Running Holiday Breakfast and a Cookie Exchange

Wow today was crazy busy. If this day didn’t put me in the holiday spirit I don’t know what would!

I met my some of my running group at 7:00 for a run. We did 10 easy miles. Then we headed over to this lovely lady’s house for our annual running group holiday breakfast where the rest of our group was. They started at 6:30. Hey, those extra 30 minutes make a difference!
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Afterwards I had to get ready for holiday party #2 – a Holiday Cookie Exchange! The red velvet white chocolate chip cookies turned out amazing! I’ll post the recipe soon!
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These two dolls from my gym hosted the cookie exchange.
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Check out the hot chocolate bar!
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We did holiday trivia & guess who won. Well I tied with another girl. My competitivness came out. Then we did blindfolded gift wrapping. That was hilarious!
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But we had a blast! Can you believe all the cookies??
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What was your long run for today?

Did you have any holiday parties or outings today?

Starting Off Vacation With a Bang… More Like a Mouse!

Whooohoooo! I feel like I can finally breathe a huge sign of relief and be lazy. All I have to do for the next two and a half weeks is be run, bake, Christmas shop, watch movies, and be lazy. Sounds like heaven doesn’t it?

So the past few years one of the programs my sister is involved in offers them discounted tickets to the circus, Disney on Ice, and other shows like that. In the past my mom has always taken her to Disney on Ice but this year I’m on vacation so I got to take her!
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The show was amazing!
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We got there bright and early for a 10:30 show and found our seats! SECOND row! You heard me right! I could reach out and touch Mickey on his friggin nose, ya’ll! Okay maybe not THAT close.
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The show was two hours long with a fifteen minute intermission. We had a blast!
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The costumes, music, lights were more than I ever expected. It brought out the kid in me. But it doesn’t take a lot to do that.
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The finale was my favorite!!
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Ummkay I’m off to bake FIVE dozen cookies for my cookie exchange tomorrow. Red velvet cookies with white chocolate chips. Please wish me luck in not eating all of them.

Have you ever been to a Disney on Ice show?

Sisterhood of the World: Bloggers Award

So I’ve only been doing the blogging thing for less than two months and… guess what! I got my first blogging award! Thank you so much for the nomination Jinxy Jen! I am so very honored!

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And, here are the rules.

1. Post the logo on your blog

2. Thank the person who nominated you

3. Answer the following questions

4. Choose 10 or so other ladies who blog as your nominees

5. Post the links to the nominees’ blogs and notify them on their blog – this might take me a bit
Favorite color – Pink. Yes, I’m a girly girl. But a “tough” girly girl.

Favorite animal – Puppies. A puppy can make anyone smile! Oh I’m a cat person too. I’m not one of those “either-or” people.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink – sweet tea (I’m a southern girl) or cherry limeade crystal light

Facebook or Twitter – Neither. I never jumped on the FB bandwagon. Twitter I’m still up in the air about. I used to say I’m on the computer all day at work, why would I want to come home and get on the computer more… Look at me now.

Favorite pattern – polka dots!

Favorite number – 28 It’s my birthday!

Favorite Flower – Roses or peonies

What is your passion – running and food… and writing about it🙂

Drum roll please…. Here are my nominees:

Hungry Runner Girl This girl is the most inspirational woman, runner, mom, blogger, friend that you’ll ever find! Her’s was the first blog I ever read!

Ash Runs 100s She’s the most amazing ultra runner! Reading her blog contributed to me running my first ultra! This is one touch chick!

The Girl Who Ran Everywhere This girl has truly welcomed me to the blog world! She’s running for the most amazing charity for Boston 2014!

Running Off the Reeses It never fails, she makes me laugh in every single blog post. She inspired me to run the Chicago Marathon! I love hearing her opinions on life, celebrities, and of course food!

Blonde Ponytail She’s got the most amazing workouts, recipes (protein bars are ah-mazing), and cutest new baby!

Run Eat Repeat She’s got it all – everything from recipes, to workouts, to training plans, to weight loss info. She did six races in six weeks!!

Running With Spoons She can take the simplest thing and make the most beautiful photograph! Her blog is everything from healthy living to fashion!

Powercakes Be True To You! That’s her moto and I love it! She’s got the best recipes and workouts!

Maskara She’s all about making yourself beautiful – inside and out! She even started her own makeup line! How awesome is that?

Live Half Full This chick is another absolute doll that’s welcomed me to the blog world. She raised over $6,000 in memory of her mom when she ran her first marathon!

I hope you’ll all check out these blogs! I don’t have a lot of time so if I’m reading them, they’re worth it! I’ve learned so much from these women about life, running, cooking, staying healthy, and of course blogging!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday

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So here’s my go at my first Running With Spoon’s Thinking Out Loud Thursdays. Does she not take the most amazing photos? I know she and other bloggers have been doing this a while and I’m a straight up newbie so I realize I’ve got a ways to go.

