Friday, March 30, 2012

SMR Featured Runner Friday: Meet Crystal!

Sexy Mother Runner is going to be featuring a different runner every Friday!
Every runner has a story and we believe that sharing those stories is
a great way to share the gift of running while helping motivate others.
Today's featured runner is Crystal. Crystal is an experienced runner that knows how to enjoy all the great things that running has to offer. It allows her time to pray, enjoy living, and foster friendships! She truly is an inspiration and we appreciate her sharing her story with us!

My Running Story
By: Crystal K. 

Fort Lauderdale Half Finisher!
One month ago I finished the Half Marathon race in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and felt great about this accomplishment. Lots of training went into preparing for this race & I was glad with my finishing time.

 When I was asked to share about my running experience I enjoyed looking back thru all of my race bib numbers where I wrote on the back my finishing times for each race.  I have been competing in road races since my first race which was the Steamboat 4 mile race in June 2004.

My beagle running buddy!
             I moved back to Peoria, IL with my husband & two teenagers in the summer of 2002 and that is where my passion for running started back up. I had lots of free time so I went out jogging on my farm with my 3 dogs, a Labrador, a Beagle & Pointer Mix.  Every morning when I would get my shoes out of the closet the dogs would go crazy and dart out for our run thru the woods. Then one day my neighbor said “You should run the Steamboat Race, lots of people do it”. I thought, I’m not a runner but I am people, so I signed up for it and that got me linked in with the running community.  From that first race I was hooked with the fun & excitement that comes from looking forward to a race & sometimes dreading the race, finishing the race & enjoying the company of the other runners after the race. 

My Lab and Pointer running partners!
I have raced in numerous 5k’s, 10k’s, 15k’s & Half Marathon races.  I like to look for races that are destination locations, usually warm places and plan a vacation around that race.  I especially enjoy the Phoenix Rock N Roll Half Marathon in January each year which allows me to return to a place where we lived for over 10 years to visit friends & wintering parents.  I also enjoy the Rocket Run 5k each year which is my former high school, Limestone, that has lots of the kids in the high school groups cheer on & support the runners. The race fee also goes to a scholarship for a high school senior which also give me a good feeling about supporting this cause.  This past October I ran with some friends from the Sole Sisters group in the screaming Pumpkin Marathon Relay.  We all dressed up as “Tiger Mom’s” and it was such a fun race even though it was running thru a hilly cemetery at night. I would have to say that that race was one of my favorites. My college kids thought I was completely crazy when they heard what I was doing that weekend for my race.

My Tiger Mom Sole Sisters!
 So many of these races bring back reminders of the training times we all put in together whether it be the nice weather runs or the windy, icy runs.  To some, running is a solitary sport. But it can also be a group sport. I enjoy running each week with groups from Running Central & the Sole Sisters. Helping each other with aches & pains is part of the process of running and sharing in the accomplishment of finishing the race at the after party is worth the pain to get there.

Besides my love of running I also love skiing. I am also a very competitive snow skier. I enjoy going fast down the mountain, going off jumps & seeing how many runs up & down the mountain our family can get in one day.  However, in February 2010 when I went off a jump skiing and tore my ACL I didn’t think I would recover and ever feel the same. I had surgery to replace my ACL a few months later and 4 months after lots of physical therapy & careful running, I ran in the Hanna City Hustle 5k.  I was so relieved that I was able to make a come back. I have continued to train and keep healthy because I know how injuries can easily come.
My Family

After the Ft. Lauderdale Half ~ Race Recovery!

I love reading about running, watching running & being a runner.  I am so excited for this summer’s Olympic races in London.  Being able to watch & experience the races that these athletes have trained so long for will be very exciting.   Running is really important to me and helping me to clear things out in my head and give me time to pray and enjoy living. I am so thankful that we live in a country where we can run whenever & where ever we please.  We are also able to meet up with people at great locations for a run together.   I hope that my running years will continue well into the future & I can experience more races with other runner friends. 

