Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chief Ladiga Half Marathon 2014 Race Report

Running on six hours of sleep (literally), I ran my eighth half marathon on December 6, 2014. Every year I run this one (four years in a row), I get butterflies. I found this little half after burrowing into several racing websites. It truly is a hidden gem that isn't advertised at all. The course is as flat as it could ever be (almost boring, sadly), but the PR at the end is always the greatest prize. This race was a lot smaller this year on the count of the rain forecast, but luckily, it only drizzled on us a few times. 
We met at the Jacksonville Recreational Center around 7:00, got our packets, made a quick stop to the restroom, and loaded the shuttle. We headed over to Piedmont and stood around a while, waiting on the last shuttle to arrive. We started running after a short introduction and prayer from the mayor. 
The temperature was unseasonably warm, unfortunately. Around three miles, I was already bored. I was going around a 8:30 pace, and I was already tired. We had done a twenty miler the weekend before, and it just wasn't a good week to be a girl. Anyway, I wasn't feeling it. I was struggling. I ate my little Reese's Fast Break at mile three and started feeling better. At mile 4, I checked into a pretty quick speed at 8:15. It felt easy. I was pumped! Then, mile six came around, and I ate my gel. Yum...salted caramel Gu. However, I never felt the kick that I usually get with gels. It was like I never even ate one. Mile seven popped up, and I was miserable. My chest started hurting (Numerous numbers belted out while sitting at a piano at several Christmas music practices can wear out your lungs!), and I started having these weird chills. I couldn't make sense of it, but I realized that I was going to have to slow down, or I wouldn't make it to the end. I've never wanted to stop like I wanted to during this race. I just felt awful...and slightly worried. I had never felt that bad during a race before. It was strange. Mile nine rolled around, and I ate my last little bit of candy bar. Again...nothing. Hello, 10 minute mile pace. :( It did absolutely nothing to me. So, I trudged on. When I got to about a mile left, Heath rode up on his bike and rode the last of the way with me. That's one for the books; he has never done that before. When I stopped running, I went and got something to eat and drank a lot of water. After a while I figured out my problem: It was a lot of different things. I wasn't hydrated, didn't sleep well, ran 53 miles that week, and just didn't feel good to begin with. I finished at 1:55:6...8 seconds behind a PR. Noooo!!!! Chief Ladiga is the PR Palace! Why couldn't I have done it?  Oh, you wouldn't believe how I beat myself up about it. Driving all that way (2.5 hours) and getting up that early only to be slower? No way. Not happening. But it did. But you know what? I know why I did. I know why I struggled, and I know what to do about it next time. I did, however, get first in my age group, and my running buddy Laura got first female in the entire race! Michelle, my other running buddy, also got first place in her age group and PRd, and Regina, our other running buddy, also placed in her age group. We had a great time meeting up with each other, which doesn't get to happen too often anymore. Another running buddy, Shelley, ran her first ever half marathon. It was a big day, and we celebrated afterwards by eating at Applebees. Heath and I (after 10+ years together) have never eaten at Applebees together before. I really enjoyed my steak. We finished up the day with some shopping, and then I headed home to see my baby boy. He made it all better. He told me in his sweet little baby voice that only I can understand, "Mom, does it really matter? I'm your greatest accomplishment. Nothing you do will ever be as cool as I am." :) He is a smart boy!
*Great, flat course--It's a paved railroad track. Hello, PR!
*Great food on the course and bunches of aid stations
*Great post-race food--They have PB&Js, brownies, hot cocoa, cappuccino, coffee, and fruit.
*Great race shirts--You never know what to expect. One year it's a sweatshirt, the next a long-sleeved cotton shirt, the next a short-sleeved dri-fit, and this year was a cotton raglan shirt. Love it.
*Friendly staff--I love that they all came out to volunteer in the rain!
*No award ceremony so you get your medals pretty quickly after finishing
*No bibs...:(
*No door prizes if you like that sort of thing
*Slightly boring course--doesn't deviate much
*Long drive there and back

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Motivation: New Year's Resolution

