Deployment thoughts

My 2015 review

I’ve thought a lot about this last year.  I’ve truly changed, and for the better (in my opinion, and that is what counts, right?) if I may say so myself.  I went through and purged my blog of negative posts in the beginning of the year, realizing what a drag I was for SUCH a long time.

So I thought what fun would it be to highlight my POSITIVE posts for my year in review?

This post is where I beam with pride for my husband taking his first command position in the Army.  Now, as he prepares to deploy for a year I NEED to focus on this pride and not sadness.

My hero...
My hero…

And then there is this post, where I talk about my once hated birthday, and how I finally started to celebrate life and all the wonderful blessings I’ve been given.

As we hit the second month of the year, I found myself feeling sorry for myself as I caught my aging reflection in the mirror, and I spoke about the truth. And how important it is to BE TRUE to yourself and others always.

My world was barreled over and changed in the blink of an eye when on St. Patrick’s Day, my oldest daughter was in a life threatening car accident.  This post was (and still is) my most viewed post since the beginning of my blog.  (Thank goodness, she’s is A-OK and you’d never know the accident happened minus a couple scars).


What would a runner be, without thoughts about running the Boston Marathon?  I share my thoughts, here.

Here, on the eve of my Grandma’s Marathon 20 mile (SOLO) training run, I found myself on the crazy train, and I tell you what, it nearly derailed, ROFL!!!  note: I not only survived, but I ROCKED my last training run!

My current half marathon PR race can be found here, all full of tears and fun balled up in to a great big sweaty mess ROFL!!!!  Throw in a recipe for short ribs, and you’ve got a winning post, right?!  LOL

This pic, truly says it all. Thanks to Dave Sheble from the Fox Valley Marathon for capturing it!
This pic, truly says it all. Thanks to Dave Sheble from the Fox Valley Marathon for capturing it!

My year in review wouldn’t be complete with out the recap of the race I trained nearly half the year for: The Grandma’s Marathon, in Duluth Minnesota.  I ran/walked this race with my sister, and I can honestly say it was one of the toughest races I’ve ever ran.  Guess what? It was also a life changing, relationship building and character testing event that I’ll never, ever, forget.

All. The. Beers!
All. The. Beers!

We headed to the beach in July, and I finally found where I believe home will be once the kids get a bit older.  We started out in Marco Island, but got rained out!  So my hubby saved the day, and the last 2 days we road tripped to Miami and I was instantly in love.  You can see our adventures in my picture post recap, HERE.


One of my favorite Friday Five posts can be found here.  I love it when you have an “Ah HA!” moment.

I ran my last official race in October, the Prairie State half marathon.  Check it out here!  It was all about fun, friends, and food that day and I had such a blast!

Happy Finishers
Happy Finishers

And then, the news came that my husband was deploying.  Overseas.  To an icky place.  For a year.  And some days, even now that I’ve had a couple months to digest the news, I find it very hard to even breathe. #sigh

So we made the most of our anniversary, knowing we’d be apart for our next.  And just writing that sentence brings more tears to my eyes.

Can you tell I like him just a little?
Can you tell I like him just a little?

Lastly, one of my favorite weekends of the year, every year, is our annual Christmas Staycation in Chicago.  This year we went all out, and it was AH. MA. ZING.

Us just before going in to the Lion King
Us just before going in to the Lion King

As I said, I learned so very much about myself this last year.  I hope and pray I have the continued strength to get through this next year on my own without my husband.  My girls need me.  My husband needs me to be strong for them.  I need to be strong for ME.

How was your year?  Did you meet all the goals you set for yourself?

Cheers to a great 2016!!  Thanks to you all for following along and supporting my journey!

❤ Michelle



Grandma's Marathon

Weekend wrap up-I’m ready!!!

Last week I will admit I had started to get a little nervous about my upcoming marathon.  Why?   Well, the chance I might be running it solo had come to play, but it sounds like my nephew is doing MUCH better and that the original plan of my sister and I running this race together is back ON, knock on wood!  Although I had trained primarily solo, I didn’t push myself in regards to pace because my ONE goal for this race is to have FUN with my sister…oh…and to finish. So I have TWO goals, LOL.

