Two Half Marathons in Two Weeks

Hey blog world!  It’s been awhile, but I wanted to pop in and update you on a couple of half marathons I ran in October.  This “racing” season for me has not been about actually racing.  Instead, it has been about running, loving the runs that I do, and not getting injured or overdoing it too much so that I am ready and fresh to start training for Boston in January.  Oh, that’s right, I haven’t officially blogged about this, but I was accepted into the 2016 Boston Marathon.  Seriously, every time I say it, I get so excited.  Chills, even.  I just can’t wait.

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Okay, first up this month was the Grand Rapids Half Marathon.  I didn’t specifically train for this, but was offered a free entry, and had two friends who were running the full marathon; their first one!  So, I decided to do it as a training run for the Philly Rock’N’Roll in two weeks.  It was a perfect morning – sunny, cool, and calm winds.  I ran the first 8 or so miles with my friends, until the half and the full course split.  It was perfect.  I so enjoyed catching up with these two special ladies who I don’t see nearly as often as I would like.  The first 8 miles we averaged about an 8:35 to 8:40 pace, and the last four miles I turned on the speed and averaged about a 7:20 pace.  My finish time was just under 1:50.

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And then this past weekend I flew to Philadelphia and met up with my sister.  And we ran a half marathon together.  In costume.  It was so much fun, and I think I need to run every race with a cape from here on out.  We dressed as Elsa and Anna (because my sister’s name is actually Elsa…so it was a no brainer).  We absolutely loved hearing little girls squeal as we went by “Look mom, it’s Elsa and Anna”. So cute!  We finished in 1:48:XX (Look at me, not even caring about my finish time.  This is a BIG deal for this competitive lady, you guys!!!).  Again, the racing conditions were perfect, the company was great, and I accomplished my goal.  I LOVED running this race, and my fall season of running was so much fun.  Now to rest up for a few weeks and then start marathon training!  Yay!

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I hope your October was spectacular.  Hope to be back again soon!

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Two Race Recaps in One Jam Packed Post

Hi there!  Remember me?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  It’s been awhile. 😉

The craziness of the end of summer and the insane schedule my family is juggling for September left me exhausted and overwhelmed a good amount of the time.  Blogging, as much fun as it is for me, had to slip a little on the priority list.  But I finally feel like I am getting my groove back.  At least enough to update you on two fun races that I participated in over the past few weeks.

First let’s back up to Labor Day weekend.  For months, my husband had been training for an endurance swimming event.  His goal was to swim the straights of Mackinaw, or, put another way – from the upper peninsula of Michigan to the lower peninsula.  That distance, as the crow flies, is just shy of five miles.  But he knew going in he would likely have to swim a bit further with currents, wind, etc.  Well, he ended up swimming over 8 miles (!!!) in the open water, with waves up to 7 feet tall.  He was in the water for almost six hours, which I just can’t even imagine.  And, he and his teammates were also swimming to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.  They raised close to $400,000.  Basically, the summary here is that my hubby is AWESOME.  He did so well.

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Now, it turns out there is another way to get across the straights – a suspension bridge that is only open to walkers/runners one day a year (Labor Day).  I was lucky enough to get selected in a lottery to be one of the 600 runners this year, and while the event was billed as a “non-competitive run approximately five miles in length”, I covered those miles pretty fast.  Whether it was the thrill of running solo over the bridge (minus all the national guards that were stationed every few feet) or me trying to get warm on a chilly, damp morning, I don’t know.  I didn’t intend to run fast at all, because I was adding on a few miles once I was over the bridge for a long run, but my splits were: 7:31, 7:16, 7:36, 7:12, 2:46 (the distance my Garmin said we covered was 4.4 miles).  SO much fun!

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Fast forward a few weeks. On Sunday, I ran a ten mile race.  I hadn’t planned to run this one at all, but got talked into it, and I haven’t been feeling the long runs lately, so I figured the atmosphere would help me cover the distance more easily.  I was right.  For whatever reason, I get so much energy from running with other runners.  I tried to start conservatively, and didn’t look at my watch for the first couple of miles, but I eventually figured out I was running around an 8 minute pace. I held that for awhile, and then still had lots to give, so I ended up with negative splits.  My final time was 1:15:43 (7:34 avg) which makes me laugh.  I haven’t run double digits in months, and have been doing zero speed work.  How does that happen?!  It gives some serious credibility to the theory that we run our best when we don’t put pressure on ourselves, that’s for sure.  I ran a good bit of it with a friend who ended up with a PR by a single second (and she took third place in her age group!).

