Monday, October 28, 2013

Marathon Maniac

First thing first, I did not plan to run back to back marathons. As part of my Dopey Challenge training, I wanted to feel Goofy miles before running Dopey miles. I registered to runDisney's Dopey Challenge in January 2014, this challenge consists of a total of 48.6 miles over the span of four days (5K, 10K, 13.1 and 26.2). To hold myself accountable in my training, a Goofy weekend presented itself locally and I made sure to register for the Silver Comet Half-Marathon on Saturday and the Atlanta Marathon on Sunday. This Goofy weekend would allow me to gauge my training up to this point and be able to tweak my training as necessary over November and December before the Dopey Challenge in January.

What I did not plan on, was my lack in training during my first couple months while working. It took a bit longer than I expected for life to become a new normal with me working part-time. Most days, I worked the opening shift at Starbucks at 4:45am which also meant my bedtime was much earlier. My training was not what I hoped it would be, and I was disappointed. 

In the weeks leading up to the race, I read somewhere that the Silver Comet race on Saturday wasn't just a half-marathon, there was a marathon option as well. The Silver Comet is known for being a flat and fast, and when I have run there for training runs in the past I always am pleased with my pace. Did I think running back to back marathons was possible for me? Not really. I didn't give it much thought.

In a huge surprise revelation, two weeks before my big race weekend, I got a big fat positive on a pregnancy stick. I will still say, "a huge surprise" is probably an understatement. I still wanted to run and race but I didn't know how being pregnant would factor into the mix. I was having similar first trimester pregnancy symptoms to my pregnancy with Abigail: I was easily fatigued, always hungry, my bladder was being squished and my bust seemed to double in size overnight.

After all my training up to this point, I knew I would be able to race while pregnant. I also knew there would be more potty stops and instead of my normal running fuel, I would need real food for my runs. I decided to change up my race plans. I decided I would run 26.2 on Saturday instead of 13.1. The flat course would be my best chance to have a good time to submit for the Dopey Challenge corral placement. The flat course would also be better to feel out my body, running while pregnant. Since the Silver Comet races were an out & back course, I felt confident that if I was not comfortable running the full distance, I could just turn around at the half turn around spot. 

Atlanta was hit with a cold snap during, it was 32* on October 26th. I had planned to wear my new InknBurn Skeleton Kit for Silver Comet, and I was excited to wear my first pair of InB arm sleeves. I had to layer my InB capris over running tights. In an emergency shopping trip in days before the race I found a running headband to keep my ears warm, running gloves and a long sleeve warm tech shirt to layer for Sunday's race. Since the weather went from barely warm to freezing, I had not trained in cold weather and it was slightly awkward running in the layers but I did manage to stay fairly warm, and most of all not have any chaffing issues from running with new items. 

Besides the extremely unusual cold weather, I really enjoyed the Silver Comet Marathon. The first couple miles were a bit rough. The course was packed with all the runners and all paces starting together. I stopped to use the potties as necessary. I ate my granola bars and other snacks, and made sure to drink plenty of water at each water stop. After the half-marathon turn around point, the course thinned out a lot. There were only 123 racers completing the full marathon distance. I loved the beautiful fall colors and the time to myself (I hadn't been on a long run in a while). I kept my pace and 3:1 intervals steady, I felt good. It was an added perk I got so many compliments on my skeleton gear since it was the weekend right before Halloween. I finished 26.2 in 05:23:12! I was pleased to set a new PR, especially since this was only my 2nd marathon and I ran it completely solo.

Immediately upon finishing I went to Atlantic Station to pick-up my bib for the Atlanta Marathon. I should have stretched more before getting in the car, and immediately after I got out of the car. I was undecided what, if anything, I would race the next day. In addition to the full 26.2 distance there were 10 Mile and 5K options. I decided to sign up for the 6hr pace group, they would be running 1:1 intervals (run 1 minute then walk 1 minute). I spent the remainder of the day relaxing and thinking about what I might the next day. I did not want to get injured. I did not want to jeopardize my pregnancy.

