Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rewind, Rehash, Reflect, Renew

I was doing the dishes earlier, amid the noise of two televisions, one turned to Lilo and Stitch, the other to the local news, with one sick kid, a barking dog, all of us still in pj's, and thought how I haven't had a time to reflect on the past year, much less set goals for the new one rapidly approaching.

Then out of nowhere, I heard Joni Mitchell's River, which is the type of song that perfectly fit my mood. I located it's source, an ipod sitting under a book on the kitchen table that someone forgot to turn off, listened for a bit, took down the calendar, then sat down to think about 2013.

I feel like we've come a long way since last January, Mike and I were both unemployed, but happily, we are ending the year in jobs that we both enjoy, and hope to stay in for a long time.

I got out of the habit of writing down how many miles I run on my daily calendar, it seemed like since I had different races going on throughout the year, I didn't need to keep doing it. But now I'm curious as to what the final total was, so I'm going to start keeping track again.

There was the Shamrock Run:

Then I fell down some stairs and wrecked my ankle.

During the summer, I made some great new friends and we ran in the early morning, training for The Boilermaker.

Then came the Empire Half:

I tried Cross-Fit, and my arms blew up.

My fitness goal for 2014 is to get planking again, and I want to add more half's to my schedule. I really like that distance, the training is manageable, and it's long enough to feel accomplished at the end.

We spent lots of time in the Adirondacks, a place we truly feel like we can escape to.

Although there is a bench on the lake where you can get WiFi, just for a minute or two.

We were reminded again of how life can change in an instant, and how fortunate we are in so many ways.

Although I got tired of picking rubber bands up from every corner of the house.

I loved watching the kids challenge themselves in different ways this year.

Luke flipping off the high board:

Frank thinks he's the third child.

Every night at 7:00 he brings his bone into the kitchen, and drops it at my feet, which means he wants me to put peanut butter in it.  Every. Night.

Speaking of the kitchen, I once again cooked Thanksgiving dinner, and Mike mastered the art of deep fried turkey.

In 2014 I want to finally master marinara sauce.

I really can't ask for a better ending to 2013.

I haven't made any major resolutions, aside from dropping some more un-wanted pounds before our next trip to Disney.

I'm going to keep moving forward, staying positive, hopeful, and grateful.

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2014.....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Putting Out The Reindeer Food

I hope your season was Merry, 
and that the New Year brings you joy!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cinco por Sunday

1. I'm a fan of cooking double batches of certain foods, like soups and stews, then freezing the leftovers. It makes a crazy weeknight that much easier when you can pull something of the freezer in the morning, put it on the stove at the end of the day, and you're all set. We even do it with certain meats, like grilled sausage, that you can add to pasta. Although it's probably a good idea to label the freezer bag, so you know exactly what you are defrosting.

Case in point, the other night Mike and I decided to have angel hair with marinara, mixed with a bit of a sausage patty which was already cooked, and frozen.  I was on the phone when he was putting the meal together, and when I looked at my plate, I thought the sausage looked a little, soft.  As we started eating, it reminded me of a salmon and pasta dish that I had once when we were in Amsterdam.  It was good, just, weird.  Until I realized......we had mixed a salmon burger into the sauce.

Not sausage.

2.The Christmas season is in full swing, and I have fully embraced the festive spirit.  Although it seems like as soon as I cross one thing off my To Do List, another thing gets added.  While I was shopping yesterday, I found a shirt to wear to an upcoming "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party:

Yeah, it's pretty sweet.

3. Look! I have new running shoes!

I'm so excited that Brooks decided to mix it up and add pink to the new Adrenaline, my last few pairs have been blue.

I have others in my closet, some Asics, Nike, and Mizuno, but the Adrenaline have been my favorite.  Mike has been hounding me to toss some of them, but I like to keep them around, and literally see the miles, sweat, dirt and even some tears that those shoes have witnessed.

4. Tonight Eliza had a pajama party fundraiser for her Girl Scout Troop, it was held in the same place where she and Luke went to preschool.

I was feeling a bit sentimental walking out of the building with her, like we did so many mornings three short years ago. I asked E if she remembered those days, but she was more interested in finishing her leftover popcorn.

5. I apologize for not posting the winner of the Spartan Race giveaway sooner, but Congrats to Teresa, shoot me an email and I'll get you set up!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm using the Wii Fit U and Fit Meter, and you can too!

