Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell, 2013


Can you believe 2013 is over?  Time seems to be moving faster with every passing year.

Back in January, I posted several changes I planned to make in 2013.  Most were successful, a few were not:

 Fitness Changes:
  • definition in my arms ~ I did really well with this up until September when marathon training was getting to the hefty mileage and I was in PT for my calf.  I needed rest days and couldn't afford to cut the running, so I cut the weight training....and never added them back in after Columbus was over.  Weights are coming back this week.  Today, actually.
  • less jiggle in the belly ~ I did really well with this for a whopping 3 months.  After I tore my calf in March, I lived off of brownies for a week and never really recovered from that.  I will continue to make an effort with this in 2014.
  • wear my heart rate monitor for one run a week to make sure I keep my effort easy~Most weeks I forget the heart rate monitor, but I do a pretty good job keeping my effort easy.  Since all of my runs are now run with friends, it's easier for me to keep an easy pace; if I'm running too fast, I can't talk.
My fitness changes may have gone a little wonky, but check this out:
Non-Fitness Changes:
  • play more games ~ board games!  We are rocking this one.  The Little Ladies are loving Uno, Skipbo Jr, Dominoes and Sorry.
  • make an effort with my appearance ~ This one is going better than I expected.
    • learn to accessorize ~  My fashionable friend, Andrea, has helped me with this one.  I'm no longer afraid of long, chunky or statement necklaces.  More on this in a minute.
    • show my damn eyebrows some love~ I've been rocking this one too.  I'm tweezing at least once a month. 
    • buy shoes that are not sneakers or running shoes ~It took a while for me to find some that felt comfortable, but I've purchased THREE pairs of non-running shoes this year.  Two of said pairs of non-running shoes are boots and I'm not usually a boot-girl.  I'm branching out...expanding my horizons....
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Earlier this year, my friend Amy, from Amy Gaspard, offered to help me with my accessorizing by making me a statement necklace.  Amy is a beader and makes gorgeous pieces.  She's super talented.  Go take a look at her photo gallery.  







Right now.  

I'll wait.



I love these necklaces.  Love them.  When I first laid eyes on them, I thought they were awesome, but they were a little...well...big.  I don't wear big.










Reminder: we're stepping outside the comfort zone, Jamie.

Oh, yes, that's right.








I get a lot of compliments on them and the more I wear them, the more comfortable I am in them.  Fake it till you make it, right?  I'm thinking about trying out bigger necklaces in 2014.

Happy New Year, friends!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Yearly Milestone



Last Thursday, I counted up my mileage for the year an saw that I had 992 miles.

I was eight miles short of my annual goal of 1000  miles.

So close.

Laurie mentioned that she was running 12 miles on Saturday and asked if I'd like to join her.

Well, yes, please!

Buuuuuut....why bother running 12 when we can run 13.1?

Laurie is just the right kind of crazy to go along with my plan and we dubbed it the JamieLaurie Half Marathon.

Side note: I think it's really cool that I can whip out a half marathon on a whim.  I've worked very hard to get to this place and don't take it for granted.

At mile 8 of our run, I raised the roof and we gave a little cheer for 1000 miles.  WOOT WOOT!

Then, of course, we took a selfie.



I finished the day with 1005 miles and December isn't over yet....

My mileage goal for 2014 will be the same.  I'm running about as much as I'm interested in running.  It doesn't interfere (too much) with my every day life and, for the most part, I can get it done before the rest of the world is even awake.

So....if a runner girl runs 1000 miles and no one is awake to hear her, did she really wear out 4 pairs of Sauconys this year?

The answer is yes.

My poor husband works to feed my running shoe habit.

Tell me about your recent (or not so recent) awesome milestones!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Pre-Dawn Running

When people find out that I run at 4:30 or 5, they often do a double-take.

"Five in the morning??"

Next come the questions.

"How?"

And with a furrowed brow, "Why?"

Let me start by saying that the pre-dawn hour was not my first choice in running times.  Of course, I'd rather be sleeping at 4am.

I've tried running in the afternoon.  I'd leave as soon as Randy got home and by the time I returned, it was time for dinner, baths and bedtime for the kids.  There was no family time and we weren't ok with that.

I've even tried to run after dinner and after the kids went to bed.  That didn't work out at all.  By the end of the day, I'm exhausted and ready for my day to be over.  I want to lay on the couch and watch TV, I don't want to run.

Randy has to be at work by 7am every day so unless I want to push a jogging stroller....and I don't....I have to get my run in before he leaves for work, which means I have to be finished and home by 6am.

No, my body doesn't naturally wake at 4am and no, it wasn't easy getting into the 4am routine, but running is a priority for me so I made the choice to do what it takes to keep running in my life.

There were other struggles besides just waking up:  I was alone.  It was dark.

I wouldn't say that it was lonely, but I was in complete solitude.  Most mornings, I didn't see another human being until I got home.  I saw plenty of skunks and I ran fartleks with the bunnies...."Hey, Bunny, I'll race you to that fence!"  (Unfortunately, that part is the honest to goodness truth.)

