marathon training, running, strength

Tuesday Truths…

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know of my love hate relationship with the Treadmill.  While yes, I am truly thankful I’ve had it for yet another winter in Chiberia, 99.9% of my runs on the ‘mill have been downright painful.  But I won’t keep playing that broken record, because in all honesty I am tired of that tune as well.

Sorry y'
Sorry y’all…lol

So tonight, as I walked out of work I had a well devised plan to pick up my youngest from after school care, my oldest from Badminton practice, and get home to change clothes QUICK and run outside.  The temps were darn near perfect with the sun peaking through the fog and temps at a balmy 52 degrees.  SCORE.  And even though my hour commute home between the drive home from work and kid taxi’ing had a temperature drop – I was RUNNING OUTSIDE darn it.

A little sun would have made these conditions PERFECT!!!!
A little sun would have made these conditions PERFECT!!!!

And so I did…I laced up my shoes, stepped out of the front door, and abruptly stopped.  I hadn’t run OUTSIDE in nearly 4 months.  Would I remember how to do this?  I wasn’t sure…

The first mile was tough.  My ankles hurt, my heels felt weird, darn it was my right shin acting up?  I had to smack myself to shut up and I made my way around my neighborhood loop I have mapped out.  The first mile was clocked in at a 9:06 mm.  I stopped briefly to check my phone as I thought I heard it beep and wanted to make sure the kiddos were ok.  As I turned I saw my hubby driving past me on his way home and he cheered me on.  It was just what I needed!!  The second and third mile were nearly effortless and I felt my legs get an extra spring in their step as I took off…It was just me, my music, my hood, and my miles…and suddenly I was reminded why I do this.  Why I take so much time out of my life to train…because I LOVE the feeling you get when you are no longer running, and you begin to fly.  My splits were 9:06, 9:11, 8:50 and 8:38 for the last tic.  I feel like a new woman, honestly.


Today at work everyone kept asking me why I was smiling even more than I usually do…and I just smiled some more.

“I am running outside, tonight,” I said.

But I didn’t really run…I flew.  And my soul is truly in a better place.

My take away is that although yes, my treadmill runs were tough this winter I truly believe they made me a stronger runner mentally.  While I’ve always taken pride in my mental strength when it comes to distance running, that strength was tested over the last several months.

And I am happy to report…I passed!

How did you deal with less than optimal conditions when it comes to running?  What is your favorite temperature to run in?

Thanks, y’all!

❤ Michelle

goals, moving forward, running, strength, training

Quick Fox Valley Half marathon recap

My computer official died. So my recap will be short as I’m posting via my phone.
We made it to the start with an hour to spare. I was oddly not nervous and was met up by my awesome friends. Brian was quiet but I believe he was excited.



We started with the 9:30 group but quickly passed the group. Call it adrenaline. But we were cruising the first few miles. Seeing my family several times helped so much. But the hills at the 4 mile mark killed us. We slowed down and found a happy 9:24 pace.
We saw Andrea and her Do Epic Shit sign at the 5.5 mile mark and I knew we could run strong.
We continued on for several miles at a steady pace and I realized we were just short of a sub 2 half. Despite trying to push it my stomach had other plans and I had to slow it down. I felt my sport beans come up along with the Gatorade I shouldn't have drank and my heart sank a little.
Ten miles in I said, "If we push we can get a sub 2" but I knew it just wasn't in the cards for us. So we walked the last water stop as well as on the bridge leading to Mount St. Mary's park. Brian apologized and with tears in my eyes I said, "Don't you dare apologize. You're kicking butt." And as we came across the corner to the Illinois Street bridge where we saw the finish line, Brian grabbed my hand and choked back a sob. We ran in to the finish line hand in hand. He immediately embraced me and we cried.

We did this. Together. And I couldn’t be more proud. 2:05 was our official finish time.
And we did this. Together. Oh. I said that already.

And now. He’s got the bug. And I’m giddy all over again. 🙂

moving forward, running, strength, training

T-1 Week-Not feeling ready…

I haven’t posted all week. Ack…my goals of posting twice a week just didn’t happen this week, but I am allowing myself a touch of slack. Work has been crazy busy, and I am still trying to find my way. We are in our inspection window, and I am a bit terrified to say the least not knowing all the ins and outs of the lab. But all I can do is my best, right?

