Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yep, Another Year Recap

So...let's do this thing. Recap of Awesome, 2013 Edition:


2013 started off with Ava and her friend Grace running (ok, run/walking) the Run Into the New Year 5K at State Fair Park. Leading up to the race, they helped raise over $500 for the family of a friend of hers who had been recently diagnosed with cancer. Bonus point: Her Blogger profile now reads, “I once ran 3 miles in 17 degrees.”


1. After about a dozen years, we finally figured out the correct way to vacation in Florida. This year, after stopping to visit my grandparents in Naples (which I like to call The Midwest of the South), we drove out to the Keys for a few days. Needless to say views like this:

And this:

Totally had me at Hello. Vacation Win!

2. For our “kidless” vacation this year, Jason and I spent a fantastic week in San Francisco visiting friends. Naturally, we pretty much ate our way through the city with panache, and the trip culminated with a baseball game at AT&T park. Go Giants! Or whatever. Baseball isn’t really my thing. Sure was pretty though.

3. The third “trip” wasn’t really a single vacation at all. This year we spent many, many, weekends in Chicago- which, if you know me at all, made me absolutely happy as pie. I feel like this year gave me a chance to rediscover the city I love so much. From wandering Graceland Cemetery and lounging on Montrose Beach, to seeing musicals and choral performances and running the Chicago Marathon for the 2nd time, this year had a definite recurring theme and Chicago was it.

Speaking of which;

HOW COOL was my PR at Chicago Marathon? I took over 6 minutes off my previous best (from over 2 years ago) and ran almost *to the second* the time I had been training for/dreaming of for so long. In addition, it was a HUGE confidence boost for me as a runner. I’ve now fully committed to training my butt off for the Wisconsin Marathon in 2014 to hopefully build on whatever mojo I’ve got going at the moment.

Other Running Highlights:

I can’t recap my running year without mentioning two people that were there for such a huge part of it. First off, I completed a ton of amazing races with Sara- not to mention all the miles we ran together in training. Starting with the Icebreaker Gold Medal Challenge (where we ran a half marathon followed by a full marathon the next day), onward through the Chicago Lakefront 50K and the Dances with Dirt 50K (with special appearance by Marty!), we then ended our season in Chicago again for the marathon. Although we didn’t run that final race together, we were lockstep through the first three races (as well as the previously mentioned countless training runs.) I’m so happy to have her a running buddy and as buddy in real life as well. I think we’re in for some spectacular accomplishments in 2014!

The other person I logged a lot of miles with was my dear friend Rochelle. Although we didn’t train together a lot thorough the bulk of the year, we had a fantastic one-two punch of ultra races together with the North Face 50K and the Door County Fall 50. The first one was the fastest, most enjoyable trail 50K I’ve run, hands down. I had such a blast on the trails all day out there with her. Now, the 50 miler in Door County was considerably harder, but having a great running partner made it worth the pain. (And oh. The pain. Remind me not to do any more 50 milers on the road, ok?) Our finish line photo is one of my favorite photos of the year.

My Girls Rock. And Rule the School.

I feel like Ava really found herself this summer at the Girls Rock Milwaukee camp. She spent the week learning how to play the guitar (and about the history of women in rock music), formed a band with 3 other girls, wrote a song together, and performed it on stage at Turner Hall in front of a huge crowd of people. It was nothing short of amazing to watch the confidence on the faces of the girls as they walked out onto the stage. The camp not only inspired her to start taking weekly guitar lessons, but her band has stayed together as well, rehearsing weekly and even recording some of their songs.

In Juliana’s world, after navigating our way through multiple high school open houses, applications, and testings, she got into not one, not two, but ALL THREE of her top school choices. We had to turn down a couple of the best schools in the state! I’m so excited for her to get into an environment where she can be challenged and start using her talents more. Not only is she an off-the-charts smarty pants, she’s a super great artist as well. (Also, I’m still kind of in denial that I’m going to be mom to a high school student, but that’s another story.)

