Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: The Year in Pictures

It's been a wonderful year full of love, fun and adventure.

Julie had her senior prom and graduated.

We had two family reunions....on the same day!

I got a few breakfasts in with "the girls".

I celebrated my 21st anniversary with this amazing man!
I enjoyed some other family moments...

I worked hard and earned more bling with my partner in crime, I mean my partner in running and wine:

I got to see some famous people:

I was so proud of Chris for getting back up on stage this year!
And, sometimes best of all, are those quiet moments that Chris and I find outside together...

Looking forward to many more adventures in 2015!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Running Year in Review

Best race experience?
2013 had been a year of surgeries (2 skin cancers and a thyroid removed) and recovery for me, so there weren't many races. I was very excited to have completed 5 more states in 2014:

State #10: New Orleans, LA in February
State #11: Springfield, IL in April
State #12: St. Louis, MO in April
State #13: Williamsburg, VA in June
State #14: Kitty Hawk, NC in November

Choosing from those races, I would pick the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon as my favorite for the year. I really enjoyed visiting Springfield. We enjoyed the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum the day before the race. The race itself was very picturesque, through neighborhoods, historic buildings, parks and the cemetery where the Lincoln family rests. I loved the fact that we got to have our picture taken with Lincoln too!

Best run?
It was on September 27 - 11 miles in the rain. I felt really good, like a real runner!

Best new piece of gear?
I had been hoping to replace my old Garmin for some time and tried about 4 newer models but was never satisfied. Finally, I tried the Garmin Forerunner 220 and have been very happy with it as well as the updated Garmin Connect website.

Best piece of running advice you received?
Most inspirational runner?
My running partner Kristine keeps me going: on long runs, short runs and many racing adventures. She even convinced me to try speedwork this year!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Fun but not consistent enough. I'm aiming to keep the fun but improve the consistency for 2015.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Four Things

I saw this on a couple of other blogs I read and thought it would be fun to fill in my own...

Four names that people call me other than my real name:
Mom - on a regular basis
Mommy - when they really, really want something
Mrs. Sadlers - yup, I'm a teacher
And Chris calls me all kinds of silly terms of endearment that I don't think I need to share :)

Four jobs I’ve had:

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
Dirty Dancing
Every Disney movie with the kids

Four books I’d recommend:
The Earth's Children Series
Little Women
Jane Eyre
Bridge to Terabithia

Four places I’ve lived:
Little Compton, RI
Bristol, RI
Tiverton, RI
Sebastian, FL

Four places I’ve visited this year:
The Outer Banks
New Orleans
Colonial Williamsburg
The big ketchup bottle in Collinsville, IL

Four things I prefer not to eat:
Lima beans
Brussel sprouts

Four of my favorite foods:
Anything chocolate
Veal Marsala
Homemade desserts

Four TV shows I watch
The Biggest Loser
Breaking Bad
Sons of Anarchy
The Following

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
*Spending time with Chris
*My children finding their's a big year for them: Andrew graduates from college and Julie will participate in the Disney College Program
*Traveling and earning more medals, especially Alaska!
*That maybe this will finally be the year I get in better shape

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Joining the Biggest Loser

I'm not sure how it happened, but it did. I got an email invitation to attend the grand opening of the Biggest Loser Resort on Amelia Island. For Free! As a fan of the show what else could I do? I grabbed my running partner and we drove there for the festivities!

All I can say is thank goodness for Siri. Would you believe that my Garmin GPS, Google Maps and good old Rand McNally all couldn't find our destination? Siri came through with minutes to spare. Once there, we were treated to an opening informational session about the Biggest Loser resorts. It sounds like it would be a great way to kick start improving your health. We then went to some breakout sessions. There were workouts, yoga and nutrition classes.

We chose the workout first. WOW!! I was sore for days after just a 20 minute session. It was a partner workout where we alternated full body exercises: sprints and pushups, slides and situps, frog jumps and squats, and lunges and burpees. Yes, I was shaking and definitely realized how much I need to work some other muscles.

The next session we chose was a nutrition class. It was very informative. Some things I had heard or read before like, eat on a lunch plate instead of a dinner plate and be very aware of portion sizes on containers. Some other advice was new: don't try to do it all at once - make small changes. Aim for good, healthy choices 90% of each week. When ordering at a restaurant it's okay to ask them to mix and match different things on the menu even if it doesn't come as a meal. It's also okay to ask them to pack half before it goes on the plate.

