Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cross Country 2013

    Tomorrow is the official start to our Cross Country season and I am incredibly excited.  In preparing for the season, I'm constantly reading articles on running, I'm obsessed with Runner's World and Pinterest for inspirational quotes and workouts for my girls.  They probably aren't as excited as I am but I will get them to think like I do, at least by the end of season!  I am excited to see where this season takes us, since last year one of the girls ended up at the state tournament - naturally I am hoping that we can do that again, if not even better!

    So I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes, funny running-isms... ENJOY!
I think these are really important to remember!

I confess... I've definitely done this a time or two, especially while running with my Dad. We have Pace Envy!
Our T-shirt design for last season!
Guilty of running like this on occasion...

When my alarm went off at 5am this morning, this is how I felt - Why am I doing this! 

What are some of your favorite motivational quotes??

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A lesson in American History

   This summer my cousin got married in Savannah, Georgia, my family had never been to Savannah, so we turned the wedding into an excuse for a week long family vacation.  Being one of nine, family vacations were few and far between and typically centered around visiting other family or my Dad's business trips.  So we were more than a little excited to go explore Savannah.  Savannah, like so much of the East Coast is full of so much history, so much more than the Midwestern states!  So naturally we had to soak up as much history as we possibly could.

    The rehearsal dinner was at Old Fort Jackson.  They had Civil War re-enactors, dressed in the appropriate military garb who were ready and willing to answer any questions we might have had about the fort.  They also shot off a 32lb. cannon, which was incredibly loud!  The Fort is located on the Savannah River.
The Entrance to Old Fort Jackson

A Riverboat cruising past the fort

Preparing to shoot off the cannon!

   On Sunday night after re-cooperating from the wedding festivities, we got together with our relatives that were still in town for dinner and a ghost tour.  31 of us went to dinner and the ghost tour, which meant that we had the entire trolley to just our family.  I felt a little bit bad for the tour guides who were trying their hardest to be serious and scary and my family just cracking jokes the entire time.  But we learned interesting theories on a variety of aspects in Savannah.  Such as, Spanish Moss grows on the trees all throughout Savannah, except for one Square towards the center of the city.  It is believed that no moss grows there because it was the square where they would have public hangings, and so now the moss won't grow. 
The Forsythe Park, where the Spanish moss DOES grow!
   Later on in the week we went to Tybee Island to soak up some sun on the beach and swim in the ocean.  Us, Midwesterners don't get to swim in the ocean, the closest thing we have is Lake Michigan and it doesn't quite compare.  On the way to Tybee Island we stopped at Fort Pulaski and toured the fort.  Again there were civil war re-enactors who were dressed in appropriate military garb, we happened to be there on one of the days when the fort was considered Union.  We watched a musket presentation and learned all about how they would load their guns.  We toured their barracks and explored their underground armories. 
Musket Presentation

My brothers exploring the Cannons

We put my sister in the Brig - she wasn't too happy!

The Underground Armories, with tight hallways, a complex system to get to different locations.

Ft. Pulaski sustained ALOT of damage and if you look closely you can still see cannon balls in the walls of the fort!

   History is incredibly important to me, especially concerning our military and those who serve our wonderful country.  Being at the fort gives you a sense of the tragedy and intense warfare that occurred during the Civil War and the stark realization of the sacrifice so many of our men and women have given to our country!

Have you traveled anywhere this summer that was rich in American History?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wedding Season!!!

  This summer I went to two weddings and like most girls, I had the hardest time deciding what to wear!  The one wedding was my cousin's in Savannah, Georgia - a typical Southern Wedding.  My family made it into a week long family vacation (we NEVER go on vacations - way too many of us). The other wedding was my Best Friend's from Junior High and High School, her's was black tie, so a little more formal than the Savannah wedding, which meant I needed a different dress for each wedding!  Not any easy task for someone who is 5'-11" and wants a modest dress, (as a side note - why are dresses so short, so tight and so low cut?? People - it is not flattering!) and so I feel like I spent the better part of May trying to find dresses for both weddings!
     So here is what I wore to both:

Savannah, Georgia Wedding:
(Pictured Left to Right: My sister Katie, My sister Amanda, Me and my Sister Monica)
This is what I wore to the Rehearsal Dinner - a Long floral Maxi Dress which was perfect for the occasion and location.  The dinner was at Old Fort Jackson on the Savannah River, which is naturally an outside venue.  The long dress kept me warm as the sun went down and protected me from mosquitos - those pesky things!

(Pictured Left to Right: Me, My sisters Amanda, Katie and Monica)
 For the wedding, I went with a knee length black and white striped dress, with yellow accents - my heels, purse and bracelets.

All of the cousins that made it to the wedding! As you can tell we are quite the large, energetic group!!