Power UP Bootcamps (and Personal Training clients)

Oh hey, I became a certified personal trainer this year. I’ve been kind of mucking around, trying to figure out exactly where I want to go with this, but the people I’ve met and worked with through the year have been so awesome. I had a great group of ladies showing up to work out at the ass crack of dawn at Cupertino park, as well as a handful of personal training clients throughout the year. Verdict: I learned a LOT. And holy crap, there’s a lot to learn. I think I might have a knack for it though so hopefully I’ll cobble together a better plan in 2014 for what I want to accomplish on this track. I have issues with how much it costs for a person to hire a trainer or go to a fitness class so I’m looking into some way I can volunteer my time in the coming year. I’m also not totally jazzed about how fitness programs tend to be marketed along with a “weight loss challenge” or whatnot but… ok, this probably needs to be saved for another post. (Puts it on the to-do list.) :)

Favorite shows of the year:

1. Leonard Cohen- Holy moly. Best, most inspiring performance I've seen in years. Hands down.
2. The Book of Mormon- I know, a musical! So insanely good. I saw it once with Jason and then had to go back with two of my bestest lady friends. Seriously though, I don't know how anyone will make anything funnier than this show. Ever.
3. The National- I'm not hip anymore so I'm very late to the party with this band. I really didn’t know much about them going in. Now I would like to know everything, please.

Honorable mention: So You Think You Can Dance Tour. Oh, shush. It was awesome.

Favorite Food:
L20- Suuuuper fancypants place. (They offered me a hot towel when I sat down. What, am I dirty already?) I don’t even care though. It totally lived up to the hype.
Graham Elliot- Love this place because you get amazing food without the stiff upper lip atmosphere.
Odd Duck- My favorite place to eat in Milwaukee. The best is sitting at the bar and loading up a bunch of small plates and cocktails. Best.

Honorable mention: Bacchus Birthday Dinner with Sara and Renee!

Favorite Races:

Door County Fall 50 (Even with how difficult it was. Finishing is divine.)

Well, that’s all I got for this year. I've have some super cool plans so far for 2014 though. So let’s keep the ball rolling.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ava Year 10

Single digits no more.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Damn You, Pinterest

I saw this chalkboard paint idea on Pinterest forever-ago and I started it a few weeks ago as my November project. (You can see how far I got. Derp.) It actually is pretty cool and will be neat once all the stairs are done. Aside from one incident where Ava wrote "Juli is a Jerk," it's been a good decision overall. (And honestly, she was kind of being a jerk so...) However, now I'm knee-deep in my December project- Ava's birthday video!- and then it's Christmas and such. So you know, it will probably be completed sometime in 2014. Whoops.

Friday, November 15, 2013

This isn't a particularly crafty project considering I didn't even make the actual medal rack. (I bought it on etsy.) Still, my regular medal rack- which is really just a row of coat hooks from Target- actually fell off my wall a few months ago so I figured it was time to double up. (And add some wall anchors.) In deciding which medals got the new prime spot on top of the wall I ended up choosing a mix of first time races (first marathon, first trail run, etc.) as well as my personal bests. It makes me happy to look up and see those special races on prominent display. Even now I can remember so many details about each of those days- who I was with, how I felt, what I did leading up to and after the race. Obviously the "firsts" medals are never going to change but I look forward to, hopefully, swapping out a couple of those PR medals for some new ones. And if I don't get to, at least they're still shiny.