I woke up and rolled out of bed to see how I was feeling. I was surprised I felt alright. I had minimal soreness but nothing serious. After lots of internal debate, I decided I wanted to at least try to run the full. I'm stubborn and determined, and I didn't want to wonder "what if" if I didn't at least try. I layered back up for yet another cold morning and made my way to the race.

I found the pace group quickly and we all chatted a bit before the race began. I was impressed with some folks running their first marathon as late-in-life runners. I was equally impressed with the pace group leaders and a few others, who were part of Marathon Maniacs, upon hearing how many marathons they have run. I was very excited about this course, it's like a tour of Atlanta. The race started and the intervals were very easy. It seemed as soon as we got in a good running stride it was already time to walk again. 

As the miles went on I noticed an ache here or there but nothing too bothersome. I really enjoyed the course, and I was surprised with all the wonderful volunteers! Organizations apply to "Adopt a Mile" and if they are selected, they receive a donation from The Atlanta Track Club for volunteering their time during the race. The volunteers weren't only in charge of passing out water, they all had cheer stations too! Some organizations had themes or were dressed up (with Halloween around the corner) an they also posted inspirational signs throughout their mile. I was blown away by the amount of time I was told THANK YOU by volunteers because I was running a marathon.

The race had it's ups and downs, literally. It's a hilly course but I am glad I decided to run and am glad I raced smart with the 6hr pace group. The pace group leaders were wonderful and we had nice conversations throughout the race, which helped pass the time and the miles. My official finish time for The Atlanta Marathon was 05:57:46. 

I still cannot believe I ran back to back marathons, especially being 8wks pregnant! After finishing these miles, 52.4mi in 36hrs, I felt very confident in my training and I knew I would be able to complete runDisney's Dopey Challenge in January (46.8mi in 4 days). 

Another added perk, I was able to join Marathon Manaics. I ran my first marathon in January and immediately said I didn't know if I would ever run another marathon, and if I did it would have to be a repeat at Disney. I cannot believe I ran another marathon, let alone two! This is only the beginning of my marathon journey. I am already looking forward to running The Atlanta Marathon again in October 2014, it will be my first marathon after our June baby arrives.
Maniac #7823
**This blog post was written on February 12, 2014.**

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hillcrest Apple Orchards

For the last 4yrs, we have been making the day trip up to North Georgia to go apple picking. Our preferred orchard is Hillcrest Orchards near Ellijay. We were recommended to Hilcrest by some friends and return year after year. There are plenty of options for apple picking in this area, many which also have additional activities like Hillcrest but we love giving this family owned and operated orchard our continued patronage. Admission is a flat fee per person and you can choose to purchase a bag to pick your own apples as well. Honestly, this may not be the cheapest (especially if you have a large family) but continue reading and you'll understand why it's become one of our favorite fall traditions.
   
Throughout the farm, there are a bunch of tractors for you to climb aboard, pretend to drive and use at photo opportunities. The tractors are all different ages and in a variety of conditions, and we have fun exploring the tractors.
Abigail has always loved to jump, and she always has to take at least one turn on the big jumping pillow. Depending on the crowd there can be a wait but it never is too long. Depending on the staff  "policing" the jumping pillow, there can be older kids (almost my height) allowed to jump, which makes it difficult for the younger ones. During our trip this month, the crowds were very light in comparison to previous years (I think we got lucky this year because we went opening weekend). Abigail decided she was going to use the jumping pillow for a little gymnastic practice, she would run and do a cartwheel or round-off. It was so fun watching her, especially Matt since he doesn't get to see her in action during gymnastic class. Although Abigail paid attention to the other few children also jumping, and never flipped too close, we ended up getting a bit of a scolding from the staff that Abigail shouldn't be flipping. We decided it'd be hard for Abigail to completely understand so we took that opportunity to move to another activity.
   
