Exciting News!

Hello!!

I have some news to share.  Something really exciting happened to me today.  When I got up this morning and checked my emails, I had one from WordPress.  I logged on and saw that Erica at Just a Little Dot had nominated me for the Liebster Award!!

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I am super excited about this! This award is way for new bloggers to get their blogs recognized and their blogs to be discovered.  I know I haven’t been blogging long, but I was really starting to wonder how I could get more people to hear about me.  This is AWESOME!!  I am really flattered that someone would read my blog and think that I deserved this.  I can’t even express how excited I am about this nomination!  Thank you so much Erica! Also, I loved your post Pushing Ourselves to Uncomfortable Levels.  That is exactly how I feel, and I’m sure so many others do too.  It makes me feel better knowing that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Back to the award –

Here is how it works:

  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions given to you by the nominator.
  • Nominate up to 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
  • Create 11 questions for the nominees.
  • Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

 

Here are the questions that Erica asked me:

  1. Where is your favorite place you have traveled? Definitely Montego Bay, Jamaica. We stayed at the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall and it was absolutely beautiful.  The beach and the ocean there is breathtaking!
  2. What would you choose to have for your last meal? Chicken fajitas – that is my absolute favorite meal.  (and some guacamole!)
  3. If you could have an evening with any person in the world who would it be? I really had to think about this one for a long time.  I know most people would say someone famous, or someone influential.  But, for me, I really think I would choose my family.  We are all so busy with our everyday lives, that it makes it really hard to get together.  Everyone is spread out all over the states, and sometimes we only get to see each other at Christmas.  And, even when we are together, there is always cell phones and interruptions.  I would love to have an evening to just spend with everyone in the same room with no interruptions! (I know that’s more than 1 person, but I couldn’t choose!)
  4. What was your favorite childhood toy? Rollerblades LOL – I LOVED skating, and it’s something I did every day after school with my friends.
  5. What is your favorite quote? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 – I love this quote because it gives me confidence that I can handle or do anything I put my mind to. Another one that I like is just something that my old dance teacher used to drill into our heads, “Always be a lady and smile.”  I think that applies in every aspect of life as well.
  6. Cabin in the woods or oceanfront cottage? Definitely oceanfront cottage
  7. Android or Iphone? Iphone
  8. Pearls or Diamonds? Hard decision – diamonds
  9. What is your favorite post on your blog? – My favorite post so far is my “Racing Accomplishments” because it’s something that I am really proud of.
  10. What is your favorite way to release stress? Running
  11. If you won the lottery what is the first thing you would do with your winnings? My husband and I have joked about this many times, but I know that the first thing I would do would be to help my grandparents. My grandpa still works, and I hate that he does that. I want him to stay at home and enjoy his life.

When deciding who to nominate, I thought about people that inspire me.  I love reading about other people’s running experiences, so here are the bloggers that I have nominated:

Brits Run Disney

Really Not a Runner

My Mother’s Daughter

Just Running Around

Here are your 11 questions:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What is your favorite hobby?
  3. What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
  4. What annoys you the most?
  5. Where is your favorite place to travel?
  6. What has been your favorite running experience?
  7. Where do you find motivation?
  8. What is your favorite meal?
  9. Laptops or tablets?
  10. Warm weather or cold weather?
  11. Cats or dogs?

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Jamaica Vacation Part 3

This is my final post over our Jamaica trip.  But, we extended our vacation and went to Los Angeles.  I will post about that trip in my next posts.

But first, I want to share our excursion experience in Ocho Rios with you.

If you are ever in Jamaica, I would highly recommend that you go to Dunn’s River Falls.  That place is incredible!  We went there a few years ago, and we thought about going back.  But, we decided that we wanted to do something we had never done.  Hubby has always wanted to go ziplining.  I have no idea why, because he is scared of heights.  I on the other hand, am TERRIFIED of heights.  But, this is what we decided to do.

So, on Friday of our trip, we went to the Mystic Mountain.

