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Monday, August 22, 2016

To Bean or Not to Bean: Types of Rehydration & Energy Gels #imtdmm #motivationmonday

New Post on the IMT Des Moines Marathon blog! To Bean or Not to Bean... What types of energy and rehydration gels do you prefer? #imtdmm #halfmarathon #marathon #training

 Getting my miles in!

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Types of Surfaces Do You Prefer to Run on? #imtdmm

Check out my newest post on the IMT Des Moines Marathon blog:


As some of us start training for the IMTDMM full, the half, or other distances, we must also start to think about where to run. Not just where geographically (we all know our regular running routes can get redundant and boring after awhile) but it is also important to think about which types of surface your feet are hitting with each step taken... Click on the link above for the rest of the article!

Friday, July 29, 2016

What I Am Going To Miss Most About This Summer

10. Make-up-free-wear-my-comfy-clothes-all-day-shower-in-the-afternoon-kind-of-days. Need I say more?
9. The funny things my kids say on the daily, like, "Do bugs poop?" or "Why do moms have boobs?" or "If I drink all the water in this hose will I explode?" It is really very comical and I will completely miss answering every one of their adorable, and sometimes pretty legit, questions.
8. My gorgeous summer tan FOR FREE.
7. Waking up to my 4-year-old having wet the bed since he sleeps in until 9 AM (okay I won't miss this one). The kids needs to get up at a normal time- his bladder just can't hold it in for 13 hours! But I will miss that he gets to sleep in.
6. Speaking of sleeping in, I will miss that too. Getting up at 6 AM to teach 8 AM classes is not something I am looking forward to when classes start up again this fall.
5. Morning snuggles. Actually snuggles in general. Getting snuggles all day long, whenever I want them. I can just sit by one of kids on the couch, hug them and we are immediately available to each other. When school starts, that won't happen anymore.
4. Running at 8 AM instead of 4:45 AM. Ya, that one is going to be rough.
3. Having time to plan meals, go grocery shopping, and run errands during the day, during the week. I despise doing these things on the weekends.
2. The pool. Such a nice way to spend time with the kids. Sometimes it is stressful when they fight and argue with me and each other, but in general, isn't it great to go the pool in the summer?
1. My kids. They are getting too old. Too fast. Too big. Too smart. Too independent. Too strong. Too bold. Too brave. Too funny. Too witty. Too silly. Too wonderful and I am going to miss not seeing each and every one of these things, and others, every single day. I get so envious that their teachers get to see these moments when school starts back up and we go our separate ways for another 9 months. Next summer they will all be a whole year older. Sigh. I will definitely miss my kids the most.

My three crazy kiddos this summer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What I Am Not Going to Miss About This Summer

10. Bee stings, ants, spiders and bug bites. A humid, rainy start to summer has definitely helped encourage the insect population of Kansas. Unfortunately my 4-year-old has had the brunt of the stings and bites in our family, poor little fella.
9. Arguing with my kids about getting off their iPads, iPhones and iPods. Seriously. Clash Royale, PokemonGO, Minecraft, various YouTube channels... My kids need some serious changes for the fall when it comes to the use of their tablets and technology. Especially my 8-year-old son. I don't know how I am going to handle him getting older and wanting to use these devices even more.
8. Planning so many meals and buying so many groceries! Holy moly my kids can eat BUT they are somehow so picky too! I am ready for those daily arguments to be over.
7. Watering the lawn and garden, and cooling the house. I cringe when I open up our utilities bills.
6. Running in excessive heat and humidity. It just sucks. And is not easy to do.
5. "I don't know who did it." "I don't like you." "You are the worst mommy in the world." "I'm telling grandma Sue on you!" "You don't love me." Come on guys, change it up a little. I realize you have a limited vocabulary but your go-to lines barely impact me anymore. Spice up the arguments and you might actually get that reaction from me that you so yearn for.
4. "I'm bored." My 6-year-old is the worst. Although they all three say it every day, she says it, hmmm... maybe 20 times a day? Very little exaggeration here. She could have just finished up an assembly line of snacks, movies, crafts, homework, outdoor activities and then the very second she realizes that her body or mind isn't doing soemthing, she whines... "I'm bored." I would give up my iPhone for the rest of my life to never hear that phrase again. I really would.
3. Feeling like I can't get anything done. Between teaching three online classes this summer, staying home with the kids all day and trying to keep them busy, attempting to keep our house tidy, clean and laundry free, planning and making meals, I am just tuckered out. I feel like I never, ever have time to do anything for me. I am not sure if fall will be any better, but I am hopeful that once I get back to working on campus and the kids are back in school we will establish a more solid routine.
2. The fighting!
1. I'll say that again. The fighting! These three demons children constantly argue about the dumbest things. Well, in their defense, it usually isn't dumb to them, it's actually important. However, to me it all seems so redundant, tedious, unproductive and annoying. So. Ready. For. School. To. Start. I think they are just really, really sick of playing with each other.

Just a normal drive home after running a few errands.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I'm Peeing (and an Update of Recent Posts on the #IMTDMM Blog)

Recent Posts on the IMT DMM blog. Enjoy!


Hoping to get a few ideas on my parenting experiences out again soon. My kids have given me so much content so far this summer I am about to burst with ideas... But I am struggling to find the time to get those ideas out to all of you though.

Here's a sample of one from just this morning:

This morning at the pool before swim lessons a crew was working on fixing the apparently broken splash pad. When they were done the splash pad was working again, but they turned it off since the pool didn't open until noon. In doing so the pressure from the spouts slowed down and it took about 15 minutes for the spouts to completely empty.

As the pressure slowed, so did the water- creating a series of little streams of half rainbows.

My four-year old looked at me. His eyes opened wide. And he's off!