There are two separate tracks for kids, both young and old, to pedal tricycles. It's slightly chaotic on the younger track because all the kids seem to go different speeds, but it doesn't matter. The youngest kids usually need some help as the trikes are a bit larger than what you might have at home. Parents usually hop on the track to help steer/push the younger kids, and keep them out of way of the older and faster riders. I personally recommend the parent with the most protective shoes to help out, as you might be run into or run over on this preschool track. For the older kids, there are super-sized trikes which we have never road. These larger trikes have a higher weight limit and even adults will take turns riding around the larger track. This larger track is located further away from the entrance, but is next to a corn maze and small playground so all age groups can be entertained in this vicinity simultaneously. Very close to this area is also a bungee jumpee station for children and pony rides, both for an additional fee. If I remember correctly, we have only done the bungee once and the pony ride once.
For the first couple years, we did not visit the petting zoo. I do not remember if this was intentional or not. Even though it's an extra $3 per person to visit the animals in the petting zoo, we do it now because Abigail loves all the little animals. Last year I distinctly remember how excited she was to hold a baby chick. This year, she raved about holding a kitty. You can buy feed from a gumball dispenser for a quarter and the baby goats love to eat directly from your hand. They will even follow you a bit if they think you still might have food. Abigail got to see bunnies and more chicks but my favorite this year was the three day old cow. The cow did not look at all like a "baby", but was wobbly on new legs and seemed a little unsettled until laying down, absolutely precious!

Abigail really enjoys the "big slides" down the hill. Before the 2013 season, a second slide was added to the hill allowing the children a shorter wait before getting to slide down again. This new second slide actually is a partial tunnel and Abigail would scream really loud on the way down, I think her voice must have echoed a bit on the way down. She always runs up the hill numerous times before we can persuade her to the next activity.
When you arrive, some activities will have specific times listed for the day so be sure to make a mental note or jot those down. The pig races are usually held at least twice on Saturday, and it's a must for us to watch. The orchard is fairly large and you do a lot of walking (avoid bringing strollers unless you have something all-terrain), so it's nice to get off your feet and rest in the shade before the races and if you plan properly you can enjoy an apple fritter and/or an apple slushie while you wait for the races to begin! The pig races also incorporate audience participation with the first race always having adults race in some fashion. The kids then get to participate during each of the 3 pig races. Five children are selected each race, each child gets to tell the crowd their name and where they are from, and each child is assigned a pig to cheer for during the race. The child whose pig won gets a little trophy to take home as a souvenir. Part of the fun each year is being introduced to the pigs, they all have the best names! Each year the names have celebrity resemblance to a few in current mainstream media. Two fun names from this year were Pig-cess Kate and Justin Timber-link. In 2012 a water feature was added so in the third and final race, the race course is detoured into a couple above ground "lakes" and the pigs jump and swim and made their way to the finish line. To entice these little piggies to race, the winner gets an Oreo cookie!


Throughout the day there is also live entertainment on the Hillcrest Barn Stage, which is now completely covered unlike our photo from a previous year's visit. You can take a break in the shade from all the activities to enjoy some clogging or country bands while eating some yummy food. This year the menu included hamburgers, chicken on a stick, fried cheese, french fries, fresh squeezed lemonade, deep fried Oreo cookies and much more. There is even an on site bakery cooking up fresh apple cider doughnuts, mini apple pies and apple fritters!

Hillcrest has become a favorite fall activity for us and as long as we're living in the Atlanta area, we will continue visiting and making memories! I am so excited we were able to visit before Fall officially started. There is always so much fun to partake during Fall and I look forward to the 2013 season ahead!

QUESTIONS:
-Have you ever been apple picking?
-Do you have any fall traditions you do with your family annually?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Tour

I was super excited when social media was all a buzz about Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins tour last month. I made a mental note of the event date still unsure of our plans for the day. Sometime this week I decided I would definitely take Abigail. She absolutely loves Doc McStuffins, and it is a free event. Free events have their PROs and CONs. I knew we had to get their early to make sure our wait wasn't going to be too long. Due to some GPS complications, we arrived a bit after 9am but did find excellent metered parking next to Centennial Olympic Park. It was a bit awkward finding the end of the line but once we did, it moved fairly smoothly and we got our bracelets assigning us with an 11am appointment with The Doc Mobile. Our friends found us shortly after and visiting and chatting made the time pass quicker than we had expected.

