Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So long 2013. Welcome 2014!

I can't believe I'm here recapping another year. WOW they sure go fast these days!
2013 was for sure not my easiest year yet, but nevertheless, it was a great one overall!

I started the year out in January making some resolutions for the year. Those resolutions were as follows:
  • Complete my Master's degree by the end of the year. 
  • Walk/run 365 miles total (although about halfway through the year I decided to up this to 400). 
  • Run 200 of the 400 miles traveled. 
  • Work on toning exercises 52 hours this year. 
  • Read 365 books to my children. 
Well I'm very delighted to share that I did indeed finish my Master's degree this year and was the first person to every complete an online degree from William Woods University. I sure didn't know I would get such publicity for doing so. I did a phone interview with William Woods and had to send them a picture of myself. This article and image ended up being posted many places prior to my graduation! It was in the William Woods News, on the William Woods Online Login page, in the News Tribune and the first thing I saw when I typed in Newstribune.com one day when the article was new. It also made the Blair Oaks High School Daily News report and about a week later, I also had to do an interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune and that article was published in their newspaper and on the web. This all made me feel like I actually did accomplish something and proud of that accomplishment. There were times this year when things were tough. It was hard to balance teaching full-time, with parenting (Hunter who turned 3 this year and Laci who turned 1), and being a student. Trevor still spent many weeks out on the road this year, so some of those weeks were trying. Regardless, I survived. We survived. And I'm glad it's over. I finished the schoolwork over Thanksgiving break and Graduation was December 13, although I elected to not walk. I was glad to have made that choice as the weather was none too pretty the night of graduation. Trevor, the kids and I instead went down to Sugar Creek Restaurant in Meta to celebrate and the next morning they all gave me my gift of a new ipod. I LOVE IT!!! 

Some of my other goals seemed as if they wouldn't be reachable this year due to all of the time I had to put in on my Master's. I did meet a couple goals, but there are a couple still not reached. Overall, though I'm very pleased with the outcomes. 

Another goal I did reach was the mileage goal. I started off the year going for 365 miles again, but decided I needed more of a challenge. I also decided that if I could get 365 miles in while pregnant, nursing, and having my second child (last year) that I could surely do more than that this year. That wasn't an easy feat, but I "got er done". As of December 29th I wasn't thinking I'd reach my goal of 400. I still had 12.77 to go and only two days left to do so. December 30th was very cold with the high only reaching into the 20s. I had an eye doctor appointment that day, so decided to take advantage of a free 7 day pass that a local gym, Anytime Fitness, had to offer. I dropped the kids off at my Mom's (whom I can't thank enough for always being there when she's needed), and headed in to town a few of hours before my scheduled eye doctor appointment. I went in to Anytime Fitness and ended up knocking out over 9 miles. That left me with 3.57 to finish on New Year's Day. Luckily it was a beautiful day outside today, so I spent the early afternoon hours walking around the yard and some was done walking through the hallway in our small house. This was even after having to take the kids in to Extended Care for ear infections. They were peacefully sleeping in their beds while I finished the last of my miles. 

Furthermore, I decided to set a goal of not only putting in 400 miles this year, but running at least half of those miles. I have learned that I love running. It makes me feel weak and powerful all at the same time. :) I feel weak because when I first start out running it seems as if I won't be able to run very far at all, but the more I run, the stronger I feel and I realize that not much can stop me aside from my own mind and ambition. Running clears my mind. It makes me a better person inside and out. By the end of the year I had met my running goal and put in 208.5 miles ran. I'm extremely proud of that amount!  

Another great accomplishment from this year was finishing my very first half-marathon on May 25, 2013. I blogged about that experience separately. At the time I wrote the blog I was not thinking I would ever want to do another thing so silly ever again, but later decided that it was extremely worth it and that I would indeed do another one. I'm actually going to try to do two in 2014. I'm already signed up and registered for the first one, the Go Girl Run one again in Columbia on May 24. This time I'm hoping that the weather holds out and is a beautiful day. I'm also wanting to actually run this one WITH some people instead of alone. As I finished the race earlier this year, I watched other ladies cross the finish line hand-in-hand and that was awesome to see. I've got a small group of ladies already committed to the race and we have been encouraging each other through our early preparations. I'm hoping some of us can stick together through the race this year. I'm also hoping to finish in closer to 2 hours this time as my last one took 2 hours and 33 minutes. May will be here soon enough! I'm very excited for that time! 

Those were the goals that I did accomplish. There were a couple that I fell short. There really are no excuses for not reaching these goals. I have excuses, but they aren't good ones because I know there was time this year spent wasted (on Candy Crush Saga or Facebook), and I could easily have accomplished those other two goals. One of which was getting in 52 hours of toning this year. I ended up with 47.5 hours. That's far more than I ever have in my entire life before I'm sure, but I still would have liked to reach that goal. I ended up deciding to push this one lower on my priority list at the end of the year because I wanted to reach my mileage goal far more than this hours goal. There's always 2014 to achieve more toning/exercising hours. *Side note: These hours are not included with the time spent putting in my miles. These are completely separate. 

The final goal I did not reach is probably the only one that is a little upsetting to me. I had the goal of reading 365 books to my children this year. While I know they had over that many total read to them, I only managed to read 315 books to them (although I may try to do more tonight on New Year's Eve to lessen that number). My husband also read to them many nights when he was home and they got books read to them at preschool (Hunter) and Grandma's (both kids). I know they are not lacking in the 'being read to' category, but I still wish I would have made a little more time to work on this goal. There were many nights that I was exhausted and didn't want to take the time to read to them because I just wanted to go to bed. That's so silly. It only takes a couple of minutes to read some of those books, so I shouldn't have let myself off so easy on that. I WILL reach my book goal for next year, which is going to be 365 books again. I think a book a day is a great goal to have (knowing that they are also getting read books by other people, so it's really more than that for them to hear over the year.) *Side note: The total number of books does not count prayers that we read and said either. Prayer books are separate and special and don't count as a book. 

