November 28, 2010

Time, Tired, and T-shirts

Marathon training is in full effect in our house these days.  With my husband and I both needing to do our long runs on the weekends, we've had to figure out a schedule so that we can both get our runs done, then still have a good part of the day together with our boys.  So far, we've been able to make it work.  Mother Nature has been pretty good to us this fall and we've had some awesome running weather.  But, we'll see how it goes when the snow comes and the temps start to drop only giving us a certain number of hours during the day to run.  Brrr...I don't even want to think about it yet!
I think marathon training this 2nd time around is starting to take a toll on my body.  I don't know what it is lately, but my body is just tired.  I've felt it coming on the last couple of weeks, and this weekend was pretty much the tipping point.  I was supposed to do an 18 mile run.  I started off feeling good, but around mile 11, my legs just started feeling a little heavy.  I just wasn't feeling it, so instead of pushing myself to do 7 more miles, I stopped at 14.  Maybe I should have pushed through and done the total distance, but I just really didn't have the motivation to do it.  I finished my run and seriously felt like I had altitude sickness.  I was kind of loopy and felt like I could just fall asleep right then and there.  What is up with that?  I think I'm going to go easy on myself this week and hopefully I'll get my mojo back by the weekend.

I thought I'd take this time to talk about a really cool site called Family Fan Club (HERE).  Here's some information from their site about what they're all about:
FamilyFanClub is a small, privately owned company that creates and sells original endurance and multisport designs on quality apparel and gift items through the internet and race expos. We strive to deliver fun, creative products that celebrate support of athletic and fitness accomplishment.
If you take a look at their site, they have some really cool designs for a variety of sports, including triathlons.  One of their designs is what was used for the "Cheap Gear" button on the right side of my blog.  What I like about the site is that you can pick a design or personalize it according to the race or event you're doing or for someone you're supporting.  How cool is that?  Another cool thing, is that they just added the ability to print on performance wicking 100% polyester tech shirts!  Woohoo for tech shirts!
Oh, and as a side, I think it's hilarious that they have LOST shirts.  If you are one of my original followers, you know that I was majorly obsessed with the show LOST.   Ha ha!
Anyways, I am seriously thinking about making a shirt for me, my sister, and my husband for the PF Chang's marathon!  How fun would that be to wear the shirts during the marathon!?!  Or maybe I'll leave a hint for my husband to make cute shirts for my boys to wear during Ironman Arizona!?! :)

Have any of you ever gotten a shirt made for a special event you did or one you were a spectator at?  I just think it's such a fun idea!  

Anyways, I hope you all had a great weekend!  Thank you all so much for the awesome comments you wrote on my IMAZ post.  I loved reading through all of them and am so excited to be going through this crazy IM adventure with so many of you this year! :)

November 25, 2010

Being Thankful

On this Thanksgiving day, there is so much that I am thankful for.  So much that it would probably take a novel for me to write everything that I'm thankful for.  So, for today, I thought I'd show some of the things I'm thankful for with pictures!

My husband:  He is my support, my friend, and my love.

My boys: They are my everything

My health:  I "get" to swim, bike, run, hike, do yoga, etc..  I know there are many people out there that are not able to do these things, so I am very thankful for what my body is able to do.

My parents:  My parents are just amazing.  I love them dearly.

Family:  I am also thankful for my sisters, my sister/brother-n-law, and my in laws.  They are amazing people that have hearts of gold.

Friends:  Specifically, my blogger friends.  I cannot express how much I appreciate all of your comments and encouragement.  I never imagined this blogging thing would take on such a big part of my life.  I love reading your blogs and have learned so much from each and every one of you.  So, for all you do, thank you. :)

I hope that on this Thanksgiving day, you are all surrounded by those you love.  Have a wonderful day!

November 23, 2010

Never Say Never!!

There are two things that I have always said I would NEVER do: run a marathon and do an Ironman.  Well, you all know that I did my first marathon in October at the Denver Rock-n-Roll event, and I will be doing my second marathon in January at the PF Chang's Rock-n-Roll event!  The second thing, well...I have some exciting news!!

Ironman Arizona: Nov. 20, 2011.... HERE I COME!!!  Yay!!!

