Saturday, December 31, 2011


I wanted to post and say thank you to my sock swap buddy, Liz!!

Yummy snacks and super cute socks!! As I've mentioned, I LOVE PENGUINS, so they're really perfect! Thanks again, Liz!

As you all posted about your sock swap gifts I've tried to keep up and create a master list. Just in case you want some ideas for next year!  If I missed you or you ending up posting later, feel free to post your link in the comments section and I'll update.

Ruby (who I shipped to!)

Thanks again to everyone who participated! Can't wait to do it again next year!

2011... What A Year

I love year reviews. Love, love, love them. Probably has something to do with my nerdy need to be organized, but that's neither here nor there.

I can't begin to list all the things that I enjoy about blogging, but one of my favorites is being able to look back and see progress. I love that word:  PROGRESS. Am I where I want to be? No. Have I reached all my goals. No way. But have I worked hard and progressed? Abso-freaking-lutely.

Because it's the most fun and easiest to quantify, let's look at running:
  • i participated in fourteen races
    • five virtual races, nine in real life
    • two trail runs, seven organized road races
    • thirteen in North Carolina, one in Ohio
      • nine 5k's
      • one 4 miler
      • one 9k
      • two 10k's
      • one half marathon 
  • three instant PR's 
  • two real PR's
I am beyond happy with my running this year. I ran in NC, OH, KY, TN, NY (Central Park in NYC), HI (Mauii), CO (Denver). Running in Central Park was surreal. What's also great about running in all these places: 

Usually I would make excuses:
I'm on vacation.
I'm going to be eating out so much there's no point in working out.
There's no point in taking up room in my suitcase with running stuff (you just need a pair of shoes my ass!).

I count this point alone as major progress.

Top Three Running Experiences of 2011:
3.  Lady Distance Classic 10K in Ohio - Brad and his parents came out to cheer me on--the only race I ran this year with people I knew watching (I did run several races with friends).
2.  Running the Turkey Trot 5K with Brad (his first 5K). -- just realized I never posted about this race. Bad blogger award.
1.  Finishing the Asheville Citizen Times Half Marathon.

I've really enjoyed reading your all's 2011 reviews! I'll be back at you later with my goals for 2012!

Tell me your top running experience(s) of 2011!!!!

HBBC Week 6

Saturday AM:  1 hour elliptical, 10 minutes stretching Saturday afternoon:  walked 4 miles, 10 minutes stretching, F&V (10 points for the day)
Sunday:  F&V (1 point)
Monday:  F&V (1 point)
Tuesday:  60 minute spin class, 30 minutes stairclimber, 2 mile walk with pup, F&V (12 points)
Wednesday:  30 minutes stairclimber, 45 minutes elliptical, F & V (7 points)
Thursday:  7 mile run, 30 minutes elliptical, 20 minutes stretch and foam roll, F&V (11 points)
Friday:  60 minutes spin, 1 hour lifting upper body, 20 minutes abs, F&V (11 points)

53 points total

I'm really, really proud of the workouts I got in this week. I may have pushed it too hard Thursday and my neck has been hurting a little again. Running seems to aggravate it but hopefully I'm almost through it!

How did your week go?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Denver, CO

So long story short...Brad's aunt and her family live in Colorado and every Christmas they get the crap shoot of having to drive/fly all the way to the OH to be with all the rest of the fam. We haven't gotten to see them in forever because we usually don't get there at the same time.

flight essentials:  starbucks (which I spilled all over myself shortly after taking this picture), trashy mags, and the kindle
We all decided that this year we'd fly to Colorado and it worked out great! We took over a huge house near Winter Park and it was a blast! There were 12 of us all together (Brad's parents, brother, aunt, and cousins). It was great because we could get up and ski all day then come home to a warm shower and home cooked meal. Then we either played games or watched movies until bedtime.

Brad and I flew out a few days early and spent some time in downtown Denver. We stayed at a really modern hotel, The Curtis. Each floor was themed (we were on the Laugh out Loud floor) and the lobby and other general areas were really nicely decorated.

PROS: We got a great deal, so that was nice, and the hotel was a lot of fun. Bed was comfortable and gym was great.

