answer that? I ran a pretty hilly course and set a new PR for 5K (27:39). That's a WIN!! I ran alongside a super sweet 7th grader who was running his first 5K. We chatted throughout and had a great visit! Although he said several times he could barely keep going, he did...and so did I. WIN! The race was organized by the Winston County JR Miss Committee, and I have several beautiful girls who make my life better that will be competing for the title in a few weeks. Despite the overwhelming desire to sleep in because my boys are at their grandparents - I showed up and supported them in their efforts to help this sweet little boy. WIN!!

So, did I cross the finish line first? No. Will I ever cross the finish line first in a race? Probably not. But did I "win" today? Absolutely!!

So, today, I'm redefining "winning" and declaring:


**Quinn's color is purple and today I use it proudly in this post!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Was that a compliment?

Weird conversation today. I'm not really sure how to take the comment, so I thought I'd share and see what you all thought.

Ran into a friend I see about every two months or so. She's seen me recently and went on (and on!) about my weight loss. Here was the conversation today:

Her: Hey! You are getting so thin! You better watch out!

Me: Oh, thanks. I really haven't lost much lately - just maintaining and focusing on being a stronger, faster runner.

Her: Well, you lose much more weight and you won't be pretty anymore.

Me: (blank stare) Ok...well, it was great to see you!

What happened to, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?" Or was that nice? I walked away baffled...and I still am.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Top 10 at 35

So, today is my birthday - my 35th birthday, but who's counting at this point, right? I decided to do a Top 10 things I would like to tell a younger me. Here goes:

10.  Ordering pizza and eating Waffle House at 2 a.m. will eventually catch up with you. Go to bed and study during "normal" hours, college girl.

9.  The tan you're rocking is great, but in a few years, you'll be wishing you had all that money you spent on the "unlimited" tanning packages back and instead, had spent it on sunscreen.

8.  "I'm-pregnant-so-I-can-eat-whatever-I-want" for nine months (times two!) is not going to work out like you are hoping. Put down the doughnut holes and go for a walk.

7.  One day, you will appreciate being carded. Enjoy it while it lasts, sister!

6.  Not eating vegetables because your mom wants you to is NOT a sign of rebellion. You're just being stupid. Eat up and your body will thank you for it.

5.  Putting off exercise for a few hours is oftentimes ok. Putting off exercise for 15 years is not. Get up and get moving.

4.  All those boys you think are "the one" and that you're trying so hard to impress are not and you're wasting a lot of time and energy. Boys are gross - at any age.

3.  Your parents are right about most things. You should stop being such a jerk to them and actually listen to their advice. It might save you some heartache, stubborn.

2.  The t-shirt you got for signing up for a credit card will be one of the most expensive "free gifts" you've ever received. Walk on by the cute boy at the table and laugh at his sign because it says "Free Gift" - and that's redundant.

1.  Most of the things that you are stressing about right now, you won't even be able to remember in 15 years. Chill out.

There you have it! Happy 35th birthday to me - and 65th to my dad! He says I'm the most expensive present he's ever gotten. I like to say - I'm his gift that just keeps on giving!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More Water, Less Dr. Pepper Wrap-up

The more-water-less-Dr. Pepper challenge officially ended yesterday. I would love to report it was a smashing success and my plan to "ween" myself from Dr. Pepper was well on its way. Unfortunately, I got a little off-track after the Frostbite 1/2 marathon.

There were only a couple of days when I drank a Dr. Pepper after my 2 p.m. "curfew," but my water intake declined drastically - in fact, there were some days I doubt I even drank 20 ounces of water. I really can't explain it and I'm frustrated with myself for going backwards; I was doing so well. In fact, going into that weekend, there were several days I only had one Dr. Pepper. And then in my I-just-ran-a-half-marathon-so-I-can-eat-whatever-I-want phase, I got off track. Ugh.

Tomorrow is a new day and February is a new month. I will do this...