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Also exciting is that I was finally able to submit my application for the Boston Marathon yesterday.  I was feeling pretty confident about my time, but registration numbers are up quite a bit this year, so who knows what the cut off time will end up being!  I’m trying not to think about it, but I have waited 11 months just to register, so I can’t wait for the final verdict!!!  Enjoy the rest of your week, my friends.

What’s been on your schedule lately?  Do you run best with a goal in mind, or when you don’t have a time in your head?


Playing Catch Up

Hey friends!  I hope August has been going well for you.  We got back from our big summer vacation on Saturday, and it was amazing.  We traveled to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, and it was one of the most gorgeous spots I have ever seen in my life.  Our days consisted of hiking, more hiking, running, swimming, and then some hiking.  And it was all so spectacular!  We’d return to our B&B exhausted, but rally for a nice dinner out, or take out down by the water.  And while we reveled in how relaxing it was to be kid-free, we also missed our girls like crazy and can’t wait to return as a family sometime soon.

Interestingly, I did discover that I have more of a fear of heights than I previously thought.  Our first day we asked the owners of the B&B which hike we should tackle first, and were quick to point out that we didn’t shy away from a challenge, or a physically strenuous hike.  They guided us toward the Precipice Trail, which had just re-opened the day before after being closed to allow the falcons time to nest.  It didn’t start out too bad, but I quickly realized we were going to be scaling the very edge of the mountain pretty much the whole time, with lots of iron rungs to climb and tight switchbacks to make.  I froze a few times, but managed to keep on heading up and was fine if I kept my eyes glued to the mountain.  The views on this one were pretty much lost on me until we got to the top, and then I could finally step a few feet back and take it all in.  Amazing!

My workouts weren’t tracked very carefully, but trust me, we stayed active.

This week I am diving into half marathon training mode, so I’ll be ready to run a half at the end of October.  I am not going to be running for a time or a PR, but rather for an experience.  So I haven’t been training very specifically yet, but I do need to begin upping my miles stat!

Here are a few pictures from our trip!

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Last Week’s Workouts + A Moment to Vent

Hey friends!  Do you ever feel like you are doing so many things at one time but doing none of them well?  That’s how I would sum up my life lately.  Between trying to finish some home renovation projects (will the painting EVER end?), packing and unpacking for different trips, transporting children to various lessons and play dates, working on a few details for the Fresh Fix website, making sure all fall events are getting on our calendars (I am going to be the PTA secretary for my daughter’s school this year and also a fourth grade counselor/mentor for our church GEMS program), and trying to find the time to exercise and do normal house cleaning tasks, my head and my days are full.  Often too full.  But I’m not sure that it’s going to get easier anytime soon!

Anyway, I am not trying to complain, just vent a little I suppose.  I love it all, I really do (well, except for all the painting).  I just wish I had more time to devote to everything on that list!  Still, despite the business, I am doing a pretty good job of prioritizing some exercise, because once that disappears, I’m really in trouble.  And my family would agree.  One day last year I lost my temper and raised my voice at my older daughter a little more than I should have.  She looked right at me and said, “Mom, I think you need to go for a run”.  Intuitive little thing, isn’t she?!

Anyway, here are last week’s workouts:

M – 5 mile run + 60 minutes strength training

T – Off

W – 30 minute boot camp class

Th – 4 mile run + 60 minutes kickboxing

F – Off

S – 60 minutes strength training + 60 minutes kickboxing

Su – Off

This week my husband and I are dropping the girls off at my parents and taking six days to explore Acadia National Parlk in Bar Harbor, Maine.  All by ourselves!  I am so thankful to have this time to relax and enjoy time and space with one another again because I am pretty sure that with everything else going on, we hardly ever intentionally and truly enjoy one another’s company.  I hope the beginning of August is going well for you, and that you’re finding the time and space you need to accomplish everything on your own list.  And if you have any miracle formulas for fitting it all in, please share! 🙂


Last Week’s Workouts + Fall Race Plans

Hi friends!  How is your week going thus far.  We finally got some HOT summer weather and wow, my body isn’t accustomed to handling it.  I feel like I start sweating the minute I step outside!  Too much information?!  Anyway, I’ve been staying inside for my workouts, and also logging lots of hours at our local pool.  I’m trying hard to cherish the last few weeks of summer, as my girls are back to school in less than a month.  Plus, we still have our “big” vacation to fit in.  We are driving to Pittsburgh, dropping the girls off with my mom, and then Eric and I will be flying to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine.  We’ve had this on our bucket list for awhile.  Can’t wait!  If you’ve been there, anything I should be sure to do?