But, just to be safe and plan ahead, I decided to get my Jeep’s oil changed and a few other things to make sure I could make the trip to Minnesota by myself if needed.  I also go my emission’s test for my upcoming annual tag renewal.

My mini and I having fun.

Saturday morning I set my alarm early because I had a massage scheduled at noon and I wasn’t going to miss that appointment.  LOL!!!  My run was AMAZING, and I couldn’t believe how good my legs felt.  Maybe because I took Thursday off since I had weird aches and pains everywhere, and maybe because I just cleared my mind and ran…regardless, I left it all out there, and was speedier than I have been in quite some time.


Splits:10:21, 10:29, 10:13, 10:20, 9:55, 9:46, 9:37, 9:23 for my last long run of 8 miles. Average pace was 10:01.  Yes please, and thanks! Here’s a couple photos I snapped during fuel breaks:

6-14longrun 6-14longrun2

Next…My massage.  I may or may not have asked my therapist to marry me come with me to Minnesota, LOL!!!  She’s worked wonders for my wonky ITB and crazy knotted calf that has plagued me for a couple years.  I love her.  Thanks, Amy!!


And then, insert taper crazies here…I cleaned my husband’s closet, cleaned and purged a bunch of lotions and crap from the bathroom, and scrubbed the house from top to bottom.  All with a smile on my face, and a feeling of light-heartedness that quite possibly came from my morning 8 miler.  Anyone that has trained for a marathon while working full time, (and on single Mom duty more than half the year) knows that housework falls to the wayside, and quick.  It feels great to have my life back in order, LOL.

I’ve spent the last few days talking with Charissa, Allison, and Hanna via FB chat.  These amazing ladies all plan on running the marathon in around 3 hours or so, and I am in awe of their talent and speed.  But more so, they’ve supported me and my blog for quite a while and I can’t WAIT to meet them in SIX days!!!!  I’ve started packing, and am over the moon excited to finally be the one traveling vs. the one staying home!

Fuel is good to go, not pictured are my salt tabs and Motrin.
Fuel is good to go, not pictured are my salt tabs and Motrin.

I am also excited to meet Eric Strand (I hope) and give him his #DoEpicShit bracelet from my friend Andrea who’s been one of my biggest supporters.  He doesn’t only run Grandma’s Marathon, he runs it twice, started at 3 am running TOWARDS the start line from the finish line. Check out the video!!!


And that my friends…is a wrap.  My training is complete minus a couple short runs this week, and I. AM. READY.

Thanks for those who’ve consistently supported my crazy dreams and goals.  It means more to me than I could ever put in to words.  Y’all will be with me, for 4-5 hours as I run my 3rd (and possibly final full) marathon!!!!

❤ Michelle

Grandma's Marathon

T minus less than 2 weeks until the Grandma’s Marathon 2015!!!

Happy Monday everyone!!!!  I hope this post finds you well rested from an amazing weekend.  My weekend was filled with movie watching (we rented McFarland on Friday night, and it was amazing!), long runs (12 miler on Saturday) and run club coffee with friends, grocery shopping for the week, Cougar’s baseball game on Saturday night, and my nephews graduation on Sunday.

These ladies helped me find my smile...I had misplaced it for a couple weeks...<3
These ladies helped me find my smile…I had misplaced it for a couple weeks…<3
MMMMM, the only time I drink beer is at a ball game.  I even had 2!!
MMMMM, the only time I drink beer is at a ball game. I even had 2!!

As you can probably guess, there was very little rest for me this past weekend but I am NOT complaining at all.  It was a much needed escape from the stressors of normal every day life.

With that, I’ve been thinking A LOT about my weight, and how since turning 40 I just can’t shed these dreaded 10 lbs.  So starting today, I am biting the bullet and doing the military diet to see if I can jump start shock my metabolism so I can run Grandma’s marathon at least a couple lbs lighter.  Thankfully I am still just shy of 2 weeks out for race day so I am not worried about my system getting upset.  I think this is much needed reset, and have heard great success stories from others who have tried it.  You can read about the 3 day ‘cleanse’ here. Disclaimer: I am not an advocate for quick diets, nor am I a certified nutritionist.  I’m simply trying something new to jump start this 42 year old body that wants to hang on to weight I’d rather be rid of. 