Why Now:
The reason why I always said that I would never do an Ironman was because of the 2.4M swim and the marathon.  Seriously, the swim TERRIFIES me!  So what changed my mind?  Well, I think that I have really improved with my swimming this year and have overcome some of my open water fears, which was a major issue for me.  Don't get me wrong, I am still TERRIFIED of the swim, but I have 7 months to get rid of my fear!  Then, after I started training for the Denver marathon and realized that I actually COULD run over 20 miles, the idea of doing an Ironman started swimming around in my head.

Without even discussing it with my husband, I bought the book, "Be Iron Fit" and started reading it along with some Ironman forums/articles online.  It was exciting to think about actually doing an Ironman.  But, I knew that I would have to have my husband's support if I was ever going to make it work.  I started talking to him about it and he got really excited about the idea too! :)  Now, with two kids, I still don't know how I'm going to make it work, but at least I know that I have my husband's support and encouragement.  I know it will be crazy, but we are a good team, and I know that we will work together to figure it all out.    

You might be wondering why I choose Ironman Arizona.  Well, there are lots of reasons actually!
1.  Family:  My mom and dad, two sisters, and my husband's parents all live there.  So, I will have lots of family support with me on race day, which I think will be key for me making it through the race.

2.  Spectator Friendly:  The bike and run are both 3 loops.  Yes, it might get boring, but it's going to be so cool to see my family multiple times throughout the race.

3.  No hotel:  We won't have to pay for a hotel because we can stay with family.

4.  Childcare:  Someone will be able to watch our two boys during the race.

5.  Convenience:  We can drive there and I don't have to worry about packing up and shipping my bike to the race.

6.  Thanksgiving:  The race is the weekend before Thanksgiving, so we're thinking about making it a mini vacation and celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, which is something my mom has always wanted!

Registering yesterday was absolutely hilarious!  My husband had the day off, so we parked ourselves in the office with the main computer and my lap top.  I signed into and had the "registration" page open on both computers.  Then, once 12noon hit, we just kept hitting the button over and over again.  We kept getting a "the system is busy...blah, blah...please try again later" message.  It was really nerve wracking!!  Finally, my husband made it through and I said, "You got in, MOVE OUT OF THE WAY!"  I took his seat and started typing as fast as I could.  Why do they make you answer all of those lame personal questions about previous races and accomplishments???  Anyways, I finally finished filling out all the information, clicked submit, and got a confirmation!  WOOHOO!!!  We were so excited that we both started jumping up and down and giving each other high fives!  It was awesome!!

I think I'm still on an adrenaline high from actually getting in and actually registering for an IRONMAN!  It's sooo crazy!!!  I'm excited about the adventure that lies ahead of me, and I am so grateful to have so many awesome blogger friends that have experienced racing in an Ironman event, or will be doing one this year too!  Oh, and now I can be like all the other cool bloggers and join the 201Ironman blog HERE! :)  Yay!

November 20, 2010

A week in review, other things too, and Holiday cards!

*  Going to Arizona kind of put a wrench in my marathon training, but it was definitely worth it!  I got to do the Muddy Buddy with my sister and go on some nice runs with my husband while the grandparents watched our boys.  It was awesome!  Ahhh...yay for grandparents! :)
Me and my husband after the run

*  One day during our trip, my husband, sister, and I all decided to do a trail run together.  We found a trail system not too far from my parent's house, and headed out.  It was beautiful outside and the trails were awesome.  We did end up getting lost a couple of times and having to back track, but that was all part of the adventure!  All in all, we ended up running 10 miles.  I had an absolute blast, and was ready to buy a pair of trail running shoes that day! :)

me and my sister sporting our Nathan waist belts! :)
Obviously, racing flats are NOT the best shoes to wear trail running.  Ha ha.  Unfortunately, they were the only shoes that I brought on the trip or I wouldn't have worn them.

See how the rubber came up on the bottom??  Good thing I brought my old, wear around the house, pair and not my good ones!

*  A couple fellow bloggers, gave me the heads up about the Denver Marathon that I ran.  Apparently, the course was too long!!  I knew my Garmin couldn't have been that far off!!  The article is HERE if any of you want to read about it.  The good thing though is that they adjusted our times.  So....drum new time is...3:59:29!!  I ran a sub 4hr. marathon!!  Woohoo!!
Too bad I had my medal engraved (they were offering it for free at my local running store):

Other Things Too:
*  I was so excited to get two packages in the mail this week!