Would you like to inspire others by sharing your story?
If so, email us at
Make a difference in someone's life today!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Acid Reflux and Apple Cider Vinegar

My husband, Fred, suffered from Acid Reflux for several years. It was seriously horrible a couple of times. One time in particular we were vacationing in Michigan with family. It was our last day of vacation and we were suppose to be heading home. Instead, we headed for the ER. Fred was having severe pain. The 'cocktail' they whipped up for him in the ER didn't even make a dent. We were there for about 4 hours before they had finally given him enough meds to make the pain tolerable. We ended up staying in Holland an extra night before he could drive back to Illinois.

Fred started taking Prevacid. (Click here to see list of side effects)

We do not like to take medications. I do not want a doctor who will just slip me the free drug samples and send me on my way. I have made it a personal goal to never take any medication that has 'anal leakage' listed as a potential side effect. Although that one is not on the list for Prevacid, 'vomit that looks like coffee grounds' is listed and 'HEARTBURN' is actually listed as a COMMON side effect of Prevacid NapraPac Delayed-Release Capsules. So, let's get this straight... the prescribed medicine for heartburn can actually cause heartburn. (shaking head in disgust)

Even with the prescription, Fred still would have issues from time to time. (shocking, I know) He's never been big on taking any medication, even Tylenol. So, he began researching acid reflux in hopes of finding some sort of natural remedy. This is when he came across Apple Cider Vinegar. There was tons of info on the web talking about how Apple Cider Vinegar could help and even cure acid reflux.

Adding vinegar to an 'acid' problem did not sound like a good idea to me. *However, the theory is that the acetic acid in vinegar lowers stomach acidity, (Increases it's pH), since acetic acid is a weaker acid than hydrochloric acid. Also, vinegar, (acetic acid along with acetate salt), may help buffer and maintain stomach acid at a pH level of about 3.0. In this milder acidic environment, the stomach can still efficiently digest food but it causes less problems with the esophagus and thus less heartburn. *source

Fred went out and bought some Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar. He took the Bragg's the next time he had a major flare up and experienced immediate relief. He started taking a teaspoon mixed with water 3 times a day. After a while he noticed that he wasn't having any symptoms from the acid reflux. He stopped taking his prescription and kept taking the Bragg's.
A few years later, he stopped taking the Bragg's except maybe once a month or so when he felt like the acid reflux was starting up again. Then he stopped taking it all together and had zero issues for a year.

At the beginning of this year, when we decided to make some big changes to our lives regarding health, Fred decided we should both start taking the Bragg's every day. In addition to helping digestive issues, Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar boasts several other benefits as well.

Internal Benefits
Helps Control Weight - Um, yes please!
Support A Healthy Immune System
Rich In Enzymes and Potassium
Promotes Digestion and pH Balance
Helps Soothe Dry Throats
Helps Remove Body Sludge Toxins - I'm not even sure what those are but they don't sound good...

External Benefits
Helps Maintain Healthy Skin
Helps Promote Youthful, Healthy Bodies
Soothes Irritated Skin
Relieves Muscle Pain From Exercise

We both take a teaspoon with water once a day. Is it delicious? Not so much. Is it awful? No, just not real tasty. I've actually gotten use to the taste and just shoot it back. (I've done shots that tasted much worse) You can add a little honey as well to make it taste better.

You can find Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar in most grocery stores and online at their website.

Have you tried Apple Cider Vinegar?
Tell us your experience with it!

Peace, love, happiness!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's A Group Thing!

There are a lot of components to a healthy life style. Eating healthy is probably the most obvious. Exercising, staying active, is also an obvious component. However, there are a lot of less obvious components that people tend to forget about or not prioritize, as well. Making sure your body is getting plenty of rest, staying properly hydrated, meditation, proper stretching and muscle care, avoiding toxins both physical and mental, the list goes on.

While participating in the Select 55 Weight Loss Challenge, my best tool for losing weight was by far my team. We emailed, texted, and called each other almost every day. It was so motivating to hear about their successes through the week. It made me want to push myself more. I wanted to also be successful, have them all be proud of me, and not let them down.

