Getting my mind right

I’m aboard the struggle bus and I’m desperately trying to get off!
We’ve passed my stop! GET ME OFF OF HERE!

Image result for school bus stop

Every run is a struggle. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s 3 miles or 12, inside or out, morning or evening… my legs are heavy, my breathing labored and my heart feels like it’s in a thousand little pieces. I used to love running. I used to look forward to it. I used to run at a much faster pace without feeling like I was going to drop dead. Didn’t I? Those memories seem so distant that I don’t remember.

I went into this training cycle thinking that I would have to let go of past marathon experiences, past paces and times, and focus on the present. Focus on finishing.

Even that seems nearly impossible after this weekend’s terrible 12-miler. I cried at mile 4 and thought, “How will I ever complete another marathon?”

In addition to the running, I’m struggling with keeping my eating in check and losing weight. All of these things go hand-in-hand.

I’ve started incorporating more weight training into my schedule, in hopes that it would make me a stronger runner, tone up a bit and keep me injury free for Grandma’s Marathon in June. I am not totally sure what all I should be doing and have relied on Pinterest workouts  to get me through. This week, however, I had my first workout with a trainer. It was a test run. I officially start next week. I’m hoping that she can help me accomplish my goals and help me be more accountable. She’s a marathon runner too, so she gets me.

All of this comes down to my own mindset. Why am I such a Negative Nancy lately? Or Defeated DeEtta?

Today that changes. I’ve been following the T-Rex Runner’s blog and she’s been killing her races after coming back from injury. She’s also been focusing on the mindset piece and finding her mantra during each race. I’ve started listening to running podcasts on the way home just to get myself motivated to put my shoes on and get outside. The podcasts are working and I’m going to try out a new mantra on tonight’s run outside (because it’s beautiful)!

Stay tuned. My bus stop is near. Changes are coming.




How I lost 3 lbs at the Iowa State Fair

As many of you already know, the Iowa State Fair is MY FAVORITE event of the year. In my 28 years of living, I have never missed the fair. As I kid, I had 4-H projects selected to be displayed at state fair and showed rabbits there. In high school, I served on the 4-H State Council and volunteered several days. In college, I interned two summers for the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation where I organized 500+ volunteers for the duration of the fair and was charged with stocking several merchandise booths.

Fairfield & Rosetta!

Fairfield & Rosetta!

As an adult, I always take vacation time to go back and volunteer for the Blue Ribbon Foundation and see many people that I only see once a year.

My mom was selected as "Iowan of the Day" for being an awesome lady who serves the community.

My mom was selected as “Iowan of the Day” for being an awesome lady who serves the community.

For some, the Iowa State Fair is about the corn dogs, funnel cakes, cheese curds, bacon wrapped ribs, and fried Oreos, but for me, it’s so much more than that. I tried to stay on track with my food while I spent four days at the Iowa State Fair, following a work trip to Chicago for three days. I made a few slip-ups and didn’t run much while I was away (AND missed a long run!) so you can imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale this morning to find I had lost 3.4 lbs, even AFTER eating at Texas Roadhouse last night!

So, how did I do it? Well, I’ve spent today reflecting on how exactly I managed to do it and have the following things to thank:

Chicken Kabob

Chicken Kabob

Healthy choices
Despite what you may think, there are actually a lot of healthy options available at the ISF and they aren’t hard to find. I enjoyed the following items:

Chicken Kabobs at Beattie’s Watermelon Patch
Fresh cut watermelon at Beattie’s

Seriously, the BEST watermelon

Seriously, the BEST watermelon

Turkey Tenderloin and Pulled Turkey (hold the bun) at Iowa Turkey Federation booth
Taco Tater at Cattleman’s Beef Quarters
Pork loin at Iowa Pork booth
Salad with black beans, salsa and veggies at The Salad Bowl
Fruit Kabob at The Salad Bowl

Fruit kabob!

Fruit kabob!

(**All Simply Filling!)

If there’s something you REALLY want to have that you might not get the rest of the year, go for it! For me, there wasn’t anything that I felt I was missing out on so I pretty much stuck to the wonderful healthy options. The great thing is that you’re not “stuck” at a restaurant where you have to order something. There are so many options (most of them on a stick) and you don’t have to sit down anywhere. Therefore, while some members of the group can go to one place, you can take a few extra steps and get something you want, and still enjoy one another’s company.

I started each day with a good breakfast. Each morning I either had non-fat Greek yogurt or hard boiled eggs on a stick. These kept me fueled and feeling satisfied until lunchtime. We worked at the Iowa Egg Council booth a couple mornings where we served FREE eggs on a stick, which meant breakfast was easy!

Egg on a stick!

