Monday, October 31, 2011

Good Treats, Bad Trick...

Saturday night, we celebrated Halloween at an adult costume party.  You might have guessed from my race outfits, I get into the spirit of dressing up...
I definitely had fun role playing this costume!  I splurged on some great food (but still NO candy!) and had my share of tipsy drinks... cold beer, hot rum cider, witch's brew, jello shots...  GOOD TREATS.  Luckily I did my long run before the party, because I was pretty darn lazy come Sunday!

Good times like that always remind me of WHY I don't party much anymore.  For one night I let my guard down, and my body always makes me pay.  Sure enough... Two days later, I wake up with a head cold, sore throat and all over aches.  BAD TRICK.  O'brother... did I mention I have the Indy Monumental Half Marathon in FIVE days?!?

So today, I'm slurping down the Emergen-C... powder packets that you add to water to make flavored fizzy drinks that are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and electrolytes.  Emergen-C always works for me to ward off an oncoming cold.  Today, I picked up a new flavor called Cranberry-Pomegranate, which I highly recommend!

As we head into germ-season, how do manage the colds/sickness in your household?  Any great remedies?  or preventative measures?  I'll send one random comment a sample of Emergen-C.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Five!

My goal for Halloween weekend is to make it without eating ONE stinkin' piece of  candy. If I start, I never stop.  And on Tuesday, the whole pile goes to work with my hubby...  That's the plan anyway.

November Challenge... I just signed up for this "Pile on the Miles" Challenge that runs Nov. 1-24.  Concept is simple... encouragement to pile on the miles, not the pounds as we head into the holiday season.  Prizes every week!  Run Turkey Run!!  Check out Run Eat Repeat for more information and to sign up before Sunday, Oct. 30.

If you're one that likes the Challenge thing (obviously I do!), the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, hosted by Run To The Finish takes you through the whole holiday season Nov. 19 - Jan. 6.  Work your bootie off and accrue points for different activities.  The list of prizes so far is unreal!  Check it out!

I'm kinda stressed out today and have a lot on my mind.  I'm really looking forward to pounding out my long run today.  Whenever I get deep in thought, my run is always strong (and fast).  It's a gorgeous sunny day... still cold, but by this afternoon, it'll be perfect for a run.  I'm looking for 10 miles, but it might be hard to stop me today...
(Indianapolis Half-Marathon next Saturday!)

It's Friday - Here's your Friday Race Salute to everyone racing this weekend!
You've done the training, now go out there and kick some asphalt!!  
Dorothy (Mile Posts) in the Marine Corps Marathon
Jamie (Running Diva Mom) in the Haunted Hustle Marathon
All my Sole Sisters running the Screaming Pumpkin tonight
Anyone else racing?  Leave a comment and I'll send my race waves your way!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Race Recap: The Cupcake Classic

In the beginning of summer, my mind started reeling.  My birthday landed on a Saturday this year.  Instantly, I knew I wanted to celebrate with a race.  I scoured the race calendars everywhere and just couldn't find the perfect course/location that was worthy of my "birthday run."  Hence... The Cupcake Classic was born!

I've always been a natural event-planner.  In fact, many of my previous jobs paid me to plan events... on a baseball field, in a large expo center and even in a bar.  Event planning is something that I've always enjoyed, so to create my own race seemed like a no-brainer.  When I signed up for the American Cancer Society's DetermiNation team, it served as the perfect charity tie-in.  Donations are still accepted {here}

This past Saturday, October 22, was the local Cupcake Classic fun run in East Peoria, IL.  (See {here} for the recap of the virtual race.)  With the help of sponsors, I kept the event free for women in the area to participate.  The objective was simple... Celebrate the Fit Life!  It was my 37th birthday. Yet each year that I run, I feel younger and younger.  Alas... the magical powers of running!  Once you feel that magic, you can't help but want everyone around you to feel it too.