Left to right:

2012 Bewl 15: First-and only!-international race (Wadhurst, England)
2009 Madison Half Marathon: First half marathon
2012 Schaumburg Half Marathon: PR
2009 Lakefront Marathon: First 26.2
2013 Chicago Marathon: PR
2011 Dances with Dirt Marathon: First trail race
2010 Chicago Lakefront 50K: First 50K
2011 North Face 50: First 50 Miler (trails)
2013 Door County Fall 50: First road 50

Monday, November 11, 2013

Big October

So I'm a wee bit late with my October accountability post. Obviously I busied myself with the Chicago Marathon. And two weeks later I did this thing (again) where I ran 50 miles. I really only have about three things to say about that race:

1. I need to go back to Door County again when I'm not running 50 miles.
2. For me, 50 miles is much easier when run on trails as opposed to the road. (Yes, I am aware of the ridiculousness of using the word "easy" in association with running 50 miles.)
3. My little heart still feels all asplode-y with proud when I think of this post-finish photo with Rochelle:

On other fronts, creative projects took a bit of a back burner in October due to all the running and running and preparing for running and recovering from running and then running again. I did take my booty to an African Dance class a couple of times at the beginning of the month which was FANTASTIC. Mama can still shake it! Now that I'm technically in my running off season I'll heading back to some more dance classes until the end of the year. I've even been eyeballing an Aerial Silks class in December because awesome and amazing. Obviously. I'm also going to hunker down and tackle some of these half finished projects around the house so hopefully I'll have a little more to show for myself at the end of this month- you know, besides a marathon PR and a 50 mile ultramarathon. I do have one more half marathon at the end of this month before my race-free December. Will I run a PR in Schaumburg? With everything I've accomplished this year I'll be happy either way but I'm still going for it. I figure why sell myself short? You gotta at least try.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Goals. I've Achieved Them. (And I have some more.)

"I'm going to run a 3:55 someday. In fact, I'm going to run a 3:50 someday. Yeah, I said it."

I typed those words on May 20th of this year after bonking horribly at the Rockford Marathon for the second time in a row. I was pretty sure that 3:55 was doable but I kind of wanted to reach out and take that 3:50 back after I published it. For some reason it still seemed like a number I just wouldn't be able to grasp. (At least not for a few years.)

So then I went and ran a 3:50:06 at the Chicago Marathon last weekend.


I ran a 3:50:06 and felt AMAZING the entire time. I can't even tell you how awesome it feels to still have gas in the tank for the final 5K of a marathon instead of fighting back against pain and tears and downright awfulness! Instead of slowing down in the final miles was passing people all the way to the end. I had a plan, I executed with it precision and it paid off... big.

My entire race report is here for the reading but that's not what I'm writing about today. I've had a week to recover and soak up my success. I bought an overpriced Chicago Marathon jacket to commemorate my experience and purchased a couple of my race photos. (I kind of had to right?) But as most runners do after as the post-race glow starts to wear off, I'm already targeting my next goal. My next marathon won't be until next year but the inner Type A personality in me is already aiming at the :06  that lives on the end of that 3:50 marathon time. (I mean, you don't really expect me to let that go do you?)

A lot of people don't like training. They like race day but hate the drudgery of daily workouts- the speedwork, the tempo runs, the long, lonely solo miles on an early Saturday morning. I feel like I'm the opposite. I LOVE training. Give me the daily drudge. I love pushing myself hard and seeing tiny little progressions in speed, strength and endurance. I know I'll never be an elite level runner but I feel like I have some level of talent and I enjoy seeing how far I can push it. 

So I'm going to keep pushing. A couple of months ago I floated the idea of shooting for a 3:45 marathon when I turn 40. (A Boston qualifying time for me when I hit that age.) Suddenly 4+ years from now to shave off 5 minutes seems... not ambitious enough? So instead I'm gunning for that 3:45 next spring instead. It will be a stretch for me to take off that much time again but even if I don't make it on the first try I've know now that it doesn't matter. I know that missing out on my goal twice only made me fight harder and stronger the third time around. And I'm ready to keep fighting. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Project: Images. Movement. Dance.

Here are some of the images that I chose to print on my new set of cards. I'm pretty happy with them:

I might add a few more but this is what I have so far.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Well... it's September 1st so I'm forcing myself to write an update on the creative project goals I laid out last month. I've said in the past that I often have so many ideas and interests that I end up spreading too much of myself around instead of focusing on a single thing (except for when it comes to running, it's pretty clear I don't have the same problem here.) Anyway, this past month instead of concentrating on ONE project to complete, I got overly excited and started a handful of them- none of which are finished.

