half marathon training, knee pain, moving forward

Gasparilla half marathon, 2019

My husband I decided shortly after running the Disney wine and dine half marathon that we wanted to run another half. We hadn’t properly trained for that half due to good old general life, so we thought, “Let’s do it right this time.” We signed up for the Gasparilla half marathon and started training shortly there after. I had a good 6 or 7 weeks of training until NYE came, and I came down with a 5 week case of bronchitis. I only made it to a 9 mile long run, and I was nervous going in to this race.

We went out to eat with some of our neighborhood runners last night, and after several hiccups in the evening, we didn’t get home until 10 PM. Not ideal when we still had to finish laying our stuff out for the race, AND we had a 3:30 wake up call this morning.

But, we got our outfits laid out, and the morning went off without a hitch. I took my Novorenew (get yours by using discount code of Michelle25 at check out; click link) which I’ve found to help my knee and joint pain tremendously since I’ve started taking it!!! I highly recommend it. We arrived at the convention center within 45 minutes, and had plenty of time to park, apply sunscreen, and do last minute adjustments before meeting up with our neighbors who were also running the race.

Our sub-2 neighbors took off for their corral, and we went to ours to line up to start. I had already given my blessing to my husband to run his own race, so shortly after the start gun went off an we made it about a quarter of a mile in, and he smiled and waved and I was running my own race.

I’ve gone back and forth with solo running, sometimes loving it, and sometimes hating it because I get stuck inside my own head when I am alone, and every now and then I can’t get unstuck. Today, thankfully, wasn’t that day. While I am not the runner I once was, and running in Florida heat is rough, I know eventually I’ll get my speed back.

The race was well organized, had some great spots for spectators, and I even got the high five Meb at around the 8 mile mark, as well as getting a photo with him at the end. Official finish time was 2:31 which is far from my best, but definitely not my worst.

Here’s some photos from the day!!

How was your weekend? Do you have any joint or knee problems? Please click the link above if you do! This stuff is life changing. What’s your favorite distance to run?

Cheers and keep movin’ forward!!


moving forward, race recaps, Races

Disney wine and dine half marathon.

While I can’t give a huge recap of the race from my phone, I do want to share about the race since it’s been almost a month and I’ve not written about it. It was an amazing weekend from expo to finish and my only complaint is that they didn’t have a plan B for the after party that got rained out. Regardless my husband and I had a blast and finished despite not properly training for the race. Here’s the weekend in pictures!!

We did it!! While it was my slowest half marathon to date (2:48ish) it was one of the most fun races I’ve run. And even better I got to do it with my hubby.



marathon training

Grandma’s Marathon training, week 10, DONE!

Gosh, it’s been such a busy week that I haven’t had time to sit down to unwind and write.  Honestly, I’ve been battling writers block terribly this week, so rather than just babble I decided to give myself a few days and see if I could come up with something…

Well, it’s been almost a week and still, I got nothin’ really all that witty or wonderful to say.


I did however manage to almost keep up with my marathon training this week, and have successfully completed my 17 miler.  I ran on Friday as its my weekend to pull supervisory duty at the hospital.  I met up with a couple of my running friends, and had a blast catching up with both of them during our miles.  Melissa stuck with us for 12 miles, and Janel stayed with me until 15.5 miles where she decided it best to call it at 16 so I took off to finish the last mile and a half alone.  All in all, my run felt great despite having to stretch several times.  My ITB just doesn’t want to loosen up, so I am being ginger with it as to prevent injury the best I can.  I foam roll every night now, and ice my knee after long runs.  I also did yoga once this week, and weight training twice.

Next weekend I’ll be doing my first half marathon/race of 2015 and I am really looking forward to it.  It’s my PR race (2:01), and although I don’t plan on racing it as I’ll have another 5 miles to tack on after the race, I do look forward to running it for the 3rd year in a row.  It’s literally almost in my back yard, and these trails and I have had many a memory made on them.  They’ve listened to me when I didn’t want to listen to myself, and they’ve given me back my wings so to speak more times than I can count.  If you remember, I did my 15 miler a few weeks ago on the very trails where this race will take place, and I learned a lot about myself that day.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Wendy from Taking the Long Way home (do you read her blog?  If not, head over now!) at the finish line as she’ll be toeing the line of this race too, but is much faster than me so will finish before I do.  Bonus for me, as it will be a huge welcome to see her smiling face at the finish line.

Lessons learned this week are:

-I’ve got more fuel in my tank than I realized.  After my long run Friday, I honestly felt like I could’ve kept going for several more miles.  YAY!