My Running Playlist

The battle over the radio in our car or the television remote in our home is oftentimes just not worth it, so one of my favorite parts of running is having TOTAL CONTROL over the music!

When I first began running, I downloaded all this really hip, fast-paced music. Appropriately titled "Running Tunes" on my iPhone, I was confident that the Black Eyed Peas, Justin Bieber (did I really just admit that?), Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga were going to rock me through the miles. I used this prize playlist for about two weeks and then accidentally selected a different list one day as I set out for my run.

It just happened to be my "Praise & Worship" list. I thought, "Oh, man! This run is going to be rough with all this slow music." Uh...BEST RUN EVER! The music took my mind off the discomfort my body was experiencing and refocused it on my heart (And as most runners will tell you, you run with your heart!).

AMAZING! I haven't run with another playlist since. I occasionally add new tunes, mix them up and choose new "power songs," but this certainly works for me.

Here are the first 25 songs from my current running playlist:
1. Leaving Eden - Brandon Heath
2. What Have You Got To Lose - Third Day
3. Light Up The Sky - The Afters
4. King of Glory - Third Day
5. Come Home - Luminate
6. Lift Up Your Face - Third Day
7. Hands and Feet - Audio Adrenaline
8. Blink - Revive
9. Show Me Your Glory - Third Day
10. Beautiful - MercyMe
11. Undone - FFH
12. Gone - Third Day
13. You Are More - Tenth Avenue North
14. The One - Brandon Heath
15. Forgiven - Sanctus Real
16. Sound Of Your Voice - Third Day
17. Your Love, Oh Lord - Third Day
18. Yearn - Shane & Shane
19. My Help Comes From The Lord - The Museum
20. Children of God - Third Day
21. Your Love - Brandon Heath
22. Trust in Jesus - Third Day
23. Ocean Floor - Audio Adrenaline
24. Our God - Chris Tomlin
25. I'll Be Your Miracle - Third Day

I know it's not "traditional" running music from the perspective of most runners, but I am in my "happy place" when I run with this playlist and that makes for a "happy pace."

So, now I'm curious - what works for YOU? What are YOUR favorite running tunes?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Back at it

Today, I ran! Not because my training schedule said I had to, but because I really wanted to. It was awesome! Pace was decent (10:14 for 4 miles). Weather was perfect (58 degrees).

I did have one purpose for the run; I wanted to reach "blue" level with my Nike+ so I set out to run the four miles it said I need to get there. For those not familiar with Nike+, here is the breakdown for the different levels:

  • Yellow:  0 - 30 miles
  • Orange:  31 - 154 miles
  • Green:  155 - 620 miles
  • Blue:  621 - 1,552 miles
  • Purple:  1,553 - 3,106 miles
  • Black:  over 3,107 miles

Just uploaded my run data....and I'm .67 miles short. Seriously? So, because I'm goal-obsessed and can't stand the thought of being that close, I'll be getting up at 6 a.m. tomorrow to do a quick 3-mile run before work. When I think about the fact that I've run over 621 miles in less than 9 months (started using Nike+ to track mileage last May), it's a little overwhelming. But that's for another post...

Does having goals keep you motivated? I don't know that I could/would stay on track without having a goal or something to work toward. I think that's why I do races. They give me a deadline to be physically and mentally prepared to run a given distance. Trust me, it's not because I think I'll win! ;-)

If you struggle with persistence and sticking to your work-out plan, sign up for a race! Maybe the deadline will be what you need to help keep you moving!

Have a great weekend and happy running!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recovery days...maybe.

After Saturday's race, I really expected not to be able to walk. The recovery from St. Jude's was "a little" rough, and I expected this recovery to be much worse as the hills at the end of the course were brutal (have I mentioned that?) and I pushed harder on pace. Oddly, I am not sore at all. Maybe my body has conceded? 

Regardless, I'm taking a few days off from running to rest my hips and knees (and whatever else might need it!). It's actually been a struggle to rest. Sunday was beautiful and if there had been any way I could have gotten a run in (Jeff was gone most of the day!), I'm pretty sure I would have. Crazy, right?