My kids, as well as Mike and I, are no strangers to video games.  

Luke has had his fill of Minecraft, but is still a fan of Mario, Eliza plays various games on the computer, Mike plays an online chess game with friends, and I have a slight addiction to Candy Crush.  I limit screen time for the kids, while Mike and I might play when we have a few minutes to kill, like on a long line at the grocery store, or in a waiting room. 

A few years ago we invested in a Nintendo Wii for Christmas, along with Wii Fit, and it was a fun way for me to stay accountable while working on my New Years Resolutions.  We've been happy with what we've had, but a couple of weeks ago we were given the opportunity to try out the new Wii U, Wii Fit U, as well as the new Fit Meter!

Wii U is a High Definition Game System, the GamePad controller is a new way to play, by creating a second window into the video game world, the controller has a LCD touch screen, along with the traditional button controls and two analog sticks.

The GamePad includes motion control, a front-facing camera, microphone, stereo speakers, rumble features, a sensor bar, a stylus, and is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.  The GamePad allows you to connect to the Internet, where you can download games from the Nintendo e-shop, which is where we downloaded Wii Fit U.  

I will share more about Wii U, but for this post I will focus a bit on the Wii Fit U, and the Fit Meter. 

The first thing we needed to do for Wii Fit U, was to create a Mii Profile, step on the balance board, answer a few question, let it do a body analysis, then look at our results.  Mike and I knew we each needed to drop a few pounds, so it was no surprise when that was confirmed by the Wii. The Fit Meter is a pedometer, which records the number of steps you take, the calories you burn, altitude and temperature.  We then linked each of our Fit Meters to our Mii Profiles, and were ready to go.

The next day we clipped the Meters to our waistbands, and went on with our days.  I had a full day of Christmas Shopping ahead of me, (I know, I know, but I have to go when I can) I wanted to hit my goal of 10,000 steps, and throughout the day, I would check on my progress.  At the end of the day, I simply held the Fit Meter in front of the Wii U GamePad, and my information was automatically linked to my Mii profile.

You can see I went over my goal!

Mike's job has him at his desk most of the day, but this is a sample of one of his workdays:

I especially like how user friendly the Fit Meter is, with just three buttons it's easy to scroll through each screen. Plus when you sync the info to the game, it's fun to compare what Mike and I both accomplished in our walking day.  There is a section on the game that allows you to choose a walk or climb from a part of the world, and "walk" it through the Fit Meter.


Do you currently have a Wii U and a Wii Balance Board? If you download the game from Nintendo eShop on your Wii U between now and Jan. 31, 2014, enjoy the game for a full month, then go and purchase a Fit Meter ($19.99 MSRP*), then sync the Fit Meter with your free version of Wii Fit U at any time, you can keep using Wii Fit U forever, at no additional charge. Click here to learn more!

I will share more of our whole family's experience with Wii Fit U in another post this week, so stay tuned!

*Note, I was sent a Wii U, Wii Fit U, and Fit Meters for the purpose of this review. My opinions, as well as those of my family, are our own.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Watch the World Championship Spartan Race, and Enter To Win A Free Race Entry!

Do you ever think that this could be you?

Spartan Race has been voted the #1 obstacle race by Outside Magazine and they've been the global leader in obstacle racing since 2005. This race gives you a chance to go back to your ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life.

To see the Spartan Race in action, make sure to tune in to the NBC Sports Network on Saturday December 7th, for the 90 minute Spartan Beast World Championship:   

A few months ago I worked with the folks at Spartan Race on a giveaway, and for those of you who entered but didn't win, here is another chance to win a free entry to any open heat in any 2013 - 2014 Spartan Race in the continental U.S.!  To enter, simply leave me a comment, telling me how you plan to challenge yourself in the New Year......yes 2014 is closer than we think! 

If you can't wait to see if you've won, you may click on this URL which will generate a code for 15% off your registration in a Spartan Race: http://bit.ly/spartanwarrio

I will choose a winner on Friday, November 29th.  

Good Luck!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cross Fit Made Me A Pin Cushion

I'll admit that I'm not good at cross training.  Given the choice between running 6 miles or a Jillian Michaels dvd, I'll take the run.  I'm actually not that bad in the summer, I swim as often as I can and ride my bike. But I'm well aware that to avoid injury and be stronger overall, I need to do something other than just cardio.

