Wednesday, December 31, 2014

my {running} year in review and 2015 preview

Accomplishments in 2014:
I ran 1200 miles!!!
I ran for 255 hours and 18 minutes.
I burned 138,829 calories on my runs.
I ran one 5k.
I ran one 25k.
I ran one 30k.
I ran two half marathons.
I ran two full marathons.
I set three new PRs this year.

Goals for 2015:
Run local!
In 2015 I hope to finally beat a 30 minute 5k.
I want to better my marathon time by about 15 minutes.
I want to better my half marathon time by about 10 minutes.
I want to run 2015 miles with my running partner (1007.5 each).
I'd like to run a 5k with Julianna and Joshua if possible.

Races on my calendar:
January 3 - Frosty 25k
March 29 - City of the Arts Half
May 2 - Carolina Brewsfest Half
October 10 - Cannonball Half
November 14 - Richmond Marathon
December 5 - Mistletoe Half

I'd say it's been a pretty phenomenal year, but something tells me it was just the warm up!

Thanks for your support, friends!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

When the Game Stands Tall: a good fix for your post holiday blues

As always, the views expressed in this post are entirely my own. I was not compensated for this post; I was provided a copy of the movie to keep.

"What is it about a sports movie that can always bring a man to tears?" my husband said quietly as we finished watching When the Game Stands Tall.

We came down with some nasty virus on Christmas Day and the whole family spent the next three days doing nothing but laying around the house in PJs. Fortunately, Family Christian sent me a copy of the movie and we didn't have to go anywhere for some good family entertainment.

When the Game Stands Tall is a movie based on the true story of De La Salle's High School Football coach who led the team on a 151 game winning streak in the '90s. Of course, it's the feel-good sports movie you'd expect but it's also full of inspiring lessons that I'll remember on my runs for a while to come.

Coach Bob Ladouceur preached to his team (and I'm paraphrasing here), "I don't expect perfect plays 100% of the time. What I expect is 100% effort."

Whether you're a football fan or not, whether you can appreciate a feel-good sports movie or not, whether you're giving 100% effort or not, I recommend that you watch When the Game Stands Tall. This true story will help cure your post holiday blues and inspire you. I promise.

"Don't let a game define who you are. Let the way you live your lives do that."

Monday, December 29, 2014


Julianna was reading something about aliens one day and found that people actually buy alien insurance. Josh asked what insurance was and as I tried my best to explain he said, "Is that like no money down no interest layaway?"


Josh was watching roadrunner cartoons one morning and he declared, "I love that guy! He always does tricks when he's trying to get that flamingo!"


"That's half a snapping plant. It's made in new York and that red bit on it is its mouth."


 (Watching TV)
"Jules, that guy looked like Austin!"
"Which one?"
"That one in the gray and black like four pages back."


Friday, December 26, 2014

goals version twenty fifteen

Last year I set some goals to meet/finish this year.  They included:

  • drink less coffee
  • run a marathon
  • read 40 books
  • spend less money on crap I already have
  • wear my hair in a ponytail less
  • finally get rid of the Appletini mix that's been in my fridge since something like 2007
  • lose 15 more pounds (unfortunately, I think this one holds a permanent spot on my resolution list)
I think I've actually made it a habit to drink MORE coffee so that one's a big FAIL!

I ran two marathons, read 40 books, wore my hair in a ponytail less (except while running), lost 15 pounds and gained most of it back, and I promise I'll look for the Appletini mix to throw out tonight.

For 2015 I'd like to
  • organize all of our closets
  • increase my running pace by an average of 1 minute/mile (not a specific pace but I'd like to get faster by about a minute a mile for each type of run)
  • read 40 books
  • save a couple of thousand dollars for another vacation
  • run another marathon and at least one other half marathon
  • volunteer somewhere
Seems ambitious, but I know I can do it.

"I'd rather be partly great than entirely useless." Unwind by Neal Shusterman 

What are your goals for 2015? Inspire me.

Friday, December 19, 2014

links i love

Santa 'N' Winston is a Secret Santa that buys gift certificates to local stores and hides them around town for people in the Dash to find. Local peeps, you can follow him on his Facebook page and join in the fun. Thanks for spreading Christmas cheer, Santa!