I may try the kettlebell "Cardio Shred" again tomorrow, but I will run again Thursday...and probably Friday.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Slideshow: 2011 Frostbite Half Marathon

Thank you to my sweet husband for taking such great pics of the day! The pictures of Riley High Five-ing everyone are around mile 6. The others are at the finish line. Here are a few of my favorites!

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13 Thoughts from 2011 Frostbite Half Marathon

I like lists. I can't help it; I'm an organization freak that way. Here's my list of 13 things - one for each mile I ran today - about the 2011 Frostbite Half Marathon. Some are cool things that happened. Some are plans for the future. And some are just random thoughts about the race experience. Enjoy!

1) My husband and oldest son surprised me at mile 6! Jeff was snapping pictures (post those later!) and Riley was doling out high five's to the runners. It was a much-needed boost headed into the second half of the race. I have the sweetest (and most supportive) husband ever!

2) My husband, both sons and the greatest in-laws EVER were at the finish line cheering me on. Riley even "finished” the race with me; I passed them on the corner and then he chased me to the finish line. Sorry, to the race organizers...but it was pretty darn cute.

3) I met three really awesome people that I connected with via Twitter. Terry and Meredith Sullivan (@LivngRIGHTnow and (@thaREALmeredith) and Rod Simmons (@RodsRacers). If you're on Twitter (and you should be!), follow them all three! They are cooler in person than they are on Twitter…if that’s even possible.

4) It's confirmed - I love my job! I had several students with a great sign (pic to follow) cheering me on at the top of the most brutal hill on the course and received countless "good luck" and "how did it go?" messages before and after! Thanks, gang!

5) I have a new PR (personal record) for the half marathon. I finished in 2:14 (will add the seconds when they post official times). That's four minutes faster than my St. Jude's time seven weeks ago! I had to walk the last little bit of a couple of hills, but I am still very pleased.

6) Even in 40 degree temps, you can get a tan. I have tan lines on my legs where my capris ended and socks began.

7) I am going to have to find something other than the sport beans for during-the-race energy. They do not seem to do the trick and actually seem to have a reverse effect. Open to suggestions!

8) Bright orange (as in hunter legal!) is not really what I would consider a “good” color for me. But I guarantee you, I will wear my race shirt out, so get ready. You’ll see me coming in it…from far away.

9) The smell of cow/horse manure is not cool when you’re breathing deeply. Definitely a “con” for a race that begins in Pheba, Mississippi.

10) I'm convinced that the Twitter running community is second-to-none! The messages and encouragement from my tweeps leading up to and after the race were also amazing!

11) I broke my “caffeine curfew” today since the race started at noon. I’m pretty sure I earned it with over 1,600 calories burned during the race.

12) I need to do more strength and speed work before my next distance race…and will.

13) My name is Laura...and I’m addicted to running. As I was nearing the finish line, I was already thinking about my next race.

And big congrats to my friend, Jonathan Miller (blogs at on totally rocking the Frostbite Half with a 1:53 finish. Folks, that is 30 MINUTES FASTER than his time last year! AAHHMAZING!

 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me...
Philippians 4:13

Friday, January 21, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Frostbite...

It's 9 p.m. the night before the Frostbite Half Marathon.

I'm carb-bloated, over-hydrated and ready for bed. I have my clothes laid out. My breakfast plans are made. My playlist is updated. I can visualize the course in my head. I have tomorrow's weather forecast memorized.

I'm ready. Let's do this...

Oh, and is it bad that I'm already planning my post-race meal? :-D

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Frostbite 1/2 Marathon Saturday

I ran my first 1/2 marathon in Memphis to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital December 4, 2010. Going into the race, I really felt it would be a "bucket list" type experience that I would check off my list and then move on to the next item. Or at best, a once-a-year charity run I did because that race rocks so hard! And then I crossed the finish line...