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When we got there it was beautiful!  It was in the middle of the jungle.

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I was already nervous about the zip lining, but when we got there we found out that we had to ride a chair lift 700 feet up a mountain.  We got on it, and I started to panic a little!  We were so high up, we were in the tops of the trees.  The view of the ocean was gorgeous, but the ride was terrifying!  The chair went pretty slow, and when it would reach each tower, it would start shaking.  And, it started to rain on us.  We were up so high, you couldn’t even see the ground!  I do not ever want to do that again!  (But I had to in order to get back down) The ride up the mountain took about 20 minutes.  When we reached the top, I wanted to kiss the ground!

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We got off and we to ride the bobsled.  It was like a roller coaster, but you could control how fast or slow you went.  The girl that strapped us in told us, “The faster you go, the safer you’ll be.”  We rode with our cars hooked together because I’m a chicken.  We went pretty fast, and it was really fun!   It was a quick, and then we had to ride back up to where we started.  This was just like a roller coaster going up a hill, but it went faster.

After the bobsled, we visited the hummingbird garden.  Then we went and got strapped into our harnesses so we could do the zip lines.

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We met our guides, and they were hilarious!  They were really nice to me since they knew I was scared.  They joked around with us, and kept calling me queenie.  Hubby went first on the first line.  I was impressed!  I went next, and it was AWESOME!  I loved every second of it! We went on four lines, and then we got to a platform where you had to drop straight down.  The guides made me go first.  I kept telling them I didn’t want to, but they said if I didn’t, I wouldn’t want to go at all.  So, I went and they lowered me really slowly to the bottom.  After I went, one of the ladies with us said she wanted to go because it didn’t look so bad.  She got up there and they just dropped her to the bottom.  I was so glad they didn’t do that with me.  Then we got to walk across a really long rope bridge to the last line.

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Once we went across that line we were half way down the mountain.  They took our harnesses and we had to get on the chair lift to go the rest of the way down.

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I had a blast, and I would love to do this again!  I was really proud of us for facing our fears, and I loved that we did it together.

Have you ever faced a fear?

Jamaica Vacation Part 2

We did so much on our vacation, that I had to break it up into multiple posts.  After hanging out at the beach and pool all day, we would head back to the room to get ready for the night.

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We would go to dinner and then the nightly show.  After the shows we would usually go back to the room and go to bed.  The first night we ate at the southern food restaurant.  This was my favorite for the whole week!  We both ordered steak, and it was delicious.  I also ordered the peach cobbler for dessert, which was scrumptious.

Sandals (187)After dinner that night, we went and watched a reggae show.  I am in love with reggae music so of course I loved the show!

It's bad quality - but it's the only one I got
It’s bad quality – but it’s the only one I got

The next night, we ate Italian.  It was excellent!  I had the chicken parmesan.  The chicken was thin and it wasn’t greasy.  I really enjoyed it.  We skipped dessert because they were having a chocolate party.  We went up to the hillside to the party.  It was set up around the pool and there were tons of tables covered with chocolate desserts.  I am not a big chocolate eater, but I tried a few and they were good.  They had models covered in chocolate.  I don’t think I could do that.  There was also a chocolate fountain with fruit to dip in it.  We were supposed to wear white to the party, and the hubby ended up dropping some chocolate from the fountain on his shirt. Major fail!  But, we were able to get it laundered and save it!

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The next two nights we ate at the Japanese restaurant.  Before dinner, we would go to the sushi bar for appetizers.  Although the hubby doesn’t eat sushi, he was a good sport and would sit while I ate.  Then, we would head over for Japanese.  We really like the show cooking, and the waiters and chefs would serenade us with Shaggy songs!  They were hilarious!

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One of these nights we went up to the hillside to go to the Rabbit Hole.  It was a really cool bar that had a lounge singer.  She was awesome!  We hung out here and listened to the music for a while.

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The other night, we went to the steel drum band show.  This was my favorite show of the week!  The band was absolutely amazing!

