Monday, September 22, 2014

Hartselle Half Marathon Race Report 2014

Besides my marathon experiences, this was the hardest long run of any kind that I have ever done. I have never run that long...that fast...in that kind of heat before in my life. Nothing really went right for me, though. It was just a no good very bad day. The amount of effort I gave should've yielded a faster pace than 9:01. I mean, I feel terrible. I haven't been this sore in a very long time. I'm just frustrated that I feel this out of shape. It just wasn't a good day to run for me, and I'll leave it at that. :(

The night before I was ready. I was very, VERY hydrated. I knew it was going to be warmer than my other half marathons, so I drank and drank and drank. I wore cool clothing, and I was armed and ready with 16 ounces of Nuun already prepared in the fridge and four or five fig newtons in my fuel belt. I knew there would be water and Gatorade on the course, too. My Garmin was charged, and my extra clothes and stuff were all packed up ready to go. It was just down the road in Hartselle, so it felt almost like home to me. I felt ready.
Kristen, Michelle, and me. This was Kristen's first, Michelle's 8th, and my 6th.

Besides the fact that I didn't sleep all that great, I woke up ready to go a little after four. I got ready, drank some coffee, and made myself some breakfast to eat on the way. We left around 4:50 to get there in time to get our packets, use the bathroom a thousand times, take pictures, get our satellites located, you know...the usual prerace ceremonial procedures.

Finally, it was time to line up. I had my Francesca Battistelli blaring, and I was ready to go. The race director gave us the guidelines, said a prayer, and then sent us off. There was a cool breeze blowing, and my phone had said 66 degrees before we headed out. I thought, "This won't be that bad. It feels really good out here, and this pace! Wow. 8:30. Maybe I can keep this up!"


So around mile two I see a hill, and I'm all like, "Ha. I hope there aren't any others like this one ahead of us." Ummm...yes. There were lots and lots and lots of them...like 100. And they took grueling minutes away from my time. From mile 1-7, I kept telling myself, "On the hills, you can stay in the 8:50-9:00 zone. On the downhills and flat stretches, go down to 8:40-45. There were times my Garmin said 8:30, and I had to hold back a little. I thought, wow. I might actually finish in 1:56 or something like that. I just wanted to beat my previous time which was 1:58.48. At mile three I ate a fig newton and drank a little. Around mile six, I did the same. Around mile seven, though, it was past 8:00 a.m., and it was starting to heat up. I don't run in the sun that much, and if I do, we are finishing up a long run, and my pace is somewhere in the 10's. It was rough. I wore a hat because the sunglasses I brought were all scratched up, and I didn't want to take Heath's good ones because I was afraid I'd lose them or scratch them up. The hat kept me so hot. I poured water on my head a few times. I probably should've drunk more along the course, but it kept slowing me down. So the hat was a mistake. That's when I realized I forgot to drink my Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer twenty minutes prior to the race. This usually gives me a boost, but oh well. I had to keep running. Each mile after seven, it got a little hotter, the hills kept coming, and I hated myself a little bit more. Now, don't get me wrong, there were several long stretches of flat road, but for every stretch, there was a mountainous hill. Usually with hills, you come down on the other side on the way back or something. Not so much with this race. I don't think I'd call the hills "gentle" like the website says. When you're trying to keep an 8:40 pace, those hills aren't gentle. They're villainous.

At mile 10, my pace had slowed down to around 9:15. I was ready to stop. I had even felt like I wanted to pass out at one point in time because of the sun beating down on my head. I just kept praying for some shade...a cloud to cover the sun for five minutes. Something...

I sprinted to the finish line, and made it in 1:58.10. Ten seconds stood between me and sub 1:58. I can't decide if I'm happy because I actually did PR by 38 seconds. Based on the way I felt, I should've finished in record Olympian time or maybe four hours. I can't determine which one suits the way I feel the best.


Out of 150 runners, I was 52nd, and that's something to write home about. Thirty-one of the 51 before me were men. I was first in my age group, but there were only seven of us. Still, I was the first 25-29 female out of 52 people! Why are there not more girls running in their twenties? I better relish these last two racing seasons I have in my twenties because after that, the competition will be tough and heavy. I probably won't ever place in my age division again. It's that competitive!

In short, I don't think running long and fast in the heat is for me.