We made a pact that no matter what happened during the challenge, we were all in it for the long run. No one scolded me or made me feel bad if I had an off week. Instead we all encouraged each other to keep moving forward and keep trying. Really, that's how it has to be in real life outside of a weight loss challenge. Everybody has bad days or weeks but the most important thing is to keep working toward your goal of a healthier you. We all have our eyes on the big prize: long, healthy, happy lives.

Even though the challenge is over, we all still 'check in' through the week. We all weigh in once a week and we are all still committed to reaching our goals.

What's gonna work? Teamwork!
(If you have small children, you've probably heard this and will now have it stuck in your head all day... sorry.)

Here are some of the important benefits I have received by working with a group.

1. Accountability: It's much easier to make excuses and give up if there is no one to answer to but yourself.
2. Encouragement: Sometimes a few positive words can make the difference between giving up or pushing on.
3. Support: Having people going through the same thing will help keep you motivated and sane. If you are having a difficult time, you can count on your group to help get you through it. You can take comfort in knowing that you are never alone in your battle.
4. Fun!: Exercising is always more fun with a group. Get out of the gym and hit the trails together for a run or hike, go biking, register for a race, partake in some group sports such as softball, volleyball, etc. The list is endless. My group actually has a fun trip planned for this summer!
5. Positive Results: When you surround yourself with positive people doing positive things in their lives you will get positive results.

I've often heard the quote, "Show me your friends and I will show you your future." Number 5 on my list of benefits goes hand in hand with this quote. Pay attention to your relationships and make sure you are not harboring any which may be unhealthy to you.

I hope you find this post helpful! If you don't currently have a group, find one. If you can't find one, start one. Check your local running community, check with your friends, check with your church, check with your gym/fitness club, check with your mom's bridge club. Whatever it takes. Your life, your health, is your responsibility but you don't have to make the journey alone. Make every effort to do something good for yourself.

Don't just take my word for the awesome benefits of a support group. Check out this article regarding a study done by doctors and researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Peace, love, happiness!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Featured Runner Friday: Meet Renee!

Sexy Mother Runner is going to be featuring a different runner every Friday!
Every runner has a story and we believe that sharing those stories is
a great way to share the gift of running while helping to motivate others. Today's featured runner is Renee. When I first read Renee's story, I couldn't stop crying. I remembered having the same feelings she talks about having. I found her story so touching. I know a lot of people will identify with Renee.

Meet Renee:

When I was in the Army many moons ago we had to run. We had to run a lot. I dreaded it, hated it, cussed it, but I always found a way to do it! When I got excited I was, never to have to RUN again, and I didn't.

Years went by, and so did several sizes of pants. I was bummed a lot. Kept telling myself MOVE, do something keep this from happening. I got pregnant. I gained more weight, I had no idea getting pregnant would do that! LOL.

One day I went to put on my big pants and they were tight. I went on vacation to visit my sister in Mass....(in the summer). I saw pictures of myself and was humiliated. Was mad at my hubby, and friends for letting me get that big. (like it was their fault).
I was whining to my friend Colleen over some wine, about how disgusted I felt about my weight.
She told me to run with her and the Sisters! My first thought was .....Ha ha ha ha...I told myself I never had to or wanted to do that again. I made excuses for weeks of why I could not join her .....Then I went. I had a goal, I would run until I lose weight.

My first run with the Sole Sisters...I was embarrassed, stayed to myself, looked around at everyone. They all looked skinny, and in shape. Here I was in a paint covered pair of sweat pants (all I had that fit me at the time), felt huge, did not even want to talk to Colleen because I did not want to embarrass her. I had no idea where anyone was running, got lost, cried, felt alone and again swore I was never to run again!

It was abundantly clear why I don't run. Talked to Colleen that night and she some how convinced me to do the screaming pumpkin with her. I laughed. (all the thoughts came to mind about how I hated running) But, said OK. That was tough. I think I walked most of it. Felt bad again, for slowing her down. But that race changed me. When I woke the next day, I felt better, I felt like I could actually accomplish something, My mood was different. I felt Giddy. I wanted to run again. So I did, every Wed. night. The night I conquered the Bob Michael Bridge...I got my first runners high EVER! I am addicted to that feeling.