Classic conundrum, I know. So what have I been working on?

1. I'm farthest along with a t-shirt printing idea that I've been thinking about for quite a while. I completed my initial design and am in the process of  having some screens made so I can print shirts at the Milwaukee Makerspace. I'm really excited about these and am thinking about selling some if there is any interest after I print my own.

2. I've also revisited my greeting card project that I started a couple of years ago with some of Juliana's drawings. This time though I'm manipulating some photographs I've taken and am going to print new sets of cards using these images. Do I have the images selected yes? Have I printed anything. No.

3. Last, I learned one of my favorite Mountain Goats songs on the guitar. It's not a difficult song but I've been meaning to do it forever. I had plans to record in in Garage Band but... you know. Argh...

Yeah. So what's my goal for September then? Complete at least one of these ideas and more importantly DO NOT START a new project.

We'll see how it all shakes out.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I'm kind of an all or nothing person. When I'm into something I'm waaaaay in to it. Otherwise I'm not. Running, dancing, sci fi/fantasy tv? I get those things. Cooking? Nope. Camping? Double nope. I also go through phases where I'm super excited about certain things and then super not. I fill up my To-Do list to the brim with all the little things I want to accomplish. And then the next week all I want to do is multi-task Ticket to Ride on my laptop with SVU reruns while hiding from the piles of laundry that are slowly overtaking my home.

A couple of weeks ago was our much-heralded Kid-Free Week of the summer. The girls spent eight days in Rockford at with their cousins galavanting about at camp while Jason and I galavanted about the Chicago and Milwaukee areas. In addition to a slew of "Secret Dates"- ranging from fine dining and theatre to hiking and a painting class- we also spent some time lounging around by the pool making lists of things we would like to do if we had all kinds of time to do them all.  I don't mean things like traveling the world for a year (that's later down the road) but rather the little things you always mean to do if you just set aside the time, sat down, and got that business DONE. Things like learning a new song on the guitar, framing some old photos, writing projects... you know, creating something.

So I've set a goal of doing at least one creative project per month. I don't know how many months yet, all I know is I have a list of fun ideas that I want to plow my way though. Yes, it's now the second week of August so I've already got something in the works that I hope to complete pretty soon- definitely by the end of the month. (I'm not against doing multiple projects in a month but I need baby steps people. Baby stepping.) I'll try to share most if not all of what I do.

This is me putting my intentions out into the world. Holding myself accountable.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Goals. I Have Them.

Howdy. It's approximately eleventy-hundred and two degrees here in the Midwest and it makes me cranky. I wish I could say I come from sturdier stock and that I'm able to wipe my brow and bear the brunt of 90+ degree temperatures with a smile on my face, but when it comes to the heat I'm a kind of a wuss. I may be able to run 50 miles through the woods but I crave a cold shower and a massage at the end. I cringe at the mere thought of the word "camping" and my closet is stocked with twee little sundresses.

Not to say I'm not tough. I do push ups on my toes, I actually enjoy doing burpees and I drink my bourbon neat. It's just that the neverending HOT makes me feel so lethargic and unproductive and if it's one thing I hate- it's feeling lazy.

So what do I do? (Besides complain, I mean.) I spend my down time making lists of all the things I want to do when I'm not being lazy and crabby and unproductive. This week I planned out my training schedule for a 50-mile race in Door County this October. As if that weren't enough, I got greedy and started researching races for next year. (2014. Can you believe it? We live in the FUTURE.) Anyway, I decided that I want to find new ways to challenge myself (I know, I know, as if what I do right now isn't challenging enough.) But really, I feel like after running for 5 years I'm hitting high point and I want to take advantage of it and do as much as I can.

Ok, so here's where my post gets really boring and I talk about my goals. 