Not only did I accomplish many goals, but I also overcame an addiction this year. I can now admit that I was addicted to Candy Crush Saga. My addiction was so bad that I was missing out on valuable family time to play the game. I don't remember quite when I quit, it was around late summer/early Fall, but I decided enough was enough and quit cold turkey. There are times I consider playing again, but I don't want to get caught back into that time wasting addiction. I also know that some of the time I spent playing that game kept me from working toward some of my other goals, such as the ones I did not achieve. That's a big bummer. No more Candy Crush Saga (or hopefully any other addicting games) for me. 

Re-cap of achievements this year (2013): 
*Master's degree- earned
*400 miles traveled exactly
*208.5 miles ran
*315 books read to my kids
*47.5 hours of toning/other exercises than walking/running
*Candy Crush Saga addiction cured

I have many people to thank for helping me get my miles achieved. First and foremost, thank you to God for my health to allow me to achieve these goals. Also thanks to my amazing little family for all the support. My hubby was a tremendous help this year around the house and with the kids so I could especially work on my Master's work. That took a lot of time. The Teaching and Technology Master's through William Woods is definitely no easy/blow off degree. Also thanks to some great motivators this year. My sister-in-law Kelly K, is always there to offer words of encouragement. I really appreciate her more and more all of the time. I have some other friends in some small Facebook groups who have helped with motivation throughout the year. I am also meeting more and more people through fitness groups who have the same fitness goals and struggles as I do. It's great to get to know those people online and feel like I know them personally. I also have an aunt who has lost over 110 pounds in over a year now. She is very inspirational. This year I bought the workout program called Focus T25. With buying that program I was assigned a BeachBody Coach, Michelle Haner. She is also very inspirational and motivational. She likes to tell it how it is and give tough love, but that's exactly what I (and many other people) need. 

This year I have also realized even more how important my family is to me and how valuable they really are. We lost my Uncle Doug to cancer in October of this year. That was rough. We were all with him as he underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor that was putting a lot of pressure on his brain and causing him to deteriorate very rapidly. He survived surgery and was doing well a couple of days afterward, but then went downhill very quickly. By the next weekend, we were all gathered at his bedside yet again to say our final goodbyes. I've still not decided if it is easier to be with someone when they go or to just find out about their passing otherwise. It was tough to be there in his final hours, but yet I'm glad I was. We will sure miss him. He left behind a wife and two lovely children, a 14 year-old daughter and a 10 year-old son who miss him dearly. We all miss you Uncle Doug! 

Looking ahead to 2014.... These are the goals I'm setting for this next year: 
*500 miles travled (walking/running)
*250 miles ran (always going for half my total)
*365 books read to my kids 
*60 hours of toning or complete 3 BeachBody exercise programs from start to finish (restarting T25 on Jan. 1, 2014)
*52 random acts of kindness (trying something new to work on doing more for other people)
*2 half-marathons (and hopefully some 5Ks and 10Ks in there)
*take a family vacation out of state somewhere/anywhere to celebrate 5 years of marriage this year and 10  years of being with my awesome hubby. 
*Finally reaching my goal weight. I'll go ahead and say it here. I want to get into weighing in the 140s (or below) and I'm going to make that happen in 2014! I've spent 2013 in the 160s and 150s. 2010-2012 were spent in the 160s, 170s and above for the most part (with having 2 kids and the time in between). I'm tired of seeing those high numbers. This is my year to get in shape! 
*We also hope to payoff our house this year, unless we find a place with more land. 

I realize how quickly these years keep going by. I'm also making it my personal goal to have as much fun this year as I can and I hope to have most of that fun with my hubby and family. If there's something we want to do, by darn we are going to go do it! We are going to spend more time this summer fishing and swimming (because I'm going to look great in a bikini). :) We are going to go on small trips and maybe/hopefully even one long one. We are going to have a blast this year! 

One more thing... one final goal I have for this year is to not give a d@mn about what others think of me. I'm putting myself first and going to do what I know is right/best for me and quit worrying about what others think. It's my life! :) 

Lots to look forward to in 2014! Sounds to me like another great year! :) 2013 was probably my best year yet (even with some bumps in the road), and I'm looking so forward to saying the same about 2014. Happy New Year! Make this next year a great one! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Emily Libbert: Half Marathon Finisher! YAY!

Well its been awhile. So long that I almost forgot I had a blog, but my SIL, Kelly Kampeter reminded me I have one when she told me she was looking forward to my post about the little half-marathon I completed yesterday. I'm actually pretty glad she said that because I don't want to forget the day. I feel so accomplished for completing it that I want to "jot down" some of my memories. First a quick goal update:

Total miles for the year: 165.41
Total jogged for the year: 108.2
Toning time for the year: 8.75 (hope to put more focus on this now that the half is over, and I'm ahead on my miles for awhile).
Books read: 136 (a little behind with our crazy, busy schedule lately... bedtime has been coming later and later).
Master's classes: 2 completed (6 hours total) and currently taking 2 classes at once. AUGH! These sessions can sure pass by quickly!

Along with my goals, I'm now back to calorie counting. I let myself gain back 5-6 lbs and I was starting to not like my body again. Fired back up on MFP. Also working on drinking more water. I'm hoping the water helps flush out my system and get rid of some of the bad things I continue to eat. Food is my weakness! I have found that the more water you drink, the more water you crave. That's a good thing!

Ok... now for the half-marathon update. Well training hadn't been going so well the past several weeks. The longest trip I got in was 8.11 miles and that was back on April 6! Since then I've had some shorter trips. Many of which included pushing a jogging stroller with two kiddos. I don't get much running in that way. so needless to say I was extremely worried that I wouldn't even be able to cross the finish line without becoming too exhausted and someone having to come get me! For real!