I try to run 3 times in a week. It keeps me sane, balanced, calm, excited, feelings I had forgotten about. I have had a bad run here or there, but I don't hate running any more. I LOVE it! I am also doing my first Half Marathon on March 31st. Who would of ever thought!

Before Sole Sisters
So far I have lost 54 Lbs. I now have the drive to do whatever it is I want! I ran to lose weight, but I found so much more!
After Sole Sisters
Colleen and Renee at the Jingle Bell Run in Dec. 2011

If you would like to be one of our Featured Runners, we would love to hear from you! Send us an email at or message us on Facebook!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How safe is bottled water?

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, bottled spring water isn't safer than common tap water after a 4 year study. The study found that about 25% of bottled water was essentially "tap water in a bottle".

The NRDC reported a possible health concern with certain brands of bottled water that contained phthalates when consumed over time. There are regulatory standards for limiting phthalates in tap water, but there are no set legal limits phthlates in bottled water. The bottled water industry opposed the FDA proposal to set a legal limit on these chemicals. The bottled water company was successful.

Currently there are no regulations on labeling and transporting of bottled water. According to the NRDC, after testing 100 bottles of bottled water chemicals like aresenic, general bacteria, and toluene were found.

How do you know if your bottled water is safe? 

Each bottle has a number that tells what kind of plastic it is. Just because the FDA approves all plastic doesn’t mean it’s safe. Certain plastics leak chemicals that have been linked to risks with brain development in fetuses, infants, and children. Avoid drinking bottles of water with the number 3, 6, or 7 on it. 
Plastics with the #3 on them are also used in food containers and have been linked to certain types of cancers, hormonal imbalances and other diseases.
Plastics with the #6 on them have been shown to interfere with hormones.
Plastics with the #7 on them are typically used for baby bottles and 5 gallon water bottles. This plastic can leach a toxin that has been linked to breast and ovarian cancer. This toxic chemical was found in 90% of the people tested according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Plastic #7 shows the greatest concern. Plastic #3 and #6 have been linked to adverse effects.
Use, but don't reuse plastic bottles with numbers 1, 2, 4 & 5. At this time these numbers are being reported as safe, but may not be safe when we reuse them. Plastic bottles tend to get cracks in them that are sometimes too small to notice. These cracks can cause toxins to leach out.
Don’t heat bottles or any other plastic containers. Even good plastic can leach toxic chemicals when heated up. Think twice when you leave your bottled water in the car on a warm summer day.
If you like to know if your bottled water is in fact tap water, check out the bottle label or under the cap. If it states it is "from a municipal source" or "from a community water system", this means it is supplied from tap water. Some stated have a bottled water program that can be called and they can determine if it is tap water. If your state doesn't have a bottled water program, try calling the company or writing them.

 Stay well and hydrate safely! 

~Danyelle water from a bottle with numbers 3, 6, or 7 on it!

*This is solely the opinion of the Sexy Mother Runners based upon cited research. You should always consult with your physician with any health concerns.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why am I running and not losing weight?!

I have a friend who just shared her frustration of not losing weight since she started running and in fact gaining weight. I have found another great article by Coach Joe English that addresses this issue. This article is for her and everyone else out there who is feeling frustrated with not seeing the pounds melt off while their feet are hitting the pavement. I hope it is helpful! ~Danyelle

Will I lose weight when I start running?

It seems that I have the same conversation about ten times a month. A new runner says: “I decided to start running so that I could lose weight, but I haven’t lost any. Is that normal?”

Yes, in fact, it is quiet common for new runners not to lose weight when they start running. In fact, a lot of them gain weight. Here’s why.

A running program will provide a number of great benefits to you. It will increase your cardio-vascular efficiency, making your heart stronger and more efficient. It will also increase your basal metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories when you’re at rest. And running itself burns calories at a rate of about 115 calories per mile. But all of this together does not automatically lead to weight loss.