Since I've had bad luck with weather the past two years at the Rockford Marathon, I decided to go for my marathon PR at Wisconsin Marathon in 2014- which takes place two weeks earlier in the season. (Of course by saying this I've just now guaranteed perfect running weather in Rockford for race weekend next year but I'm trying not to think about it.) I'm fairly confident I can run a sub-3:55 marathon (maybe even a 3:50?) if I get the right conditions. Hopefully I can game it right next year!

I also still want to PR my 5K (21:57). I'm less clear on when I will be able to do this since I don't run many of them at all, but it's another distance that I'm fairly confident I can get my time down farther in given the right day.  I've kicked up my sprinting speed in my interval workouts lately so if I find a 5K that looks favorable at the end of the year I might go for it then.

Even though I haven't run my 50 miler this year yet, I'm already scoping out next year's 50 miles races. Although I'm super excited to run 50 in Door County, it's a road race and I really do prefer trails for super long distances. It's just so much easier on the legs and walk breaks seem to come more naturally out in the trail as opposed to the road. Right now I'm eyeing the Glacial Trail 50 that takes place in the fall. It's supposed to be a much tougher course than the North Face 50  that I've done twice already and it has a stricter cutoff time. Of course, this only makes me want to be able to prove I can do it even more. (Can somebody remind me of this post when I miss the cutoff and am crying into my beer?)

Looking waaaay down the road even further, I actually started mulling around the idea of the 100K distance. JUST MULLING at this point. I need to get a couple more 50 milers under my belt before I make that leap. And it's only 12 more miles right? *Sigh.* This is how I get into trouble.

Also, and I wish I could whisper this one. But if I'm able to run my fastest marathon time next year I'm going to maybepossiblyseriously start looking at trying to qualify for Boston in the next 5 years. Like the BIGGEST MAYBE you can imagine. The qualifying time for when I turn 40 is 3:45 so if I can run under 3:55 in 2014 I think it actually might be the teeniest of possibilities. Of course then I have to turn 40. And run a 3:45 marathon. And did I mention TURN 40?? God.

So that's it. I mean the really really really big goals at least. I'm going to try to whittle down my half marathon time to the low 1:40s by the end of 2013 since it's my favorite distance to actually race all out. (Schaumburg Half Marathon in November, I'm looking at you!) Oh, and I'm going to continue to teach bootcamps and try to grow my personal training business and take more dance classes and hang out with my husband from time to time and be there for my kids when they get home from school every day. You know, the usual.

Life isn't half bad. Keep rockin'.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Becoming: Part 1

It's been 6 months since I took the exam to become a personal trainer. Six months of highs and lows, trying to promote myself, dragging pounds and pounds of gear around from location to location, and oh yeah- trying my best to create ass-kicking, enjoyable workouts. People often ask me how my Little Engine that Could business is going. Here's what I'll say:

To quote Adam Sandler's character in the 1994 comedy "Mixed Nuts": It's a work in progress. It may never be finished. 

But seriously. It's been a real learning experience for me. I knew in the beginning that my biggest challenge was going to be marketing myself, and that has proven to be true. I enjoy training people- in groups and one-on-one. When I'm out running I construct workouts in my head and then I come home and test them out. I get excited over new gear I buy and spend hours in my back yard trying out new exercises. I do tons of research- reading fitness blogs and watching countless Youtube videos of other trainers, trying to learn all that I can.
For me this stuff is fun! And getting to share that knowledge with others is where is all comes together. The part I hate is the business side. (Which stinks, because I am a business and I ultimately want to be successful- on a small level, at least.)
All of my clients thus far have come to me either by social media or word-of-mouth. Luckily I have a great network of friends who have been very supportive of me, either by attending classes or saying nice things about me on the internet, and for this I am so SO grateful. Still I find myself having anxiety over getting enough people to attend a bootcamp and worrying about how it will look if I only have 2 people at a class.

Deep breaths. Baby steps. I am a work in progress.

