Friday, August 30, 2013

Ten Years

Mr. RWM and I are married ten years today!  Ten years!

August 30, 2003, was a gorgeous, sunny day.  We were married in the cutest little log cabin church in Medford, NJ.

From there we had our reception at an airport. Yes, an airport.

Those of you who know us, are not surprised.  The Flying W Hotel and Resort is a really cool little place with an active airport.  It has a great pool, bar and restaurant.  The rooms are old, but we didn't' care.  We loved every minute.

Every so often we get back there, and once, we rented a plane and Mr. RWM gave me a ride.  So very cool!

I can honestly say, that after 10 year, Mr. RWM and I have a fantastic relationship.  We have had our ups and downs just like every normal married couple, but I can happily say, there is way more good in our lives.

We are lucky to have some wonderful examples to help and support us along the way.  My parents have been married for 43 years and his will be celebrating 50 years this October!  How amazing is that!

In ten years, we have bought a house that is a continual project,  we've traveled, survived a furlough and deployments, and made some wonderful friends, but the best thing so far, is George and Gracie.

They are true blessings in our life and they make us better people.  I cannot imagine life any differently.

This week, George started second grade and Gracie, kindergarten.  Leading up to the first day of school, I was a mess.  George was telling me he was sick because he didn't' want to go to school and Gracie was so excited, she couldn't calm down.

Turns out, George had a fantastic day.  He loved his teacher and all the kids in his class.  I was thrilled!

Gracie loves her teacher and classmates as well.  She got off the bus excited, but so exhausted.  She had a snack and then went right to the couch to lay down.  I think it will take a little time for her to get used to this school thing, but she is having a great time!
Gracie getting off the bus after her first full day.  We both survived!

Thursday, was our first full day without the kids.  What!!??  After I stopped crying, we went to breakfast.  We took care of a few errands and then came home to a quiet house. Quiet. It was awesome.  Despite my fear and anxiety about school, I think I can get used to this.

Now, while on vacation, Mr. RWM and I dropped the kids off with my parents and we headed to the Poconos to celebrate our anniversary.  It was a little early in the month, but when you have free overnight sitting, you jump on it.

We went to the cheesiest and most romantic place on the planet.  We were just looking to have some fun and time to ourselves.  Mission accomplished.  I will just show you some pics.
Yes, that is a Champagne glass.

Ready to run!

Those are stars above our bed.  

Sauna and massage table


Woohoo, Mr. RWM!

Out for a paddle boat ride after our run.

As you can see, despite the champagne hot tub and heart shaped pool in our room, I still got a run in.

I ran 5 miles that day, but the most wonderful part of that run was the last two miles that Mr. RWM ran with me.  He swore he would never run again after he retired from the Air National Guard but I asked and he said yes.  Did he like it? No.  He knew how happy I was though and that was enough.  Will I ask him again?  Absolutely!  I think I can get a 5k out of him.

Speaking of vacation, I will just leave you with a few pictures.  We had a fantastic time and I hate to see the summer end.  However, it looks like it is going to be a great school year for my kids and I get to run when they are in school with no worries.

Grandma, Gracie and Me

George was so proud of this tire tower that he built.

Any Grave Digger Fans out there?

How many people can say they rode on a Monster Truck?

This is how we do bath time at Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop's!
Hope you enjoyed all the pictures.

Even though we already celebrated, we are still heading out for an Anniversary dinner tonight.  Looking forward to a nice evening with the love of my life!

Training this week has really been great. I will update you on that Sunday.

Today is the last day to enter to win a free entry to a Spartan race.  Good luck!

Hope you are having a great week. Has school started in your area?  How many years have you been married? 

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Monday, August 26, 2013

Calling All Spartans!

So before we get into the Spartan Race Giveaway, let's talk about training week six.

For starters, it was better than week five.

On Monday, I headed out with George and we ran 1 1/2 miles together.  I continued on for four more to make it a total of 5.54 miles.

George was not very into the run even though he was the one who asked to come with me.  I have a few concerns about him and our race on September 7th.  I know he will finish but with how much walking?  It turns out that he will be missing his first soccer game which is the same morning as the race.  I am going to see what he wants to do more and go from there.