It was a beautiful sunny fall morning, I couldn't ask for more!  My hubby and I got out to the trail about 7:00am to set up the water station and post mile markers (nice warmup run before the race!).  Ladies started arriving quickly as we set up the start/finish line area. I gave a brief welcome, which was interrupted when the group of 70+ women started singing Happy Birthday to me (Awwww!).  My Big Girl has been learning the National Anthem in kindergarten music class, so she made her debut over the loudspeaker and did great!!

The 3.7 mile fun run was so much fun!  We talked, we laughed, we gave high fives and hugs, and the smiles were abundant.  Not a celebration of the 37 years I've already lived... but for the years that lie ahead.  I'm so blessed to have these wonderful supportive women in my life.  In my heart, I truly believe the best years of my life are yet to come...

I am now 37 years young!

Oh-yeah... my official time was 34:24 (9:17 pace). 
My hubby said I finished in 6th place! 
(Note to self - Don't invite anyone faster than me next year! HA!)

Please enjoy the slideshow below for a photo recap of local Cupcake Classic...

Thank you again to everyone (local and virtual) 
for helping celebrate my birthday this year!  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cupcake Classic virtual race winners!

Thank you so much for participating in The Cupcake Classic 3.7 virtual race!  You all made me feel so special by your nice messages and photos during my birthday week.  Furthermore, your generous donations put me over the top in my fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society, raising $670.00 for my DetermiNation team.  (Help me top it off at $700 by donating here.)

Most of all, I just love to see women uniting under the fitness umbrella, running together and having fun.  I think we achieved that!  Over 100 women participated in the virtual run and agreed... "I WILL RUN FOR CUPCAKES!!"  Although some have better will power than me and choose a healthy muffin!

It fills me with glee when you bring the "gang" together for a run...

Happy to see the official Cupcake shirts look so good on you!
Shirt proceeds were donated to the American Cancer Society.

And of course I like special birthday signs made just for me!

I was blown away by the unique 3.7 route that Lauren designed to run!
Is that cool or what?!?!


And now for the Prize Winners...
In true birthday fashion, your prize will come as a wrapped present.
So you'll have to wait until you open it to find out what it is!  :)

Stephanie Anne #37084
Kimert  #37054
Suzi  #37087
Laura C.  #37111
Suegene W.  #37086
Danielle C.  #37026
Alma F.  #37002
Renee V.  #37125
Nancy C.  #37074
Jen  #37037
Wendy  #37093
AnnaMarie  #37009
Karyn H.  #37047
Shannon M.  #37082
Christa H.  #37018

Email your mailing address to

Monday, October 24, 2011

Best Birthday Ever!

Don't forget... 
Cupcake Classic race times are due today (Monday) by 11:00 am.  
Email your race time (and optional photo) to
I hope to get prize winners posted on Tuesday!

I had a simply awesome birthday weekend, starting with the local version of The Cupcake Classic (race recap to come) on Saturday morning.  The weather was amazing for fall, with the afternoon temps hitting 71 on Saturday.  We grilled out for lunch, probably our last "picnic" of the year.  My family spoiled me with presents... new winter running gloves, restock of SportShield, Kara Goucher's running book, gift certificate for Dick's Sporting and a bunch of cool Packers stuff.

After an afternoon nap, hubby and I got some alone time over dinner.  We spent the last hours of my official birthday with my BFFs for drinks and dancing.  Sunday was a nice relaxing day, capped off with a Packers win (7-0 baby!).  I can honestly say it was the best birthday ever!  Thank you all for your kind wishes!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Milestone #1000

Yesterday morning was a typical morning like any other... I got the girls feed, dressed and off to school.  Then I snuck off to the trail to get my run in.  It was a chilly morning, but I wanted to "practice-run" the 3.7 mile course for Saturday's Cupcake Classic.  In one hand, I had my iPhone with the Nike+GPS going.  The other hand held a little pink can of spray paint.  If you know me, I normally don't run with gadgets, but today I had to mark off the mile markers for Saturday's event.