I really liked the race director and volunteers, and the goody bags were full of things like samples of Biofreeze, deodorant, stickers, coupons, etc. There was even a Gu in there. And we got a cool tech shirt and an awesome looking medal. They handed out Gu on the course. I didn't really see any other food besides some orange slices once, but I wasn't really looking for it. The course was beautiful. We ran by some huge, gorgeous homes, and there were actually some spectators out cheering us on. That was nice. I did like that they had chip timing and good post-race food like pizza, fruit, and cookies. They had a timer or two out on the course. I also like that you could see your placement right after crossing the finish line. They did awards very promptly so you could get your medal and go home if you wanted to. They also posted results the next day which is awesome. Most races don't get their results out there until a week or so later. They kept me up to date on news and such via Facebook leading up to the race, so that was a plus, too.

It was on the pricey side, however. You couldn't mail in a check (which I really despise because paying online always charges a fee.) So the $60 race fee went up to $65. That's just a little high in my opinion for such a small race of only 150 people, but maybe that's why it cost so much. I'm not sure. It could go both ways. The timer system could've contributed to the higher price. Another thing that struck me as odd is that they cut registration off eight days before the race. This isn't an advantage for people who wait to see what the weather is going to do or wait to see if an injury is going to heal up enough to run.

All in all, it was an ok race, but I'm not sure I'll run it again based on the heat and the price.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Soul Detox

With all this talk and fascination of detoxing the body in the past years (ok...maybe that's just me...), I started thinking about my heart, my soul, and the continuous detoxing that I should be undergoing each and every day to cleanse the impurities that find their ways into my heart, soul, and mind.

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12: 14-15

There's nothing special about today. Today's the 18th of September. But today, I'm thankful for conviction. I'm thankful for the desire in my heart to fully commit to the understanding that to be better, to be closer to God, I will have to undergo a continuous detoxification of my soul to weed out the "bitter roots" that can stagnate my growth and development. God is the only one who can purify our systems to reveal within us holier and purer hearts. Life's just not worth living any other way.

I'm not ashamed of who I am and the relationship I have with God. I thank God (probably not as much as I should) that I have convictions. We often don't take advantage of the fact that we could be closer to God simply by recognizing these convictions that we often ignore. Conviction is frowned upon today because some see it as a deterrent rather than a catalyst to a more joyful life.

Our children depend on us as parents, teachers--as adults in general--to teach them convictions. Who are they going to learn them from if not from us? If we don't listen to our own convictions, how will our children ever plant their feet in the Lord's truth?

Don't be scared of your convictions today; be thankful you have them. Don't be ashamed of them; honor them. Our children depend on it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DIY Thieves Lip Balm

If you love Thieves EO blends, you'll love this lip balm. It is so easy to make. This write-up on Thieves is great and very informative on its immune-boosting power.. This lady also shares several ways to use the blend. I'm not an EO loyalist, so I will try any brand. I have never tried YL's Thieves or DoTerra's On Guard, so I really can't compare them to anything else; however, I really like Native American Nutritional's blend because it contains a few more ingredients like oregano, thyme, orange, etc. I also like Eden's Garden's Four Thieves blend. It's exactly like YL's. Anyway, it smells amazing...just like Christmas...and Big Red gum.
1 tsp. beeswax
1 tsp. coconut oil
2-4 drops Thieves blend EO
(You might have a little leftover. If you do, of course[!!!], rub it on your hands and imagine it's Christmas.)

This beeswax from Bulk Apothecary is the most inexpensive I have found. I love using Vitacost EVCO, but I keep some LouAna in the house, too. At $19.99, 54 ounces of EVCO is a great deal. Nature's Way is a good price, too. You can reuse an old lip balm tube just by washing it out really well, or you can even take the wrapper off and boil it if you want. I've done that with some tubes before. If you want to make a bunch and have some for later, this deal at Bulk Apothecary is too good to let it slip by. One hundred tubes for $14 is incredible.

1. Melt down your oil and beeswax.
2. After it is a liquid, drop in your desired amount of EO and stir. I used three, but I might try 4 next time.
3. Mix well and quickly put the mixture into your balm tube using a syringe. It will set up very quickly, so don't lag around. :) You'll be able to use it in minutes.