Awesome socks from Kovas at Midwest Multisport Life.  I haven't had a chance to run in these yet, but I put them on and they are sooo comfortable!  I'm excited to wear them on my next run!  Thanks Kovas!

The other was some nutrition treats from Kevin at Half Tri-ing.  Yay!  Thanks Kevin!

* Christmas Cards
We all know that the holiday season is here.  I cannot believe it's the middle of November already!  Where did the time go?  I have been going through all of my pictures looking for the perfect ones to put on our Christmas card this year.  I love making and sending out Christmas cards.  I also love getting holiday cards.  I usually let my boys open up the envelopes and tape them on our office doors.  It's our way of creating a big cheerful display of cards throughout the holiday season!

 This year I've decided to use Shutterfly to make my cards.  Their site is one of the most user friendly sites I've used for making cardsinvitations, and photo books.  In fact, when my oldest turned 3, I made him an ABC Photo Book that turned out amazing!

Isn't it awesome?? :)
I'm actually in the process of making my youngest son's ABC book right now.

Shutterfly has some of the best and cutest designs for photo cards that I've seen.  And, I love how you can put multiple photos on the cards and personalize it for your family.  Using Shutterfly is an easy, fun, and fast way to make your holiday cards this year.  So, if you haven't started making your holiday cards yet, go check them out!  I'm sure you will love what you see! :)

Honestly, I was going to use Shutterfly for my cards this year anyway, but they are running an awesome promotion for bloggers.  Check it out HERE!

November 18, 2010

Muddy Buddy Race Report

Otherwise known as the funnest race ever!

On Saturday, my sister and I left our boys with our husbands and Grandma and Grandpa and headed to REI for packet pick-up.  It was nice to get away for a little while and spend some time with just my sister.  When we got our packet, the volunteer told us that we were one of the first 50 teams to register, so we got the special tech-tee race shirt!  I think we said a loud, "Woohoo" and did some high fives right there.  It was pretty funny!  Check out the shirt:
We spent the rest of the afternoon finalizing our costumes and finishing up the last minute details.  When we registered, we had to come up with a team name on the spot.  For some reason I choose, "Sisters That Rock!"  We used that name to inspire our costumes.  Here we are in all our glory!

I found the crazy wigs in the Target dollar spot for $1!  Because we had to wear our helmets during the entire race, we decided to sew the wigs onto our helmets.  It's a little hard to see, but we also sewed a pink and black guitar on the fish nets right above our knee.

We painted the back of our shirts to complete the costume.  :) 

The Race:
For those of you that don't know what the Muddy Buddy race is, it's basically a "race" where you and your partner run and bike and complete obstacles along the way.  One person starts off biking, then your partner starts running 2 minutes later.  You ride/run a set distance, come to a transition area, drop the bike off, complete an obstacle, and do the next leg.  If you start as a biker, you leave as a runner, and vice versa.  Overall, this race consisted of 5 legs and 4 obstacles for a total of 6.6 miles.  You finish the race side by side with your partner crawling through a huge mud pit!  You are not required to wear a costume, but it is highly encouraged! 

Costume Contest:
Before the race started, we had the costume contest.  Everyone commented on our costumes, especially the crazy helmet hair, but there were some pretty awesome costumes.  The winning team ended up being "Code Brown."  They were wearing hospital gowns that opened in the back to reveal a huge depends diaper filled with brown "poop."  It was awesome and they totally deserved to win.  I can't even imagine what it must have been like to run and ride in that!  Ha ha!

Let's do this!
Pretty soon, it was time to start!  Even though we were doing this for fun, we were both sooo nervous!  It was pretty funny.  I had no idea what to expect since the course map was basically a cartoon drawing.  Plus, it's probably been close to 10 years since I rode a mountain bike.  

