Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Some Pretty Lofty Goals for 2014

With multiple snow days off from school, I have had plenty of time to put together a list of races for 2014.  Most of these are local and familiar races, but a few of them are destination races.  My goal is to run 14 races of any kind in 2014 to fulfill the 14 in 2014 Challenge.  My first race on my schedule is called The Fanny Freezer 5K.  The last time I ran this the temps were below zero, hence the name.  Check out my list of 2014 races below.


  • Fanny Freezer 5K- Ft. Wayne, IN
  • Paradise Coast Half Marathon- Naples, Florida
  • 5 Kilt Run St. Patrick's Day Race - Ft. Wayne, IN
  • Hoosier Half Marathon Indiana University - Bloomington, IN
  • Swiss Village 5K Spaziergang - Berne, IN
  • Bunny Rock 5K - Indianapolis, IN
  • Pittsburgh Half Marathon sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods - Pittsburgh, PA
  • Frontier Run 'n Fun Run 5K or 10K (not sure which one I will be running) - Ft.Wayne, IN
  • Sunburst Half Marathon, 10K, or 5K (not sure which one yet)- South Bend, IN (Notre Dame University)
  • No races planned yet
  • Runners on Parade 5K - Ft.Wayne, IN
  • Top of Utah Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Parlor City Trot 10 mile - Bluffton, IN
  • Air Force Half Marathon - Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio
  • Fort 4 Fit Half Marathon- Ft. Wayne, IN
  • Run for Riley 5 Mile- Ft. Wayne, IN (all proceeds go to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis)
  • Boilermaker Half Marathon- Purdue University, west Lafayette, IN
  • River City Rat Race 10K- Ft.Wayne, IN
  • McCormick Creek 5K Trail Run- McCormick Creek State Park, near Bloomington, IN
  • Galloping Gobbler 4 Mile on Thanksgiving morning- Ft. Wayne, IN
  • Still researching races for December

This schedule allows me some leeway so that races can be changed if need be.  On February 8th I will start my journey toward 14 races in 2014.  Keep your fingers crossed for temperatures above zero!

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Never Limit Where Running May Take You"...a night with Bart Yasso

Each January our local track club hosts a banquet to honor the runners in the community. Not only are the track club members honored, but three high school boys and girls are nominated for the Chris Brown Outstanding High School Distance Runner Award for their exceptional talent.  But the highlight of each year's banquet is the guest speaker. Past speakers have been Shalane Flanagan and Dave Wottle, both Olympic medalists.

 This year Bart Yasso was the guest speaker, and what a speaker he was. He has been with Runners World Magazine since 1987 and currently serves as their Chief Running Officer traveling the globe inspiring  people and spreading his love of running.  Bart shared tales from his life that are documented in his book, "My Life on the Run." I was lucky enough to talk to him and have him autograph my book.  I even brought along my copy of the Boston Marathon edition of Runners World for him to sign. Like they say, all good things must come to an end and unfortunately so did this incredible evening with Bart Yasso.   
A must read!
Meeting a running legend
Getting Bart Yasso's autograph
His running motto
Boston Edition of Runners World

Wrapping up his presentation
With yet another snow day, I headed to the basement for a treadmill workout inspired by Bart Yasso. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Run Your Socks Off

"My Mama always said, 'Life was like a sock drawer; you never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump

