Feb 132014

If you missed Part One, you can read it here.

If you missed Part Two, you can read it here.

Happiness.  Once I got over the horror of seeing all the men scattering to pee, I was able to be in the moment and just be happy.  I was actually doing this.  Running in a huge Disney Race.  Something so many people wanted to do, but couldn’t for whatever reason.  I found my stride, focused and pushed forward.  Every so often I took a moment and scanned the crowd for Dan.  Because I’m slow and he’s quick, I was able to see him several times during the race! I can’t begin to describe what a great feeling it is to see someone you love cheering you on. There’s just a little push you feel in your heart to continue on.

Getting a little push from my husband to keep going!

Getting a little push from my husband to keep going!

Tears. Yes, I realize tears aren’t an emotion, but I’m not sure what word best describes what I felt over and over and over again while running this race.

I will never forget the person who gave me two thumbs up at the 4-mile mark.  Tears came and I got another push to keep moving forward.

Or the person who cheered for me and told me I was doing a great job as she ran with me for a while.  More tears and yet another push.

The person who told me to stay strong.  A few more tears and another push.

The moment I rounded the corner and began mile six.  It was in that moment that I shed the most tears.  Because that moment is when I saw just how many people were still behind me.  It was then that I knew for sure I would not get swept.  That I would absolutely finish this race.  It was the final push I needed to run harder, run faster and finish what I had started so many months ago.

Disney Bib - 61216

Disney Bib – 61216

Joy.  Crossing that finish line and receiving my medal?  Pure joy.

Disney 10K Finisher!  My time was 1:32.  Not the fastest, but I managed to stay in the top 2/3 across the board (age, gender and overall).  I'm happy with those results!

Disney 10K Finisher! My time was 1:32. Not the fastest, but I managed to stay in the top 2/3 across the board (age, gender and overall). I’m happy with those results!

Pride. Yes, I am most definitely proud of myself.  I worked hard to run this race.  I overcame surgery & setbacks in recovery, injury, and life to train for this race.

But just as important, I felt great pride because I ran this race to support Team Up! with Autism Speaks. With the help of family and friends I raised $775.00, which not only goes to support Autism Speaks, but also allowed me to be one of the top fundraisers during Marathon Weekend!  If you donated, thank you, thank you, thank you!  Your generosity will help countless families as they navigate the waters of autism.

(Left to Right) Top Row-shirt, awards dinner, starting line Bottom Row-running, certificate, finisher pic

(Left to Right)
Top Row-shirt, awards dinner, starting line
Bottom Row-running, certificate, finisher pic

Feb 122014

If you missed Part One, you can read it here.

Warning:  This post contains potty talk.  Literally!


Horror.  I’ve shared this with pretty much everyone who’s asked me about the race, but I think it warrants talking about one more time.  Let’s be honest for a minute.  The one thing that has scared me about races more than anything, and I mean ANYTHING, is the port-o-potty.  After having a dozen or so races under my belt I have since gotten over my fear of them.  Anyway, when the fireworks went off and my corral was off and running, we weren’t two minutes outside of the starting line before the men in the race started running off course to pee!  Seriously.  It was ridiculous.  I was truly horrified at how many men I saw peeing all over Disney property.  I thought, “Can they not wait until they get to the port-o-potty?  They aren’t that far away!”.

And then…

I was about a mile in to the race when I passed the first bank of potties.  The line was crazy.  Men and women alike were waiting.  I had no need for one, so I kept on going.  Mile two brought another potty.  ONE potty and another line.  And that’s when I changed my tune.  I thought, “Why are these men taking up precious space in line when they can go pee in the bushes right behind us?!?”  Dan has found great pleasure in retelling my tale of horror to everyone.  In the end, I would prefer to not see men (and the occasional woman) pee in public, but I certainly appreciate it when the line isn’t long for the potty when I need one!  (Oh, and for those wondering, that first bank of potties I passed?  There was an 18 minute wait to use them!  Don’t tell anyone, but I might have found a bush if I’d needed to go and there was an 18 minute wait!

To be continued…

Feb 112014

It’s been a little over a month since I ran my first 10K.  There are days I walk past the medal I earned and still can’t believe I ran 6.2 miles!

It was truly an amazing experience, and I don’t know that I will ever adequately be able to express what it was like to participate in it.  I’m pretty sure I experienced every emotion possible the day of my race.

Nerves.  I was so nervous and my stomach was in knots.  I’d spent the weeks leading up to the race both training for it AND having nightmares of getting swept for not going fast enough. And then I have the privilege of meeting Jeff Galloway, and he   eased my nerves and told me I would be just fine.  After all, I’d followed his training method, and he’s the expert.