First up in this quest, was to try Cross Fit. I've been curious about this killer workout for a while now, it certainly seemed fun, especially after seeing photos of my friends on facebook, tossing medicine balls against walls and pounding monster truck tires with a sledgehammer.

After the Empire Half, I figured it would be a good time to start something new, and my sis in law Jeannine said she would go to the Foundations classes with me.  Off we went on a Monday night, feeling a little nervous but excited.

If you aren't familiar, in order to participate in Cross Fit workouts, you must complete six Foundation classes in a two week period.  Each class is about an hour, where you learn the "foundations" how to have proper form for each exercise.

We started out slow, with a warm up that had us kicking our legs, doing a series of squats, and crawling up and down the mat. This lead into how to properly hold and lift barbells and more squats.  Then came the WOD, or Workout Of The Day.

Our WOD started off on the rowing machine for 200 meters, then to the mat to do 15 squats,15 push ups (I do girl push ups, they wanted you to do the real deal) jump on a wooden box 15 times, then back to squats. You did this three times, the first time for 15 reps, then 12 reps, then 9 reps, finishing on the rowing machine for 200 meters.

Oh yeah, and they time you.

I was most fearful of the box, this was higher than any platform I've ever encountered in a step aerobics class back in college, you need to swing your arms for momentum, launch yourself up, land on both feet, stand up, then jump back down.  At first I thought I would just bash my shins on the edge of the box, but I took it slowly, and did a good job of not falling off the thing.

The push ups were another story entirely, the coach said that we could do a modified version, after touching our chest to the mat, we could curl up in a yoga type movement to get ourselves back up.  By the last set of reps, I felt like a fish that had just been caught and slammed onto a dock, I was literally slapping my body down on the mat.  I had really red knees to prove it.

I finished this in 9:22, I came in at the middle of the pack which wasn't too bad.  I was a stinky sweaty mess, when I got home Mike wouldn't come near me, he said I smelled worse than a 10 mile run.

The next day I was really sore, like post-marathon sore, where you can't sit on the toilet without wincing, and I had to walk down the stairs sideways, but I was looking forward to the next class.

Dun Dun Duuuuuun!

The next WOD was a doozy.  It involved lifting a 35 lb barbell, doing a squat, then putting the barbell back on the floor, repeat 10 times.  Then we ran to a bar for pull-ups, something else I couldn't do.  The coach gave me two thick stretchy bands to loop over the bar, I set my foot into them, sunk down, then the band gave me the momentum to haul myself back up and above the bar.  Aside from the fact that I almost launched myself into the drop ceiling, it was fun.  We did this 10 times, ran back to the barbell for 10, and back to the bar for 10.  At the end of this workout I had done 50 reps of each exercise. In 10:40.

The next day was Halloween.  I woke up with an ache in my upper middle back, and felt swollen.  As in my hands looked like pin cushions, my arms were sausages, and you couldn't see my collar bones in my chest.

I could have been Popeye for Halloween.

I asked a couple of friends who do Cross Fit if this had ever happened to them, and it had, which made me feel a little better.  Of course I googled my symptoms, and got nervous when I read about Rhabdo.  I called my Aunt C who is a Nurse Practitioner, she thought it was a build up of lactic acid, told me to drink water and take ibuprofen.

The next day it was worse. My arm was a solid, hard tube, you couldn't even see my elbows.  It didn't hurt, it was just extremely puffy.  I was grocery shopping, and remembered that when my kids were babies and I was nursing them, that cabbage leaves help relieve engorgement.  So I bought a head of cabbage, and wrapped it around my arms.  I kept it on for a couple of hours, when I removed it I could see see a difference, but then it swelled back up.


Saturday I saw Aunt C, and she said to wear my compression sleeves or tops. I did that for a few days, and slowly started to see improvement. I went for a four mile run to see if that would help flush things out, but it didn't.  It wasn't until a full seven days later that the swelling went down.  That day I went to my chiropractor for an adjustment, he explained that the swelling happened because for some reason my lymphatic system didn't drain properly.  He also said it was very odd that it happened.  He agreed with Aunt C, that it was probably a good idea that I not try Cross Fit again.

I called the Cross Fit Coach, but I must not be calling at the right time because I get voice mail. Jeannine has been doing the workouts, the other night one of the guys in our group showed her his puffy arms!  J told the coaches about my puffy arms, and they said they've never heard of that happening.