5am is dark all year long.  Even in the summer, I never see the sun rise.

Until recently, I never had a running partner during the week.  I'd ask and people would laugh at me.

This past summer, on a whim,  I asked Laurie if she wanted to do the mid-week long runs together while we trained for the Columbus Marathon.  She was usually a 6am runner, she didn't have the early time constraints that I did, but she said she'd rather run early than run alone.

SWEET!

From then on, one morning a week, I have a partner.

Laurie and I back in July
 A couple of months ago, a friend of a friend was looking for a 6am running partner.  Like Laurie, Jennifer would also rather run early than run alone.

SWEET!

Two mornings a week, I have a partner.

The Monday 5at5ers (Laurie, Jennifer and I)
I'm the Columbus chapter leader for Moms RUN This Town and slowly more ladies are starting to show an interest in joining Laurie, Jen and I for our pre-dawn runs.  Maybe we just make it sound really fun....maybe people just want in on our post-run selfies.

Hill repeats!  Marcie, me, Angie and Kate (MRTT)
The moral of the story, friends: Even if what you're doing is completely insane, as long as you take selfies, people will want to join you.


So....who wants to join us next week?


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Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Faves

Happy Friday!

It's been a while since I've shared my latest faves with you so I'll jump right in.

Once upon a time, I had an inferior kitchen.  While it wasn't a total shithole--it wasn't what I knew it could be, it wasn't efficient, it had no storage, it had a gross coil electric stove...

September 2004
After 5 years of talking about someday remodeling the kitchen, we were finally ready.

January 2010
But our budget didn't include replacing the electric coil stove that was in working condition.

...until one day when two of the four burners stopped working.

Hooray!

January 2011
I was so excited to get a ceramic top stove that would be so easy to keep clean.....until I found out that it wasn't.

Folks, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

After much searching, I bought this baby.


My stove top is still not perfectly clean, but every time I use it, a little more of the cooked on ring comes off and that makes me one happy mama.


The CasaBella round mesh scrubber retails for $5.29.  I bought mine at Target, there are prettier versions on the CasaBella website.

****************************

My next fave is completely unrelated and a total luxury.

The heated steering wheel.

I'm sure my friends on Facebook and my followers on The Twitter are sick and tired of hearing me go on and on about how much I love the heated steering wheel, but, seriously people, I want to be buried with it.



When I first heard about heated steering wheels, I thought they were ridiculous....and then I drove a car with one.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I hope I never have to be without it.  Ever.

I have to buckle cold car seats before we go anywhere and my mittens get in the way of the buckles, so I have to take them off.  By the time I'm done, my hands are freezing and mittens won't warm them up....but the steering wheel will.

I have also been known to snuggle with my steering wheel at stop lights on my way home from runs when I'm all sweaty and cold.

Like I said, it's a luxury, but it seriously is all that and a bag of chips.


Do you have any other tips for keeping the darn stove clean?
Do you have a heated steering wheel? Unfortunately, they can't be installed aftermarket.


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vegas, baby!

This post has nothing to do with running....except to say that I didn't run.  At all.  For 4 whole days.

I'm not sure when the last time that happened except due to injury.

I had a really good reason though....

I was having too much fun in Las Vegas!!

Many months ago, the opportunity came up for Randy and I to take a trip--without the kids--and we jumped on it.  This would be only the second time that we've left our kids--both of us, together--for more than one night. 

We celebrated our tenth anniversary earlier this year, what better reason for a little getaway?

It turns out that our getaway held much more excitement that we originally planned...

Here is our weekend in (mostly) pictures:


Date night!
Sea: The Thai Experience at Bally's
On Wednesday night, after we arrived and checked into the hotel, Randy and I got to have a date night.  I said, "Let's grab a few slices of pizza from the food court, nice and cheap."  Randy said, "Hey, this Thai place looks really good."

It was good.  But not cheap.




After dinner, we met up with my parents, brother, aunt and aunt's fiancé at a piano bar.  Here's where the excitement comes in: my aunt and her fiancé had decided a few weeks before to get married in Vegas!  (I'm pretty sure my new uncle had been planning it a little longer than a few weeks.)
 

bachelorette shots

Clearly, we think we're still in our 20s.

Thursday was the wedding (also my mom's birthday!  Happy birthday, Mom!)
My aunt was a beautiful bride.

Isn't she gorgeous?
The ceremony was at the top of the Stratosphere...

And I'm afraid of heights.
...at sunset, which made for some fantastic pictures. (If I do say so myself.)

The happy couple!
The rest of the weekend involved a lot of casino hopping and a lot of martinis.


Cheers!
No drop left behind?
Randy and I had lots of quality kid-free time.


Have I mentioned how yummy the food was?  We ate at least one buffet meal each day.  So many options.
Apple crepe at Paris breakfast buffet.
Free cosmos in the casinos?  Yes please.


Saturday night, my mom, aunt and I went to the Shania Twain concert in Caesars Palace.  She was fantastic.  Shania puts on a great show.


