Friday, January 28, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Laundry

O.K., so the title of the post may be a little misleading. Laundry is most definitely NOT one of my favorite things! And we have SO much of it! This past year, within just a few short months, we added a new family member (Baby Munchkin) and I became a daily exerciser and runner. Now, those are two things that generate a ton of laundry, y'all! Babies and daily workouts = more changes of clothes and piles of stinky, messy clothes. I do not love it.

I have, however, recently come to love the "homemade" laundry detergent I have started to use. My sister posted about it on her blog awhile back, and to be honest, at first I was a skeptic. I had most of the ingredients already, though, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Well, I have really been wowed by this stuff!

Here's why I love it:

1. It's a HUGE money saver! By my best estimate, about $10 worth of supplies should last my family of 4 at least a year! And, remember, we have LOTS of laundry. Did I tell you that already?

2. It's earth-friendly. I will admit that I don't always do my part in this area, so I feel really good about taking some steps toward more green living.

3. It works! Since I started running, I have tried several different laundry detergents because some had a hard time dealing with the, um, odor that a super-sweaty runner like me can leave behind. (TMI? Sorry...) Anyway, no such problem here! And it does a great job dealing with baby stains and the dirt and grass I tend to collect at boot camp, too.

So how do you make it? I'm glad you asked!

Here's the recipe I use (copied from my sister's blog):
Liquid Laundry Detergent (2 gallons): 2 quarts hot water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated (I've read you can use other vegetable-based bar soaps - several suggest Ivory or Zote.)
1/2 cup Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer, NOT baking soda though!!)
1/2 cup Borax
1 quart hot water
Additional Hot Water to make 2 gallons

Mix grated soap in a saucepan with 2 quarts hot water and heat on low until melted. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax until dissolved and remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with additional hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture cools and thickens. It will separate and gel a bit as it cools. This is normal. Mix well when cool – I use a wand mixer to really smooth it out - and transfer to tightly covered containers (like gallon milk jugs) for storing.  Mix/shake well before each use. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.

I prefer liquid for my HE machine, but the powder variety is even easier to make:

Powdered Laundry Detergent 1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap (again, the other options should work, too)
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup 20 mule team borax

Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light or small loads, use 1 tablespoon.  For normal loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons.

You may need to tinker a bit to get the right recipe for you.  Washing Soda and Borax are water softeners and help boost the effectiveness of the soap. You may need to bump those up if you have really hard water or step them down if you have really soft water. You can also add essential oil if you like scent.

Sounds easy, right? It really is, and notice that the liquid variety makes 2 gallons. That'll last you awhile, so you don't even have to make it very often!

My sister has several other awesome green ideas on her blog, too. Be sure to check her out.

The fam and I are jumping in the car now to head to Florida. Tomorrow Daddy-o, my little sis, and I will be doing a little of this

at Warrior Dash, Florida. Minus the tutu... No worries, though. We have our own special costumes. :)

(Disclaimer: I do not know the person depicted above. Just found a cool Warrior Dash pic on the good ol' Internet)

See y'all on the other side...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Training Recap

Well, here we are only 5 days away from Warrior Dash and 8 weeks away from my next half marathon, so of course we had some training going on around here this weekend!

The weekend began with Daddy-o killing a hill suicide that I created for him. We have a little Suicide Hill situation going on at boot camp this month (which is SO not little)! It's been kicking my booty, but I can already tell how much it's benefitting me. My knees do not always agree, but I'm working on convincing them that it's good for us. This inspired me to present the challenge to Daddy-o on an uphill street in our neighborhood. His suicide ended up being even longer than ours, and he finished it at a great pace. I was so proud!

Daddy-o also tackled some core work in the living room, and The Oldest decided to join in the fun.
Father-son partner plank/sit-ups...

Yeah, I have no idea why he thought it was necessary to shed the shirt before the workout, but whatever...

*Please excuse the bad cell phone pics and the mess of baby toys everywhere. And, yes, we have a baby jail in the living room. It's a must around here. For his own good. Moving on... 

Saturday morning it was time for my weekly long run. It was cold (about 26 degrees), and it was my longest run since Thanksgiving, but I met up with the group ready to roll. I had decided that I wanted to have a strong run and told myself that I was going to push my pace on the 2nd mile and then alternate between a comfortable pace and an "outside my comfort zone" pace each mile after that. My goal for this next half is basically to PR, and I hope to take off some fairly significant minutes. I ran my 1st and 2nd half marathons as a proud turtle, and I am thrilled to have crossed those 2 finish lines at 2:30 and 2:32.

