Cutest thing ever

This weekend was my final run before my half-marathon coming up on Sunday.

It was also my first run in the freezing cold! Ok, I think it was technically above freezing (around 37 degrees) when I started my run, but never-the-less, I was chilly and there was frost on the ground. I blame the cold for my slowness.

I will say that I did not pause the Garmin for any water, hill, or “OMG I’m going to die” breaks (by the way, I spelled breaks “brakes” three times before realizing I have no brain today). I figure this 11-minute pace may be close to what I will actually run in a race right now.

This is my first time for the Bass Pro Half Marathon. I’m excited and a bit nervous since I haven’t run a half-marathon since March. This is also my first of three races in the next five weeks. We were planning on sitting this one out, even though it’s nearby, but a friend talked us into running.

My previous half-marathon PR is around 2:25. I’m pretty ok with that but one day, I have hopes of getting down to about 2:15.

Since my second half, the White River Half-Marathon, is just two weeks away and on a much flatter course, I think it’s a better chance for a new personal best.  Besides, I have vowed revenge against the walker in jeans and I need to pace myself so that I can claim victory.

I’m also looking forward to writing my first official race recap! I’m going to do my best to actually take some pictures during the race, in between trying to breathe and stay ahead of the walkers.

In other news:

J-Roll Halloween Fun

Cutest. Thing. Ever.

I think so.


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Running with the family

My sister and her two little girls came to visit this weekend. Among the fun activities we had on the agenda was a long run on Sunday morning.

This meant sleeping in on Saturday. A rarity in my house! After lying around until the ridiculously late hour of 8:30 a.m. (amazing!) we got started in on the family fun with a trip to the pumpkin patch.

Trains and horses all in one place, J-Roll was in dreamland. If only we could have found a place to fit in Mickey Mouse somehow.

J-Roll losing his mind at the Pumpkin Patch

J-Roll demonstrating how pumpkins can be used for weight training

We ended the night out with delicious food. My sister and I planned to run eight miles on Sunday morning, but we bargained another two miles for ourselves in exchange for extra dessert. It was a solid decision.

On Sunday morning, we headed out bright and early. My sister is a veteran runner extraordinaire. With a super busy career, two little ones and a lot of travel, she still manages to bust out the regular marathon.  She and my husband are the ones who forced encouraged me to start running.

However, she’s just starting to ramp up her mileage again so we took it pretty slow for her, which is pretty much my normal pace.

We may have been slow but we were steady around 11:30-12 minute miles throughout with very minimal walking. I think it was really good for me to run at a steady pace for once. I’m starting to get used to the Garmin and really enjoy knowing more about my distance, but I also look down and see my speed going all over the place between 9:30 and 11:30 miles when I’m running. Ooops.

My sister, however, would probably make a great race pacer.

I’m super, crazy excited that she has agreed to drag me across the finish line run with me at Little Rock.

It will be good for someone to be there to let the paramedics know about my allergies and medical history.

Less than two weeks until race time starts!

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Fall Fun

We had an action-packed weekend, full of theme parks, festivals, choo choos, and even a little bit of running.

Friday, I finally unearthed my countertops from the depths of kitchen renovation destruction. We’ve got most of the heavy lifting done so I returned my kitchen to a usable state. Unfortunately, this means no good excuse for eating out any more.

sort of after - awesome iPhone picture

It’s not perfect and we still have work to do, but it looks better than this


Or this

Really Before

Saturday we visited a local fall/Halloween festival and we saw a sign for “Goat Carts.” I was ever so thrilled when J-Roll insisted on taking a ride.

Goat Cart = Go Kart??

J-Roll says that is not a good look...

Finally, we rounded out our weekend with a trip to Silver Dollar City. Now, if you are familiar with this wholesome family fun theme park or the Ozarks in general, you know we specialize in hills.


Spending five hours walking around a mountain theme park, followed by consuming my very own bag of peanut brittle and a few pounds of salt water taffy was an excellent way to carb load and prep for what I planned to be my longest run to date.
Oh, and we got home around 10 p.m., which is pretty much the same as 2 a.m. to this 90-year-old.  All in all, the day was well worth it. J-Roll had a great time on the train.  He was slightly terrified of a frog ride that we had to bail on during loading. But I was proud of him for finally riding the horses.

On the two and a half hour trip home, I started to stress about the commitment I had made to myself  to run 14 or 15 miles on Monday morning. I tend to freak out a little bit when things don’t go exactly according to my well-laid plans. All I could think about was the late night, the running clothes that were still in the washer, my iPod that wasn’t charged, the route I hadn’t planned etc. etc.

So, I finally got a grip on it and told myself to relax!

Zoolander reference anyone?

I took Monday as a vacation day and I deserved to do with the day what I wanted. That being said, despite getting a bit of a late start on Monday morning, I felt better than expected and managed to get in somewhere in the 10 to 11 mile range. Enough to warrant more peanut brittle and a DQ Blizzard.

All in all, I felt pretty good about it and still enjoyed a delightful day with my family. Now, off to watch the World Series.

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This was posted to a friend’s facebook. Sorry, no photo credit for it though.


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Not the best run

Between operation kitchen destruction and a crazy couple of weeks at work, running has been a little challenging lately. Last weekend, I headed out on Sunday morning with a bad attitude and a plan to just get through 6 miles.