This would be a great balm for other medicinal purposes, too. It would be a great balm for our kiddos' feet in flu season. I like to put Thieves blends on my neck and chest area to help me breathe better at night, too. This helps especially if you have a cough or cold. And it stays on forever!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Isaac Months 15-16

Our little boy is growing up too fast. He is cutting his 17th tooth as we speak. The past two days have been fussy days for sure. Hopefully, the worst is over, though. I got him an electric toothbrush, and this makes brushing those teeth SO much easier. I can't remember who gave me the tip; I think it was a fellow teacher, but I can't remember. Sigh. (Mom brain...) Anyway, it's a great idea. If you struggle with teeth brushing, go out and get one.
He didn't really seem to care about going out into a monsoon. He was very interested in the umbrella. 

His first pair of squeaky shoes! He loves them.

He just thought he'd get a little foam rolling done before bed time...work out them tired ole leg muscles.

Look at that baby's eye... :( Something bit him (mosquito magnet...He was outside putting the lawn mower into the basement with his daddy for FIVE minutes...), and his little eye swelled up the next day. It was worse on us than it was him. Of course, he never missed a beat.
He is walking all over the place now, and he loves to climb. He finally started walking when he was 14 months old. That doesn't change the fact that he still loves being in the floor with his tractors. There's nothing more in the world that he loves better than being surrounded by them or actually riding on one. I never thought when he was born that he would be so in love with them. From the second he wakes up, he's in the floor saying his version of "tractor."
His new show is Bob the Builder. He loves all of the machines on there, especially the tractor. He can open up doors, and he loves pulling the ceiling fan strings. Being outside is where he wants to be all day, every day. 
We have this little book of Baby's First Bible Stories or something similar to that on our pew at church. I've taught him to recognize Jesus in the pictures. He gets so excited, and I just love it. It makes me laugh.

He loves chocolate milk and beans and rice from the Mexican restaurant. He's over 33 inches long, but I'm not sure on his exact measurements at this point. I know he's well over 32 because his changing pad is 32.
Back in early July after we came back from our vacation, he went through a spell where he wanted to go to bed at 12:00 a.m. or get up during the night again. We managed to nip that in the bud and get him back to sleeping all night right before school started. He now goes to bed around 7:30 and gets up around 6:00-6:30 each morning. Talk about an answered prayer!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Blog Break

Blogging has been an afterthought this past month and a half. We went back to work, so that changed things a lot. I also haven't blogged much because I just got kind of tired of it. It started to feel superficial. This summer, I tried to give up FB a while and focus on reading the Bible more. With that time came an epiphany that I don't know if I want to blog so much anymore. I had this huge (Y'all know how long winded I am...) post about all the reasons behind this that I briefly posted yesterday, but I sent it into draft mode because it kind of got over the top. It just comes down to who I really am and how I was putting myself out there on the blog. Having this blog overwhelms me. I miss the innocence of Run. Eat. Teach. documenting my first marathon and the beginnings of my family of three. Even though I made efforts to focus it more on God and my family, it just became a copycat of 15,000 other blogs out there. I feel like it has lost its individuality.

Blogging isn't my job like it for so many other women. Those women's lives are their jobs. I don't have the time or resources to put into my blog like they do, and I don't really want to. When I think about the longevity of the blog, I just don't know if it's there anymore. Do I want to post everything my son does for the rest of his life? Do I want to post about every single race I run? This is scary. It's hard to let go of something you've invested so much time in, though. I think my blog and blogs in general have caused me to compare myself too much. It seems like all there is out there on the Web are things that make you wonder if you're a good enough mom. I'm just tired of the constant comparison, and I would never want my blog to make someone else feel that way.

My disclaimer: I make my own stuff a lot of the time because I like to save money, and I like to play. I've been this way since I was a little girl. I've always loved weirdo alternative health things, and I don't reckon that's ever going to change. However, I don't freak out if my son eats something out of a plastic bowl fresh out of the microwave, and I love the occasional diet soda and plate of Mexican food. I will never be that mom who protects her family from every known toxin in the land simply because it's just not practical for my life. Maybe it should be, but it's not. We have to remember that as moms, we're doing the best we can. I do believe in improvement, but it has to be practical.

