Thursday, November 17, 2016

Buffalo Creek + EQT + Win Gear Courtesy of XShadyside Pilates in Shadyside!!!

I am hosting a giveaway Courtesy of XShadyside Pilates in Shadyside.  You'll have the chance to win some gear of your choice, but first you'll have to read some random thoughts by yours truly to get the chance to enter. Ok honestly nothing is keeping you from scrolling to the bottom, but don't you want to read?  I thought so!  

I've been such a terrible blogger as of late.  I guess I just don't make it a priority in my life.  I have no excuses, but I miss it.  I miss telling you my thoughts and feeling about my running and everything going on in my life.  It's such a creative outlet and therapeutic too. Anyway, I'm here to talk about a few races I've recently done.  

I struggled with injury all summer.  I have my normal shoulder issues, but in June I got a bulging disc in my back and the effects of that lasted pretty much all summer.  So as school started so did my quest to comeback from my injury.  I've been working a lot lately (I'm looking at you competitive dance bill) so my workouts haven't been exactly what I've wanted them to be.  Again, excuses really.  I know I get out of training what I put into it.  I haven't been a good running student if you will.  

Nevertheless, I signed up for the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon that took place October 15th. I knew I wasn't prepared.  I'd worked my way up to 8 miles.  8 miles is a lot, I get it, but it's 5 miles from 13 and 5 miles is a lot too.  Ha!  I know myself, however, and I knew I could finish the race without injury if I just ran it smart.  

Charlene, Lisa, Jaime, Tracey, Me before the race
I was afraid to really make a goal for myself because I honestly didn't know what I was capable of, but I've run enough races to be able to set a realistic goal for myself so I said 10:30 pace (or better).  I'm not going to lie, Buffalo Creek is a generous course (read flat) but it kicked my ass.  I finished in 2:16:42 or a 10:26 pace.  How's that for knowing myself?  Not bad.  I'll take it.  I was truly pleased with what I did that day, but not pleased overall.  I wanted/needed to get back to running faster.

Post Race 
After Buffalo Creek came the EQT 10 Miler.  I had been signed up for it, but honestly I was kind of dreading it.  Who looks forward to another lackluster performance?  I did ramp up  my running and finally felt like I was getting back in a groove, but with just 3 weeks separating races, I wasn't overly hopeful beyond my 10:26 pace.  

I talked to some friends about what my goals should be.  Kim told me I HAD to beat last year's pace of 9:47.  Kortni told me to shoot for running better than a 10:00 minute mile.  I decided Kim was crazy (love you Kim) and I'd go with Kortni's goal.  I was, however, secretly mad that I couldn't beat last year's time.  Remember though, you get out of training what you put into it.  Last year I was training for a marathon and running a LOT more.  I was barely back at it.  10:00 minute miles seemed logical.  

Laura, Charlen, Kate, Jaime, Me, Tracey pre EQT
I lined up for the race with Jaime.  We discussed our goals (Hers: 9:15  and Mine: that 10:00 mile).  We talked about our last year's times and I explained there was NO WAY I could run a 9:47 pace.  I just wasn't prepared or ready.  I wished Jaime luck and we started our own separate races.  

I did tell myself I would push as hard as I could for as long as I could.  I'm usually pretty good about pacing and holding back for when it gets hard in the end.  I also know I'm tough and I don't give up.  So I told myself push hard and if the wheels fall off at the end, dig deeper.  So that's what I did.  I pushed and it was hard.  There were times I wanted to stop, times I questioned why I was pushing, but I remembered the feeling I was chasing at the end. I kept pushing.  

Trust me when I tell you the EQT course is a moderately tough course, but it is sprinkled with unicorns and fairy dust.  I honestly don't know how I did it, but I set a PR that day running 1:36:40 or 9:40 pace.  It took me til about mile 9 to really do the math and realize PRing was possible.  I gave it all I had at the end to make sure I got that PR.  

I felt so happy at the end.  So happy I got tears in my eyes.  It means so much to not believe you can do something (like I truly did NOT believe it was possible) and then it happens.  I beat my last year's time by less than 30 seconds.

Pure joy!
I'm still not back to my former running self.  I can't even imagine how I ever ran a sub 2:00 half, but I'm getting there.  I'm happy to be healthy enough to run and I'm focusing on what my body CAN do and not what I can't.

As your reward for making it to the end, you have the chance to win some gear ($25 Gift Card) from Dick's Sporting Goods Courtesy of XShadyside Pilates in Shadyside.  All you have to do is head over to Dick's Sporting Goods and LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS BLOG POST telling me what you'd buy if you won.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below or simply by commenting on the blog post.  Thanks for reading and thanks to  XShadyside Pilates in Shadyside for sponsoring this post.  