While we waited in a Disney attraction style line, keeping everyone in their correct lines, we were greeted by numerous women doctors. These doctors are all members of The Artemis Medical Society which is "a group of women physicians of color joining together in common purpose to create and promote an environment in medicine where [they] can come together to support and learn from each other across all medical specialties." The Artemis Medical Society was actually chartered in June 2012, inspired by Disney Junior's release of Doc McStuffins in March of the same year. The twelve women who founded the organization "saw a reflection of themselves in the "Doc McStuffins" character". We were able to chat with a few doctors as we waited in line, meeting a couple OBGYNs, a few Pediatricians and a Family Practice Physician. The organization itself now has more than 3000 members, at least throughout the United States (but could probably be worldwide, I just did not find that information on their website). It was great these women took the time, out of their already busy schedules, to be available at this Doc Mobile tour. The children really enjoyed chatting with and asking questions as we waited, and it really helped pass the time. In addition to chatting, The Artemis Society also passed out paper stethoscopes to all the children.
Once it was finally our turn, strollers were parked "valet style" because there wouldn't be room to maneuver them through the different stations. First, the kids were introduced to the new Doc McStuffins App, which the kids were able to test out. It was a bit of a free for all, and some kids hogged the iPads while others were slightly shoved through the area. The next area was a fun sing and dance along with the Radio Disney group. They sang fun songs from Doc McStuffins and quizzed the kids about Doc McStuffins trivia. The third portion was large foam blocks where kids could build train track style, then roll a ball down but there wasn't actually enough room to really play with these. The kids were then fitted with lab coats and allowed to enter the Doc Mobile, which had lots of stations for the children to perform check-ups with the toys they brought. Abigail was hoping her bear, McArthur, could get his sweater repaired (the side seam of the sweater is ripped) but all the play in the Doc Mobile was pretend and not actual repairs, so he'll have to visit with one of Abigail's grandmothers for mending sometime in the future.

Once we were through the Doc Mobile, there was a water play station (that was lacking in water). Kids could get a bucket of water and dump it into a funnel, then the water would pour through different attached tubes. Honestly, I was a bit confused as no one explained what this was all about then Abigail was given a cute Doc water bottle, making me feel like our time at that station was over. Abigail and her friends found their way to kid size picnic tables where they each got a placemat and stickers to encourage healthy eating. At this point I was looking to see how we would get in line to meet Doc next, and I was told there was a completely separate line to meet Doc McStuffins "IF" we wanted.

Well of course my Disney loving, character obsessed child wanted to meet Doc! We proceeded to another line where we waited for about 20 minutes until being told we were in the 2pm section of the line, it was only 12:30. At this point I got a bit frustrated, we had waited (corralled) for two hours only to feel rushed through the Doc Mobile stations in 10-15 minutes and then we were expected to wait for another 2hrs. I guess, ideally, once you had your scheduled appointment time (color coded bracelet) visitors could have waited to meet Doc before their appointment, but that information was not at all shared with us. Abigail was invited to a 3pm birthday party, and celebrating a friend's birthday is/was more important than this chance to meet Doc. Hopefully, we'll get to meet her during our November trip to Walt Disney World.
Overall, Abigail and her friends enjoyed their morning but it left me a bit disappointed. If the Doc Mobile is coming to a city near you, I highly recommend arriving early, expect crowds and some waiting, and ask lots of questions so you know when and where the excitement is happening so you can wait as little as possible. For the complete DocMobile Tour details CLICK HERE. The DocMobile will be heading to Washington D.C, Los Angeles and Pheonix to finish out the tour.

QUESTIONS:
-Do you attend large free events like this?
-Did you visit the Doc Mobile or plan to when it comes to your city?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Three weeks ago David Bowe's song popped into my head and I have been singing it to myself ever since. Ever since what? Well, I finally got hired on at a Starbucks and all the pieces magically fell into place for Abigail to start PreK. I have been semi-writing this blog post in my head while driving around town but haven't found time to actually get it typed out. 
Time may change me, but I can't trace time.
In October 2008, we moved from Nashville to Atlanta as Matt had a new job offer. Abigail was due to arrive that December so I didn't find a new job after our move. Instead I've had the pure joy of solely being Abigail's mom for the last, err, almost 5 years. 
Don't let me mislead you, I had to keep busy. I had to feel "needed" beyond the needs of a baby/toddler/preschooler; like I was part of something bigger so volunteered for leadership positions when different opportunities came available. Volunteering allowed me to still have some adult conversations that did not revolve around altering nap times, potty training, teething or whatever stage I was currently focused on as mom. I think these volunteer opportunities helped me keep my toes in the water, even just a little bit.