Next, lunch was provided. It was a delicious buffet with grilled chicken or salmon as the protein. There were all the makings of a very healthy salad, along with some grilled flatbread and baked potatoes. We were also given samples of a yellow tomato gazpacho - it was spicy!

After lunch we waited to win our raffle prizes. There were workout DVD's, cookbooks and gift baskets. The two grand prizes were eagerly anticipated: two tickets to The Biggest Loser season finale, and a week's stay at the Amelia Island resort. Alas, we did not win. BUT, get this - a husband and wife each won one of the prizes! Amazing coincidence.

Following the presentation we were able to meet Jessie Pavelka. I think I'd be working hard if he were my trainer!
When were were finished at the convention center, we were able to go tour the facilities. The Biggest Loser Resort is not brand new. Instead, they have taken over a portion of the Omni Hotel's Amelia Island Plantation. Some of the areas were refurbished and they look great. We were some of the first to try out the equipment.

When we got the confirmation, we had the opportunity to stay overnight. Of course, if we were doing this we were doing this all the way. So, we stayed in one of the villas that the participants actually use. They were located nearby the gym and kind of secluded from the main resort. 

We had a great night just wandering around, but splurged on a delicious dinner (and dessert). We were good though, and newly inspired. We woke up early the next morning and completed our scheduled six-mile run on a gorgeous path around the property. We followed it up with a nutritious breakfast with a magnificent view before heading home after our Biggest Loser adventure. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Checking in, not checking out

Concentrating on being healthy is tiring! As a teacher on summer vacation, I'm wondering how I survive working full time on less sleep. I've been taking naps nearly every day. The upside has been that my laundry consisted of just bathing suits, workout clothes and pajamas this week.

I had a great training week, 22 miles in all. Our five miles of bridge repeats were faster this week by 30 seconds! And, I took a whole minute off my 5K time this week. Motivation (and consistency) has been a key factor. I've been able to meet my running partner in the mornings when I would normally be getting ready to go to work. I also joined in on the Runner's World Sub-30 Facebook group. Their conversation is non-stop and almost makes you feel guilty if you're not out there doing something. They have been a very inviting and fun group to get to know. And, who can resist getting up early for these views:
I'll admit I've fallen a bit off the schedule, but with a bigger focus on the running, driving my daughter back and forth to work and other activities (open mic nights, chi running clinics, etc.) I've managed to get behind by two workouts. I've now done the Define: Lower and Define: Upper twice. They are pretty short and I feel like I'm getting better at them as time goes on, although triceps pushups continue to be difficult. The Sweat workout is about double in length and much more taxing. You spend long periods of time on each leg doing multiple exercises. I'm looking forward to trying Core this week. I'll also admit that I haven't been faithful to following the eating plan.

This is another active, highly engaging online group and source of motivation. Everyone checks in often about their food or exercise for the day. People comment on eachother's posts and encourage them, especially when they are seeking help, advice or just a nudge to continue. I am surprised not to see a bit more interaction from the host, Shay Carl, though. I do continue to watch his vlogs, and his Shayloss channel has some beautiful footage of the activities they are doing in Idaho. It certainly makes me want to go join him on a hike. I'm proud to say I lost 3.4 pounds the first week. I've been relying more on the MyFitnessPal app and counting calories. The app is really eye-opening as far as keeping track of the macro-nutrients, as well as other vitamin and mineral intake and sugar. I've learned I definitely need to focus more on cutting out fat and sugar.

Finally, it looks like I'll have the best motivation coming up: This week I signed up for the Outer Banks Half Marathon in North Carolina. It will be state number 14 for me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's Like Riding a Bike

What a beautiful morning for a bike ride! The only problem was that it's probably been over a year since I've been on the darn thing! I opted for an easy route, from one beach parking lot to another along scenic A1A; the round trip was 13.8 miles and we did it in an hour. I remembered to take my feet out of the clips at each stop and have no marks or bruises on me- it was a good day.
Afterward, my husband and I enjoyed breakfast out at a new coffeehouse. We had egg sandwiches and hot pressed coffee, yum! Not exactly on the PiYo eating plan, but I'm trying to make it all work this summer.