Within seconds he had run over to the splash pad and was standing in front of one of the quickly depleting (but not quickly enough) streams of water. He then skillfully grabbed his groin, arched his back and loudly (but very clearly) screamed, "I'm peeing!" Then he wiggled his booty (the kid has mad skill moves) and shook his hips. This whole routine repeated several times.

Moms and many little boys around the splash pad also screamed, with laughter (mostly,) and a wave of young boys ran over and joined my son in what looked like a urinal of laughing and wiggling toddlers.

Proud mommy moment right there.

My kids are such good influences on other kids.

Mr. Comedian.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Guest Post: Ainsley's Angels and a Tot in a Triathalon!

Guest Post from one of my 2015 Miles in 2015 team members last year, Brandi Jones. Among many other exciting adventures, she has joined Ainsley's Angels, a wonderful organization that I can't wait for you to read more about. Below she shares what she has been up to these last 6 months, and it is truly inspiring!

Hi everyone! Have you missed me? J It’s been 6 months since my last post for 2015 Miles in 2015. WOW does time fly. I have to say I’ve been very busy.
My 2016 has been fabulous. I’ve been following an amazing organization called Ainsley's Angels for over a year. I knew it was something I wanted to join. My 9 year old nephew Hayden is blind and unable to walk and I wanted to be the legs for him. I wanted him to experience the joy I get from running and the running community.  In April we ran our first 8k race and it was a cold North Iowa morning. My nephew did great. He chatted up a storm with everyone we met. I can’t wait to run more races with him. He is MY inspiration! A special thanks to the Capital Striders on putting on a great run. They are a great group of runners to join if you’re in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

My other nephew Nicholas (twins with Hayden) is training for his first triathlon in July. Nicholas ran his first race also in April and took 3rd place.  I’m so excited to cheer him on next month. It’s amazing to watch his determination and drive. These boys make my heart happy. I’m blessed to have them in my life, plus they have some pretty amazing parents! 

Over the winter I heard so many of my friends talking about wanting to complete a half marathon. So, I decided give them a little boost. In May I started up a 17 week run/walk half marathon training program. I wanted have the training start at a point that anyone could do it, whether you were already running or have never ran before.  I was astounded on how many ladies showed up on Day 1 at 5am. We run 3 days a week with 2 short runs and 1 long run. Plus adding in 2 days of weight training while still getting in 2 days of rest. These women are inspiring. I am so proud of them making the commitment and challenging themselves. In August there will be 15 ladies completing a half marathon and for 10 of them it will be their first 13.1 mile distance. The other fantastic part is these ladies range in age from 21 to 65. This is proof to never let your age limit you. Believe in yourself. Challenge yourself. Most of all, find a great support system. Seeing all these ladies at 5am ready to run make it a lot easier to get out of bed.
Some of our Sole Crazy Half Marathoner’s. Surround yourself with amazing people and you can concur anything!
Also in May I started coaching 1st and 2nd grade girls softball again. I had such a great time last year. I have 16 girls on my team this year, so it has been non-stop excitement. Next year the girls I started coaching will move up to the next league, so I’m going to be torn on what to do.

I’ve also getting back on the course. Golfing was my first sports love! J I come from a family of good golfers and there is something about the serenity of fresh mowed greens that reels me in. I’m already signed up for a couple 2-person best shots this summer. If there was one other thing I still yearn to do…that’s to coach golf. Who knows maybe someday down the road the opportunity might come around.

Also last but not least, my bike! I have enjoyed so much getting back out on the road and trails. I’ve been able to help 2 friends out who are training for Grandma’s Marathon this month. It worked out great being bike support while they train. I can’t wait to see their training pay off next week. I’ve also signed up for a few novelty bike rides this summer.
Got to love Iowa weather. Two weeks apart and 45 degree difference between rides.
Well, that pretty much sums up the last 6 months. It’s unreal how fast time files the older you get.  It really put’s meaning to “Seize The Day”. I hope everyone is living life to the fullest, challenging themselves, and most of all having fun along the way.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

IMT DMM: Beautiful Iowa Running

Hey folks! Check out the new IMT Des Moines Marathon blog! I just posted my first article on the new site this morning.

Enjoy! :

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why I Am Not a Perfect Mom

So I thought that it was about time that someone said it out loud. It might shock some of you but I'm not *gasp* a perfect mom. I know, I know... You can't believe I put it in writing for the world to see. You can't believe I admitted to not being the very thing all mommies work so hard to be seen as.

I hate to be the one to let the secret out of the toy box, but no mom is perfect. Moms everywhere are putting on a strong front and we may look put together on the outside but on the inside it's another story.

Let's back up a little. So in addition to this mom gig, I teach college courses on human communication and we recently studied the concept of nonverbal communication. When we study this concept I usually show my students a TED talk by Amy Cuddy, a brilliant researcher who studies how our nonverbals can actually change our minds, it's not always the other way around. If you have a few minutes you should take the time to watch her brief talk on "faking it until you make it." It truly is profound and could change your life.

The reason I brought this up, though, is not for you to study nonverbal communications (although it is really interesting). This semester when I showed the video I couldn't stop thinking about parenting. Sometimes I do feel like I am just trying to appear like a perfect mom on the outside, but on the inside, I feel like my world is an overwhelming, thankless, tiresome repetitive chore that never ends. How long do I have to fake it, until I make it?

Sometimes its the clothes that we wear, like putting together a trendy outfit when all we really have the energy to wear are pajamas or leggings and a baggy shirt. Sometimes its the countless activities we enroll our children in and then blast on social media so everyone sees what a great mom we are. Sometimes its the foods that we try to feed our children in public, like organic string cheese or gluten-free granola, knowing that when you get home the little minions will just grab the Oreo cookies out of the food pantry. Sometimes it's the homework or good news from their teacher that we shout from the top of the tallest building, while quietly deleting the concerning emails from the school or carefully throwing the lower scores underneath the cereal box in the recycling bin before anyone can see them.

