Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Friends! Wishing you a day filled with family, friends, and blessing (and maybeeeee a run?)!

I will be back later to catch up with all of my blog reading and writing, but in the meantime celebrate this Holiday with good food, cheer and laughter.

xo-

Amanda

Borgess Run Camp Week Two and Other Tidbits

Borgess Run Camp week two is in the books and I have to tell you, it was not my best run. I know. Sad face. They all can’t be great right?! Let me start by saying that I STILL had so much fun and I was very excited to be pounding out the miles with my amazing team. However, due to lack of sleep and pain in my achilles, it was not the run that dreams are made of.

I was pretty excited to wake up to snow on Saturday. Winter running at it’s finest. Run Camp met at 7:30 am and we learned some pretty intense dynamic stretching techniques and then hooked up into our small groups to decided on a team name. Meet team TRANSFORMERS! Oh yes, more than meets the eye. Watch us as we transform into Marathon Runners by May. It’s gonna be intense!

I LOVE our name and I LOVE my team, but I did not so much love the six miles of my body feeling like poop. I knew going into this run that it was not going to be a winner. I was up way too late (1:30am) and did not really eat well the night before (a Lean cuisine is not enough to nourish this body). Lessons learned and thankfully it was only a six-mile run on the agenda.

I ran 4 days last week and Daily Mile seems to approve.

…but my mileage was low and I need to work on ramping that up, slowly but surely.

Other things that are going on in my life:

  • My niece Charlie is recovering well from her heart surgery and will hopefully be out of the hospital in a few days. YAY! This would be the best Christmas present ever!

Super dark, but super cute pic of Charlie

  • My Mom is going in for her 4th round of chemo tomorrow and she told me today that she has her game face on for it. Go Mom! Fight that nasty cancer!
  • Work is really busy. So excited for this four-day weekend coming up. Can’t come quick enough.
  • I had to blink back the tears when I watched this Flash Mom video and no, I am not pregnant…
  • I started watching Parenthood on Netflix and I am in love with this show. Does anyone else watch? 
  • I am still not done with my Christmas shopping.
  • My husband went grocery shopping tonight by himself so I could blog. He’s a keeper.

That about sums it up. I just got back from a run with my pup and now I am going to eat some dinner and finish a book that I have been reading. Living the life.

Tell me what is going on in your world! What shows have you hooked on Netflix? If you are married, who does the grocery shopping in your relationship? Are you still running outside or have you hit the treadmill now that it is getting colder?

Stocking Stuffers For Runners

What a week! I am so happy that the weekend is almost here because I have a million and one things to do…like START my Christmas shopping. So. Far. Behind.

Today was one of those days where I overslept by 45 minutes (oops!) and now my whole day feels off.

I blame it on the rain (insert Milli Vanilli joke here). It was raining all day yesterday and last night. The sound of rain pounding on my window is like a lullaby to me. I sleep so well!

I ran Monday night, took Tuesday as a rest day, and was scheduled to run last night. But due to the downpour and lightening (hello, since when does it rain in December in MICHIGAN?!) I had to skip my miles. I used that time to power clean my house and get sucked into a Real World marathon. And as long as we are on the subject, that show is horrible! I can’t believe I watched it. It was like a train wreck that I could not look away from.

Anyways, I am planning on getting a solid run in tonight (please rain, hold off until after my run!) and I am already looking forward to Run Camp on Saturday. After meeting this week, we will take two weeks off for Holiday break. I know. I am in denial that Christmas is a mere 10 days away. 10 DAYS PEOPLE! I need to get my elf on, STAT.

In the meantime, I have come up with my top ten picks for stocking stuffers for the runner in your life. I love opening up my stocking on Christmas morning and plucking out all of the yummy fruit that fills the bottom. Does anyone else have this tradition in their family? Would love to know! Ok, on with the list:

Stocking Stuffers for the Runner

  • Fuel – Nuun tablets, shock blocks, or Gu. Pick your runner’s poison and stuff that stocking with whatever fuel that will help them go that extra mile.

 Via.

  • Flashing Safety Light Clip – Help the runner in your life been seen on the road at night with these flashing lights.

Via.

  •  iTunes Gift Card – Perfect for updating that race playlist.
  • Smartwool Socks – A runner can never have enough pairs!
  • Body Glide – What is a better gift than giving the gift of non-chafing?
  •  Bright, Fun Shoelaces – Add a little personality to your runner’s look.
  • BIC Bands – Functional and fashionable.

 Via.

  • Arm Warmers – Perfect for those chilly, winter runs. 

 Via.

  • Road ID – A perfect gift to help keep your runner safe.