Today was Define: Upper Body. Yup, I'm a runner and have no upper body strength. I definitely felt weak in my wrists and shoulders when I had to hold my own body weight, but I'll make progress, right? I really liked this workout as I felt there were enough reps of each exercise to feel the impact and then need to take a break. It was a really short video, only 20 minutes long and it focused on core in addition to the upper body. I like that the plan calls for the repeat of the two Define videos this week so that there is more practice with the exercises and the ability to take them a bit deeper once they have been learned.

I had taken a break from the Kettleworx video series as I wasn't sure how it was going to mix with the PiYo and if it would be too much for me. Today's PiYo video was short so I opted to try one of the short, 10-minute Kettleworx ab workouts. This was much more my current speed. The warm-up was the same and then the exercises were slower movements and transitions. Most of them were done for one minute each, allowing time to watch the first one as a demonstration and then dive right in.

I also lounged by the pool with a good book and ran some errands. Not bad for summer vacation!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bridge Repeats

Day two of the Summer Slim Down started in the dark. The alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. so I could meet my running partner to do 5 miles of bridge repeats, the closest thing we can get to hill training here in Florida. Well, my legs were burning! We figured out it had been 6 weeks since we had run the bridge! Non-existent hill training, combined with high humidity and no breeze to speak of, left us both drenched! It looks like this will become part of our summer maintenance schedule. We cooled down with a walk under the bridge and had some beautiful views:

Day two of the PiYo Challenge called for the Define: Lower Body video. This session was about 25 minutes long but went by super fast. The exercises included plank, downward dog and the warrior poses. There was movement in each of the poses to strengthen and increase flexibility. This is one of those workouts where I know I'll see improvements quickly. Once you get used to doing the poses, you'll be able to just follow the cues and not have to look at the television. This will allow for greater concentration on improving the poses and movements. I can't wait to try the Define: Upper Body tomorrow.

The eating plan went well today. I still have to concentrate on getting all of the servings in, especially the vegetables and protein. I'm not finding myself to be hungry during the day, which may be why I'm hesitant to eat what seems like extra food. I have stayed within my calorie goal each of the two days, even though my running partner delivered home-baked cookies to me this morning. Thankfully, they are "healthy" chocolate cookies made with avocado instead of butter, so I didn't mind indulging in a little dessert.

On a personal note, I'm just so proud of my daughter who started her first job today as a CNA at the local hospital. Disregarding the messy bathroom selfie, does it get any cuter than fitted purple scrubs?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Slim Down

Since I had a whole series of medical issues last summer, finally resulting in surgery to remove my thyroid, my weight has fluctuated at an all time high. Surgery is well behind me. My medication seems to have leveled out. I'm back to running consistently. I'm off work for the next six weeks. Gee, there are no excuses left - time to get down to it and lose these ten pounds.

PiYo Challenge
I saw an ad for Beachbody's new workout and thought it would be perfect cross training for running. It is a combination of pilates and yoga, designed to build strength and flexibility. Today, a Monday after the long holiday weekend, was as good as any to begin the eight week program. The first workout, Alignment, was more of a video to watch. It gave the fundamental yoga poses and the modifications for beginners. I tried a few of them out, but mostly just watched. I had attended yoga classes before, but this was the first time I could actually see some of the poses done correctly and incorrectly instead of just trying to go by feel. I'm sure I'll be feeling tomorrow's workout much more than today's practice session.

The PiYo eating plan is interesting. It kind of reminded me of Richard Simmon's Deal a Meal from way back when. The booklet instructs you through the calculation process to find out how many calories you'll be aiming for - it recommends that you stay within 200 calories of your goal. Then, based on the plan, it gives you the number of servings for each of the five categories: primary vegetables, secondary vegetables and grains, fresh fruit, lean protein and healthy fat. Looks like I'll have to increase my vegetable and protein intake and lessen my fat intake.

To give myself further motivation, and increased accountability, I have joined an online dietbet. It is being hosted by Shay Carl, a vlogger that I watch regularly. I thought it would be fun to connect online and share experiences. I can't believe how many people are signed up and how much money is in the pot. First, you join the game and pay the $30 entry fee. Then you have to take pictures, and have them verified. The pictures don't get posted, thank goodness; they are only sent in to try to assure there is no cheating. The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight in the next four weeks.