Being a good mom or dad is no easy accomplishment. But being perceived as a good mom or dad is even harder. I'm definitely not trying to gain any sympathy from anyone because whether you are a parent or not we all have perception struggles that we are trying to overcome. We all save face, whether it be at work or with our friends, but there is something about this whole mommy perception that is harder for me manage. I get so worn out from making sure I bring the healthiest snacks for the team after the soccer game or posting the perfect family picture after church on Facebook, that sometimes I just want to stop trying.

The thing is, my kids know I'm a good mom. I know I am a good mom. So why is it that I care so much about what all of you think?

I say we all just stop trying so hard to be perceived as the perfect parent and we start focusing on actually being it. Our kids don't care if we wear our pajamas all day on a Saturday. Our kids don't care if the hamburger they are eating is free range. Our kids don't care if we Tweet about taking them to the zoo.

Our kids just want us to be there for them.

In a few weeks when schools lets out I will start my most favorite and yet, I'll admit it, sometimes most dreaded three months of limited adult interaction with an overwhelming amount of kid interaction. I know I am still going to take selfies of my kids and I at swimming lessons. I realize that I will choose to leave the Oreos at home and grab the Cuties when I know I'll be around other mommies. I admit that I'll pridefully post pictures of my little clan of kiddos all over my Facebook feed.

Maybe, though, if I'm lucky, I'll start to care less about what kind of mom you think I am and more about what kind of mom I think I am: A darn good one.

A picture I didn't post on Facebook.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Guest Post: The Pursuit of a Marathon

Through Twitter I have met an inspirational person who recently ran his first marathon. Philip Shelley is a fellow Kansan, runner, and overall incredible man who in spite of physical limitations has accomplished something that not many can say they have done. This past week, Phil completed his first full marathon, or 26.2 miles. I hope you enjoy reading his story as much as I did. Such an incredible journey. If you are interested, Phil has his own blog at
Philip before the Garmin Marathon.

The Pursuit of a Marathon
Life before the marathon
My desire to embark on the journey to a marathon began about three years ago. Of course, even then I had no idea I would end up running a 26.2-mile race in three short years! However, before I explain how I started training for a marathon, I need to give you some background on who I am and why running has become one of the things I love to do.

When I was born, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP). This was caused by a lack of oxygen to my brain at birth. In some cases, CP can mean severe physical and mental limitations. Although my family might argue the mental limitation part, God allowed me to have what is considered a very mild case. Even so, I have had and continue to face challenges on a daily basis: I am legally blind in my left eye, have limited use of my left hand and my left leg is a little shorter than my right. All that to say, I don’t drive, so getting around can involve a lot of walking or rides from Uber or friends!

As a result of these limitations, using my feet for exercise seemed to be a great fit. I started working out in the gym but just couldn’t get used to lifting weights, the elliptical, or the “dreadmill," so I began using an indoor track and a 5K training app. I was also inspired to start running when several in my family were running, and my sister-in-law, Dawn, was even doing full marathons! This inspired me to give it a shot and push myself in a way I never thought possible. As I started to train for a 5k, which was the Sprint Campus 5K in October of 2013, the spark to keep running began.

How I got to the marathon
As I started down the road to running, I had no clue what I was doing and ran that first 5K in just under 30 minutes. Boy was I worn out! I didn’t pace myself but rather gave it all I had. I would soon learn that was not the best approach from an endurance standpoint. I then ran the Thanksgiving Day 5K a month later and a 10K after that. The spark of the first 5K and subsequent 10K now had become a burning flame, and this running thing became not only a hobby, but a habit too. I had a “hobby” that was good for me, and I could just “run out the door” and keep challenging my limits.

After the 10K, the next goal was a half marathon. So I started training with my Nike+ app and Hal Higdon’s training app. Here again, I’m not sure I really knew what I was doing, but I put in the miles, and in October 2014 I ran the Prairie Fire half in Wichita, KS with my brother and sister-in-law. I was sore for two days after, but finished in under 2:30, and I told myself this would not be my last long race. So I set a goal to run 2-3 half marathons in 2015. The year 2015 came, and I kept running and enjoyed it, connected with runners on Twitter and even at my doctor's office. I loved to talk to anyone who would listen about my passion for running and learned all I could!

My goal of running 2-3 half marathons ended up being 5. The Heartland 39.3 series was a great adventure and allowed me to experience 3 great races the KC Metro has to offer. In the fall, I did a small half in St. Joe, MO, which was fun, especially when I found my brother and 6-year-old nephew chasing me at the end! My last race of 2015 was another half marathon at the Indianapolis Marathon. This was a beautiful course, and I ran most of the race getting to chat and learn from an experienced marathoner!

After running 6 half marathons and learning more about running, I was finally able to wrap my head around attempting a marathon. After running Indy, I decided to run the Garmin Marathon. My experienced sister-in-law, Dawn, told me to stay local so I could have the encouragement of friends and family. This proved to be some very valuable advice.

As I embarked on training, the Run Walk Run method taught by Jeff Galloway proved to be a great way to conquer 26.2 one interval at a time! I did some looking around and found that Runkeeper would allow me to set up running intervals, which was great because I could start the app and my music and RUN.

My training officially started in November, but I was fresh off a half marathon, so I didn’t have to start from scratch. The mileage each week began to grow, and I would average roughly 2-3 short runs of 2-4 miles each through the week and then a long run on Saturday on the beautiful Indian Creek Trail. Part of the adventure was to see how far I could get before I needed to turn around.

As February-March came, I had made it to the end of the trail & back and was able to get several 20+ mile runs and even a full 26.2 under my feet! Now that I had run the distance, I knew I would not surrender and would conquer the marathon.

The marathon and beyond
After running Rock the Parkway on April 9, race week was finally here. After six months of consistent training and 500 miles, I was excited and ready to RUN! I went to get my packet on Thursday and cruised the sponsor tables where I met Traci (of Mamagottarun) and Bubba (Garmin Race Director), who graciously provided me the opportunity to win a free entry! It was just great to take it all in and yes I was nervous, but after all the hard work and encouragement of family and friends, I knew it was just a matter of getting it done!