Now, seven weeks later, I will participate in the Frostbite 1/2 marathon in Starkville. The 13.1-mile course is described as having "rolling hills" in all the promotional materials, but I'm not sure that's how I'd describe it. And the last three miles are just brutal; not just because you've already run 10 miles, but there are three back-to-back very large hills. I am confident I will be battling LuLu and her incessant nagging much of the race, but she'll kick into overdrive at mile 10.

I am praying that I will be able to find the strength to keep going and finish. While my first goal is simply to finish upright and before the finish line is closed (2 hours 45 minutes), I'd like to run the entire distance and close to my first 1/2 marathon time (2:18). I'm hoping I will be able to pace a little better than my first one as most of the runners will be much faster in this race.

While I feel ready physically (except for the soreness I'm still trying to work out of my quads from my kettlebell experience!), I'm very anxious and to be honest, not feeling confident. LuLu has been working her magic - "You're not ready." "The course is too hard." "You're not a fast runner and this race is for "real" runners." "You could relay it - you could do just 6 miles." And my favorite - "What if you don't finish before they close the finish line?" Ugh. Sometimes I really dislike that girl and wish she'd find another head to live in, but then I wouldn't wish her on anyone else.

My husband, the boys and my in-laws are all planning to be at the finish line; that will be good motivation. The weather is going to be just about perfect; 44 degrees and sunny. The first 10 miles are very similar to my typical routes. I know several people running the race, so there will be lots of familiar faces along the way. I'm well-hydrated and will get the right nutrition to fuel my body tomorrow. I will update my playlist tomorrow and, most importantly, I have a new shirt to wear.  Everything is falling into place for a great race...

But will I ever be able to go into a long run or a race without LuLu trying to beat me down?

Kettlebell Disaster?

I blogged earlier this week about my "run in" with the kettlebell and Bob Harper's "Cardio Shred" DVD. While the workout was great - it was a really bad decision four days before a 1/2 marathon. I can barely walk. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I am hoping tomorrow will bring relief but I have a back-up plan; if I am still hurting tomorrow, I'm going to relay the 1/2 with one of my students. I mean, really. Who tries something new (involving weights, of all things!) four days before a race? My sweet husband is trying to convince me to do it again tonight to "relieve" the pain. No go on that one, my friends. I am certainly going to return to the kettlebell as it obviously worked some new muscles (or muscles in new ways?) but I'd like to cross the finish line upright Saturday and not see it from my hospital window next door to the HealthPlex. Ugh.

Praying tomorrow will bring relief...for many reasons!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mixing It Up

So, for the last (almost) year, running has been my only flavor of exercise. I still love it, don't get me wrong, but I decided to introduce something a little different into my routine. I've been hearing rave reviews about the kettlebell and decided to give it a go. I bought a 10-pound kettlebell yesterday and a 54-minute workout DVD that several people recommended. I was ready to go.

Tonight was my first workout with The Biggest Loser's trainer Bob Harper and "Kettleball Cardio Shred" and, well...he kicked my rear! I couldn't even do several of the exercises which is a little disappointing - I felt like I was in pretty good shape. Burpees? Wow!

So now, I enter Phase II of my fitness efforts - core strengthening. I'm not giving up running (don't worry, LuLu didn't win that one!); I'm going to add this a couple of times a week to (hopefully) make me a stronger, faster runner.

I'm going to hold off on a complete review of "Cardio Shred" until I give it a few more times, but the learning curve is pretty quick thus far. Bob explains the exercises well and allows plenty of reps to practice before moving on to the next exercise. I was sweating within the first 10 minutes so I'm pretty sure my heart rate was getting up there. I do think my kettlebell is a tad too heavy for some of the exercises and I'm going to try to get a 5- or 7-pound bell for those exercises.

MORE WATER UPDATE: Today is Day 10 in the More Water - Less Dr. Pepper challenge. I'm down to two Dr. Peppers per day and so far, have managed to get down at least 64 ounces each day. I'm hoping that in 13 more days, I'll be ready to move to just one Dr. Pepper per day and maybe even increase my water intake. Not going to get crazy just yet; that's still two weeks away.