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Another night, we tried a gourmet restaurant and didn’t like it, so we ate at the snack bar later that night.  It was ok.  The hubby liked it because you could fix your own nachos.  It was only open late at night, and I just didn’t like eating so much junk that late.  So, it was good, but I just couldn’t eat very much.

The last night we were there, we ate at the seafood restaurant on the beach.  I really enjoyed the fried calamari!  We both ordered the ribeye, but it was not good.  It wasn’t like steak that we are used to, and it was mostly fat.  So, we really didn’t eat much.  We also ordered a crème brulee, and it was good, but really really sweet!  When we were finished, we went to the show.  It was the staff talent show, and I was impressed with how talented they all were.

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Overall, it was a great week!  Give me a beach and some sun and I’m happy!  I can’t wait to go back to Jamaica.

We also did an excursion while we were in Ocho Rios – I will share it in my next post.

Keep reading, we didn’t go straight home – we took a trip to LA!  That’s coming up in the next posts

Jamaica Vacation Part 1

The hubby and I take a trip to the Caribbean every summer.  This year we went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  We stayed at the Sandals Ochi.  This resort is huge, and is broken up into two sides.  We stayed on the beach side, so we could have a view of the ocean from our room!  I love everything about the beach.  I love the way the waves sound as they wash on shore.  I love the smell of the salt in the air.  I love the breeze that comes off the ocean and I really love palm trees.  Someday, I want to live on the beach!  We stayed in a beach front room and had a view of the ocean.  I love being able to sit on my balcony at night or early in the morning and listen to the waves. PicMonkey Collage2

I got up early every morning and sat on the balcony and watched the sun come up.  It was beautiful!

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We left our room around 8 every day.  We went and ate breakfast at the buffet in our building.  The buffet had an omelet station where you could choose what you wanted.  They also had really good French toast.  There were pancakes and an assortment of pastries, muffins, and breads.  You could also get yogurt and fresh fruit.  There was always bacon, sausage, and breakfast potatoes.  Every day they also had a selection of different Caribbean flavors.  After we ate, we would hang out at the beach until lunch.  The beach was usually not very busy in the mornings, so we had no trouble finding a chair or even getting a raft.

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Whenever we got hungry, we would go find lunch.  We tried both of the snack restaurants on the beach but our favorite was the pizza place.  They had the absolute best pizza, it was AMAZING!  Tapas also had really good fish tacos.

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Then, after lunch we would hang out in the pool for a few hours. We made friends with the swim up bartender and we had a lot of fun playing games with him.  He would fill my Diet Cokes on top of his head and bring them to me like that!

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Later in the afternoon, we would back to the beach and hang out until almost dark.  This was our schedule almost every day.

We did get up one day and go up to the hillside (the other section of the resort).  It was really nice!  We ate breakfast at their buffet, and it was so good.  They had a little bigger selection of food than we did.  Plus, they had a blueberry topping for the French toast.  (I love anything blueberry) The pool at this side was HUGE!

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We hung out in the pool and then ate lunch at the Jerk Shack.  It was some of the best jerk chicken I have ever had!  It was moist and tender.  It came in big chunks, and we could choose the jerk sauce that we wanted on it.  There were three different heat levels.  I tried the hottest one, but I couldn’t have more than one bite!  It was hot!!

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A couple of days we went snorkeling.  We didn’t see much, but I still loved that we got to go out on a boat.  We also spent some time using the kayaks and paddleboards, and we even went sailing once.  The weather was perfect!

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I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t work out or run at all!  I actually had every intention of running on the beach, but there wasn’t a big enough stretch of beach to run on.  So, I just relaxed.  But, if it counts at all, the resort was built into the side of a hill, so we had to go up 4 flights of stairs to get to the lobby and then another 4 to get to our room.  There wasn’t an elevator from the beach to the lobby, but there was from the lobby to our floor.  But, I don’t like elevators, I have a fear of them getting stuck, so we took the stairs most of the time.