I don't know where this blog will go.  Isaac will be 16 months old in two days, so maybe I'll post some pictures of the little guy. He's getting so big.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

DIY Liquid Castile Soap

The recipe actually makes about a gallon. 
Grate a bar of Kirk's Castile: Coco Castile Bar Soap (or any other bar of castile soap) into a large gallon-sized container. You can find the soap at Walmart for next to nothing. Dr. Bronner's is a favorite, but it costs around $3-4 for one bar. The liquid Dr. Bronner's is around $17 at Target. And that's for only 32 ounces. I love the way Kirk's smells. There's a faint hint of cinnamon or something. I love it. Some say the fragrance isn't natural in Kirk's, but that's not as much of an issue with me as it might be with other people.

...Pour in around 10-12 cups of boiling water, stir, and wait a while until it's all dissolved. There you go. You now have a powerful, concentrated cleaner that literally cost you around a dollar. It should look like cloudy water at first, but as it cools it will stiffen, expand, and become sort of goopy. This is normal. You might want to go ahead and have your spray bottles and dispensers ready for dilution while it's warm and soupy in texture. You can still work with it when it's goopy, too. No biggie. Just shake it up. 

Castile soap is vegan and all natural. In other words, it's plant based and has no animal fat to make the soap. Most castile soaps are made with olive oil and coconut oil. As long as it's vegan, and it's natural (oil and NAOH--sodium hydroxide--lye--the stuff that reacts with the oil and makes soap), it's considered castile soap. It's very safe and nontoxic, and using it like this is a very inexpensive way to clean your home. 

My first use of this was a very gutsy move if I do say so myself. I researched around and found that some people use it for dish washing detergent. Being that I was out, I took a deep breath, prayed, and went for it. I filled up the section with my new cleaner and the special section with white vinegar. 

They came out clean, so I could sigh a sigh of relief that I didn't have a kitchen full of suds! That pretty much made my day. (Castile soap doesn't suds much because it doesn't have the sulfates that other soaps do. Apparently sulfates are toxic?) Update: 7/30/14 Some of my plastics (Isaac's sippy cups) have gotten cloudy. The vinegar is supposed to prevent clouding. I'm working on different amounts of it to see if I can fix it. Everything else looks great. Update: 7/31/14 Now I'm noticing the cloudiness on my pots and pans, too. Back to the drawing board. First, I'm going to try a dilution instead of the concentrate and use some lemon EO. Then, if that doesn't work, I'm going to try my laundry soap recipe. Some blogs I've read say that Dr. Bronner's castile soap works better in the dishwasher, so I might have to buy a bar. If my other attempts don't work, I'll try it out. Update 8/9/14: The laundry soap recipe and vinegar in the rinse cycle seems to be working and not clouding up the dishes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Update 8/30/14: The laundry soap did end up causing cloudiness, but I tried not turning the "heat dry" option on. This seems to keep the cloudiness away, but on cheap plastics, I can still see a little. After reviewing people's comments on what seems like a 100 recipes I've found on Pinterest and blogs, every option out there causes cloudiness. Ugh. I'll try Dr. Bronner's soap when I run out of this which will probably be in like...100 years. :)

Sorry for the blurry iPhone picture. This is my kitchen, bathroom, and floor cleaner along with a baby food jar of the soft scrub I made. 

After researching different recipes, I discovered most people dilute 2 tbsp. of concentrate with about 2-3 cups of water and so forth. Play around with the strength for different uses. You might want a stronger solution for your kitchen and bathroom and a weaker one for your baby and your face. 