I have now, however, decided to start on the road toward turtle recovery, and I'm proud to say that I completed step one of the process! When I reviewed my Garmin after the run on Saturday, I was so excited to find that I had indeed maintained my fastest pace to date at that distance (7.2 miles at a 10:55 pace -- like I said, it's step one. Progress!).

I did struggle in the last mile, and my faster intervals slowed some over time, but here's what I learned -- pushing my pace to the uncomfortable at intervals during the run made even my "easy" miles faster than they've been in the past. That last mile, when I even stopped and walked a bit, was faster than many miles I've run in training before and in past races. YES!

That's good news for this recovering turtle, my friends!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Finding the ONE

Yes, my husband, my one and only, definitely qualifies as a favorite thing, but he is not the ONE we'll be discussing today...

Several friends have asked me for advice about how to start running. Now, being that I am quite the newbie myself, I am certainly no expert. However, there is one piece of very important advice that I have for anyone who is or wants to be a runner: find the right shoe FOR YOU! You are a wonderful, unique creation, my friend, and your running style and gait are just as unique. The shoe that is right for me may be very different than the one for you. So although I have found a shoe that I love, I don't necessarily recommend that one for you, but I do highly suggest that you go through the process of being fitted for that perfect shoe.

It's not always easy finding a sole-mate (HA!). Let me tell you a little something you might not know about me. I like stuff, especially clothes, shoes, etc., but I do not like to pay a lot for my stuff. When I was prepping for my first month of boot camp, I found some cheap shoes at T.J. Maxx that felt pretty comfy in the store. Big mistake! As I started to have problems with my knees, I decided I'd try some different shoes. Long story short, I went through another "cheap" pair before I decided to be fitted, bite the bullet, and pay the dough for a good shoe. I started off in one type of shoe, and then as I lost weight and ran more, I had another analysis done and switched to a different type.

I went to Big Peach Running Co., and they were so fabulously helpful! They do a video gait analysis as you run on a treadmill, as well as a foot scan, and then they bring out different shoes in the category that is best for you. The best part is that they encourage you to try the shoes before you buy them. If you're an outdoor runner, you can go outside and run! I love that!

I have now found my ONE perfect shoe, and it has made a world of difference for me! This is my ONE...
Mizuno Wave Rider 13. (*Note: This is not my actual shoe. Mine are just a bit more worn than these. Hmmm... maybe an upgrade soon? There is now a Wave Rider 14, and it comes in a purty black/purple combo which I love, if anyone needs an idea for a birthday gift.)
Listen to me, people. Go out and find your sole-mate! You will not be sorry!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Field Trips

Yesterday The Oldest and I embarked on a field trip "Tour of the Big City". We've had a trip to the Capitol on the calendar for quite sometime, and because of last week's ice craziness, Homeschool Academy at the zoo was rescheduled for the same day. As a result, here is the breakdown of my workout yesterday...

1 - Sprint through the streets of Atlanta, dragging my 8 year old behind me, trying to get to the Capitol on time for our tour. This after hyperventilating in panic thinking about the email that stated *3 times* that we must not be late! (For the record, we made it to the exit with about 25 minutes to spare only to sit in traffic and circle around the Capitol building 3 times trying to find parking. Arrrgh!)
2 - Push the pedal to the medal to get back to the southside to pick up Baby Munchkin while The Oldest is in his zoo class.
3 - Walk around the zoo pushing stroller.

I had brief thoughts of trying to fit in a run last night, but once we were finally home, the day really caught up with me, and I decided to give myself a break. We have to do that sometimes, ya know? Mamas carry around a lot of guilt, and we certainly don't need to add to that by beating ourselves up about it when life gets in the way of our workout plans.

That said, I was back at it this morning. I enjoyed a lovely pre-workout jaunt up "suicide hill" at boot camp, a little bonus for missing yesterday. Then we worked on our "guts and guns". I'm thinking the suicide hill added some leg work in there, and I'm feeling the burn everywhere, so I'm naming today's workout "Guts, Guns, and Gams"! Good stuff.