Egg on a stick!

Stayed busy
I go to the ISF to be with my family, see the sights, and to volunteer. The busier I stay, the less time I focus on food. When I’m bored, I eat more. I know that about myself, so I need to do a better job at avoiding boredom while I’m at home. I have PLENTY of things to be doing! I focused on the sights, sounds and the people- the true reasons I enjoy the fair.

Listened to my body
I took the time to evaluate whether or not I was hungry. If I ate when I saw others eat, I would have been eating the whole day, alongside everyone else.  Was I hungry? What will fulfill my hunger? Am I hungry enough to eat an apple or am I just in the mood to snack?

Walked, a lot
I didn’t get my runs in but I was on my feet most of the day. I clocked anywhere from 4 to 8 miles a day. AND I participated in the Fairgrounds 5K! It was super fun to run through the campgrounds and fairgrounds on a beautiful morning with other fair-goers. Loved it! My feet hurt each night and never felt fully recovered by morning.

Had supporters
I had a great support system. My family knows I try to eat healthy and did a fabulous job in making it easy for me. My mom had yogurt, apples, grapes and diet green tea waiting for me. One day, she even packed me a sandwich thin so I could lose the bun on my pulled turkey sandwich and substitute it for a sandwich thin. My mom, dad and brother also let me have a bite or small portion of their foods so I was still able to enjoy rhubarb/strawberry crisp, chocolate chip cookies, guinea grinder, grater tater, and fresh salt-water taffy. AND of course I still had a couple beers with friends.


Last year, I gained 5 lbs during one weekend at the fair and I was determined to do better than that. While there’s always things I could do better, I feel really good about my progress.

What’s the one food you HAVE to have at a fair?

Race Recap: Kansas Half Marathon 2014

Remember that one time that I thought I was going to poop my pants for 9 miles of a race? Oh yeah, you don’t know that story yet.

That’s exactly what happened today.

—This is your chance to stop reading. You’re about to learn more about me than you’d probably like.—-

I didn’t feel well last night but woke up at 5 am feeling ok-ish. Since I didn’t feel well the night before, I didn’t fuel and hydrate like a normally would. Usually, I prefer a steak and potato with lots of water the night before a race. Regardless, It got ready and headed for Lawrence, KS to run the Kansas Half Marathon. This was my first half marathon race 2 years ago.

As I stood at the start line, I decided to stand near the 1:50 pacer. I had every intention to stick with him for as long as I could. My PR is 1:52 so I figured I could hang for a while.

At mile 2 I knew something was very wrong. My stomach was twisting and turning and I began looking for the closest porta-potty. Only, there wasn’t one. (!!!) I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be my day and 1:50 turned into a pipe dream as I watched the pacers get further and further away.

Along came the 1:55 pacers at mile 6. Ugh. Was I really going that slow? Yes. Yes I was. I was hoping to not see them until the very end of the race. My stomach began to cramp worse and worse and at one point I decided that maybe I could get a ride back to my car. BUT, I wanted that medal!

I was on the verge of tears at mile 8. I just needed to use a porta-potty! I had to stop and walk a couple times.

Around mile 11, I heard angels singing and a light shining down on a single porta-potty at an intersection. Double bonus- I didn’t have to wait to use it.

Once I was back on the course, I thought for sure I’d be able to pick up the pace and get back with the 1:55 group. Nope. I still felt sick and I knew that I was going to struggle all the way to the finish line.

I can’t tell you much about the race because I was so focused on how miserable I felt. In the last mile the 2-hour pacers were running along side me. I ran my first half marathon in 2:03 so the goal at this point was to finish before that. No time for walking!

I wasn’t just running to get to the finish like usual… I was running to get to another porta-potty! (I warned you about this post.) I have never been so excited to see that 12-mile marker sign!


I finished in 1:59. My second worse time, ever. BUT I have a lovely medal for finishing and I needed the miles as a part of my St. Jude’s Marathon training, so I guess it all worked out.


I’m not terribly sore since I ddin’t push my pace today but my feet are certainly feeling it. I’m scheduling a chiro appt for tomorrow to get re-aligned.

Most of the runners complained about the cooler temps and strong gusts of wind. While the wind was some-what bothersome, I had bigger issues on my hands that I was more concerned about.

Things I learned from this race:

–Listen to your body. I should have known I wasn’t well enough to go out and run 13 miles.

–Fuel correctly. When you don’t eat the right foods, you can’t expect your body to perform at optimum levels.

–Sometimes it’s okay “just to finish.” It’s been a long time since finishing was the goal instead of a specific time or PR. Today, I felt great that I finished. It took a lot of inner strength to keep going.

After a shower and a nap, I was feeling much better.