The reasons are four-fold:

First, your weight is directly related to your diet - The foods you consume will either be burned by your activities during your day or they will be stored as fat for you to use later. There is no other option for those calories – they have to go somewhere. Generally speaking, when people are over-weight they are eating too many calories, or more specifically, too many calories from food types that are not useful to them for the activities they pursue in their daily lives.

Second, new runners often have a greater appetite than before they started running- With the body burning more calories, it is normal to be more hungry and craving more food. The problem is that new runners may not have figured out which foods to increase in their diet and which to avoid. This often means they may just eat more of the foods that they don’t need, which works against their desire to see weight loss from their running.

I often hear runners say things like, “hey, the reason I run is so that I can eat whatever I want!” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Runners still need to eat sensibly to avoid gaining weight. They may be burning more calories, but they are not gaining a license to eat whatever they want.

Third, new runners often gain muscle when they begin their running program- Since muscle tissue weighs more than fat, some new runners may actually gain weight when they initially start a running program. But the flip-side of this is that as their bodies start to respond to the training, they often feel stronger and have more energy.

I’ve noticed with my female runners that they often put on new muscle in their legs, in particular their quads (the large muscle in the front of your legs). They often tell me that their jeans are snugger than they have been in the past — again, I think this is normally the result of larger muscles in their legs — and that their bathing suit bottoms don’t fit particularly well. (As you can imagine this doesn’t make me that popular around the start of Summer!)

Fourth, new runners often run too many slow miles that are not maximized to burning calories and losing weight. Higher intensity runs burn more calories than lower intensity runs, by boosting the amount of calories burned for a longer period of time after the workout. You can read more about this topic in a related post, by clicking here.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is that for new marathon runners as the distance of their weekend long runs increase, most runners will tend to lean out in their mid-sections. This is simply because of the greater number of calories that are being burned by these long runs slow runs. So when new marathon runners start hitting about 15 miles in their weekend runs, they start burning enough calories and even if they aren’t eating particularly well, things start to balance themselves out. Their stomachs start to get flatter and their pants fit more loosely around the waist.

Do I need to go on a diet?
It isn’t always necessary to “go on a diet” to lose weight when starting a running plan, but if you want to lose weight you need to consider what you’re eating as you start running. Most important is the idea of shifting your eating toward foods that you need and away from foods that you don’t. For some easy recommendations on changing your diet to help with weight loss, click here.

You’ll notice that many athletes eat a ton of food, yet they are what you’d consider thin. This simply means that they are eating the foods that they need to fuel their exercise and leaving out those foods they don’t.

The bottom line is this: running will not automatically shed pounds. Running burns calories, primarily those coming from complex carbohydrates (grain, rice, potatoes, pasta). The key is to understand your dietary needs and develop a nutrition plan that supports both running and weight loss. You will burn abou 115 calories for each mile you run, depending on your weight and the intensity (speed) at which you run them. Running with greater intensity burns more calories both during the run and for a longer period of time afterward.

As a rule, look carefully at what you’re eating, trying to get enough carbohydrate for the energy that you’ll need, but cutting down on fats, oils and sweets that will keep you from losing weight. Aim to eat the right foods, in the right quantities, and you can manage your weight effectively.

If you’d like more information on this topic, there are many great books available. Two of my favorites are available at These two books are by Nancy Clark, who is considered on the top sports nutritionists in the field. Her two books are Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathon Runners Training: Will I lose weight when I start running? and Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook Training: Will I lose weight when I start running?. The Food Guide for Marathoners is a short and concise book that sums up a great deal of good information. The Sports Nutrition Guidebook includes much more information and many great recipies.

Related Articles:
Weight loss suggestions for runners
Accelerating the Impact of Running on Weight Loss
Food as fuel; your diet, weight loss and running (part I)
What should I eat for breakdast before a long run?
Ten things you need to know about hydration
Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon USA
Running Advice and News

Was this article helpful? Did you learn something new?

Wishing you much happiness in this life journey as we are all learning together! ~Danyelle

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Top Ten Things (okay eleven) You Need To Know About Proper Hydration!