With packet in hand, I went home to get my running gear laid out to make Friday a simple night since I'm not one to leave things to the last minute. On Friday, my sister-in-law, Dawn, who has been an inspiration and encouragement throughout my pursuit of running, came to help and cheer me on.

The coveted restful night before a race does not always happen, and Friday proved to be no exception. I got up at 4:15 and surprisingly, got ready on auto-pilot. I showered, got geared up, grabbed a breakfast burrito, and we headed out the door. We got to the convention center with no problems around 5:15 and just waited until about 6-ish. Shortly after 6:15, I joined the other runners as we waited for GO TIME at 6:45!

We were off, and as the race unfolded, I continued to use Run Walk Run (1:30 run/35s walk). I was averaging an 11:30 pace through the first half and really felt great! At mile 11 my sister-in-law met me, and we ran together for a bit. Then at mile 12, we parted, and I started down the Mill Creek Trail.

Things were still going ok, but I was starting to feel the miles pile up on my legs. Also, my average pace was slipping a few seconds every mile. At mile 16 I really started counting down, not only because I was getting tired, but I knew I only had 10 miles left. The turnaround at mile 18.5 finally came, and I headed back down the trail, continuing to feel my heavy legs and even started walking a bit more.

I called Dawn to tell her I was headed back, and she said she was around a couple of corners, but those were some of the longest corners! I kept moving and running when I could, but I was heading toward "The Wall."

From a nutrition standpoint, I was alternating Stinger gels and half a Clif Bar every three miles and a SaltStick pill every couple of hours, so I knew my nutrition was ok. I just had to keep moving and pushing myself! I knew I could do it since I had done it before.

At about mile 23-24, I saw Dawn and was so relieved since I knew the end was even closer, and now I had the best encouragement, help and motivation I could ask for. She stayed by me, encouraged me, and told me to stop talking and just breathe. We walked, ran some, and after a "ridiculous hill" the finish line was in sight. I gave it all I had to finish my first marathon in 5 Hours, 41 Minutes and 47 Seconds.
Phil and Dawn.

It was a great feeling to have accomplished my goal. My brother Adam, his family, and my runner friend Laurel were there to greet me after many months of encouraging words. It was fantastic to see them, but boy did I hurt. You name it, and it probably hurt! We walked around a bit, and I got my results. Then I finally felt like eating. What better place to go than IHOP.

After a couple of hours, some stretching, foam rolling and a cool bath, I was feeling human again. I slept like a baby that night, but was pretty sore the next couple of days, even with a massage on Sunday. I kept stretching, and I woke up Wednesday with no pain or soreness. I still took the rest of the week off from running, but my first marathon will not be my last.

Even before running Garmin, I had registered for Running with the Cows Half Marathon on May 14 and then the Rock & Roll Marathon in Seattle on June 18! I've always wanted to go to Seattle, and what better excuse to go there than to run a Marathon? It's amazing what opportunities running can present, both personally and geographically.

Phil and Laurel.

Pursuing a marathon has proven to be a challenging but fulfilling learning experience. I have learned that "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me." (Philippians 4:13) The Lord allowed me to be born with limitations, but running has taught me that He is able to strengthen, protect and enable me to do things I never thought possible. With a grateful heart I thank my Lord, family, friends and fellow runners (Traci, Stephanie, Liz, Laurel and many more). Your advice, encouragement and motivation have helped me to achieve something few have even attempted!

So keep running to finish!


The best finisher medal ever, made for Phil by his niece.

Crossing the finish line! If you have trouble viewing this
amazing video, click here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2016 Garmin Marathon Complete!

Race director Bubba Gaeddert, me and one of our 
giveaway winners Philip Shelley, at the race Expo.

What a day! This was my first run in Oz with no gusty winds, hail, rain or chance of tornadoes! This past weekend I ran the Garmin Half Marathon and the weather was amazing, not something we have experienced in the previous two years I have run it. Not only was the weather a change, but there were several other new changes to the race this year.
  • This year the race had some new folks in charge. The race director was amazing and did such a good job of thinking about all the little things that needed to come together to make this event memorable. From allowing me to giveaway a few race entries early this year to making sure there was coffee available after the race for participants, hats off to the Garmin Marathon planning team.
  • Communication. Although it seemed like the use of social media and App technology was even better than previous years, this race has always done a good job (at least in the 3 years I've run it) at communicating with the Olathe community and participants. From the countless Twitter and Facebook posts with helpful videos and updates, to the awesome LIVE tracking App you could download to your device, communication was definitely top notch.
  • If you have run this race before, you realized that we had a new route. Due to construction around both the Garmin headquarters and the usual race route, this year the 10K, half and full marathon had a completely new location. I have to admit that it wasn't the most exciting route I have ever run but it did still have its perks. Although much of if felt like we were running up a very gradual incline nearly the entire race (so much for a PR!) is was nice to run through neighborhoods where people were outside cheering runners on from their front porches. I always enjoy being out in neighborhoods during races. Some parts of the run (and remember I just did the half) did bring us out into some of the open, undeveloped areas of the city too, which was a good variety of scenery. The full marathoners basically stuck with us half marathoners until about mile 12 where they jumped onto a trail and ran 6.5 miles up it, turned around, and ran 6.5 miles back. I will say that it felt pretty congested the first few miles, but that isn't something original to this race. Widening the start line would have helped a little too; I got in line about 20 minutes early and it was already impossible for me to get to the correct pace group before the start. I ended up starting in a group about 15 minutes slower than me and with the narrow start line-up it was difficult to get caught up to my pace group.
  • The expo, start and finish were all located outside of the beautiful Olathe Convention Center and Embassy Suites. What a wonderful change! The expo/packet-pick up was organized meticulously, was larger than in the past, and the location provided for areas of indoor waiting prior to the race event. In the past when the event was held at the Garmin Headquarters, there wasn't really an area to warm up inside before or after the race. This was much needed.
  • Because of the new location, ease of parking was also a change. As with any big change like a completely different race route, kinks need to be worked out. Unfortunately, many of these kinks can't really be addressed through any other means than trial and error. Parking, construction, road closures due to the race route, businesses not allowing parking on their locations... these all created quite a mess afterward. Personally, anticipating this happening, I had my husband drop me off prior to and pick up me up afterward. I know that isn't an option for everyone, but we did drag 3 sleeping kids out of bed at 5 am on Saturday morning to do it and I am really happy we did. I heard that some participants sat in their cars for over an hour or two before they could get out of the parking lots and back onto the highways and roads.