Oh, and I have had a little inspiration for a new workout to add to Daddy-o's routine as he preps for the Warrior Dash. He can't wait to try it tonight! Hee hee...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Musings

I have a lot going on up in this noggin' of mine right now, so I'm resulting to the good ol' list post today, my friends. Think of it as Variety Hour, or think of it as "someone can't focus long enough to string together one cohesive post," whichever you prefer.

1. I am so thankful for my running friends! I can honestly say that I never would have even given running a try without major encouragement from my pals at Operation Boot Camp, and now I wouldn't do half of what I do without them. I truly admire those of you who train on your own. If I were attempting to train myself, hill work would probably be non-existent, I would struggle to get through the miles, and I would find myself ill-prepared on race day. With this wild and crazy bunch, I don't worry about that, and it's such fun to get out there with them. Last week I got in some extra miles with friends while it was too icy for 5:30 AM boot camp, and then we had an awesomely tough training run on Saturday. 6 miles of hilly, woodsy, icy fun in 22 degree weather with over 20 friends. How great is that? Oh, and the other fabulous thing about my running group? Everyone is truly welcome and encouraged to come out and run with us. Everyone! Awesome.

2. Mom moment: I'm feeling a bit on the overwhelmed side these days. It turns out that homeschooling a very active, eager to learn 2nd grader only gets harder as my littlest munchkin gets more and more mobile (aka finding all kinds of stuff to mess with, put in his mouth, knock over, break, hurt himself with, etc.). More often than not, at the end of the day I worry that I didn't do all I should have with either one of them. Then I look around my house and see all that didn't get done in that area (again), and I end up frustrated, tired, and wondering if we made the right choice to homeschool this year.

Every morning, though, I remind myself of why we are doing this, and that even though it's not perfect, I will never regret the time I'm spending with my kids and the valuable conversations and experiences we have everyday. I have no doubt that we will all look back on this year and be thankful for the memories we are making. Hopefully we will forget the mounds of laundry and dirty floors...

(EDIT: Knowing how overwhelmed I've been, sweet Daddy-o got me a certificate for a spa facial or mani/pedi today. Just out of the blue! No occasion at all! Except, of course, that it was today's Groupon deal. Hey, he's a thrifty romantic! What a thoughtful hubby he is!)

3. I am planning my baby boy's first birthday party! The exclamation point there is a little bit, "I'm so excited to be celebrating his birthday, and the party is going to be so cute!" and a little bit, "WHAT? First birthday? How and when did this happen?" Baby Munchkin is an amazing, miraculous, long-awaited answer to prayer (WARNING: sappy post to come soon about this little guy). It really is hard to believe that he's almost one. When do babies officially turn into toddlers anyway? Not sure I'm ready for that... But, seriously, his party is gonna be too cute! Just a smallish party at our house, but super cute and fun!

4. I'm wearing this today...

Because sometimes you just need a little superhero inspiration.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Great Stuff for Healthy Kids

As I have learned more about health and nutrition, a new level of mom guilt has emerged - the feeling that my kiddos are not always eating the right things and getting the nutrients they need. Even the baby has started to get picky of late and won't eat many things we offer him, especially if they're green. (What's with that, by the way? How do they learn that so early?).

I have found 2 things that help my oldest munchkin get more fruit and vegetable nutrition, and - here's the really great thing - he loves them both!

1. Fruitables by Apple and Eve
I tried all kinds of "great tasting" (HA!) veggie drinks, veggie fruit blends, shake mixes with veggie nutrients, etc., and my son rejected each one. That was until we discovered Fruitables. He loves every flavor of this juice drink. He sometimes even asks for more than one throughout the day. BAM! One fruit/veggie serving in each drink without the struggle! YES!

2. Juice Plus gummies
My whole family used to take multivitamins, and I felt pretty good about that. Then I read a study about the many many benefits of whole food nutrition vs. supplement nutrition. Basically, our bodies absorb whole food nutrition much more efficiently. Blah-blah-blah, science, researchy stuff... I know... Here's the really cool thing - my son loves these things and never fails to take them, morning and night! Again - no fuss, no struggle fruit and veggie nutrition. AND, to top it off, since we started taking Juice Plus, we have stayed so healthy! Any "crud" we've picked up has been short-lived, and the incidence of the "crud" has been greatly decreased. Love it!

You do have to get Juice Plus from an independent distributor. If you don't know one, let me know. I happen to have a name. :) In fact, you can check it out online here. (O.K., I'll come clean -- it's me! Loved the stuff so much I became a distributor.)

