What Holiday Sanity?

It’s December 21st and I still don’t have a tree up.

Yep, I seem to be winning as a mom, yet again. I mean, I got the elves out, so that counts for something, right? Let’s not really talk about the fact that the only reason the elves are img_0554-e1513893588192.jpgout is because the nine year old “reminded” us. And save for the one morning that it was discovered that they didn’t move from their location the previous day, which resulted in a voodoo-like ceremony complete with cinnamon sprinkled on an antique secretary desk, we’ve generally done pretty well.

img_0553I bought the stupid book that gave me ideas on all kinds of crazy elfin shenanigans, but really, they are just hanging from the same old ceiling fans and fireplace mantle. The creativity has just gone. OK, side note, I haven’t accidentally cooked the elves in the oven yet, so there is that, right?

I’d like to say that it was the marathon I ran this weekend that was the culprit for adding holiday stress, or the half marathon we directed, or the fact that Sean is opening up a pie shop. But really, this is nothing new. We seem to always be overbooked and looking for Texas A&M to hurry up and perfect human cloning so we can do everything we somehow commit ourselves to.

Parties.

Extra swim lessons to make up for the lessons missed on holidays.

Holiday treats for the nine year old’s class.

A new cat and not really sure how to put up a tree and not deal with the ensuing disaster that I hear cats are capable of with a tree.

Yep, my house is a wreck and the only way you know it’s Christmas currently is the slightly more frequent Amazon prime deliveries on the doorstep.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. We are all stretched way too thin this time of year.

So how do I plan to make it to the home stretch of December 25th without losing my crap?

img_0535For me, I choose to live in a sort of delusional parallel universe that if I’m not at the house seeing how much I need to clean, or the fact that the lights in the front yard were, in fact, placed there by said nine year old, then Christmas can be put off until I’m ready… next June… 😉

img_0353Yep, I go for a run. It doesn’t fix the fact that nothing is getting done, but it’s a great stress reliever! I am living in my little run skirts so that I can head out for a run at a moment’s notice. We are also using our Instant Pot like crazy to make sure dinner happens. I’m also trying to stick to my usual early morning swims so that I am at least getting something done before my day gets taken hostage by whatever crisis is coming my way.

Let’s see, what else?

img_0552Well, for starters, I have learned to take advantage of that Amazon Prime membership. Every time I think of something else I need, I just order it and voila, it shows up on my doorstep, many times the very next day. Even the toilet paper. Down to one roll? Open the app and order a case. If it can’t be Primed, chances are it’s not getting bought right now.

I quit getting creative with Christmas as well. I asked my kids for a list of all the little consumable crap they are always wanting. Clarinet reeds, extra bike tubes, CO2 cartridges, Pokémon cards, all of it. I made a list for each of them and added “gift cards” for two or three of their favorite stores. I purposely made sure the lists had even items that were less than $5. Then I took a photo of the lists and sent them to all the family members. But here is the kicker: I told the family that if they didn’t give me a list like these, they weren’t getting anything. This is the year of me NOT being creative and NOT going to the mall to just browse til I find that one gift. (insert eyeroll here)

img_0162We finally decided that we can’t be everywhere. It was hard to only show up for a party for thirty minutes, or not at all, but for the sake of our sanity, we had to draw a line in the sand. When the nine year old has on her wish list that we would spend more time with her, it made it super easy to walk out of that party. We have given ourselves permission to have a cluttered house and to let a lot of things go this year. But we have plans to finally go buy that Christmas tree tonight. And if we are lucky, get some plastic ornaments so that when the inevitable happens, and the tree falls due to a spastic cat, we can just pick right back up and keep moving forward. With grace. And a whole lot of laughter.

 

 

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Medal Monday: Cane Field Classic 2017

OK, it’s not exactly Monday, but it’s close enough, right? So, let’s jump right in.

I had a planned trip this past weekend to sherpa for my son at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, so when I saw that the Cane Field Classic was the day before his race, I kind of jumped on the registration. You see, last year my friends, Susan, Erika and Kim, did this race and had such a great time, they insisted that I put this on my list for consideration in the future.

I believe it was kismet that the races were on the same weekend.