I cannot believe I'm sitting here thinking about the year 2015. In high school, this year seemed a million miles away, but it's here. I have a family, a job, 1,000 different hobbies I never dreamed I'd have. My life is so different. Isn't it crazy how we evolve and change over the years?
Change is inevitable.  Sometimes we welcome it; sometimes we don't. All I know is that it's going to happen. If only we had control over those changes! It seems life would be a lot easier if it were that way, right? We have more of a say-so in the changes we encounter than we actually think, however. We are in control of our attitudes, and it's all about attitude don't ya know. Have you ever heard the phrase "Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it."? That's so true. Nothing in life is going to be perfect. It's all in what we do with what we're given. I saw something on Pinterest one time that made so much sense to me. It basically said something along the lines of "Stop worrying about the grass on the other side when you should be watering your own grass." How true is this? I added "and plant a tree" to the quote. When you plant something, invest in it, and watch it grow, you'll learn so many lessons about life. Trees grow big and strong, holding up to the weather and anything else that crosses their paths. If we want the things we care about in life to grow, develop, and become strong against the storms of life, we have to water them and invest in them. We can't simply wait on things to happen for us.

This year, I want to be more present in the moment. I want to focus more on pleasing God with everything I am. If I expect change in positive ways, I have to be proactive. I could sit and complain all year, pointing out all of my imperfections and shortcomings, or I could learn to be content and invest in what I've already got. That's my goal for 2015; what's yours?

I love these lyrics to this song "Do Something" by Matthew West. They're so inspirational.

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;"

Colossians 3:23
"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"

1 Peter 1:13

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Honest Company--Free Shipping Code for Today Only

The Honest CompanyI hope everyone's having a great Friday! This teacher's happy. I just wanted to remind everyone about Honest's free shipping discount today. Today's the last day you're guaranteed to get your purchase in on time for Christmas. If I haven't invited you to join Honest, here's your chance. You will love it!  One of my new favorite products is the organic body oil.

It's amazing! I use it on my face, too. It makes a great baby massage oil. I love the smell and the lengthy list of incredible oils it contains: calendula, chamomile, olive, coconut, avocado, and more. I also love the fabric refresher. I got the lavender vanilla. It smells soft and sweet. It makes your fabrics smell pretty for days and days and days.

Be sure to use the code above to get your Honest deal today!

*Affiliate links are in this post.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Honest Company Review Health and Wellness Bundle

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
I love my vitamins from Honest, and Isaac does, too. Know why? He has no idea he's taking them.

I absolutely love this toddler multi powder. It's really the greatest idea since sliced crackers. I mean, really. Whoever came up with this idea should get a prize. I shake it up with his chocolate milk, and he doesn't even know a thing. I couldn't get him to eat a gummy vitamin for a million dollars.

My vitamins, on the other hand, smell like vanilla. No tangy, weird vitamin smell! Yay!

My favorite thing about this vitamin is the very bottom section. The energy blend (spirulina), health blend (milk thistle), and probiotic/enzyme blends are what make this vitamin one of the best on the market. The only thing I don't see is iodine. Iodine is in the child's multi and the prenatal, but most brands out there don't have it. Iodine is very important for pregnant mothers and babies/children because of it's ability to help with development and learning. Overall, we love our Honest vitamins...honestly!
The Honest Company Vitamins - Health and Wellness
The Honest Company