Oh, and BONUS - when you order Juice Plus for yourself, one child's supply is free! Awesome! I know!

Now, I do have to add that these things are not substitutes for getting those kiddos to eat fruits and veggies. I'm still a big fan of "sneaking" those goodies in any way I can - shredded zucchini in lasagna, spinach in scrambled eggs, veggies in soups, stews, and on pizza. My munchkins do pretty well with fruits, but Mama has to be creative to get in the green stuff most of the time.

Of course, there's always bribery...

How do you get your kids to eat their veggies? I'd love some new tricks!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Life on Ice

So ya know that lovely snowfall we were greeted with on Monday morning? The one everyone was so excited about because it brought us an excuse to huddle up at home, hang with our families, and do nothing for awhile?

Well, all of that has turned into quite the icy mess. And now many folks around these parts are getting a touch of cabin fever. Some are happily continuing to take advantage of having their husbands at home to help with kiddos and are getting lots accomplished. Or so they say. I would know nothing about that since my husband has gone into work at his normal time each day and left me here with the munchkins, as normal. (Darn that work ethic of his!) Plus, of course all of our scheduled activities have been cancelled, leaving us at home going a little bit stir crazy. It's o.k., though. Really. All good.

Now it has been kind of nice having some down time, pulling out some board games we've been meaning to play, trudging through the ice a little to slide down a hill on the lid of a Rubbermaid tub, baking with the oldest munchkin, and so on. However, all of this ice and nastiness has meant no bootcamp and no opportunity for a run, which can sometimes mean a cranky mama.

So, tonight, I decided to suck it up and do this...

And guess what? I found a friend crazy enough to join me! And, indeed, I feel like a new woman now! Ready to take on the world! Or at least one more "ice" day...

Oh, and I've found a few more crazy peeps who want to join us tomorrow! Hooray!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday, Monday... SNOW Good to Me!

That's right folks, we have ourselves a little southern snow day here in GA. While we didn't get nearly as much as our neighbors north of Atlanta, we're making the most of it, as we are quite good at doing. We Georgians sure do know how to milk a winter storm for all it's worth! The hype and mayhem is amazing - days of news coverage promising "treacherous conditions," crowded grocery stores and empty bread aisles, schools closed before even a flake falls... It really is ridiculous, but I must admit that I love it!

When I'm teaching, I watch the school closings with anticipation right along with my son and my students, getting just as excited about a day off. This year, however, we are on the adventure known as homeschooling here in my house. Of course, it did not escape my oldest munchkin's attention that everyone else was out of school today, and he, of course, lobbied for a day off as well. Now, the snow certainly doesn't prevent him from travelling to "school" (aka the dining room table), but every kid deserves to enjoy our rare southern snow properly, right? Decisions, decisions... Yes, we will have some time off today. Maybe I'll sneak in some educational games or something, though.

This brings us to the question of how to enjoy our snow day. Of course, the oldest wants to get out and roll around in it, play football, throw snowballs, etc. He was bundled up and out the door by 9 AM. The baby and I lean more towards the "snuggle up by the fire in our slippers and Snuggies, play board games, eat soup and drink hot chocolate" approach. O.K., maybe that's just me... Baby Munchkin really only cares about staying warm. Daddy-o trekked into work as normal, which leaves me out-numbered here. This means I'm sure there will be some frozen fun on tap for today. Wish me luck.

In all seriousness, this is definitely one of those days when memories can be made. A day to treasure the wonder that snow brings and enjoy the child-like excitement that goes with it. If  you, too, are enjoying a winter wonderland on this Monday, I hope you have a fabulous, memory-making time!

On another note... I took a total rest day from exercise yesterday. I was also a bit disappointed with my pace in our training run on Saturday, and I have a bit of weight I'd like to shed before the next half-marathon. So will I make it out for a little snow run today? I have good intentions to do so. We shall see...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

I absolutely love discovering new favorite things! And often I make these discoveries based on recommendations from others. So this gave me a little idea...


Every Friday, I'll post one of my favorite things, along with the reasons I love it. I hope you'll share some of your favorite things with me, too!