Oh, and I'm planning to run my second 1/2 marathon Saturday. Who would've thought?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Non-Scale Victory

Promised a picture of the non-scale victory of fitting into the boys' rocking chair and here it is! The best part of this one was the look on Riley's face the first time I sat in it. I told him I was going to take his chair and he said, "Oh, no you're not! You're too big." When I sat it and fit he said, "MAMA! You're smaller!" It was an amazing feeling to have him - at 3 years old - recognize it!
For perspective, that seat is 14 inches wide! :-)
Would love for readers to share some of their non-scale victories!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

If it's just a number, why do I obsess?

When I began this weight loss journey nearly a year ago, I swore I would NOT obsess about the number on the scale. I would be more concerned with how my clothes fit, my fitness accomplishments and in general, how I felt. But I have obsessed...and I still do. I try not to, but I can't help it. Sometimes to the point that I weigh multiple times a day. Ugh. I weighed this morning, and I am 2 pounds from seeing a number I haven't seen in at least 10 years. Now, I'm obsessed with THAT number on my scale...

But, why am I obsessing? Two pounds is not going to make me a size smaller (another number I tend to obsess about!). No one is going to even notice a 2-pound loss (oh, and it WILL happen, by the way!).

I really wish we could come up with another way to track weight loss that didn't involve the number on the scale (I know - that doesn't even make sense!). When I see people I haven't seen in a while, the first thing they typically ask is, "How much weight have you lost?" The more intrusive will ask, "What size are you now?" What if I offered, "I'm much healthier now. I can play with my boys without becoming exhausted, and I run about 20 miles a week." Would that suffice? I doubt it.

I have recently learned a new "measurement" that I really like - a "non-scale victory" (or NSV if you're on Twitter!). It's something you couldn't do at a larger size that you can do now that you've shed a few pounds. For example, the boys have one of those really cute children's rocking chairs (like the ones that sit out in front of Cracker Barrel). I can now comfortably sit in it (will post picture asap). Or the fact that I will now wear my yoga pants in public without hiding under an oversized t-shirt.

Ok. So, if anyone has ideas on how to overcome the obsession with the number - please post and share with us all! Until then, I have to go scheme about how to get these 2 pounds off my scale...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We all have a story...

One of the reasons I started this blog was because so many of the blogs I've been following make a complete lifestyle change sound...well, easy. And from my own experience, I disagree. There's nothing "easy" about losing weight or becoming a runner/swimmer/cyclist. There's nothing "easy" about overhauling the way you thought about food all your life and changing the way you eat. I've had (and still have!) plenty of struggles along the way, and I wanted to share them to (hopefully) help others with theirs.

Last week, I received this message (via Facebook) from a friend. It erased every doubt I've ever had about starting this blog. We all have a story to tell and telling it just might be what someone else needs to get started or keeping going (Note: I've changed the names).

I read your blog the other day and have to tell you how much you've inspired me! First, I would have never imagined that you had ever dealt with some of the same issues I've dealt with. I think of you as beautiful, thin Laura, and had no idea that weight has been a strugle for you.

Since you've known me for a long time, you probably know that it has been a constant struggle in my life...I've been overweight for most of it and "normal" a little bit of it. The normal times were only after losing it the wrong way--like starving myself. I really hit bottom after my second child was born. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. It made me so sad to feel like I was the fattest person in the room everywhere I went (which may not have been the case, but I felt that way). I felt terrible physically and I was really mean to "Tom" --probably because I was so unhappy with my life. 

