What I Want Out Of 2014

Le’t s face it, 2013 was the year of Evan.

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OMG…. so tiny!

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It was a good year, if not a great year. I made progress – personally and professionally. I got to experience a lot of things I never thought I would, and I’ve really enjoyed every bit of having a baby — in ways I might not have with B and L. It was also a year of a lot of emotions (A LOT), a lot of frustration, not a lot of running, and very little sleep. So it’s safe to say I had my ups and downs.

While I don’t like to make resolutions, I do like to reflect on the year that was and make an effort to make changes so that I can keep growing as a person, and we can continue to work together as a family. This is what I want out of 2014…

More Family Time

It’s pretty easy to get caught up in things. Between work, school, friends, running, and managing a baby’s schedule – it’s easy to push family time to the side and say we’ll “do it later.” I am quickly learning that there is no “later” and that kids really do grow up in the blink of an eye.

It was a good morning ❤️

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How’d they get so big?

Instead, I’m hoping we make time each week to do something FUN together. We got a TON of games for Christmas, so Family Game Night is definitely one (of many) ways we can make this happen.

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Probably NOT going to play this one with my kids, but just seeing if you’re paying attention.

I also want to give my kids more fun experiences – a trip to the Tampa aquarium, a trip to Disney (we haven’t been in two years!), and a beach trip are on my list of things I want to do this year.

Patience and Less Yelling

About 80% of the time my demeanor is calm and laid back. That 20% though… I have been known to surprise people. While, I think there is a time and a place for yelling – I resort to it TOO MUCH with my kids. So much so that I see B doing now when he is frustrated. Not good. So, I need to find another outlet. Maybe I need to give myself a time out. Something definitely needs to change – it doesn’t make anyone feel good.

More Sleep

I think it’s a given that I WILL (eventually) get more sleep this year than I did last year! In the next few weeks we REALLY need to sleep train E. It’s going to be painful and tedious (and crying-it-out is not going to work with his stubborn streak — oh my little Taurus), but it needs to be done!

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Good thing he’s adorable.

More  Date Nights

I’m pretty sure Dan and I went on all of 3 dates this year. One being the night out we had last weekend to celebrate our anniversary!

Perfect end to our anniversary.

Not a bad view.

We also need to find a local babysitter. While I KNOW our parents love spending time with our kids, I hate having to depend on them. Especially when there are three crazies involved! I don’t really know how you find a babysitter (daycare teachers are out) – but I’m thinking the gym daycare is a great place to start, right?

More Running

I REALLY want to train for another marathon this year – as well as PR in the half and 10k distances. I am pretty sure ALL of these can happen — especially once we get that whole “more sleep” thing down. I’m also hoping for a lot more racing with this lady

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I’d like to be back to morning workouts by February – at least twice a week.

From earlier... Decided to take out my new friend for a little spin after Bootcamp. I think we're going to be spending a lot of miles together!

Say hi to my new Garmin. She’s pretty and I love her.

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Also, I love these shoes. I may be a full-blown Mizuno loyalist now.

More Strength

It’s going to be hard to keep up with strength training while I’m marathon training – but I’m committed to making sure I do at least one strength training workout a week (if not more).

Sweating out the alcohol.

Ouch. I’m still feeling this one.

I feel stronger than ever right now (the 22lb baby might help!), and I’d like to keep those muscles.

More Reading

I feel like I really slacked on reading this year. It’s like I had other priorities or something? Well, in 2014 the books are coming back! It helps that Book Club was just revived by this lady. I can’t wait!

Focus on Healthy Cooking and Baking

I made Chocolate Chip Banana Bread as I was writing this. Definitely not healthy. Good thing it’s still 2013!

I LOVE EATING so it’s not going away, ever. However, I think we really need to make a shift. I’m not going to go OVERBOARD – let’s face it, my favorite thing in the world to eat is a bowl of pasta and drink a lot of wine – but I’d like to make an effort to eat MORE whole foods, drink more water, and consume less crap.

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These also aren’t healthy, but let’s pretend they are, OK?

This includes more simple ingredient recipes and less quick and easy processed food. I’d also like to teach my kids how to cook and bake as well – I think that’s an important part of passing on healthy eating habits.

Spend Time Reflecting

I’m not big into meditating or praying – but I do think it’s important and it’s something I don’t do enough of. So maybe 2014 will be the year I bring a little reflection, prayer, and gratitude into my life. I do have A LOT to be thankful for every day.