Via.

  • Rundies – I am not sure if it gets any better than this! How fun are these ‘day of the week’ undies for the lady runner?

Via.

So there you have it, my top ten stocking stuffers for the runner in your life. Elf away!

What would you add to the list? Are there any TV shows that you are embarrassed to say that you got ‘sucked into’? Confess! This is a ‘judge free’ zone :-)

Borgess Run Camp – Week One

Last Saturday morning, before I headed to the hospital to visit my niece for the weekend, I had my very first Borgess Run Camp meetup of the season. Yep, that is right, Run Camp is officially underway!

It was a lot of fun seeing old faces from last year and then breaking off into our new teams this year. I got good vibes from my group right away and I am so excited to tackle the journey to 26.2 with them.

I have three team leaders and around 15-20 campers in my group. I signed up for the 11-12 minute pace group. Realistically, I tend to run a 9-10 minute mile, but we were encouraged to slow down our pace because the weekend long runs are supposed to be done at an easy, conversational pace. This week we ran 5 miles and I took it slower than I normally do and I ended up running a 10:55 per mile pace.

Right now, my goal is to run a marathon. I am not too worried about pace. I just want to start and finish. I will do speed work during the week and then make sure that I run nice and slow for my Saturday long run, but for the most part I do not plan to be too hung up on numbers or a slave to my GPS. When I do another half marathon, I will definitely be concerned with pace because I have my first half marathon to compare it to and compete with. For my first marathon however, I know that any pace will be a PR! I just want to RUN!

Sometimes I wonder if I am picking the worst possible time to train for a marathon, with so many family issues and both my mom and niece being sick. Will I be able to give training the attention that it deserves? I honestly do not know the answer to that, but my gut tells me that now is the time and so that is what I am listening too. If anything, running has already proved to be a major stress reliever and a gift. I feel a connection between wanting to run 26.2 and the heartache going on in life.

When I go to bed at night, I am so  happy to have officially started Run Camp and marathon training, and that is one thing that is helping me keep a smile on my face. I feel very confident in the training plan and I am so pumped to get to know my team and tackle running in the winter together. It definitely adds a little lot of sunshine to my world. 

When training for your first marathon, did you have a goal time in mind or did you just want to start and finish?

A Gift

I spent this past weekend at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital visiting my niece Charlie who is recovering from open heart surgery. Seeing her tugged at my heart-strings and I wish more than anything that I could take all of this pain from her. Between my mother’s cancer and my niece’s heart, I feel like I am constantly holding my breath when the phone rings. I pray that there is good news on the other end, and not a phone call that tells me Mom’s blood count is low or Charlie coded (which she did tonight, but thank God they were able to get her stable).

People often ask me why I began running when I did. After all, I have always been pretty adamant about how much I hated running. I am not sure why I started running, but I like to think that God gave me a new appreciation for it as a gift. A gift that has saved me. It has become a huge stress relief in my life when I need it the most. Right now I need time to myself. Time to think, pray, breath. Running is that time.

For me it is not about breaking records or time or even distance. It’s about getting out there and just running. Yes, I want to train. I love training. But running is giving me so much more than finish lines and medals. It is giving me a sense of calm and quiet when life is not.  That to me is the ultimate gift.

Via.

Friday Favorites – Pesto and Prayer

**I wrote this post last night, before the events of today. Now, more than ever, the last two bullet points are so important. Although I have shared much of what is going on with my Mom, I have not shared much of what is going on with my niece Charlie. If you have followed this blog since this summer or know me personally, you may know that my niece was born with severe heart and lung defects. Today she had her first open heart surgery. Although I want to keep some aspects of my personal life private and my family has been going through a storm lately greater than I am willing to share, I do want to thank everyone who has dropped me a message, text, or email of support. You keep me going. If you do not hear from me for a few days, I might be taking a breather. I will try and keep this blog’s focus mostly about running, but sometimes my personal life effects that. Thank you again for being here, whether I am talking about running, family, or pesto. Just trying to find a balance in my rollercoaster life.

Love,

Amanda **

Before I get into my Friday Favorites, I want to confess to you that I was suckered again by Rogan and his puppy-dog eyes. Joe had to work an event last night and I just couldn’t leave the little guy alone. He was even all dressed and ready to go:

Despite a few pit stops (ahem, Rogan), we pounded out three miles and managed to work up a sweat. I don’t think it put a dent in his energy level though. He is currently running around the house like a banshee. *Sigh*

Moving on.

Today is Friday and that means I have the free rein to rave about some of my favorite things of the moment. Are you dying in suspense or what?! Yep. I didn’t think so, but let’s get started anyway shall we.