After the first mile, I was ready to quit. I felt awful, I was tired, and I had a major case of mommy guilt being away from home (which, by the way, is ridiculous since my family was sound asleep while I was running). My Garmin was stuck solidly in the 11 to 12 minute mile range.

I stopped back by my car after a mile and resisted the urge to drive back home and go to bed. Instead I ditched the Garmin and the handheld water bottle and decided to just run my normal track route. After “freeing” myself from the Garmin clock I felt a little better but I still called it quits after about four miles. Some days just aren’t your day.

I am so excited for this coming weekend though. I’m taking a vacation day on Monday and have plans to do a 14 or 15 mile test run. I wrote it on the Internet, so now I have to do it… This will also make up for the 15 miler that I was supposed to do the weekend I am running the Vegas half.

Tuesday morning, I woke up and put on my running clothes with good intentions of getting in 4-5 miles before work. But it was still dark and I’m just not a fan of running in the dark and so, still outfitted in my gear, I went back to bed.

Instead at lunch I decided to try out a new gym in town that I had a free pass to.

It was nice. I still sweated a ridiculous amount; way more than was appropriate for me to return to work afterwards, but luckily I had no meetings so I could hide out in my office for most of the rest of the day and spare the rest of the company from my stinkiness.

The dreadmill is one of my worst enemies

But, they are nice for speed work. I did a little over three miles mostly hanging between a 10 and 10:30 but I did some intervals of 9s and 9:30s and even kicked it up to 8:30 a couple of times. Holy cow! How do people run a whole marathon at less than 8-minute miles? That was sprinting for me and I’m pretty sure the gym people were concerned I was going to fly off the back and crash through their pretty new gym walls.


Happy running!


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Today, I bit the big bullet and am now officially registered for my very first full marathon!

My plan was to register for the race in early December. I wanted to see how my first couple of halves for the year went before I made the commitment and forked over the money. Then yesterday, the Little Rock Marathon posted this on Facebook:

I think this running thing is catching on. With the LRM planning to have a booth at the Chicago Marathon this weekend, I didn’t want to chance that it would sell out even earlier.

So, why the Little Rock Marathon?

It’s kind of like home:

My husband and I both graduated from the University of Central Arkansas, about 25 miles from Little Rock.

Since UCA is in a dry county, we spent a lot of time in Little Rock, you know, at the museums and stuff. I always thought Little Rock was a great little big city.

It’s less expensive:
The hubs’ mom lives in a town just outside Little Rock so we will stay with her. Plus, it’s only a few hours away so we can also save on gas and/or airfare and we won’t have to take time off work (although a recovery day may be in order).

Family support:
We get to combine the race with a trip to see my husband’s family and J-roll will be able to go with us and see his “nana.” Also, since it’s not too far away and this is my first full, I expect my entire family, including third cousins and maybe even my first grade teacher, to be there . . . wearing matching shirts.

See? I support others, now it’s their turn. I’ll lone them my sweatshirt.

It’s a great race

Last year, I ran the half while my husband ran the full. There are enough participants to have that big-race feel and crowd support but not so many that you feel like you’re running over people (or in my case, that people are running over me). The crowds are the best I’ve seen. The race is on Sunday morning and so lots of the churches make an event out of it and come outside and cheer on the racers. There’s even a “Methodist Mile.” I love southern hospitality!

The giant medal!

I’ll admit the number 1 reason I’m running this race is the giant medal. It’s the race’s big claim to fame.

This year’s medal hasn’t been released yet. But, with this being the logo this year’s logo:

How can it not be a giant disco ball?

I want it. I want it. I want it.

And, by George, I’ll run 26.2 miles to get it.

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Tough Mother Runner Renovator

Yes, that is my wrist under there somewhere. Be jealous of my 10-pound Garmin.

I had a great run on Saturday morning. My Garmin time was about 10:30 a mile but I also forgot to pause it when I ran into a Casey’s for more water. However, I did hit pause during a few uphill walks. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the race officials will frown upon pausing my time when I get I get winded. I’m excited for my first race of the season coming up the first weekend of November to see if my time has improved since March.

The rest of the weekend was spent on housework. Background here: I really should have named this blog “Tough Mother Runner Renovator” because home renovations are a big part of my life. A little over a year ago, we purchased a fixer-upper and have been slowly whittling away at shag carpeting, panel walls, pink toilets and 2,000 square feet of floral wallpaper.

This is not our first home renovation. When we were first married, we renovated a home and during that time we learned many valuable lessons, the most important of which was, when dealing with an outdated kitchen always, always, always rip it out and start over. Whatever you do, do not paint cabinets.

So of course when faced with this:

Note: this is after some major demolition

We decided to paint the cabinets. This, of course, didn’t really end up happening. Thus leading to my kitchen still looking like this a year later.

No cabinet doors = a toddler's dream

I’m pretty sure my husband burned the cabinet doors last winter.

So after much discussion, we decided to bite the bullet and buy new cabinets.

When we go to Home Depot, we go to Home Depot

We’ve only just started installing the new cabinets but it’s already making a world of difference in our house. Of course we are kicking ourselves for not
doing it a year ago when we redid the tile and countertops.

However, I’m pretty sure we have learned our lesson this time. Probably.

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