Now I'm back in the water so to speak, working again. It has seemed really silly when people ask "what's it like going back to work" because it doesn't really feel like I'm "back in the workforce". (Sorry to use quotes, but these are real phrases I keep hearing.) Yes, I have a paying job again but to be quite honest, it's not a high pressured, stressful job that is bringing home the big bucks where I feel like I've truly rejoined "the workforce". My hours are very flexible and I'm still able to spend the majority of afternoons with Abigail. The extra bonus, which is why I wanted Starbucks and only Starbucks for a part-time job is that I will be able to pick up insurance for our family after 90 days. Corporate insurance will be a huge plus for our family since Matt started his own business last December. Maybe it's because I have always loved the hospitality industry, or maybe it's something I haven't been able to put my finger on just yet, but now in my third working week, I feel like Starbucks is a very strange hybrid form of work for me that's is way more enjoyable than the visual images that come to mind when I think about being "back in the workforce".

The high praise I've heard from people excited I'm working "again" has disappointed me, making me a bit bummed they never fully supported our decision for me to be a full-time mom with Abigail. The word choices and tone translate to me as if I've been on a 5yr vacation, doing and contributing absolutely nothing to/for our family. While I have enjoyed my mom years, they have not been anything remotely similar to a vacation. These people and their words have really affected me over the last few weeks. 
By no means am I trying to suggest having one full-time parent is the only way, because I know this isn't the best fit for everyone. I also know it's not financially feasible for all families. I wanted to be a mom for a few years, and am so blessed my husband and our finances allowed me to to have that time with our daughter. I really need to not focus on the disappointment of these negative people. I need to remind myself the only opinions that matter are by those making the decisions for our family, Matt and me.

Beyond the Debbie Downers, I have been so grateful to the friends I've made over the last few years in my mom's groups, through church and folks now in my running community who have been so positive and encouraging during my long job search. I am over joyed when I receive a text asking how Starbucks is going, it really has meant so much because I have been slightly fearful of leaving the realm of my safe Christian women friends. I'm currently enjoying learning about my new co-workers. I have not met everyone yet but I'm positive I'm the only one married with a child. There are three engaged employees, two who are still newly married (not to each other), another with three kids (unmarried) and a handful of college students. The dynamic is very different than the other friends and families I/we have made since moving to Atlanta and am anxious to see what type of friendships might develop from this job and only time will tell.

As I mentioned, I've been writing this blog in my head for the last three weeks. We have been trying to adjust life to the changes of me working and with Abigail in school. This third week has been much smoother than the last two. On Tuesday I ran for the first time since August 17th. I had taken Brewer on walks, and I attended a group fitness class at the gym once or twice but not actually ran and the absence of training was causing my stress to increase. I have races planned, I need to be training. Running has become an outlet for me to clear my head and release some stress, and I haven't been. I am trying to give myself grace in this transition period of change. I'm expecting each week to get smoother and better as these new life changes become our normal life. I hope to return to weekly training posts at some point too.

QUESTIONS:
-Do you handle life changes well?
-How do you deal with the Debbie Downers in your life?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Inspired Letter "N"

In February, Abigail has the pleasure of enjoying a day at Magic Kingdom with both sets of her grandparents!
Nano & Nina, Mickey & Abigail, Nana & Papa
Today's Wordless Wedneday: Disney Inspired Letter "N"isn't completely wordless, as most of you wouldn't realize what exactly the "N" represents...Abigail calls three of her grandparents names that start with "N" so now you know!

QUESTION:
-If you participated (or not) in Focused on the Magic's Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop, what did (or would) YOU choose as your Disney Inspired Letter "N"?


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Training Recap: August Week 2 & 3

I'm not sure where the last two weeks have gone. It's been a blur of sorts, even though we haven't been super busy. So I'm recapping two weeks at once in this post.