My own 5K Challenge
I read an article a couple of months ago in Runner's World about working on your 5K time to boost speed and endurance during training. It has not ever been a distance that I focused on as my races are half marathons. I usually train using the Galloway run-walk-run method. I've played around a lot over the years with the intervals that I use and seem to be getting a good result. A year or so ago, I had worked myself up to run the entire 5K distance and had gotten my time as low as 28:58. This has been something I've been wanting to work toward again, so I tried it this morning. Mind you, I was lazy and didn't get out of bed early enough so it was sunny, hot and humid for my run. I also had to pause twice. I made it two miles, and needed a short break. Then I ran another half mile and took another rest. My time was 33:23. Wow, a lot had changed. I'm hoping to get one of these in every week and monitor the progress. I will change the workout to record the mile splits in the future. Have I mentioned I'm loving all these geeky reports from Garmin Connect?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sweating in the Summer

Wow, it's hot out there!

Summer in Florida is the toughest time to work out. It can be done, but really needs to be done early and I've found myself in the habit of sleeping in already! I did go out for my regular "long" run on Saturday morning. We decided to maintain with about 20 miles each week, doing 6-7 miles each time we go out. Yesterday we ran 5 miles, then did the boardwalk stairs that stretched out to a mile, and then ran the last mile on very tired legs.

Garmin Forerunner 220
I was able to try out my new toy for the first time. I have had a Garmin Forerunner 301 for years. I've noticed that the GPS seemed to be not picking up as well, plus, it was having a more difficult time charging. I'd have to really wiggle the cord and find just the right spot in order for it to charge. Over the course of the last year and a half I've tried out several other Garmin models, but hadn't found one I really liked. On some models, I didn't like the touch screen or the sensitivity. On a couple of the models I couldn't hear the beeps. Some models didn't have the features I wanted. You get the idea.

In the end, I spent a little more than I intended and went with the purple and white Garmin Forerunner 220. I opted to go with the heart rate monitor, but since I'm not used to wearing one I forgot to put it on yesterday. I loved the fact that it beeps and vibrates - perfect for races! I was a bit disappointed that it didn't come with a printed out manual, and will have to look up some of the features, like how to program workouts, connect it to My Fitness Pal, etc. I was happy with the ease of use on my first run. I will try it later this week with some intervals and the heart monitor.

Garmin Connect
One of the things I really liked was the Garmin Connect. It has enough data to geek even the least techie person out! I liked that it documents the exact weather during your run - yes it was 100% humidity on Saturday morning. Another thing that I was very interested in was the cadence. Apparently I need to speed up my footwork, something to work on. One of my goals this summer was to work my way back to running and improving my time on the 5K distance. I will certainly be using the splits to watch my pace.

I did finish the Kettleworx Cardio on Wednesday. I did the second set and the cool down with the kettle bell. I definitely felt it for a few days. I think this is one of those workout programs I will have to build up to. I plan on trying a couple of the 10 minute workout sessions next week.

Since the weather, and my sleeping habit, were not conducive to running this week, I completed another 30 minute session on the elliptical.
Overall, it worked for me this first vacation/holiday week. Time to step it up for next week!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tropical Storm Arthur

Yesterday was the day I had set aside for a reboot of sorts. It was my first day of summer vacation, so I could devote more time to the cross-training that I think will help my running. Not to mention that I seriously need to re-evaluate my current eating trends.

Since I have no races on the immediate horizon, the plan was to go into a maintenance phase of running. I would run 5-7 miles 3 days per week and then spend more time doing cross-training: biking or kayaking with my husband, making use of the dusty elliptical in my exercise room, adding in some workout videos, etc. I may try to add in one 5K each week just to try to see some progress.

Day 1 Run:
I woke up bright, or rather dark, and early to meet my running partner for 5 miles of bridge repeats and then a mile run. The first thing I notice on my phone was a tropical storm warning on the weather app. Geez, what a way to start the day, not to mention my summer vacation. Looking at the hourly weather, it didn't look so bad and it wasn't...until I got about halfway to our meeting spot and then the sky opened. What a downpour! It eased up as I pulled in to the parking lot, but as we were discussing what to do, it started again. Knowing the bands would continue, we opted out of our run for the day. No, I don't run in the rain - unless I've traveled and paid for a race.

Day 1 Elliptical:
I came home and lounged around, had another cup of coffee, and some breakfast. After an adequate amount of digestive time, I hopped on the elliptical, and since this machine had spent months collecting dust I began my workout on the lowest resistance setting and sweated it out for 30 minutes.

