Sunday Night Melt Down

When it comes to weekends, I kind of feel like I’m an expert. Not to brag or anything, but I know how to fill a weekend with fun and adventures and take advantage of every second of freedom from work and the hectic, yet ridiculously mundane, Monday through Friday schedule.

This weekend was no different. It started Friday after work with an “adventure hike” with the whole family.

We explored some trails we had never been on, only to find that they lead us on a short cut to a lake that we like to fish on in the summer! The sun was shining and it was the perfect evening for an adventure.

Then, Saturday morning the boys had basketball games at church. Luckily, there was enough time in between the games for me to squeeze in my 6 mile run.

More time outside breathing the fresh air. 

Then, more basketball and back home to spend some quality time cleaning my house…it’s been a while.

On Sunday, after a 5 mile treadmill run, church, and grocery shopping, we decided to head back to the trails we explored Friday night and try out the ice fishing on the lake.

Not a lot of luck, but we were having fun and the boys didn’t want to go home.

I had told Will I didn’t want to stay much longer because I still had a lot of work to do to prep for the week once we got home, but then I decided I didn’t want to cut our fun short. So, we stuck around for another half hour and didn’t get home until a little after 5:00 pm. 

That meant I had to immediately start making dinner, packing lunches, chopping veggies, and meal prepping for my week of clean eating. So I headed to the kitchen to work, and the boys headed to the living room to relax. 

45 minutes later and dinner was ready. We ate together as a family, then I headed back to the kitchen to clean up and continue meal prepping, and the boys headed back to the living room to be lazy.

The clock was ticking and I still had a list of things I needed to get done before I could sit down and chill out. So, when Will started pestering me to come and hang out with them, I was pretty impatient with him about it. Besides church that morning, I literally hadn’t sat down or sat still at all, all day. And that was all I wanted to do! But, I needed to finish up all of the things I had to do to get ready for the work week ahead. 

The pestering continued and I wasn’t doing a good job of keeping my cool. I really felt like everyone needed to leave me alone so that I could finish what I needed to do. 

Seeing how overwhelmed I had suddenly become, Will casually suggested that maybe I should just go to bed. At this comment, I kind of freaked out… “I don’t want to go to bed! I just want to sit around and do nothing like you guys have been doing for the last two hours!!!!!”…and then I stormed out of the room and went to go fold laundry.

Of course, Will followed after shortly to make sure I was okay…

And I was okay, but I wasn’t. I hate Sunday nights. I hate saying good bye to the weekend and getting ready for another long, exhausting week full of responsibility. I always stay up way too late on Sunday nights because I just don’t want to go to bed and wake up to another Monday morning!

It’s ridiculous, especially because I actually like my job. I just like the endless possibilities of the weekend so much more 🙂

So to summarize, I’m REALLY good at weekends…but REALLY bad at Sunday nights. I’m not alone, right?!

Sparkle.Pounce.Work Hard. Play Harder. 

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

Everyone knows the old saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” When I was younger, I basically took this to mean, “Suck it up and stop crying about things that aren’t important.” Then, when I was a new mom, I spent hours upon hours stressing over how much milk my baby was getting. I breast fed, and then would try to pump to get “extra” and build up my milk supply. It was exhausting. Being in an overly emotional, sleep-deprived state, when I spilled my first bottle of breast-pumped milk, I cried my eyes out. And from then on, whenever I heard anyone say, “Don’t cry over spilled milk,” I wanted to look them in the eyes and say (in a very deep and serious voice), “Have you ever spilled breast milk?…I didn’t think so.”

Anyway, this blog isn’t about spilling milk. So I will move along.

Last night I had to do my first round of 800’s for my BQ marathon training plan. My finishing time goal is 3 hours and 30 minutes. That’s an 8:01 per mile pace. This is about 15 seconds per mile faster than I trained for last year. (**Also, last year I didn’t really know what paces I should be running at during most of my training runs. After a lot of research and combining a variety of plans, I’m being kind of anal this time around with all of my paces.) So, it was on my schedule for last night that I needed to do 4 X 800’s at a 6:58 pace (8.7 on the treadmill). 