The whistle blew and I was off!  The first 3/4M was all uphill on the road, so I was able to pass everyone in my wave before I got on the trail.  Once on the trail I got so nervous!  Because it was a wave start, and we were in the last wave, there were so many people on the trail.  Although the runners were supposed to stay on the right and the bikers on the left, in some places, there was no room to pass.  It was pretty scary in some spots.  Plus, some areas were really sandy and I was terrified of crashing!  All I could think about was crashing into the prickly bushes.  But, it never happened!  I don't know what came over me, but suddenly I had no fear.  I rode that mountain bike like I knew what I was doing and it was awesome!

I got to the first transition area, dropped off the bike, and completed the first obstacle (the low crawl).  The picture to the left isn't from the race, but it was the closest image I could find to the actual obstacle.  As I was going through it, all I could think about was how glad I was that I had my tri shorts on under my skirt!  Ha ha! :)

Then I was off running!  I have to say that living at a higher elevation, then racing at a lower elevation is awesome!  My lungs felt amazing and I literally ran as fast as I could to the next transition area.  I passed so many people and it was awesome!  I know we were doing this for fun, but something about being in a race always brings out my competitive side.  :)  

Before I knew it, I was at the next transition area.  The next obstacle was this rock wall/rope wall thing.  It was pretty fun actually to go up and over it!  I finished and waited for my sister to finish her bike leg.  Now, I have to say that the bike leg she did was soooo tough!  It was practically all deep sand with lots of turns.  With the amount of people on the course, it would have been almost impossible to actually ride the bike during that part.  I felt so bad for her, but before I knew it, I saw her blue helmet head coming my way!  I gave her a high-five, said some, "Woohoos," grabbed the bike from her and was off to the next leg.

My bike section started with a huge hill.  There was no way that I could ride up it, especially since I was starting from a standstill, so I ran up the hill with the bike.  As soon as it flattened out I hopped on and started riding again.  This was the most technical bike section for me.  There were a lot of downhills with deep sand and rock pits at the bottom and all I wanted to do was hit my brakes and go slow.  BUT, with a mountain bike and sand, I knew that was the last thing I should do.  So, I held on for dear life, cruised down the hills, and made it past the sand and up the other side!  I was so happy! YAY!  Again, this leg seemed to fly by and pretty soon I was at the next transition area.  I dropped off the bike, completed the obstacle (balance beam), and took off running again.

Now, every time I got on the bike, these guys would pass me because they were obviously stronger riders.  The funny thing though is that once we got on the run I would catch up to them and they would just start laughing.  At one point, I passed one guy and he said, "I knew that was you coming up behind me!"  It was pretty fun because it continued throughout the whole race.  

While I was running, my sister passed me on the bike!  We screamed, "Yay...go sisters that rock!" and kept on going.  Finally, I made it to the last obstacle, and it was a blast!  It was a 20ft. blow up wall where you had to climb up it with ropes, then go down a big slide on the other side.  I got to the top, slid down, and surprised myself by screaming a little bit! Ha ha!  My skirt totally flew up and when I got to the bottom I said, "Thank god I  had shorts on under that" and all the guys laughed!  

I hopped on the bike for the last leg.  Half way through the leg I passed my sister running.  It was so much fun to see her again! :)  We said some more, "Woohoos" and kept going.  I made it to the final transition area, turned the bike upside down, and waited for my sister to come in.  Here are some pics my husband got of me coming in.

Yes, I am a total dork!  I saw my husband, boys, and dad and decided to do a little "Woohoo" with my hands in the air for them!  Ha ha!

It was so great to see my family at the end, but I think my boys were a little taken aback by my costume.  I'm not quite sure they recognized me...ha ha! :)

My sister coming in strong!  See the blue crazy hair??

The Mud Pit:
We locked hands, and headed towards the mud pit!  We saw my mom, niece, and nephew to the side cheering us on.  My sister just went for it and started was awesome.
The mud was sooo deep and FREEZING!  We crawled, and crawled, and crawled, and finally made it out!

Here we are, muddy and cold and loving it! :)
We ended up getting 2nd in our AG with a time of 58:52!!!  Woohoo!!!  
We truly are SISTERS THAT ROCK! :)  

Overall, this race was a complete blast and so much fun to do with my sister! It was a little harder than I thought it would be, but that's what made it so fun!  I would definitely do it again, and highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for a fun, but challenging race to do.  

November 17, 2010

Giveaway Winner!!