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There was so much to do, so I’ll write about our night activities in the next post.

But, before I go, here are some extra pictures….

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I LOVE palm trees!
I LOVE palm trees!

Where do you like to vacation?

Holy Heat!

Yesterday I had a Nature Valley Energy Bar before my run.  I am in love with these bars!  They taste good and I think they really do work.

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I ran and it was 98 degrees, but it felt like it was 103!  There was a random rain shower right before I went, so it got really humid afterwards too.  I had to go really slow.  The heat is ridiculous!  I tried to wait until closer to dark to run, but I needed to get it done.  Honestly, I didn’t really want to go at all.  I had a ton of excuses:  I had a headache, I was really tired, and I had a really stressful day at work.   I also kept thinking about how hot it was, and I was trying to talk myself out of it.  But, I knew that if I didn’t go, it might turn into two days, or even three before I went again.  I really had no good excuse to not run.  So, I put on my shoes and out the door I went.  Usually when I do not really want to go, that is the time that I need it the most. PicMonkey Collage

I know I was complaining about how hot it was yesterday, and it was.  But, this seemed so much worse.  And now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it was because I got so overheated yesterday.  But anyways, back to the run.  I was completely in my head today.  I’ve had a couple of hard days at work, and I also have some family things going on.  So, I really needed this run.  The emotional stress is very draining and can wear you down.  Since I had so much on my mind, I started out really fast.  I ran too hard and by the fourth mile, I thought I was going to throw up.  I stopped and walked for a while and then I tried to run again.  But I couldn’t go very far or long before that feeling came back.  I finally had to just quit.  I got really dizzy and kept feeling nauseous.  This was the first time that I was actually scared that I might not make it home, it was that bad!  I was only a block away, but I seriously thought about asking one of the neighbors to drive me.  But I pushed thru and walked back home.  I downed a whole bottle of water as soon as I walked in the door! I laid down on the floor for a minute and my dog brought me the towel off the kitchen counter and then he laid by me until I felt better!  (He likes to take the towel so I will chase him)

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On a different note, I have started listening to podcasts while I run and I love them!  (Thanks Run Eat Repeat) I have tried Criminal, but I couldn’t really get into this one the way I did with Serial.  I’m going to try Undisclosed.  I didn’t listen to it today, because I had so much on my mind and I knew I would just tune it out.  But, I will try it on my next run.

After my run and after I pulled myself out of the floor, I played ball with Jake until he was worn out!

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Then I came in and made some dinner.  I had scrambled eggs with Cholula, Sarah Lee 45 calorie Multi Grain toast, and Smuckers reduced sugar jelly.  This is my favorite dinner, or breakfast, or lunch.  I could eat this any time.  After that I watched Bachelor in Paradise and Big Bang Theory reruns all night. Sheldon is awesome!

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If anyone has any suggestions for a good podcast, please let me know.

Weekend Recap

This weekend was really pretty uneventful.  Friday night, we had some family come to town to visit for the weekend.  We ended up going to Chili’s for dinner.  I ordered a cheeseburger and ate half of it.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a burger.  It was pretty good, but I’m fine without eating them.

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Then, I spent the day Saturday visiting my sister and grandma.  My sis is in a hospital because she broke both of her hips.  She is pretty bored because she can’t get out of the bed.  So my grandma and I took her some snacks and magazines.

Saturday night the hubby and I went to dinner with some friends.  We went to eat Mexican, which is my absolute favorite!!  I have a really bad habit of overeating when I go to a Mexican restaurant.  I mean, all the chips and salsa and tortillas and guacamole….it’s just so hard! But, even with all of that temptation, I think I did pretty well.  I ate chips and salsa in moderation, and I ordered the Pollo Loco.  It’s grilled chicken and it comes with grilled onions on top.  It also comes with beans and rice, but I passed on both.  (I forgot to take a pic) It was really, really good!  It came with two big pieces of chicken.  I ate one and gave the other to Hubby.  I ate until I was full, and not stuffed.  I usually eat until I’m miserable when I eat Mexican.  Especially when I’m eating with friends, because I’m paying more attention to the conversation than to what I’m eating.

