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Friday, July 31, 2015

Guest Post: Softball, Trail Runs & RAGBRAI

Below I have a wonderful guest post for you. Brandi Jones, a member of my 2015 Miles in 2015 Team wrote another great update on her recent fitness, health and volunteer experiences. Enjoy!
We are over half way done!! Miles as of July 31st  428.52/672. I logged 65.49 miles in July. Which means I only have 248.29 miles to go!
In May I volunteered as a Pee Wee girls softball coach (1st and 2nd graders).  My town recreational league runs from mid-May to mid-June. I didn’t have too high of expectations besides having fun and teaching the girls something along the way. When I was younger I loved playing town ball and continued playing till my Sophomore year of high school, when I focused more on golf.  I have to say I had a great team this year. They amazed me every day by their progress. Monday–Thursday we either had a game or practice so I stayed really busy.  I’m glad to pass along my joy of softball and love continuing to support our town’s league. These girls have brought me such joy and I already miss them.  We will see how my schedule looks next year. Maybe I’ll be on the fields coaching again! J

In June I FINALLY  and successfully connected my Garmin  watch to Map My Run and My Fitness Pal. It was consuming a lot of time entering my exercising, running, and food into each program, then each one had you burning different calorie amounts. This way all I do is put on my watch, run, get home, download it to the computer and everything transfers over. You can get a more expensive Garmin watch that sync’s wirelessly but I don’t mind hooking a cord up. Plus wearing my iPod and watch is a lot easier and lighter than strapping my phone to my arm. Oh, and no nasty tan line! 
My husband and I have been doing a lot of camping. It’s neat to get out and explore some new trails. Recently we stayed at Wilder Park in Allison, IA. It is part of a great paved trail system. When completed it will be around 80 miles along and connecting four counties (Rolling Prairie Trail System).  Dedicated paved recreational trails are becoming more popular around my area. I still do have to drive about 14 miles to access a paved trail, otherwise it’s all locally paved roadways for my runs. Sometimes I do take a gravel road or two.  So if you have nice sidewalks and trails to run, be grateful every day you’re on them!
Brandi's running trail.

I had a good laugh a few days ago. I was running and a guy asked me “What are you training for now, Brandi”. Keep in mind I live in a small town where everyone knows you. My response was “Nothing”.  In return he says “I see, you’re taking it easy this year”. I thought for a second…..”Yep” and kept on running. I didn’t have 15 minutes to stop and tell him that I’m still running/walking 60-75 miles a month, taking 2 weekly boot camp classes, and trying to ride my bike 50 miles a week. Yes, I’m not training for any races this year, but I wouldn’t have any issue signing up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, duathlon, or triathlon. I know my body is well conditioned and I would succeed any at any of those races. It is very rejuvenating to just get out move, enjoy the run, enjoy the outdoors, and being able to help and encourage my fellow friends/runners. It’s amazing! I can finally say I find the joy in running. I have always found running my way of de-stressing. Don’t get me wrong it still sucks sometimes. J
I also just got back from RABGRAI. I was only able to go two days but we covered 131 miles and I was able to go with a good friend and fellow runner. We had a blast! Anyone who enjoys biking needs to experience it at least once. I guarantee you will want to go every year after.
Brandi and her friend Tiara at RAGBRAI.
Speaking of bicycling what do you use for a GPS tracker on your bike? I’m looking into different Garmin trackers as I already have my watch with Garmin Connect. Comment below if you have any suggestions.
I hope everyone is having a great summer, I will update again in September.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

Why I Won't Be Posting a Picture of My Stretch Marks Online

Lately it seems all the craze; posting pictures on social media of your mommy-stomach, now streaked with jagged lines bearing the signs of a body scarred from pregnancy.

I'll admit that I cross some personal lines when I write stories sometimes (my kids might kill me when they get old enough to go online and do a search history for their names), but don't worry, your eyes will be spared. I will not be posting pictures of my mommy-stomach online.