Blogging is a funny thing. I’ve only been doing this for a little over a month now and I’ve come to notice a few things.

For example, it’s so hard to remember to take pictures of certain things for the blog. Food is one of those things. I remember to take a picture when I’m about half way through an amazing meal. I think “Wow that was great! I should’ve taken a picture.” Too late.

It also seems to be an adjustment for my family & friends too. Like this weekend I tried to be sneaky and take a picture of the New Balance store where the packet pickup was for my race. My mom said “Did you take a picture of that for the website thing?” I laughed. Is it that weird to non-bloggers to take pictures of random things?

Before I started this blog I started taking more pictures in general. I just wanted to be able to look back and remember those random small memories. I feel like those every day memories help to shape who we are too, but we only really remember the major life experiences when you look back years later.

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Among my running friends, I’m the odd one that will whip out my camera on my phone in the middle of the run just to catch them lol. Because of this I was automatically the photographer at one of their birthday parties recently.

Now I am in now way a social media person at all. The most I’ve done is Pinterest which is surprisingly addicting! I loved reading others blogs and that’s how I got here. Isn’t that how most of us did? So I find myself getting super excited about getting new comments and followers. The blogging/running/health living world has some of the most supportive people! Seriously! When I’m having a crummy day and I get a nice comment or someone starts following me it really does brighten my day.

One more thing I want to say since this is “Thinking Out Loud Thursday”. After being a long time reader and seeing Janae at Hungry Runner Girl be the most inspirational trooper she has been as she is dealing with such a difficult time in her life. Being able to relate to what she’s going through, I saw the support she has gotten from her blog. I don’t know about you but I wanted to just hug her! That support I saw her blogging friends give her and how she was able to allow so many people into a personal part of her life made me want to be part of all that. It truly touched my heart.

So thank you guys for welcoming me to the blogging world!

Some Tree Decorating and Shopping

So last night I finally pulled out my Christmas tree to try to get into some Christmas spirit. I should’ve know once I saw those lights glowing in the dark something would spark inside me.
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I had DVR’d National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – my all time favorite Christmas movie. So I put that on and got to work. Yes, it’s a fake one and pre-lit (although I add even more lights). The real ones smell great and look pretty and all that. But they can be messy and then you gotta water them. I don’t want to tell you how many house plants I’ve put to death. In no way did I inherit my mom’s green thumb.
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I fixed me some TJ’s kettle corn and got to work. Aaaaahhhhhh…. imagine that music playing in Christmas Vacation when they find the Griswald family Christmas tree. Umm kay?
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Silver and gold. I think about branching out and switching up the color every now but buying a whole new set of ornaments when you already have a good set is something I’m still wresting with.
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So today I realized, tomorrow is my last day of work until next year. So tomorrow is the last day I will be seeing the lovely people who have the honor of getting a gift from me…. And of course, I haven’t started any Christmas shopping. I mean I just put the tree up for goodness sakes! So my lunch break was spent going to one of my new favorite stores everrrr!

A friend of mine told me about this great store, Charming Charlies. Have been there??? I could have spent all afternoon there, much less my lunch hour!! They have the cutest accessories in any color you could think of! And it was huge! So I bought a gift for one friend, got something for me. Bought a gift for another friend, got something for me. You see where this is going? Yeeeahhh….. Maybe not such a good idea after all. But I got these amazing scarves for 2 for $10! I say that’s a pretty good score!

Have you decorated your tree yet?

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Top Ten Thursday #3 on Tuesday

Finally it’s back. I know it’s been a while. And I know it’s not Thursday (although I wish it was). I decided to change from Thursday to Tuesdays because I want to start doing Running With Spoon’s Thinking Out Loud Thursdays. Well let’s get on with it!

1. After today I have two days until my vacation starts!!!! And it lasts all the way until January 2nd! What am I gonna do with myself? I see myself becoming a lazy running bum in my future! Sounds good to me!

image2. It’s been so cold at work! Then again it’s always cold there. Colder than outside. I swear they have the air conditioning on! So I’ve had to pull out my wrist warmers my mom made me last year. She’s a knitting fiend lol!

image3. Orly’s “You’re Blushing” nail polish. It’s a mix between gray & lavender. I like it ok. Just not my fav.

image4. ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas! I will watch Christmas shows over and over and over as long as they’re on TV. I even DVR’d National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so I could do just that! My sister does the same thing. Watching Christmas moves we’ve watched 500 times before never gets old.