 CONS: The walls were PAPER THIN and the parking was a nightmare. It was $20 per night to park but then it was almost impossible to find a spot! The hotel was right across from an arts theater and they sold parking for that making it hard for hotel guests to find parking. Annoying.

It was nice to get a couple days to ourselves. We had some great food and tried a lot of different beer!
you know exactly why i tried this one!! i missed my riley bear!

We also got to do some Christmas shopping.
Just in case you were wondering... it was even more awesome than I'd imagined. LOVE. The clothes are amazing and the salespeople were great too... And they loved my accent and kept asking me to say different things. (This happens to me all the time. What can I say, I'm COUNTRY!)

I also got some great workouts in at the gym (and watched a LOT of Teen Mom!).

Brad's brother met up with us on Saturday and stayed with us so we could all hang out. Then we packed up to head to Winter Park on Sunday. More to come!!

This is us sitting in the back of our rental car in the mall parking garage. We were waiting for Andrew to find us (mall parking lot the Saturday before Christmas... you can imagine). Tailgaiting seemed like a great way to pass the time!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I was on the DL (disabled list) on Christmas

Brad and I (and Riley) exchanged stockings on Friday night since we planned to go to KY as soon as he got off work on Saturday.

We were able to go to Kentucky to be with my family so I was very excited! We got home around 830pm on Christmas Eve and the festivities began! We have opened presents on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. Then we do stockings on Christmas morning.

Everything was perfect until I woke up on Christmas morning. I couldn't move my head away from my left shoulder without a HORRIBLE pain. I was really sad to feel so crappy on Christmas, but I'm super glad that my parents were there to baby me. :)  This is what I looked like most of the day:

Obviously I didn't get to complete my scheduled workouts on Sunday or Monday. (It's mostly better today and I was able to workout pretty much normally.) We spent most of Christmas laying around watching TV and reading. I caught Brad snoozing with Toby (I'll explain the bandage on his thumb in my Colorado post):

 My parents got me these awesome penguin pajama pants (say that three times fast) and these super cute socks! They are both so so soft and I LOVE penguins.

It was really great to spend the holidays with family this year (the last two years we've been on our own in NC). I hope you all had a great Christmas!!

Did you get any pajamas? I got these penguin ones and another VS set.

Do your pets get excited for their stockings? I swear it's like Riley knows which one is his!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

PS - I won 25 free holiday cards from Alissa over at Journey to Thin, thanks Alissa! I love Shutterfly so it worked out perfectly!

HBBC Week 5

I was really worried about this week because of all the traveling! Turns out, I skied my bootie off! The way I figured points for skiing = time on slope, minus any breaks, then divided that time by two to account for time on lifts. It gave me a lot of points but I really feel that I underestimated if anything. Especially considering the way I ski (AKA: the wrong way). My legs were TOAST.

Saturday:  5 miles run/walk, 40 minutes weights (legs and back), 20 minutes stretching, F&V (9 points)
Sunday:  1 hour elliptical, 2 mile walk, 3 mile bike, F&V (8 points)
Monday:  Ski 9-5, F&V, 10 minutes stretch (15.5 points)
Tuesday:  Ski 9-4 (no lunch), 10 minutes stretch (14.5 points)
Wednesday:  Ski 10-4:30, F&V (13 points)
Thursday:  2 mile walk/jog, 20 minutes stretching and foam rolling, F & V (4 points)
Friday: 1 hour elliptical, F&V (5 points)

Total:  69  points

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On The Road Again!

Goodness gracious, I've missed you guys!! Sorry for the lapse in posting [although I have a few new followers... maybe less posting is better? WELCOME and THANK YOU!] just like all of y'all I've been crazy busy.

We just got back from Colorado where we spent some time with Brad's family. I have lots of fun stuff to share about that [I got to ride down the mountain on a snowmobile with ski patrol my first day if that gives you any indication of how things went]. But because I'm lazy and in a hurry I'm just going to share a few pics right now.

I'm working all day tomorrow and a half day on Saturday... then we get to go see my family for Christmas! I'm really excited because we haven't been home on Christmas in a few years. I'd like to say I'm all finished and ready to go but reality is I haven't even unpacked from Denver and I still have some shopping to do.