Day 1 Kettleworx:
A friend from a virtual running group I belong to had offered up her set of Kettleworx videos. I snagged them and invested in a 15 pound kettle bell. It is marketed as a 6-week transformational program. So, I began with day one, Kettleworx Cardio...and I got halfway through. Yes, I am out of shape, but even more so, I have exactly no upper body strength. I did the warm up and the first set. At one point, when the workout went to using one hand for the weight, I had to pick up a smaller dumbbell instead of the kettle bell. It looks like I'll have to work myself up to this one, so I'll complete the second half of the video today.

I felt good after completing something, and not just giving in to the urge to sit on the couch with a blanket and read all day in this crummy weather. I woke up sore this morning so I know it is working. Let's see what I can do today! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Eat to Run or Run to Eat?

I guess this is always a good question. Sure, I love to eat and try new foods. In fact, even my husband called us foodies the other night as we were preparing dinner. Maybe I can work on doing both in moderation!

I may be capable of this, but nothing Scott Jurek did was in moderation. I finished reading his book Eat & Run a few days ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I made a lot of connections with him that I really hadn't expected. 

To begin with, the setup of this book was unique. Each chapter started with a thought-provoking quote that could be related to running, or sometimes even life in general. Then, the chapter focused on individual races. It gave background on what he did to prepare, what was going on both in his mind and in his life at the time, and how he raced and performed in each event. Most chapters offered a running tip, expanding on what he had learned or tried in each race. Finally, the chapter ended with a recipe. Eating and running, a perfect combination.

Now, back to the connections. He is a deeply thoughtful person. He analyzed everything, but most especially what he put into his body, what he expected of his body, and how his body performed. His leanings veered toward Tao beliefs made sense to me as I have done some reading on this topic before, sparked by another book, A Million Little Pieces. I totally agreed with everything he said about yoga. I spent one summer doing yoga 5-6 days a week and noticed a remarkable improvement in my running form. He and I both benefited from the relaxation and meditative part of yoga as well. Finally, I enjoyed his ability and desire to experiment with the food he was fueling himself with. He really kept me engaged with not only the recipes but with the science and reasoning behind his decisions to use specific ingredients.

Can I just say that I was beyond impressed with his accomplishments? Mind you, I have only run two full marathons and the idea of an ultra does not even appeal to me, not one little bit. Yet, I just kept reading how Scott continued to push his body to reach his maximum potential, always seeking more. The mental fortitude of this man is unbelievable! He has used his life experiences to help push him past mountains, figuratively and literally. Here again, his circumstances ignited his desire to escape past the ordinary and into the world of the extraordinary, not just to be the winner, but to break records as well as find something more powerful in his body, but more importantly, his mind. 

There was one thing about the book that bothered me. And perhaps I've just read too deeply and not taken into account that this was a glimpse at his life. I found myself sad about his story. I am in awe of how hard and far he can push himself. He is constantly reaching toward the "nothingness", toward feeling nothing in his body and mind and I can't help but feel that sometimes it may be at the expense of finding connections with others. In the end, this may just be what it takes to become a true champion in the sport. From reading Scott Jurek's story I hope I can find enough grit within me to push beyond what I think I'm capable of when running, maybe even reaching that PR that's been eluding me for several years.

Friday, June 13, 2014

State #9 - Cincinnati, OH

My fabulous traveling running partner and I completed The Flying Pig Half Marathon on Sunday, after running the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon on Saturday.

After running the Mini Marathon, we had a shower and breakfast, then headed right to the next expo wearing our shirts and medals. We got such fun reactions when we indicated we were going to run another half marathon the next morning. We picked up lots of goodies at the expo: a nice fitting tech shirt complete with a pig tail on the back, a poster, and a perfect sized collapsible cooler, in addition to a whole lot of samples.

Bright and early the next morning we headed to the stadium for the start. A really nice touch was that each "pig pen", otherwise known as a corral, had several porta-potties inside. This really eliminated the long lines usually associated with the start line area and people were more willing to enter their corrals instead of milling about. After a touching rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, a moment of silence was held to honor the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. That was followed by an enthusiastic audience sing along to Sweet Caroline. And, we were off.