-People will support you, or they won’t.  Does it matter?  NO…as long as you believe in yourself.  I need to remind myself of this far too often, so I’m saying it out loud.
-Respect the distance you are running, always.  ‘Nuff said.

What’s your favorite distance to run? Do you repeat races you’ve previously ran?

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

❤ Michelle

marathon training, Recipes

Weekend wrap up

Happy Easter, y’all!  Although I am not one to go to a brick and mortar church very often, I do have a very strong faith and have always appreciated the meaning behind Easter. I pray you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.

Mine started out with a bang.  Or a clunk more so…for the last several days I’ve heard/felt a grinding in my brakes.  I took my Jeep to the shop after work on Friday only to find out I needed to replace my rear rotors and brakes.  Ouch.  Bye Bye pay check. Oh well, better safe than sorry right?

Saturday was long run day, and the day we’d celebrate Easter with my immediate family.  I set my alarm and hit the trails with my friends for my 14 mile run.  I felt little nags and aches but managed to finish this run rather strong after allowing myself a couple walk breaks and several breaks to stretch.  My ITB continues to be a B@#%! but I won’t let it stop me. I will however foam roll daily moving forward.

I haven't ran with these two in a while, so it was great to meet up with Melissa and Pat for some miles!
I haven’t ran with these two in a while, so it was great to meet up with Melissa and Pat for some miles!
Isn't ALWAYS about having fun?  I think so...
Isn’t ALWAYS about having fun? I think so…
overall pace of 10:38.  Not bad!!!
overall pace of 10:38. Not bad!!!

After my run, I came home and made my traditional bacon and eggs.  ALL TIME favorite post run food.  Then I hopped in the shower and headed to my sister’s house.  It felt so nice to be with everyone and I of course got emotional when we got there.

My J, and my niece!  <3
My J, and my niece! ❤
My sis and Mom.  Gorgeous right?! <3
My sis and Mom. Gorgeous right?! ❤

Today was a nice and quiet day at home.  We got up early, hunted for eggs and cleaned the house.  Not very Easterly I know, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

I made a yummy and easy Easter dinner of spiraled ham, mashed potatoes and amazing roasted parmesan carrots.

Roasted Parmesan carrots

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Peel and slice 5 carrots into 1/4-1/2 inch discs.

Slice half a red onion

Mince two cloves of garlic

Grate 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

Toss everything in a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste

Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, in a single layer if possible.

Roast at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes


This week I have a doctor and dental appointment, ugh.  Joys of aging, right?  But, speaking of doctors, J is healing slowly but surely and we are hoping she can return to school in the next week or two.  Thanks for the continued prayers.

How was your Easter? Did you have a long run this weekend?  What’s your favorite veggie?

Keep Movin’ Forward, y’all!

❤ 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?


Naperville Half Marathon 2014 race recap

I went into this race with few expectations.  I got lazy (too busy more so) with my training and just prayed I had enough left in the tank to get this race done, and done strong.

I woke up at 4 am, got ready and hit the road to Naperville to meet up with the gang.  I texted Andrea, letting her know I pooped…LOL.  On going joke…sorry haha!

I got to Naperville at 5:45 and waited in the warmth of my car for everyone to arrive. Everyone arrived safely at around 6:15, and we had plenty of time to get settled.  I ate my cereal bar, chugged my 5 hr energy and we were off!

What a beautiful sunrise…and I am NOT a morning person!
These amazing people…I can’t say enough about these girls.
The starting line was lined with flags, and I was truly moved by the beauty of it all!

We lined up at the start, getting in to our respective corrals and bid each other high fives, hugs, and good luck.  I turned and saw Claudia, a woman I met during the Fox Valley training runs I paced, so we agreed to start together.  YAY!  The national anthem was beautifully sung, (sang?) and the race kicked off…it only took about 10 minutes to cross the starting line.  (They could’ve spaced this a little farther apart, as the course was slightly crowded the first few miles).

We stayed together the first couple miles, and she caught me at mile 9 walking-thankfully her motivation got me running up that terrible hill!
We stayed together the first couple miles, and she caught me at mile 9 walking-thankfully her motivation got me running up that terrible hill!

The first several miles felt great.  I thought to myself, HEY…I can DO this…but my excitement got the best of me and I went out too fast.  Rookie mistake.  Beginning mile splits: 9:33, 9:03, 8:58, 8:58, 9:02, 8:51, 9:11, 9:53 (took a walk break to fuel during the 8th mile. I saw Karen at mile 8.5 and nearly sobbed!  A friendly face, YAY!  We hugged quickly and I kept moving.