Race day: Alarm went off at 4:00. I laid in bed for about 10 minutes checking Facebook and the weather and then the weather again and again. It looked like there was a little rain in the area of the race, but that it would clear off long enough for the race and then might rain later in the afternoon. HA. Finally got out of bed and got ready in a dark and quiet house. The rest of the fam was sleeping away soundly (for the most part). Headed out the door by 4:40 a.m. and met up with the girls (Kelly, Liz and Gina) in Westphalia. We picked up Emily along the way. I was very nervous all morning. Nerves hadn't hit me until that morning, which is probably a good thing. I also had gotten a nice text from my Aunt who was also running the race. She has such an inspirational story. She lost over 100 lbs since last year in February and was scheduled to run the half-marathon with us! So excited for her! We got to Columbia a little after 6:00 and started getting ready by the car. We got our chips on our shoes, numbers on our shirts, and stood around in the frigid morning air. It was in the upper 40s/lower 50s and at that time not raining, but definitely not sunny. We took some before pictures, made a bathroom stop, and then lined up. The excitement was building as we lined up and all the women were getting their devices ready to calculate miles and their music ready to go. They were playing some songs and we were all kinda dancing and smiling. Finally... the countdown and the race began. My original goal was to run at least the first 4 miles (it had been awhile since I had ran). I made it 4.5 and ran most of it with Emily Logan. At that point, we reached a hill and I ended up getting some water at the "fueling" station and then walked up the hill. I only walked 2/10ths of a mile and then started jogging again. About the time we got to the halfway point, there were some pretty ominous looking clouds approaching and thunder was in the background. We traveled through a beautiful scenic trail and then through and along some city streets. Along the way there were volunteers at the water stations and some supporters scattered all throughout the race. I loved looking at and reading the signs and hearing all of the supporters cheering for us, even if they didn't know us! It was such a neat atmosphere. Once we approached half-way I was starting to wear down a little. I couldn't believe we were ONLY halfway and had already gone 6.5 miles. The end seemed so far away and I thought about quitting. The only bad thing was that there was no way back other than to run/walk. Ha! So I pushed on up this little hill and that big one and down some little hills as well. We wound our way through the streets, the city trail, and the MKT trail. This was all a part of Columbia that I never knew was there. I still don't really know where all we were. I was just following the path. :) At about the 8 mile mark, it started to sprinkle and by the 9 mile mark, it started to pour. It slowed down a little while later, but the thunder and lightning set it and we were in for a downpour by the 11 mile marker. At this point I was purely exhausted, sick of wiping rain from my face/eyes/everything and just ready to be done. I knew that I had to finish, though. There was no other choice. My goal was to only have walked 1 mile of the entire race, but toward the end, my legs just couldn't go anymore in the pouring rain. My final total was about 1.25 miles walked and the rest were jogged/ran. I was getting angry and wondering why it had to rain of all days on this race day that so many of us women had looked forward to. I ended up walking/jogging the last 2 miles to finish it out. Once I got to only about a half a mile left, I thought I would be able to finish it out jogging and pushed and pushed, but my legs were about to give in and my shoes and socks were soaked (along with the rest of me). At that point, I just wanted to be done (and then there's that crack of lightning that shared the daylights out of me and another runner), though so that's what got me through. I could hear the finish line ahead and ended up jogging the last 3/10ths of a mile just to finish. That was about the time the rain finally slowed to a stop. I came around the corner and saw the finish line. I was looking for familiar faces, but didn't see any waiting for me at that point. I heard them call my name as I crossed the "fake" finish line and threw my hands up as if to say, "I did it." Still no familiar faces, but crossed across the line, got my chip cut off my shoe, grabbed a bottle of water and "walked it out" around the corner. Finally I saw part of my group standing around the corner after grabbing my metal and wine glass. All I wanted at that point was a drink, some food, and a warm, dry bed!

My finishing time was 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 24 seconds. Not too bad for a momma of two, full time teacher, and Master's student. I was very pleased with that time. I was hoping to finish in under 3 hours and closer to 2 1/2 would have been great, so I was very happy with my time. I just wish the rain wouldn't have ruined the ending. People were cold and wet and not sticking around to cheer others on to the finish which was a little disappointing after coming that far. I imagined the finish line to be more crowded with more people cheering me on.
I can't say yet whether or not I'll do another one. The rain nearly ruined the joy. I am proud of my accomplishment though, and glad that I pushed myself to try something so tough to do.
(This was a brief synopsis of the race. There are a few missing pieces, but time has run out. I'm just glad to have blogged this much. Hopefully this is the start of more great accomplishments headed my way! Thanks for reading!)
 My Aunt Cheryl and I before the race. We were lined up at the starting line at this point. So proud of her. She is such an inspiration to so many. 
 My final watch totals.13.24 miles. 1664 calories burned during the trip (woo whooo!) 
The blister I got from my shoes. I think mostly from them being sopping wet by the end. Not gonna lie, it's a little painful at times. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Long overdue update.

Goal update:
Total miles: 112
Total jogged: 80
Toning: 7.25
Books read: 107
Current day of the year: 98th

Finally making a little more progress lately after a rough time for quite awhile. I have let life take over and haven't made time for myself. The warmer weather has helped me remember why I need that time. I want to feel comfortable in my summer clothes this year especially shorts and swimsuits. I don't want flabby thunder thighs. This is the main reason that I have shifted my focus to my legs. I have done a lot of squats, lunges, etc  the past three days.
My weight has not been coming down anymore lately also due to the breaks I have been giving myself with exercise and eating. I had thought that giving up chocolate for lent would help but instead I found that I would try to eat a bunch of other sweet foods to make up for the loss of chocolate in my life. Yes, Im addicted. :). So now Im set back a little but I've found more motivation to keep going. Still hoping to end this year much better off than last year and have a Masters degree under my belt and then have an even better year next year.
My current class is a little rough. Im making good grades but this professor is a little more unsure of what she wants which makes it hard to follow through or get ahead. Im just playing the game and trying to survive it all. MAP testing is coming up at school which is always stressful. The hubby is also out of town for the first time again in over 4 months and won't be back until Thursday. We also have a lot of weddings, showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc. coming up. Not to mention both kids' birthdays within the next month and a half. Very busy times. I will be proud of any time I get in. The half marathon is lower on my priority list than other things. I want to do it so badly and to run it all and to have a great finishing time but finding time to train is tough and only getting worse. Still going to give it my best but worried that wont be as good as I originally thought.
On a good note... ONLY 6 MORE WEEKS OF SCHOOL UNTIL SUMMER BREAK! The kids and teachers all need a break from one another for sure. I think I can, I think I can.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

First 5K of the Year

So yesterday morning was my first 5K of the year. It was at Blair Oaks and was a fundraiser for the Booster Club. I signed up on my own and didn't really have a running "buddy". At first I was bummed  that no one else I knew closely had signed up for it and that I would be going alone. However, I've figured out that I run better alone at my own pace. If I run with someone else or try to go at their pace, I find myself either lagging too much or pushing too hard and don't get my best time and/or distance in. I do like the environment of a race, though. It's great to have other people pushing themselves and panting right along with me, each at everyone's own pace. I also like a good challenge. :) That's why I wouldn't let that lady beat me right at the end. As she was catching up to me and speeding up, I decided to kick it in gear as well. I didn't look back to see who it was (I ended up not even knowing her), but decided I didn't want to let her get around me right at the end.