The weather has been unseasonably warm in Illinois and as I have been completing my pre race training for the Chicago Marathon hydration has become a concern for me. Typically, I am someone who does not stop for a drink on a run. Drinking while running makes my stomach upset. Although, I did not drink or stop during my entire half marathon, I think a full 26.2 miles will be a different story. Therefore, I started some research about proper hydration and I really like what Coach Joe English, from Running Advice and News has to say about it:

Ten things runners and triathletes need to know about hydration

1. You need to be well hydrated before you start your run or workout. If you start partially dehydrated, it only gets worse from there.

2. The color of your pee should be pale yellow, rather than clear or dark yellow. It should look more like lemonade than orange juice.

3. How much you need to drink depends on how heavily you sweat. The more you sweat, the more you need to drink.

4. Electrolytes are lost along with fluid when you sweat. You need to replace these electrolytes through an energy drink, electrolyte solution or electrolyte tablets.

5. If you don’t replace electrolytes, particularly sodium, you won’t be able to absorb the fluid you’re drinking. This means that you could be drinking plenty, but not re-hydrating.

6. Dehydration leads to a loss of performance, cramps, digestive problems, and ultimately an inability to cool the body. These progressively worse problems will eventually stop you in your tracks.

7. Drinking too much plain water can also be a problem. Drinking lots of plain water can dilute the sodium level in your blood, leading to a problem called hyponatremia. This is why it is important to use a hydration product to replace electrolytes.

8. The term “drink to thirst” means that you should not drink just for the sake of drinking. You need to drink an amount of fluid that replaces what you’re losing in your sweat.

9. You may not actually feel “thirst” while running or racing. If you don’t ever feel the sensation of thirst, don’t make the mistake of stopping drinking completely. Continue drinking fluids in a moderate quantity to make sure that you’re getting what you need.

10. You should constantly be working to find the best method of hydration for you in your training runs. You need to learn how much you need to drink; what energy/fluid replacement drinks work best for you; and what it feels like to be well hydrated.

11. On race day, do what you’ve practiced in your training runs. Don’t try anything new. If the race supplies a hydration product that doesn’t work for you, make sure to carry your own drink in a fluid or powdered form so that you have what you need.

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
Running Advice and News

My favorite point that Coach Joe English highlights is point number 11. "On race day, do what you’ve practiced in your training runs. Don’t try anything new." I think this is solid advice. Why is it that during the heat of the moment we decide to try something new? Is it the effect of adrenaline? Clearly, neurochemicals and impulsivity have a close relationship. Nonetheless, I will keep this solid advice close in my mind when I am completing my first marathon.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, hydrated day!



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shopping With Darth Vader

My husband, Fred, and I have been married for a little over 11 years. We dated 2 years before we got married. After we were married we worked together at a software company for a couple years. Then we owned a coffeehouse together while he also had his computer business next door. Then I became a stay-at-home-mom and he moved his office to our home. We actually like each other so spending a lot of time together is a good thing for us. I know it doesn't work for every marriage but for some reason, probably because I'm awesome and he's extremely tolerant, it works for us.

Fred, is also my training partner for the Bayshore Half Marathon. The Bayshore will be the first half marathon for both of us. I love that we are running it together. I love that we are training together. It's one more thing that we can enjoy and share.

One thing that we do not enjoy doing together though is shopping. Well, let me rephrase that. I'm fine with shopping and dragging him along, he's not so fine with being dragged. Or waiting in line. But before I get to that, let me set this up proper.

Saturday we ran 8 miles for our long run. It was the farthest distance either of us had ever ran. It felt great. What made it even better was that it was the end of 'Birthday Week' at our house and we had a couples massage scheduled for Sunday. I have been salivating over this for days. The stress of 'Birthday Week' would be melted away. Sitter was lined up, we were good to go.

Then the spa called. One of their massage therapists called in sick. I felt like I was 4 years old and someone just told me that my mom replaced my dead gerbil with a decoy and unicorns don't really exist. (I held out hope for the unicorns until I was 8, by the way.)