A few weeks ago I met up with my friend Ambrose, who I trained under for over 2 years before deciding to take this step on my own. I expressed to him my frustration and worry over possibly having one person show up to what is advertised as a "group"  workout.  He proceeded to give me the greatest advice. He said something like:  "So what if you only have one person? You give that person the best, most awesome workout you possibly can- and that one person could become one of your biggest cheerleaders." 
He is right, and I have taken that advice to heart. Although I admit I will still probably always stress over the marketing side of this whole endeavor- I realize that I need to have patience. As well as persistence. So while I'm wishing I had more people at my classes, I still give 120% planning and executing every single workout- whether I have 2 people or 20 people. (Ha-like I've ever had 20 people!) I also have to keep in mind that this is a part-time gig for me. My #1 job is still my family. I'm not teaching classes to pay the bills or put food on the table. I'm doing this because I enjoy it and I think I have something to offer.

So with that in mind,  I will go forth and continue this work in progress. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rockford Marathon Feels

This may surprise you but I have feelings about the marathon I just ran. Mostly joyous (marathon number ten! woo!) and some conflicted (thwarted by poopy weather again! boo!) I do like to get lots of words out after running these things though so here it goes.
Marathon running is hard. EVERY time. No matter how fast or slow. It's effing hard.  (I know, I know. That's what she said.) But in all honestly, how can something be so humbling and inspiring and infuriating and uplifting all at the same time? This is the second year in a row I came to the starting line in Rockford PREPARED. I do my speedwork, I do my tempo runs, I cross train like a beast, I eat my vegetables, blah blah blah. I ran an "easy" 1:52 half a couple of weeks ago and felt amazing- not to mention the 1:44 I ran in the fall! I feel like I'm on top of my game running-wise right now. And yet... marathon smacks me in the face yet again. 
The first half of this race was spot on. With the exception of a too-fast first mile I was averaging an 8:45-8:50 pace and felt like I was just out for an easy run the whole time.  I hit 13.1 in 1:56- EXACTLY my race strategy- but something began to change in hour three of the race. 
Sun. Sunsunsunsun. Stupid sun. It crept up slowly, as in I didn't feel like I was slowing down but I started to see the pace on my Garmin inch down with every mile. 8:58, 9:03, 9:12. What. I passed mile 16 (where I had to start walking last year) and I noticed a lot of other runners were looking like they were in bad shape. I started to get that feeling where you just know that something isn't meant to happen. I was hanging in there because I wasn't ready to "let it go" but in my heart I just knew.
I'm not sure exactly when I started taking walk breaks. Mile 18? Somewhere around there. The second half of this race has a lot of slow climbing hills and with the temperature rising and my pace slowing this is what ran through my mind: I was already off pace for my 3:56 PR. Honestly I was pretty much off pace for even a sub-4. I had no "C" goal so I needed to decide what was important to me at this point.
I decided that it was more worth it to me to finish feeling GOOD. Like last year, there was no question about whether or not I could finish the distance. I simply opted to slow my pace, walk the hills and stop at all the water stops from that point on. Suffering to shave off a few minutes didn't seem important anymore. So I ran/walked some 11 minute miles. (And I grumped for a bit, I'm not going to lie.)  I chatted with some other runners who were also letting go of faster times. (Even the 4-hour pacer was walking! Whoa.) 
But then something happened. Around mile 22 we wound our way through a shaded bike path. Some clouds started to roll in and although at this point I wasn't going to be able to start running sub-9s again, I started to feel *better* overall. I started passing people who were walking again. I started smiling. When I finally turned the last corner before finish line I had a big stupid grin on my face because HOW COOL is this? The last .2 is all downhill across long bridge and it's one of my favorite things ever- this small little race in this weird little city that I'm from and I love it so much. I remember doing a little mini leap thing at one point and being really grateful that I didn't fall on my face. I saw my aunt and uncle waving like crazy and and I waved back like a goofball. It's amazing how quickly all the frustration and and pain gets washed away in those last seconds.
I ran a 4:13. I realize that is a time that a lot of people would absolutely love to run. I ran a 4:13 (hey, with a lot of walking even) and it was my TENTH marathon in less than four years! That's beyond anything I ever thought I would do when I first stepped on a treadmill. And I'm going to run a 3:55 someday. In fact, I'm going to run a 3:50 someday. Yeah, I said it.