World Peace

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Too optimistic? Ok then…

Have Fun

It’s not that I didn’t have fun this year, but when you spend the first half of the year pregnant and the second half with a baby who is NOT sleeping through the night (*yawn*) — you end up a little tired, a little cranky, and a little consumed with other things going on in your life. I am full on committed to making the most of out 2014. This doesn’t mean partying 24/7 – but letting go a little. Living in the moment. Having more dance parties with my kids (and maybe at work?), and finding ways to make the monotonous things fun.

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FYI – Fun things almost always make my raise my arms. Or maybe that’s just alcohol.

So basically what I’m saying is… it’s been real 2013. Bring it 2014.

What do YOU hope to get out of 2014?

Merry Christmas!! {2013}

Where am I? What month is it? Is it really Christmas??? Holy…

Well, in that case, from my family to yours….

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Note that this version has the Oxford Comma… my actual card does not because it was EDITED. #bitter

It’s taken a little effort, but it’s safe to say we are officially jolly and full of Christmas spirit. Or maybe just alcohol. Well, the kids aren’t full of alcohol (or are they??).

It helps that the we FINALLY got around to seeing Santa on Sunday. It’s always a wait , but it’s ALWAYS worth it. This Santa is legit.

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Isn’t he the best?

And now I’m off to wrap a hundred gifts, bake a thousand cookies, and drink A LOT of wine. After all… ’tis the season!

Wishing you and yours a safe and HAPPY holiday!

Let’s Get Jolly, B*tches

The countdown to Christmas is on and I’m definitely feeling the crunch. While I’ve finished the majority of my Christmas shopping (!!), there are still a million and ten things I feel like I need to do. There are Christmas traditions I’d like to uphold (and in some cases start), cards to send out (at I ordered them!) and we still haven’t seen the big guy….

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From last year… minus one kid, plus some teeth.

We did FINALLY get the lights and the tree up last week.

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And we only broke one (unimportant ornament) in the process. Christmas miracles do happen!

With everything we have going on, I’m really REALLY trying to take the time and enjoy Christmas through the eyes of my babies. The magic of Santa only lasts so long and first Christmases ARE only celebrated once.

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I really need to find that hat…

Truthfully, my heart gets a little sad when I think about the day that there won’t be a 5:00am wakeup just to see if Santa came. I really want my kids to have the same kind of memories that I had. Memories full of cookies, family, singing, and laughter. I want them to get just excited about giving gifts – as they are to receive them. I’ve always loved Christmas. It’s by far my FAVORITE time of year. Even when I feel like it’s really hard to relax and ENJOY it.

So, while this Christmas is feeling a little crunched for time (seriously – how is Christmas NEXT WEDNESDAY??), it’s time for me to suck it up, hang the mistletoe…

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(on the baby)

Bake some cookies…

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies. Don't you wish you worked with me?

These are to die for, especially if you’re into dark chocolate

Get fancy…

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And get JOLLY.

Evan DEMANDS IT

Hello ladies...

with smiles, of course

What gets you into the holiday spirit?

Things I Keep Meaning To Tell You

Get excited for a whole bunch of random stuff… It’s time for another installment of things I keep meaning to tell you!

1. We’re two weeks out from Christmas and I’m feeling a little Scrooge-like up in here. We have yet to buy a tree or decorate. It doesn’t help that it’s freaking 85 degrees outside. Seriously Florida, get your shit together. Winter technically starts in 12 days.

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Did you know that it’s almost summer in Australia… and it’s the same temperature here as it is there? They are predicting that it’s going to be in the 70s on Christmas Day… which… just makes my heart shrink three sizes. If I start turning green, please let me know.

2. Amazon Prime is AMAZING.

This is my first Christmas with Prime and I think it’s pretty much paid for itself these last few weeks alone. Even though I’m feeling like Scrooge in the spirit department, I’m kicking ass in the gift department. I still have a few more items to cross off my list, but I think last year at this time I had purchased nothing. That’s a win right? I’m sure I will still wait until the last minute to wrap everything though. #procrastinatorforlife

3. Jackie and I took our girls to see Frozen a few weeks ago. At the time I was really ‘meh’ about going. It was right before Thanksgiving, I really had no desire to see it, and the showing was at Downtown Disney (which is about 45 minutes from me)… but I sucked it up because a) it was free and b) I needed a little girl time with Livie. Needless to say it was pretty great.

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Not only does Kristen Bell sing (along with Idina Menzel – who can really do no wrong – it’s so unfair that she can sing like that AND is married to Taye Diggs oops, apparently I jinxed that one), but I didn’t expect the end AT ALL. And it’s a FANTASTIC princess movie. Plus, the animation was gorgeous. And did I mention Kristen Bell? Anna is now officially my favorite Disney Princess *decorates walls* So, if you haven’t seen it – GO SEE IT NOW.