Monday, August 12th
I spent the morning trying to get back to some resemblance of a home routine after being away for the entire first week of August. Suitcases had to be unpacked, laundry needed to be washed. For the most part it was a perfect day for "a 'jama day" (as Abigail calls it) since the weather wasn't great. The only one inconvenienced was Brewer, who would come over to me, bark in my face then go sniff at his leash. I decided to take Brewer out for a walk, in the rain with umbrella in hand. We finished a 1.7mi walk in 30 minutes.

Tuesday, August 13th
The morning got off to a rocky start. Abigail was playing with Brewer and she bumped into my coffee on the side table. The coffee spilled everywhere! All over the table and all over my training planner (which is now coffee scented). Brewer enjoyed licking up the coffee that spilled over onto the floor. I ended up having to wipe up everything, move furniture, vacuum up Brewer hair and shark the floors. Not how I wanted to spend my morning! Instead of our usual Tuesday activities of swim and dance, Abigail's class times changed for this session leaving Tuesday afternoon free, so we went to the gym instead. I was not feeling the treadmill though, and only managed 5mi in 60 minutes.

Wednesday, August 14th
Abigail decided she wanted to persue gymnastics more, so instead of registering her again for the ballet/tap class she'll be taking Tumbling once a week in addition to her Thursday Pre-Team class. She is still the youngest in her class but she's having so much fun! Her cartwheels and round-offs are constantly improving, and she's getting so close to a handstand. It's fun because I have started attempting these as well and it's my absolute favorite when she corrects me telling me to straighten my legs more or point my toes.

In the evening Abigail and I went to Matt's second softball game of the season. Abigail made a friend and was able to play and run while I kept score for the team. The weather was beautiful and we got home at a decent enough time for me to take Brewer for a walk around the neighborhood before bedtime, 1.42mi in 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 15th
Abigail enjoyed her gymnastics class and I took Brewer for a 1.66mi in 40 minutes once we returned home. Brewer seems to be content to go for walks but I know he really wants to run, too bad for him I'm taking this week easy to prepare for my double race day on Saturday.

Bonus, I hit 10,000 tweets!

Friday, August 16th
I'm still fundraising as a St Jude Hero for Dopey Challenge and am over halfway to my $2000 goal! Until August 30th you can place an order with Thirty-One and 10% of all sales will be donated back to my fundraising, and one lucky order will also win a great prize. We'll also be having a local yard sale in October with all sales going to my big goal, so Abigail and I spent the morning picking up donations from some local friends. I'm so grateful to everyone who is helping me with fundraising!

I took Brewer out for a 1.78mi in 31 minutes before we enjoyed dinner out "at the brown bread place", Abigail's name for Outback. Matt and Abigail enjoyed coloring together, even though Matt was a bit crazy about Abigail needing to stay within the lines.

Saturday, August 17th
My morning started early as I woke up to head straight over to Vinings Downhill 5K. This was my very first 5K last year so I was excited to run the course again and compare "apples to apples" to see how I improved over the last year. My 2012 time was 35:41, which is a fast time but this is a downhill course. A new PR (personal record) was achieved with a time of 28:28! I am thrilled to have a sub30 5K time too. (Oh! and I won a coupon for a Mocha Cookies-n-Cream shake from Chick-Fil-A!)

I also registered for the Area 13.1 (an evening half marathon) making this a double race day. I had heard a lot of negative reviews from the 2012 event but was still excited to run this race. I parked off site, arriving to the start line a bit later than I had hoped. In the craziness of it all, I got a bit too over confident and programmed myself for 4:1 intervals and it wasn't good. For the weather conditions (it had just rained and was overly humid) and this being my second race of the day, I should have stuck with 3:1 intervals. Overall, I did set a new half marathon PR time of 02:20:20 which is 5 minutes off my last half time from April.

Sunday, August 18th
I woke up feeling like I had been hit from a truck, and I had been so happy I remembered to stretch and foam roll before I had gone to bed. I could have felt much worse; I forget running downhill works different muscles. I was also starving! It felt good to get up and move, every bit of me seemed so stiff! After church, we went to PF Chang's for lunch where I devoured a dinner portion of their Crispy Honey Chicken. After I was no longer starving, I took Brewer for a 1.58mi walk in 32 minutes. My ITBs were sore and I felt slower than usual but getting in a recovery walk.