Warming up inside just before the start of the race.

There were also some things that did not change, all of which were still as wonderful as they had been in the past.
  • Best hardware yet. I have run the half the last three years now and every time the medal the next year outdoes the medal from the previous. I really respect the Garmin Marathon. Medals aren't cheap. And you know what, as someone that primarily runs half marathons, it is nice to have a race recognize that those are difficult to train for and run in too. Too many times the full marathoners are the ones who get the sweet hardware. The half marathon medals are just as awesome as the full ones in the Garmin Marathon events. Thank you! This year I got to add Glenda to my growing number of medals.

Courtesy @GarminFitness on Twitter

  • The party afterward. Not only was it easy to get a post run massage afterward if you wanted one, but the food and drink were once again very good. Bananas, yogurt and water immediately after the race, followed by coffee (my first race with coffee after- THANK YOU!) and yummy grilled chicken sandwiches. And TWO free beers if you wanted to partake in those festivities. Usually runners get one beer, so two was very a very nice touch. 

One of my cheerleaders and good friends Lindsey(oh and
my photographer!)

Just about to cross the finish line.

So how did I do? Just fine. Not my best, not my worst. I'll blame the over 2 hour time on the incline of the route and my lack of training. Remember this was my first race back after shoulder surgery 4 months ago, so I am completely fine with my finish. I will never be a Boston qualifier nor will a likely place in the top finishers of a race, but I still love to run. I finished in 2:02:14 with an average 9:20 pace. In my division I placed 43 of 219 runners my age and gender, or in the top 19%. Of all women who ran the half I finished 195 of 1149, or in the top 16%. I was about 9 minutes over my best half ever, but 5 minutes under my worst. All in all, not bad for a comeback race with not as much preparation as I usually like to have. 

Definitely got my steps in that day with my Garmin activity tracker!

This is definitely a race I would love to keep running in. Not only am I lucky enough to live in the same city as this race, but participating in it supports my local community. Thank you Garmin for another great year! 

Did you participate this year? If so comment below. I'd love to read about your experience too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

10 Reasons Why You Should Run the IMT Des Moines Marathon


My family after the IMT DMM in 2015.

10. Free stuff after the race! My food and drink experience at the IMT DMM these last few years has been amazing. Vendors with chocolate milk, beer, water, beer (did I say that already?), pizza, cookies, peanut butter on a spoon, fruit, sandwiches, granola bars...the list goes on and on... Oh and last year they even had vendors passing out food to spectators. How great is that?! No joke- several vendors walked around and gave out sub sandwiches to everyone. As a mom with three young kids cheering her on, this helped out tremendously!

9. You can run two races in one weekend! Yes, as many of you know you can complete the I-35 Challenge, by running a half or full on Saturday in Kansas City and then another half or full in Des Moines on the Sunday of that same weekend. However if you want to run two races on the same weekend but in the same city, you can register to run the IMT DMM Mercy Live Up Loop, which is a 5 mile run on Saturday and then choose a 5K, half or full on Sunday.

8. Guess what? The Junior Jog (kids run) is on Saturday, the day before the 5K, half or full. This is great for parents who want to enjoy a family "running" experience. I have always wished that my kids could run the "kids fun run" option with me at most of the races I particpate in, but these are always held at the same time as my run. The IMT DMM has you covered by holding the Junior Jog the day before! How awesome is that?!

7. The registration fees are really, very affordable. Right now (until April 18th), you can register for the full marathon for only $73.00. And, as the price increases in April and July, the highest fee is still under $100. That truly is a good value. If you run races, you know it is often the fees that sometimes dissuade us runners from registering. The half is currently only $58 and never goes higher than $68. You can even run the two IMT DMM Mercy Live Up Loop option for as little as $44 right now!

6. The expo rocks. By far, the best exposition/packet pick up I have ever attended. There are so many vendors, advertisers, companies, organizations and other races with booths and lots of free stuff to hand out. Deep discounts on merchandise and other race registrations are very easy to find. Plan on spending at least an hour browsing the exposition after you very quickly and efficiently pick up your packet. Last year there were guest speakers presenting during the expo, one I listened to for a few minutes was an ultramarathon runner. Wow, incredible stuff.

Outside the expo in 2014.

5. Pasta. Really- need I say more? The Saturday night of race weekend there is a pasta dinner, very affordable and you can bring the whole family. A great way to meet other runners and carb load.

4. So I don't like to admit it, but sometimes I run races for the cool shirts. The IMT DMM has included in the registration fee pretty awesome long sleeve, dry-fit pullovers both years I have participated. I get compliments all the time on mine. It isn't some cotton t-shirt that you will never wear again- these shirts are wonderful. I wear mine weekly. I love how they state your distance on the back too, and are color coordinated for whether you ran the half or the full that year. Very cool IMT DMM, very cool. I also heard that there are training shirts available on their website this year too! I need to get my hands on one of those!

In my awesome race swag!