I'll keep trying. I'm patient. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Three months ago I took (and passed!) the ACE personal trainer exam. It all began last fall when I sat down and thought long and hard about what I really enjoy doing on a regular basis- and how I could turn that into something bigger in my life. Unsurprisingly, I landed on health and fitness. (Pretty much a no-brainer, I know.) Over the past couple of years I've had many people ask me if I was interested in becoming a trainer and I always shied away from answering definitively. Why? Honestly, when it came down do it I was scared of letting people put their trust in me. I put so much trust into my own trainers as well as the instructors at every class I take- from bootcamp to yoga to dance.  I expect them to know what they are talking about and to guide me in the right direction. Thinking about other people trusting me to guide them in the right direction- or more importantly not in the WRONG direction- gave me a the heebies jeebies. I didn't want that kind of responsibility. Actually, I was afraid of it. 

So what changed? Aside from some soul searching I also reached out to a couple of my trainer friends for advice on what I should do.  My friend Amy was nice enough to act as a sounding board for me to bounce my fears and concerns off of and she gently guided me towards the realizing this:

I know way more than I give myself credit for. 

Everybody starts somewhere. I remember her asking me to name teachers and trainers that I admire and then she asked if they were instantly awesome from day one. Of course they weren't! This may seem like basic information but I realized that I was putting all kinds of unneeded pressure on myself by thinking I needed to be the greatest, most knowledgable trainer that ever existed or not be one at all. I may not have years of experience but I really DO know lot and there are people out there that I can help. From years of dancing and running and training I have learned an incredible amount about health and fitness that I sometimes forget not everybody knows. It comes as second nature to me now but because of this I forget to give myself credit. 

So here I am training. I'm teaching bootcamp classes and I have a couple of one-on-one clients but the most exciting thing is that I'm LEARNING. Every session I learn something new and I come away with more ideas for the following week. I had another friend tell me that everything would fall into place once I got out there and started training people and this couldn't be more true. The reading and the memorization and the test was important to an extent but taking that knowledge and applying it to real people is where the magic happens. I want to help people get stronger and faster and better and I want to see them do it with a smile on their face (ok, with the occasional grimace and some sweat thrown in.) But the moral of my story is that I was scared of something, I acknowledged that fear and proceded to conquer it with authority. And I think that is something special.

What are you scared of?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I am 35 today.

I rolled out of bed at 5:30AM today, my 35th birthday, looked in the bathroom mirror and actually found myself saying out loud, "Eh, not bad." 

There are certainly worse things in the world than not looking your best, but in the grand scheme of things it's a really good feeling to be happy with who you are- at any age.  Looking at my reflection this morning it wasn't even just about how I looked. Sure I've got an athletic figure, nice clear skin for the most part, and I've been having some pretty great hair days lately. But also I think about all the things I've accomplished in the past year, the steps I've taken towards being the grown up I've always wanted to be and I have to nod my head and say, "Not bad. In fact, pretty damn great."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pretty Good Year.

Year End Recap. We meet again.

The one thing I can for sure say about 2012 is that time moves utterly too fast for my liking. Seriously. Cut that crap out, Time. I feel as if the last sixteen years of my life can be grouped into four bundles. For example, last year was surely 2009. And the year before that was 2005, followed by '01. And four years ago was definitely 1997. By this math, next year Juliana will be about to start her senior year of high school and the year after that Jason and I will be retired and living in the south of France.

Wait, really? Maybe this isn't so bad after all!

So what were this year's highlights? I honestly am having a real problem recalling anything that happened before the Epic Summer of 2012- the summer that included our European Vacation and the 15th Anniversary Night of Shenanigans and Debauchery. (This "problem" I speak of is not really a problem at all. I realize this. But here I go, giving it the old college try.)