If you have done this already, or want to, more power to you. I am not judging you at all. If posting a picture of your torn tummy is a form of catharsis for you or a way for you to reclaim your body, then by all means, upload as many pictures as you want. In fact, I truly wish I could feel like you do.

I, however, will not jumping on the belly bandwagon. Unlike many mommies online that are proud of their pregnancy battle scars, I am not. I really, truly am not and often wonder what unfair thing I said or did to someone in my past that brought the wrath of stretch-mark karma to my midsection.

One of the bad things that have come out of the internet being bombarded with scarred stomach snapshots is that now I have a comparison level. I used to be naive. Hey maybe this is what most bellies look like after having babies; scarred, stretched, sagging skin covering our post pregnancy bellies (and hips, and thighs, and backs, and sides, and booties...). We are all in this together, I thought.

Nope. Not all stretchmarks are created equal.

When I see many other peoples pictures of their "stretch marks" (imagine me saying those two words slowly while using air quotations around them), I only feel more awful about my own. It's not a competition or anything, but so many times mine are worse. If mine looked like many of the ones I've seen online, I'd post them too, saying, Look how great my stomach looks after havjng three babies in four years!

I know, I know, it's not a race (the runner in me now comes out) but I totally win. Sometimes I have to zoom in and squint to see what the heck the mom in question is considering a stretch mark. I am glad that mommies out there are reclaiming their bodies, redefining what they believe is beautiful, and are showing the world that they are confident with their bodies after birthing babies.

I just, am not.

I do not like how my stomach looks now. I do not like how I feel about my stomach. I know that without those scars I wouldn't have my three amazing kids, but I still don't appreciate these ugly scars. I hate that I can't wear the swim suits I want to wear, that many pants and shorts don't fit comfortably, that my filter-less kids touch my stomach and call it fat and ask why it looks so weird, and I more than anything, miss the beautiful stomach that I so took for granted before having kids.

I am definitely not proud of my scars. I don't hate many things in this world, but my stomach is one of them.

The only way you are going to see a picture of my scarred stomach online is if you visit a plastic surgery website some day and see it as a "before" picture, uploaded strategically beside an "after" picture of a brand new beautiful tummy-tucked belly.

You can click on this link to donate to my Go Fund Me page. JUST KIDDING! For now...

Friday, July 10, 2015

Yes I Tied My Kids Together

This summer has been wonderful. And awful. And fun. And stressful. And hilarious. And trying.

I love staying home in the summers with my kids, but let's be honest, it is hard. Sometimes I wish that when my alarm goes off in the morning it is my turn to get up and get ready to leave for work, and not my husband's.

My kids are great ages for playing together and they are getting better at entertaining each other, but there is one thing that I am just totally and completely sick of.

I cannot handle the fighting and bickering anymore.

I literally want to pull my hair out some days. And I have seriously contemplated locking them all in the basement for a day and just letting them go at it for a little survival of the fittest competition. May the best child win, right?

Seriously though. The hitting, pinching and punching from my 5-year-old daughter. The yelling for attention every time my 3-year-old son wants to say something. The selective listening I constantly get from my 7 year old. It takes everything in me some days not to mirror back to them the same immature, selfish behavior they reflect to me countless times a day.

I have tried yelling a lot. I have tried spanking them but most of the time they laugh afterward and I feel guilty for doing it. I have tried taking away iPads and although that does turn them into much better people overall while they are going through a day or two with no electronics, they turn back into monsters pretty quickly when their electronics are returned (I guess Pavlov's theory doesn't apply to iPad use). I've tried time outs, empty ultimatums, "Wait until dad finds out"s, "This is the last straw"s, early bedtime, taking away favorite toys, and every other commonplace discipline practice.

Recently though I have had one successful attempt at controlling the insanity.

It isn't a unique idea, but it is one that I hadn't actually ever tried. The other day when my two oldest children were on their innumerable fight of the day, a brilliant thought crossed my mind. I should make them sit by each other in the same t-shirt until they can go an hour without fighting. I was folding laundry when the "This is the last straw" argument happened. I was holding my husbands t-shirt in my hand and irrationally considered running over to them and aggressively pulling it over both of their heads. After a moment I realized that it would likely ruin my husbands shirt and probably cause another argument with him.