You can use this cleaner for...
*All-purpose kitchen cleaner with orange EO 
*Baby bath with lavender EO (Avoid eyes.)
*Hand wash (I'm getting a foam dispenser to make it last even longer. 2 tbsp. and the rest is a few drops of your favorite EOs and water to the top.)
*Body wash (same as hand wash)
*Face wash (1 tbsp. for me along with 2 drops of melaleuca and lavender each and 2 c. water.)
*Shaving gel (Use in its concentrated form for the best results. Peppermint EO can also be used to open up the pores.)
*Clothes washing detergent 1c. liquid castile along with Borax (4c.), Washing Soap (4c.), and 5 drops pink grapefruit and lavender EOs (Update: This is still working great. It does get a little stiff and crunchy, so I simply use a butter knife to break it up a little. Some recipes call for vinegar, but I didn't put that in my recipe. Oddly enough, my running clothes are coming out smelling great. Woohoo! Next time I might try using the grated bar of Kirk's instead of the liquid. Kirk's has a great recipe on their website. Maybe it will be a little softer. I've read humid climates make the powders stiffer and crunchier, and that pretty much sums up Alabama to a T.) Update 8/30/14: I made some laundry soap (same recipe) only with one bar of grated soap, and it doesn't get stiff at all. I will definitely be using this recipe in the future. Update 9/11/14: The essential oils in your homemade laundry soap might stain your clothes. Sigh. If you want to add natural scent to your laundry soap, I would either buy castile soap that is already scented like Dr. Bronner's Lavender or make your own bar of scented soap (which is what I'm trying to do right now) and grate it into your Borax and washing soap.
*Bathroom cleaner with lemon EO
*Dish washing detergent along with vinegar and optional EOs. 
*Dish soap (Don't be alarmed at the lack of suds. It's still soap, and it still cleans. I leave the really tough jobs for the dishwasher anyway.)
*Mop water solution (1/2 c. concentrate, water, and a couple orange and eucalyptus EO drops)
Add in baking soda...
*This becomes a great, inexpensive degriming scrub along with baking soda and orange EO (It works on ceramic cooktops, tubs, and granite. I think they call this DIY Soft Scrub. I did half and half for this recipe. I have to go back with a swipe of kitchen cleaner on my granite and cooktop because the baking soda leaves a film. You know the drill. It's kind of like Comet. I haven't found a replacement for my granite polish, though.)
*Face and body scrub (Same recipe as soft scrub above)
*Hair clarifier (I scrub in some of the soft soap recipe into my regular shampoo. My hair was super clean and shiny. The orange EO does a great job on oily hair.)

Do you have any more uses? Has anyone ever tried it as a toilet bowl cleaner? I haven't gone that route yet. Some people use it as shampoo and toothpaste...

Update 8/30/14: I have been using it as toilet bowl cleaner for about a month now, and it seems to be working well. I'm aware that nothing can ever clean as deeply as products with bleach, but that's something I can live with...for now, anyway.

I tried making my own toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda, liquid castile soap, and peppermint EO, and it tasted terrible! I only used it once, and the taste of baking soda was in my mouth all day long. I saw another recipe for tooth powder by Mommypotomous that I want to try that contains ingredients like stevia and bentonite clay. Maybe that will taste better!

What's your favorite use? 

Think about the money we could save over the course of year by replacing our normal cleansers with 3 bars of Kirk's for less than $4! At least $100-$200. I've learned that with Kirk's, vinegar, baking soda, coconut oil, Epsom salts, and EOs, I can take care of a lot of our household needs for a very small amount of money. It just takes a little elbow grease. :)

*Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning that if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

EveryMove App Review

EveryMove is a new, unique app that rewards you for exercising! 

First, when you sign up, you sync with the devices you already use like Garmin Connect, Strava, Fitbit, Nike, My Fitness Pal, Map My Run, Polar, Active, and more. If it doesn't have your device, you can submit a request for it. Here's another cool fact: You can manually put in your activity without syncing it to anything. 

I started logging these miles in this past Sunday, and my points are already adding up. :)

Next, you pick a reward you want to work for. There are various charities and discounts on really cool items like granola, fitness socks, sport washing detergent, herbal teas, fitness clothing, and much more. Most rewards are 500 points, and they start you out with some just for signing up. You can also get bonuses for having a really active day. I just received my first reward: $5 off of San Franola Granola, and now I'm working towards 35% off a bag of Sport Suds washing detergent. 

You can find more activities listed than you ever imagined. If they don't have your activity, request it. 
This is just a screenshot of the extensive list of activities. Everything you can think of is on here. 

Your dashboard is where you can see your daily, weekly, and monthly progress. 

I really like this app, but I wish it had calorie breakdowns for each activity. I think that would inspire people when they saw how various activities burned calories in a designated time frame. I know that most devices already do this, but I'm just thinking about those who choose not to sync up with a device. 

I like that it keeps up with my running mileage over the course of time and the rewards system. I have synced with Strava, but I like manually putting in my mileage because I don't use data that way. 

Check it out for yourself! It's available on iPhone and Android

You can visit their website or check them out on Facebook and Twitter

I have not been paid by EveryMove, and these opinions are my own. This review is from an opportunity through Fitapproach and #Sweatpink.