After dinner, our friends came over and we played Wahoo! Everyone won a game, except me!

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On Sunday, I decided that I would be a good wife and go help my husband build a fence around our deer feeder.  I figured that he takes me hunting, so I should at least help get everything set up.  I just wish it could be done in cooler weather.  My weather app was saying it was going to be 101 degrees, so I was a little nervous. We packed two jugs of ice water and then a small cooler with several more water bottles.  We weren’t planning on being out there for more than a few hours.  At first, it didn’t seem that bad.  I stood around holding tools and being helpful.  After about 30 mins in the heat I started getting dizzy.  The hubby told me to go sit down in the shade and he brought me some water.  I drank a lot of water and as long as I was in the shade I felt okay.   I even weaved together some blades of grass.:) I got up to help for a minute and I got really dizzy, so he put me in the truck and turned the air conditioner on.  The thermometer in the truck said 107 degrees!! No wonder I was feeling so sick.

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Hubby works outside every day so he is used to the heat.  But, even he had to take a break and sit in the truck for a little while.  We (he) got the fence built and we came home and cooled off!  When it got closer to dark, we took Jake for a walk and went to feed our horse.

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It was kind of a boring day, but I like day like this when we don’t have much to do.  Between our jobs, we seem like we always have something going on, and on the rare occasion that we don’t we are trying to catch up on things around the house.  The next few weekends are jam packed, so I will have lots to tell you!

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Racing Accomplishments

I did something this year that I am beyond proud of, and I want to share.  I ran my first half marathon!  Not only did I do that, but I ran a second one a month later!!  I never thought that this was something that I would ever be able to do.  Running a half marathon was something that I had been thinking about doing.  I was up to running 10 miles easy usually once a week, so I kept thinking “what’s   more miles?”  But, like I was with my first race, I was scared.  I was scared that I would fail, or that I wouldn’t finish, or that I wouldn’t have a good time.  I was at my runner friend’s house one day and she had a half marathon training calendar lying on her table.  We started talking about it and she said she was thinking about it to.  After looking at the calendar, I decided that I could do it!  I talked to my husband about it and he told me sign up, so I did.  I really started training hard because I really wanted to make sure that I could finish.  We went through 12 weeks of training.  It made it a lot easier when I had someone doing it with me that could hold me accountable and also just to talk to about the weekly training runs.  I went into this race with no expectations except just to finish.  I didn’t care about my time or what I placed.

At the starting line, I had a quick moment of panic and thought “what the heck am I doing this for??”  But, once we started it was really fun.  I loved seeing all of the spectators lining the roads and the funny signs.  I was feeling really good and never got tired.  I carried a GU gel with me and I think I ate this around mile 7.  I was physically and mentally ready for this race, and it showed.  I finished in 2:05:15, and I never had to stop and walk.  I was so PUMPED!!  I wanted to do more!  I had already signed up for the next half marathon in a month, so I went right back home to training again.

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Before that race, I had started noticing that my shin was really hurting while I was running.  I tried icing it but that didn’t really help.  Then it went from hurting just when I was running to hurting all the time.  Of course I’m stubborn so I didn’t go to see a doctor.  I just figured it was a really bad shin splint.  I figured that all a doctor would tell me would be to quit running.  So, I toughed it out until after the next race.  ( I know, it was stupid!)