My running socks are the most important running accessory I have after properly fitting running shoes. I have spend hundreds of dollars over the past several years trying to find the elusive "perfect" running sock.  My sock drawer is overflowing with rejects not making the cut:  Thorlo, Asics, Feetures, Nike, Champion, Reebok, Wrightsock, and Wigwam, all taking up space in my drawer.  I wear Smartwool socks for school so when I discovered that Smartwool made running socks, I had to give them a try. 
Just a few of my Smartwool running socks from my collection. Love the fun designs! These have light cushioning and are fitted at the arch. The seamless toe makes for chaff-free rubbing. The higher profile at the ankle keeps the sock from slipping down into the shoe.
These are the lower profile Smartwool socks that take up space in my sock drawer. I don't wear them as often because they tend to slip down into my shoe after a few miles. Like the other ones, they are fitted at the arch but much thinner with less cushioning.
Although I love the Smartwool running sock, my favorite go-to sock is made by Balega. I have 5 different styles but I tend to wear the purple and green ones above most of the time.  These are Balega's Blister Resist sock and prevent blisters.  I wear these socks on short as well as long runs. I have yet to get a blister from these socks. They offer a contoured arch and soft padding at the heel and ball of foot.  I put these to the test during the Walt Disney World Marathon when temperatures were well over 100 degrees.   My feet were sore from the constant pounding but I walked away blister free! I absolutely LOVE these socks!
Another style of Balega socks that are thinner than the Blister Resist socks. Both the Blister Resist and this style offer ample padding at the heel to prevent rubbing. 
To sum it up, after trying many different brands of socks, you can't beat Smartwool and Balega for blister free running.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beauty and Brains... All in One Package

When Kym graduated from Ball State University with her Bachelor Degree in Business, it was one of the proudest days in our lives as parents.  To see her walk down the aisle in her cap and gown stealing a glance and smile our way, brought tears to our eyes.  We were two of the proudest parents in the audience. There's something about seeing your first-born child transition into adulthood that makes a parent swell with pride. 

Next year, we get to repeat that feeling once again when Kym will receive her Master in Business Administration (MBA).  She is currently on track to graduate with a 4.0 GPA and number 1 in her class! 

Kym's beautiful wedding picture just proves that a girl can be beautiful and have the brains as well. She's got it all. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Paradise Coast Half Marathon; A Run in the Sun

In a few weeks we will be visiting the sunshine state of Florida.  This is a much needed get-a-way from the blustery winter weather we've had this month.  Since we will be there during the running of the Paradise Coast Marathon and Half, I decided to sign up for this race.  Of course I was able to talk Kevin into running it as well.  The course is gorgeous running through the beautiful Lely Resort in Naples.  Naples is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, fine dining, high end fashion shops and is a prime destination for running a half marathon in the dead of winter. 

Naples Pier and a rendering of the medal

The beautiful Lely Resort

The course runs through beautiful landscapes

Around fountains, shops and lakes

This will be my first half-marathon of the year on my way to 14 races in 2014.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Girl Can Never Have Too Many Shoe...Running Shoes That Is

I love shoes! Especially running shoes. Over the course of my running journey, I have tried many different brands of shoes. Although I currently have three different brands in my closet, I keep coming back to Asics.  They were my first running shoe when I started running over 10 years ago.
My current collection of Asics running shoes;  Kayanos starting with 18, 19, and 20. The pink with purple laces are the new Kayano 20's and are my favorite ones.

Love the gel soles and padded heels

Every runner knows that you need to rotate your shoes so they last longer and to air them out between runs. I guess I fall into this category because with 4 pairs of Kayano shoes at my disposal, I have the luxury of frequently changing them out.  I'm looking forward to the new Kayano 21's!

What is your favorite running shoe? How many pairs are in your closet?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Colts and Broncos, my two favorite teams

I am a HUGE football fanatic! My team is the Indianapolis Colts.  Always has been and always will be. It was a very sad day when Peyton Manning left the Colts and joined the Denver Broncos.  But on the upside, instead of having one favorite team, I now have two, with the Broncos being my number two. Once a Peyton fan, always a Peyton fan.

Although the Colts didn't fair well in the play-offs against the Patriots on Saturday, they ended their season better than last year.  Andrew Luck is an outstanding quarterback and with each season only stands to get better and better. He is the next Peyton Manning.

As for the Broncos, they had a great game against the Chargers. I love watching Peyton's magic on the field. Manning verses Brady makes for a riveting football game. With an anticipated win against the Patriots next week, the Broncos will move one step closer to a Super Bowl win!   