Tuesday's run was 3.12 miles, nice and easy.

Wednesday, George and I biked about 2 miles and then I went out on my own for a total of 7.6 miles.  I enjoy biking but I think my bike needs a tune up.  Mr. RWM, can you do something about that?  Pretty please and thank you!

Friday was my long run and my longest one since late July, 9 miles.  It was a sunny, beautiful day with a slight breeze.  I loved it!  I was running in my new Happy Girl skirt from Skirt Sports and it was one of the best things I have ever run in.  It is a little longer than the Gym Girl, which I still love, but it was the longer shorts that really caught my attention.  I will be running everywhere in these skirts!

My run was pretty good.  I had no real problems or concerns and didn't hit a wall but when my Garmin beeped for mile 9, I was done.  By that time, my family was awake and it was a good thing to go home and start our day together.  This is the last weekend before school starts and we want to still have some fun!

It was a good week, but I did miss a three mile run.  I am not sweating it and with the kids starting school Wednesday, I have no good excuse to miss a run again.  I am coming to get you week seven!

Now on to some exciting news.  This past June, I was contacted by the fine people of the Reebox Spartan Race Series asking if I wanted to host a giveaway.  I was thrilled to be able to do it.  I had such a great response and the winner of that race, just informed me that she will be doing the Spartan Race in Boston this coming November.  She is pretty excited and I can't wait to hear all about it.

Once I was home from vacation, I saw that I had another email from them with some exciting news.  The Reebox Spartan Series has partnered with NBC to bring obstacle racing to television!  Pretty cool right?  They will be filming 8 professional athletes and 4 everyday Spartans at the Spartan Race World Championship in Killington, VT.  This is happening next month, September 21st, for a 90 minute TV special.

Here is where it gets really exciting.  You can be one of those Spartans!  Head here for all the details of their Get On TV campaign.  Share your Spartan Race story with them for a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Will I see you rocking it on NBC?  I sure hope so.

And another cool thing I came across was this article about Spartan Race saving Reebox. I love what Reebox Chief Marketing Officer said:

“Reebok’s mission is to change the way people perceive, experience and define fitness.” In short, forget pilates and little sock-like sneakers—the people who buy Reebok are Greek warriors.

I am not so sure I am a Greek Warrior, but I have learned to never say never!

For helping spread the word, I also have a code for a free entry for any Spartan race in the USA for 2013/2014.  You can enter using the rafflecopter form below.  Once the winner is picked, I will email you with the one time use only code that you will need once you pick your race and register.

For those of you who can't wait and want to sign up for a race right now, here is a 15% off code for you to use.

Good luck to all of you!

12 weeks to the Philadelphia Marathon.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 19, 2013

Run With All Your Hart Recap

I feel like I am still playing a little catch up here but things are starting to calm down and the RWM household is getting back on track.

School for us starts on August 28th.  Don't even get me going on it starting before Labor Day.  We were all jipped out of some summer this year.  I am not one for routine, as a parent, I know that sounds crazy.  I hate having to wake my kids up and do the same thing everyday.

It took a long time for George to adjust to kindergarten and I am curious to see how Gracie does.  Well, I am curious to see how I do.  I am getting teary every time I think about her getting on that bus and being gone from me all day.

She seems excited and eager to go.  However, yesterday she asked George to find out who will be in her class and to ask them to "be good to her".  This broke my heart.  Why does she think someone wouldn't be good to her.  And even worse, what if someone IS mean to her.  I am teary writing this.  I don't want her to go!  Please tell me I am not the only crazy mommy here.

OK, well, one of the things I wanted to tell you about was my Run With All Your Hart virtual race.  I ran this while visiting my parents in New Jersey.

Sarah Roberts Hart, wife, mother of three and one on the way, was taken form her family after a morning run last year.  The story is just horrible and has never left me.  Not a run goes by that I don't think of her.

After her death, her family and friends started to organize a four mile road race in her honor.  From what I understand a runner who could not be in Kentucky for the actual race asked if they could still run for Sarah and that is how it also became a virtual race.  I joined right away!

Once they advertised this years race, there was no doubt in my mind that I would run again for Sarah and her family.