So what is the Cane Field Classic? It’s actually three races. The first is called the Sugar Mile and it’s a one mile race on a dirt path. The second race is a four mile race on trail, a little more technical and really pretty through tall sugar cane stalks. A little more technical, but nothing bad. The third, and final, race is called the Rows of Hell and is two miles through very tight, shoulder-high sugar canes. The sugar cane stalks are sharp and the dirt between the rows are rutted out and only wide enough to put one foot directly in front of the other, otherwise, your ankles are rolling in the whole time. When you complete all three races, you earn a machete!img_6906-1

Packet pickup was pretty standard. A bib and a shirt. The shirt was a super soft cotton that came in a variety of colors. I chose the blue shirt and Sean chose a red one. The car dealership gave out reusable water bottles and made sure there was plenty of water for all of the runners each time we went through the start/finish line.

img_6834Because they are three back-to-back races, I was worried about maintaining a pace that would allow me to finish in time to start the next race. I was assured it wouldn’t be a problem. Come to find out, the group didn’t start the next race until the last finisher came in from the previous race! It was such a great experience to see all of the runners, including the fasties, cheering on every single finisher. This was truly more of party than a competitive race, which was evidenced by the fact that the kegs were tapped before the first race began. LOL We received a dog tag at the finish line of the last race, and then turned in our wristband for the customized machete.

img_6830The post-race party was a blast! They had jambalaya being made while we ran, so there was delicious food to be washed down by the beer. The weather was actually really good Saturday morning and didn’t rain, as had been predicted a few days earlier. I understood why they recommend a pair of long pants for the last race. My legs were torn up a little bit and stung like crazy. Note to self: seriously, wear pants. On the plus side, I did put on a pair of knee-high compression socks that morning. Despite the fact that I thought I looked a little dorky, they were a godsend out there because the tall grass squick me out. 

Verdict: I had a great time! The Rows of Hell was truly the hardest 15 minute miles I have ever run, but it’s hard not to laugh and sing the whole way with the rest of the runners. I would totally do this race again if I find myself in Baton Rouge on race weekend. I met some great people out there and decided that I *might* need to buy a pair of trail shoes soon. Uh oh! I hear some dirt calling!img_6844

 

 

What’s Cooking: Cookie Balls

It’s no surprise that I love food, specially snacks and sweets, I mean, even the ol’ Instagram name is “erinrunsforcake.” LOL

So I have spent the last year or so testing out all sorts of recipes that would be nutritious and help me fuel for long training sessions, but also satisfy the sweet tooth and watch my calories. This has been my go-to snack.img_6237

Cookie Balls

  • 1 c. raw oats
  • 1/2 c. oat flour (I use raw oats and grind them up)
  • 1/2 c. ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

I seriously just dump all of the ingredients in a big mixing bowl, and with clean hands, mix it up and then make little 1″ balls. No baking, no cooking, nothing for me to screw up. Easy-peasy! They sit in an airtight container for several days, although truth be told, they don’t last that long because everyone in the house will walk by and grab one to snack on.

I usually pack two of them in a small container for my after lunch snack and that keeps me away from the candy machine at 3pm. They will seriously fill you up!

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how you like them!

Favorites Friday: Running Skirts!

Whoooshhhhh…

Man, this poor little blog is a little dusty.

dusty

Since the height of fall marathon season has kicked in here in Texas, I thought I’d start off my renewed commitment to the written word with (cue the music…) “a few of my favorite things.”

I will begin this particular post with the disclaimer that I am an Ambassador for Skirt Sports. I don’t get paid and I don’t get any sort of commission, but I get a little discount on the items I can’t live without as well as a discount for all of you in exchange for spreading the skirt love in my little world. Now that we have that out of the way…

When I first started on my journey to lose weight, oh sometime about six or seven years ago now, I began to walk. Walking turned to runs. It was pretty awesome. But I was genetically gifted with, dun dun dun…. CHUB RUB. Come on ladies, most of you don’t have that thigh gap, and YOU NOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. First it begins with the thighs that kind of catch when you’re mid-run. But then the sweat starts to give it a little lubrication, and you think you’re out of the woods. But no. About a mile later, you’ve got a little heat that has built up and (sorry men, it’s not THAT kind of heat). Before you know it, there is a little stinging involved.

imageMy options included giving up the idea of wearing shorts and just resigning myself to those running capris. But I’ve got to tell you, it’s darn hot here in Texas and humid to boot. If I could run nekkid and get away with it, I would! So I began my quest for something better. A random post all those years ago on a weight loss message board was ultimately what introduced me to the running skirt, specifically, Skirt Sports. I was promised that those skirts would change my life.