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pittsburgh Half Marathon

The first weekend in May, I will be joining my sister as we travel back to our childhood home to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. This is a race that I have always wanted to do, but didn't want to make the drive alone.  My sister ran the half last year with one of our childhood friends who still lives in Pittsburgh. She will be joining us this year as well and needless to say, I am very excited. The course runs through many areas of the city that we would visit as kids. 

The title Runner of Steel is the result of crossing the five different bridges and all three rivers at least once.  Although this honor is bestowed upon the marathon participants, I feel that all runners running this race will walk away claiming this title just for tackling the many hills that Pittsburgh has to offer.
Pittsburgh, my hometown. Home of bridges, three rivers, and many hills!

Elevation layout of the course. Looks like some killer hills!

Pittsburgh at night

Looks like I better do some hill workouts before May if I want to earn the title, Runner of Steel!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

EOS...Evolution of Smooth

EOS lip balm is my favorite solution to chapped winter lips. Even the meaning, evolution of smooth, sounds inviting. Not only are they colorful and pretty to look at, but they are 95% organic, 100% natural, and paraben and petroleum free.  Each colorful sphere is packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, soothing shea butter and jojoba oil. The mint is by far my favorite flavor. I have every flavor except the limited edition vanilla bean which sold out in one day online! I have them stashed in my purse, on my desk, and in my car.  One advantage of the EOS lip balm is that it tastes delicious if you happen to accidentally lick it off your lips.

A little bit of summer on your lips

Friday, January 10, 2014

Back-packing Across Switzerland

When my husband and I decided to go to Switzerland this past September, we planned on traveling with just a backpack. This would allow us the freedom to avoid the checked baggage nightmare or worse yet, lost luggage.  A backpack would afford us the opportunity to take all our belongings with us and not feel like we were bogged down with stuff.  Even though we traveled with just a backpack (I also had a small cross-body purse too) we stayed at quaint bed and breakfast hotels with all the amenities.  On one of our hikes we ran into a couple from Iowa who lost their luggage the prior year on a trip to Europe. They told us that from that trip on, they travel with just a backpack. 

 However, my dilemma was that I didn't have a backpack that was lightweight enough to carry for 2 weeks and at the same time, roomy enough for my clothes and the all important souvenirs.  After doing some research, I found the website, The Best Travel Backpack Guide as a wonderful tool for my backpack search. This website offers a wide variety of backpack choices to accommodate the adventurous traveler to the college student to a backpack used for daily commutes to and from work.  The backpack I ended up taking to Switzerland was purchased from recommendations from this website.  I was able to pack 2 weeks of clothes and had plenty of room to spare for souvenirs. 

My Mountain Hardwear Backpack

Check out this website if you are in need for a backpack for a week long mountain hike or just a jaunt around town. You won't be disappointed!  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Year, New Training Plan

The new year brings new hopes for many.  For me, I really just want to get back to a regular fitness schedule. During the holidays and the extra week off from school due to snow and sub-zero temperatures, I have become a slacker. With three half-marathons scheduled this spring, I needed a running/walking plan that would get me motivated.  After much research, I found the Run/Walk Half-Marathon Plan by Jenny Hadfield best suited for my current fitness level. She has a Walk/Run Plan as well as a Zero to Running Plan that would work well for those runners who want to do more walking than running.  In the past, I have used Jeff Galloway and Hal Higdon's half- marathon training plans but I wanted to try something different with three half-marathons only about one month apart.


What's your favorite half-marathon training plan? 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A world of white

Waking up this morning I was excited to see the yard blanketed in white, powdery snow. It was like being a kid again when you knew that a snow day was forthcoming. But until I got the text that would extend my Christmas vacation for one more day, I prepared to get ready for school tomorrow by getting my intervention notes updated. Nothing like waiting to the last minute. When I finally got the official text, I decided to abandon my work and watch some football. After the nail-biting playoff games last night, I was ready for something a little less stressful. Both football games were good but none can compare to the Colt's-Chief's game last night!