Last week wrap up: I managed to run 21.55 miles, 3 core work outs, and added in weighted side bends to help firm up my muffin top. LOL!   I missed yoga due to National running day being the same day as my previously scheduled yoga work out, but still did a lot of stretching.  I also took my own advice and took a nice long Epsom salt bath Friday night which really seemed to refresh my legs for my long run on Saturday.

How was your week, last week?  What are your plans/goals for this week?  Have you ever done a cleanse/restart diet?

Have a great week, y’all! Remember, keep movin’ forward!!!!!!

❤ Michelle

marathon training

Running please forgive me, for I have sinned…

See, I let self-doubt ALMOST win this week.  And I feel I must confess…

It’s time for some Runfessions, as well as the good, bad, and scary from today’s 20 miler…

I’m linking up with Marcia from Marcia’s Healthy Slice (please head over to her blog if you don’t follow already, she rocks!) to confess my deep and dark confessions from recent times, and today’s long run. So sit back with your beverage of choice and enjoy…


Today’s run was not like any normal long run.  Nope…see, it was my last longer run before I run the Grandma’s Marathon in 3 weeks time.  And it wasn’t just any long run…it was the infamous 20 miler!  Those that have run a marathon before know this distance is key to overcome, not just for the physical aspect, but for the mental strength it gives you when hitting this milestone.  Yet although I have done this distance several times, and completed 2 full marathons I was letting self doubt steal my joy.  Runfession #1.

I set my alarm for 5:30 am this morning, my only day off this week, and set my gear out for the run. First mistake…I should’ve set it for 4:30, but I digress.  Deep down, I was doubting my ability.  Runfession #2.

The first few miles hurt.  My right LEG has been killing me, with random aches and pains that really started to freak me out.  It hurt in places it never had before, and I wondered the entire first 5K if this was a good idea.  Here I go…self doubting…So I stopped at my favorite place in Geneva to fill up my water bottle and hit the bathroom since it was a real bathroom not a porta-john.  I popped 2 Motrin in hopes my LEG would knock it off, and kept running.  I didn’t find my groove until around mile 6.5-7 when I came upon a couple bikers who were taking a rest that wished me well.  I smiled, continued on, and crossed the bridge in North Aurora to get my last mile in before I hit the turn around mark.

And that’s when the hornet started chasing me…and I screamed like a girl…oh wait, I am a girl…Here I go, being silly and finally I smiled when I hit the turn around point.  But just as the hornet left me alone, the NEED to use the restroom entered my body, and I started to panic.  There was no bathroom for miles, and it was just me and the trails.  Please don’t let me pants my poop…please don’t let me poop my pants…please…Runfession #3.

Watch this for Marathon thoughts!!!

FINALLY the running God’s heard my cries, and there was the porta-john sitting out in a park at around mile 12.5  Emergency averted…thank goodness…after texting back my friends who were cheering me on, I continued…

A spot near and dear to my heart where my friend Andrea nearly had an asthma attack because we were laughing so hard...
A spot near and dear to my heart where my friend Andrea nearly had an asthma attack because we were laughing so hard…
If I wasn't going to go fast, I might as well take lots of breaks with pretty pics, right?
If I wasn’t going to go fast, I might as well take lots of breaks with pretty pics, right?
6 miles in, and smiling, sorta...
6 miles in, and smiling, sorta…
This bench always makes me smile.  #memories
This bench always makes me smile. #memories
I may or may not have been chased by these dudes...REALLY, I am NOT going to attack your chicks.  I promise!
I may or may not have been chased by these dudes…REALLY, I am NOT going to attack your chicks. I promise!
The Geese...with just 2.5 miles to go, right before the sky opened up.
The Geese…with just 2.5 miles to go, right before the sky opened up.