I registered early and forgot about it for a while. Once we started planning our vacation, I realized I would be gone for the race.  I also realized, that I wasn't going to have my shirt and bib in time.  This bummed me out, but I knew I would still run with or without my shirt.

I got a email that said the shirts were being mailed two days before we were leaving.  I was sure I would not have it.  I don't know if a couple went out early or what, but the afternoon before we left, my shirt and bib were in my mailbox!  Dumb luck, divine intervention, I don't know and I don't care.  I had it and it was put in my suitcase right away.

The morning of August 10th, I woke up in a hotel room, got dressed, ate and headed to the hotel gym.  One treadmill and someone was on it.  No big deal usually, except we had to check out by 11am and it was 10am.  I rode the bike a bit waiting patiently for my turn.  It did not come quickly.  Once I was on, I was only able to bang out 2 miles before we had to leave.

We were only going to my parents house, so my plan was to finish my run there.  It actually was a nice day and I was pleasantly surprised.

It was these last two miles that Sarah and her family were really on my mind.  I thought about her and running and realized, I don't know too much about her. Was she a runner to maintain good health and fitness?  Had she run a marathon or more?  Did she like triathlons?  How long had she been a runner?

Then I thought about her girls and little boy.  I will never understand what the last year was like for them.  How many tears they must have shed.  I am sure they know how much their mother loved them and I hope from that they can find the strength and courage to live happy lives for their mom.

My thoughts then went to Mr. RWM and how our family works.  We have a system, its not perfect, but it works for us.  When he is away, things do not always run smoothly, but we get it done.  I am the first one the kids come to when they are hurt or scared or just need a snack.  But no matter what the situation is, we are a team and we work the best when we are together.  I wondered how Sarah's husband has handled the last year.  I am sure it wasn't easy.

It sounds like from some of the articles and FB posts that I have read, that the Hart and Roberts family are close.  It looks like they were there to support and help each other and continue to do so everyday.  From that I think they will find hope and strength, hugs when they are needed and a shoulder to cry on.

I hit four miles just as one of my favorite running songs came one.  Metallica's, Enter Sandman.  I kept running.  I started to feel a little angry and then teary.  I ran because I could and nothing was going to stop me.  I hit five miles then felt a strong urge to hug my kids, so I went back to my parents home.
In my moms kitchen in NJ.  

Even though I was a registered Rhode Island runner, I ran in New Jersey.  It was a very emotional but nice run.  It also sounds like the race in Kentucky was a huge success.  Great job to everyone who had a hand in organizing this annual event.  I know it's not an easy job.  I look forward to joining you all virtually next year as well.

Anyone else run this race, either officially or virtually?  I would love to hear about your experience.

Stay safe my friends.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Running While Mommy Meets Big Andy

As most of you know, I have been away for the last two weeks.

We had a wonderful time visiting with friends and family but it was a lot of driving and too many hotels!

My parents live in New Jersey now, but very close to Philadelphia, my home town.  One of the things I wanted to do for a long time, is meet Andy of Running My Ass Off.  This would be the first time we will be meeting in person.

If you had asked me two years ago, what I would gain by adding running to life, I am not sure "friends" would have made the list.  However, that is one of the best things that has happened since July 2011 and Andy is just one of the ones that I am thankful for.

When we were planning our trip, I let him know we were coming and asked if he would be free to meet.  I had no real plans in mind but I wanted to make it as easy for him as possible because Mrs. Andy is due with baby number two, like any second.

Once we narrowed down the day, he asked if I wanted have lunch or run.  He mentioned that he had a "potentially cool, unique "Philly" thing to do", which was running related.  How could I pass that up!

His plan was we run the Ben Franklin Bridge.  This bridge runs from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and the length up and back would be about a 5k. There is a pathway that runs along the bridge for runners, walkers and bikers.  There is also a pretty cool race across this bridge every year that is now on my "to race list".

Where to meet was another issue.  He googled parking and came up with Franklin Square Park witch is basically the bottom of the bridge.  I went back and forth with whether or not to drive myself or have Mr. RWM drive me.  I have not driven in Philadelphia in a very long time and even when I did drive there on a regular basis, I wasn't that good at it.  Parking seemed simple enough but I didn't want to take any chances so I opted for Princess drop-off and pick-up.