I was all about changing my life at that point, so I took a look. Back then, the selection was just a couple of styles, so it was easy for me to grab a gym girl ultra skirt and be done with it. The company promised that the little compression shorts would hold all of me in there (yeah, that was a concern at the time) and were long enough to cover all the way down to that little piece of meat on the thigh that was causing all my angst. Verdict? Well, there is a reason I ONLY run in Skirt Sports running skirts.

But enough time in the old way-back machine… let’s talk about the here and now.

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My friends are as diverse as their favorite skirts!

The skirts have come a long way and there are so so many to choose from, it’s almost dizzying. So, the big question is… what features are important to you? Coverage of the leg? Length of the shorts underneath? Adjustability of the waistband with a drawcord? Pockets to fit your iPhone or run nutrition?

When my friends ask me which skirt to buy for their first, I almost always tell them “gym girl ultra” because it’s a tried and true classic. But I scoured through the website this morning and put together this little handy-dandy table of all the features of the various skirts being currently sold in the hopes that it helps all of you decide which skirt is your soulmate…

skirts

Oh, and as I talked about earlier, my friends get a discount on their Skirt Sports order! This code (FWS20) is good only once per customer and expires 9/30/2017 and can be used at www.skirtsports.com. We get new codes every quarter, so you can place an order every quarter with discount codes!

So, do you have a favorite style? I’ve been challenged to break out of the old comfort zone (I mean, really, I have more than 30 gym girl ultra skirts alone!) and try a different style I didn’t think I would like. I’ve bought a Happy Girl, a Jette, a Peek-A-Boo and a Mod Quad. Which one should I try next?

Limiting Language: Or How I Learned to Fly…

“I am ONLY running a half marathon this week.”

“I am JUST a beginner.”

“It’s JUST a LITTLE sprint triathlon.”

“I would love to join, BUT I probably couldn’t keep up with you guys.”

“I don’t have one of those fancy bikes.”

“Thanks, but I have so much more to lose.”

“Have I reminded you lately that I’m not fast?”

 

I have heard it a million times from my husband, gently correcting me and telling me how proud he is of me; that I am “doing fantastic.” I hear it from my guy friends that I always worry only run with me to humor me; “you’re doing great.” But something about being called out by a coach you really respect hit me like a lightning bolt. He did it so perfectly, so respectfully, but in a way that told me that he was serious and not just humoring my lack of self-confidence.

“Let’s remove that limiting language. You’re going with the flow, so just enjoy the journey and see where it takes you.”

“Limiting language.” Wow, I hadn’t heard it that way before. It’s always been “don’t be so hard on yourself.” Which, let’s be real, is code for “stop it, you’re fine, insert gratuitous comment and eye roll here.”

I’m a slow learner and it’s take a few weeks for this to sink in, but I see it everywhere now. I have observed it in almost every interaction I have had. I am constantly limiting myself by subconsciously telling myself that I’m not enough. I see it in all of my friends, too. We are always putting ourselves down in that stealthy way and we shouldn’t be. We like to think that we are telling ourselves that we are enough, but then that little demon that sits on the left shoulder whispers in our ear the complete opposite. It whispers those stupid words: ONLY, JUST, BUT.

When we limit our language, we limit what we are capable of.

Enough! I am making the commitment to stop my limiting language NOW. I am proud of what I can accomplish. I am not in competition with anyone, not even myself. I am not who I was yesterday, three months ago, or three years ago. I am choosing to live in the present and find the joy and satisfaction in doing exactly what my body, and my mind, allows today. It doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. On the contrary! But by releasing myself from the chains of “not enough,” I will build a far better foundation with which to reach those goals because I will have the confidence that I CAN.

*****

So my challenge to all of my girlfriends – remove your limiting language and let your truths shine on their own merit. Own it all and be joyous in what your body can accomplish today, because seriously, we are all doing truly epic stuff.

“I am running 13.1 miles this week!”

“I am so excited to learn something new!”

“I am training to swim, bike and run – all in the same race!”

“Thanks for the run, guys!”

“I am squeezing every ounce of awesomeness out of this bike!”

“Thanks for the compliment, I’m working hard!”