I didn’t feel ‘myself’ this past week, feeling extra bloated, tired and yucky to say the least. I still managed to run 3 times logging my last long run of 8.3 miles yesterday before my half marathon this coming Sunday. I woke up yesterday with the sun, so decided to get up and go to run club. Most of my run club friends are super speedy on Saturdays so I don’t feel guilty if I miss attending, because often times I end up running alone. A friend offered to run a slower pace of 10+ minutes miles with me, so I happily joined the group at 0645 hrs. for our group run. The first few miles are always tough, but I found myself able to settle in and able to run at a ‘chatty’ pace the next couple miles. Around mile 6 my ITB started to get pissy, so I stopped to stretch quick and kept going. This by far was not my strongest run, but I felt great to be out there running with friends. The added nearly 10 lbs of winter weight is NOT helping me at all, and I am having such a hard time shedding said pounds. Between 2 years of marathon training, weight gain, chiberia and eating like I am still training for a marathon (which I am NOT), I am finding myself in an unknown place. I have only been ‘overweight’ after having kids. I don’t know if it’s being over 40, loving food too much, or WHAT…but I am struggling.
I wanted to work out today, but have had a sick little one all weekend so my last two days were spent taking care of her vs. doing anything enjoyable sadly. It just goes to show all weekends can’t be great ones. My weekend was spent cleaning the house, cleaning up puke, and tending to an unexplainable fever…fun? No…but I pray my little one feels better soon.
My half marathon is one week from today, and for the first time in two years I am terrified of the distance. This isn’t my first rodeo, but I feel undertrained, overweight, and SO NOT READY.
Here’s praying the half marathon God’s are with me on Sunday…I’ll need all the help I can get.

food, goals, moving forward, running, strength

Two things, Tuesday…Gluten Free goodness and more!

Something…is different. But we will get to that a bit later.

Topic number one is….DINNER!
As I spoke about in my last post, I am working making quick yet healthy meals during the week since my work hours no longer allow 2 hours of prep time and cooking in the kitchen.
Although I am not gluten intolerant (at least by what I know medically) I do know that avoiding it has helped my IBS tremendously. I try to buy all gluten free pasta, quinoa, rice, sauces and dressings when I can find-them which is more times than not as the selection has truly grown 10 fold in the last few years. I picked up some gluten free soy sauce last weekend, and figured a nice stir fry was in order for dinner tonight.
What you will need:

A Wok for the stir fry
A sauté pan for the chicken
1 pot to boil your water for the noodles

1 package of skinless chicken thighs, cubed into 1 inch pieces (place in a bowl)
ADD to the chicken:
2 teaspoons of Chinese all spice seasoning, pinch of kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Mix well, and set aside to marinate

What is in your fridge? The selections are limitless!
I used:
2 cups of shitake mushrooms, sliced
6 radishes, julienned
1 baby Bok Choy, sliced at an angle
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
2 cups of fresh broccoli
2 scallions, chopped, and set aside for garnish

One package of Gluten free rice Pad Thai noodles

Next, fill 4-5 cups of water in your pot to boil for your rice Pad Thai pasta…
Then, quickly sauté your chicken in a skillet until cooked through, and set aside, should take about 10 minutes.

Your water should be boiling now, but before your drop in your pasta, heat some light oil (avocado or Grape seed) in your Wok on high heat.
Drop your pasta in salted boiling water (cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente), and then stir fry all of your veggies in your Wok. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, and a dash of the gluten free soy sauce. The last 2 minutes add your chicken to heat through
Drain your pasta, and serve the delicious stir fry mixture over the top! Garnish with the reserved scallions, and serve! Quick, and easy and on the table in about 30 minutes.

Topic number 2…are you ready?
I have been retired from the Air Force for almost 3 years now. In those 3 years I have felt lost, tired, and have lacked more motivation then I care to admit. Frankly, it was tough to hang up my uniform, and put on a different ‘hat.’
It’s early to judge…but so far, I am really liking my new hat. I am letting go of things I can’t control, and embracing the future.
It is a pretty cool feeling…

Sweet dreams, Movers…

❤ Michelle

dedication, food, goals, moving forward, running, strength

Monday Musings

Monday musings
A forewarning, this post will be all over the place, and probably not full of unicorns, glitter, or butterflies. I caveat that, with the fact that I am FORCING myself to keep moving forward, regardless of the current situation.
I find it almost ironic that just a few weeks ago I posted about the fact that while although I am thankful I have a job, I don’t love my current career. My career was chosen for me by the Air Force, 23 years ago, and during my 20 year career serving in the military I was at least able to delve into so many other areas of the Air Force, which made actual career as a histology technician tolerable.
I was blessed to march in the Korean War Memorial dedication parade. I was a part of many organizations, and served under the Commander and Chief as an executive assistant for almost a year. I was a fitness instructor. I served on many service member of the quarter/year award boards. I was a training instructor. I even did other aspects of the lab such as Point of Care testing. I led training runs, memorial runs, and more ceremonies than I can count on one hand.
Yet for the last 2 ½ years…I’ve simply gone to work, punched in, did my job, and came home each night. While completely thankful to HAVE a job, this JOB no longer brings me joy.
And now, knowing my job is being eliminated, I have been on the job hunt for nearly 3 weeks without a single bite.
I’ve remained faithful, with constant forward movement and self-talk that involves a lot of yelling, crying, and begging for God to show me where the heck I am supposed to be in life at the ripe age of 41.
I thought by now I’d have it figured out. But nope…
I do know these few things.
I love to run, and running with friends makes me even happier when the mileage increases.
I love to cook, invent, and inspire others with the foods I prepare.
I love to take pictures, and although I’d never call myself a photographer, I love being behind the lens.
I love inspiring and helping others. It not only makes my crap, well, less craptastic, but it brings me such joy to help someone through a difficult time in their life.
I love to write. I have been writing since the age of 12, and although I am just an amateur, I truly love the written word.
Yet, none of these passions will provide for my family currently…yet…

With that, I have to keep plugging along, searching for a new job at least 2-3 hours each night, praying that right fit will come along. My family needs my financial, and happy mental support.

goals, moving forward, running, strength

Why I run…

For more than 2 1/2 decades, I’ve used running as a source of therapy. I started running in junior high school as a way of trying to find my place in a time where I felt very OUT of place (who didn’t as a young teen, right?).
From a young age, I never felt like I really ‘belonged’ anywhere, and for most of my teen and adult life I suffered from sometimes, quite severe depression.

