2014. Well that’s overwith.

I can’t even tell you one outstanding, amazing, over the moon thing that I did in 2014.

Not one.

I ran the Owens Corning Half Marathon in April. That was my eighth half. I think that was one of my more memorable moments.

So, I think that I would like to make 2015 memorable somehow.
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*I would like to be happy more often.
*I would like to keep off the weight that I worked my ass off to lose (literally).
*I would like to get a better handle on some of my bipolar symptoms and also bipolar triggers.
*I would like to run more. I am planning my second marathon on April 26, 2015, the Glass City Marathon.
*I would like to really help the Glass City Marathon by being a fantastic ambassador to help promote the race.
*I want to have more pride. I want to think better of myself.
*I want to learn to accept a compliment, also to give compliments more often.
*I want to spend more time making Bo happy. More often than I would like I come home and couch my night away. I should come home and play with Bo or take him on a walk when the weather is nice. I have a life outside the house and he doesn’t. I need to make his life inside the house fun and stimulating for him.
*I want to allow myself to stumble and even fall at times. I need this. I hold myself to a high standard and I have a hard time letting go of things or accepting less than what I think I should have or do.

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My list of wants and needs will change by the day. As of now, these are the things I am thinking of.
Bring it 2015.

First Marathon Training Run = Completed

On Sunday I finally fit in the first training run for my second marathon. The Glass City Marathon is on April 26, 2015 and I feel like I am going to be ready to run the full this year.  I don’t run as often as most marathon training plans call for. I have to alter training plans to fit my schedule and to work around my 5-surgery knee. My knee calls all of the shots around here…and I let it. I have one or two weekday runs and then my long run on the weekend. If my knee allows, I have two runs during the week, if my knee is feeling assy, then one.

My first training run was only three miles. Yup, three whole miles. I haven’t run a single step since October 24 and I have to say that I am pretty damn pleased with how I did on Sunday. Sunday was 17 weeks until the Glass City Marathon. Most training plans call for an 18-week training plan…I like to live dangerously I guess.
Plus I was really lazy and didn’t run when I was supposed to.
I put together a training plan for Jeff and I think that I may have him training for the Owens Corning Half Marathon right now! I would love to have another long distance runner in the house. It was around 30* when I set foot out the door and it gave me a great excuse to wear my new ear warmer hat thingy. It is also obvious here that I don’t own a hairbrush or feel the need to care about my appearance in any way.

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I always forget how much I love my Mizuno Wave Paradox shoes. Mizuno has let me try their Wave Sayonara and Wave Rider 18 running shoes and I loved them both so much that I invested in the Wave Paradox.

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Jeff set the route and we headed the half-mile down the street to the park to run the track there. The gravel track is semi-interesting to me, but I much prefer road running with varied routes for each run. The teeny path below isn’t the track, it is the teeny path to get to the track from the school parking lot.

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Jeff is faster than I am, so we didn’t run ‘together’ but we did run together for what its worth. I was feeling good at the halfway point of the run, pretty happy that I hadn’t collapsed since I hadn’t run in a few months. For those who don’t come around here often, I wear a gaiter over my face while I run so my lungs don’t feel the shock of the cold air. I find that I breathe MUCH easier through the gaiter than I do without it. I used to have exercise induced asthma and this always helped my lungs. I haven’t had any asthma symptoms in over two years, but I find that it helps me in the colder weather anyways. I also feel like a badass ninja warrior with my gaiter on.

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I saw a beautiful sunset in the park that made the run there worth it even though I hate running on tracks.
DSC08845A lot of people would be embarrassed by such a ‘slow’ run, but I am overjoyed beyond belief about my minutes per mile. I ran at a 12:02 pace, which is right when I ran in October. I am seriously pleased by this!! I used to run in the 14 minute per mile range when I first started, just for some frame of reference.
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A few months ago I was having shortness of breathe and a little chest pain. I went to my cardiologist and they said it must be my lungs. I went to my family doctor and she said it must be my heart. I went to a pulmonologist and he said it was my heart. OH MY GOODNESS. I had test after test after test to see why I was so short of breathe without any exertion at all. After I had a cardiopulmonary echocardiogram (a test where I wear a mask, chest electrodes and ride a weighted bike) they came to a conclusion…that my heart ‘becomes highly inefficient when my heart rate goes up.’ And, really, I already knew that. I have a mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation. With the regurgitation, the blood flows the wrong way through my heart because the valve doesn’t close properly. The blood that flows the wrong way causes my heart to have to pump hard. When I run, or exercise in general, I get extremely short of breath because of this blood flow issue. During the test, we could all tell the exact moment when my heart felt overwhelmed. I started loudly gasping for my breath, I got extremely dizzy, I was having issues all over the place.
Anyways, with the test they found out something I already knew, and have known for years. But, turns out my regurgitation has gotten worse this year. When your pulmonologist tells you that you should be very careful when your heart rate gets high, you tend to listen.

With all of that being said…I run.
Running is still on my ‘ok to do’ list and until it isn’t, I run.

I run slowly. I walk when my heart rate gets too high and I get dizzy. I try my best. I hope to inspire others with medical issues to get off the couch and lace up their shoes.
And the running bug has bitten me again. I can’t wait to get out again this week!

Merry Christmas to all!