I just wanted to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your families. Safe travels and I can't wait to hear all about it!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:1-14

Friday, December 16, 2011

HBBC Week 4

WOW!!! One month down. I really feel like I should give a HUGE thank you to Amanda at Run To The Finish for hosting this amazing challenge! I have consistently been working out 5-6 days a week!

This week I really tried to step it up with my workouts. I knew I'd be traveling toward the end of the week and next week I'll be in Colorado skiing and I have no idea if I'll be able to get any points other than that (please let there be a gym or somewhere I can go run!!!).

I tried to pay more attention to my fruits and veggies. There is no reason for me to not get those gimme points! I also had to stretch a lot and spend some QT with the torture device that is the foam roller. My muscles have been super tight, I guess where I started lifting weights.

Saturday:  REST DAY, F&V point (1 point)
Sunday:  7 mile run, 1 mile walk, 20 minutes stretch and foam roll, F&V point (10 points)
Monday AM:  30 minutes stair climber, 15 minutes elliptical (4 points)
Monday PM:  60 minutes lifting lower body and back, abs and stretching, F & V point (4 points)
Tuesday AM:  3 mile run/walk (3 points)
Tuesday PM: 40 minutes yoga/stretching/foam rolling (2 points)
Wednesday AM:  60 minutes lifting upper body/abs (3 points)
Wednesday PM:  20 minutes stretch and foam roll (1 point)
Thursday:  30 minutes elliptical, 40 minutes stairs (6 points)
Friday:  7 mile run/walk, 20 minutes stretch, 1 mile walking around town, F & V point (10 points)

Total:  44 points

How is HBBC going for you?

Not to be a turd (well maybe just a little) but do you feel like a lot of people are misrepresenting their points?

Monday, December 12, 2011

My "Little" Brother Is My New Personal Trainer

So as most of you know I have a 'little' brother. I type it like that because, yes, he is 4 years younger than me, but he is definitely not little. Up until about a year ago, he competed in both powerlifting and strong man competitions.

These are from power lifting meets and I can't find the pics I have from his strong man competitions. When I say strong man I mean he literally pulled a truck. NBD.

I have never met someone in my life who commits themselves to something like my brother does. Matthew has crazy determination. About this time last year he became an ELITE powerlifter (based on your weight you have to hit a certain total of combined pounds between three lifts-- bench, dead lift and squat). This was a huge accomplishment and something he'd been working towards for a long time.

After becoming ELITE, he completely changed up his workout goals. He went from this:
To this:

Where I am I going with this? He obviously knows what he's doing in the gym (and he would want me to let you know that he's got a mean beard game). Not only does he know how to do this for himself, he gives up so much of his time to help other guys at the gym just because he loves it so much and wants to see them succeed. He's pretty much awesome.

So while I was home last weekend I enlisted him to make me a workout plan. I told him I need to get some muscles before the Spartan Sprint in March!!

I started the strength training plan today and let me tell you... I can barely walk up and down the stairs. He did a great job customizing it just for me (only 3 days a week, short, concentrated, not a whole bunch of different moves that I'll forget). He's been super supportive (as long as it's your muscles hurting that's good, joints hurting = bad) and we're going to see where I am come Christmas.

I really think he should open his own gym someday or at the very least start charging for personal training. He's my brother (so of course in my opinion he hung the moon and can't anyone tell me otherwise) but he's truly an amazing person. Just wanted him to know how much I love and appreciate him!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

iTunes Giveaway Winner

The winner of the $15 iTunes gift card (for participating and promoting the Sock Swap) is:

Lucky number 16 is Jill! I'll get your gift card in the mail early next week!

I hope you all are having a great weekend! I had to work this morning and we're having our work Christmas party a little later. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

HBBC Week 3

Saturday:  1 hour elliptical (4 points)
Sunday: REST DAY
Monday: 4 mile run, 10 minutes stairclimber, 3.25 miles on bike (6 points)
Tuesday: 30 minutes stairs, 15 minutes elliptical, 6 miles bike (6 points)
Wednesday: 10 minutes stairs, 30 minutes elliptical (3 points)
Thursday:  3 mile run (3 points)
Friday: 1 hour elliptical, 6 miles bike (6 points)

Total:  28

I was pretty happy with this week. My run on Monday was great. Wednesday was my first day back to work and I was late to the gym that day and on Thursday also. It takes me a few days to get into the swing of things!!