Jeff Galloway - world class athlete and runner.  Author of the running program I used to train for my 10K.

Jeff Galloway – world class athlete and runner. Author of the running program I used to train for my 10K.

Second Thoughts.  We walked around the expo and all I could do was think about the next day.  What was I getting into?  And then I saw the words of Christopher Robin reminding me that I am brave, I am strong and I am smart.

Brave, Strong and Smart.

Brave, Strong and Smart.

Excitement.  I was so excited that I could not sleep the night before.  We went to bed before 9pm because we knew the alarm would ring at 3:15am.  I tossed and turned and dozed for an hour and eventually I pulled out a book and read until I finally fell asleep.

Inaugural T-Shirt sold at the Expo.

Inaugural T-Shirt sold at the Expo.

Anticipation.  We arrived at the corrals about 4:15am.  I made the HUGE mistake of crossing the line to use the port-o-potties reserved for the runners.  I had no idea when I crossed over I would not be able to go back.  The security guard let me hand off my extra stuff to Dan and then off I went to spend the next 90 minutes alone.  I wandered over to my corral (C – the third corral of five) and sat down and waited.  At one point a man stood in front of me and his shirt said, “Determined”.  I embraced the word and let that carry me through to the start.



To be continued…

Jan 312014

I’m participating in a challenge to take a photo every day of something for which I am grateful.  Some days I’m grateful for BIG things, like my husband, my kids and my church.  Other days I’m thankful for little things, like kleenex, green smoothies and warmth.  Here’s a collage of some of the things I was grateful for in January!

#365 Grateful Project - January Edition!

#365 Grateful Project – January Edition!
Oct 232013

We’re just over a week away from Halloween.  Since we have a four day weekend starting tomorrow I had the brilliant idea that the kids and I would sit down and finalize plans for their costumes and then shop for supplies this afternoon.  We made a list and headed out to our first stop:  Wal-Mart.

Let’s just say it did not go so well.  Even though each kid has known what he wants to be for Halloween for a while now, today no one could commit to said costume choice.

Matthew, who wants to be Peter Pan suddenly decided he wanted to be… Candy Corn. A Peacock. Peter Pan. A Lego.

Zachary, who has been asking to be the Tick Tock Croc for months decided he wanted to be… Rock Paper Scissors.  (Seriously.)

Nicholas, who was willing to be Captain Hook to keep with the theme, changed his mind and wanted to be… A White Ninja.  Ninjago. Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I thought I might lose my mind.  I went so far as to turn the car around and head home because nobody would stop talking about what they wanted to be for Halloween.  It was bad.  Tears were involved, especially after they realized the car was heading towards home.   Eventually I turned back around and went to Wal-Mart but we came home empty handed.

The last thing I wanted to do when we got home was make dinner, but we had to eat.  So I dug around in the pantry and pulled out a bag of quinoa.  It’s become a staple in our house in the last couple of years and I knew I could pull together a quick meal with it.  I tried out a new recipe tonight, and here it is…

Quinoa Pizza

Quinoa Pizza

  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
  • your favorite pizza toppings (pepperoni, sausage, veggies, etc)
  • salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasonings, to taste


  1. Rinse quinoa well. Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer and cook about 15 minutes.
  2. Prepare any toppings while quinoa is cooking.
  3. When quinoa is finished, add pasta sauce and toppings and stir to combine.  Then add shredded mozzarella. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasonings.
  4. To serve, spoon the quinoa mixture into bowls and top with more mozzarella cheese, if desired.

Quinoa Pizza takes all of 20 minutes to make and it was a big hit with two out of three boys. Dan liked it, too.  I consider that to be a success and it will go into rotation around here, especially on crazy baseball nights, or to follow disastrous afternoons like the one we had today.

Tomorrow is a new day, and will be filled with new adventures.  Say a prayer for us as we venture into the local craft stores and attempt to make Peter Pan, Tick Tock Croc and Captain Hook come to life!

Recipe inspiration found at Girl Makes Food.

Oct 192013

Before I share about the first week of training, I need to share how I spent my summer.  Shortly after Dan and I ran the Expedition Everest Challenge (a 5K with obstacles at Disney’s Animal Kingdom) I restarted a Couch-to-5K program I had used to start running.  The goal was to increase my speed, because I run S-L-O-W-L-Y.  Not long after restarting C25K I started having pain in my right knee.  Fearing I had torn something, but not knowing what was going on I went to see an orthopedic surgeon.  Two appointments and an MRI later we found out that my knee was fine, and that I was suffering from a little arthritis in my knee from overtraining.  I spent the remainder of the summer in physical therapy.  I was released from physical therapy in August and given the go ahead to run three times a week.  I am also allowed to do yoga, ballet barre and strength training.