In 2007 I hit my WALL in life. That moment where in a marathon you feel you just CAN’T take another step, where it hurts to breathe, and even blinking seems painful….Yes…I was there…and it was scary to say the least.

Yet the love I have for my family came bounding to the forefront, and I knew I had to change, to lift myself up, and to start moving forward.

So I signed up for my first half marathon in September of 2007, with only 8 weeks to train. The San Antonio Rock and Roll half marathon will always hold a special place in my heart.

I could barely run ONE mile without walking, but I was moving…My training brought me a new found respect for running, and re-ignited a fire that had been lying dormant for many years. I would work all day, come home to make dinner and feed my then 8 and 1 year old daughters. As soon as my husband got home from work, I’d pass off the kids, and head out the door to run. And after 8 weeks of hard and grueling training, I completed my first half marathon in 2 hours and 19 minutes. Just typing this recap brings tears to my eyes. THIS choice, to train for a half marathon despite my hardships that I was going through, was life saving.

Since then after retiring from the Air Force in 2011, I have completed several more half marathons (Half Fanatic #3915), and 2 full marathons, with my PR’s being 2:02/4:25 respectively. My favorite race of all time, is the Fox Valley Marathon. The Fox River trails are my home away from home, and also volunteering for this race has made it near and dear to my heart.

My goals for this year are to focus on my half marathon speed, but regardless of the race, you’ll be sure to see me smiling.


Some say running has saved their lives, and I piggy back that sentiment, partially.


Yes. Because for me, MAKING THE CHOICE to run, to train, to race, THAT has saved my life. And this ongoing choice, has made me both stronger, and happier all around.

I don’t run to win races. I run, to keep movin’ forward. #pacesetter @womenraces #keepmovinforward

goals, moving forward, running, strength, training

Three things Thursday on my birthday eve

Life is short.
All too often we get caught up in THINGS. But life isn’t about STUFF. It’s about moments, lives, love, family, friends, and moving forward. This week I was told I am losing my job in the spring due to cut backs in budget, healthcare, etc…I found myself heading in a downward spiral, and it terrified me. But instead of throwing in the towel, I maintained my work out schedule after coming home from work, preparing meals and keeping my crazy household maintained.

Life is good.
I have my health so far…and I have made it through almost 41 years without any major illness’s. At work today, I had to process a specimen on a very young (40’s) man that has stage 4 cancer. It never gets easier….23 years in the same field, and it. never. gets easier.

Life is meant for living.
People often ask why I continue to put the work and effort in to my Facebook page, when I am not making a profit from the efforts.
Because just today, I received two messages in regards to my efforts.
The first:

“Cheers to you my friend. I know this birthday will be filled with lots of emotions. What a great year, you’ve made so many new friends, Moved so many people with your page, food, photos….just remember that you do not have to be defined by what you ‘do’, be defined by what you ‘love’, and who loves YOU. May all your wishes come true.
The second:
I wanted you to know that you have a follower (keeping name private), she does your AB challenge with her daughter, she reads your posts every day and loves your page. Your page is awesome, she loves it. Just wanted you to know you have a strong reach…
Touching lives, inspiring others, MOVIN’ forward is such a joyous part of living to me…

Despite a rough week, my heart is full tonight. And I realize…Life…IS. What it IS, is up to YOU.

food, goals, moving forward, strength, training

Monday’s Movin’…who’s cookin?


Tonight’s dinner was off the cuff, and I was plainly just trying to be creative.  Was I completely successful?  I’d say no….but the dish turned out regardless; I simply missed the ‘wow’ factor.


4-6 pork chops, thick cut

3 oranges, to include the zest/juice

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 gloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of organic honey

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

Kosher salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (pinch), basil, and parsley

Mix the above ingredients together in a food processor, pulsing until completing incorporated.  Coat your chops, and let marinate for about 30 minutes to an hour.   Save about ½ cup of the mixture to drizzle over the chops for baking.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

Seer your chops on high heat in a pan coated with extra virgin olive oil, both sides.  Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with remaining mixture, and finish baking in the oven at 375 for about 25-30 minutes. 


Serve with your favorite veggie; I choose zucchini and mushrooms tonight!  Quickly sautéed them in a pan and VOILA!  YUM!  Gogolowcarb!

Tonight’s work out was a great #TDF start…

Day 6 of the AB challenge done:
25 Sit ups
15 crunches
15 leg raises
25 second plank

Added with:
30 second wall sit x3
3 sets of bicep curls
3 sets of tricep extensions…

A great Monday, all around! #keepmovinforward