My Best Friend's Wedding:
      I was really nervous for what is appropriate attire for a Black Tie Wedding.  When I discussed it with my friend, she mentioned that most people would be in a long dress.  I searched and searched for a dress, but nothing was long enough or it was way too expensive, but I found an elegant short dress that I thought would work if I dressed it up as much as possible, so I decided to get my hair done!

Didn't my hair stylist do an amazing job?!
I haven't had my hair done since Prom in High School and I forgot how much fun it is!  The stylist even asked if she could take some pictures to use for her portfolio.  Sure! Why not?!

My Dates for the Evening!
A few of my friends brought their boyfriends, so I couldn't miss an opportunity to take a few pictures with these good looking guys!

 Of course I had to take atleast one picture with my friend - the bride!  Doesn't she look gorgeous!  All in all, I thought my dress worked out pretty well despite it being a short dress.

What do you think?? Do you struggle with finding appropriate dresses for an occasion??

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Workout Tip Tuesday: Interval Running

   As many of you know, I got into running in college and it has stuck with me ever since, but I've suddenly had the realization that running was a HUGE part of my life before then even though I didn't really notice it.  I played soccer pretty much since the time I was 5, typically playing the Midfielder position, which requires A LOT of running!  But this position also requires a variety of running speeds, which seems to be my forte much more than running at a incredibly consistent pace!
  My Dad is one of the most consistent runners I know - he can say he's going to go run 6 miles at a 10 minute pace and I know he will be home in 60 minutes.  I am not like that at all. In fact, when we train together he often refers to us as the Tortoise and the Hare - me being the Hare.  Not really the nicest comparison but I get it. I vary my speed all the time!
Found these statues in Boston, when I visited my sister last summer - had to take a pic for Dad!
     Lately however, I seem to be doing more and more treadmill workouts due to my crazy allergies. Treadmills can be great, but they can also be incredibly boring, so I often find myself figuring out ways to spice them up, which leads me to the Interval Workout!

    I stumbled across this great interval workout on Pinterest (follow me) the other day and have completed it a few times.  I have to give you fair warning however... it is INTENSE, it made me sweat more than I probably ever have before at the gym and gave me a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished it!

     The thing that is important to remember for this workout is that you need to adjust it to fit yourself.  If you have never, ever run at a 9.0 on the treadmill, then you shouldn't attempt it for your first time doing this workout.  The 9.0 should be equivalent to your fastest speed on the treadmill, where you feel like you are at a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 for exertion.  If that means that for you that is a 7.0 on the treadmill, work backwards from that point to get the proper increments.  As you become better and stronger you can change the speed at each increment to challenge yourself.

 Try it and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hello August!

My goodness! This summer has flown by!  Just a few short weeks and the craziness of fall will be upon us.  For me, August marks the beginning of my craziest time of the year.  The Cross Country season starts up again, which is hectic in and of itself, but coupled with a 40hr a week job tends to be pure insanity.  And this year I decided to add one more piece of insanity to my schedule... I've agreed to teach a college level Interior Design class for a College in the city!

    I am a mixture of emotions concerning this new endeavor.  Excitement, nervousness, anticipation, etc.  I never thought I would be in this position and I am so excited for the opportunity!  I have been working on the Syllabus, project requirements, grading scale, etc. and I have to admit - it is really fun to be on this end of the academic world!
      The semester is going to consist of important history of design and how other cultures have affected design throughout the years and how they are still affecting our culture and design today.  The second 1/2 is geared more towards Interior Design in the world today - picking out paint colors, materials and finishes, important ADA requirements, common Interior Design mistakes, etc.

     If you were in my Interior Design class what would you specifically want to learn about Interior Design??

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon - Terrorists NEVER win!

   I'm still in shock over yesterday's events at the Boston Marathon.  There are no words to adequately describe how I feel.  Just like 9-11, I think I will always remember where I was at when I heard the news.  I had just left work and quickly stopped at home to change clothes and then go pick up my soccer team to go to our first game. As I was about to leave my Mom asked me if I had heard about the marathon, naturally I thought she was talking about who had won, etc. but based on her tone I knew it was something bad.  So I said no and then she told me the news, my phone then started to explode with text messages, emails, phone calls, FB messages and tweets, everyone wanting to know if I had heard the news and if I knew of anyone running Boston this year.
   I am sick over the horror of the day.  I have run 4 marathons, all of which have been Chicago, and the incredible feeling of crossing the finish line, is truly one of the most amazing and memorable experiences of my life.  Now, someone has taken away that feeling from thousands of people and replaced that with a feeling of terror.  Why? What was your goal?  To make us live in fear? To make us turn away from God and humanity?  To make us stop being fit and healthy and to fear marathons? Well guess what... it didn't work!  You will NEVER be able to take away my love and belief in God and humanity!  You will NEVER make me live in fear! You will NEVER stop me from running a marathon or stop me from spectating at a marathon!