  • Fuzzy Slippers, Socks, and Legwarmers – I do not think that I can possibly own enough.
  • NBx Windblocker Half-Zip – I bought this jacket a few weeks ago and I love it! It is awesome at blocking the wind and keeping me nice and toasty in the cold Michigan weather. I also love that it is reflective so that I am better seen out there on those night runs and it breathable so that I am not overheating. Retails at $90, but worth every penny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Via.

  • O.A.R.’s King Album - This is pretty much getting constant play in my car. A little funky, a little soulful, and a little rock. My ears approve.
  • Pesto – Remember last month when I was obsessed with sour cream? Well this month I am a freak for pesto. Can not get enough. I put it on everything. Even my cereal. Ok, I don’t do that. That would be gross. But I have made a zillion sandwiches this week and have slathered pesto on every one. YUM-O!

 

There are two other things that I want to list on a very serious note. I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support of so many and there are not enough words to show my gratitude. Please know, from the bottom of my heart, how thankful that I am.

  • The Power of Prayer and Modern Medicine – How awesome is God and how awesome is modern medicine?! I have seen so many miracles as of late and I never am ceased to be amazed and humbled.
  • Friends – Old friends, new friends, work friends, blogger friends. (<——very Cat in the Hat;-) I feel blessed on a daily basis on the outpouring of love and support that I have received over the last few months. Thank you friends! My heart feels so full!

What is making you feel hopeful this Friday?

An So It Begins…

It’s happening people! Tonight after work I headed down to Gazelle Sports to pick up my Borgess Run Camp training notebook. The notebook is chalked full of information such as injury prevention, run safety, and training guides.

Every year Run Camp gives you a gift for signing on. This year’s gift was ‘glittens’, the wonderful glove-mitten combo by Manzella. I already own a pair of these and I LOVE them! I was pretty psyched to receive another pair with the run camp logo on them.

While I was there I bought a safety light to clip on my jacket so that I am better seen at night. It was on sale, and you know I love a deal!

I also picked up a gift card that I won this week for guessing the closest number of pounds  of food donated in The Run For the Lights charity run that I did last Thursday. 2616 (I had guessed 2678!) pounds of food was donated and in addition to that $1039 was collected. Awesome what a running community can do when they come together for a cause!

$20 bucks to spend at my favorite running store?! AWESOME! I have my eyes on a new pair of running tights and I am sure that this gift card will come in handy:-)

I am so, so excited to start camp (I am sure that I have maybe mentioned this once or twice, no?). What I love is that this is a 20 week program (22 if you count the two weekends that we do not meet due to the Holidays). We start out running only 5 miles and then build our mileage from there. Run Camp also puts an emphasis on cross training, nutrition, and recovery. As I have mentioned before, the theme of this year’s camp is CHANGES and I am so excited to see what changes are in store for me.

One of the first pages in the notebook is for writing down your two main goals of camp and what you plan to do to accomplish it. Here are mine:

Goal #1: To start and complete the Kalamazoo Marathon on May 8th, 2012

What I plan to do to accomplish it: Follow the training guide and advice of my team leader, run 4 times per week, focus on strength training, work hard, and watch my diet (but I will not give up Qudoba. Just so we are clear on that).

Goal #2: Have fun and stay injury free! (Ok, so maybe that is two goals!)

What I plan to do to accomplish it: I plan to meet lots of new friends in run camp, embrace the cold, and listen to my body.

Hope you will follow along with me over the next 22 weeks as I work toward that 26.2!

Do you plan on training during the winter for a spring marathon? What is the coolest gift that you have ever won?

Running With Rogan

Meet my fur-baby, Rogan Furlove. He is absolutely spoiled rotten and is pretty much the center of my life (well, next to Joe of course).

I was never really much of a dog person until Joe gave me Rogan for my 27th birthday. It was love at first sight. Now I could not imagine my life without a pup.

I love snuggling him, playing fetch, and coming home from a long day of work and  being greeted by a wagging tail and puppy kisses. But there is one thing that I do not like to do with my husky:

And that is take him running!

Usually Rogan gets all of his running in with Joe, but tonight Joe had to work late. I came home from work and after changing into running clothes and synching up my GPS I noticed that I was getting the look. You know, the one that says, “You are not going to just leave me here are you?”

 It’s hard to say no to this face!

I gave into the puppy-dog eyes and decided to take him along.

Bonus of taken Rogan running with me: he makes me feel safer. My neighborhood is not the worst, but it is not the best either. When it is dark out, I tend to feel not as safe. Rogan is a nice sized dog, and maybe if you did not know him well enough he could look a little intimidating. The reality is he might lick you to death, but a bad guy on the street might see him and think otherwise.