Now having said that, I am sure a few of you are thinking I am nuts meeting a man I met on the internet.  Well, you are right, I don't think you should go around meeting any Tom, Dick or Andy that says "hi" to you on FB.  If you have been reading for some time, then you know that Andy and I have a history and I knew he was real and vice versa.

We have supported each other for at least a year and a half now.  He started running just four months after me and my blog is just a little older than his.  We have been at this for really, the same amount of time and honestly, it feels like we were supposed to be on this journey together in some strange way.

Parking ended up being easier than I thought it would be and we were a few minutes early.  It gave Mr. RWM and I time to check out the park.  It had a Merry-Go-Round, playground and a really cool miniature golf course. All the holes were Philadelphia land marks.

There was a spot to get food and plenty of places to sit.

Andy texted when he got there and in a minute I saw him walking towards us.  There was no mistaking that it was him.  We hugged right away and I introduced him to Mr. RWM.  The three of us chatted just a few minutes and then Andy and I were off.

Now, something I didn't consider about this run was it's difficulty.  As soon as we hit the bridge we were going up and up and up.  I found myself struggling more than usual.  I had two puffs of my inhaler 30 minutes before my run but I had some breathing issues.  Maybe 30 minutes was too long?

I was getting really pissed off and we had only been running 5 minutes!  Conversation was good and Andy started to ask me a few things and I felt like I could only answer him in short responses.  I was a little embarrassed but my pride got in the way not to mention my stubbornness.  This asthma thing is new to me and I still think I can wish it away.  Funny how that's not working.

Once we got to the top, if flattened out for a very short time and then we started the downhill.  I was feeling much better at this point but not my normal self.

I loved talking with Andy face to face and run, which is something we both love and the thing that made us friends.  We talked about our families and how the preparations were coming along for the new baby.  We tried to pinpoint how we first started to chat online, but neither one of us remembers.  It may have been a comment on the blog or the C25K site.  It really doesn't matter now, this is where we are and that makes it all good.

We have supported each other every step of the way and I am so thrilled he is taking on triathlons, before me.  LOL  He thinks I am badass because I am tackling 26.2 but I think the same of him because he swims and will compete and finish in his first tri next year.  I look forward to following him along on this next journey, which I know will keep me inspired and motivated.

 The run back up had Philly in our view and it was an awesome site to see.  Once we were to the top of the bridge again, we snapped a few pics with Philly behind us.  The shots turned out great.  Philadelphia has always been my favorite skyline of any city.
So Cool!

Once we finished running, we found Mr. RWM and we chatted a little more.  The sun was shining and the weather was perfect, nice little breeze on the bridge, and a day that I will remember always.

Back to the car, I was explaining to Mr. RWM how difficult the hill was and how, I think, my asthma made it all worse.  As I was saying that, I started to think of all the things I wanted to ask and tell Andy, but so focused on not dying, I forgot. I usually talk WAY more than I did during our run, just ask my regular running buddies.  I am not worried though, we will talk soon and I have no doubt that we will run together again.

Andy wrote about our run here.  Hope you check it out and follow his blog.  He does some fantastic reviews and giveaways, not to mention his weight loss, running and upcoming triathlons.

As far as training, well things are not good.  Week four I ran but did not hit the miles I needed too.  Week five, I ran once.  I missed a long run plus two short ones.  I feel horrible about it but will just get back on track and move forward.  Just trying to figure out the best way to do that.

My missed long run for week five was 10 miles but this weeks long run goes down to 7 miles.  Week seven has a long run of 12 miles.  I am not sure if I should just do what is planned or change the 7 mile run to an 8 or 9.  If a plane leaves Philadelphia at 10 am and a train leaves Chicago at 8am...  LOL, well you know what I mean.  What would you do?

Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts.  I still have to tell you about vacation and about my Run With All Your Hart Virtual.  Hope to get those to you this week.

Tell me what is new with you.  How is your training going?

13 weeks to the Philadelphia Marathon!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another Week, Another Race

Training is moving along nicely.