Massage out the window, we decided to just have a nice day date. This consisted of going for sushi and then exchanging a pair of shorts my son got for his birthday. My plan was to exchange the shorts and pick up a few more summer items for my kiddos since they have each grown 18 inches in the last year. Plus, June weather in March has left me in a lurch for dressing them. We usually don't worry about summer clothes until May... April if we're lucky.

Massage day turned shopping day is not exactly Fred's idea of Best Day Ever.

First we stand in line to exchange the shorts. The store is busy. My husband hates standing in line. I'm not fond of it but for some reason I don't have quite the deep-seated loathing that Fred seems to have. I can only assume that some sort of 'man-gene' makes this task more difficult than it really is. Similar to how when men get sick you'd think they somehow feel everything 5000 times worse than anyone else. (Fred is actually exempt from that but I've had some ex-boyfriends who may or may not have become exes for that very reason.)

Every time the clerk finished with one customer and moved on to the next in line, I heard a deep, loud, sighing breath. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if Darth Vader was standing behind me. Clearly, he of all villains would be interested in taking advantage of the 'Goodwill' sale going on. Each time I looked however, it was not Vader but Fred. Not just wearing a look of utter annoyance and disdain, but sighing loudly and emphatically enough to have someone direct us to housewares for a humidifier. Not really, but if they hadn't been so busy trying to ring up everyone else to get to us, I'm sure they would have.

When I finally turned to him and said, "This is exactly why they have that little sitting area with the t.v. by the escalator.", I heard another woman chuckle. I think she has shopped with Darth Vader a time or too as well. In fact, it may have been her Vader who was nodding off in the sitting area as we rode the escalators up.

Once the exchange was made, I suggested we pick up a few other items for the kids to which Fred replied with this look...

Read As: "You are F#&*%@$ kidding me, right?"

So we went for coffee instead. I really do like that guy. I'm very happy and blessed to have him as my partner in training and everything else.

We are following Hal Higdon's half marathon training guide - Novice 1 Program. So far so good!

Peace, love, happiness!

Do you prefer to train by yourself or with a partner?
Which training plans have you used?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Featured Runner Friday: Meet Patty!

Sexy Mother Runner is going to be featuring a different runner every Friday!
Every runner has a story and we believe that sharing those stories is
a great way to share the gift of running while helping to motivate others.
Today's featured runner is inspiring in so many ways. She's a runner and a military wife, but that's not all... Patty has also been serving our country in the military!

Meet Patty:

Once upon a time there was a girl who hated to run. That would be me. I joined the military about 16 years ago and had to run two miles in Basic Training. I practiced running prior to the six weeks of he$$, but could only make it a half mile or so at a time. However, during the six weeks, I was able to complete two miles in 26ish minutes, and by the end of training, I ran it in 17 or so minutes. After that time, I mainly only ran the required 1.5 miles per year to pass my physical training test so I could stay in the military.

Fast forward to the end of 2008… I went on an all-expense paid trip to Iraq, where they would occasionally have races around the base. I entered a couple of the 5K’s, one 10K and eventually a Half-Marathon to pass the time and try to make life enjoyable while I was there.

The 10K was held at the Baghdad International Airport. There were 15 of us and I came in last. However, somehow I tied for third place with my boss. Here’s a proud photo of me displaying the award:

(Notice the girl in the background looking pretty bored, obviously not sharing the same excitement .)

While in Iraq, I lost 30 pounds (on purpose), mainly through eating healthy, not eating pizza, and not drinking alcohol. I probably ran a couple times a week, about 3 miles at a time on the treadmill. That was my Half-Marathon training. I was pretty nervous when I decided to enter this race. I remember drinking some water and eating a breakfast bar the morning of the race. I had no idea how to prepare. I ran slowly the first 11 miles, walked for 1 mile or so, then decided I needed to jog slowly or I wouldn’t make it. My legs were hurting pretty bad. I think my time was around 2 hours 45 minutes. The fast walker almost passed me, but I would not allow it.

When I returned home, I wanted to maintain my weight loss. I joined a gym, ran on the treadmill and worked out on the elliptical. I sought out races to enter to remain focused on having a healthy lifestyle. I ran the Jingle Bell 5K at the end of 2010, the Firecracker 5000 in 2011, and Steamboat Days (4 miles) in 2011.