I think I'm going to stick to traditional ways of cross training.

Time to dust off the Yoga For Runners DVD.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Empire Half Marathon Recap: a.k.a The Time I ran 13.1 miles in a sweatshirt

Isn't there some kind of Murphy's Law where you get wicked sick right before a race?

Yeah, I thought so.

Yesterday was the first time I ran the Empire Half Marathon, a flat out and back course that goes along Onondaga Lake in Syracuse.  I'm familiar with the loop, it's a popular place to run, has a couple of playgrounds, and a dog park.  Because of this, I felt pretty confident about the course, because I knew there wouldn't be any surprises. This round of training was pretty low key, no big issues, didn't miss any long runs, and for once I made it through a fall season without injury (see: pulled hamstring fall of 2010,  Pes anserinus bursitis fall of 2011)

Last week Eliza brought home the first lovely cold of the season, complete with a stuffy nose and head, and a nasty cough, that brought up all sorts of great things from her lungs.  Mike was the next to be hit with it, and then me.  It's been a week and I'm still hacking away, but I actually had a pretty good race!

Sunday morning I was up by six, after spending the night in the guest room. Mike was coughing and snoring, so I bailed on our bed, and fell asleep around one.  There had been a chance of rain, but the morning was dry, chilly, around 43 degrees, and windy.  I made breakfast, which consisted of a slice of peanut butter toast with banana, coffee, some nuun and water.  Frank had a moment of excitement when he saw me put on my running shoes, but I told him he could enjoy the couch for a couple more hours.

I picked up my sis-in-law/running friend/close friend Jeannine, and we were off.  The Start/Finish was at the baseball stadium, parking was fairly simple, and from what we could see, everyone was pretty bundled up. I was wearing sweats over my shorts and tee, the forecast was for sun and temps in the low 50's, so I figured that was a good choice.  However by the time we waited a short time on the port 'o potty line, we decided to book back to the car for more clothes.  I should have brought a long sleeved shirt, but I had to make due with my North Face fleece.  I was much happier wearing it, and figured if I got too hot I would just take it off and tie it around my waist.

Then J and I met up with our friends, and we had a minute to take a group photo:

Then we were on our way!

I settled into about a 10:00/10:30 pace, aside from not being able to suck in a full breath, I felt pretty good. My friends went off into their own paces and about a mile in I decided to put on my iPod.  I coughed some, and thought of my time goal of 2:05.  I decided to just enjoy my run and see what happened with my time.  It was a beautiful morning, the sky was clear, and the sun was doing a little dance on the lake.  As I turned into the park, I noticed that the lights for the annual Christmas display had already started to be put up, we've had such a warm fall that it's hard to believe the Holiday Season is approaching.

The wind was in full force here, during one big gust I couldn't hear the band that was playing on the side, much less my music.  There were some people here and there cheering us on, I passed a Dad and his young children, I ran over and slapped their little hands as they held them out.  Then I noticed a runner on my left, he was wearing a NYC Marathon shirt from the year I ran it, so I kept looking over at him and tried to get his attention to give him the old "yeah me too!" thumbs up/smile. He was really focused so I went on my merry way.

About six miles in, I decided to have a strawberry Huma gel, these are made with chia seeds and they don't bother my stomach at all.  I grabbed some water which was the first I'd had the whole race, the cold weather will do that to you.  A woman in front of me was rummaging around in her fanny pack, when she dropped a really nice pair of sunglasses.  I knew I'd be pissed if I had dropped mine, so I ran back, grabbed them, then ran up to give them to her.

We reached the turn around, and I was still feeling good, I was happy to have my music, I was getting a bit bored of the course.  Then around mile nine my buddy Julie showed up next to me!  We were both happy for the company.  I had another coughing fit, and Julie asked me if I had bronchitis!  As we came up to maybe mile 10.5 I saw Mike and the kids.  I ran over and gave them kisses and high fives, Eliza was hiding the lower half of her face, until she revealed that she was wearing deep red lipstick! She knows the rules of no makeup for seven year olds, but she pulled one over on her Dad, since he didn't have any wipes or napkins in his car.

She gave me a rather large smile.

We were closing in towards the end of the race, when Julie started to have pain in her leg.  We slowed down a bit, got going again, then slowed down again through the last water stop.  Julie is the type of runner who always goes back for someone who is having issues during a run, so I didn't want to ditch her.  We had a mile to go so she said to go ahead. At this point I really just wanted to get to the finish, she could walk okay, so I went.