Call it my Cupcake Classic virtual run... I finished the 3.7 miles in 35:45 which was pretty good considering I stopped 4 times to spray paint.  Now I have a time to beat when I run with 100 other ladies on Saturday morning!

I continued on the trail to tack on a couple more miles for a total of 5.5 miles.  It was a perfect day to hit my yearly milestone... running by myself, deep in thought, on my favorite trail.  When I got home and logged it into Daily Mile, there it was...
my 1000th mile of the year!!

After reaching 1000 Miles!
You see, back in January, I signed up for the Tall Mom 1000 Mile Challenge.  At the time, I was pretty doubtful that I could attain that.  It meant a minimum of 20 miles every single week of the year.  Now I laugh at my own thinking because unless I'm on the DL, I always do that... but just 10 months ago, I was not there.  I questioned my running.  I had great months, and then I had off months.  I was an undedicated slow poke...

Reflection is so good for the runner's soul.  It's amazing how far I've come in the last 10 months, and sometimes I need milestones like this to remind myself of that.  Shoot... Back in January, running a marathon wasn't even a thought in my head!!  Since then, I've run an 8K, a 10K, numerous 5Ks, three Half Marathons and my first 26.2 miler.  Yet even today, I have stretches when I get disappointed with myself.  Today, however, I'm happy as can be!

My 1000th mile was a joyful reflection and the
best birthday present I could have given myself this week!

RuN HaPpY!
 Today and always - for as long as we can!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's my birthday week and you get all the presents!!

The Cupcake Classic virtual race starts today!  There is still time to register and get in on the fun (here). You can complete your race anytime between today and Sunday, Oct. 23.  Times are due back by 11:00am on Mon, Oct. 24.

Why run The Cupcake Classic?
First and foremost, it's my birthday week!!  I turn 37 on Saturday... and am not blinking an eye about it.  I seriously don't feel that old age.  In fact, since running entered my life, I feel like I'm getting YOUNGER!!  And that, my friends, is a fabulous feeling!

Secondly, it's a chance to score a new PR.  Seriously, have you ever run a 3.7 mile race before?!  Probably not, so here's a chance to PR by just participating!

It's all about having FUN on the RUN.  Get a group of friends to run with you.  Bake cupcakes and splurge on the delicious treats after your run!  (Feel free to sing Happy Birthday to me as you celebrate your run...)  Don't forget to take a fun picture!

Run for a good cause.  Through the Cupcake Classic event, I've managed to raise over $500 for the American Cancer Society, the official sponsor of MORE BIRTHDAYS and LESS CANCER.  On Nov. 5, I run on the ACS's DetermiNation team in Indianapolis to kill cancer.  Thank you so much for your support!  Donations can be made (here).

Now for the good stuff... Run for the PRIZES!!  Below is the collection of prizes that our generous sponsors have donated to the The Cupcake Classic.  You receive 1 entry just for participating, however you can earn bonus entries by submitting photos, eating cupcakes and making a donation to the American Cancer Society.  See complete details (here).  The random-drawing winners will be announced on Tues, Oct. 25.

A pink sparkle skirt from Team Sparkle!  Check out my review of this fine fashion here.

Join this hip new online running club here.  You'll find fun, entertaining, sexy tips in the free newsletter to help you achieve your goals.  Watch this winter... they are bursting onto the market with a new line of active wear for the woman size 8 and up.  Be sure to check out the Training Guides tab on their website (very helpful info).  Local Cupcake racers will all receive a complimentary water bottle from the Sexy Mom's Running Club at the finish line! We'll even save a couple for the virtual racers too!  Join SMRC today to receive the free gift of a 60-day Journal!

How adorable are these "will run for cupcakes" necklaces?  Jessica's Gifts was nice to donate two - one for the local race and one for the virtual race.  Check out the Jessica's Gifts website for a large assortment of runner's jewelry, including items for the tri-athlete.  Super, super cute stuff!!