   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

When Your First Born Becomes a Man

I remember sitting in my 5th grade parent/teacher conference with Nicholas' teacher who had been a teacher at that time for nearly 40 years.  She gushed over Nicholas telling me what a wonderful young man he was, an who she knew he would become.  She gave him so much praise that I cried. I've never heard anyone (other than family) tell me so many wonderful things that they see in my son.   She also told me that in January of 5th grade year, something happens and 5th graders change.  I tucked that information into the back of my mind and I waited.

And waited, and waited.  Nothing happened.  He didn't change at all.  I still had so much respect for his teacher that I didn't chalk it up to her being crazy, I suspected instead that Nicholas was different.  Then last year I was talking to a new friend of mine (also a fifth grade teacher) and she told me that something happens to 5th graders after Christmas and they change.  Wait what?  The SECOND time I've heard this, but I'm well past January of 5th grade and nothing had changed.  Or had it?

Things had changed just not abruptly like I had expected, it was gradual.  I'm not sure if this was the change Mrs. 5th Grade teacher was talking about, but it was distinct and it was real.  If I'm being honest, it probably happened sooner than I realized, but I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking for.

I look at my son and I realize he's almost a man.  He may not be 6 foot tall (he's 5 foot 1) but he's a young man nonetheless.  His voice is deeper (most of the time), he's hairier and pimplier (I made up that word), but it's more than his physical appearance. My son doesn't look at me the same.  Gone are the random hugs and kisses and snuggles.  Gone are mommy and me moments that you enjoy just because your kids is.... well a kid.  It's sad and it's a process to understand and adjust to.

Don't get me wrong.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my son loves me.  I feel it deep down. We have a great relationship that I really wouldn't change.  We have, however, arrived at a point where he doesn't need me the same way.  He'd rather spend time in his room on his phone or in the basement playing Playstation.  He barely notices if I walk in a room, let alone acknowledges me.  It hurts, but I know it's normal.  It's part of him becoming less of my little boy and more of the independent adult I'm raising him to be.

So gone are the days walking hand in hand, but here are the moments I've honestly been waiting for.  I often wondered what type of young man my son would grow up to be.  And guess what?  My kid, my quasi-adult little being, is a pretty cool.  He makes me laugh with his sense of humor.  He gets my jokes and I can say a swear word around him if I want to.  He's kind and considerate, well-mannered, smart and hard-working.  I no longer have to dream about who he will become.  I mean sure I haven't sent him to college and I don't really know what type of an adult he will be, but I know I'm on the right path.

No one ever tells you when you become a mom that one day you'll have to mourn the loss of your little kid.  No one until Nicholas' 5th grade teacher.  I think that's what she was telling me would happen.  It might have just taken until now for me to realize.  Goodbye my sweet and precious little boy.  Hello to the young man you are and the wonderful man I know you'll become.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Banff Vacation: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake (AKA The Most Gorgeous Place I've Seen)

Everyone keeps asking me how I found out about and decided to go to Banff.  Well the answer is easy.  This...

A friend of mine posted a picture of Lake Louise on Facebook and I swear it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I asked her where it was and when she mentioned Canada, I knew I had to go.  Nicholas has always had the dream of going to Canada (Toronto didn't get it out of his system) so I started doing my research and booked the trip.

We visited Lake Louise after being out in the Columbia Icefields all day and when we got to Lake Louise I got the dreaded dead battery on my camera.  I was so devastated.  The pictures I took on my iPhone do not do the place justice.

But right now you're still thinking you want to go right? Isn't it the prettiest.  You just wait to see what we find next.

It was later in the day when we arrived at Lake Louise, which meant it was a lot less crowded.  I highly recommend going later in the day to avoid the crowds.  I also heard before 10 am is good.

Even with just an iPhone, I took no shortage of pictures. 

Including the "will you please take our picture" picture.  

Also this might be the coolest hotel ever.  The Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise.  I almost stayed here, but I'm glad I didn't.  Not because it's not beautiful, clearly it is, but because it's a little too far away from the town of Banff.  It might be worth it to stay here a day or two though.  

We only walked around Lake Louise a little bit, but there were plenty of trails for hiking.  We were just on a tighter time frame and I knew I wanted to see Moraine Lake too. 

I honestly wasn't expecting much from Moraine Lake, I just went on the recommendation of a friend. I thought it would be smaller than Lake Louise but not as impressive.  Smaller it was, but less impressive it was not.  