I crossed the finish in 2:15:28, which was fine, because I felt like I finished relatively strong.  I met up with my friends, including Julie, and guzzled a chocolate milk. Jeannine was psyched because she thought she broke 2 hours, which she did!

Then we went to breakfast, I had a burrito with eggs, tomato and cheese, but only ate half, I guess it was a little too soon for food.  Once I got home it was Sunday afternoon business as usual, which meant a visit to the pumpkin patch, then football. (So psyched the JETS beat the Patriots!)  I couldn't seem to get warm, but as a special post race treat, Mike made lobster pot pie for dinner.


Here is the photographic evidence of my race participation, I was disappointed in the shirt, it's a long sleeve tech which is great, but it ran on the small side.  Mine is a medium, and it's more like a small.

All in all I'm happy with the race, I had my sights on the Syracuse Half Marathon in March, but I checked the date, and it's the same day as my sister's wedding.  So I'll find something else.

My play list for this race was particularly motivating, if you're looking for ideas, here it is:

Please Don't Leave Me - Pink
Hard Sun - Eddie Vedder
Neutron Star Collision - Muse
Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri
Rebellion - Arcade Fire
Stubborn Love - The Lumineers
Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus
Breathe Me - Sia
You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
Short Skirt.Long Jacket - Cake
Set Fire To The Rain - Adele
Save Me - Aimee Mann
See You Again - Miley Cyrus
The Only Living Boy in NY - Simon & Garfunkel
Knockout - Lil Wayne & Nicki Minaj
I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons
Heartbreaker - Mariah Cary & Jay Z
Roar - Katy Perry
Always - Blink 182
My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson

Yeah, Miley Cyrus is on there twice.  So sue me.

Happy Running!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review Time: Energy Bits!

I always begin my day with coffee.

I think I love the routine of making it first thing in the morning, as much as I love the caffeine.  A steaming hot mug on a chilly morning walking the dog, or waiting for the school bus.  Or an iced coffee on a muggy morning.  I limit myself to one cup, otherwise I get jittery, and have sleep issues.  However, every once in a while I need something to battle an afternoon slump, which is where Energy Bits come in.

I recently had the chance to try these one calorie bits of 100% spirulina algae, which also contain 64% protein, GLA (an Omega 3) and 40 other nutrients.  A handful of 30 tabs help to give a steady stream of energy, curb hunger, and stop cravings, without caffeine or sugar.

From what I've read on other blog reviews, the Energy Bits are great fuel for a run, but I gave them a try after a sleepless night with Eliza, who was having stomach issues. I finally fell asleep crammed up on the side of her bed, with my back to the wall, and an American Girl doll in my neck.  

I had my usual morning coffee, but by late afternoon I was dragging. So I broke out the Energy Bits. You can chew them, but an easier way is to swallow 30 bit with a glass of water.  I chewed one bit, which was chalky and green tasting, and made it look like I had a mouth full of fillings.  So I swallowed the rest.

I waited for a big jolt of energy, which never came, but I did perk up, and finished out my day on a good note.

The bits also come in these varieties: Skinny Bits for help with weight loss, Recovery Bits, to boost the immune system, and Vitality Bits.  You can read more about these bits, right here.

The tin also has it's uses once its empty.  My son took it from me, and now it houses teeny tiny Lego's.

*Note, I was sent a sample of Energy Bits for the purpose of this review, my thoughts on the product are my own. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sometimes you have to put yourself first, so you don't come in last

I've been on a cleansing kick.  I'm not talking about a diet, more of a life cleanse.

Once the kids went back to school, I decided to clean the clutter that we've accumulated in the eight years that we've been living in this house.  Each day I pick one area, grab a garbage can, and get to it.  Clothes have been donated, broken toys have been tossed, and paperwork has been shredded.  It took me four hours just to clean out my desk, which was completely worth it, I was finding old schedules from Luke's nursery school.  

I'm the type of person who puts the needs of others before my own.  I do this happily, but at times I lose sight of what I need, to the point where I feel guilty if I go for a run.  Which is silly.  So now that my house and family are in order, I've been doing things for me.  I visited my chiropractor a few times for an adjustment, had my teeth cleaned, and went to a new eye doctor.  Now, I've had my eyes dilated before, but this time around they were extremely dilated.  After my exam, I opened up the door to the outside parking lot, then shrunk against the wall faster than a vampire caught in a spotlight. I threw my hand up to block the sun, and crept back inside.  