Sunday morning, we can home.  Early.

Bye-bye, Vegas.
Such a fun, relaxing, exciting weekend, but it was very nice to come home to two Little Ladies who were over the moon to see us.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas?  This was my second time.
Do you like to gamble?  Me, no.  I'd rather go shopping and have something to show for my money, although, my aunt and I found a really fun penny slot machine to play on for a few hours.


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Koss Fit Series: A Review



Disclosure: This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Koss.

Ladies, have you ever tried to use the ear buds that come with your smartphone?  I tried once.  Only once.  Want to know why?  (I was planning to tell you anyway.)  Because that giant ball doesn't fit in my ear!  They fall out and if I jam them in, they cause me pain.

You, too?

Lucky for us, the female designers at Koss teamed up with Dara Torres, a former competitive swimmer, world record holder and twelve-time Olympic medalist, to create ear buds that really fit women.

The Koss Fit Series includes two types of headphones: FitBuds and FitClips.

Koss sent me both to test and review.  I tried the FitBuds first.

My former ear buds (and I say "former" because I'll never go back to them) did not have the ball shaped ear cushion.  For some reason, I was under the impression that all ball shaped cushions were noise-cancelling.  (I don't know where I come up with some of the ideas that are in my head.)  When I'm running alone in the dark, I do not want noise-cancelling ear buds.


They're not noise-cancelling.  I'm pleased to say that I could still hear everything going on around me.



This past weekend, I hung out with the FitClips for 8.5 miles.

I'll be perfectly honest, I expected to hate the clips.  I was even planning, in my head, how I could nicely blog about hating them.

Then something crazy happened.

I loved them!

They fit in my ear perfectly, they fit around my ear perfectly and I couldn't even feel the clips while I ran.  I was completely shocked.

There's your lesson for the day, friends: don't make snap-judgments.  You never know what you'll like until you try it.

I had no idea how bad the sound quality was in my former ear buds until I wore the FitBuds and FitClips.  The songs on my playlist sounded very different--for the better.  I also had no idea how uncomfortable my former ear buds were.

My former ear buds were the eight dollar special at the grocery store.  I knew I'd be wearing them in the rain and snow and that I'd be sweating all over them, so why would I pay more?

Um...for comfort and sound quality, that's why!

Both the FitBuds and the FitClips are sweat resistant and come with three sizes of ear cushions for the perfect fit.  I did have to play with the cushions for a bit before I found the perfect fit for me with the FitBuds.

The FitBuds are 33% smaller than any other ear bud that Koss has produced.  I really think they nailed this one.  My ears weren't aching when I wore them.

The FitBuds and the FitClips each retail for $29.99 but Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kmart, Walgreens and Sears will all have them on sale this holiday season for $19.99 or less.

Wait!  Here's the most important part: they come in a bunch of awesome colors!

Searching for the perfect stocking stuffer for an active woman in your life?  Give the Koss Fit Series a look.



Follow Koss

Have you ever tried something you thought you'd hate and ended up loving?

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Faves: Human Edition V.2

Hi, Friends!  How was your Black Friday?  Mom and I shopped, took a nap, shopped again, took another nap and shopped again.

Now, I'm all shopped out.  Good thing, too, since I'm also broke.

Ok, let's get down to business....

It's time to introduce y'all to another one of my favorite bloggers to follow: Brad from Brad Gouthro Fitness.


Photo used with permission.

Brad is a trainer, author and YouTuber (if that's a real word).  His YouTube channel, Live Lean TV, is fantastic; Brad shares great workout routines, exercise tips and yummy, healthy recipes.

Photo used with permission.
Brad is insightful, funny, he has an adorable Canadian accent and it certainly doesn't hurt my eyes when I look at him.  His YouTube videos are entertaining and I love that he gives his audience little glimpses into his life so we can see that he's a normal person making the choice to live a clean, healthy life.  If he can do it, with a little effort, the rest of us can too, right?  Right?

My very favorite video was back in September.  I was training for the Columbus Marathon.  After the calf tear I suffered in the spring, every little ouchie had me completely panicked.  Then I saw this.

Go ahead, click play.  I'll wait.  (The video will not show up in the email version of this post, to see the video, you must view this post online.)


Sure, Brad is talking about losing weight and building muscle, but it's the message that helped me.  I needed to stop letting my fear and my panicked thoughts bring me down.

I put in the work and took care of my tired legs and I made my way to the chocolate milk at the finish line.

Thanks for the pep-talk, Brad.

Not all of his videos are quite so serious.  A few have made me laugh out loud.

This one is pretty funny; Brad plays 25 questions. 


But I have to say:  Dude.  6am is kicking your butt?  Give 4:30 a whirl.  I kid, I kid....If I had the option of 6am workouts, I'd totally kiss 4:30am goodbye...

Also, I have a guess about your car accident, but my mom reads this blog so I'll pretend that I have no idea what you could be talking about.  (Hi, Mom!)

Y'all should follow Brad.  Really.