Have a disaster race experience you’d like to share to make me feel better? Leave it in the comments!

The long run that wasn’t meant to be

My alarm sounded at 4:30 this morning. I turned it off. Again, it went off at 4:45 AM… which meant it was time to get ready for my 23-miler in preparation for the Chicago Marathon. I crawled out of bed and went thorough my Saturday morning routine. Bathroom, wash face, brush teeth, change into the clothes I laid out the night before, deodorant, Body Glide, fix the rats nest (my hair) and grab a yogurt with fruit. It’s nearly the same routine every Saturday during training season.

This morning did feel a little different though. Besides starting in the dark, I was sore all over from my Thursday night at the gym. RIPPED and yoga gave me more of a workout than I realized at the time. Arms, chest, quads, and glutes were all on fire!

Mentally, I had prepared and was ready to rock. At 7 miles I began to feel pain in my foot. Plantar WON’T GO AWAY. At 10 miles it was very painful and at 11 miles, it was apparent that 23 miles wasn’t in my future. I began overcompensating and started to feel the pain in my hip from the awkward run/limp thing I was doing just to get by.

At 12 miles I was back home and got a pep talk from my running partner. It sucks! Logically, I knew it was time to quit instead of force injury upon myself but I wanted that last long run more than you know. For some reason, training this go around has seemed difficult and I just wanted to kill this 23-miler. Ugh.

The good news is that really, the rest of my training has been on track and I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow. I have complete confidence that with Carrie’s help and  a little rest, I’ll be ready for race day. I am, however, second guessing my sub 4-hour marathon goal. I want it- BAD. I may have to incorporate some additional speed work after Chicago and shoot for sub-4 in Memphis this December, instead.

Why does it feel like I HAVE to PR? Why can’t I just go to Chicago, have a heck of a time with my bestie, and be PROUD for finishing another marathon?! Anymore, it doesn’t seem like finishing is enough. I need to work on my mindset. That’s the real goal for the next three weeks leading up to Chicago.

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe with you… (ok, honestly, it’s been a while since I cooked something other than popcorn for dinner). So I thought I’d do just that. I knew I’d be at the gym late on Thursday and it’s never fun to have to find something at 8:30 PM so I decided to break out my CrockPot. I threw these items (below) in along with some seasonings and BINGO- dinner.




A close up of some of the items I used.


I put this “salsa chicken” as I like to call it over rice on Thursday, ate it plain on Friday and will have it on a salad probably tomorrow. For those of you that follow Weight Watchers- all of these items are Simply Filling!


Yummy in my tummy: salsa chicken on brown rice

Yummy in my tummy: salsa chicken on brown rice

Thirty-Seven Days

THIRTY-SEVEN. 37 days!!

Only 37 days until the Chicago Marathon. I’ve got one 20-miler under my belt and a 23-miler on the horizon. I’m running slower than I’d like to be and I’ve got some severe foot pain at the moment.


I’ve been enjoying the Rockin’ Runnerz group on Wednesdays evenings and have turned them into semi-long runs. I run 4-6 miles before meeting up with the group, where we run six more. After last night’s run, I woke up early this morning to work out. I could barely walk and couldn’t even think about running, so I hit the elliptical instead. My next massage is 2 weeks away and I can’t WAIT. I’ve been rolling my calves—which I believe is the source of my foot pain. Tonight I attended two classes at the gym—R.I.P.P.E.D and yoga. I thought yoga might help my whole body and I felt so much better after—physically and mentally.

Can't stretch enough!

Can’t stretch enough!

Lately, I’ve been getting the urge to switch-up my workouts and incorporate more lifting so that’s going to be the goal for the next few weeks. A stronger and leaner body will help me on race day. Less miles and smarter training may be the direction I need to head in.

This past week I celebrated being a Weight Watchers Lifetime member for FOUR YEARS. That means I’ve maintained my goal weight for 4 years, without going 2 lbs over my goal weight. Not even once! In fact, I’m currently about 12 lbs under my goal. My personal goal is to lose 3-4 lbs before the Chicago marathon. I call it my “racing weight,” and no, I’m not sharing that number with you. J

This weekend is the Pub2Pub 10K, which I’ve been looking forward to. Last year, I came in first in my age division so I have high hopes for this year’s race. I have an idea of what I’d like my time to be but with little speedwork lately and a sore foot, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’m mostly looking forward to seeing friends—some that I trained for my first marathon with!

After long runs lately, the only thing that even remotely sounds good for lunch: egg sandwiches. Yep. Toast, two fried eggs, salsa. So, tell me—what’s your post-long run/race meal?

Race this weekend and 23-miler next weekend… then the dreaded tapering begins!