I did miss a three mile run this week.  My PF started to act up after a beach day right before The Blessing and I just wanted to make sure I felt better before I ran again.

I had a nice three mile run on Tuesday, just me at an average pace.  It was a really nice morning and I enjoyed the time by myself.

On Thursday, I met the girls and the Narragansett Running Association and we headed out for five miles.

As soon as we started, I knew I was running too fast.  I didn't stop though and paid for it later.  After two miles, I knew I had to slow down.  I did, but mile 3 and 4 were a bit tough. I felt ok in mile five, but I was really happy to be finished!

Beth and I, and a group from the NRA headed to Plum Point Bistro for a beer and a bite. This was my first time really hanging out with the group and I had a great time.  They kept me out longer than I would of liked but it was fun and I look forward to the next time!

Friday and Saturday we headed to a friends house who happens to have a pool.  We spent most of our time in the pool and it was lovely.  Now, I don't really know how to swim, but I did get a nice little workout in by just being in the pool for so many hours.  I can see why swimming is a great way to cross train.  Now, how to convince Mr. RWM that we need a pool...

This brings me to Sunday.  Race day!

I decided last week to race Run 4 Kerri.  I was told it was a nice one and I wanted to check it out. It is a great cause as it honors a beautiful young runner whose life was cut short her first year of college after she contracted Bacteria Meningitis.

I, of course, posted on FB that I was doing it and would anyone like to join me.  Yay, I got one taker. Bridget!

We got there with plenty of time to spare.  Parking was easy. We picked up our shirts and numbers and got a fun bag filled with advertisements and coupons.  We dropped everything back at the car and still had 30 minutes to wait.

The time went by quickly and with about 10 minutes to go, we walked to the start line. Today, there were 729 runners.  It was a beautiful day!
The start.

Now, I had a goal for this race and it wasn't just to finish.  My best four mile time was 44:01, or so I thought.

My goal, first and foremost was to get rid of the one second, but honestly, I wanted to be under 44 minutes. I was pretty sure a 42 or 43 minute race was possible.

I had told Bridget, who is a faster runner than I, what my goal was and she said she would stay with me.  Cool!

The race starts on an uphill but is mostly a flat course.  A couple hills but not the toughest I have seen.  Going out too fast was a concern for both of us and when I looked at my Garmin, it read, 9:17.  I knew we had to slow down.  We hit mile one at 10:26 which was right on target!

The course was beautiful, but it was getting hot.  Mile two was pretty good and I was having fun chatting with Bridget.  We hit that mile marker at 21:xx.

Mile three is where I started to waver.  The sun was really beating down on us and I was having a little trouble with my running skirt.  It's cute but not functional for running.  The shorts kept riding up and made it uncomfortable.

I slowed way, way down and fixed my shorts, walk through a water station and turn my iPod on.  Bridget was just ahead of me.  She looked back and started to slow down for me to catch up, but I told her to go, I was good.

Once I was comfortable again, I was able to find a nice rhythm and I knew a PR was still possible.

I hit the down hill and knew the finish was just around the corner.  I felt great and my speed picked up.  I ran though the chute and heard them announce my name and number.  That was a nice touch for a small race.

I got water, found Bridget and then some shade.  We chatted about our race and had a couple orange slices.  They pulled numbers for a raffle when we were running, so we headed over to the prize wall to discover we both won prizes.

Bridget won a gift certificate to the paint store and I won a tape measure.  It is no ordinary tape measure though. It weights a ton and reaches to 30 feet.  Mr. RWM was happy!

Next stop was the posted times.  I was so happy to see that I had reached my goal and got a new PR.  Official time is 42:55.

I left happy.

Walking into the door of my home, I was hit with a wonderful smell of eggs,  corn beef hash, and toast cooking, not to mention coffee.  I was psyched!  Thanks family! We sat down to a late breakfast together which was a wonderful way to end an already fantastic morning.

When I went to log my miles and add my races to my FB and my blog page, I realized that my best four mile time was 43:01, not 44:01.  I felt a little disappointed that I had only beaten that time by six seconds, but no matter how you look at it, I still beat it!

Bottom line is, I loved this race and will be back.  If you are local, I hope to see you there next year!

15 weeks to Philly!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole