Thursday, June 30, 2011

This runner needs some Insanity in her day

It has been almost a full three weeks since I decided to up my workouts and revamp my eating.  It was not bad before, but I want to be a faster runner and I really wanted to be in better shape overall.  After some research, I decided to try Insanity by Beachbody.  I would NOT pay full price for it, so I watched it on ebay for a while and finally got it at a good price. 

I was attracted to Insanity because the workouts average 40 min, there are NO weights involved and it is based on high intensity interval training.  I had gotten bored with my regular weight training, so I needed something new.

After two and a half weeks, I have to say that I LOVE doing Insanity.  I have lost over 6 lbs already and I can see better definition in my legs and arms.  The workout involves a good deal of stretching and, this runner does not stretch nearly enough, so this is so good.  I have had lots of weakness in my hip flexors and during the first week, I could feel my hip flexors and core getting a good workout.  Strong hip flexors and core = faster running and less injuries.

What I love about Insanity:
- You do not do the same workout everyday.  There are 13 different videos that are in a rotation over 60 days. For more info, go here.
- The videos are real.  They are filmed like a reality show.  The people working out with Shawn T. are in great shape, but the video shows them taking breaks and resting during the workout.  Seeing them struggle makes me feel like it is ok that I struggle too.
- Shawn T. is great at explaining the exercises.
- It is HIGH Intensity! Love it!!
- I can do it at home.  Now that my hubby is biking more, we need to juggle our workout schedules.  When he wants it ride in the AM, I just put in the Insanity DVD at home and I am done in 40 min.
- It is making me a stronger runner.

What I do not like about Insanity:
 - It is a tough workout.  There are a lot of pylometric moves and form is EXTREMELY important.  I would not put this video in the hands of someone who does not have a good basic level of fitness or someone how does not understand proper form. Shawn T. does a great job of stressing proper form.  As a personal trainer, I would be concerned about someone not following proper guidance.

I am planning on sticking to Insanity for the 60 days (while I begin my marathon training . . .yikes!!).  I am looking forward to being stronger!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Week of J

OK, on to brighter topics.  Last week should have been renamed "The Week of J."  It was certainly his week.

J spent the week at Cub Scout Camp.  This was his first year going and he loved every minute of it.  I spent the first day there as a day walker, so I was able to get some pictures.

Coloring the Den flag
Making his leather shield
On the BB Gun range. J is the one on the left.
Scout Skills. Learing how to tie knots.  Look at that concentration!
The archery range
The last day skit.
Then, Friday was J's 8th birthday.  "Buffalo" Grandma and Grandpa were in town for a short visit and brought J and K and combined birthday present, an inflatable water slide.  Of, course they loved it!

J sliding

K sliding

Add caption

Since J's birthday was at the end of a long week of cub scout camp, I decided NOT to have a birthday party for him that day or weekend.  But, I had offered to babysit a friend's kids (who happen to be J's best friends) and we had a nice night of eating pizza and water sliding!

After the cake, J opened his presents.  Then he got a surprise present!

Close your eyes J!

OK, you can open them.

He sees his present for the first time. (Can you read the writing on the box on the left??)

 Can you tell he is excited???
 An archery set!  Since we have strict rules about when he can use it, J has been waking up earlier than his brothers so he can go outside and practice before his brothers wake up.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A topic I do not blog about much

Before I got married, I could not imagine having more than two kids.  I guess since I came from a family of two, two seemed more than enough.  More than two seemed a bit crazy. Ten years of marriage and three kids later and I cannot imagine life without these three boys.  And I would love to have more kids.  It is not because I want to "try for a girl".  I really do not care if I ever have a girl.  It is because being a mom is the best thing I have ever done and I realize clearly that children are a gift.

But, for reasons I do not want to share or feel the need to explain, we are in a position that having any more children is not likely. About 90% of the time I am totally at peace with that and do not even think about the fact that my three boys are all that I may have.  But at other times it is hard.

We live in one of those rare communities where the teachings of the Catholic Church are celebrated and where children are not seen as a burden, but for what they are, a gift.  A joy. A blessing.  So, we are surrounded by big families and many pregnant women.  With each announcement of another family expecting, I am truly happy for them, but it is a little reminder that I am not one of them, nor am I likely to become one of them.

Yesterday, I was at a bridal shower.  The bride-to-be had just gotten a full set of silver ware and for some reason, it was getting passed around.  The box was heavy.  When it came to my area of the room, a pregnant friend sitting near me said, "Pass it to Katie. She is not pregnant." Now, I know that she meant nothing by it, nor could she have known how it would affect me. But, it was like salt in a wound I did not even know I had.  At that moment I wanted nothing more than to crawl out of that room, find the closest bathroom and cry. 

My life is very full and blessed.  I am married to the best man I know. I have three great sons.  Homeschooling my boys, working part time as a personal trainer and life coach, and working to achieve my own goals (my running), I feel blessed everyday.  And counting my thousand gifts has helped me stay centered on that.  But, it is the moments that I am reminded of the blessings that may not come that bring me to a place of prayer, asking God for peace and acceptance of His Will.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Seven Quick Takes

1. I am not mentioning this again for shameless self-promotion, but because I think it is a great video and everyone should watch it.  The USCCB's Defense of Marriage Initiative has released the video "Made for Life" that my husband and I helped with a year ago.  I feel blessed to have been able to be a part of this project.  If you have 10 min, go watch it!  My husband and I are the first couple interviewed on the video.

2. Remember last week I mentioned that I was going to potty train A? Well, I dropped it completely.  Instead, I transitioned him to a toddler bed.  It is the first time in 5 years that we have not had a crib up in the house.  A is doing great in the toddler bed. I just tell him he has to stay in the bed during naps and at night and he does!!

3. Not only has A started to sleep in a toddler bed, but he is now sharing a room with K and J had a new room by himself.  J likes to read at night and he needed his own space to do that so as not to disturb his sleeping brothers.

4.  This is our last quiet week before the month of non-stop activity begins.  Next week is cub scout day camp, followed by a week of Vacation Bible School and then two weeks of swim and tennis lessons.  I am already tired thinking about it all!!  Can I schedule a vacation for mid July, please?

5. Just a few more hours left and I will have survived my husband's longest time away for work.  It was not as hard as I had thought it would be.  The boys were good and we spent a lot of time running errands, going to mass, seeing friends, and just having fun.  I enjoyed the week, but am so glad my hubby will be home soon!

6. Speaking of my hubby travelling, he has been asked to attend a catechetical conference at Franciscan University in July and I may drive up to join him at the end of the conference.  After getting texts from friends who were on Steubenville's campus this past weekend, I started to get nostalgic. I miss the masses, praise and worship holy hours and FOPs!  I want to see good old Steubie U again!

7.  Almost made it through week 1of No Sugar.  I really do feel great.  And, I am LOVING my workouts!! I will share more on those next week.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It is up! It is up!

A year after we flew down to Florida, the video that my husband and I helped with is finally done and on the USCCB Defense of Marriage website! It is the "Made for Life" video.

Getting Back on Track

Last week I had my homeschooling end of the year review with my supervisor.  Needless to say, I spent hours going through J's work trying to pick out work from the year that was a good representative of his work overall.

And I noticed something.

All of his work was so well organized in February, and March.  I had organized his work better. And, he got more done. Which means, I got more done.

We are done with school for the most part now, but most of April and all of May were a struggle. Not just in homeschooling, but in every way.  In my prayer life, in my workouts and in my eating.

I began to wonder.  What was different in February and March?

It was Lent. Yes, that is it. During Lent I made prayer a priority in my own life and in our homeschooling.  We did not start our school work unless we had gone to mass or prayed the stations of the cross and did our Lenten reflections. I had been praying before the boys even got up.

And because I was training for the marathon I got my runs in. If I did not get up early enough in the morning, than I went to the gym after the boys were in bed.  And, I ate well.

But after Easter and after the marathon, I slacked.  I slacked in my prayer times and my prayer with the boys and going to daily mass.  I was still running, but did not start my weight training back up. And, I ate whatever I wanted.

I guess it is not so odd that when I am off and am not centered on Christ, when I am not taking care of myself spiritually and physically, that all everything else I do suffers as well.

So, I decided it was time to get back on track. And this is what I am doing.

1. The boys and I either go to mass or  read the bible after breakfast each morning.  I got the idea to read Scripture at meals from this post from Ann Voskamp.

2. My prayer time is in AM before the boys get up. No exceptions.

3. I am mixing things up with my workouts. Since I cannot run this week because my husband is out of town, I figured this would be the perfect time to get back into building up my muscles again.

4. No sugar. For 30 days.  I will not consume any sugar (unless it is natural to the item: IE: fruit). What, no chocolate bars with almonds????

5. Eat 5 small meals a day.  Minimal to no processed food (whole wheat pitas are OK, but if it came from a box, it is not going in my mouth).  Stick to mainly raw foods.

So far, this is going well. Even on the days when the boys act up at mass, I think of the words of a friend who said that anytime she is walking up the aisle to receive the Eucharist, she says to herself, "I won!"   And it reminds me to be focused on that fact that I get to receive Jesus.

And I love reading the bible with the boys.  There is something so peaceful about it.

My workouts have been great and I do not miss the sugar at all!  The only thing I have craved is sweet tea! 

I feel good and I have noticed that I have enjoyed my days more.  Yes, even the days we have done a math or reading lesson. It has all been good.

Lesson learned: Keep my eyes focused on Christ, help the boys to learn to keep their eyes focused on Christ. Take care of myself.  And all else will be taken care of . .. hmmmm . . I am just reminded of Matthew 6:33.

"But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be given to you."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

I have noticed a trend lately on many blogs I read.  People are slowing down to catch the blessings.  It is quite amazing and beautiful.  And it has reminded me that the gifts really are all around us.

I have begun to try to take pictures of the blessings too.  To capture them.  To remember them better.

A inexpensive running skirt
Race through Colonial Williamsburg
Friends who brought us our Busch Gardens tickets
Family who got the tickets from our house
J being so good at mass by himself
Daily mass
An older couple who said "It'll get easier."
The beauty of the run
Not giving in, when mentally, I wanted to
Texts from my husband
Sleeping in
A sick day watching a movie with my boys
A clean laundry room
Organic goodness and an amazing farmers market filled with so many organic farm goods
beautiful weather
Laundry hanging on the line, blowing in the breeze
First run in Vibrams in months
Seeing so many geese families
Fun at the pool
Conversations with friends
Berries from a neighbor
Dirty hands and feet from planting
Plants to water
New projects
My boys helping me sand the table
A selfless act by my husband so I could run outside
A night out
Fun conversations
Seeing two deer while I ran
Hearing my 4 yr old singing "Jesus I love you" from the window
Water gun fights
My 4 yr old turning 5!

A good race
Beautiful weather for the race
Talking to amazing women runners
A woodpecker that seems to have taken up residence in our backyard
A backyard full of boys playing

Slip n Slide!

Birthday party
A pirate ship cake

Seeing the amazingness of nature . . . watching an ant carry a dead moth 4 times its size
My 3 yr old helping me with the laundry
Conversations with that same 3 yr old when no one else is around
Boys who snuggle with me while reading stories
Reading the Bible at breakfast
(Gifts 320 - 366)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Zooma Annapolis! A great day for a race!

This past Sunday was Zooma Annapolis Women's Race Series 10K and Half Marathon.  I was blessed enough to be an ambassador for this race.

Zooma Annapolis Ambassadors from kick off party in March (this bad blogger did not bring her camera to the race!)
On Saturday, I headed down to the expo to pick up my packet and to help with packet pickup.  I ended staying the whole afternoon!  Packet pickup was swamped all day long and needed as much help as possible.  Plus, I was happy to stay.  It was so great to see the runners who had come out for the training runs and to wish them good luck!