The next race was fun and even more entertaining than the first.  This one had ten times more people running, and it was the biggest race I had ever run.  There were spectators lining all of the streets and they were awesome!  But, this race was all mental for me.  I know that I was physically ready for this race.  I could easily run the miles.  But, I was not mentally ready for it and I don’t know why.  I worried about my leg the whole time and I kept using that as an excuse to stop and walk.  Yes, it hurt, but I had been running on it for a month.  My body just didn’t seem to want to do what it was supposed to.  I was really frustrated with myself because I know I was ready, I just couldn’t do it.  I had gone into this race wanting to finish around 2 hours.  I finished in 2:13.  I am glad I did it, and I am proud that I finished.  I guess everyone has bad days and bad runs, and this was just one of those for me.  This was something that I got to share with my dad(he ran too) and I am so happy for that.

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After this race, I took some time off to let my leg heal.  I took off the entire month of May.  I walked some, but I didn’t run at all.  I started in June just running a mile or two at a time and seeing how my leg would hold up.  I didn’t push it, but I didn’t run any more than 3 miles.

My husband and my dad decided that I need to run the 4th of July race.  I HATE the course for the 5k, so I decided that if I did it, I would run the 10k.  My dad was going to do the 10k and he wanted us to do it together.  I had not run more than 3 miles since the half marathon, so I really didn’t know if I could do it, but I signed up anyways.  This was the first 10k I had done, and I enjoyed it!  I finished in right at an hour, so I thought that was pretty good for not really being ready for it.  My leg was still bothering me, so I ended up taking off the whole rest of the month.

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I have now started back this week running and I will post more about how it’s going later.

My Journey

Hello and welcome to my very first blog post!  I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences.

A couple of years ago I really started thinking about running.  I used to run in high school and college, and even a little afterwards, but that had been a long time ago.  One of my friends kept inviting me to run with her, and she was always talking about how much fun the races were.  I kept turning her down.  One day I just decided I would go try.  I was so out of shape that it was miserable!  I don’t know what clicked inside of me, but I was determined to become a runner.  I was tired of just coming home from work and sitting around all night.  I started running several days a week.  But, by running, I mean jogging and mostly walking at first.  I tried the couch to 5K app, and I didn’t really like it.  So, I just started pushing myself to run to the next mailbox, or the next, or to the end of the road, and so on.  I would set little goals for myself and I would push to meet them.  I kept doing this until I was seeing that I was going further without stopping.  I don’t know how long it took me, but one day I could actually run 3 miles without stopping.  My friend got me to sign up for a race with her.  She was so excited, my husband was so excited, and my family was so excited.  I was terrified!  I was so self-conscious that I didn’t want to run where anyone could see me.  I had only been running on a side road by my house.  There wasn’t ever anyone outside, so it didn’t bother me.  But, to run where people could actually look at me scared me.   I guess I was worried that if I had to stop and walk that someone might see me and judge me?!  I don’t know, it’s ridiculous, but it’s really what I thought.

So, I ran the race and I did AWFUL! The absolute worst time that I have ever had. (somewhere around 35 mins) I know I should be proud that I actually finished it, and I am.  But, I was so embarrassed by my time.  I knew I could do better, and it made me more determined to try harder.  I started pushing myself harder, and running more.  I made myself run at least 5 days a week, and I even started running some with my friend.  But, I was so afraid that if I had a bad run, I would cause her to have one too.  I know that was silly, and that it was more about just being together than running.  The next month, I ran another race and I ROCKED it!  I was so proud of myself.  I finished in 27:08.  After this, I was addicted.  I loved the feeling of accomplishment that I got after finishing a race.

My first race - it was a 4th of July race
My first race – it was a 4th of July race

I still kept running 5k’s with my friend, but I also started adding more miles in my daily runs.  This helped me to start making healthier choices with food.  I started listening to my body and realizing that I can’t eat a hamburger and fries at lunch and then try to run 5-6 miles that afternoon. I also realized that it didn’t do me any good to get up and run several miles and then go eat a huge meal afterwards.  I also started drinking a ton more water.  I started to feel better, and my runs were actually becoming easier.

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This has been a long journey for me, but one that I am proud of.  Anytime I start to feel down or not very motivated to run, I think about how far I’ve come.  In the next posts, I will share more about my running adventures in the last couple of years.