Then I had to drive home like this:

Love me some Blue Blockers.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I don't need reminding, I'll never forget.

I post this each year on this day. 

That Tuesday was absolutely gorgeous. Blue skies, no humidity, the temperature was in the 70's. I was in Queens on my way back from an early appointment, and listening to Howard Stern. He started talking about the first plane hitting the WTC, which seemed bad, but we had no idea how bad it was going to get. The second plane hit. My cell phone stopped working, my last call was to my dad, we spoke about the planes but he said not to worry because everything would be fine. I inched my way down the highway, and decided to stop home before getting the subway to work. When I turned on the TV I saw how bad it was. Mike called on the land line, his office was downtown, and he said things were getting scary. He saw the first plane hit as he came out of the subway, he called his Dad in the Adirondacks to find out what was going on. He sat on the fire escape of his building with his coworkers, no believing what he saw. People leaping out of the WTC to their deaths. I told him to come home, just start walking and come home.

Mike started walking with hundreds of other people, most of them started running as they passed the Empire State Building, because they thought that was the next target. My sister worked at Homeland Security at the time, her boss ran into her courtrooom and said we were under attack. The thing that stands out in her mind is all of the shoes in the streets, shoes people kicked off their feet as they ran, shoes from God knows where else.

Mike got to the 59th Street Bridge that leads into Queens when he called again, we were on the phone as the second tower fell. I told him they were all gone, I couldn't believe all those people were gone.

I couldn't take it anymore so I turned off the TV and went outside. Right outside my front door was a National Guardsman holding a machine gun. I walked to the bodega next door and bought a beer, even though it was 10:30 in the morning. We lived 10 blocks from the entrance to the Triborough Bridge, and I couldn't get over the silence. Cars and tractor trailers just sitting there, with the engines turned off, listening to their radios. Mike got home and the rest of the day we sat there, we managed to get a couple of phone calls from family, but the phones didn't really work. We finally got a call at 11:30 that night, from our friends K&C. It was their wedding anniversary.

The next day I got up and went to work. It didn't make sense, but in a way, it did. I wanted to show those f**kers that they didn't change my life even though they tried. Have you ever seen that Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky, there is a scene where Time Square is empty? That is exactly what it was like. It was so surreal, it was like a movie. That weekened Mike and I went out and bought some things that the recovery workers needed, gloves, spray paint, etc., and brought them down to Ground Zero. On the walk over, we kept noticing pieces of paper that were floating around, charred around the edges. They were memos, reports, things from different offices.

It was hard working at a newspaper during this time. It was hard reading a newspaper during this time. Reading every day the new list of people who were identified. Seeing all the Missing Person flyers everywhere. My boss' wife had her baby on 9/11. In the days that followed, he enjoyed his newborn son, while attending 30 funerals. My sister's college roommate lost her brother, simply because he had a work meeting scheduled at the Towers.  He had a newborn son.  I did a double take whenever I saw a plane in the sky. We were in The Gaf, our favorite bar on the West Side, the night of the Concert for NY. It was weird to be in a bar that was usually loud and fun, it was silent as we all watched the concert on tv and drank our beers. We drank a lot that month.

A few months later my brother and sister in law came down for a visit, and we brought them down to Ground Zero. My brother in law couldn't get over the cross that was found in the rubble, just two pieces of steel that became a cross, and where prayer services were held for the recovery workers. I truly think that cross is meant as a message. The one thing I get comfort from out of all of this, is the hope that when those poor souls perished, that God was there to bring them to heaven.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Strong Body Whole Heart

Holy cow, it's been waaaaay too long since my last post.  I have much to share, along with two giveaways, which I will get to tomorrow.  In the meantime, I wanted to share a project that my friend Kelly from My life as a trimommy has underway, the Strong Body Whole Heart Podcast.  

Kelly is a Mom and Triathlete, who completed her first 140.6 race last year.  She and her co-host Maggie, a personal trainer and life coach, are currently in the process of getting their own podcast up and running. The focus is on finding your best self each and every day. Each weekly session will provide inspiration, motivation, and practical tips along with a good dose of reality and laughs from the hosts. Kelly and Maggie will open up about their own challenges and how they have overcome them or are still working on them.