The race: 
I've started writing the results, date, etc. on the back of the medal so I remember the specifics of my accomplishments. I'm hoping there are more of these headed my way in the future. :) 

It was raining on my way to the race and spitting around while we were all checking in and waiting for the race to start. Luckily the rain stopped before we started running and held off most of the rest of the day (until later in the evening). It was around 41 degrees, which turned out to be a pretty good temperature to run at. I do better when it's a little cooler outside, although not when it's at or below freezing. Before the race I made sure I had several drinks of my bottle of water and went to the bathroom, and stood around and visited with a few people I ended up knowing there, including a few students. Finally, it was time for us to line up to race. They requested the runners to come to the front, and I found myself pretty far up toward the starting line. I scooted back a little seeing some people around who looked like some pretty intense runners with some pretty muscular legs. After telling us about a few rules and explaining the course, the announcer shouted out "Ready", "Set", "Go". And we were off. I found that there was a pretty big group who took out pretty fast and at first I tried to stay fairly close, but then decided to just regulate myself to my own pace. The course started out on the track, but then headed out around the campus. There was one big hill that we got out of the way toward the beginning and surprisingly it didn't get me down too bad at all. The rest of the course had a few small inclines, but no huge hills. A few times throughout the race I found people passing me, but there were many times I actually passed other people including on one fairly small but long incline toward the end. People all around me had gave up running for part of the race, walked awhile, and then took off running again. There was no way I was going to let myself stop running. If I'm training to try to run 13.1 miles straight through, I for sure needed to be able to run 3.1 miles without stopping. The last half a mile was back down the hill we started out going up and then one more lap around the track before getting to the finish line. I liked that people could watch you finish your last lap all the way to the ending. It pushed me into running a little bit faster and as mentioned kept me ahead of just one more person when I wouldn't let the lady pass me right at the end. As I neared the finish and could see the clock ticking I realized that the timer did indeed say 20-something minutes. I for sure wanted to finish in under 30 minutes, but I didn't realize that it only said 26 minutes. I was stoked! I heard them shout out my time as I crossed the line 26:34. They took my tag off my number and I walked one more lap around the track. It wasn't until I heard my watch beep at me a little further past the finish line that I realized the ending was right at 3 miles instead of 3.1, but at worst case scenario, my finishing time would have been a minute longer to get in that .1 of a mile and I still would have been excited for a 27:34 if that's what it would have been. After the race, I hung around for the medal ceremony and was pretty tickled when they got to announcing the 20-29 age division and my name was called out for the first place medal (one other lady in this age division finished before me, but she got the first overall female finisher award). I looked today at the runnjeffcity.org website and they have the results posted. I was #31 finisher overall out of 118 finishers. I was also the 10th lady to finish. This helped me to realize that I really am a strong runner. I often doubt myself, but as I saw myself passing people who looked to be pretty fit and they were huffing and puffing just as much if not more than I was, I realized that my hard work really is paying off. I don't care if I'm the #1 finisher overall or anything like that. I just like to see that my time is improving more and more each time. This was a great self-esteem booster for my half-marathon training. My goal for the half is to finish in under 2 and a half hours, but the closer to 2 hours I can get, the better. I can now easily do 3 miles in under 30 minutes, so I'm on pace for definitely meeting my goal. Now I've got to work on getting more long runs in. So glad the time changed last night! Tough day to lose an hour today, but at least we'll have daylight longer in the evenings now.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Game On