So, in September I finally decided to do something about it--more than just starving myself. I adopted a healthy lifestyle, and have lost 43 lbs. since then. I've still got 27 to go to get to my goal of 160, but I feel great. I've started doing Couch to 5K and my goal is to run a 5K...I've never been a runner, so that makes me really nervous, but I'm confident I can do it. I should be at my goal weight by then. I'm super excited and feel the best I've ever felt. And, I'm pretty sure "Tom" loves that I'm not mean anymore! And, seeing you do it just makes me all the more motivated. So...thanks Laura! You're amazing! :)

One of the most important parts of a weight loss journey is to take as many people with you that you can. Our nation is hurting and dying from obesity - just a quick look around you will confirm that. So if you're running, cycling, walking, swimming and/or losing weight in your own little world, let me encourage you now to be open to opportunities to help others. We ALL need a little encouragement and accountability to keep moving. Plus, helping others will keep YOU motivated, too!

And don't try to use the "I don't have time" excuse with me, people! We can all make time to help others!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

UPDATE: More Water - Less Dr. Pepper

It's day five of my "More-Water-Less-Dr.-Pepper" challenge and I'm still alive...and so are all those around me. I'm not going to lie - it's been rough, but I've gotten all 64 ounces down every day and have not had even a drink of Dr. Pepper after 2 p.m. I'm a little embarrassed at the level of my caffeine addiction as I really had no idea how much I was drinking until now or really how dependent I am on it to...well, function. I'm battling a pretty intense headache, but that just makes for a good "excuse" to go to bed earlier. I'm finding other substitutions (Crystal Light) when I get to the point I just can't drink another class of water.

I have two tweeps (@Ginny26_2 who blogs at Happy Feet26-2 and @JennRunsChi) who've joined me in the challenge and the accountability has been great! I really appreciate them checking on me and posting their progress reports. Jenn even found a great app to help track water consumption from Florida Hospital.

So, if you've taken part in the challenge and haven't let me know, keep going! There's just 19 more days left until February 1. If you haven't committed, jump on board! The more the merrier!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh, Lulu! Why can't you learn?

I ran 10 miles Saturday. That's a lot of time to think and A LOT of time for LuLu to do her thing in my head. At about 9.5 miles, I started thinking back to when I started the run and decided to do this post. It's the chronology of the battle in my head during most of my long runs...

8:30 a.m. Husband tells me that he's taking the boys to Wal-Mart with him, and I can "do whatever." He says the fumes from my "attempt" to clean the oven are more than he can handle (Possibly another post later, but some advice: Read the manual before engaging the "self-cleaning" oven).

9:15 a.m. Boys dressed and out the door. 

9:16 a.m. Process of getting dressed for 35 degree weather begins. Pieces scattered throughout the house and a few out in the car. Enter LuLu. "It's really cold out there. You've already done 12 miles this week. Why don't you just go back to bed and enjoy the quiet time." Hmmph. I keep searching. 

9:20 a.m. Most of my gear is on. I sit down in the floor to stretch a bit. Enter LuLu. "You could just curl up on the couch now and go later. Maybe when it's a little warmer." Knowing my husband is leaving for a trip with the youth group in the afternoon, this is NOT an option. I continue to stretch and think about my route.

9:30 a.m. I'm out the door and in the driveway stretching when the wind picks up. Enter LuLu. "Wow! It's cold AND windy. This is going to be a rough run. Maybe you should take some time off from running altogether. You may burn out if you keep going at this pace." Did she seriously just suggest I quit running? Silly girl.

9:35 a.m. I start out walking up a hill to continue my stretching and warm-up. Enter LuLu. "You know, you could just walk today. Even though it's a scheduled long-run day...maybe just consider it cross-training? You'd be finished in 30 minutes and maybe still have time for a quick nap." Walk? You've got to be kidding me. Please go away, LuLu. I have miles to run.

9:40 a.m. I start my run. It's cold and windy, but the sun is shining and I have nothing but time and miles. Enter LuLu at about .5 miles. "Ok. Seriously? You're really going to do this today? I really think you need to consider some time off. Maybe knock off this long run stuff for a while. Just try to do 12-15 miles per week and then start training for another race later. Maybe when it's a little warmer? But, seriously, let's take some time off from this really long stuff. What do you say?" I say nothing. Zip my jacket up a little higher and keep running. 