My plan was to do a mile warm up, then do four half miles at 8.7 speed, with 3 mins 20 seconds recovery between each one, and then do a mile cool down. I have been terrified of this workout since last Thursdays tempo run. Thursday’s are always a challenging workout…

Well, during the day yesterday I text my sister and told her to let me know how her 800’s went, so I’d have a little heads up on how miserable it was going to be for me. I was SHOCKED when she text me and said they didn’t go how she’d planned because of a crying, screaming baby. So she had to get them done as quickly as possibly and she did two of them at a 9.0 treadmill speed and the last two at a 10.0 speed. WHAT!?!?! WWWhhhhhhhaaaatttt?!?! 

She assured me that they were easier than our treadmill hill work we had done two weeks ago and that I would have no problem with them. I was not so sure.

Fast forward to 5:30 pm.

After the usual after school whirl wind, which included a trip to the barber shop for my 10 year old, I managed to get the boys fed with chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. My husband wasn’t going to be home until 6:00, so I prepped my favorite sweet potatoes for us (because I was doing a 4 day clean eating challenge) and threw them in the oven. I then hopped on the treadmill to rock out my 800’s.

Being a somewhat competitive, “If you can do it, I can do it, and I SHOULD do it” girl, I decided I would go ahead and run my 800’s at a 9.0 instead of an 8.7 like my plan said. That lasted for ONE 800. After the first one, I realized that there was no way I could run three more at that pace, and I slowed it down to an 8.7 speed.

After my second 800, I heard my husband get home. So, I hopped off the treadmill, grabbed the sweet potatoes out of the oven and offered to fix him his plate. He declined saying he could handle it, so I got back on the treadmill to finish up my workout. 

It was really tough. I knew it was going to be tough. I had mentally prepared for tough, but I hadn’t mentally prepared to think that maybe I could do a speed of 9.0 and then realize that nope, I could not.

But, there was no time to dwell on it because my family was waiting for me to eat dinner, hit the shower, and then head to our high school’s varsity basketball game. And I was a starving, sweaty mess.

I told Liam to go turn the shower on for me (our house is almost 200 years old and it takes the water FOREVER to get hot), and I headed to the kitchen to load up a plate of chicken and my favorite sweet potatoes! I went to the stove and saw an empty pan….hhhmmmmm…weird. I made A LOT. So I checked everywhere else they might be and still couldn’t find them. Finally, I decided to look in the garbage. Yup. My sweet potatoes were in the garbage.


Not a lot of tears, but enough to make someone say something like, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”

I was sooooo upset. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just because my beloved potatoes were in the garbage. It was a combination of things. I was exhausted, starving, and feeling a bit defeated about my workout. And at that moment I realized that it’s okay to cry over “spilled milk.” Because it’s always so much more than that. There is always a breaking point. And when that comes, whether it’s from your dinner in the garbage, a long line at the grocery store, not being able to find your car keys, or any other “little” thing, it’s okay to have a little cry and then move on. 

My “moving on” last night meant saying “forget it” to my clean eating challenge for a minute and pouring myself a big glass of chocolate milk. It was delicious. 

So, whatever your “spilled milk” is, just know that it’s okay to cry over it. But then move on and go back to chasing those dreams.

Sparkle.Pounce.Cry and Move On.


Mental Toughness: Send Some My Way

Last May, when I crossed the finish line at The Bayshore Marathon, I cried. A lot. I had finished in a time of 3:38:59. The time I needed to qualify for Boston was 3:40. I cried because even though I had “qualified” for Boston, I knew that my time wasn’t going to get me a spot in the race. All of my family members that were there to cheer for me were very confused. My sister asked, “Why are you crying?!?! You did it! You qualified for Boston!” My response was, “Because I’m not going to get in and I never want to have to do this again. I don’t want to run that fast. It was so hard.”

Fast forward 8 months to now. 

I am officially 2 weeks into round two of training to attempt at getting into Boston. Saturday was my first scheduled “at pace” run. It was only 4 miles, so I honestly wasn’t that worried about it. 

Then, around 10 AM I got the following text from my sister, Rondi, who is training “with” me from afar. 

Upon reading the text, I immediately flashed back to round one of training and remembered feeling that exact way. So, I was quick to respond with that information and assure her that it was somehow going to be possible. And that these pace runs were nothing more than a mental challenge. 