Well I haven't posted in about two weeks and I've gone through a lot of fitness ups and downs during that time. The snowy Missouri weather had gotten me down. I don't have easy access to a treadmill, gym, or any other good place to workout or run when the weather is bad and the roads are snowy and muddy, so I was getting pretty discouraged about training for a half-marathon. Not to mention my hubby getting the news that he'll be going back to his old job soon (TOO SOON). This means it will be just me and the kids all week most weeks (Monday morning through Thursday night). I am SO not looking forward to this change. It has been probably some of the best 3 1/2 months of my life having Trevor around to help with the kids. He has not been home this much since before we were married. It is nice to have someone help get the kids ready in the morning and picked up in the evening. We even ride to work together, so we have "adult conversation" time for once without kids whining, fussing, or talking in the background. The kids also enjoy having him around (probably because Mommy is a happier person). Trev is very good about helping around the house when he's here, too. We share the work with dishes, supper, bath time, bedtime, etc. Anyway.... guess I'll just enjoy it while it lasts and start hitting my knees praying it changes for good again.
Upon finding out this news, and dealing with the bad weather, I almost talked myself out of training for the half-marathon. I was feeling rather guilty, too that I want to try to put in that much time and work for myself. Sometimes I feel selfish about it, but then I think about how much I try to not let training time affect family time. I do my weekend running during naptime, and weekly running (when I can get it in) most of the time after school, while I'm waiting on Trev to come pick me up. Well after having some time feeling "down and out" I finally got it a long jog last weekend. I headed out on Sunday. It was still a little cool outside, but I bundled up, put my old running shoes on (road was still a little snowy and a lot muddy), and took off. I had decided that I would strive for 4 miles total with for sure 3.1 jogged (to make sure I was capable of a 5K for this coming weekends race). I had a lot of thoughts during my run. I thought about quitting (many times) for that run and for the half-marathon. I thought about losing weight and how I've plateaued AGAIN for quite some time now. I had many thoughts on my over hour long run. As I was running, I kept pushing myself further and further. Prior to Sunday I had only done a total of 1.6 miles with only 1 ran in the past two weeks. Not much of anything since my long 7.22 mile run/walk with my SIL, Kelly. I finally stopped running at 3.75 miles, but anytime I go for a run and decide to walk for awhile, it doesn't take much distance and time of walking before I realize I should be running because I'm still feeling pretty darn good. Now that I've become a "runner" it is sometimes hard to head out and just WALK! For some reason running makes me feel so powerful and good inside. I began running again on my trip. I kept pushing myself further and further and even once I got back to the house, I decided to keep going and even out my number a little more and push myself a little more. I ended my run at 5.5 total miles jogged with 6.3 total miles traveled. This was just the booster I needed to get me through the week. The weather finally started to improve this week as well. The beginning of the week was still cold out and I had meetings after work multiple days. However, with the daylight being extended more and more each day, I found that I now have time in the evening to get supper and a walk in before dark (in either order). So I got in 2 miles total on Wednesday with 1.5 jogged. Thursday brought 1.6 miles total while pushing Laci in the jogging stroller and 1 mile was jogged. That was actually quite the challenge again. I'm used to just running by myself lately, so pushing the stroller was a little more difficult, but again I found that now that I'm a runner I couldn't myself to just walk a leisurely stroll. I WANTED TO RUN! That's something else I never thought I'd say! Friday evening (tonight) the weather was even nicer and although I know I have a race tomorrow, I couldn't pass up the opportunity for another run. I brought my clothes to school today and changed after work and headed out to "kill the time" before Trev came to pick me up. I ended up getting in 3.21 miles with 2.5 total jogged which actually felt like nothing! I felt so great afterwards, like I hardly even worked out. It's great to feel that "in shape." With getting in some miles throughout the week again, I now am at the point of "game on" for the half-marathon again. I know it's not going to be easy, but I'll accept nothing less than finishing. Even if I don't run the entire thing, although I know in the back of my mind I HAVE TO to feel the greatest accomplishment, I still have to push myself to complete the race. I need to just get signed up so I know I for sure can't back out, which I won't let myself do anyway. I don't like backing out on people when I've promised I'll be there for them. It's a feeling I don't like to deal with if I don't have to. So tomorrow is another 3.1 miles for the 5K at Blair Oaks. I'm looking forward to it, too! It feels great to know I CAN and WILL run the distance. Last year it was a question of can I really run that far straight through and felt like a huge accomplishment when I did. Now I know I can run that far, I'm just going to push myself to see how quickly I can do so. I'm not going to officially set a time goal for this one. It's my first race of the year and I plan to do several more, so I just want to use it as my time setter and set some better goals after that. I'll let you know how it goes!

Goal update:
75.41 total miles
54.5 total jogged
67 books read to Hunter
5 hours of toning (slacking yet again)
1 Master's class under my belt and week 1 assignment already done for the next class, which doesn't begin until next Monday!

This weeks motivation:
Never give up. - Earl Nightingale. Dream

Monday, February 25, 2013

Silly Groundhog

I think this is one of the first years ever that that darn groundhog didn't see his shadow, which is supposed to mean that we will have nicer weather up until spring gets here. So much for that! I think the weather turned worse right around Groundhog's Day and has gone downhill since. Two snow days off of school last week and more blizzard-like weather headed our way tomorrow (and likely another snow day). I know it's just an excuse, but this weather has sure made it hard to get my miles in and to train for the half marathon without access to a gym or treadmill. I didn't get ANY miles in this past week (after last Sunday) which is rather depressing. Finally, this Sunday, February 24 I got in a measly 1.6 miles with only 1 of those jogged and that was while pushing Laci in the jogging stroller through the muddy/slushy gravel road. Couldn't even wear my new shoes.

So here is this weeks goal update:
62.3 total miles
44 total jogged
54 books read (by me) to Hunter (making some good progress here lately and loving the bonding time)
5 hours of toning (see note below about this)
7th week of Master's class- only 2 assignments left!!! YAY!!!!

Well I finally got back to getting a little toning time in (two 15 minute sessions). I go on a video kick and then I get out of the video kick. For awhile I'm all gung-ho on doing exercise videos, and then for awhile I get in the mode of thinking it's too complicated to first find my tiny living room floor back to clear a small area to be able to exercise in for the 30-40 minutes of each video. I realize these are just excuses as well and I need to just get past them. I've found a small way to "cope". I've begun doing 15 minute miscellaneous exercise periods. I do arm work, leg work, and ab work all just in my own random, hodge-podge order. 15 minutes seems bearable and "easier" to fit in although I realize that again, I'm making more excuses. Who can't possibly spare 30 minutes a day? (Apparently me.) I was going to scrap my goal of toning for the year and just say that my Master's and "Life" took over and I got too busy, but I don't believe in giving up on a goal that really is do-able. It's not an unreachable goal. I wouldn't allow myself to set one that I didn't think I could accomplish. So I'll find a way to catch back up and work my way through it. Perhaps starting on snow day #3 tomorrow if that comes about, I'll find time while the kids are napping.
This quote is my motivation to ME this week!
6 Tips to Stop Whining & Find your Happy Place in Fitness. #fitfluential

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today's Motivational Photo

Too bad the picture is not of my tummy. Oh well. Still good motivation. :) 
First, make up your mind. 
Second, do what your mind decided. 

Update and Random Thoughts

Goal update:
60.7- Miles completed thus far this year.
43- Total miles jogged/ran
40- Books read (by me) to Hunter so far this year (not counting nightly prayers we read).
4.5- Hours Toning
6th week of Master's class. Doing good with my assignments so far. Getting them done early and making great grades.

Records to date:
8- Most miles completed at once (ever in my life). This was at the end of last year when I was trying to reach my goal of 366 miles.
5.5- Most miles ran straight through.
6- Most miles ran in one trip (not straight through).

I've been making great progress for the year so far. Feeling great about myself, too. The only thing I've been slacking at lately is the toning/videos. I need to just make time for that, but I've been spending my extra time being a mom or doing schoolwork. If only I would make myself get up at 5 when my alarm actually goes off, instead of hitting snooze and getting up at 5:30. Soooo not a morning person.