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5. My massage I’m getting this afternoon!. A massage after a race is priceless! Although sometimes painful🙂 But mostly priceless. I get one every three weeks. That’s what I do for myself. I don’t get my nails done or go shopping a lot. I’ve been seeing the most amazing woman for my massages for the past three years. She can find knots or issues before they get bad enough for me to feel them.

6. GU gels in Salted Caramel. I love GUI’s seasonal flavors and this has to be my new favorite. I wish they had them all year round!

7. My new Brook’s Versatile shorts. They worked great on my race last Sunday! No chaffing even with the rain! The only thing I can say I missed in my tempo shorts was the little key pocket they have. The Brook’s shorts don’t have one. They had pockets in the front kinda like jeans, but I was afraid it would fall out.

8. All the holiday baking recipes on Pinterest. Where do people find all the time to bake all these things?? The better question is, what do they do with all of them? When I was little my mom used to bake all kinds of goodies and give them away as gifts. But that’s my problem. I have to taste everything and “taste” it more than once then I have trouble giving them away. I have no self control if there is something sweet in the house. Then I gotta run more, which makes you more hungry. Ugh. It’s an endless cycle! And I can’t stop pinning all these things I want to eat…

9. Trader Joe’s Cocoa Drizzled Kettle Korn. This is good and bad cause I could sit there and eat the whole bag before I even noticed! I ate a little over half after my race Sunday! I’m a sucker for kettle korn but with chocolate – ugh. Walmart had flavored kettle korn last year with white & dark chocolate but I can’t find it this year. I thought this would be a Christmas without chocolate kettle korn until I went to TJ’s Saturday!

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10. My new Christmas wreath my mom made me. I can’t wait to go get it to put it on my front door!

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What are some of your top favs this week?

What do you do for yourself?

Raleigh Rocks the Greenway Half Marathon Recap

At about 9:00pm the night before they finally made the call to go ahead with the race despite the weather. There had been some concern about the freezing rain making the bridges on the greenway course a bit icy.

This was the first year for this race so I knew it wouldn’t be huge. But I was glad someone was finally doing a race longer than a 10k in Raleigh in December. I had been keeping an eye on this race for a couple of months. I had held off signing up because there didn’t seem to be a lot of advertisement like a lot of half marathons in the area. Finally I bit the bullet and got excited.

Raleigh and Wake County’s new Greenway along the Neuse River will play host to this inaugural race with runners crossing over 50 bridges in the half marathon (anywhere from 20’ to 200’ long). Runners will begin by making a loop on the road (4 miles for half marathoners and 1 mile for 10K runners) before entering Anderson Point Park and beginning this unique experience on the paved Greenway. Music will be provided along the route, keeping the tradition started with the Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon. Some will be live and some will be DJs.

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Due to the weather the music along the route didn’t happen sadly. My car said it was 35 degrees at the start and it was slightly drizzling. We started on time at 8:00. I didn’t have an exact goal in mind but I knew I wanted under 2 hours. But I didn’t feel like this was a PR day. I started off feeling pretty good. The first four miles went through a neighborhood and office building area. Not exactly an exciting course. After a four mile loop on the roads we entered into the greenway. Other than the first big hill going in and coming out of the greenway, it was fairly flat with some rolling hills. The bridges did seem a little slippery so since I like to fall I got a little nervous. The first nine miles I averaged about a 8:35 pace. After that I could feel the temperature drop and my legs started to slow. At the turn around point I tried to count all the women in front of me to see where I was at. I was in 12th place! I tried to keep the pace but as the temperature dropped and the rain picked up I started to slow.

I did the calculation game in my head I always do in a race. “If I keep XX pace I can still finish in XX time”. At the same time I saw mile marker 13 another girl came up behind me and passed me. I swear she came out of no where! So I picked up the pace. I finished in 1:56. Not my best but not my worst. I was happy that I got 2nd in my age group and I was 13th female. That’s my best as far as placing! That’s one reason I like small races!🙂

Overall, I think I would do the race again. The race organizers were so nice and accommodating. Afterwards there was bananas, cookies, and bagels. They weren’t doing the awards ceremony because of the weather so they’re going to mail them. I was ready to get home and warm up too!

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Twas the Night Before Race Day

Last night I went to the gym for my last three miles & found they’re going to be closing at 5:00 on Fridays this month – i got there at 4:50! Lovely. I did enjoy my spaghetti dinner though.

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I try to do a heavy carb meal two nights before instead of the night before a race. Especially pasta, since pasta & running the next morning are not my friends. I usually do rice the night before a race because that’s what I’ve found works best for me. Tonight it’ll be plain rice & chicken with some gatorade.

I started off my day with some pumpkin spice French Toast (no cinnamon roll pancakes like last weekend)! I used Pumpkin Spice bread.