It's starting to get busy around here... The time from Thanksgiving to Christmas stresses me out! So much to do. Feels like we're on the road so much! It's easy to get caught up and not take time to reflect on the real reason we're celebrating. I'm making an effort this month to slow down and spend time thanking God for sending his only Son to save us.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let's Be Honest... Why do we Sabotage ourselves?

I know we all try to keep it cheery and sunshiney rainbows around the fitness/running blog world, but today's post won't be that. And it's gonna be long. There, I warned you.

So today (actually last night) started with this:
When we got back last night (we had about 15 minutes to change and get to the church Christmas show) and walked into a floor full of water in our kitchen. Coming from the ceiling. Awesome.

Long story short, I had to sit around the house all day, waiting on the plumbers and making sure the whole ceiling didn't fall in (not that I could've done anything about it). Here's the finished product:

I'm just going to hang some ornaments from it since it has to stay open to dry out. Or maybe hang some tinsel. It'll be fine. I'm not telling you guys this dumb story to complain (I much prefer situations like this... It can all be fixed) it's to set up the story about the rest of the day.

I was stuck at the house until 430pm. Not sure why this threw me so completely off. I guess I've really gotten used to working out in the morning. I hadn't eaten since breakfast so I had obviously let my hunger get away from me (stupid mistake #1).

I was getting all worked up because my brother made me a workout plan and went over diet stuff with me this weekend. I knew I needed to shop for groceries, blah, blah, blah.

So what did I do? What any rational completely idiotic person would do. Ordered chinese and skipped the gym. WTF Courtney?!? (obviously this is stupid mistake 2)

So let's break this down:
  • Anytime I 'start a diet' I feel like I have to eat everything bad because I'll never get to eat it again.
    • Yes, there are things I probably shouldn't ever eat again, but that's never going to happen. I need to learn that. So just because I'm starting a diet, or trying to eat better, or a certain way, doesn't mean that I have to stuff my face with every horrible thing that I think I'll never eat again.  
  • If I'm eating something as horrible as chinese or donuts or cake or whatever it is this time... I feel like there is no point in working out because I've messed up the whole day.
    • Not smart.
  • If I get a plan in my head (I was going to spin in the AM then start my strength training this PM) I competely fall apart if something gets in the way.
    • I need to learn to have a plan B. Yes it's good to have a plan and make an effort to follow thru. But just because it doesn't happen it doesn't mean you have to completely scrap it.
It's so easy to look back on this and see the things I did wrong. But somehow, in the moment, I still managed to make all the wrong decisions.

I did do one thing right today, though. Because I'm tired of this dumb routine. So I decided to do something about it. At 830pm (see it's not too late!):

I was sweating soy sauce, but the point was that I was sweating instead of sitting on the couch.

Do you/did you have a habit of sabotage?

What did you do to change it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

HBBC Week 2

Saturday - not a darn thing
Sunday - ran/walked 4 miles, biked 6 miles (6 points)
Monday - biked 9 miles, stairclimber 20 minutes, elliptical 30 minutes (7 points)
Tuesday - ran 3 miles and biked 3 miles (4 points)
Wednesday - stairclimber 30 minutes (3 ponits)
Thursday - ran 1 mile, biked 6 miles (3 points)
Friday - ran 6 miles, stretched/foam rolled 20 minutes (7 points)

Total:  30 points

 I had some crappy runs this week... I'd start and feel horrible so I'd switch to the stairclimber or bike.

But this morning was just one of those AMAZING runs. When I started, I planned on doing 3.1 miles for Courtney's Hope Endures 5K. [Courtney - thanks for hosting and I know Ashlyn is smiling down on her amazing mother, today and always!]

I pounded them out and felt suprisingly good! So I figured, why not do four miles? Four turned into five, which turned into six!! I stopped at six only because I didn't want to end up pushing too far to fast. Runs like this are priceless. I started off slow at 5.0, then with each mile  I pumped up the speed a little (from sloth to say, turtle). I ran mile 5 at 6.0 which used to be unheard of. Then I ran mile 6 at 6.3-6.5.  Like I said, one of those priceless runs.