This whole traveling stuff is crazy!  I finally got back home last night and am now scrambling around unpacking, doing laundry, and grocery shopping.  I promise to visit your blogs soon!  And, I can't wait to tell you all about Muddy Buddy!  It was awesome! :)

Now, to the point of this post! :)  There were 201!  Based on,

The Favorite Things Part 2 Giveaway Winner is.....

Running, Tri-ing, and Living 

Woohoo!  Please send me an email with your address and I'll get your goodies out to you asap! :)

November 10, 2010

Favorite Things Giveaway-Part 2!

Favorite Things Giveaway!
Woohoo!  I finally got all the stuff together for the giveaway I've been talking about!  Like my first giveaway, I decided to focus on my favorite things.  This time however, since it's the off-season (for most of us) for triathlons, I wanted to do some of my favorite things for running, and some other fun things mixed in.  None of this stuff was donated, so I guess it's kind of a "pay-it-forward" giveaway.  So, I hope you like what I've got for you! :)

Here's what you'll get if you win:
1.  1 pair of black reflective Yankz!  I love my yankz and have them on pretty much every athletic shoe I own.  Now that the days are getting shorter, reflective gear is a must.  So, I thought I'd give away a reflective pair for that extra bit of visibility.

2.  A CD of some of my favorite running/workout songs.  I have over 5hrs. of songs on my Ipod playlist, but unfortunately they wouldn't all fit on one CD.  But, you'll get 22 songs (about 80min.) of music to help get you through those long, or short, runs! :)

3.  1 Hammer gel, 1 Gu Roctane, 1 packet of Clif Shot Bloks, and 1 packet of Sport Beans

4.  One container of Kola NUUN.  I use NUUN on every run/bike ride over an hour and absolutely love it!  

5.  1 tube of Yelpstick - This lip balm is awesome.  It has an SPF 15 and has a nice scent to it.  I don't know about you, but my lips get really dry and cracked over the winter months.  This lip balm really helps keep them smooth. 

6.  I tube of Aquaphor - If you've never tried Aquaphor, you're missing out!  This stuff is great for cuts, blisters, chaffing, dry/cracked areas, and much more.  Although I've heard you can use it for your "sensitive" areas when you're on the bike, I haven't gotten the chance to try it out yet.   But, we have used it for our son's diaper rash, and it worked great! 

7.  1 "run." sticker

8.  2 tattoos - 1 for (best site ever!) and 1 RMAO (Run My A** Off) Saucony tattoo

9.  1 awesome metal hook - The last thing is, in my opinion, something unique and really cool.  My brother-n-law makes amazing things using recycled metal and other materials.  I am giving away one of his hooks that he made.  I loved the design on it because it reminded me of a running path.  The hook is called "Ungawa," and the tag reads:  Ungawa looks after you, your keys, your jewelry, or just about anything that hangs.  I know this isn't exactly "running" related, but you could definitely use the hook to hang your workout bag, race medals, clothing, etc.  
He has an Etsy shop {HERE} that you should check out if you get the chance.  He sells a lot of unique things that would make great gifts for Christmas, or any time.  Oh, and the bottle openers are awesome.  We own 3 of them ourselves..ha ha! :)  

Here's how to win:
**  Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each one.**

1.  Follow my blog, or if you are already a follower, let me know! :)

2.  If you were one of the first 206 followers (through the "follow" button on blogger, not Google reader) let me know because you get an extra entry! :)

3.  Tell me what one of your favorite running items is!

** The contest will run until Tuesday, Nov. 16th.  I will announce the winner on Wed., Nov. 17th! **

November 5, 2010

A week in review and other things too

*  This week has been awesome as far as training goes.  It almost seems like I am training for a tri again because I've been able to swim, bike, and run!  Yay!  This week made me realize just how much I like to train for tris.  Don't get me wrong, I love running, and I've been enjoying training for my marathons, but it's nice to switch things up a bit and go for a bike ride every once in awhile.  The weather has been really nice here, especially for the end of Oct/early Nov., so I've been taking advantage of it and getting outside to ride.  It's been great!