4. I’ve been reading A LOT but haven’t been telling you about it at all. So, here are a few of the books I recommend…

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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This book was great. Seriously great. Read it!

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

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This book – wow. Made me paranoid, but at the same time it falls into the “More you know” category.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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A few people recommended this book to me and I thought it was OK. I didn’t bawl at the end like everyone told me I would, though.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

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I really enjoyed this book – except the end. And it’s not that I hated the end — I just have mixed emotions.

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

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Another book where I enjoyed it thoroughly — until the end.

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (yes, that Lauren Graham)

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I read this one at the end of my pregnancy/when Evan was a newborn — so it took an insanely LONG time to finish, even though I should have been done with it in two days. However, it’s cute and sweet and well written. I hope Lauren Graham continues to write!

I’m currently reading The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan and so far I’m sucked in. I am a pretty big fan of Amy Tan’s — although her last few books haven’t delivered, so I’m hoping this one changes things.

Anything I NEED to read next?

5. A book I don’t recommend is Allegiant. I was so disappointed by it and hated the ending. So much so that I’m not even going to do a full review (like I did with Divergent and Insurgent). It could have been great. Instead it sucked. Did ANYONE like it?

6. Race photos are fun, even if I always look like I am dying. Also, those shorts and socks really emphasize how long my legs are. In case you were wondering where I got my blog name from, here you go…

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Just out for a stroll.

(Source)

7. Evan just wanted to say “I”m still not sleeping!!!”

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Anyone want to come sleep train him?? Or maybe babysit him (and his siblings) on Saturday night? :)

On a happy note, he’s now sitting in a shopping cart and it’s kind of adorable.

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He also refused to look at me while I took these pictures. Probably because I’m already embarrassing him.

So, what’s new with you? Any book recommendations? 

OUC Half Marathon: OUCh {Race Recap}

Half Marathon #15 is DONE.

Oh boy, that hurt. BUT Half #15 is DONE. #OUCHalf

This race was full of blunders, humidity, and hurt. It was both mentally elating and frustrating, which is also how I would describe running this entire year, so it’s fitting that this would be my last race in 2013.

But, let’s start at the very beginning…

I swear Evan KNOWS when I have to wake up early, because the kid was up a gazillion times that night. The last wakeup was at 4:20, which really sucked because I had my alarm set for 4:45. Good thing he’s so freaking cute.

The morning went as planned. I got up, got dressed (after trying on several shirts – I was still ‘meh’ about my outfit, but it worked), pumped, ate a Clif Bar, and headed out to get Paula. I got to her house around 6:10 and we were downtown and parked by 6:25. Yeah, local races with plenty of free parking right by the race start don’t suck.

After a porta-potty visit, we lined up. Like last year, it was a madhouse and we ended up WAY behind where we wanted to start because we couldn’t push up any further in the lineup. I really wanted to start at the 9:00/mile marker, but we were behind the 10:00+ marker.  I feel like if Track Shack wants this half marathon to grow every year (like it has) they are going to have to start assigning corrals.

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This was pretty much the same view behind us as well. We were same dab in the middle.

In any case, about 2.5 minutes after the start, I crossed the start line and I was off. And here’s where the blunders began…

Remember how I asked if anyone had a Garmin to borrow? Well, Victoria kindly volunteered one of hers – and I chose the the Forerunner 10 so that I could test it out. I THOUGHT I had figured out how to use it the night before, but it was evident during the race that I did not. It wasn’t until I was about a quarter mile in where I discovered I didn’t start it. Derp. So much for that.

Still, the first 3 miles ticked by. I started out slow thanks to the congestion and the Garmin, but quickly gained some speed. From what I could tell, I was averaging a 8:50-9:00 pace for miles 2 and 3. I kept telling myself not to push too hard, but those miles felt easy so I went with it. I know it’s not always a good half marathon race strategy, but I find if I go out fast I tend to do in the long run. I hit the 5K mark at 28:20 — a 9:07 pace.

By mile 5 I was loving life. That is typically my sweet spot and this race proved no differently. Around that time I started strategically planning when I was going to stop for water (and walk) and take a gel. I had decided NOT to bring my own water and just rely on the water stops — I now kind of regret that decision and it’s a decision I’ve regretted before — so maybe this time I’ll actually learn? The water stops were supposed to be about 1.5 miles apart — and  most of the time this was true. Except the 2-3 that were more like 2 miles apart. This wouldn’t have been an issue if I took water at every stop, but I decided to stop at every OTHER stop. Fail.