I'll begin with my very favorite, absolute top-of-my-list, can't get enough of them, running apparel -- Running Skirts! Not just any running skirt will do. I do have a couple that I picked up at the local sporting goods store, but then I found these, and I'm telling you, there's no turning back once you've run in one of these babies! I am, of course, referring to the fabulous skirts at

Why do I love thee, Running Skirts? Let me count the ways...

1. They are super-cute! Now this could really be the end of the discussion here, ladies (and gents, too, because you will surely enjoy the cuteness of the skirts as well). Really, if you're going to be getting all sweaty and stinky and such, you can at least feel cute, feminine, and fabulous about your outfit!

Photographic evidence of the cuteness:
Behold my sweet friend, Anj, after her first half-marathon. (Way to go, Anj!) Isn't she cute???

O.K., I hear you, she would look cute in a paper sack. I agree, so I present further evidence:

See? They're even cute on a "larger size" model! (If you don't agree, you can just keep that to yourself, m'kay?)
I must say that I don't even hate what it's doing for the booty here. :)

2. Seriously the most comfortable thing I've worn for running. No riding up! No bunching! No falling down and/or sagging! Feels like second skin, for real!

3. They're different from all of the ho-hum, run-of-the-mill running shorts that we see (and wear) everyday. There are A TON of different designs and fun colors, which makes them a perfect treat for that special race-day outfit. You will get lots of compliments from random strangers (and envious friends, especially when they see your race photos), so be ready!

4. Quick shipping and wonderful, personal customer service. Just the other day I was communicating via email with a Running Skirts rep, and I got fast, friendly responses every time. She helped me again when I was placing a group order for our Country Music Half Marathon gang. Skirts arrive super-fast (even from California!), and I hear they are wonderful with returns and exchanges (though I've never had to deal with this. I hold tightly to mine once they arrive).

5. They're versatile. They have a variety of styles, including the running skirt with an attached brief, an athletic skirt with attached compression shorts, capri skirts, and a sub-zero version with attached tights. Personally, I usually go with the running skirt because I can then wear my own compression shorts, capri tights, or cold gear tights underneath if needed. I do have an athletic skirt as well, standing by for warmer weather.

Now, I will admit they are a bit pricey, and that scared me away for awhile, to be honest. However, I have managed to get a few 50-65% off when they were having sales. "Like" them on Facebook, and you'll get updates about sales. Awesome! As luck would have it, there's an amazing sale right now. Skirts on the sale page are $20.11! Holy moly!!! You can even order from the Canada sale page, where there are even more options.

Go! Now! Order one (or 4)! You will not regret it!

When you're done with that, c'mon back and share one of your favorite things in the comments, please. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daddy-o in Training

As you can see from my "Upcoming Events," I will be heading down to Florida in a few weeks for Warrior Dash. My little sis and I decided we wanted to give this a shot, and somehow I convinced my dear husband to join us. Now, he really has been giving this fitness thing a go in the past few months, and I'm so proud of him for that, but I'm not sure he's really caught the "bug" yet. Honestly, he thinks some of this stuff is a little crazy. (GASP! I can't imagine why anyone would think that!) In fact, when I first heard about Warrior Dash and told him I thought it'd be fun, I think his exact words were, "There's something wrong with your idea of fun." Since then he's completed three 5ks (including a super-hard "oh-my-goodness-I'll-never-do-that-again" trail race) and a 5-mile relay leg at Disney, and he's gained some confidence in his running abilities along the way. (My oldest munchkin just read this and would like for me to add that he ran two of the 5ks with Daddy-o. Good job, buddy! We're not forgetting about you.) Moving on...
So, here we are, all signed up and ready for the "craziest frickin' day" of our lives, as the peeps over at W.D. say.

Daddy-o realized when we hit 1-1-11 that he hasn't done too much running (O.K. no running - I was trying to be kind) since his last 5k in late November. He committed to step up his game AND add in some strength training, too! Woo-hoo! Go Daddy-o!

Well, being the oh-so-helpful wife that I am, I agreed to put together a little training schedule for him. (I promise I kept the evil laughter to myself!) And so it began - Daddy-o in training in our living room! Fun times!

Day 1 was strength training, simply because our schedule didn't allow for outdoor running time. I used this as an opportunity for him to try out a workout I was planning for boot camp this week. He did great. Pushed through when it was tough, and made it through... half of the workout. That's O.K., though. Day 1 - great effort!