*  Another reason I'm glad I've been able to ride outside is because I need to get my riding legs back in shape for next weekend!  My sister and I are doing the Muddy Buddy in Phx. and I am so excited!  We have our costumes picked out and everything and it's going to be so much fun!   I'm thinking about wearing my VFF Bikilas for the race.  Since we're bound to get muddy, I don't think I really want to get my running shoes dirty b/c they'd be a pain to clean!  But, I don't know how they'll be on the bike.  What do you think?

*  I've decided to do the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge that Amanda at Run To The Finish is putting on.  You can click on the button on the right of my blog to get the scoop!

*  I went to my yoga class again yesterday, and it kicked my ass!  The instructor focused a lot on working our core and legs/hips and it was tough!  At one point, I was breathing so hard that my lips got tingly.  Have I mentioned how much I love that class?!?

*  I have a couple of exciting things coming up in the next few weeks, that I'm still waiting on.  They need to be worked out a little more, but when I get it all figured out I'll be sure to share them with you!  I'm pretty excited about them, so keep your fingers crossed that they happen! :)

Other Things Too:
*  I've won three blog giveaways in the past couple of weeks and I am so excited!!!  First, I won an awesome Nathan Handheld water bottle from Marcia at Running Off at the Mouth.  Then, I won an awesome outside PR gift bucket from Mel at Tall Mom on the Run.  Then, I just found out I won a nutrition goodie from Kevin at Half Tri-ing.  Woohoo! :)

*  I'm still trying to get together the stuff for my giveaway.  I'm sorry it's taking so long, but I promise I'll have it up next week sometime.  Yay!
*  We're going up to the mountains this weekend to visit my sister-n-law and her husband.  They've gotten quite a bit of snow up there, so I have to get out all of our winter gear.  Brrrr!  My boys are so excited about it, so it should be pretty fun!

November 1, 2010

Sunday Run and Halloween!

Sunday Run:
Sunday was my first "long" run since my marathon.  I was scheduled to run 7miles and I was itching to get out and run!  The weather was beautiful and I was looking forward to being outside.  I know soon enough that I'll be doing the majority of my runs inside on the treadmill, so it was nice to have a 65 degree day!

I know fully recovering from a marathon takes time, but my legs have just felt a little off on my runs lately.  This run was no different.  But, after about 3 miles, my legs actually started to feel "normal" again!  It was a great feeling and I decided to ignore my Garmin and just run.  It was awesome.

When I got about a 1/2mile from my house, "Sweet Child of Mine" from Guns-N-Roses (yes, I have that song on my training playlist!) came on.  It instantly reminded me of my cousin Denis who passed away years ago.  He lived with us for awhile when I was in high school and he was obsessed with GNR.  Something about the song coming on, the beautiful weather, and feeling good on the run, made me point to the sky and say, "This one's for you Denis." I sprinted all of the way home, and the song ended exactly when I reached our driveway.  I got a little teary eyed when I finished, but it also brought a smile to my face remembering him at a happy time in his life, rocking out to GNR.  :)
Halloween was great this year!  My husband took the boys out trick-or-treating while I stayed home to pass out candy.  Here is a picture I took before they headed out:
My oldest was the transformer Optimus Prime and my youngest was Spiderman.  In this picture, I told them to pretend they were using their super powers and these are the poses they came up with!  I love it! :)

The Switch Witch
My husband and I decided to try something new this year.  I read somewhere about the idea of the "Switch Witch" and thought it was awesome.  So, here's how it works.  On Halloween night, we had the boys pick out 10 pieces of their favorite candy.  The rest was put into a big bowl and placed on our living room coffee table.  When the boys are sleeping, the Switch Witch comes, takes all of the candy, and leaves a special toy for each boy in its' place.  Of course, it takes a little planning to buy an awesome toy for each boy ahead of time, but it was so worth it.  Our boys were so excited about it and it was a great way for us to get rid of all of the candy without dealing with the tantrums that may have occurred if we just took the candy away from them.  Now, they have their 10 pieces to eat and then it's gone!  I don't know about all of you, but if there is candy around, I will eat it.  I think I've actually gained several pounds from grabbing a piece of candy here and there over the last couple of days.  I love candy, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing.  So, my husband took the whole bowl of candy to work with him so the other employees can eat it.  Let them deal with the extra pounds! :)