10K Training: Week One

I finished the first week of Minnie 10K training!  Here’s a quick breakdown of what my week looked like…

  • Monday:  2.12 Miles, Outdoors
  • Wednesday:  2.15 Miles, Treadmill
  • Friday: 5.50 Miles, Treadmill
  • TOTAL: 9.77 Miles

Week one went really well.  Really, really well.  Especially my Friday run.  5.5 miles is a ridiculous distance for someone who hasn’t run more than 3.1 miles ever. The best thing about Friday’s run is that when I was finished, after 82 minutes, I felt like I could have kept going!

In case you’re interested, I am using Jeff Galloway’s Injury Free system.  Specifically I am using Easy 10K with Jeff Galloway, an app I purchased for the iPhone.  I LOVE this app.  He tells me exactly what to do.  When to run, when to walk.  He tells me to pick up the pace and to slow it down.  He even gives me pep talks and tells me that I am strong and I can do it.  (Those messages make me laugh!)  This app even takes the music I choose from iTunes and speeds it up/slows it down as necessary to keep me running (or walking) at the right pace.  Pretty cool for something that only cost me $3.99.  It’s customizable as well.  The traditional Jeff Galloway method for a beginner is to run a minute and walk a minute and that’s what I did week one.  As I get further into my training I can change my ratios for longer runs with the occasional minute of walking to recover.

Here’s a quick snapshot of me after my first long run on Friday.


Post first long run shot!

Sep 232013

One year ago today I scratched something off my bucket list.

Run A 5K.

Run a 5K.  Me.  The girl who did everything she ever could to get out of running in high school.  I remember rowing on the crew team and my entire boat would go out and run a mile and I would stay back and do strength training and row a zillion meters on the erg to avoid having to run that mile.  In fact, the only time I ran was when I had to get to a ball on the tennis court.  Suffice it to say I was not a runner.  Not in the least.

Fast forward to March 2012.  I was in the gym, using the elliptical and I thought maybe I should giving running a try.  Came home, downloaded a couch to 5K app and jumped in.  It took me from March until September to complete the 8 week training program.  I started, stopped and restarted several times.  But I was determined to run and I had my sights set on running a 5K.

September 22, 2012 I ventured out of my comfort zone…out of the gym and out of my neighborhood and joined over 3,000 people and I ran my first 5K, Miracle Miles, in Orlando.  I did it with several MoM’s (Mothers of Multiples) in my local twins club.  It took me 47 minutes to do it, but I did it.  I crossed that finish line and it was an amazing feeling.

Miracle Miles Finish Line 2012

My friend Gina, on the left, was a huge support that day. She encouraged me the entire way and willingly stuck with me, when she could have run the race twice in the time it took me to do it once. I’m on the right, and the girl in white is some random person who unknowingly photobombed us.

What’s the significance of this first 5K?

Well, since last September I have run in and completed six more 5K’s including the Everest Challenge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which was not just a 5K, but also had obstacles and a scavenger hunt.  (In fact, according to Runkeeper we ran over 5.5 miles that night!) Me!  The non-runner.  The girl who got out of running whenever possible.

And that brings me to my point.  Yesterday, my husband and I woke up at 5:40, got dressed and ran in the Miracle Miles race.  A year ago he wasn’t a runner and now he runs half marathons.  A year ago I had never run in a race and now I’ve run in several.

A year.

I guess  this means I’ve officially been a runner for one year.

I hadn’t realized it until Dan turned to me in the car on the way to the race and said, “Congratulations on making it one year”.  He went on to say that most don’t make it.  Most people give up.  Or maybe they get bored.  Or injured.  Or lazy. Or maybe they discover that they hate running.  But whatever the reason, many give up.

But I didn’t.

I worked through the boredom of the treadmill and graduated to running on the streets and trails.  I battled injury and spent the summer in physical therapy.  I overcame the laziness that so easily creeps into your day if you let it.  And I decided that I loved running.

Who would have thought?

Yes, I am proud of him!  The one who has encouraged me like no other.  The one who hasn't said a word about any money I've sunk into shoes and clothes.  The one who ran a 15K yesterday in less than 77 minutes! And I'm proud of me.  For making it one year.  I can't wait to see what the next year brings me.  All I need is my shoes, my headphones and the street.