Monday, August 19th
Number One priority was to call Starbucks and inquire about the background check that was submitted on August 6th. I had called last week but the store manager was on vacation, so I had to wait a bit longer. Finally I spoke to the store manager and she asked me to come in with my passport to fill out tax papers, so I guess that means I'm hired! Finally! Otherwise, it was a low-key day because my legs were still sore so I skipped on the training.

Tuesday, August 20th
It became official, I filled out all my tax documents and will start training at Starbucks next week. With this news, I also learned my schedule would not be set days each week. This concerned me because Matt and I would be "juggling" Abigail back and forth with our very different schedules. I spent the afternoon revising our budget to see if 9mo of preschool tuition could be squeezed in and I emailed the school where she had been on the wait list. I had plenty to do and with sore legs I decided I needed an extra rest day.

Wednesday, August 21st
Abigail and I went to the preschooler morning at the skating rink. I was thrilled to wear my Retro ProCompression socks, and received a few envious comments from other moms! I chatted up other moms who had their child(ren) enrolled at the preschool I was hoping Abigail would be able to attend. They informed me Wednesday & Thursday was Teacher Meet and Greet, so the lady I was trying to get in touch with was very busy.  In an odd turn of events, the skating rink co-owner also chatted me up and long-story-short, she wants to hire me to help her coordinate corporate events one day a week (whenever I have off at Starbucks). This would be an amazing opportunity and our personalities are very similar. So let me get this straight? I was Starbucks #1 harasser all summer, and now I might have TWO jobs?! Yes, I'm fully away God likes to show me He has a sense of humor.

Brewer even got to go for a walk around the block. We managed 1.71mi in 40 minutes. It's really funny how our pace varies from day to day. It all depends on how many scents Brewer smells, and how many bushes and mailboxes he wants to mark along our way.

Thursday, August 22nd
Abigail had a preschool spot! I hadn't spoken with the preschool's director, we only played phone-tag. I decided Abigail and I would just show up to the Teacher Meet and Greet (technically uninvited). I filled out lots of paper work, Abigail received her "backpack" (a red shoulder bag), we met her teachers and checked out her classroom. Abigail knows two of her classmates already and she was disappointed when it was time to leave.

Matt and I (and Abigail) got to attend the New Parent Orientation that evening. The director went over the entire parent manual. It was a good introduction for Matt, who had never visited before. Abigail also took him to see her classroom, since he'll be sharing in the drop-off and picking-up as well.


Friday, August 23rd


Saturday, August 24th
Instead of registering for a small race through Marietta Square, I decided to take Abigail to cheer on my good friend Brandi and her parents.


Sunday, August 25th

Monday, August 19, 2013

INKnBURN Running Shorts Review

As I have mentioned many times on this blog, I started my running journey June 2012 with Couch to 5K. I had to build a running wardrobe mostly from scratch. As the weeks progressed through C25K, I realized the workout clothes that I was wearing to the gym for different group fitness classes wasn't as comfortable while "running". (Insert a laugh here, my pace was slow and I ran intervals so I never claimed to be "a runner".) For the sake of not doing laundry daily, I was more concerned with quantity. Most of my running wardrobe consisted of items I found on sale with a combined coupon from Kohl's. I acquired a variety of brands and I was learning what was comfortable, wicked sweat best, didn't cause chaffing, etc. Part of my hesitation in not wanting to spend too much money was because of my track record; me and exercise have never been consistent. 

I was originally introduced to INKnBURN through social media late in 2012. I know I lusted over the beautiful designs numerous times online but was always deterred because of the pricetag. One of my #CorralG friends from 2013 WDW Marathon Weekend, Linzie Starr was/is always raving about his love for INKnBURN. After reading so many positive reviews, and Linzie sharing a discount code with me (I still like being "thrifty"), I finally decided to give it a try for myself. My first purchase was the Dragonfly Shorts (pictured above). I was surprised when I got the shorts in hand, the fabric felt like no other items in my wardrobe. 