Stock up on some GU energy gels for your winter long runs!  And not just any flavor... how about Chocolate Raspberry?!?!  What woman doesn't like chocolate?  GU is my mid-run fuel of choice when I'm training for a half or full marathon.  Check the full array of flavors available here.

My favorite pair of runner's sunglasses... Ryders Eyewear Hex!  Check out my review of these glasses here from a previous post this past spring.  These are the best pair of sunglasses for running ever!!  I even wear them in winter to protect my eyes from the wind and cold.

The Quad Cities Marathon, home of my first marathon (race recap here), has also sent a generous supply of gear that will be split up between the Cupcake's local and virtual races as prizes.  The QCM is a great racing event along the borders of Illinois and Iowa with the beauty of the Mississippi River always in sight.

I rarely ever run without a BondiBand on my head, and now you can try one out too!  I've got an assortment of BondiBand headbands for the Cupcake winners.  Check out my review of BondiBand products (here) from this past spring.  They are truly fantastic!!  No slip, no drip!

The folks at Build-A-Sign were generous enough to donate a huge supply of Cupcake bumper stickers to the event!  Everyone who ordered one of the official Cupcake shirts got a surprise in their delivery... a free bumper sticker as a thank you for helping me raise funds for the American Cancer Society.  Check out Build-A-Sign's website, where you can design your own bumper stickers online!!

It's getting cold out there... so you're gonna want these essentials from Pearl Izumi.  The moisture-wicking hat in bright pink will keep your head warm.  Have you tried out arm warmers yet?  These are great for the versatile seasons of spring/fall when it's cold at the start of your run.  As you warm up mid-run, they are so easy to roll down to your wrists.  Pearl Izumi has top of the line active gear for the runner, cyclist or tri-athlete.  You simply can't go wrong with a Pearl Izumi product!

If you're making the trip to East Peoria this Saturday morning to run the local race with me (details here), there are even more prizes and goodies in store for you... how about a new pair of Saucony running shoes?!?!  or an upgraded overnight stay at the Mark Twain hotel with drinks & breakfast included?!?!   And of course my fantastic homemade finisher's medals!

Holy crap!  That's a lot of cool prizes, huh?
Sign up to run The Cupcake Classic virtual race {here}.
I'll email you the race bib right away!

Earn extra entries into the prize drawing by making a donation
to DetermiNation-American Cancer Society {here}

  Donations need to be made by October 24 in order to be entered into prize drawing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I love to Sparkle!

It's no secret to those who know me that I like to SPARKLE when I race. 
And for my new followers, let me bring you up to speed...

Turquoise Sparkle in Chicago R'nR Half Marathon
Pink Sparkle in Peoria Race for the Cure
Orange Sparkle in the Morton Pumpkin 10K
Green Sparkle in the Quad Cities Marathon

So yeah, I'm kinda a poster child for the Team Sparkle sparkle skirts.  The sparkle skirts are incredibly lightweight, so you barely notice something extra around your waist.  And believe me, I'm super particular about that... I can't wear a fuel belt for that very reason.  Anything extra around my waist bothers the crap out of me when I run.

The benefits & perks of running in a Sparkle Skirt...
•  Throughout the race, runners will continually strike up conversation with you.  "I love your skirt"... "Where did you get that?"... and just chatting in general.  Let's face it, a runner in a sparkle skirt appears pretty fun and approachable.

•  You will get the best race photos EVER!  Not only do you look darling on the course, but official race photographers like to capture runners in unique outfits.  Instead of just a couple pictures to choose from, you get a whole album like you just finished a photo shoot or something...

•  Spectators love it!!  Seriously, it's insane how many (more) cheers I get in the sparkle skirt... and who doesn't like extra support when you're racing?  During my marathon, I overheard a lady say, "Wow - fashion on the run... Now that's cool."  

•  Your family and friends will never miss you coming.  In the chaos that is a race, it's easy for your favorite cheerleaders to miss you in the mass of runners.  Not a chance with a sparkle skirt on!!  My kids can spot me coming a loooong way down the road with my sparkle.