Things are Looking Up
I recently shared with my coworkers that I struggle with a bit of on and off again depression and anxiety and ever since then five other people have approached me sharing their similar personal stories. It's such a taboo topic and people don't really talk about it publicly. Even I regretted saying it once it came out of my mouth, but I'm starting to think a little differently now. I want to share this link of the current sermon series at my church. These have been some of the best messages I've heard in a while and I encourage you to check them out. Really good stuff, folks!


Candy Cane Oreo Pie?
Yes, please.


I'm not a DIYer but I have dreams of becoming one. (Standard response to myself: After the marathon.) At any rate, Beckie created the cutest hallway cart and you can find out how here. Seriously, very cute.


Thuy's Berry Basket series is one of the most creative gift wrapping ideas I've seen this year. Get five gift ideas wrapped in a simple and adorable berry basket here.

What are you loving lately?

Also, I still need book recommendations and giveaway entries here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mistletoe 2014 Edition + 2014 Running Summary

I ran the Mistletoe Half Marathon Saturday a week ago. It was my last race of the year.

I ran it last year as a pacer and was invited to do it again so I gladly accepted. I also ran it in 2012 and this is becoming one of my favorite races since I consider it my "home course." I love that this race is in it's 31st year and that it is still improving. This was only the second time they have offered pace groups.

I was a pacer for the 2:30 goal time and my dad was signed up to run with me. Since he's still having a bit of pain he decided to run the first half with me and then meet my sister to switch off and finish the second half. The groups running with pacers were much larger this year than last which made it more fun. At the start I had probably 20 people ask me for the split times that we were aiming for. We had at least a half dozen people say they were going to try to stay with us. One of them was a former student of mine and her mother was along for the fun with her.

We started out faster than I would have liked for the first mile but I have a habit of that. Our average pace per mile was supposed to be right at 11:26 and we were at 11:09 for the first mile so we slowed it down and tried to stay right on track.

It was great weather. We were worried because it was supposed to rain the majority of the day but it was in the mid 40s and only drizzled a few times.

We did really well for the first 6 miles. We were averaging around an 11:20 pace and we were satisfied with that. There were about 4 or five girls staying with us and they were all comfortable and we were all pleased with only being 5 or 6 seconds fast. One man was doing run/walk intervals and he was staying with us to this point.

My dad broke off after Reynolda Village and we saw my sister ahead. She ran with me through Wake Forest University, back through Reynolda Village and Graylyn and then I started tanking around mile 10 in Buena Vista. This is a repeat from last year.

I walked about ten steps, saw a dear friend cheering, and kept on trucking. My sister was only about 50 yards ahead of me for the entire rest of the way. My pace group "passengers" stayed pretty much in between my sister and I for the last couple of miles and then started walking a bit for the last mile or mile and a half.

My sister probably finished 30 seconds ahead of me. My official finish time was 2:28:38 which is a new PR by about a minute for me. The best part is knowing that if I can do that time at Mistletoe, I know that I can do much better on a flat course.

I didn't think anything could top 2014, but I think 2015's going to be a good running year!

I'm on schedule to break 1200 miles for the year (which is 100 mile/month average) and I don't think I'll ever see that number again so I am completely proud of it.  I ran 6 official races this year: one 5k, one half marathon, one 25k, one 30k, two full marathons. I went through 4 pairs of shoes (even though my current pair has at least another hundred miles to go in them) and we won't talk about how much money I spent on running because I don't even know that number.

If you had asked me when I was 25 if I ever thought I'd run a marathon it would have been a quick, easy answer. If you'd told me when I was 18 that I'd run a marathon I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Now, I can't imagine life without running. It's my coping mechanism, my therapy and it makes me a better person in general.

If you don't run, I totally get that.  If you think you could never run, I'd still encourage you to give it a try. You may find that you were wrong. I know that I was.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

books read in 2014

I've read some pretty good books this year. The ones that stand out to me the most include The Giver series, Wonder, We Were Liars, and all of the Rainbow Rowell books.  Have you read any of those? Do you notice a theme? Here's a big hint: all of my favorite books from this year were written for Young Adults.

I noticed that in the Goodreads Reader's Choice Awards We Were Liars won best book of the year for Young Adults and a Rainbow Rowell book won for Best Fiction so obviously I'm not alone in liking these.