Feeling safe is the only positive that I can come up with! Running with Rogan is annoying at best. First off he is fast! He is a sled-dog by nature and boy can he run way faster than I can. I would say that running with him would be great for speed-work, but then there is the fact that he likes to stop abruptly to mark his territory. Like every two minutes.

It was hard to get into the rhythm of the run. Usually I like to settle into my pace and focus on my breathing and relax. But tonight I was all over the place. I often felt like he was taking me for the run, not the other way around! Needless to say, we did not stay out very long. From here on out, I think I will stick to walking my fur-baby and leave Joe with running duty. Much more enjoyable. Oh, and taking him for a car ride. He loves those!

 Do you have a four-legged running partner? Do you enjoy running with man’s best friend?

Run Through The Lights, Yummy Eats, and a Santa Sighting

Despite the fact that I have been swamped at work and even had to go in for a few hours today (on my day off!), this weekend was lots of fun. I will back up a bit to Thursday night when Joe and I participated in Kalamazoo’s Run Through the Lights fun run for charity.

This was our first time running this event and it was so much fun! Over 900 people came out to pound out three miles in the festive, lit up streets of downtown. Lot’s of energy was in the air and it got me that much more pumped for Run Camp. The best part was running with my man. We have been so busy lately that we have not spent that much time together having fun. Luckily this run was just the start to our weekend festivities.

Friday after work we met up with some friends for dinner and drinks. I was on a mission to let loose and have fun because starting next week, Friday nights will be early to bed so I can wake up for those long Saturday morning training runs. We went to a super yummy restaurant down town called the Central City Tap House. I ordered the slider flight and was not disappointed – SO GOOD!

Pork slider, burger slider, and lamb slider. I am pretty sure that I inhaled it in three minutes flat.

After dinner we hit up a few bars and consumed an adult beverage or five. You will never believe who we ran into in route to our nightcap:

SANTA!

He was much taller in person than I thought he would be. Go figure.

If I could judge the success of the night by the headache that I had the next morning, well let’s just say mission have-fun-and-cut-loose was accomplished. Joe and I started our Saturday with a cure-me-of-this-headache-I-need-coffee-now brunch followed by some Christmas shopping. Between you and me, I am afraid to check my bank account today.

And then Saturday night this happened:

Which resulted in this:

Source.

I am still to angry to talk about it.

Moving on.

I do have a good update for you. My mom had a cat scan to see how the chemo is working and it seems to be doing the job on her small cell cancer. It has basically removed it. Praise God! This is great news! Unfortunately, the chemo has not really done anything to shrink the large cell cancer mass on her left lung, but the doctors have adjusted her chemo to see if we can remedy this. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and well wishes. It seems to be working!

Ok friends, I am off to watch a Christmas movie with the man.

What holiday movies are you digging this season? What fun things did you do this weekend?

Changes

I have officially signed up for Borgess Run Camp! I am super excited to get back to training. Early Friday night bed times, crack-of-dawn Saturday morning long runs, reaching for a goal and challenging myself…BRING IT ON!

Tonight was Camp orientation where we received the run down on what to expect this year. I love the theme that we will focus on, “Changes”. Anyone who has worked hard to achieve a goal knows that you change (usually for the better!) during the journey to the goal.

Training for a marathon is no different. You can change physically, emotionally, mentally. Attitudes can change. Health can change. Abilities can change.

One thing that I love about this wonderful city that I live in (and trust me, I have much love for Kalamazoo!), is that it is a city of runners! We are one of the largest Run Camps in the nation and so many businesses, sponsors, and people come together to make it successful.  Whether you are a seasoned runner or just starting out, you are nurtured in Run Camp so that you can meet your goal and make positive changes to your life in the process.

What was brought up in orientation tonight, and what I think is so true, is that these changes create a ripple effect in the community. I was inspired to run by my best friend Esther who joined Run Camp (and then successfully crushed her very first marathon!). Here she is last year at camp:

When your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors see you making positive changes in your life and having fun doing so, they want in on the action too! Run Camp is growing and I love watching my community get active and take control of their health and body.

Winter will not keep Kalamazoo on the couch. Oh no! Starting December 10th, Borgess Run Camp begins and that means running through the best and worst of winter. I am a little nervous about this. Michigan can get pretty cold. And snowy. And windy. And icy. Why did I sign up for this again?! Oh yes, that is right. I signed up because I know that I can do this. I know it will be hard, but I also know that it will be worth it.

I am ready for some changes!