Friday, December 5, 2014

Magnesium Oil Review from Ancient Minerals

Magnesium Oil: Fad or Fact?
A few weeks ago Ancient Minerals sent me a bottle of their magnesium oil spray and a bottle of their lotion after I asked about doing a review for them. I began using it immediately after it came in the mail, and since then, I've noticed I have been sleeping really deeply. However, if I spray too much (4-5+ sprays), I'll have crazy dreams. So, I'm stuck on 3 sprays on my feet each night. I can't tell that anything magical is happening, but I do like that I'm sleeping really soundly and deeply. It has a subtle tingle once it's applied, and it kind of feels warming, especially when I first started using it. I really enjoyed the brochure that came with my oil. It explains how much to use and how to apply it. It also provides a lot of science behind their oils and where they harvest their special kind of magnesium.
The spray feels oily although it's technically not an oil, and the lotion (better for sensitive skins...it has jojoba oil among other things...) goes on smoothly. Luckily, it doesn't dry like it's an oil. Beware of the tingle. It might bother you differently than it bothers me. It only does it slightly with me. The article from Empowered Sustenance (below) has a good write up on this topic.
 It's really important for us to get our magnesium in for the day. According to some articles I'm about to cite, most of us are deficient in this key mineral, and as you'll read, magnesium is super duper important for just about every process that goes on in our bodies (supposedly over 300!). The kind we get in pill form doesn't absorb well in the body; that's where the spray comes in. The skin is the best place for absorbing magnesium, and this is magnesium chloride, which is better at being absorbed than magnesium oxide (the kind you'll find most of the time in your oral supplements).
Magnesium is really important for athletes, too. A cell's main energy source (ATP) needs a magnesium ion attached to it to be biologically active, according to Ben Greenfield Fitness. Plus, when we sweat, especially those who sweat for long periods of time, we lose vital minerals like magnesium. Let's not forget that we all have sworn by Epsom salts to soothe our muscles. How could we not see the benefit of this?
Apparently, magnesium massages are now very popular, too, especially with athletes. Some people even use magnesium oil as toothpaste and in their homemade deodorants. Interesting!
Read up on when and where you might need to apply your magnesium oil. It really depends on your desired outcome. I put it on my feet to help with sleep. I used to have really bad restless legs at night but since I've started using magnesium (orally and transdermally), I haven't. Woohoo!
These sites that I'm about to share with you provide so much information, particularly on the how, when, where, what, and why.

*Update 12-19-14: I've been using magnesium oil spray as my deodorant. It burns for about 10 minutes. Ouch. However, it works. Seriously. If I was a man and didn't have to shave there, it would probably be better, but anyway...I'm going to try the lotion (which is a lot gentler in that aspect). I'm going to mix it with some EOs like my lymph detox blend from NAN and maybe some lavender. I'll report back soon.

Dr. Sircus (Read First)
Ben Greenfield Fitness (Great for athletes)
Health Ambition (More information but similar to the first two)
Empowered Sustenance (Great link for women and includes a recipe for DIY magnesium oil. I love this one!)
Wellness Mama (Informative and includes a recipe)
Ancient Minerals (very informative...includes videos from doctors, deficiency signs, testimonials, facts, etc.)

I would love to know how magnesium oil has worked for you and your family! Please share!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dam Bridge 10K 2014 Race Report

Saturday began like any other race morning. I got up around 5 and got ready. I had two rice cakes with peanut butter and honey an hour and a half before the race. I drank my Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer 20 minutes before the race. After I got my race packet, I met up with my running buddies to warm up while Heath got his bike ready to go riding. Before I knew it, they were giving the starting line call. We lined up and waited. The weather hovered in the high 40s, low 50s. It was a really nice day to run. 

I really had no idea what to expect with my time. I knew that I wanted to get in the 52s because every single 10k I've ever run has been above 53. My very first one in 2011 was 59. My second was 53:58. Then, I bumped back up to 54. Then, in 2012 I was pregnant, but I still managed to get 59. The next year (2013) I got it down to about 53:50 or something like that. In May 2014, I got it down almost to the 52s. (Jesse Owens 10k).  With my recent times being so much faster, I knew that this was my shot if it was going to happen.

After a few pictures and a scavenger hunt for Wendy, the race started, and I found myself shuffling through people. I would love to see corrals at Dam Bridge. I had to weave between walkers who had been at the front of the pack. I just can't understand the logic behind that, but anyway. The quarters are close at the beginning until you get onto the highway. Then, people start scattering.

On the dam (which is where you complete your first mile), I kept a really good pace. On the downhill, I let my legs carry me as fast as they wanted to go. My mentality is always that I can go as fast as I want downhill because I will need those extra seconds once I face a hill. 

Once you're off the dam, you come upon a little hill and then bam. You're at two miles. It's astonishing how fast those first two go by. There at the two-mile mark is an aid station. I kept going and settled into an 8:05ish pace. I kept thinking, "I only have four more miles left. Geez. I can run four more miles this fast." So I weaved through the bike path that took us up to the 5k marker right before we got onto the pedestrian bridge. My 5k was about twenty seconds under my PR. 

"What in the world?"

The bridge is where you start contemplating life. You're there...you're running...cars are whizzing by on your left...an endless amount of feet separate you from frigid waters on your right...yeah...you contemplate life. It's super flat, but it takes forever. You get kind of comfortable in the "cage" (as I call it.) I really have to watch my speed because I'll get behind someone and start mimicking their speed. Before long, you're getting slower and slower. So...beware of the cage. It can really be a game changer. Luckily, my speed was well monitored this time, and I got off the bridge saying, "Bring it on, little neighborhood hill." We all hate this hill, but since I had such good speed, when I slowed down for the hill, I really wasn't going that slow at all. I might have gotten up to 8:20.