Year of the 50K: 

The 50K emerged as my favorite distance to *not* race. I completed THREE of these suckers (as well as a 39.3 miler which I'm lumping in here.) What's great about these events is that I never worry about my pace or trying to beat a previous best. It's all about going the distance and enjoying the time out there- usually with friends, and especially if it's a trail run. Also, training for a 50K is pretty much like training for a marathon, without all the weird hype and pressure marathons tend to come packaged with. It's a nice change.

Dance Like You Mean It

If 2011 was the year that I allowed dance back into my life, then 2012 was the year I stopped being scared of where it might take me. Despite a hiatus over the summer (while I trained for my longest race of the year) I was pretty diligent with my weekly classes through the winter, spring and most recent fall sessions. I also took a couple of advanced level master classes in June- in which I didn't make a fool of myself! And I even managed to screw up the courage to audition for the Danceworks Performance Company. No, I wasn't the person selected, but I'm pretty sure I held my own and would do it again in a heartbeat. I might not even cry on the way home from all the overwhelming feels next time.

Missed Goals Aren't the End of the World

What did I just say about all the marathon having all kinds of weird hype and pressure? Case in point: I trained like mad to PR at the Rockford Marathon in May and then on race day it was approximately eleventy hundred degrees. By mile 18 I decided that a 3:55 marathon time was not worth severe dehydration or heatstroke and I started to walk. I finished 25 minutes after my goal time and I didn't die. The day was a win.  I tried again to at least run a sub-4 in October at the Haunted Hustle Marathon and the course ended up being a half mile long, leaving me to finish in 4:02 with 26.7 miles on my Garmin. This race burned me up a little more since I finished in front of the 4-hour pace group and still missed my time, but in the grand scheme of things- IT'S ONLY RUNNING. We're darn lucky to be able to run marathons in the first place, be it in 3:55, 4:25 or 8:25.

But Goals Achieved are Pretty Awesome Too: Deer Run PR, Half Marathon PR, 50 Mile Finish

Time for a few not-so-humble brags. I *did* run a PR in the 5K this year (21:57) as well as in the Half Marathon (1:44:40).  I also finished a 50-mile race all by myself. So if there was any question about my toughness... Bing bang boom.


If I annoyed anyone with all our Europe trip photos on Facebook this summer, I apologize. Sort of. I mean, it was pretty amazing. Would you rather I be super ungrateful and ho-hum about traveling to London and Paris? I guess I could act like that but- LOOK! PICTURES!

15th Anniversary Party: Night of Shenanigans 

We didn't have a fancy wedding. Not wanting to be engaged for a year just to wait for an open reception hall, so we got hitched on a Sunday night and had our party in a church basement. And because we were a wee nineteen years old, the two of us toasted with some sparkling grape juice instead of champagne. For years  now I've wanted to throw a super fun anniversary party with all of our friends but it always seemed like it would be a) a lot of money and b) a lot of planning. This year, because Jason loves me (or something like that), we were able to throw a fantastic 15th anniversary shindig with family and friends, old and new. The photobooth from this event will live on forever. Also: whiskey cockails.

The Girls and Their Continued Awesomeness

I literally just had to step away from the computer for a minute before writing this one. I feel like I've accomplished some pretty incredible things in my life, but nothing compares to these two. They continuously amaze me with their ever-changing, dynamic personalities and fill me with Mama Bear Pride as I see them developing more CONFIDENCE in themselves with each passing year. At nine and twelve years old I realize the most challenging years are still in front of us but I know in my heart everything will be ok because they are simply amazing little people.

So, 2013. What do you hold?
Obviously the race schedule on the side bar of this blog is quickly filling up already. I'm also looking forward to taking my love of fitness/movement/dance "to the streets" as I get my personal trainer certification and hopefully start teaching classes in the spring. And as always, I plan to eat all the food and travel all the travels that I can get my greedy paws on. 2013: Hit me with your best shot.

Po sez Happy New Yearz.