3. Technology savvy. Not only is the #IMTDMM active on Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot, Instagram and has a really great website, but the race has a wonderful App that you can put on your mobile device. It shows you where your runner is while they run, has route maps, gives you your race results afterward, and has several other cool functions. Follow this race on social media and over the next few months you will get a lot of good information about route changes, guest speakers, price increase dates, discount codes, etc.

2. Supportive. This is the most supportive race I have ever, ever run. There are volunteers during and after the race that truly make this experience what it is. From complete strangers cheering you on by your first name (yes they put your first name on your bib!) to helping you figure out where the Gatorade, water and GU stands are. If you have ever run a distance race you know that sometimes after a long run you can get a little disoriented. There are lots and lots of volunteers on hand to help guide you to get your finisher medal, move you through the stations afterward, find first aid or massages, point out the free nutrition and hydration vendors, and really are just there to answer any questions that you might have.

1. You could run for free! Ahem... My giveaway of TWO race entries ends at midnight on April 11th, so you still have several days to enter. You can enter multiple times on multiple days... so what are you waiting for?! Enter this awesome giveaway! Even if you don't win one of the free race entries, a few other lucky entrants will win free race swag. See the giveaway at the top of my website to enter. Most of you should be fine, but if you have trouble seeing the Rafflecopter giveaway above from a mobile device, try 1. scrolling to the bottom of the page and click "View Web Version" or, 2. try logging in from a PC or a non mobile device.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Big 3000 Follower Giveaway: Free IMTDMM Marathon, Half, 5 Mile or 5K Race Entries & Swag!


Last month I noticed that I was getting close to 3000 Twitter followers, which is quite a milestone for just one year of MamaGottaRun. I was so excited that I decided to offer another awesome giveaway to celebrate! The last giveaway I offered was a couple of free race entries, and my Tweeps seemed to love it, so I thought I'd try to offer race entries again. Hoping to find a donation from one of my favorite races, I jumped onto the IMT Des Moines Marathon Twitter page and saw that they too were right around 3000 followers, perfect! When I approached the IMTDMM it was easy an sell. They were gracious enough to offer two race entries (full, half, 5 mile or 5K- your choice!) and swag to two additional winners, so 4 prizes! This year the races are on October 16, 2016. Please see the Rafflecopter above and enter daily (starts Monday, March 28), but hurry and come back often as the giveaway ends 4/11/2016. Most of you should be fine, but if you have trouble seeing the Rafflecopter giveaway above from a mobile device, try 1. scrolling to the bottom of the page and click "View Web Version" or, 2. try logging in from a PC or a non mobile device.

This giveaway is particularly special to me because the IMTDMM was my very first marathon in 2014 and last year they invited me to be a guest blogger on their official blog as I ran the IMTDMM half in 2015. This year I will be training to run the full marathon again, so I am really excited to offer these prizes and hopefully get to meet some of you on the start line!

Recent training. Although for a different half I have next month, the miles
will kick-start me as I begin training for the IMTDMM full coming this fall.

I absolutely love the IMT DMM races. As I said, I have run both the full and the half, and both times have been an amazing experience for me. I blogged about both race experiences here and here and am excited to start blogging about my training for my 2016 experience. Last year I posted several articles on the IMTDMM official blog that will help you understand why I love this race so much. Not only is it in my home state of Iowa so I always have family and friends to cheer me on as I run it, but last year my brother even ran the half with me- his very first half marathon. The medals, the course, the option of the I-35 Challenge (two races in one weekend), the amazing food venders, but more than anything the IMTDMM is the most supportive race I have ever run. So many incredble volunteers and spectators cheer on complete strangers as they run the course... the race director does an excellent job of making sure the whole package comes together wonderfully.

Me running the full in 2014.

My 4:19 finish in 2014. I am hoping for closer to 4:00 this year.

Running the half in 2015 with my brother who completed
his very first half marathon that day!

Last year, 2015, when I completed the I-35 Challenge (two
half marathons in one weekend, Kansas City and Des Moines).

Okay, so how do you enter to win these free race entries and awesome swag? It is so easy! On the top of this website there is a Rafflecopter. (Again, most of you should be fine, but if you have trouble seeing the Rafflecopter giveaway above from a mobile device, try 1. scrolling to the bottom of the page and click "View Web Version" or, 2. try logging in from a PC or a non mobile device.) You simply complete a few easy tasks of your choice, such as visit the IMTDMM Facebook page, 'Like" us both and Tweet about the giveaway, as well as a few other options, and you're entered! Some of the entry options you can even complete daily, meaning that you can get even more entries into the drawing. When the drawing ends, Rafflecopter with randomly draw winners from the entries and then I will personally notify winners via email and tell them how they can collect their prizes. The Rafflecopter will run for two weeks and the only stipulation for winners is that they must use the free race entry themselves (no gifting it to someone else). Remember you can decide what race distance you want to enter (full, half, 5 mile or 5K). And that's it! 

On your mark, get set, go! I will post again next week with more details about the race, such as price increase dates, the race weekend events, route maps and anything else I can pass along.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Whole 30: We Did It (and we are still married!)

In case you were wondering, my husband and are still married. I know, I know, I kept you in suspense for almost 2 weeks since my last post, but somehow we made it though this Whole30 experiment with our wedding vows intact. Tomorrow is our last day and we couldn't be happier for so many reasons.

The last time I posted we were coming off a rough patch. About midway through Whole30 many people start to crack for many reasons. Whole food starts to get boring, if you don't plan meals around the clock hunger starts to kick in, and if you are like us, your conversations start to oddly center around food, food and more food instead of say, your children or what you're going to watch on TV later that night.

           Coined as "food porn" by one of my Tweeps.

The key to getting though the midway fatigue was changing the food up a little, as well as our bodies not being as hungry for humongous meals like they were before the diet. Luckily the weather warmed up and my hubby started grilling more (helpfully taking some of the cooking responsibilities from me). I also figured out how to make some new things, like homemade Whole30 compliant mayonnaise (which rocks!), found a few more snacks that were compliant, like more varieties of Larabars, Epic jerky, and vegetables chips. I started shopping at Aldi's for meat, snacks and produce which lowered the grocery bill some (a place I will definitely keep shopping at). 