So while this run was TOUGH, both mentally and physically, I caught myself laughing the last 2 miles as rain poured down on me, and I ran as fast as I could.  I ran with my heart, even when my legs wanted to quit.  I laughed, I nearly cried, and I cussed at myself several times.  I sang, I spread my arms open like wings and “wheeeeeee’d” down a few hills.  I danced on the flats, pushed up the hills, and held my arms up when a gust of wind blew over me.  I smiled and greeted every single biker, pedestrian, runner and motorist I saw.  And when I wanted to quit, I physically smacked my right leg, and said, “KNOCK IT OFF, MICHELLE!!!”

I thought of each and every one of you who takes the time to support my average running abilities because you see the passion I have, even when I forget I have it myself.  I thought of my amazing family and friends both near and far who’ve shared in my heartache as well as cheered on my success.

And I thought of those who can’t run…and I ran for them for a mile or two.

20.13 miles done.  Another badass run in the elements Mother nature loves to provide.

The hay is in the barn!!
The hay is in the barn!!

My last Runfession, is that while I am my own worst enemy I too truly believe I can do this.  Running, life, you name it.  I won’t quit.  And I have running in part, to thank for that.  Thanks, Running…I think you are pretty cool. Oh….and I didn’t even pants my poop….

Have you ever had an “accident” a near miss while out on a long run?  What is the longest distance you’ve run solo? Do you have any Runfessions you want to share?

❤ Michelle

marathon training, Recipes, weekend wrap up

Running long, cooking slow, and Lily Trotter sock review!

As most of you know, I had 19 miles on deck this weekend for my week 13 of marathon training.  While I normally prefer to run my short runs by myself, the thought of running 19 miles solo was not giving me peace of mind.  Add in the forecast of 50-60% chance of thunderstorms and you could say I was nearly dreading the miles.  I didn’t sleep hardly a wink Friday night, but had my rain poncho and gear all set.  I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and was out the door by 5:15.  The first few miles were VERY wet, and I was thankful for my poncho despite it’s lack of comfort.  If you read my mini recap on my FB page, you saw that I accidentally ‘dismissed’ my first 3 miles of running when I ‘paused’ to take off my poncho. Damn.  Thankfully I knew were I was and had just looked down at my watch.  Here we go with more runner’s brain math, ack, lol.


Soggy, yet smiling!
I was lucky enough to run into my friend Melissa around mile14!
 The miles ticked by, and something happened out there that even surprised ME.  I was…HAVING FUN out there, running between raindrops, enjoying the trails, and listening to music. I COULD run solo, no matter the mileage, and this made me smile.  It was liberating to be out there on my own, with claps of lightening in the distance to cheer me on.  And even when it started to POUR cats and dogs, I smiled.  I took cover briefly to fuel, but when I realized it wasn’t letting up I continued on for a good 3 miles in some pretty hard rain.  And I do believe, I was smiling from what I’m told from friends who saw me out on the trails that morning.  I felt/feel nearly renewed.  My legs hurt, my knee ached, and my ITB yelled at me the last few miles, but nothing was going to bring me down.  YAY for a good long run.


I was contacted by Lily Trotters a couple months ago to try out their compression socks.  But I received the socks, on the very day of my daughter’s accident and honestly forgot about the review.  Saturday seemed to be the perfect day to try the socks out after my long run to aid in my recovery.  Here’s what I thought:

Loved em!!!
Loved em!!!
1. They were very easy to put on, unlike some other compression wear that you have to tug and pull to get on.

2. The colors were really fun, and I loved the polka dot print.

3. They were SOOO comfy, and I actually slept in them last night and woke up with happy legs.

All in all, I loved them and will use them in the future.  I am particular with my socks, but am hoping they will make sleeves too so I can run in them as well.

In my attempt to eat healthier and lose 10 lbs. I decided to make crock pot pork carnitas for dinner so I would have yummy left overs for lunches this week.

Pork Carnitas

Pork roast, boneless-pat dry and season with kosher salt and pepper

1 large red onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 small red chili peppers, chopped

The juice of 1 large orange, 3 small limes

Spice Rub

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tbsp. dried oregano

Drizzle the roast with extra virgin olive oil, and liberally apply the rub.  Place in your crock pot with the fat cap up, and add your onions, garlic, and peppers.  Drizzle over the juice of the oranges and limes, and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.  Remove the pork, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Pull apart with two forks, and place in a bowl.