And then came mile 9…the hill from hell where it felt we were out in the middle of no where.  I walked briefly and then saw Claudia…I tried to stick with her, but it just wasn’t happening.  But I kept her in my sights, along with her awesome hubby who was on his bike throughout several spots on the course.  Seeing him helped me keep going…

I decided the sub 2 just wasn’t going to happen…I had a stitch in my side that refused to go away.

So I high fived all the kids.  I thanked all the volunteers and spectators.  I dug deep and searched for my smile. And I ate a piece of bacon from some amazing dude grilling at around mile 11…and I kept running as fast as I could.

Miles 10 and 11 were 9:51 (another walk/stretch break), 9:20 and my right ITB was SCREAMING at me, making my right knee, and foot feel like they were on fire.  I was done.  I lost sight of Claudia, and I sincerely just wanted to stop.  But I saw her husband at mile 12 and he reminded me “You are doing this for fun,” to which I forced a smile and kept going.

And then…I saw THIS.  (Thanks, Andrea for the picture).

No "Oh I wish I was running the full" feelings here.  AT ALL.
No “Oh I wish I was running the full” feelings here. AT ALL.

The stitch in my side was almost unbearable…but as I hit mile 13 and barreled up the .1 hill to the finish line (having a hill at the finish is just MEAN), I was satisfied.  Slight disappointment for yet another NOT sub 2 half briefly hit me, and the tears brimmed in my eyes. But I reminded myself I wasn’t properly trained, having only run ONE 9 miler since the Fox Valley half marathon in September.  So instead I celebrated all of my awesome friends finish times, and PR’s.  Final miles were 9:30, 9:13, 3:18 for the last .1.  I was blessed to have received my medal from Bob Miller, marathon maniac, and after a hug and smiles, I felt better.

Oh…and all the massages….all the food…and all the beer.

Two Brothers pale ale? You betcha!
AHHHHMAZING perk to this race. Stretching AND massage tents.
I may have eaten two of these…don’t judge.

At the end of the day I did what I set out to do.  Complete this race in under 2:10.  And of course, spend time with some pretty cool people.

Yes...I had about 57 layers on and STILL was cold, while Andrea was in shorts, LOL
Yes…I had about 57 layers on and STILL was cold, while Andrea was in shorts, LOL

I also got to see Carolyn finish her race, PR, AND qualify for Half Fanatics!  YAY!!!!

So proud of this girl!
So proud of this girl!

Pros of the race:

Plenty of port a johns at the start.

Lots of aid stations.

The spectators were amazing

Stretching AND massage tents.  SCORE!

The food/beer was warm/cold respectively

Having the gym open for the runners/spectators

Volunteers!  I can’t say enough about these amazing people

Cons of the race:

Disorganized gear check causing lengthy waits after the race

Not enough signage telling discombobulated runners where to go after the race

Mean security cops/guards.  Cut us some slack fellas…we just ran our butts off!


All in all I had a WONDERFUL time despite some self inflicted pain.  I would definitely do this face again!

Also, I was successful in my November goals by 99% only having missed out on doing yoga.  Score!

Did you race this weekend?  What is your favorite perk of the after race events?

❤ Michelle


Naperville Half marathon preparation and packet pick up

Today is a new day.  My daughter, the tough little cookie she is, is doing fine…I think Mom took it harder than daughter when reality slapped us in the face.

But today, after not a lot of sleep, I rolled out of bed and hopped in the shower.  It was time to pick up my race packet and hit the expo for a race I haven’t trained too terribly hard for, but that I know I can complete.  My #doepicshit friend Andrea was working the expo until 1 o’clock, so I wanted to make sure I got to see her.

And see her I did!  She graciously handed me my packet, and I shopped around while I waited for her to finish her volunteer shift.

Free chair massage?  yespleaseandthankyou!

Meet Rico...my massage dude that was stuck in the 80's sporting his spray tan and gold chains.  But hey, he worked the knot in my back like a mad man.  WIN.
Meet Rico…my massage dude that was stuck in the 80’s sporting his spray tan and gold chains. But hey, he worked the knot in my back like a mad man. WIN.

Afterwards, we decided to grab a bite to eat to celebrate having some time together.  Living an hour apart, and both working crazy hours we don’t get to see each nearly enough.

Blue moon beer counts as carb loading, yes?
Blue moon beer counts as carb loading, yes?