I shared a couple of photos on my Facebook page today, so I'll share them here as well.
This is me 9 months ago on May 14, 2013 about an hour before my c-section to meet my lovely little daughter. Photo courtesy of the hubby.
 This is me today, February 17, 2013. 35 lbs down from 9 months ago. The outfit is new from this weekend. Finally did some ME shopping and bought a lot of workout clothes and some new running shoes. Great buys at Kohl's this weekend! Felt great that I believe this is one of my first shopping trips in years that I bought ALL medium size clothes and NO larges! Even tried on a couple of smalls. :)
 A few pounds to go, but feeling great so far! 
I am so proud that NONE of my weight loss can be attributed to any dieting supplements. I tell ya, sometimes having a free market economy makes it hard on a lady. There are so many temptations to dieting programs of many sorts out there. It seems like everywhere I look for motivation for continued weight loss, I find someone trying to advertise some program or pill. To me dieting supplements (or whatever they may be called) are so risky, not to mention EXPENSIVE! So many of them women (or men) can become dependent upon and they must keep using them or the weight loss subsides and everything that was lost comes back on. Their body is trained to only do what the medicine tells them to do and then when they try to stop, the body gets confused. All you really have to do is convince your mind that anything is possible that you work for. SERIOUSLY! I believe weight loss is 100% mental with the exception of those who are physically handicapped and their body truly won't let them do things, however I have read of many stories of physically handicapped people taking their life back and getting in shape as well. Had someone told me years ago that I would run over 5 miles straight by the time I was 28 I would have thought they were losing their mind. I have put my mind to it, though and have done it! And I'm going to put my mind into doing many more miles as well. I am not one of those people who weight loss comes easy to. I have struggled with being overweight and sometimes on the obese scale all of my life, although I never wanted to admit it. Even now my childhood babysitter says one thing she remembers about me is that I had some of the biggest baby/child thighs she ever saw. :) Thanks. :) Anytime I would find my height and weight on a chart, I was and actually still am in the overweight category for BMI. Sometimes I was even considered obese. That hurts to know, but I'm glad I've gotten past that and am on my way down.

One thing that I can attribute to helping with some of my weight loss is that I primarily ONLY drink water these days. Drinking anything else is a rare occasion. Yesterday I went to Taco Bell with my SIL Kelly and had a Pink Lemonade with my meal. Although it didn't have any caffeine, it did have calories. I was happy, though, normally I would have re-filled my drink before I left. I decided that having a large Pink Lemonade was already enough calories that I didn't need to have anymore. I ended up not even drinking the whole large cup I had.  Something else helping me lose weight is of course my walking/jogging. I've seldom done much of anything else. 4.5 hours of toning/videos for the year is nothing to brag on. If you want to lose weight as well, get up and move! Sitting there thinking about it or just reading about other people losing weight sure isn't helping your waistline. That was me for so long. I would pin motivational pins and exercise ideas on Pinterest, but that was the extent of it. Now I'm the one who makes sure I go do something physical before I get to the Pinning (most of the time). It feels great to know I'm making myself a better person to hopefully be around for many more years to have that time with my hubby and kids. Speaking of kids I want to add that most of my exercise time is done when the kids are napping, so I'm not even compromising much of my family time for exercise. I have a great hubby who stays home with the kids during naptime while I go for my runs. He gets "his time" to do what he pleases either in the mornings or after I get back from my runs. Have I mentioned lately that I love my hubby? :) I do! Anyway... to recap.... You can find a way to get everything in the day if you make a way. Think of when you waste the most time and use that time to do something good for yourself instead. Don't wait another day! You are worth it!

One more update.... I've been doing perfect with not eating chocolate, which I gave up for lent. I haven't had ANY so far! However, I've replaced my m & m snacking with Jellybean snacking. Probably not quite as unhealthy, but still maybe not the best thing to replace chocolate with. Oh well. Small steps. :)

New Kickers

I finally got my new running shoes that I earned for my 366 miles last year. I love them! They are Nike Alvord Trail Running shoes. Ready to go for a long run today to try them and my new running clothes out. Thank you Kohls for having a lot of sales yesterday! And thanks to my sil Kelly for helping me decide what to choose.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What a Beautiful Day

Years ago I would have imagined a birthday to be made better by going somewhere fancy, being at a large gathering of people, or getting lots of nice gifts. It's amazing how we change over the years. Today was my birthday. The day consisted of baking cookies, cleaning up around the house, playing with the kids, helping cook with the hubby, going for a jog (more info on that further down), doing laundry, and checking many messages from loved ones although not directly talking with many of them. We didn't go anywhere at all, no gifts were exchanged, and no one else even came over and I have to say it was a great day! There weren't really even any melt-downs by any of us. :) 

As for my jog.... When I set out I had decided I was going to set a new jogging distance record for myself. I was going to try for 5.1 miles today. My previous record was set last weekend when I ran 4.1 miles straight through. Along my route I went down a very long, steep hill. Of course when you go down a hill, at some point, you must go back up. I knew that. In order to get my 5.1 miles jogged in, I was going to have to run back up that hill and I wasn't sure if I could manage it. I did! I just kept looking ahead and putting one foot in front of the other. I didn't go very fast, but I sure went! I was actually surprised that I wasn't MORE winded than I was by the top of it. The small hills that used to seem like a big deal to me months ago are nothing to me anymore. I'm trying to be sure I include hills in my training, so that I'm not surprised by them at the half-marathon. After I conquered that large hill today, I had a fairly level 1.5 miles back home. If I ran this whole way I would actually have been able to stop running before getting back to the house and walk about 0.10 of a mile to cool down and still have in my 5.1 miles. On the last mile home I realized I wasn't really out of breath, or hurting, or anything. So as I approached the house, I kept going. I had decided I was going to run more to try to have 1 solid hour of running in. I got to about 5.45 miles and decided to turn back toward the house and a little later at 5.55 miles jogged I just stopped running. In a way I felt like Forest Gump. I wasn't out of breath, wasn't hurting, wasn't dizzy, or anything. Nothing was wrong. I just stopped and walked the rest of the way home to finish out at 5.72 miles. When I started walking I wasn't even winded at all or relieved much to be walking instead of jogging. I am somewhat upset with myself that I decided to stop running today. I know I easily could have went 6.1 miles or more. I'm wishing I would have pushed myself to see what I was truly capable of on my 28th birthday. I know I've got to be proud of what I've accomplished so far, though. If anyone would have told me I would have run over 5 1/2 miles on my 28th birthday months or years ago I would have thought they were losing their mind. Today truly solidified me realizing that I can indeed run the entire half-marathon. As long as I don't have any injuries, side pains, etc. there will be nothing to stop me from completing that race all ran. I may not set any time records by running it all and likely won't take any places for medals, but by darn I'm going to run it!

Luckily it doesn't happen until after my runs, but I've been getting headaches after all of my long trips. I'm not sure what the deal is. I drink water before I go and water after I go, but still seem to get a headache a couple of hours later each day I go for a long run

Speaking of water. I have to share that I believe part of my weight loss can be contributed to ONLY drinking water these days. I am proud of myself.... Trevor and I went fishing yesterday and stopped by McDonald's on the way home. Usually I would have gotten a large sweet tea with my order. However, I still had water left from the fishing trip, so I only ordered a double cheeseburger (I know... enough calories in those things to make a whole meal) and regular fries (would have been a large in the past). It's these small changes in life that I've made that I know will help me continue my weight loss and fitness journey. I encourage anyone else trying to lose weight to cut out the soda, tea, alcohol, or whatever else you're drinking and just drink water. Zero calories and you can have as much as you want. It's really good for your body too and can help flush out the bad things you put into your body.

This week will be a busy one. I've got a paper due for my Master's class, and have to have two presentations ready to go for Friday's Teacher-In'Service in which I'm teaching other teachers. Not to mention a staff meeting Monday, 8th hour duty Tuesday, and church Wednesday evening. Through this all, I'm going to try to log some more miles. I'm looking forward to next Saturday so much, though. My SIL, Kelly, and I are going to sign up for the half-marathon and hopefully do some shopping. I'm hoping to buy some more running clothes (in smaller sizes that actually fit) and also finally buy the running shoes I earned for my miles last year. Can't wait!

One last thing about this week.... So Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, which is the kickoff of the lenten season. I understand that lent is not just about giving something up that you should also do something good for yourself and/or others. We'll I've decided that I've already started doing many good things for this year with all of my goals I have (reading to my kids, exercising, Master's classes), so I am going to just focus on giving something up. I'm going to make it a challenge on myself. I'm giving up one of my favorite things.... CHOCOLATE! It will be tough, but I can do it! I'm hoping that will help with some of my weight loss that has recently subsided as well. Need to break through this plateau I've been on for awhile.

Ok... that was a lot for this week. Better get back to writing my paper. :) 
Getting there

Saturday, February 2, 2013

One Foot in Front of the Other

Just got back from putting in 5 miles today after a 4 day break from exercise. Used the cold weather and busy schedule as excuses this week. Today's trip consisted of 4.1 miles jogged straight through, then 0.2 walked, and another 0.5 jogged before finishing it out with walking. I've never jogged that many miles straight through in my life before.... EVER. It feels great to know I can do that all on my own. 
The more I think about this half-marathon, the more I'm proud I've committed to it. Haven't officially signed up for it yet (will be doing that Feb. 16 at a store in Columbia), but I've got it in my mind and on my calendar to do, so therefore I will! Had I not signed up for it, I would only be pushing myself to run 3.1 miles or slightly more because I would only otherwise be doing 5Ks. Don't get me wrong. Running a 5K is a great accomplishment for anyone! But I wouldn't know that I'm capable of much more if I wouldn't try to push myself into much more. This is shaping up to be My Best Year Yet! 
I have also decided that this half-marathon is definitely mind over matter. All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other (again and again and again and again and so on), but that's all you have to do. It's really that easy. You can't focus on how far you have to go, but instead of how far you have come. That's exactly what I'll be doing as I train and run the half. 16 weeks from today is race day!!! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Limits

This is my motto for this year. As soon as I thought about doing a half-marathon race, I knew there was no reason in the world for me to justify NOT doing it. I won't know what I'm capable of until I try. I get excited thinking about what this year will bring. I truly believe getting fit is 100% mental. You've got to convince your mind that your body is capable. 

Stop making excuses.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Call Me Crazy!

Well my bucket list is expanding by leaps and bounds lately. My newest addition: running most of and then finishing a half-marathon. Yep 13.1 miles will be behind my name on May 25, 2013! It's going to be quite the challenge for me. I'm currently only able to run a 5K distance (3.1 miles), so I've got a long way to go, but as of now I have the ambition and that's the most of it. You know... I have to admit that it feels great to say that I can ONLY run 3.1 miles. Two years ago I would have laughed at anyone who would have told me I would someday run that far without stopping, and I really would have thought they were nuts if they mentioned my name associated with the word half-marathon! I'm so excited about what my future holds.

I'm now at 35.27 miles for January with 20.55 of those jogged. The last three days have totaled over 11 miles with 8.2 of them jogged! It's tough during the run, but I'm sure proud afterward! Running/exercising is so rejuvenating in so many ways. As is sleep, which is where I need to head. :)

More on the half-marathon to come! We are going at it as a team, but aren't quite finalized on who our team of 4 will be yet.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Playing Catchup

I've been trying to keep up with all these goals. So far so good. On this 27th day of January I am currently at 27.95 miles walked/jogged total. 15.45 of those miles have been ran/jogged. I'd like to do at least 100 miles ran this year, but more would be better. Yesterday I headed out for a walk and decided I was going to run 5K total (3.1) miles just to see if I could still do it and see how long it would take. I had previously set a goal for myself to run a 5K this Spring sometime in under 30 minutes. I ran my first 5K race earlier this year in the summer and it took 30:36. And so I began jogging yesterday. The biggest portion of the first mile was downhill, but it allowed me to break my record time for running a mile 9:05. That caused me to push on. If I could get a mile in in close to 9 minutes, then I could for sure get a 5K in in under 30 minutes. So I pushed through the panting and pain. Two miles passed and then 3 and then I hit the 3.1 miles, quit jogging to check my watch and figure up the time it took. 29:40!!!!! YAY!!! Goal accomplished! Now to lower that goal to challenge myself. I'm thinking next I'll try for under 28 minutes. I know that doesn't seem like much of a decrease, but the faster you run, the harder it is to shave off time from the total. I'll start there and see where it takes me. 