This is a podcast about whole body health – your heart, soul, strength and power and how all of those things go hand in hand to make us who we are. It will help people to rise up to honor themselves and stand in their full truth and beauty.

Kelly and Maggie are currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds for all of the technical equipment and start up costs. They have EIGHT days to meet their fundraising goal, if it is not met, they will not receive any of the donations already pledged.

Please check out their Indiegogo page HERE, to learn more about their podcast, and campaign!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I brake for pennies.

Like most people, I can be a bit OCD about things.

It used to be worse in college, I'm sure due to anxiety, but I still have to do things a certain way, or else I bug out.  When I'm grocery shopping, I have to take the item behind the one closest to the edge of a shelf. If I step on a leaf, a crack in the sidewalk, or a piece of paper, I must do the same thing with the other foot.  If I see a random penny on the ground, I pick it up, since all day long I'll have good luck.  The other morning I was running with my friends, and I stopped twice to pick up pennies.  After a while my sis-in-law J pointed one out, and I made her stop and get it, since it was her luck.  

Our group is still running in the early morning, here we are at the Boilermaker 15K:

This was the sixth year I've run it, I wasn't sure how it was going to go because of my twisted ankle I hadn't had enough time to train properly.  But it ended up being the best race I'd ran in a long time.  It certainly wasn't my fastest, but I felt great the whole time.  It was a hot day, but I was smart about hydrating ahead of time, and I made a point to grab water from every water station, I either took a few sips, or dumped it over my head. My plan was to run to the six mile marker, and if my ankle was barking, I would do a combo of running/walking to finish.  Lo and behold, mile six came and went, then seven, then I realized with two miles left, I could do the whole thing without my ankle giving me a problem.  I crossed the finish with a smile, and was rewarded with a huge dose of motivation to train for my next race, the Empire State Half in October. 

Whoo hoo!

Speaking of races, I had to choose another winner for the Spartan Race Entry Giveaway, and that person is Carrie, from Maine Mom on The Run, congrats!

I've got a few reviews coming up in the next post, but this here is one from Eliza!  She was sent a Botti-Bot, a remote control toy (which you can find at Target and Walmart) that is geared toward girls, and she really got a kick out of it.

I think Frank liked it too. 

Happy Weekend, and Happy Running!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Do you ever wonder what you look like when you're asleep?

Sometimes these types of Friday Nights are the best.

You can tell that I was really tired, not because I'm asleep on the couch, but because I didn't finish my wine.

Mike got home from a boys weekend this morning, and after I asked him how it was, he handed me a speeding ticket, then said it was fun. Which is payback I guess, because I got my one and only speeding ticket a few years ago when I was driving back from a girls weekend.

I had a nice time with the kiddos while he was away, we had soccer games, I bought them their first ice creams of the summer, we went to Target, and I gave myself a break from cooking and ordered a pizza. I had these grand plans of watching my Blu Ray edition of Les Miserables that I was given for Mother's Day, but after dealing with Eliza's "I need a wash cloth for my itchy eyes/I think I'm going to throw up/will you read me Olivia Forms a Band/will you move my fan" I ended up watching Jerry McGuire on TV for the 18th time then fell asleep next to Frank on the couch.

Nothing new there.

Have you heard of The Silver Maple?

They have really lovely jewelry.

Right now they're doing a giveaway on their website, for a......

It begins June 3, 2013 and ends June 17, 2013, you can enter right here.

Speaking of giveaways.....the winner of the Reebok SPARTAN RACE Entry is Tweetyscute! Send me an email and I'll get you set up!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Ten

1. I sat here thinking of a number that would work well with Monday, but whoohoo, yesterday was Memorial Day, which means it's Tuesday. Which is a four day week.  Well, technically now three. Thus Ten For Tuesday.

2. Ankle Update: the swelling is way down, and the bruising is almost gone, although there is a layer of purple along the bottom edge of my foot.  I propped it up in Mike's face to get a proper assessment, and he saw right through my motives, I wanted him to say it looked 100% better so that I could go for a run. I agreed to wait one more week to hit the pavement, why undo any healing that I've done.

5. Have you seen this book?

It features the stories of some fabulous runners, and how they conquered their first marathon.  The story of my Rochester Marathon (including my stomach distress) is in there as well. If you're in the middle of training for something big and need a boost of inspiration, you can find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

3. Luke is driving me crazy because he can't seem to memorize his times tables.  I'll admit, I'm not a math person and there are times where I have to think back to songs that learned in school to master those tables. I've resorted to showing him videos on YouTube to help learn 9 x 9 = 81.