“Hey Coach, watch me fly…”

 

When the run just finally feels right…

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My unassuming running trail…

Of course it would finally happen while I was out of town. I run with my peeps because I need the accountability. When I lost my long-time running partner a year ago, I was left like a boat adrift on the high seas. My running suffered because I just couldn’t bring myself to get out there. But new running partners came into my life and kept me out there for those group runs, thank goodness. I can’t say I have ever actually felt good on a solo run. My demons would always come along for the ride, reminding me that my shoelaces were a little too snug or that sports bra was chafing my shoulder. They would imagegive me an out, telling me it’s ok to turn back early and only get a few miles in, despite my training schedule requesting a 90 minute run.

But last night I was out of town and couldn’t find a group that I felt comfortable joining. What I did find was a popular running trail about six miles from my hotel. I’m not ashamed to say I totally ubered to the trail. The sun beat down and the humidity was a real treat. I saw a couple coming off the trail and asked them about the trail – very few water fountains, but it goes 14 miles, they said. Sounded perfect – so I set off with the intention of just getting maybe three miles in.

imageHalf a mile into the run, the sounds of the city were completely gone and all I heard were the squirrels rustling in the woods and a babbling brook. Who knew that little streams of water actually made the babbling sound?? By a mile, I saw two beautiful deer off to my left enjoying some foraging. I kid you not, they were no more than five feet from me. I just kept going, hoping to see something new and wonderful. No demons came to join me. I didn’t ever look at my watch to check my pace. I would occasionally come across a cyclist or another runner, but it was truly a peaceful run. I finally decided to turn around after just under three miles, mostly because I still wanted to get a swim in and knew that the sun would be setting soon enough, but I felt like I could have gone far longer.

I found myself sweaty and spent and so full of energy after my run. Exactly as it was meant to be. I may even try another solo run back home soon. Maybe – I like my running tribe…

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My year of doing epic shit: Giving it a TRI

I swear I had no desire to do a triathlon. NONE! As a dear friend once said, she has a bucket list and a “nother” list that rhymes with bucket and starts with an F. This was firmly on that other list for me.

I was not one of those crazy girls. I didn’t want to “do all the things.”

Or did I?

I’ve been watching Scarlett, Rocky, Jen, Shea, Michelle and Angelia all do crazy epic triathlons and open water swims and bike rides that are so freaking long it makes “the queen” hurt just watching them. I envied them because it looked like nothing scared them. They just did it.

imageAnd my friend, Coach Keisha, is so inspirational with all her tri posts. She and some of the women tri coaches in town put on a big weekend-long event called Time2Tri. It was designed to be a group of women new to the sport giving a triathlon a try. Get it? Giving it a tri? Bwahahahaha Anyway, the Friday night reception was going to include lots of inspiring stories, food, mocktails and a fashion show. Lots of friends were going and it was a good excuse to have a girls night. But Keisha, that sneaky queen bee, asked me a few days earlier to PLEASE model one of the outfits that night. I agreed because it sounded like she needed the help, and I know what it’s like to need help from friends to pull off epic stuff. So I couldn’t back out of going at the last minute and frankly, this was the only way I would be pulled out of my adorable running skirts.

Wait a minute. Was that on purpose?

Did she know that I wasn’t convinced I could do this?

Well, I have been eyeing some of that cute Betty Designs gear.

And cycling has been really good cross-training this spring…

And I probably should finally give this swimming this a go.

Did John just say I could have cupcakes if I do all three sports?

Could I really do it? Could I really finish a triathlon???

I want to be a part of the crazy, fierce girls.

Oh no. Did I just decide to do a tri????

imageYep, I signed up. I actually signed up for a race a month after the race that the group will be doing because I knew I wasn’t where the rest of the girls were with their swimming and, well,

#EpicShitDoesn’tIncludeDeath

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Celebrating learning how to ride a two-wheeler by riding 5 miles!

I figure I’ve been scared of the water for 43 years, a few extra weeks weren’t going to kill me. So with no real goal in mind, I set out to look for someone that could “for real” teach me to swim. What I learned is that my almost-8 year old, who is absolutely petrified of the water, now wants to “for real” learn to swim because mommy is learning to swim. Even crazier? She hasn’t taken off her training wheels ever, and in one weekend she decided she was done with them and started riding her “big girl bike.” My focus shifted from racing for me to showing a little set of eyes that she can accomplish anything if she sets aside the fear.This might be the most #epic thing of all…