That said, the miles continued to tick by. I hit the 10K mark at 56:37 (9:06 pace). Despite the fact that it was getting warmer and it was SOOOOO humid I just felt better and better.

My next blunder occurred around mile 7 or 8… my right shoe was untied (despite double knotting my shoes). I quickly pulled off the side of the road to retie it (and tighten the left one as well). Unfortunately, I tied the right one TOO tight and it continued to hurt the rest of the run. FAIl. Again. Also, stopping and squatting down during the middle of race?? Not a great idea for my hip flexors apparently.

Still, I was able to get back into a faster pace and somehow hit the 15K mark at 1:25:34 (still a 9:06 pace). By mile 9.5 I thought that Victoria’s Garmin MIGHT really have magic PR juju (she PR’d the crap out her marathon last week!). I wasn’t on course to PR, but I was on course to sub-2. Which I wasn’t aiming for all (my goal was to knock 10 minutes off my Baldwin Park Half time).

And then things fell apart.

For starters, I missed a water stop. I mean, I didn’t miss seeing it – but for some reason they had Gatorade first and then water. I asked for water and they shouted, “It’s up there!” and so I kept running. And then I realized (after I passed the stop completely) by “up there” they meant “right next to me.” So, I turned around and ran back. For about 2 seconds I thought about just skipping the stop, but I haven’t had water in about 3 miles and I knew I needed it.

And then there were the hills. I know, I know – Orlando is flat! But I swear to you there were lots of mini hills those last three miles and they were brutal. Especially combined with the damn cobblestone we also have to deal with. I felt like around every corner was a hill. At some point I even shouted (probably getting some weird looks) ENOUGH WITH THE HILLS! Needless to say, this was not my favorite OUC Course (they change it every year due to city ordinance – so you never know what you’re going to get!).

So in the end… those last three miles killed me. I even thought “Why wouldn’t I want to run another marathon??” and “Why am I running this race??” It’s funny how quickly positive running endorphins can turn into negative ones. I knew I had missed my opportunity to sub-2 by mile 12, but I was still within my goal of shaving off those 10 minutes. So, I pressed on. I was determined NOT to walk and finish with a smile on my face.

After what felt like an eternity, I turned the corner onto Robinson St. — searching the crowd for Dan and the kids. At first I couldn’t see him and was worried that he didn’t make it in time — until I saw a beaming, chubby face being lifted into the air. There is really nothing better than seeing your very own cheerleading crew at the end of a race. Except perhaps crossing the finish line, which I did in 2:03:33. (9:21 pace)

I walked very, very slowly through the chute (I was hurting!) and finally caught up with my crew.

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About 2 minutes later I heard my name — and there was Katy!

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She totally rocked her race — and I can’t say I didn’t have little race envy.

We chatted for a little bit, waiting for Paula to finish.

Finishers! So happy @eatwatchrun and I ran into @kwidrick (who kicked major ass).

One things was for certain – despite the smiles in this picture we were ALL hurting.

We completely skipped the after party this year. I probably should have grabbed some ice and a beer, but instead, I dropped Paula back home and had breakfast at Keke’s….

Fun at Keke's! #betterthancoloring #starving

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We had to wait a little bit to eat,so it was more like lunch — but it was well worth the wait. I kind of forgot that post-race meals are FANTASTIC.

Despite hurting and having somewhat negative feelings towards toward this race there were a lot of race highlights…

  • Great parking! This year I parked in the garage behind the race and it was completely stress free and close to the start.
  • Amazing National Anthem. I’m not sure who sang, but she did a great job
  • Enthusiastic spectators. We ran through primarily residential areas and it’s always great to see people come out and cheer us on! I especially excited to see one of my book club friends out cheering with her three little girls (her husband ran it and came in 4th place! Wow!)
  • Great race signs – and the “Beer stop” at mile 11(ish?). I was very, very tempted to grab a red solo cup and chug. The guy next to me did and he managed to manage his pace the rest of the race.
  • Beautiful scenery and lots of shade and lakes. I think I said this last year too – Orlando is “The City Beautiful” for a reason.
  • Seeing friends during the course and at the finish! I ran into Kristina around mile 8 (literally), saw Katy at the finish, and I tried to meet up with Amanda too – but sadly that didn’t happen. Racing is always better with racing buddies!

While 2013 wasn’t the best year for me in terms of running – I’m happy to be in a place where I feel like I’m “bouncing back” after having Evan. This half marathon proved to me that I have some speed left in me and I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be GREAT year for racing. So in summary…. bring on 2014! I’m ready for some PRs.