Oh and the best discovery of all?! I figured out how to make the tastiest smoothie you will ever have in your life. My tip? No ice. Use frozen fruit instead, blend the heck out of it, and it becomes almost like a sherbet. Our favorite mix is a peeled cutie, a splash of lemon juice, half a banana and a handful of both frozen strawberries and frozen blueberries. Also a shout-out to my mother-in-law who gave us a Magic Bullet Blender for Christmas which we use on a near daily basis now. Totally unexpected amazing gift.

To be honest, smoothies may have single handedly saved my marriage. 

Marriage therapy.

Summer salad, now that mayo was discovered!

Homemade Whole30 compliant mayo.

So what next? My husband will not be slowly phasing foods back in, but does plan to take it lighter on the sweets and non-fruit sugars. He actually lost almost 10 pounds these 30 days which he attributes to no beer or sweets (and starvation if he didn't meal plan often enough!). 

Personally, I will slowly be working some foods back in. I need to read more about the plan I will take but I know for sure that I am keeping Gluten and soy out of my diet as much as possible. I also want to keep avoiding over-processed, unhealthily preserved foods as much as I can. I love that my kids (and me!) grab for apples and oranges instead of fruit snacks, crackers and chips when we are hungry. BUT... I am dying for a glass of wine and that will be one of the first things I introduce. I did end up losing about 10 pounds also, but I had gained that over the last 6 months due to my surgery, lack of running, and overall unhealthy eating recently. I feel really trim and great and I don't want to gain it all back now. I did start running regularly again this month too, so some of the loss is likely due to that as well.

I'll post more about this next week when I have been putting foods back into my diet and let you know how it goes. I am so happy I did this. I feel great, I look good. I am healthier. I have less pain and clear skin. This was not easy though. It is the hardest diet I have ever done, like a low-carb diet on steriods, but it ended up opening my eyes to many facts about myself and my nutrition that I am sad to say I wasn't previously aware of.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Whole30 Week 2: How Habanero Meatballs Ruined My Marriage

A recent grocery store stop at HyVee.

Have you ever wanted to find out if your significant other really, truly cares for you as much as you care for them? Maybe you just wonder about enduring something difficult together and still coming out strong? Well forget about reality television or week-long vacations alone together, have I got the plan for you! Trying Whole30 is the perfect way for a couple to find out how far they can get into a challenge without killing one another.

To illustrate my point I thought about posting a "before" picture of my husband and I, with us lovingly smiling into the camera, cheeks smooshed together; clearly a couple in a happy, healthy marriage. This would be followed by a picture of us now, two weeks into Whole30. The problem is I don't have any pictures that would clearly illustrate our feelings towards each other now, so I would have to improvise. The best "during" picture I could imagine would be that of a lion and lioness, teeth barred, fur flying, hurling themselves at one another- fighting for that last bite of zebra leg.

Let's go back in time a little. Week one of Whole30 was great! After a few days of the diet our headaches were gone, our energy was back to normal and we were excited to incorporate something different and healthy into our lifestyle. It was fun to plan the lunches we would bring to work. I was enjoying making homemade healthy meals for my family to eat in the evenings. I actually liked shopping for compliant foods at the store.

Life was good, really good.

...And then we had the soy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, free range habanero meatballs.

One of my more adventurous recipe adventures, I combined 2 cups of frozen squash (from my garden) with 3 fresh tomatoes, some fresh garlic, and various herbs. I served this seemingly innocent paste with some pre-made habanero meatballs I found at HyVee, with a side of sliced, coconut oil pan-fried potatoes. 

It all smelled really, really great.

However... it did not taste great. Somewhere between the vegetable paste and the spicy peppers in the meat, the meal flopped significantly.

As my husband and I tried to quickly gulp down the dish without tasting anything, I could feel the tension rising. Obviously, he and I had both started to become weary of some of the meals we were eating, but had not said anything to each other. We had been putting on a strong front that was about to crack. Other than us both agreeing that this meal was not my best culinary attempt, nothing else really came of it that night. 

But this wasn't over.

The next night we had an argument about my initial promise to plan his lunches for him if he agreed to do this diet with me. I disagreed that I should have to prepare every single lunch that he brought to work every single day. He insisted that that was an agreement I had made with him. This all ended with me, at 10:30 at night, stubbornly cooking up several meals for him and placing them in the refrigerator in nice, neat little Tupperware containers for the rest of the week.

Did it end here? Nope. Of course not. 

The next morning instead of taking a Tupperware I had specifically prepared for him until midnight the evening before, he took the meat I had also prepared that was intended for supper that night. I couldn't believe it! After all that fuss he took the wrong food. And now I had nothing to eat for supper (which I had been dreaming about all day in my head). This led to me sending an angry text. Or two.

Okay. I am going to stop here for minute. Let's think about this. My husband and I have NEVER fought about food before. Well other than that one time at McDonald's when I was frustrated that everything was so unhealthy and he said something along the lines of, 'Just eat it, it's not like you're a supermodel.' This is a new topic of semi-regular argument for us.

And it's not just arguing about food, food is all we talk about. What did you eat for lunch? What do you want for supper? Is this food okay for me to eat? Our text messages have imploded with grocery discussions!

Whole30 is not easy. It is hard. When I go online and research it, most people that quit usually do so around the second week when foods start to get boring and redundant. Even though we are struggling, we are committed. He has promised not to quit and so have I. We are in this together. And honestly, doing this as a team has been vital to both of our successes. 

We are halfway there, after all.

I joke, but the fact that we are impacted this much simply by just eliminating some of the unhealthy foods that we eat, is really scary. Food has such a mental pull on our ability to make smart choices. This experience has been really eye opening.