Then, Saturday afternoon I hopped on the treadmill for my run. I started out with a 1/2 mile warm up at a nice, easy pace. Then, I cranked the treadmill up to an 8:00 min mile (7.5). The first mile wasn’t too bad. After that, it was hard. Really hard. By the time I got to 2.5 miles, I was having flashbacks to when I was crying after the Bayshore Marathon last year and remembering EXACTLY why I didn’t want to have to do that again. 

Upon completing my run, I text Rondi and said, “Done. Mentally and physically exhausted.” And that was 100% the truth. It had been a really long time (8 months to be exact) since I had to work so hard to stay mentally strong and positive during a run. Thank goodness the run was so short! I felt like I not only lost all of my endurance for holding an 8 minute mile, but also all of my endurance for holding a positive, “can do” mental attitude. 

And that’s when it hit me that mental toughness really does have to be trained. It’s not something that you have, or don’t have. It’s something that you work on and build up, just like physical endurance. The more uncomfortable situations you are in, the easier they become. The more time you spend being uncomfortable, the more manageable it is. 

No one likes to be in pain. No one likes to have thoughts and feelings of self doubt, giving up, and failure. But those are the thoughts that we need to learn to push through and overcome. It is only then that we learn how to handle that anxiety and prove to ourselves that we CAN do it. Every time we fight through it and don’t quit, we are fueling that inner confidence that we need to reach our goals.

I’m really not looking forward to all of the “uncomfortable” runs that I have coming my way over the next 5 months. But, I know that through each of those runs I am gaining the mental toughness that I’m going to need to get to Boston. And that makes it all worth it.

Sparkle.Pounce.Be Tough.


2:00 AM Text Messages

Do you get text messages from your friends between the hours of midnight and 3 AM? I do. Almost every single night. It used to be that if I got a text message at that time it was from a friend who had had a bit too much fun on their night out, but that’s not the case anymore. These days, those text messages come from friends who are dealing with something more like this in the middle of the night…

I chuckle now when I see that. It’s stinkin’ hilarious. What is not hilarious, however, is being the mom who is not getting enough sleep…EVER.

Of my small groups of running girlfriends, 5 of them have babies that are 18 months old or younger. A few weeks ago, one of them said to me that she kind of wished I was at the same “stage” as them with raising kids (my boys are 7 and 10), but then she changed her mind and said that she was glad my kids were older so that they can all see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There WILL come a day when they aren’t up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby, and back up at 4:45 AM because the little man has decided he’s not going back to sleep.

But for now, that’s the stage they’re at in life.

We all go through our own phases in life, and sometimes it’s challenging to not move at the same pace as our friends and family. Back when I had my children, none of my friends were having kids yet, and it was really hard for me to go through that without friends that really understood how difficult it was. But now, I can empathize with what they are going through, because I have been there.

It’s the same with marriage, buying a home, going to college, getting settled in a career… These are all stages that would be so much easier to go through at the same time as our closest friends, but that’s not how life works. We all have to work through it at our own pace. 

Luckily, not going at the same pace as those around us doesn’t mean that we can’t be each other’s support crew. This is true in the big things and in the little things. 

For me, the “big” thing this year (and last) is juggling life while training REALLY hard to qualify for the Boston marathon…and be fast enough to make the time cut off and run in Boston in 2017. Even though the girls I run with most often have no plans to qualify for Boston any time soon, they are still an amazing support group for me. (And my sister is my long distance training buddy who shares my BQ goal!!) They encourage me to get my workouts in, even when I really don’t want to, and they never hesitate to send sparkle my way when I seem to have an insufficient amount.

For them, the “big” thing right now is learning how to manage training for marathons, half ironmans, 50K’s, and life, while entertaining babies at 2 AM and trying to shoosh them back to sleep at 4:30 AM, and sending a few “catch up” texts in between.

Life is hard. Thank goodness for amazing support crews that help us to go at our own pace.

Sparkle.Pounce.Be Somebody’s Support Crew.


Life: Keeping Up The Pace

Sometimes I’m not sure which is more challenging, training for a marathon or raising kids while maintaining relationships with friends and hanging on to my sanity.