Drain the liquid from the crock pot, and add the strained liquid back in to the pork to keep it nice and juicy!!  I served it over a salad of mixed greens with black beans, corn, and avocado.  No dressing needed, just drizzle a bit of the drained juice over the top!

Dinner is served!
Dinner is served!
Weekly mileage-27 miles, a few miles short but my knee is happier

Core fitness-6 days=600 sit-ups

Lb.’s lost-NONE…but I blame it on girlie crap this week.

Did you run long or race this weekend?  Have any good crock pot recipes you love?

Friday Favs

Friday Favs

I haven’t posted a Friday Favs post in a while, and am in the middle of a wretched case of writer’s block so thought, why not!

Here’s some of my favorite things lately…

Running outside in a tank top and running shorts/skirt.  The wind in my hair, the sun on my face and actually feeling sweaty.  Gross, right?  LOL

this sums up my elation quite well.
this sums up my elation quite well.

Longer days and warmer temps.  It’s so wonderful being able to drive home from work and still have time to pick up my kids, go running, and cook dinner all before sunset.  Winning!


Being a Mom comes with drama, but J is back in school full days, and S continues to give us a run for our money in regards to her “free spirited” nature at school.  The hubby went to S’s parent teacher conference yesterday, and just when we thought she was improving in regards to focusing at school, we were given a rude awakening.  Ultimately they are healthy and happy (for the most part) so I really shouldn’t complain.


My training is now half way done for the Grandma’s marathon.  Well, it will be once I complete my long run and strength training this weekend.  Hard to believe how quickly the training has gone by, and am looking forward to running with my friend D for my long run tomorrow.  That 15 miler last weekend was TOUGH alone, so the company will be welcomed with open arms.


That wraps it up for my Friday Favs.  What’s your favorite weather to run in?  Are you training for anything in particular?

Have a great weekend, y’all!!  Keep Movin’ Forward!

❤ Michelle

depression, moving forward

Fear and frustration = FUEL for marathon motivation

In 2013 I ran my second FULL marathon. I swore I’d never run a second full, but got the bug after the first training run.  I PR’d by nearly an hour (58 minutes to be exact, I SHOULD know the seconds, but don’t, lol) and I SWORE I’d never run another full marathon.  I ran a couple half marathon races in 2014, to include my husband’s first half…did you read about it?  You can read about it HERE!

I love this guy...
I love this guy…

So today while on my break I decided to catch up on blog posts.  My friend Kim asked when training for the Grandma’s Marathon started, and after scratching my head and thumbing through my calendar I realized official training starts in TWO weeks.  WHA????  Here. WE. GOOOO!  In two weeks I need to be back up to a steady 6 mile run. Easy peasy, right?  I’m a marathoner for goodness sake…Ack…I haven’t ran more than 13.1 miles in 4 months…but I’m ready.  And a little scared, too…<3


Have you heard of this race?  If not, read here!  For those that don’t know, this is my hometown race, where I grew up watching marathoners crossing the finish line, thus my  dream of being a marathoner began.


And a marathoner I am…to me, this is one of the hugest mental and physical accomplishments of my life.  I have loved, I have lost, and I have ran 26.2 freakin’ miles.  yeah…quote THAT.  🙂

But the last 2 days I fought with some mental demons, past hurts, and irrevocable YUCK that just can’t be forgiven forgotten.  I ALMOST let it get to me….but NOPE.  Sorry y’all, I’ve got a marathon to train for…#movinforward

So I thank you all for your positive feedback in regards to my last post.  I know we all struggle, we are all human, and we all have those negative forces that try to creep in…BUT…I also know, only some of us decide to move forward…and not let that crap in.  (Yes, I was literally shaking my head today)!!!!


At the end of the day, I managed to finish my plank challenge (Day 2) and added an additional 10 seconds, as well as did the push up challenge I am participating in this month.  Tomorrow is mill day, and I hope to get in at least 3 miles.  I’ll be taking all of my fear and frustration and ‘running it out’ tomorrow…who’s with me? Let’s leave the crap behind us, right?


What are your plans for the week?  Do you have any upcoming races?