•  You're gonna PR.  Seriously, there's something magic about this little wrap around your waist.  Three out of the four photos above are standing PRs for me.
Check out the assortment of Sparkle Skirts at Team Sparkle for your next race.  They come in 12 different colors and even have a group discount if your whole group wants to get in on the fun.  Team Sparkle also sells Race Legs to jazz up the limbs.  I've used them for both the legs AND as fashion arm warmers.

Today I'm excited to share that Team Sparkle has donated one PINK SPARKLE SKIRT to my fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society.  By participating in The Cupcake Classic virtual race, you automatically get 1 entry into the prize drawing.  You can score bonus entries into the prize drawing by making a donation to American Cancer Society through my DetermiNation team.  ACS is doing important work in the fight against cancer and your tax-deductible donation will be much appreciated by current and future cancer patients.

Want in on the SPARKLE magic?!

• Signup for The Cupcake Classic virtual race that takes place Oct. 17-23 {here}

• Make a donation to my DetermiNation-American Cancer Society team {here}
  Donations need to be made by October 24 in order to be entered into prize drawing.

• Can't wait any longer to sparkle?!?  Check out Team Sparkle's skirt shop {here}

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Race Salute

My weekend plans consist of ...
•  Getting in my first long run since the marathon.  99% sure my leg is recovered and I'm as happy as can be about that!  10 miles in on the agenda, hopefully with the company of fellow Sole Sisters.  Hubby is off playing war so I'm at the babysitter's mercy for time.

Our superhero Halloween costumes last year...
I've got this year's idea, but still gotta put it all together!
•  Pulling out the Halloween decorations.  I was half a mind to "skip it" this year.  It's such a mess to pull all the boxes out and I've kinda lost my enthusiasm for it this year.  But then Big Girl said, "Mom, it's almost Halloween... we gotta get the house ready!" Yeah, it tugged at my heart.  So we'll make some ghosts to decorate our bare front tree and maybe even work on the costumes...  Maybe next week, we'll even make it to the pumpkin patch!

•  Bonfire!  I have several groups of girlfriends.  Sometimes I feel bad because the "non-running" one gets a little neglected from me.  They are my oldest friends in P-town and we are truly like sisters. The love runs deep, we've been together through all the weddings and babies, and even bicker like the best of them.  I'm anxious to kick back with the girls, let all our little ones run wild in the yard and toss back a couple beers.

•  Organize things for The Cupcake Classic.  My to-do list for the local race keeps building, but I'm super excited for the event.  I'm expecting close to 100 women to show up on the trail next Saturday for my birthday run.  Make the mile marker signs, prep race packets, wrap the prizes, and figure out all my volunteers... next week it'll be all about baking cupcakes!  Have you signed up for the VIRTUAL RACE version of The Cupcake Classic yet?  Lots of cool prizes to be won!  More info {here}

Enough about me... 
What do you have planned for the weekend???
I know the runners below have one thing on their mind... Racing!!  Here is your Friday Race Salute!  You've done the training, now is the time for your victory lap!  Go out there and kick some booty!

All my Sole Sisters running the Midwest Spartan Sprint... Danyelle, Toby, Carrie, Heidi, Jennifer, Patty, Crystal, and Marianne.  These ladies rock!  I love a good obstacle race, but muddy hauling wood, climbing barbsire is not my thing.  I guess I had enough of that as a kid, helping my Dad in the woods...

The Hot Pants/Sole Sisters running the Des Moines Marathon... Robyn, Gail, Sheri, Becky and Laura!  And Penny from the Pink Hat Runner, whose gonna rock her 2nd marathon!

Dorothy from Mile Posts and Jodi from Run Jodi Run are gonna rock the Columbus Marathon.

Jeff from Detroit Runner is running one of those races that's on my bucket list... the Detroit Marathon.  The course is so cool, featuring several international crossings into Canada and the Windsor Tunnel!

Kim from (Just) Trying is for Little Girls goes pink this weekend at the Vancouver Girlfriends Half Marathon, benefitting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  In a shocking twist, she's has no time goal... well maybe?!