It seems that as my children get older, the pace of life keeps getting faster and faster, and there are times when it really feels like I can’t keep up. That was the case last week. Between basketball practices, church youth group, long work days, and just life in general, there were very few waking hours when my entire family was home together. Add that to the fact that my husband left today to work out of town for the beginning of the week, and I was left feeling pretty stressed out and uncomfortable with the lack of family time. 

Because of that, I ended up backing out of plans with my friends on Saturday night. I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE BACK OUT OF PLANS. I really do. And I try hard not to make a commitment to something unless I know for sure that I can be there, but this was a case of not being able to keep up with the pace of my life. I needed to back off and slow down in order to regain a sense of control and peace. So, that’s what I did. I cancelled my plans so that I could stay home and have a night with my family before my husband headed out of town. 

And it was definitely the right choice. 

Taking the time to slow down and catch my breath was just what I needed to recharge.

I thought about that a lot on my run Saturday afternoon. I had a 6 mile run at an 8:42 pace listed on my training plan, and I was lucky enough to get to run outside…and it was 47 degrees! An 8:42 pace is faster than I’ve been running lately. Honestly, I haven’t even paid attention to how fast I’ve been running since last May. So, this run was pretty hard. My body apparently forgot how to hold a steady pace when I’m not running on the treadmill.

Every time I felt like I was running too fast, I’d look at my watch to see that I was, indeed, running much faster that I should have been. Then, I’d slow down, get lost in thought, feel like I was probably running too slow, and check my watch again to see that I was, indeed, running too slow. It literally went on like that for the entire 6 miles. 

It was exhausting not being able to find my rhythm and just hold it. 

And that is life.

There are times when it feels like we’re going too fast, and it’s because we are. We need to take the time to slow down and enjoy the journey.

And then there are times when it may seem like life is a bit mundane and not full of the experiences we want. Those are the moments when we reevaluate our goals and often realize that we’re not doing what we need to to reach them. 

It’s all a balancing act, and it takes a lot of time and practice to find your rhythm and then hold it. But it can be done.

Sparkle.Pounce.Keep The Pace.


New Year’s Day Marathon: Run This Year

Sometimes I do “crazy” stuff. I kind of love that about myself. All throughout my youth I was a very good kid. I did what I was supposed to do, got good grades, made good choices, and never really did anything that surprised anyone. Now, as an adult, I love when I can do something “crazy” and surprise people.

On December 30th around 8:00 pm, I decided that I really wanted to start the new year out by running a full marathon on New Year’s Day. I hadn’t run more than 10 miles since last May, and most of my runs lately have been between 3-4 miles. So, ya, it was kind of a crazy idea. But, I really wanted to do it and managed to get my Sparkle.Pounce. sister, LeighAnn, to join me. 

We text back and forth a bit and made plans to meet at 6:00 am. We would run 20 miles together, and then Sarah and Stephanie would join us for the last 6 miles. 

Even though the weather was cold (about 28 degrees) and it was snowing and kind of windy, it actually went surprisingly well. The first hour and a half of running in the dark went by really fast. And then, once the sun came up we enjoyed the beautiful snowflakes, saw 16 deer, and even a mink! It was beautiful. By the time we finished up our first 20 miles, we really couldn’t believe that we had already run that far. It honestly didn’t even seem that hard!

We had time to take about a 30 minute stretch/snack break while we waited for Sarah and Stephanie to arrive. And once they got there, we were ready to rock our last 6 miles (which ended up being 6.68 miles…I don’t know who marked that course 😉 ). And that’s what we did. 

We knocked out 26.68 miles on New Year’s Day before noon. No training, no plan, just a couple of girls who wanted to go out there and do something that no one else was doing that morning. It was pretty amazing.

I am not sure what exactly sparked my desire to run a marathon on New Year’s Day. It’s so hard for me to answer the question, “Why do you run?” I think the top reasons are that I like the way my body and mind feel after a good run, I like to do things that are challenging so that I can prove to myself that I am stronger than I think and stronger than my fears, and I like to inspire others.

And that’s about it. There’s never some big huge reason, and yet there are so many reasons.

Sparkle.Pounce.Run This Year.