9:50 a.m. Nike+ tells me "One mile completed." I'm finding a comfortable pace as I head out of our neighborhood and out onto the road. Hills ahead. Enter LuLu. "You're really slow on the hills. Maybe you should stick to flatter routes. Hilly routes are for 'real' runners." I run hard up the hill and focus on my breathing. I really dislike her sometimes.

10:00 a.m. Two miles down. Found my pace. Sun is shining and I'm planning out the rest of my route in my head. Knowing the Frostbite 1/2 marathon in Starkville is in two weeks, I'm trying to get in as many hills as possible to prepare. Enter LuLu. "Don't go that way. It's REALLY hilly. You could actually just turn right back into the neighborhood up here at 3 miles and call it good." I turn left and see the hills coming.

10:20 a.m. Two major hills behind me. Breathing is good. I feel great. Where's LuLu now? Probably back on the couch eating chips and taking that nap.

10:20-11:00 a.m. Run is amazing! Perfect layering to stay warm but not get hot. Running a route I haven't done in a while and loving it.

11:00 a.m. I'm about 8 miles down and approaching the two major hills again. Enter LuLu. "Seriously. You should turn left, do the little hill and then call it good."I turn right and maintain a 9-minute mile pace up them both. Take that, LuLu!

11:10 a.m. Nike+ tells me I've reached my goal of 9 miles. What? It's over? But I just started! I'll do 1 more mile...because I can.

I don't know what other runners go through mentally when they run, but this is pretty typically of every long run that I've ever done. LuLu doesn't seem to mind the shorter stuff, but man, does she object to the long runs.

My body doesn't hurt when I run (anymore)...but my mind can be brutal.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's just water...What's the big deal?

Water. It's essential for most things to function, including my body. So, why can't I make myself drink it? There is no "taste" to speak of; I can't use that excuse. There is no "texture" so I can't really fall back on that one. I just can't seem to make myself drink the necessary 64 ounces a day...or more than about 8-10 ounces for that matter. When I express my frustrations to my husband, he says, "Well...that seems like it would be the easy part of running." Yeah, it does.

I know I need to: I feel better. My skin's clearer. I run better. I weigh less. Those are all good things, right? According to an article from, drinking water before a meal can actually help you lose weight. Uh. Hello? This is a win-win; there are no cons in this pro-con analysis (For a more scientific approach to the benefits of water, see this Mayo Clinic article).

Ok. There's one. Anyone who's been around me for any amount of time can attest to the fact that I have a serious caffeine addiction in the form of Dr. Pepper. Its 23 flavors are simply magical for me. I need it to start my day and as my students would probably tell you, my thoughts are incoherent until I've had it. My husband and children would probably tell you I need it to get through and finish the day, too. It's one of the last few "bad habits" I need to kick, but I can't seem to take that step. I start the process and then battle the withdrawal headache until I give in and drink one...or two...or three. But, hey! At that point, who's counting? **Note: Before you suggest I try Diet Dr. Pepper, please know that I have and I can't make that switch. The aftertaste is horrendous.

Here's the deal. I've been reading a lot of different fitness/health challenges to help everyone kick off the new year. So, here's mine and I'm putting it out there for all to read (and hold me accountable):
  1. I'm going to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day until February 1.
  2. I'm not going to drink any Dr. Pepper (yes, you read that correctly!) after 2 p.m. each day.
This is NOT going to be easy for me, people. I'm a working mom of two small children; caffeine at night = survival. But, I'm committing to it. I may be shooting Dr. Pepper at 1:45 p.m. each day and staying up late to drink all the water, but I'm doing it. I hope that by February 1, the new challenge will be one Dr. Pepper per day and then March will be...well, you get the picture. It's a process, folks. A process.

If you want in on the challenge, let me know and we'll be accountability partners. It's just water, right? What's the big deal?

So...are you in?