My girl Rachel from Running in Real Life will surely kick asphalt at the Elver Park 5K.

And big kudos to Jamie who is running her first race ever with a Race for the Cure 5K.  The Komen series of races is fantastic... in fact it was the home of my first race too!

Kurt at Becoming an Ironman is running his first marathon at the Hartford ING Marathon.  Smoke it Kurt!

Aneta at My Running Bucket is tackling her 6th half marathon in Toronto.  Crossing my fingers for a magical sub-2 for her!

If I missed you, add a comment below to let me know you're racing 
and I'll send my magic positive race waves your way!  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

3 Things Thurs: All Cupcakes!

1.  I challenge you to a virtual race next week!  Are you signed up for The Cupcake Classic yet?  Do it {here}. I've got some fantastic prizes rolling in, so get on the happy bandwagon.  It's free to enter, but if you can skip just one Starbucks coffee this week, that $5 donated to DetermiNation-American Cancer Society can get you 5 extra entries into the prize drawing. And believe me, you want your name in the hat with prizes from these great companies... BondiBand, Build-A-Sign, Team Sparkle, Sexy Mom's Running ClubQuad Cities Marathon, Jessica's Gifts, GU Energy gels, Ryders Eyewear and Pearl Izumi.

Even if you can't run in the virtual race (injured), a donation will still score you entries into the prize drawing.  Donations to the DetermiNation-American Cancer Society can be made here.  Thank you so much for your support!

2.  Cupcake Shirts are here!  I'm sorting through all the sizes and hoping to ship out tomorrow.  So expect delivery early next week.  Local orders can be picked Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the Riverplex from 5:30-6:00pm before the weekly Sole Sisters run.  Thank you to all who ordered!  Shirt proceeds totaled over $300 for DetermiNation-American Cancer Society!

3.  Don't be surprised if I gain another 5 lbs in October... In addition to the virtual race and shirt sales, I'm doing another cupcake drive in October, with proceeds donated to the DetermiNation-American Cancer Society.  It's soooo hard not to snack on the mistakes!  I'm knee deep in dishes with powdered sugar wafting through the air... 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Biggest Loser Lesson #1

There are few TV shows that hold any kind of power over my weekly schedule... but NBC's Biggest Loser is one.  The stories inspire and remind me of a battle that was all too familiar.  The psychological complexities that accompany excess weight are very taxing on a person.  Breaking through to the other side can be a long journey of ups and downs.  We only see a snippet of the struggle on the Biggest Loser, but the contestants' stories always wrenches at my heart.

After years of watching the show, I was sad to see Jillian Michaels leave.  She made a great pairing (and contrast) with the show's anchor Bob Harper.  Let's face it... New trainers are always hit or miss... as we've seen with Kim Lyons, Brett Hoebel, Cara Castronuova and Anna Kournikova (sorry, but I'm already predicting she won't last beyond this season...) 

However, the newest addition of Dolvett Quince is a home run in my opinion.  He has a soft patience with the Biggest Loser contestants.  You can see him soak up their words and emotions.  His advice is solid and yet not overly cheesy.  And in the gym, he's a fierce trainer.  Just the type I'd want as a trainer myself.  And did I mention hot as hell?  Damn, that smile... those eyes... and the voice.  I almost peed my pants when Dolvett tweeted me back yesterday...

"When you begin to love your actions,
you begin to love yourself."
~Dolvett Quince
When you have so far to go, sometimes it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Change can be slow.  It's incredibly easy to get mad at your body and just give up.  We all have visions of what we want to look like... or goals of how fast we want to run.  But it may be defeating when that is our sole focus.  Instead, we should enjoy the activities that get us to the destination.  Enjoy every single run... Don't run just for a future PR, but for the moment in time that you have right now.

"The journey is the reward."

Without the fight, the hard work, and the endless hours of sweat, you will never truly appreciate the glory of the finish line.  And that's what made the marathon so special to me.