A couple friends of mine at one of the races told me about the Peoria Sole Sisters and recommended that I look them up on Facebook since I was so interested in running. Before joining the Sole Sisters, I tried running a 3-mile route in my neighborhood. I would attempt running the entire route; however, I usually stopped and walked a couple times, even though I knew I was physically able to run the entire distance. I’ve been running with the Sole Sisters since August 2011 and have met so many wonderful ladies and formed many positive relationships. I love them!

A few Sole Sisters and I entered the Spartan Sprint in October 2011. It’s not all running, but it is 3.8 miles, with many obstacles to conquer along the way. It was more difficult than I anticipated, but it was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

or November 2011, I decided to register for a marathon. I felt this goal would keep me focused on running for a longer period of time. If everything goes okay, I will be running at the GO St. Louis Marathon on April 15,
2012. I’ve been training since the week before Christmas, however, I have pain in my right knee and will need to treat it and decrease my mileage.

I have decided that I’m going to take care of myself, even if that means I won’t be able to run a full marathon. Running is my enjoyment and my way of relieving stress and being able to handle difficult people and/or situations. I want to be able to run and enjoy it for the rest of my life.
Here are some running photos…
Maka Maka 2011. From left to right below: Me, Crystal Bennett-Test, Jennifer Nelson-Gulley (a.k.a. Speedy), Tracey Skudder Sylkaitis (a.k.a. Cash Money)

The Screaming Pumpkin 2011 (below). Just me. (I think the hat makes my butt look big. Also, those are not thigh-highs. It’s a slip that is made into shorts, with white tights.)

The Spartan Sprint 2011 (below). Me and two of the recruiters from the Peoria Air National Guard.

Go Guard!

And last, but definitely not least…My wonderful husband who supports me in all my activities. Afghanistan is basically his second home…

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fitting in family, fun, fitness, and friends!

Sunday was a beautiful day in Illinois! We woke up to the sun brightly shining through the windows. Of course this brought much excitement! Much like a bear coming out of hibernation. The thoughts of a mid 60 degree day in Illinois in March started the planning bright and early. The kid's requests started rolling in. My daughter wanted to ride her bike and my son wanted to drive his Jeep. My husband and I both wanted to get our run in. Then a text message from Bekah came in "Have you ran, yet?" The creativeness began! How can we all get a run in with the kids? How can we all get what we want on our Sunday afternoon? Trail rides and runs were discussed and then the "ah ha" moment happened. Bicycle Safety Town!

Bicycle Safety town is a Peoria Park District supported learning track that boasts 3,961 feet of curves, one-way streets, a four-lane divided highway, traffic signals, overpasses, ramps and 79 various traffic signs. It provides a great place for younger riders to learn the rules of the road or a safe arena for older, more experienced riders to have fun. It is also a place where we could get our run in while the kids had fun, too! See map here. So off, we go!

We loaded the bike, Jeep, kids and the essentials. Bananas, water and the Garmin! We were all off like a bolt of lightening to Bicycle Safety Town to fit in family, fun, fitness, and friends!

As soon as we arrived the kids hopped to as Haylee jumped on her bike & Bowden jumped in his Jeep! Off they went!

It was Dax's 4th birthday and he was excited to get on his new
 bike that he had gotten earlier that day! 
The men and I were off for our run & Kaiah was so fast on her bike that I wasn't even able to snap a picture of her!
At about 1.5 miles in my run Haylee hopped off her bike and asked if she could run with me. I could barely keep up with that little scoot! Haylee is training for her first 2 mile race this year. She says she wants to be a runner like Mommy & I could not be more proud!

We finished our 3 mile fun run with a nice recovery walk & stretch chatting with our friends! It was such a nice day. We ran, we spent time with friends, the kids played and we celebrated the Dax man's 4th birthday! Everyone was happy! Sunday was a great day!                                                                            

As Robin Leach would say here's wishing you "Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams"!


What is the most creative way you have

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Sexy Mother Runner's at
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