As you can see even late in the afternoon/early evening it was still very crowded.  The logs you see are actually floating on the water.  You step across those to get to the rocks and climb the "mountain."  I made a wrong step at one point onto a non steady log and submerged my whole foot and almost fell. Some poor young girl caught me.  She was so sweet and I was so embarrassed.  

We climbed and it wasn't that difficult.

It was pretty fun to earn that view at the top.

No, not that view.  This one!  

Is that not the most beautiful thing you have seen?  Again, all taken with an iPhone camera!  Pictures can not do it justice.

I loved the "ten peaks" as they call it.  I think there's more than ten, but who am I to say? 

My kids wanted every picture and I had to oblige.

This is one of my favorite pics from the trip.  Love him! 

I never thought I would see such things in my life.  You can't even image anything like this.  I'll say it again, pictures do NOT do it justice. 

Moraine Lake was definitely a highlight of my trip.  There was so much hiking we could have done there, but again we did not due to time.  We spent a full week in Banff and didn't nearly touch all the things we could have done.  I'm glad we at least got to enjoy a small glimpse of Moraine Lake.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

First Day of School 2016

Another school year begins.  We had such a great summer so it was particularly hard to go back!
I find it hard to believe I have an 8th grader.  I mean I can clearly remember and have horrid fond memories of my 8th grade year.

Despite digging my heels in, it keeps happening. They keep getting older and older.  I do love this child even at this age.  His sense of humor is what keeps me loving him daily even when he's in the brain fog of teenagerhood.

Ella is entering 5th grade and is in a whole new building this year.  It seems crazy to me because that was just Nicholas and now he's gone and the oldest in his building.  Ugh... again, make it stop! Of course Ella was more worried about outfits, hair and supplies than anything else.  She wore her topknot or "man bun" as she likes to call it.  That girl!


Ella came home at the end of the day and reported all good things. Then she says, "It was too much Power Points with rules.  Let's get to the learning!"  So I guess she's excited to learn!

Jack is a third grader this year.  Not going to say it again (STOP THE GROWING... did I say it? Out loud?) He is VERY excited about his teacher.  She's one of the best. ONE (just in case Kylie is reading I said one... not THE best).

He was beyond happy at the start of the day and dare I say even more at the end.

If felt good to send them off and then get a GREAT first day report.

I think Sid missed them too.  Or maybe she just enjoyed back-to-school with an uninterrupted nap on the couch.

Best of luck for an amazing school year my loves.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Banff Vacation: Columbia Ice Fields

Who wants to go walk on a glacier?  Because that's a thing!  I couldn't believe it and was very excited for this portion of the vacation.  It was a tour booked again through Brewster.  I had no idea that the drive to the ice fields was 3 hours when I booked the excursion, but it was WELL worth the drive.  The drive up was FULL of amazing views and of course when we go there, the glaciers were amazing. 

I should mention that we were about 1 mile away form our destination so you know 2 hours 59 minutes into our 3 hour drive and George looks over at me and asks, "you have the tickets?"  Um no. NO I do NOT have the tickets.  I admit I panicked.  I said, "Let's just go home."  George stayed calm an we went into the booking place and they reissued our tickets with my confirmation email.  Thank God!  I was so, so thankful!

What does it take to get out on a glacier?  Well one of these bad boys-- an ice explorer with a price tag of $1 million. Crazy right?

It took us about 15 minutes to get out on the glacier and I'll be honest I was disappointed in the amount of space there was to move around.  I understand, they have to keep the people safe, but you were roped in a pretty small area.  But there are huge holes throughout and it's very easy (and dangerous) to fall through. Still, I wish there was more are to explore.  

Not allowed in this area 

Red tape marks the boundary 

Here's a glimpse of some of the "holes."  The water was so blue.  The aqua-ish color is caused by the "rock flower."  Rock flower is just basically rock dust and it only reflects the blue because of it's wavelength.  So it's pretty amazing to see this aqua blue water in the middle of a glacier.

This is the view facing back away from the glacier. Some people book tours to make the trek all the way up (remember it took us 15 minutes by vehicle) and some dumbass people try to do it alone.  Our guide told us they lose people every year.  Sad that people are so dumb.

To be able to say we walked on a glacier in the middle of the Canadian Rockies is pretty cool!  It was definitely a highlight of our trip. 

I hope my kids always remember this trip and all the awe inspiring things we saw and did.  I hope they're not too young.  They all talked about coming back some day with their own kids.  I hope they do.

I'll leave you with this pictures.  Because.  Hello.  Cute!