Day 2, and Daddy-o was supposed to be hitting the pavement. Rain derailed the plans, though, so it was back to a little resistance training, and we added some stairs for cardio. Yipee! He was oh-so-thrilled with that addition! At the end of this one the guy who used to make every excuse in the book to avoid running said, "Tomorrow I'm RUNNING, just so you'll leave me alone!"

So there you go, folks. Want some motivation to run? I'll be happy to share some strength workouts with you. Maybe you, too, will be begging to hit the pavement just to get a day off from that. (I can't take credit for the workouts at all, though. I really just mesh together ideas from boot camp workouts and other stuff I find on the great World Wide Web for some short, intense muscle-burning fun.) :)

I'll keep you updated on Daddy-o's progress. I really am very proud of him! Did I say that already? Just wanted to be sure you knew. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Way Out of My Comfort Zone Goal for 2011

So I'm a sucker for a challenge. I just can't seem to resist them. Especially when they come with free stuff. So when I saw that those who completed this challenge in 2010 got a FREE bumper sticker, I knew it was for me! Plus, it'll be good for me. Right? That's right, y'all. I'm going for it! I will be attempting to run 1,000 miles in 2011!

Wanna join me? Read all about it here.

Let me know if you're in. Heck, I might even spring for t-shirts for anyone who follows my blog and completes the challenge. That would mean I would get a t-shirt, too! Awesome!

Welcome to My Story

Before: March, 2010 and May, 2010

After: November/December 2010
I know... The "after" pics are bigger. I was gonna change that, but, hey, I like them better, so I decided to leave it. :)

Well, here I am in Blogland. I sure hope some of you will join me here from time to time. I'd like to start by sharing a bit of my story and some of the reasons I decided to embark on this bloggy adventure.

Sometime in 2009 I decided I was really tired of being overweight and unhealthy, and I wanted to do something about it. It was time to really get fit and change my life, not just lose some pounds with a temporary diet. So this girl, who's always been quite the night owl, joined a boot camp that met at 5:15 AM. Crazy... both the AM thing and the whole me-in-a-boot-camp idea. Yeah, crazy... 3 weeks into my original boot camp experience, I learned that my littlest munchkin would be joining us. That, my friends, was a long-awaited answer to prayer! As you can imagine, though, the whole pregnancy eat-more-you're-eating-for-two thing, along with the I'm-too-fat-and-tired-to-move-at-the-end-of-the-day feelings resulted in quite the setback in the fitness department.

8 weeks after my littlest miracle was born, I laced up my sneakers, put on some plus-size workout clothes, and set my alarm (oh, who am I kidding? You don't need an alarm when you never sleep! 8 week old baby! Hello!) for my return to boot camp. And, you know what? It was hard, but I did it! And everyday I was so glad I took that early-morning time out for me. I struggled with tendonitis and such at first, but before I knew it, I could run a mile without stopping.

As my clothes got looser and exercising got easier, I definitely caught the bug. In May, when my baby was just 3 months old, I ran my first 5k. I was slow, but I did it - something I never thought I could do. A couple of months later, I signed up for a half marathon (all the while screaming in terror inside!) and started training. Every week I was running more miles than I ever had in my life, and every week I somehow made it. I ran a 10k; I ran a 15k. On October 30, 2010 I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon. I even celebrated the next day by signing up to run another one on Thanksgiving! I know! Crazy!

So I'm entering 2011 50 pounds lighter and in the best shape of my life. I still have a lot to accomplish. Don't we all? I have new goals now, and I know I can accomplish them. Yes, I'm slow, but I'm a runner. I still struggle to even call myself that, to call myself fit. It just doesn't "fit" with what I've told myself and seen in the mirror my entire life. I know it's true, though, and I'm learning to embrace it.
I cannot even begin to tell you how important the people around me have been on this journey! My amazing husband has cheered me on and taken extra daddy duty countless times; my oldest munchkin runs to greet me and asks me how I did when he knows I've run a "longest-ever" distance. They all show up at races with big smiles, loud cheers, and hugs at the finish. My friends at Operation Boot Camp and in my running group are the reason I ever believed I could be a runner, and they continue to encourage me to set and accomplish new goals. And God has given me a healthy body, a wonderful family, and the strength I need to become the best possible me.

I am so very thankful, and this is why I run. I run and workout so I am the best, healthiest, most energetic wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter, instructor, teacher, church member, and Christian I can possibly be. And the journey continues...