4. Stupid me showed him this one because I think it's hilarious, and now I'm regretting it.

Now I hear "Mum" "Ma" "Mom" more than ever.

6. I think I'm turning into a morning person.  After decades of being a night owl, I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I'm not particularly happy about having to do this, but once I get outside with Frank and hear the birds, smell the air, and see the sun come up, it's really not so bad.

7. Did you see my Reebok Spartan Race giveaway? Free entry for the race of your choice is going to someone, check it out right here!

8. Did you enter my Metromint giveaway?  Well, I chose a winner, Congrats to Penny at Pink Hat Runner! Send me an email and I'll get you set up!

9. Did  you know that this is blog post number 599?

10. What should I write about for my 600th?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reebok SPARTAN RACE....Giveaway!

So you might be a runner, or a triathlete. You might be into fun runs, or you might have conquered longer distances.

You might be looking for something different. 

A little more challenging.

Have you thought of this?

Spartan Race has been voted the #1 obstacle race by Outside Magazine and they've been the global leader in obstacle racing since 2005. This race gives you a chance to go back to your ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life.

If you've been holding yourself back from doing an obstacle race, Spartan Race now introduces a level for everyone!  The first is an entry level "Spartan Sprint", the next is an intermediate level Super Spartan.  The advanced race is "Spartan Beast", and the "99.9% need not apply" extreme level Death Race.

So what do you think?

Ready to sign up right now? If so, click on this link 
which will generate a code for 15% off any Spartan Race.

Ready for a giveaway?  
for any open race in the continental US????

Then leave me a comment below, 
telling me what you do to 
push yourself out of your comfort zone.  

I will choose a random winner on Friday May 31st.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

I guess I'd call it a hiatus.

Today is extra special to me, because my very first Mother's Day was spent bringing Luke home from the hospital two days after he was born.

Right now it's very chilly and grey outside, but it's the perfect chance to snuggle with my monkeys. I took all these photos with my new Samsung Galaxy phone, but they're pretty lousy looking.

Luke made me a bracelet.

Apparently I have a hairy hand.

I think about blogging every day. Tomorrow it will be six weeks since I started my new job, and I finally feel like I've adjusted to our new life. I've figured out how to get everything done in a day, and now it's time to get back into my blogging groove, as I've sorely missed it.  I read blogs on my phone when I have a minute here and there, but I miss the daily interaction that I had with my blog friends.  So I declare this blogging hiatus of mine officially o-ver.....

Luke turned nine this past week.  Four years ago I wrote a post called "I now have a five year old." Five felt like such a big boy age, but I obviously didn't know what I was talking about.  When we first moved into our home, our neighbor's son was nine.  He just finished up his freshman year of college.  So when you hear people say how quickly children grow, believe it.

I had a hard time figuring out what to buy Luke for his birthday, because he's in that in-between age where toys don't hold the appeal that they used to, and technology is at the forefront of his interests.  He wanted an iPod touch, but I told him Mommy just got one for Christmas, so he's got to wait a while for one of his own.

I saw this, but didn't think it was appropriate:

So we settled on a remote control helicopter.

Have you heard of Bulu Box?

Bulu Box is a vitamin, supplement and general health subscription sample box.  They send you a box each month, full of samples of various products that complement a healthy life style:

As a Bulu Ambassador, I get the opportunity to share my opinion on products that I might not have seen otherwise, like this Vitamin C spray:

I'm not the most dexterous person, so the first time I tried the spray, I managed to spray the side of my face, instead of my mouth.  It is a very sweet, intense orange flavor. I was thinking of putting it in the fridge, so that it would taste more like chilled orange juice.  Mike thought it was a great idea, and thinks there should be one for calcium (he's a bit lactose intolerant).

If you want to check out a Bulu Box of your own, click on the badge above, or on my sidebar, and you can check out their offerings, there are two options, a regular box, and a weight loss box.

To get your first Bulu Box free OR $10 off any subscription (month-to-month, 3, 6, or 12-month subscriptions), use this code: BULUGAN666

Okay, almost time for the Survivor finale......any guesses on the winner?  I'm thinking it might be Erik.  After Dawn gave such a back stabbing to poor Brenda, she better be going next!