Anyway, here is what last week’s workouts ended up looking like:

M – 60 minutes strength training

T – Off

W – 5 mile run + 30 minutes boot camp

Th – 60 minutes kickboxing

F – Off

S – 60 minutes strength training + 60 minutes kickboxing

Su – 4 mile run

I’ve definitely been taking it easy on the running front this summer, thankful to not have a marathon plan to start.  I mean, I enjoy distance running, and pushing myself, but I’m not ready to jump into full on marathon mode again, and I want to be excited and ready to start training for Boston in January, not weary and dreading it.  So instead, I am going to be running a half marathon this fall.  At least one, maybe two.  The one that just got firmed up was the Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia on Halloween.  I am going to run it with my sister (in costume of course) and can’t wait.  I think this one will be more for the experience, so I am also looking at one to break my current PR and ideally try to go under 1:40.  If you have any great fall half marathons in driving distance of western Michigan, let me know.

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Last week’s workouts + Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Hey friends!  Another whirlwind of a week over here.  My mom and sister were in town for the end of last week and this past weekend, so we enjoyed a lot of quality family time.  And now we are back to our regular summer schedule until mid-August, when we will take our final vacation of the summer.  Already.  Gah!  The back to school catalogs have been arriving and it takes all I have not to throw them in the recycle immediately simply for making me things of our crazy fall schedule already.

Anyway, here is what last week’s workouts looked like for me:

M – Off (vacation with friends)

T – five mile run, easy pace

W – six mile run (2 mile w/u, 2 miles hard, 2 mile c/d)

Th – 60 minutes of kickboxing

F – Off

S – 3 mile run + 60 minutes strength training

Su – Off

I really enjoyed taking my sister to a couple of classes at my gym while she was here.  I sure do wish she lived closer, and we could do this more regularly.

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Also, on a completely different and unrelated note, yesterday I baked a couple of loaves of gluten free zucchini bread, and it was so unbelievably, mouth wateringly good that my husband did not believe there was no gluten.  Which is HUGE, my freinds, because he claims he can always tell.  So make this one.  It’s so worth it.

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Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread (adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess)

  • 1 to 1.5 cups of shredded zucchini (after you have used a towel to get some water out)
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, and then combine.  Add in the chocolate chips and zucchini last.  Bake at 350 in a well greased 9 inch bread pan, for approximately 50 to 60 minutes.  Enjoy!


Summer Fun + Workouts

Hey Friends!  Wow, what a busy past few days.  I feel like I say that all the time, but my last five days were spent with seven other adults and eight children under the age of eight all sharing one house!  So I really mean it this time. 😉

We had the amazing opportunity to catch up with our closest friends from our college days, and it was so much fun.  Crazy and chaotic for sure, but also just an amazing blessing to share life together for a bit.  And our children played so well together too.  We’re already planning our getaway for next summer!

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In addition to that, I’ve also been happily incorporating Shaklee smoothies more regularly into my life again as part of our five day Fresh Fix jumpstart.  I even got the kids in on the action!  But truth be told, I haven’t been as “clean” as I would have liked to this week.  What can I say – my friends like to bake and cook!  Thankfully, the way we structured the reset meant I was still able to mostly participate, and I’ll extend my jumpstart an additional day or two to feel the benefits in the way I would like.

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Here’s what my workouts looked like last week (I know, I usually post this on Monday!!!):

M – 30 minutes core + 60 minutes total body strength

T – 5 mile run

W – 30 minutes boot camp

Th – 60 minutes kickboxing

F – OFF

S – 60 minutes kickboxing

Su – 45 minutes kayaking!

I hope that you are enjoying this week so far!  How is it already the middle of July?!  I feel like I wait all year for summer, and those snowy, sludgy, wintery months just drag on FOREVER while these perfect summer days just seem to fly.  Can we all agree to press pause for a bit?  I wish it worked that way.  At least I feel confident that we’re making the most of our days right now.  Cheers!