It's not all bad though. In fact some really good things have come from this so far. Although my husband is still waiting to see if this diet will impact his body positively in a noticeable way, I have been really happy. I have had no acne since this diet started. I have ABSOLUTELY no pain in my shoulder anymore so the inflammation seems to be completely gone (gluten I think). I have lost 7 pounds (but you aren't supposed to use this as a weight loss technique as it is obviously just a quick fix if you don't stick with the diet longer than 30 days). I also feel really informed about what I am putting in my body as well as my children's bodies. Although they are not eating all Whole30 compliant foods, they are making smarter choices that I hope this will continue long after these 30 days are over.

One of our "dream text chats" where we pretend we
can eat anything we want.

Look forward to another biting update next week. Oh and a few of you have asked for recipes from some of the yummy food experiments I posted about last week. Click here and here for those recipes.

Have you tried Whole30? What was the hardest part for you? Comment below.

Monday, February 22, 2016

@Garmin Marathon Training Starts Now!

Released from PT since my December 2015 
shoulder synovectomy and debridement.

I'll admit that as far as running goes this has not been a great year for me so far. In recovering from surgery for the first six weeks of 2016 to the battle of bronchitis these last four weeks, I have not been able to run like I have wanted to for a couple of months. I have faith that March will by my turn-around month but this start to the year has been rough. And depressing. If you don't run you might not understand how important running is to my sense of peace, balance and overall happiness. Things feel really "off" lately.

Last year around this exact time I was just getting over a different 6-week break from running due to a stress fracture in my tibia. The good news is that despite that, I was able to still train enough to run the Garmin half and finish in under two hours last spring. It was my worst half marathon time to date, but I ran it all. I was really happy with that outcome at that time. 

This year will be the same. I am now 8-weeks out from the Garmin half marathon and it is time to start training. My lungs are still really tired and sore, my body endurance is not used to running like normal, and my mental toughness is awful right now. To get me ready to run a half very soon, I created a training plan and I started it this week. It is pretty modest the first week or two with the hopes that with the inhaler, antibiotics and steroids, as well as rest and the passing of time, everything will all come together to get my running back on track these next few weeks. I also don't want to jump in too quickly and risk a stress fracture again so I have to slowly increase my mileage each week.

My 8-week training plan.

The training plan above is what I am going to shoot for. Many times for half marathons I don't really train, as my normal running pattern and distances are basically enough to get me ready. This time is very different and will likely be a significant challenge. When I run 3 miles right how it feels like I ran 8, so this is going to be an interesting couple of months.

When I get through this race I plan to register for a few more summer and fall races, but it is hard to commit when I am not sure how the next few months will go. I guess we will see!

I'll be sure to keep you updated. 

Have you ever came back from a break from running? What has helped you get back on track? Comment below.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Whole30 Week One: So far so good!

Smoothies are a yummy treat this week.

Well I survived week one and somehow my husband did too. Only 23 days left and so far so good. So how has it been going?

The first few days were difficult. I am not going to lie. Even though I had meals and snacks planned out, during the first few days I still ravishingly craved all of the things I wasn't supposed to eat. I felt like all I could think of was the food that I had to cut out. It helped that my husband and I had each other to complain to, but it did not help that our kids were/are still eating less nutritional food for meals. I continue to offer them everything I make that is whole 30 compliant, and sometimes they eat it, but they still eat many of the foods they always have. I am requiring fruit or boiled eggs (I still let them have cheese sticks) for snacks now though, rather than cookies, chips and other less healthy options from before.

Grilled turkey and sweet potato fries.

Roasted chicken and vegetables.

Pot roasted beef and chicken and veges.

Since the first few days things are better. I did have a few headaches over the first 3 days and lower energy but I am also battling walking pneumonia and bronchitis at the moment so I can't really distinguish the two issues as far as symptoms.

My saving grace.

There are a few items that are Whole30 compliant that you can buy. I am still learning to like the taste of LaCroix drinks but it sure is nice to grab a can of something and crack it open. Larabars have saved my husband while he has been at work, and we have loved all the flavors of the Tessamae's condiments we have tried so far. The bbq sauce, ketchup, Southwest Ranch, and Balsamic Vinaigrette have been my favorites so far, but all are helpful when cooking and eating to add healthy, natural flavors.

Soy-free, broth free tuna and a homemade trail mix of almonds, 
pumpkin seeds and raisins. I usually add a dried fruit too.

Lunch and snacks for the day.

Here's what I've learned:
  • Lemon juice is amazing splashed in water.
  • Almost everything out there has soy or sugar in it! Read your labels people. I cannot believe how hard it is to find natural, pure foods (beyond most meats and produce) at the store. It is really, really scary to see all the additives in our foods. You can hardly find Tuna without soy or bacon or dried fruits without sugar added.
  • By day 6-7, I had no cravings for bad food.
  • It might be just my healing process, but this week my shoulder has felt so much better. I had surgery to remove some of the chronically inflamed material from my joint in December and this is the first week my shoulder has very little pain from inflammation. It is really, really incredible. Inflammation is something this diet is supposed to help reduce naturally.
  • Although you are not supposed to stand on a scale during Whole30, I have had to for doctor's appointments and I have lost 4 pounds. And I eat all the time folks!
  • It feels soooo good to make real meals for my family again. I was so sick of tacos, spaghetti and take-out pizza that it almost made me depressed to go grocery shopping each week. It is fun to plan the compliant meals I will make each day. We have had chicken breasts, salmon, talapia, roast beef, steaks, turkey burgers... It has been delicious.
  • You don't have to go to special stores. Other than ordering condiments online, I have not shopped anywhere but the two local, regular grocery stores nearest to my home and Target. You can even eat at Chipoltle, my husband did for lunch today.
And that's it so far. I will keep you updated each week. I would love your feedback if you have any. Comment below!