After the "hill," we got onto the highway for our last long stretch. This is where you struggle. This is where you have to talk to yourself A LOT. You have to coach yourself and condition your mind. You have to tap into all the journeys--physical, mental, and emotional--that you've ever conquered and mesh all of those with the passion and desire for something new and exciting. If you can get those things mingled together and maintain your sanity, you might just PR.

When I got to the turn off that takes you to the hotel, I flew down the hill. I looked at my watch for a second on the way down and it read in the 6s. I started kicking it at this point. I pushed with all my might and fled to the finish line in the 7s. I sprinted to the line with every last fiber of my being. And you know what? I landed on the line at the exact time as someone else, and we were in the same age group! Talk about crazy! I actually got through an eleven hundredth of a second faster, so my name came up on the results first. It's crazy, though, isn't it? So, I got second place in the 10k. There were about 27 other runners in the 25-29 age group. I was also the 80th runner out of 428 runners, male and female! That is absolutely crazy talk. I could care less about the placement, however, because I finished in 50:30! I was thrilled! Part of me was thinking "Why couldn't I have been just 30 seconds faster?" Ha...I'll save that for another day. I don't think that's happening any time soon. My 10ks are over for a long time. It's kind of sad because I love the 10k. That and the half marathon are my favorite distances.
Why am I so huge?

The whole group PRd, and three of us placed in our age groups. It was a good race for us all. 

I love the Dam Bridge 10k. I love the food, the environment, the people, the race coordinators (Todd and April Allen), and I love the course. I love how it's gotten to be a huge race. In 2005 during its inaugural race, there were only 103 runners. When I first ran it in 2011, there were 295 runners and 13 in my age group. This year, there were 428 runners and 27 in my age group! It's crazy. They always give technical shirts, and for the past two years, they have been gender specific. This year the female shirts were pink! And we got an awesome tech visor to boot. Winners receive plaques and trophies. All runners have access to free sports massages post race, too. That's so cool. There are subs, fruit, cookies, and other snacks post race. The pineapple was our favorite! Plus, they give the best door prizes. They give out random finisher prizes, stays at the Marriot, massages, a Garmin!!!!, cash, and other awesome things. I didn't win anything, but one of my running buddies got a free month to Anytime Fitness. Their door prizes are always top notch.

I'm looking forward to next year already. I can't wait to see how many show up. Word gets around!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Isaac Is Eighteen Months Old!

They say it goes by fast. They say you blink, and they're five. They say before you know it, they're driving off for college and leaving you forever. Well, it's true. Time does fly. My baby's eighteen months, and y'all, I just had him! I just went to the hospital the other day, and we just brought him home. He can't be eighteen months old yet. There's no way. Is he seriously going to be two in six months? The answer is a big ole yes.
I'm totally in love with this kid. He surprises me in new and different ways every day. He goes all. day. long. I'm seriously going to enter him into the one mile fun run in April's 5k in town. I think he'll run the whole way. That's all he does is run. He is the most active person.
He is strong as an ox, too. He cries when he can't go play in the twenty degree weather. He can withstand just about any climate. Nothing seems to bother him.
He has a drum set in his room now. Y'all, the kid has a drum set! And he knows what he's doing. He absolutely loves when his daddy goes in there and plays for him, too. It's so precious to watch. He is completely enamored with drums. It's in his blood. I just hope he can sing, too. Then we can have a band.
He's not spoiled. Nah.
So sorry for the terrible iPhone pictures. I don't have too much longer before an upgrade. :)
At Holden and Katelyn's beautiful wedding
Must. Hit. Round. Object.
These are all pictures from his eighteen-month-old birthday! You can tell we celebrated hard! Hehe. Now for some good quality pictures!
Not sure what my hair is doing here.

Heath made a DVD of us recording the CD. He loves to watch his daddy play one of the songs. He can watch it for hours. No joke.

Yay! It's just 30 degrees. This is perfect weather to play outside, Mom!

Night, Night. Sleep tight.