Burnt Out

It never fails that I feel burnt out at least once during my training. When I started training for Chicago I was running more miles than I have ever in my life. For my own sanity, I needed the miles and I needed my alone time. At a time in my life where I felt things were spinning out of control, my training was one of the few things I felt I had complete control of, so I kept running. In the back of my mind I knew that I’d get burnt out at some point, and two weeks ago that’s exactly what took place.

I recently had one of the best girl weekends with my mom who came to visit. We stayed up late chatting, enjoyed seeing the Sound of Music presented by Starlight Theatre, and getting pedicures. I missed my long run that weekend but got it in during the next week. The following weekend I had trouble finding a running partner and just couldn’t wrap my mind around running 19 miles alone. So, I went back to bed and then felt guilty all weekend long.

A much needed pedi!

A much needed pedi!

The following week I went on vacation to my favorite place in the world- the Iowa State Fair.

Dad and I being silly at the fair.

Dad and I being silly at the fair.

My eating was mostly on track while i was at the fair. I enjoyed watermelon, giant pickles, a taco tator, kabobs, and lamb meet.

lamb sandwich (w/out the bun)

lamb sandwich (w/out the bun)

Egg on a stick!

Egg on a stick!

However, in the evenings I ate too many of Hank’s (my little brother) snacks when I got home. I did get one 8-mile run in and was walking anywhere between 3-6 miles each day I was at the fair.

Goo Goo Dolls concert with my bestie, Emily!

Goo Goo Dolls concert with my bestie, Emily!

When I returned to Missouri, I was hoping to feel refreshed and rejuvenated but mostly, I felt tired. I’ve altered my training schedule a bit and have plenty of time to get back on track. I got a slow and sore 16-mile run in on Saturday and I’m ready to start putting the work in again. I won’t ever make my goal of a sub 4-hour marathon in Chicago if I don’t start getting serious.

Saturday's 16-miler

Saturday’s 16-miler

Why is it that I enjoy running until I feel like I HAVE to run so many miles on certain days? As soon as a plan is in place, I get stressed. Is anyone else affected by this mentality?

I’m ready to lose the 6 lbs I gained over the past couple weeks (Note to self: you can’t skip running, and eat like you’re running 50+ miles a week… shocking, I know.) and start to focus more on training. Thank goodness that I reached my lowest weight to date before gaining. I received my 75 lb award at my Weight Watchers meeting! It’s crazy to look back at photos from 5+ years ago and see myself 75 lbs heavier. While I have felt a bit in a slump recently, I try to take time to remember how far I’ve come.

The next few weeks will be hectic with work, weddings, birthdays, moving and such but here’s to hard work and looking for the positives!

Upcoming races:
Pub2Pub 10K, September 2014
Chicago Marathon, October 2014
Kansas City Marathon Relay, October 2014
Kansas Half Marathon, November 2014
St. Jude’s Memphis Marathon, December 2014

Don’t forget to follow my page on Facebook!

Switching Things Up

It’s been FOREVER since I’ve had time to write a blog post. I’ve spent the last two months feeling like I’m treading water- just enough to keep afloat.

My new shoes!

My new shoes!

Chicago marathon training is going well and I’m up to 17 miles. I’m running more during the week than I have in the past- mostly because I need it mentally. No matter how exhausted or crappy I feel after a long day of work, I always feel better after a 10-mile run. On Wednesdays I’m running 6-miles with a group and I’m usually able to get 2-6 miles in before I meet up with them, which is great too.


The stresses of life also caused my weight to fluctuate. At first I was losing weight… then the dreaded gain began. I was running my butt off and I would still gain. I knew it had to be my food intake, so I decided to try the Simple Start plan from Weight Watchers. I’ve been counting PointsPlus for 5+ years and never tried Simple Start/Simply Filling. Quite frankly, I was terrified to do so! What if I overeat? How can this possibly work?

For those of you that don’t know… Simple Start is a WW program that includes filling foods. You eat from the list without ever counting Points. The only Points you count, are your indulgences (7 PPV a day). The list includes non-fat dairy, lean meats, fruits, veggies, light bread, healthy oils, and a variety of condiments and spices. More info here.

Week one of trying Simple Start was a success. I realized that while I was eating a lot of healthy Points, I was tending to “save” my Points for a lot of empty foods (ice cream). I was thrilled to eat egg sandwiches after long runs- something I pretty much wrote off, because they were too many points. I enjoyed drinking some milk and cottage cheese too! The best part: I lost 4.6 lbs in the first week!

I’ve heard people time and time again say that if something wasn’t working, shake things up. I had been eating the same foods and doing the same exercises for far too long. This is just what my body needed!

Have you ever tried to change up your diet or exercise?