Running isn't easy and it takes a lot... but it gives back so much more!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just a Friendly Reminder!

First, tomorrow is the last day to enter the Secret Santa Sock Swap! I'm so excited and thankful for all of you who have signed up, I definitely did not expect such a great turnout! If you want to get in on the fun, email me before Friday at midnight!! [and if you participate you could win a $15 iTunes giftcard!!].
We're heading to my old Kentucky home tomorrow! I'm so excited. We're planning on helping baby brother decorate his classroom for Christmas, going to a wedding, going ziplining, and just spending lots of QT with the fam.

What are your weekend plans? Have you signed up for the sock swap yet?

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Top Five Tips For Getting Your Workout In Early

So as you may or may not remember, I set a goal 21 days ago.  I'm proud to say that I pretty much kicked it's butt!! Did I get up first thing EVERY morning? Nope. Did I get up and work out before work, church, and my other activities. YES.

It's true what they say that the hardest step is the first one. But once I made it to the gym, I found myself wishing that I had gotten up earlier to have more time!

Will I continue to workout in the morning? Absolutely! It's not always the most practical choice, but more often than not it is! It's great to be in the gym when it's quiet and almost empty. I'm not going to lie, it kinda makes you feel like a badass just being there!

I also get ready in less time (less distractions while getting ready) and I'm earlier to work. All great things!

So I thought I'd share what has worked best for me. So here are my top five tips for getting up early and getting your workout in:

5. Think about how awesome it will be to get off work and be able to come home and hang out with your family/put your feet up/eat dinner/watch tv/whatever.
4.  Get to bed at a decent hour. My goal was 7 hours of sleep minimum but hoped for at least 8.
3.   Avoid Nyquil. :)
2. Pack a dedicated gym bag (mine has a travel hairdryer and straightener, shower shoes, shower kit with shampoo, conditioner, and face wash, etc.). This way you don't have to worry if these key items are in your gym bag or your bathroom.
1. PLAN AHEAD. The first thing I do when I get home from work is change out my towel, unload my dirty clothes and pack tomorrow's outfit. That way it's ready to go in the AM. It takes 10 minutes and then it's done.

Another logistical thing I learned from the other women who shower at the gym... When you're finished with your towel, hang it on a clothes hanger then you can hang it in your car. Helps dry it out.

I hope this helps you out if you're thinking about trying to work out in the morning. I never thought I'd be the person to get up and work out before work. But I LOVE it and I feel so great for the rest of the day. It's 'my time' and it allows me to focus on the day. I'd encourage you to give it a shot!

Hope you all are having a great week so far!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Decorations and Virtual Races

I finally got some pictures of most of my Christmas decorations and I thought I'd share with you all. This weekend is usually when I put everything up, but I did everything last weekend since I had to work this weekend.
This is my favorite decoration. I'm not going to lie, last year I left it up until Easter (I put everything else up, I swear!) My parents and grandparents bought me the pieces for it over the past few years so that makes it even more special.

This is a new serving plate courtesy of my granny (she volunteers in the hospital gift shop and is always getting me the cutest stuff--reason number 31049732 that being the only granddaughter is the I thought it was too pretty to only use as a serving dish.

This is kinda boring to me, any ideas to make it more fun?

My mom hand painted the two grey reindeer, I love having them up! So many great memories!

We used to have a non themed tree, but Riley knocked it down two years ago (scared the crap outta me because I was home alone) and busted a bunch of our ornaments. So last year I went to Walmart and picked out a bunch of green, blue and pink ornaments. Then luckily I found perfect ribbon at Michael's to match so I could make a bow.

Did you do any shopping this weekend? I made it to Dick's and Target on Black Friday (only had a little time before work) then went to the mall later on Saturday. I got some great stuff for the Sock Swap!! Have you signed up yet? Don't forget the $15 iTunes giveaway!!!
I also finished my 4 miler for Ashley's 4 mile Turkey Trot, thanks for hosting Ashley!!! I have really enjoyed all the virtual races lately, they've really motivated me!
Courtney is hosting a 5k virtual race next week that you should really consider doing. It's to honor her daughter, Ashlyn (such a beautiful name, right?)