A beautiful sunset last night before the storm
Getting some files updated

Our backyard

About 4" so far

It started snowing a little harder making it difficult to see across the field


Time for some football!
About 7" and still falling
The trees look magical

A year ago this week I was...

Exactly a year ago, I was getting ready to head to Orlando to run my first marathon at Disney World.  With less than stellar training going into this race, and my longest run of only 13 miles, I was extremely nervous.  However, I knew that I could at least run/walk half of this race and if need be, shuffle through the rest.  I expected it to be warm, but not hot with the heat index well above 100 degrees.  My last run prior to Disney was the HUFF trail run which was in snow, ice, and bitter cold weather.  The humidity took its toll on my body because when I crossed the finished line I was pretty much delirious. I didn't even realize that I had actually finished.  When I rounded the corner at Epcot and saw a chorus of singers, I was exhausted.  A few minutes later I heard my name being called from the crowd and that's when I saw Brooke waiting for me.  She told me all along that we would finish together, but we became separated at about mile 17. So when I saw her waiting for me, I started to cry. She slipped out of the crowd, held my hand as we finished our first marathon holding hands together! 

Just a few pictures from the couple hundred that I took while running the marathon. Needless to say my camera, like myself, was caked in salt when I crossed the finish line.
The marathon course. 26.2 miles running through The Magic Kingdom, The Animal Kingdom, Wide World of Sports, Hollywood Studios, and ending in Epcot.
The Expo
Let the magic begin!
Our hotel
View from our hotel overlooking the Mermaid Pool
Larger than life Ariel and Flounder
Visiting the Magic Kingdom the day before the marathon.  Probably not a great idea.
Dinner with Cinderella and all the Disney Princesses at Cinderella's Royal Table to fill up before our race the next morning.

Minnie and Mickey
Cinderella's Castle at night
Colorful balloons
Time to leave and get some sleep before our 3 am 
wake-up call
Arriving at the start by 3:30am with garage bags to keep us warm until the start. I was suppose to be Ariel, Kym was Minnie, and Brooke was Cinderella. We were channeling our inner princesses.
The start of the marathon!
Mickey, Donald, and Goofy at the start

The first 5K finished! Only 23 miles to go!
Mile 6 on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom
Celebrating 20 years of Disney running
Lots of inspirational signs along the route
Half done!
 (Not sure who the guy is but I took pictures on the go without stopping at each mile marker)
Entering Disney Hollywood Studios
Running through the backlot: a replica of New York City
The costume department where movie costumes are made
Disney signage indicating our next destination
Wide World of Sports where we ran around the baseball field, home to winter training for the National Baseball League
Getting close to being done!
The end is near!
Approaching the finish. Seeing Epcot's Spaceship Earth is a wonderful thing!
The Choir! At this point I was pretty out of it. This is where I heard Brooke calling my name from the crowd.  She slipped out of the crowd to finish running the race with me. Truly a moment I will never forget!
And there it is! The FINISH! 
26.2 miles and still standing! We wore our medals
 with pride! 
My salt encrusted pants. I was covered with white salty residue from head to toe.  I was so dehydrated that it took a few minutes for me to realize that I had actually finished.

Shake out run/walk the next morning around our 
hotel grounds
Looking back across the lake toward our hotel
Signs along the walking path that depict important events in history.  This just so happens to be the year I was born.
A very important date in my history book. 
 Disney World opens!
The shirt, the bib, the medal

I can honestly say that this was more difficult than I imagined but also more rewarding.  Going into this marathon my motto was: one and done.  But weeks and months later, after I had some time to reflect on this race, I am toying with the notion of running/walking another marathon. I'm not sure when that will be, definitely not this year, but I will do another one.  As this weekend approaches, I will reminisce about running Disney and all the memories that I take away from the race. There is no other place on earth like Disney!