Yes, I am proud of him! The one who has encouraged me like no other. The one who hasn’t said a word about any money I’ve sunk into shoes and clothes. The one who ran a 15K yesterday in less than 77 minutes! And I’m proud of me. For making it one year. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings me. All I need is my shoes, my headphones and the street.

Next item to scratch off the Bucket List?  Running a 10K!


Miracle Miles 2013 photo credit to Charla Kim Photography.



Oct 242012

Last night we hosted a dinner party for some of the worship team at church.  We’ve been discussing what to serve at our party for over a month now, and I had finally narrowed all the options down to just one – Soup Night.  I thought it would be fun (and easy) to make two or three different types of soup, bake a couple of loaves of bread and call dinner finished.  It seemed a little more original than my first and second choices, which were Taco Night or Spaghetti Night.  I started planning which soups to make and which breads to bake when I stumbled up on a brilliant idea.  Chili Bar!   So that’s what we did!


Chili Bar!

Here’s what you need to pull off a pretty awesome Chili Bar for your next party!

  • Chili (click for recipe)
  • Hot Dogs & Buns
  • French Fries
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Corn Muffins (click for recipe)
  • Individual Frito Bags
  • Spaghetti
  • Veggies – Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Jalapenos, etc.
  • Dips – Queso, Salsa, Quacamole,  etc.
  • Condiments – Ketchup, Mustard, Sour Cream, etc.

Just a couple of notes…

1.  Don’t assume your grocery store will sell individual bags of Fritos.  If you do, you will be assured that they won’t.  Sadly, no Frito Pie in a Bag last night.

2.  Take advantage of the Mega Trio at Tijuana Flats.  It’s $11.19 well spent, and you get some killer queso, guacamole & salsa to go with all those chips!

3.  Have fun with it!  I forgot to make the spaghetti and I couldn’t find the Fritos, and everyone still had a great time.  I’ve never seen adults so excited for hot dogs!

I admit that I was pretty stressed about hosting last night.  I’d been out of town for four days and was still recovering from the lack of sleep from my weekend away.  I worried that the floors weren’t clean enough.  I wasn’t happy that my Halloween towels were still in the dryer.  And when the doorbell rang and our first guests arrived the french fries were still baking and the hot dogs were still cooking.

But you know what?  None of those things mattered.   Dinner was served when it was ready.  People ate and enjoyed seconds and thirds.  The kids played well together.  We joined together as a worship team from all campuses of our church, connecting over a common bond  and enjoying a fun meal.


Sep 192012

I sat at the dinner table surrounded by a community of people Sunday night.  Some of them I’ve known for almost 20 years, others I have met in the last five years and two whom I met that evening.  Our night started like any other first experience with a group of believers who have gathered for dinner and  to share our lives.  There were introductions, a few “How ya doing”, one or two “What can I do to help?” and finally we all settled down to eat.  The conversation was light and easy while we ate and then we jumped right in to the questions for the week.

What is your dream of a perfect life? 

A few years ago I thought I had this one nailed.  Perfect life?  Easy, peasy.

My perfect life consisted of a husband, two kids, a dog, a house in Winter Park and a Volvo.  In 2008 I had every wish fulfilled.  There’s even a picture somewhere of all of these things together!

And then it hit me…I needed bigger goals for myself.  I’m still not sure what “my perfect life” is, but I know it is bigger than my original dream.

What is the image you have of yourself? 

That weight of that question hit me and I sat back and listened to everyone else.  With tears in my eyes I finally responded and said,

“I feel like I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none.  I’m completely overwhelmed with everything and instead of doing a few things well I feel like I’m a failure at everything.” 

What image do others have of you?

This one was far easier to answer because I hear it often.

“You’re superwoman.”

“How do you do it all?”

“You’re so good at…”

I always laugh these statements off and say, “Have you seen my house?  I’m not superwoman.”

I hate the image that I give off to others is that I am superwoman.  I am so far from it.  I yell at my kids.  I hate mopping floors.  The kitchen is always a disaster.  My kids don’t get a bath every night.  Sometimes dinner comes from a little blue box.  I have no idea where the iron is and if we even own one. I have good intentions and terrible follow through.

I’m human.  I fail.  Sometimes I suck at the mommy gig.  Oftentimes I suck at the wife gig.  But I serve a God who picks me up when I fall down.  One who dusts me off and whispers “I love you” as He restores my strength.

So, no.  I am not superwoman.   I am just like you.  I’m trying to muddle through this crazy life, trying and failing and being renewed every single day.