1617559I hope you all received new lifting gloves and running shoes from Santa today!

Enjoy your holiday!

2015 Glass City Marathon Race Entry Giveaway

Last year I gave away two entries (to the race of their choice) to two of my readers. I am going to do the same giveaway again! The Glass City Marathon was my very first (and so far my only) marathon and the Owens Corning Half Marathon was my first half marathon and the second race I ever ran in. I love this race weekend for so many reasons. One being that it is essentially in my backyard. I know that this doesn’t apply to people not in NW Ohio, but it is a Boston qualifier with a flat, fast course that is sure to please…even those who aren’t trying to BQ. PLUS, there are corrals at the start line, pacing teams, chip timing, finishers book (sent after the race), a short sleeve tech shirt, you earn an amazing race medal, and as a tribute to Toledo, the Glass City, a glass finishers mug. There is also a post-race party to end all post-race parties you’ve ever been to. Did I mention the free massages for runners after the race? There may be beer there as well…

I am leading an amazing team of Ambassadors again this year to help spread the word about the Glass City Marathon race weekend.

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The two free entries that I am giving away are good for the Glass City Marathon, Owens Corning Half Marathon and the 5k.
Each of these races will require a training plan that you need to map out. Most marathon training plans suggest you train for 18 weeks, a half marathon training plan is typically around 12 weeks, and a lot of 5k plans can be around 8 weeks long. As of today, the race weekend is only 17+ weeks away. Still time to train your butt off for any of the races. But remember to think if you actually have the time to train for the race you want to run. That is something that is often overlooked. So plan your race, enter the giveaway and start training!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don’t win a race entry, or you don’t want to wait to see if you win, you can register for any of the races here.

I am not buying you a race entry, the amazing people who put together this race weekend are allowing me to sneak you in for free due to my status as a Glass City Marathon ambassador.

Happy Training!

An Early Christmas Gift to the Monsters

Jeff and I spent around 16 hours in the basement this past weekend. We cleaned, we organized and we painted. We painted so much that my hand is still cramping.
These pictures speak to how much work we accomplished.

The sitting area BEFORE:
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The sitting area AFTER:
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The TV corner BEFORE:
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The TV corner AFTER:
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Shelving area BEFORE:
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Shelving area AFTER:
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Entry area BEFORE:
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Entry area AFTER:
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The basement remodel was part of the monster’s Christmas gifts. We also hooked up cable in the basement for them. This will make the basement SO much more inviting and thus making it easier to send them down there to play.
The best part of this whole thing…the faces that the monsters made when they saw it:

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Worth it. Totally worth it.

Monday’s Motivation

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Special K Chewy Snack Bars Review

Don’t you love the end of the year? The holiday season typically puts people in fantastic moods, there are parties and presents and best of all, Christmas music! The end of the year is a good time to tie up the loose ends from the year you are finishing. I am always trying to get my ducks in a row so I can start the new year with everything in place. I don’t really make resolutions anymore, I make goals. Last year I made a goal to lose weight and I did, with the help of counting macros. I am generally keeping the weight off and I feel really good about how I look for the first time in a long time. I try and plan out my food for the entire day ahead of time, or at least most of the day. When I have a plan I tend to stick to my goals.

Eating well can be a chore at times. There are so many things to eat and drink that it is hard to keep it straight! I love to snack and that is my eating downfall. I would snack all day and night if I could. I like to eat larger meals, don’t get me wrong, but snacking is my jam for sure. When you say eat, I think of ALL OF THE THINGS. I have a hard time reigning in my snacking abilities sometimes. I guess that’s why I was 40 pounds overweight, right??
Special K is launching new Chewy Snack Bars in January to help keep your snacks great-tasting and filled with wholesome ingredients. These bars are such an easy way to snack in a smart way in the new year when you are trying to build a new you!2014-12-09 20.19.23The flavors are:
Berry Medley
Blueberry Bliss
Salted Caramel Chocolate
Salted Pretzel Chocolate

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These bars have ingredients that you can see; rich chocolate chunks, crunchy salted pretzels, real fruit pieces and rolled oats. Don’t these bars look delicious? After sampling them all I truly can’t pick a favorite. They are all great when a certain kind of craving hits me. When I want chocolate, I turn to the salted caramel chocolate or the salted pretzel chocolate. When I want something fruity I turn to the berry medley and blueberry bliss. They each have a flavor that is unique, none of the bars have a similar flavor at all. I have had bars before where they have a general bland flavor with a few toppings. Ick. These are definitely not those kind of bars! Look at the bars, they actually look like the pictures on the packaging! This isn’t a bait-and-switch at all. What you see and expect, is what you get.

2014-12-17 09.52.06The bars are only 100 calories per bar and they will be available at retailers in January, at a suggest price of $2.69! There are 8 bars to a box, so you are getting a lot of snacks for a great price. I love to tuck these Special K Snack Bars in my purse for quick snacks when I feel my blood sugar drop. I also have a few stashed in my car.
If you want to learn more about the new snack bars you can check our Special K on twitter and facebook.

For an easy way to snack in a smart way, try the Special K Snack Bars, you will not be disappointed…unless you drop it on the ground or something and you can’t eat it.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Special K Snack Bars. All opinions are my own and are awesome.