Here's what INKnBURN has to say:
"INKnBURN's Women's Running Shorts are designed to be light and fast. The moisture-wicking fabric we use for the body of the shorts is ultra light with a subtle texture to it. It also has stretch so these shorts give when you need them to. The waistband is soft but also strong and stretchy. No muffin tops with these babies! You can keep it up for extra tummy support or, roll it down to reveal a complimentary design in the inner lining for a low-cut look."  

I absolutely love the waistband option! I am a petite 5'1" and so many waistbands do not hit me where I would like. I also had a c-section in December 2009 and am self-conscious about my mid-section, as many women are, so I wear the waistband up for the extra support. The shorts also have undies built-in and two pockets, big enough for a gel or two in each. When it got to the point where I was washing my Dragonfly Shorts every other day, I knew I needed a few more! A rare discount code was advertised around Forth of July, I jumped!
Purple Run or Die, Pink Ribbon, Leaf'em in the Dust, Demin
INKnBURN's Women's Running Shorts truly are high-performance running shorts! I consistently set personal best times when I race in my INKnBURN shorts. Okay, some of this is due to my continued training as I'm still improving, but when you feel good, you do preform better. I never fidgit with my InB shorts, they don't ride up when I run. I have even raced in the rain, my shorts were dry in no time (unlike the rest of me). Ladylike or not, I sweat or sparkle, or whatever you'd like to call it. I'm not sure if I should compliment the quality of the fabric or the prints, or the combination of the two, but I am thrilled that after a training run or race I do not look like I have dumped water all over myself...or just poured water on myself in awkward place, if you catch what I'm saying.
I must say, it's also pretty fun showing up to an event and NOT blending in with the latest and greatest color schemes released by Nike or Under Armour. Sometimes it's so obvious everyone went shopping that same week, that I think I missed a memo! The INKnBURN designs are beautiful art. 

"Don't disappear into to the crowd...Distance yourself with INKnBURN and the Art of Running." 

Now ladies, do check the size chart and take your measurements before placing your order! The women's running shorts are available from a size 0 to 14. Every company has different measurements, but I ordered based on my measurements and my fit is exact! I recently used the same sizing chart to order my first INKnBURN camisoles, and loved racing in them over the weekend!

Yes, above I did say "before placing your order!" because I know you have now checked out all 19 options of INKnBURN Women's Running Shorts. I know you have a favorite print! Some of my original concerns I listed above might still be circling through your head, well take my 15%off code "jilltoldme" and try out a piece of the INKnBURN aparel for yourself! (You will need to create an account to use my code, but this will also earn you $10 towards your second purchase. Trust me, there will be a second purchase!)

If you still need a some convincing, see what other INKnBURN products my fellow Ambassadors reviewed by clicking the individual links below.






QUESTIONS:

-What will be your first/next purchase?
-Do you have a favorite design in the INKnBURN line?

Friday, August 16, 2013

runningMix: Summer Tunes

On June 25th I highlighted the Top 5 Songs that have received the most play on my runningMix. I usually hit "shuffle" when I start my runningMix so I was shocked to see why some songs play way more than others. That same week I created  a separate playlist for the Peachtree Road Race. I had purchased some newer tunes and wanted to have the newer tunes to help keep me energized as I tried to sub60 at one of the two 10Ks in July. My training and new song additions helped me reach that goal! Here are a few of the newer tunes I have been loving during my summer runs!

Florence + The Machine: Dog Days Are Over

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Can't Hold Us

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines

Fun.: Some Nights

will.i.am ft Justin Bieber: #thatPOWER

QUESTIONS:
-Are any of these songs on your running playlist?
-What has been at the top of your running playlist this summer?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Transportation

Abigail's favorite Disney Transportation has got to be The Tomorrowland Speedway! It's very rare when we skip this attraction when visiting Magic Kingdom. 
Where's the driver? (04.29.11)
Eyes on the road! (10.14.11)
Our for a 3rd Birthday cruise. (12.19.11)
Are you ready for some whiplash, Papa? (03.02.12)
(05.29.12)
(08.09.12)
QUESTION:
-What is your favorite form of Disney Transportation, an attraction or real transportation?