Then I remembered the flag football belts in the garage.

I retrieved one, made my kids stand up, and explained that they would be wearing this belt together until they could go one hour without fighting. They started laughing and commenting on how much fun it was going to be.

And it was.

For about ten minutes.

The timer was started over several times as arguments and fights ensued, but after being tied together for nearly 2 1/2 hours, they stopped fighting. And for the rest of the day if one of them started bickering, I would hear the other say "Stop it, we don't want tied together again!"

It has been several weeks since the last time they were tied together but they still bring it up once in awhile when one starts fighting with the other. I do get the feeling that another round will be coming soon though, as the effects of being tied to a sibling is starting to wear off some.

Overall, I'd have to say that this is one of the best forms of torture discipline that I've tried.

Now if I could just figure out how to get them to clean the house for me...

All tied up.



IMT DMM: Why I'm Running the I-35 Challenge

Click here for my post on the IMT DMM blog on Why I'm Running the I-35 Challenge.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beautiful Iowa Running

Along Sister Prairie Trail in Ventura, IA.

Over the Fourth of July holiday my family and I traveled to Clear Lake, IA to stay with and visit family and friends. We boated, watched a parade, went to a carnival, built sand castles on the beach and enjoyed a gorgeous fireworks display. All of these activities were full of memories in the making, but something else I enjoyed was being able to get in over 13 miles in 3 days of absolutely breathtaking running trails. During my time on these trails I have seen rabbits, deer, turkeys, jumping carp, countless variation of birds, squirrels and a snake or two. Really, truly a breathtaking experience.

My daughter and I walking along the Sister Prairie Trail.


Running along McIntosh Beach.

My version of sand between my toes.

More gorgeous beach.

If you haven't already, you really should visit the various places to walk, run or ride around the towns of Clear lake and Ventura, IA, both of which surround the actual body of water known as Clear Lake. Doing so will renew your spirit, satisfy your hunger for natural beauty and help you feel more fit and healthy.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June 2015 Miles in 2015 Update


It is that time again. Another month of the 2015 Miles in 2015 Challenge has passed and it is time for an update. This wasn't our worst month, but it wasn't our best either.

Brandi and I reached our goal but just by a hair. In fact, both of us logged in some miles just a few hours before the midnight deadline in order to reach our goals of 60 miles each in June. I'm okay with only reaching my goal this month, but I do need to step it up in order to make up for my February month when most of my time was spent on a stationary bike recovering from a stress fracture. No excuses, but it is time to log some serious miles. I am shooting for 20 miles per week this month, hoping to exceed my goal by 20 miles total, but we'll see.

Brandi had a little feedback this month too:
"As the summer is heating up in northern Iowa I have transitioned to a morning run schedule. Yes, some days it is terribly hard to wake up at 4:30 am, but I’m so thankful to get it done for the day. My June streak of running the whole month ended with pulling in my right arch. I’ve noticed when I run I keep my big toe lifted up. I think this caused my arch pain which led to walking for a week. One neat accomplishment was I ran/walked on all even days in June. Just something new to keep things exciting and interesting. I seemed to get bored doing the same thing day in and day out. I like setting different challenges for myself as weird as some may sound. Only downfall was I missed my morning fitness class ladies."

Kate really struggled to attempt her goal this month, but in all fairness, she did get married last weekend so has been incredibly busy with that. She did tell me that she is going to alter her goals to about 75 miles per month in order to make up her last few months of cutting her goals short. Brandi and I really need her in order to reach our 2015 miles goal this year so I am certain she will get back on track this July now that she isn't spending her free time planning her wedding. I am excited to see what she accomplishes this month!

The beautiful bride and I at her wedding.

We are now officially half way through the year, but collectively are not halfway through our miles. With accountability, encouragement, and hard work Team 2015 Miles in 2015 will get back in the race (literally!).