A bit sore from our run the previous day, we took this race nice and easy. The course traipsed around some neighborhoods and over the Ohio River. There were "party zones" for spectators, but they were few and far between; honestly, nothing like the spectator support we had experienced the previous day. There were a couple of rolling hills and one steeper hill from about mile six to eight, and these Florida girls had to walk for a few minutes. The view of the church at the top of the hill was spectacular - such pretty old architecture.

Thankfully, we finished just in time to avoid the rain. The finish area was large, and a lot of vendors were there, however, they were selling their wares. I had not experienced the sale of items at a finish area before and was not prepared as I usually don't carry money when I run. This was a bit disappointing as I would have liked to try some of the offerings.

The picture waited until we had hurried back to the hotel (in order to stay as dry as possible). All in all, it was a great trip. We decided we would try to make a "double" weekend a yearly event.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Pseudo Liebster Award

I really enjoy reading Katies' blog, Runs for Cookies, every day. This morning she answered questions given to her along with the Liebster Award and then she asked her readers to answer the questions as well. Feeling like I was given a pseudo Liebster award myself, my answers are below:

Who was your biggest role model as you first started running?
When I first started running, I had joined Team in Training. We had a great team, with awesome coaches, and a fantastic team leader. Over the years, we have all remained close and I still run with many of those wonderful people. They keep me on track and accountable. And, we have so much fun on our many adventures!

Another person that comes to mind is Mike. When I first moved to Florida, I heard that he was running the Disney Marathon. He was just a regular person - a parent of one of my kindergarteners- and I was just in awe that he was going to do something like that!

What is your best running memory?
So far, I think I would have to go with completing my first full marathon. A group of us girls had entered the lottery to run the Nike' Women's Marathon, not really thinking we would get picked. Surprise! I had to be convinced that if we did get chosen, I would be running my first full marathon. This was also a very new experience for me, as I had not traveled by myself, without my family, ever.

Needless to say, we had the best time! We biked across the Golden Gate Bridge, rode the trolley "the right way", spent time at the pier and indulged on a wine tour (yes, the day before the big race). We enjoyed the challenging, yet beautiful course, stopping for pictures along the way. And nothing says marathon finisher better than a little blue Tiffany box. Can you believe we even toured Alcatraz that same afternoon?

The time you now spend running: what was it filled with before you started running?
I have no idea! I think what I like most is that life comes in phases. I know I have certainly enjoyed each and every phase my children have gone through...although, sometimes I'm happy when "that phase" is finished. I have only been running for five years now, so I'm thinking that prior to running my days were filled with taking care of my kids and helping them to participate in their many activities. They are teenagers now so they don't need as much of my time. Also, I can just walk out the door and say "I'm going for a run!" (which leaves me with no excuses for not going). I think my daughter said it best, when I once jokingly said I was giving up running; she simply said, "You can't, it's a part of who you are!"

What is your favorite tv show?
I know I'm a little bit behind the times but I just finished watching Breaking Bad...what a great show! Next, I'll move on to season 2 of The Following.

What is one habit you won't give up, even though you know it's not the healthiest?
Chocolate, of course! Although, I have been trying to make healthier treats, like these Almond Butter Cups.

If you could have lunch with someone famous, who would you pick? 
That's a really tough one to answer. I might pick Kevin Bacon, but I'm not sure I'd be able to actually speak to him. Then again, I really might enjoy dining out with Anthony Bourdain. He might take me somewhere exotic to eat! Of course, there's always Kara Goucher, she might be able to give me some good tips for sticking to a training plan. I think my list could go on and on!

What is your favorite season for running?
I live in Florida, so any season but summer is good for running. Of course, there's always a fall race on the schedule, which means I run all year long!

Describe the one route you would be okay running over and over for the rest of your life.
I love to travel and run in new places, but the route I run every Saturday is wonderful. We start at a park, run up and over two bridges (the closest we can get to hill training) and then along the boardwalk at the beach. Catching an early morning sunrise on your run, or stopping to watch the dolphins play never gets old.
If time and money were not a factor, where would you choose to go on vacation?
Right now, I'd just continue with my quest to run a half marathon in all fifty states. I have been enjoying touring the country. If time and money were not a factor, I'd be able to spend more time in each place and really appreciate it. I also might be able to complete this goal a bit faster.

What is your favorite pastime other than lacing up the running shoes?
 I like to read, cook (and eat), kayak, go to the beach and travel. Any time I can do any of those things with Chris, it's that much more special.