Later that evening, I sat to work out my "game plan" for the race. About a week before the race, I had decided to switch down to the 10K, instead of running the half marathon.  When I signed up for this race, I had planned on helping a friend run her first half marathon.  But, early in the summer, she became pregnant (yay!) and could not run the race. Originally, I planned on still running the the half, but take it easy since I had run one just two weeks before.  And because I did not PR at that race (stomach issues!!), I was not sure what to do about Zooma.  I did not think I could PR in the half.  I was not really ready to PR at it and it is very hilly.  My husband suggested I try to PR in the 10K.  And, that was a great suggestion!

So, Saturday night, I sat down to figure it all out.  My PR was a 55:45.  I made a plan to run a 8:45 min/mile pace.  That would have me finish in 54:XX . . . more than enough of a cushion to get me my PR.  I planned out my splits per mile, wrote them down, and packed it for the next morning.  I even had the brilliant idea to stay with the 1:50 pace group for the half.  They would be maintaining a 8:40 min/mile pace and the 10K did not split from the half runners until 4.5 miles.  If I could keep with them I would get my PR!

Sunday morning came quickly.  I got up a little before 5, ate, got ready and was out the door by 5:45AM.  Luckily I only live about 25 min from the race, so I knew it would not take me long to get there. I hit the port-a-potties, talked with a few of the ambassadors (And one of their sons!! Such a cute 4 yr old!!), and headed to the start.  As I made my way into the corrals, I tried to find the 1:50 pace group.  I finally saw them, but they were far enough in front of me that I could not make it to them.  I figured I would just keep them in my sights until I could catch up.

7 AM we were off!

Mile 1: 8:40 pace (just under goal pace!)
This mile went by fast. It looped out of the Navy Stadium parking lot and onto the streets.  It was hard to get into a good groove because the crowd was so thick still.  I felt like I was running well.  I searched for the 1:50 pace group, but could not find them anywhere!! I decided to forget them and just run.

Mile 2: 8:23 pace (under goal pace)
Felt good this mile.  In this mile we headed into downtown Annapolis. Near the State House and down by the docks.  It was a great mile and I felt like I was getting into a good groove.

Mile 3: 8:35 pace
By this mile, I felt like I had my PR for sure.  It was my 3rd mile under my goal pace.  It rained just enough to cool the runners off.  What could go wrong?????

Mile 4: 9:03 pace
Now, I started to feel tired.  The course was heading up next to the Naval Academy as I made my way closer and closer to THE BRIDGE.  This was a slight incline and I was starting to feel the pace.  Mentally, I began to struggle. I wanted to walk.  And, I began to have a discussion with myself fin my head.

"Oh, you can walk.  30 sec. won't hurt you.  You will catch your breath and be able to run faster.  Just walk."

"No, if I walk now, I will want to walk again and once I do that I will not be able to regain my pace.  The PR will be gone!"

Luckily, the "no walking Katie" won that battle.  I did walk for like 5 sec to get a drink at the aid station, and then I was off and running again.

Mile 5: 9:25 pace (way off my goal pace)
Not much to say here except that the bridge leveled me!!  I felt like I was crawling up it and the turn around felt like it was miles away.  I struggled up and over the bridge, only to turn around and head back up it for a short distance before I could enjoy the down hill.  Once I turned around, I knew I needed to really start running fast again. At this point, I figured the PR was gone.

Mile 6: 8:47 pace (pretty much right on pace!)
Once off the bridge, I really started moving again.  I was focused.  I had the 54 min time limit stuck in my head and I kept thinking, I had to get into the finish under 55 min to PR.  This part of the course was fairly easy, just a few turns, before we headed back to the stadium for the finish.  I felt like I was running well.  As we approached the stadium, I began to run faster. At this point, I really thought my PR was gone, but I kept telling myself not to give up.