I'm also very thrilled that I'm finally getting some toning in my legs. I've always HATED my legs. They've been big, flabby and to steal a quote from a friend, have had "hail damage" (cellulite). All of that is going away and I'm liking what I'm left with. No, they aren't anywhere close to being Carrie Underwood legs, but they're getting much closer. :) 

New this week... I also started a Google Spreadsheet for those who have joined the private Facebook group to challenge themselves to 365 miles this year. So far no one has shared their email address with me for me to share the document with them, but I hope they do. It is super easy to use and I have it all set up so it will figure their miles for them. And then we can see everyones progress each day. I'll have to do better to advertise it to them. :) 

As far as other goals go: I've been working really hard to get caught up on the book reading to the kids (primarily Hunter so far, although Laci was looking at a Farm book in church last night and LOVED flipping the pages and looking at the pictures).  I'm currently at 19 books read to him (I don't count books that Trevor reads on nights he puts him to bed, just when I do). They aren't all new books. A lot of them are repeats, but he loves reading some of the same books so he can read most of the words with me. Touches my hear to hear him read and love reading so much. We also read prayers each night and Bible stories from a kids bible story book. I don't count those for the total books read because those are kind of just special books. Reading to him before bed helps make him want to go to bed, and gives us good bonding time. A well needed and loved goal. 

Another part of this years goal is to work toward a Master's degree. So far that is going well. I've been staying about a week ahead of the due dates for my assignments. Trying to stay ahead so that if Trevor has to go back to his old job and travel, I've got some time built in to keep caught up. So far I've earned 100% on all of my assignments, too. :) Feels good to do good and be ahead. 

The last of my goals is 52 hours of toning. Right now I'm at 4.5. I've slacked off on this a bit lately, but luckily got ahead at the beginning of the year. Gotta get back to it soon. :)

Things are going great lately! Couldn't ask for a better life right now and wouldn't want to. :) 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Photo update

So one morning this week I was feeling rather "skinny". I can now wear my "skinny dress pants" from many years ago regularly and not just on good days. Can't remember if I got them in high school, or shortly thereafter, but there have only been select times in my life when they actually fit me. They have no stretch to the waistline, so everything's locked into place once they're on. :) Not near to where I want to be, but closer than I have been for about 3 years!

January 17 update

Goal progress: 4.5 hours of toning/videos
                        15.26 miles (7.6 of those are jogged)
                        9 books read to Hunter (slacking here)

My Master's is already starting to take a small toll, although I'm trying my best to work ahead and not let it get me down. It's only nearing the end of week 1 and I'm beginning on my week 3 assignments. Feels great to be ahead!

This weeks advice to those wanting to take control of their lives and lose weight.... weigh yourself daily. Yes, it will fluctuate from day to day (mine is never the same two days in a row). However, the scale doesn't lie! If I have a bad eating day the day before, you can bet I'll notice on the scale the next morning. I don't worry about it day to day, but over time if I have several high readings in a row, it causes me to rethink what I'm doing and remind myself of the body I'm trying for. It gets me back on track.

Speaking of the scale... saw my lowest weight of the last 3 years this week. Bounced back up from it afterward, but I'm working my way down there. Takes time when you lose weight without the help of pills or special supplements, but it's worth it to know you're doing it all by exercising more and eating better. No cheating here! You really can do it with diet and exercise alone! I still eat things I enjoy (chocolate might as well be my middle name), but I am learning to count calories and have more calories burned than saved.

I hope everyone else is keeping their goals in mind and not giving up on them yet! If you put your mind to it, you really can achieve what you hope for. You just have to convince your mind that you really can do it. It's 100% mental and I truly believe that!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 9 update

Making some progress!
Jan 9 update:
  • 3 hours of videos/toning in so far this year
  • 10.57 miles
Feeling great! Loving this warmer weather! Sure hope everyone is getting some time in outside to enjoy it.

My free advice for this week: Don't give up on yourself. Push yourself to do just a little bit more, walk a little further, run a little further, do a couple more situps or pushups, just always try to go for a few more. You will be surprised at what your body is capable of! Really! When I think about quitting running and just want to finish my trip out with walking, I push for another couple tenths of a mile. Sure haven't keeled over yet. :) I've also been doing some Jillian Michaels videos, which are really tough. I always push myself to try to do all of the moves she wants the viewers to do and not cheat and quit early or modify the moves. I believe its this mentality that's causing me to finally see some slowly toning muscles in my body!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Off on the right track!
My 2013 fitness journey began today. I got in 30 minutes of toning doing the Jillian Michaels Six Week 6 pack video today! Only 51.5 more hours of toning to go this year! :)
I'm waiting for the snow to dry up to start on my miles (although one of my last miles to finish out 2012 was completed by walking circles around the yard while the snow was coming down on New Year's Eve... note to self to not get so far behind on miles in 2013).

Today I also started the Facebook group for those who are up for the challenge of walking/jogging/biking 365 miles this year. I'm quite overwhelmed by the amount of people who agreed to take on the challenge even knowing there's no prize at the end of the year! So inspiring! It's a no-lose challenge. Even if you don't make it all the way to 365 miles any miles you get in is better than none. I did find that the more miles I put in and the closer I go to my goal, the more determination I had to make it. Which is how I was able to put in 18 miles the last 3 days of the year!

For those wondering how to keep track of their miles... I purchased a Garmin Forerunner watch online through Wal-Mart at the beginning of last year. That was one of my best purchases all year! I love it! I have also used the Nike Running App on my phone (its free!). But I did find that the App is not as accurate as my watch, which surprised me. Either way you'll be close to knowing how far you went. I also set challenges to go further each time, or faster, or jog more of the mile. It led me up to completing my very first 5K all ran last year! That was a great accomplishment, too.

Well good luck to all who are making 2013 a year to take control of their own lives and bodies! You won't regret it!