   See, you terrorist, you didn't win yesterday, you didn't win in Newton, Ct., you didn't win on 9-11, or during any other tragic events, you will never win when we stand united!

  To everyone affected by yesterday's horrible events... I'm sorry, I'm praying for all of you and I LOVE you all!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Morning Workout

    I don't know about you but I certainly have the hardest time getting up in the morning to go workout.  I even recently changed the title on my alarm to work as motivation...
It didn't work so well...It's partly do to the fact that I truly haven't slept well in months but also that a part of me thinks, "Sleep that extra hour and you can workout later."  Another reason is that I train really hard for my marathons and triathlons that hitting the gym at 4am just seems INSANE to me!  But my schedule has been so crazy the last two months that I am really disappointed in myself for the lack of dedication to the gym.  Often when I have an opportunity to hit the gym, I opt to take a nap or relax.  But that is done!

     As of this week, I am getting up every morning an hour earlier to fit in Jillian Michael's Ab video... I know, I know... who actually does workout videos anymore?  But the last few days I have felt absolutely incredible!  Just that 35-40min workout gets me motivated for the day and gives me incredible energy for the rest of the day!  As strange as it is, I have more energy so when it's the decision between going to the gym in the afternoon or taking a nap, I go and hit the gym!

   I realize it is only Tuesday, so this motivation might disappear, but its amazing how one slight change can make a HUGE difference in your day!

What about you? Are you someone who workouts out in the morning?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Who Says?

   I don't know what it is lately, but I feel like I have been around ALOT of Debbie Downers who like to tell me that I can't do something, shouldn't do something, am stupid for wanting to do something, etc. and I am tired of it!  Most of the time it seems to be career or health/fitness related and I think it is most often other people's fears that are coming out when they say its a stupid idea or you are crazy.

    I recently changed the ringtone on my phone to play the Selena Gomez's song "Who Says?", as my alarm when I get up in the morning.  I know that is probably really cheesy but it really has motivated me the last few weeks.  If you don't know the song, here is the refrain:
   "Who says, who says you're not perfect,
     Who says you're not worth it
     Who says you're the only one that's hurting
     Trust me that's the price of beauty
     Who says you're not pretty
     Who says you're not beautiful, who says?"

I like to sing this in my head when people tell me I am crazy for starting my own company.  Or I am insane for wanting to do an Ironman race.  Life is about setting goals and and taking that leap of faith to pursue them. 

So next time someone tells you can't do something, take it with a grain of salt!

If you want to watch the music video, here you go:

Monday, January 21, 2013

The "Winter" Funk

     Do you ever feel like your life is spinning in a million different directions and the only thing you seem to be able to do is grab on?  Life seems to go faster and faster and you start to lose that grip and wonder will life ever slow down for me?  For me it seems like the answer is no... and I'm tired of waiting for life to slow down to do the things that I want to do!
   I am currently working tow jobs, one of which is full time and the other one is 15-20hours a week.  Job #1 is not in the field that I studied in college, but I find the work incredibly fulfilling and actually feel like I am making a difference in people's lives.  Job #2 is sort of in my field, (Interior Design), I'm actually working more as a graphic designer for them at the moment.  I have been working at Job #2 for the last month and a half and so I feel like life is spinning by and I just want to shout SLOW DOWN!!!
   Now, one of the big things for the New Year is using one word to describe what your year is going to be like, terms like Healthy, Fitness, etc. are being used to describe what people want to see out of 2013.  I have avoided saying my word because I don't want to sound selfish, but... I figure I will share it with all of you, to give you a better idea of what this year will hold for me!  My word for 2013 is: ME.  I know that does sound incredibly self-centered and selfish and I kind of even hate admitting that, but here is why I think its a good word for 2013:
    - I've gotten so wrapped up in the hours that I am working that I am not enjoying the little things in life -  and I want to
    - I've been busy and tired so I have let personal relationships fall to the back burner, and I HATE that!
So this year is about me and doing things that I have wanted to do for a really long time but have put off, and re-connecting with friends and family! 

    I have come up with my Top 13 Things to do of 2013:
         1. Go to a Chicago Sporting Event (Cubs, Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks - I don't care which one)
         2. Go on a Road Trip/Trip out of State with Friends or Family
         3. Have a relaxing Spa Day
         4. Do something CRAZY/Different with my Hair
         5. Finish a 1/2 Ironman Race
         6. Go Zip Lining
         7. Go on a Chicago Architectural Tour
         8. Go to a Concert of one of my Favorite Groups/Bands
         9. Do a "Fun Run" - Something like the Color Run, Muddy Buddy, Foam Race, etc.
       10. Swim in the Ocean
       11. Learn something new (a new language, a new craft like crocheting, etc.)
       12. Laugh more
       13. Not complain about jobs, being busy or tired...

Maybe that seems like a silly list, from things that are totally practical to things that seem harder to accomplish.  What about you?