Last .2 : 8:27 pace
We turned up into the GRASS (who planned that . . . that really was miserable) until we hit the straightaway to the finish.  Once off the grass, I began to move!  I was running hard, and I obviously threw all form out the window (as seen by these pics) to cross the finish strong.
Isn't it strange, this is a women's race and the only other person in the picture is a man!

Warning: Do NOT run like this! I could be picked apart for poor form!
I hit my Garmin: 55:25

First thought, darn, did not make my PR.

I went to go get my finishers necklace (which I love!), and my lunch and ran into another Zooma Ambassador and asked her how she did. (She took 2nd overall in the 10K!!! Not only is she fast, but she is one of the sweetest runners I have met!!)  I then walked around the vendors a bit and then went to check my offial time:

Um, wait. What was my PR again?  It hit me in that moment.  I PRed!!  I was thrilled!

After that, I was on cloud nine! I hit the Barefoot Bubbly Wine tent (awesome wine!), had a great converstaion with another runner and then sat and talked with a few other ambassadors before I headed home to get ready for a meeting about the Marine Corps Marathon Run for Voactions team.

This was an awesome race! I am not just saying that because I PRed.  The weather was perfect. The atmosphere was awesome.  Being an ambassodor and getting to meet so many awesome women who run for so many different reasons, inspired me.  It made me fall more in love with running and racing.  I do not race to win.  I know I will not be fast enough for that.  But, being a part of Zooma helped me to see more that I am surrounded by so many amazing women when I race and that each has an incredible story.

So, with that being said, I challenge all you runners out there.  Whether at another Zooma race or just a local 5K, start a conversation with another woman at the race.  Encourage her and cheer her on.  And have fun!

BTW: Zooma has added several more great races.  Check them out, there may be one close to you.  I really, really, really want to run Zooma Cape Cod!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy Birthday K!!

Today is my K's 5th Birthday!

It seems like just yesterday he joined our family and now he has grown. It goes by so fast.  Before I know it he will be 15, then 25 . . .

So, for today, no long post about how much I love that little man. And how much God has blessed my life and our family with K's infectious personality.  Instead, I am going to savor this day with my K. And show him how much I love him!

Happy Birthday!

Friday, June 3, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1. We have one foot in summer and one foot in school.  We do school a few days a week still, but on other days, we just have to go to the pool.  We will officially be wrapping up our school year next week, but plan to continue some school throughout the summer.

2. And I ordered our curriculum for next year already.  Sonlight it is, again.  I am anxiously awaiting Box Day which really should be any day now.  J starts American History next year and since we live in such a history rich area, we will be doing lots of field trips.

3.  And, yes I am planning our school year for next year already.  We are going to have a tutor come one day a week for J so that I can use that time to spend with K and A who are anxious to read.  And, although we LOVED co-op this past year, I am not planning on returning to co-op next year.  Since I would like to do many field trips, I would like the flexibility of knowing that our Fridays are free.  That way we will be able to get all of school work done and do fun nature studies and field trips without stressing about falling behind in our other school work.

4. Potty Training has begun for A.  I think I am up for the challenge.  I will let you know how it goes.

5. I still cannot comment on many blogs.  So, if I usually comment of yours and have not for a while, it is not because I am not reading.  I cannot comment.  I need to delete cookies or something like that.  I am not computer savvy, so it may be a while!  But, I will comment soon!

6. After years of complaining about our kitchen table and the scratches and areas of missing stain and finish, I have decided that I would refinish the table . . . refinishing is more work than I remember.  We are currently eating at a small card table.  I am afraid we will be eating on it for a while.

7.  Zooma Annapolis is this weekend!  And, I am hoping the weather is just like today.  It is perfect.  After much deliberation, I have decided to run the 10K instead of the half.  If you are in the area and want to run it, you can still register!!  I cannot wait to share the fun of the weekend with you soon!  And, if you are running it, come say Hi to me.  I will be at packet pick up in Annapolis most of the day and I will be there Sunday too!

Have a great weekend everyone!