After talking race strategy (run..walk…move…don’t die, and finish), we parted ways and I headed home to get my flat runner ready.

Flat runner ready!
Flat runner ready!

Upon my arrival home, my hubby asked what our dinner plans were?  What?  I am running a half marathon tomorrow…I’m. not. cooking.  LOL!  So he prepared some yummy pasta for us…DELISH!

True carb loading, LOL
True carb loading, LOL

And now, with my gear set out, my Garmin and IPod charging, I am relaxing in an almost too quiet house.  Wait…is that possible?  LOL…

My plan for tomorrow is quite simple…take all the stressors I’ve been dealing with the last few weeks, and let that energy fuel me for 2+ hours.  Leave the yuck on the road, and run with my heart.  I nearly tried to wimp out and either 1. not run the race or 2. just finish it half assed…But my friends know me far too well, and I just don’t work that way.

So I’ll meet up with my amazing friends before the race…shiver, hug, and embrace all that is right in the world by surrounding myself with these people.  Will the race lead to a PR?  Doubtful…realistically I am just a little rusty from the last few weeks.  But I’ll finish, and give it my all!

Thanks to you all, for your amazing support these last 2 days!

Cheers to my last major race of 2014!


I’ve lost it…

In the past several weeks, going on just over a month actually, I have lost my motivation to run.  Between the MasterChef gig, and ITB issues, running has been on the back burner in my life since my last half marathon in late September. 

So looking at the calendar with my last half marathon for 2014 steadily approaching NEXT weekend, I find myself terrified.

For the first time I am toying with a DNS (did not start) because I just have no motivation/desire to run this race.  I can’t believe I am saying those words but they couldn’t be more true.  My longest long run was last weekend with 9 miles ran at a super slow pace.

Pretty sure I will look a lot like this next Sunday...
Pretty sure I will look a lot like this next Sunday…


I paid for this race.  I committed to run this race.  So…I’ll run this race.  Lord willing at least…

The forecast is terrible, with cold temps and rain/ice on deck.

Someone…help me find my motivation, QUICK.  :-/

Help!  I lost it!
Help! I lost it!

How do you tackle lack of motivation in regards to running/racing?

❤ Michelle

moving forward, running, Thursday

Throwback, Thursday and moving forward

I have been toying with this post for a while, but between my computer dying and lack of time I put it off…

I had read a post on one of my favorite blogs a while back…www.ilaxstudio.com about whether or not you go back and delete old posts.  My initial response was, “No, my blog is a catalog of my journey.”  But tonight I decided to go back and read some old posts I had written since I started this blog back in 2011.  Wow…it was an eye opener to read some of my early writings shortly after I retired from the Air Force.  My initial blog was named “From blue, to jeans” but I’ve updated it to my current site in the last couple years.

Some of my posts were…well, sheer torture to read.  Was I really so down in the dumps all the time?  Was transitioning from the military, and being a single military wife for many months so hard?  Apparently, yes, it was from what I read… I whined…a lot.  Gah.  So I deleted several posts tonight, because that just isn’t the course I need to take anymore.  I’m sure I’ll go back and delete at least a few more.  For moving forward to me, is a journey filled with change, positivity and not dwelling on the past.  Sure, tough times are had by all…but I don’t need or want that sort of thing to be the premise of my writing.  I’ve worked hard this last year or so to literally delete negativity from my life, because I have the tendency to get sucked in to that frame of mind and in all honestly-I want to break that pattern.

So tonight, after what was the busiest day I’ve encountered at my not so new job, I came home, and ran…just an easy 3.3 miles, but I ran none the less.  I’ve lacked motivation these last few weeks coming off the Fox Valley half marathon with my hubby, but I know I’ve got a race coming up and I just can’t half ass it…it’s not in me to just wing it…My 11th half marathon in two weeks, the Naperville half marathon.

In doing so, I found my inspiration to finally write this post.  I thought back to 2007 when with only 8 weeks to train I signed up for my first half marathon, the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll half marathon.  Seven years ago, at this time I had hit a tough spot in life and decided to give my heart to distance running and I lost myself on the road.  I ran the entire race, which was my goal…and I finished in 2:19 (I believe?  how can I forget?)…I’ve ran 10 half marathons, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart.

My biggest fans after finishing my first half marathon in 2007!
My biggest fans after finishing my first half marathon in 2007!

I found myself there, on those 13.1 miles of streets, roads, and city sites…and although there have been bumps in the road, I now smile daily, and live to tell my story another day.



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. 🙂