My full list is below but I'd love for you to tell me some good ones to add to my list for 2015.
  1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  2. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
  3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  5. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  6. Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke
  7. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  8. Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer
  9. The Glass Wives by Amy Sue Nathan
  10. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  11. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  12. Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids' "Go-To" Person about Sex by Deborah M. Roffman
  13. Is Your Child Ready for School by Judith Kuhn
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  16. Messenger by Lois Lowry
  17. Son by Lois Lowry
  18. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  19. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  20. True Colors by Kristen Hannah
  21. One Second After by William Forstchen
  22. Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes
  23. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  24. Bingo's Run by James Levine
  25. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  26. Pure by Julianna Baggot
  27. 10 Things for Teen Girls by Kate Conner
  28. Outlaw by Ted Dekker
  29. The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
  30. AD 30 by Ted Dekker
  31. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  32. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
  33. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
  34. The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau
  35. The Goldfinch by Donna Tart
  36. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  37. The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau
  38. The Bear by Claire Cameron
  39. The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau
  40. Goddess Girls: The Girl Games by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (for Julianna's book report)
  41. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  42. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
So what should I read next? One random person that leaves a comment will receive a book gift from me.

Friday, December 12, 2014

you be the judge

Sometimes he still surprises me with exactly how smart he is.

Josh has had really, really dry skin. He's been washing his hands a lot and the dry winter air has made his eczema really bad. His hands have hurt so badly that he's cried a time or two because of it.

This week Jonathan lathered him up in Eucerin one night after bath and he wanted to scratch his nose but since Jonathan thought he was picking it he told him not to. He said, "You've got lotion on your hands!" Josh asked, "Why can't I scratch my nose if there's lotion on my face and on my hands?!" Jonathan conceded that he had a good point.

After that I went to read him a story and he announced, "Huh? I guess Dad finally found a way to make me stop biting my toenails off!"

And then after the story: "Mom, how are you going to tell me to lay down and go to sleep if I have lotion on my face and we don't want it to get on the pillow?!!"

OK, so maybe it's not just that he's so smart, but more that he has such a smart mouth.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

deck the halls

We got a small Christmas tree this year and put it up last Sunday. Jonathan hates it. I'm actually very thankful. It's just as pretty and was a lot less work. We spent less money and at the last minute decided to put it up on a stand so it would look taller but this actually created more room to put the gifts underneath which I totally love. Some think redneck tackiness, I think simple, easy, beautiful.

I'd recommend it.

I just need to get some presents wrapped and under it.

This year Thanksgiving fell later than usual and that means there's less time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It made it seem like we were really late getting our tree up and decorated on December 8th.

Josh put out his favorite little Charlie Brown characters and danced along with them for hours.

We don't have anything decorated outside really besides a wreath on the front door and small porch trees on either side of the front door. Some of my favorite decorations include our stockings, my Fontanini nativity set that I've has as my own since I was a kid, of course lots of different ornaments, and I'm sure Jonathan would say his favorite was his crocheted stocking from childhood that our cat shredded years ago while we were at the beach.

Josh is begging for outdoor lights and Jonathan actually told him that was a possibility. I almost died.

I'd love to get one of these Christmas signs but they're pretty expensive.

I'd love to hear about how you're decorating for the holidays this year.

Have you done anything different? What's your favorite decoration?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

by the numbers

December by the numbers:

  • 8 days of school until break
  • 22 miles run (only 48 to go this year to reach 1200)
  • 4 books to go to reach my goal for the year
  • 2 Christmas gifts left to buy until I'm finished!
  • 6 pairs of boots I currently own (I realize I might have a small problem)
  • 9 cousins getting their picture made on Saturday
  • 17 loom band bracelets left for Julianna to make in a week
  • 2:28:38 new official half marathon best time
  • 7 nativity scenes in the room I'm sitting in right now

What's a random number from your December?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

good things

look what I got this week!

this little tree I got on clearance last year at Target is perfect for my niece

lunch and a bit of shopping with my mom on Sunday

my initials are popping up everywhere on the new NC license plates

free chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A

Friday, December 5, 2014

What Do You Want for Christmas?

All I want for Christmas is time w/ loved ones. ‪#‎GiftofPresence‬ is important to me during the holidays. What do you want most? 

This is pretty cool! Check out how one of my favorite restaurants is helping us this holiday season: ‪#‎ChicfilAMoms‬

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