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Then I picked up my mom and sister and we went to Packet Pickup for my half marathon tomorrow.

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Twas the night before Race Day, when all through the house
Not a runner was sleeping, not even a mouse
Compression socks were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Race Day soon would be there.

The runners were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of race medals danced in their heads.
With my racing flats laced up, and my gu in my fuel belt.
Tomorrow could bring a new PR, that’s what I hoped I’ll be dealt!

Ok, that’s all I got! Hah! That’s my attempt at my Night Before Race Day poem. Since candy corn has proven the past couple months to help me run like a crazy woman when I eat it the night before, I’m off to eat me some!

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What race rituals do you have the night before?

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday everybody! Has this week be extremely slow for you too? My countdown to my Christmas vacation has begun! I have four days to go! Yay! I have quite a bit of vacation days left and I’m sure gonna use them.

Are you ready for the holidays? Nope, me either. I can’t believe Christmas is almost here! Although I think I probably say that every year. I’m more ready for vacation than the holidays. No tree yet…. usually I’m a day-after-Thanksgiving-decorate-the-tree kind of girl. But this year I seem to be struggling to find the time or motivation. I think next week that should get better. That seems to be the week & weekend for parties & events. I have a holiday work dinner, taking my sister to Disney on Ice, my running group Christmas breakfast, and a holiday cookie exchange. Maybe that will get my butt in gear for the holidays.

My mom sure has gotten into the holidays! She awesome with decorating. She sent me a some pictures last night of her decorating.

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Only a couple days left until my half. My “taper” (if you want to call it that:)) seems to be going well. Although I still have those classic thoughts, “Should I be running more?” “Will I loose any speed or endurance?” Yada yada yada. Yes, I know, “the hay is in the barn”. An extra speed session is not going to help me at this point. Logically I know all that, but I think a runner always has their “what-if” thoughts before a race. Three easy miles tonight and I’m done.

Every race I do, I’ve always tried to buy myself a new piece of running gear. Yes, I’m that runner that wears a new shirt on race day. I know, you shouldn’t try anything new on race day. I’m a rebel, what can I say. Luckily I haven’t had that back fire on me yet. So I took a little trip to Dick’s Sporting Good’s yesterday and had a little fun. Ok, an entire outfit of fun. I can’t go in there without getting into trouble.

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Usually I’m a diehard Nike tempo shorts runner, but I decided to try something different. I bought my first pair of Brook’s shorts and I’m in love. I’ll let you know how they work!

As far as my goal goes, I haven’t decided. I think I’m going to see how I feel Sunday morning. The weather is not looking to great – a high of 38 with some freezing rain! Even Chicago was not that bad! So either I’ll run fast so I won’t freeze my butt off. Or my legs will start to freeze, get stiff, and slow me down.

If you’re doing a long run tomorrow, good luck! My plan tomorrow is to go to packet pickup & find some kind of Christmasy socks for the race!

Do you have any races coming up?

Are you ready for the holidays?

Back to the Gindstone & Cookie Suggestions

How did you guys enjoy getting back into the swing of things yesterday? About as much as I did, huh? Yeah… That moment when my alarm went off that I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing for 9 days was just glorious!

I admit, it is good to get back into some more structure during my day. Because, I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I don’t have structure during my day, my eating can get out of wack. You still feeling the Thanksgiving hangover too? Yes, Thanksgiving was four days ago, so I guess mine is more like vacation food hangover. So it’s time to get my butt back on track.

Especially since I have an actual race this Sunday!

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I’m not sure if I’m nervous, excited, anxious, too comfortable with myself. Yes, all of the above. I’m not sure what to expect from myself or where to set my goal since I haven’t raced a half in a while. I’m too competitive to not push my goal but that could end up with me blowing up at some point in the race.

My run yesterday felt like I was working a little harder than I should. It was an easy 8 miles but that first mile was not fun. As long as I’ve been running that first mile is always a little… uncomfortable. But this one had a little something extra. Probably one too many cinnamon roll pancakes! But man were they good.

I’ve done my research on my previous half marathons and I think I have a plan for the week. I became pretty anal about my notes about my races. After seeing a sports nutritionist a couple years ago I learned a lot and one key thing she instilled in me was taking notes on my nutition, fueling, and race times. She had me create a notebook which has been priceless to have to look back on. I highly recommend it! I know what I ate and when I ate it on each race. That’s how I’ve found what works for me.

Ok, so I need some help! Cookie help! I’m going to my first Holiday Cookie Exchange next week and I just found out we have to have 6 dozen of one kind of cookie! I can’t make up my mind! I’ve pinned so many cookies on Pinterest! I need some help with some ideas. I’m allergic to nuts by the way.

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How’s your running and/or workouts going lately?

What’s your favorite holiday cookie?