Because I CAN

It’s so funny how the mind of a runner works. If you live with one, I’m sorry. ;) No I’m just kidding, but sometimes I really do feel bad for Craig…he has NO idea what kind of craziness he got into when he married me. He thinks I am insane when I decide to run 20 miles ‘for fun,’ or that I really can’t go a day without running. But then I just remind him that my passion for running is comparable to his passion for sports- especially anything involving the Ravens or Orioles.  If I explain something in sports lingo, he totally gets what I mean. ;)

ecard 1

Yesterday was one of those days that I truly appreciated the fact that I have the ABILITY TO RUN. I was doing a really hard workout, and on my last 1200m repeat it just hit me like a ton of bricks- I am SO LUCKY that I can run. I am SO blessed that I have two strong legs that can carry me all of these miles. I think it hit me when I was feeling some pain from this workout- I thought about maybe slowing down, but then I was like wait, I AM RUNNING. I CAN RUN. How awesome is that?!

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I know if you are not a runner, or think of the activity as punishment (I know a LOT of people do ;) ), then you may not understand what I mean. I guess after having times where I couldn’t run because of a Crohn’s flare up, it makes me LOVE & appreciate every chance I get to. I also remember that during every hard workout I am just making myself stronger.

pain

I WANT to succeed, I WANT to hit my goals, I WANT to make a name for myself when it comes to running. (& I don’t mean nationally, although that would be awesome, but I mean locally- like people know who I am when I enter races- they recognize the name Holly Notarange) I don’t mean this to sound like I am big headed or anything like that, I just want to be able to make even more connections because of my running career.

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That last e-card really made me laugh because that is one of my requests on my birthday every year- just to have the morning to enjoy a long run. It’s the little things in life ;)

Yesterday’s workout was hard (800m & 1200m repeats- plus warm up & cool down miles), today’s was easy- 8 miles at 7:50 pace & strength training (focus on upper body).

In other non-running news, these chips are AMAZING…

chips

If you see them, buy them. Don’t hesitate. Trust me. They are delicious! The Wasabi Ginger are my #1, but closely followed by the mango salsa. I’m NOT normally a chip girl, but I saw these flavors & was intrigued. I’m a HUGE ginger fanatic- whenever I get sushi I always ask for a separate bowl of ginger to eat. (I know, you might think I’m weird.) I buy ginger by the jar at the store to just eat randomly. I like it THAT much. These chips definitely have a ginger taste, but I love that they are followed by a POW from the wasabi. (Hope you enjoyed that LONG description on a bag of chips. ;) )

Gabriella also has a food love, and it’s in a bright yellow box.

Gabriella cheerios

Eating a HUGE box of cheerios while watching Frozen- she couldn’t be happier. She carried that box all around the house with her & she would cry if I took it away. Sometimes it’s worth it just letting her ‘do her thing,’ even if it means I’ll find Cheerios for the next week in random spots.

This morning she was even more excited when she got a sticker after tumbling class at the gym. It wasn’t just ANY sticker, it was a football sticker.

sticker

We had to send a picture to Daddy, at her request. :)

Once Gabriella wakes up from her nap we are going to head out to one of our favorite stores- Target, of course- to look for some stuff for the house. They have the CUTEST stuff in home décor right now. (But when DON’T they have cute stuff?!) Craig & I ordered our new bed set, so we are in the market for a new bedding in KING size. Ahh! It will be SO nice sleeping in a king size bed instead of our current queen size. We need SPACE, especially when we have a little one jump in bed with us. ;)

Enjoy your day!

Long Run & Cooking With Ella

You guys, WHAT a weekend. An AWESOME weekend it was!

Friday night, after Gabriella went to bed, I headed out to spend some time with a wonderful friend. She needed some help making glitter bottom wine glasses, and she knew I had made them so she asked if I could help. Friend time + crafting = ideal Friday night. :)

glitter

I got home close to 11pm because we watched Jen Hatmaker’s (LOVE her devotionals & books- highly recommend them) new show on HGTV. It’s a great show, not only because I really think she an amazing person, but also because I love home renovation shows too.

I knew I had a long run in the morning, so the minute I got home I went straight to bed. Gabriella was my 6am wake up call – I loved walking in her room in the morning. She is doing this new thing where she just jumps & jumps in her crib like a crazy monkey. It’s hilarious. We both start laughing & then of course she does it more. I’m amazed at how high she can jump, and she will keep jumping until I pick her up. Love that little girl – she is so full of spunk & energy.

Once I gave her breakfast and I made some coffee for Craig & I, it was time for me to get ready for my run. I was very much looking forward to it, and the minute I started I just felt like it was going to be a GREAT run.

I had 14 miles to run, and honestly I felt like I could have gone more- like a lot more. I don’t know what it was, but my body was ready to go. I had to hold myself back because I was running too fast and my coach was adamant that I stay at 8 minute pace- or just a few seconds under. I started out with a 7:53 mile, and then slowly got faster- most of them being 7:45 pace.

The only “problem” I have is that I do NOT use any kind of ‘fuel’ during my runs. That Gu gel & things similar really bother my stomach. (Because of my Crohn’s disease.) After talking with my coach, he had the same thinking as me- my body has adapted to not getting any kind of calories during long runs. I just never use it- and I don’t typically drink much water & NO Gatorade. (Gatorade while running really bothers my stomach as well.)

I’m now in the market to look for some kind of bar, or bites or fluid that I can use while I run. I mean, I feel fine without it, but my coach has assured me (& it just makes sense) that I could go EVEN faster if I had some kind of calories while racing. So if you are reading and have any suggestions, please email me or comment. (Email: hollynotarange (@) gmail (dot) com)

Anyways, back to life besides running.. ;)

I also took Gabriella to her favorite splash pad to soak up some sun.

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G splash pad

That little girl is a FISH. You can’t keep her out of the water. She loves watching older kids to see what they do, and then she will go behind them and mimic them. I love seeing how her little mind works.

We also made dinner together- homemade pizza (including homemade dough) that night. She enjoys being in the kitchen, just like her Momma- makes my heart happy. I will be stirring something in a big bowl, and she’ll look at me and say ‘Ella?’- She is asking me to let her stir. Then I’ll give her to spoon to stir, she will stir for a bit, and then say ‘Mommy,’ because it’s ‘my turn again.’ And after maybe 10 seconds she will say ‘Ella,’ because she wants to stir again. Definitely my mini me….as I often call her ‘mini’ because she is so much of a mini me it scares me.

lime

^ That would be Gabriella eating a lime. Yes, she LOVES limes & lemons.

She also asks me to try whatever I am cutting up, or mixing. So she’s eaten an onion, bell peppers, garlic (she liked it), ginger (my favorite, she thought it was strange), and mustard. At least she has a wide variety in her diet. ;)

We are looking forward to this week. Saturday we kicked off Craig’s birthday week! I love birthdays and spoil Craig & Gabriella for their birthdays- they don’t just get a day of celebration, they get a week. Just a little something I do & really enjoy it. Saturday I made him lemon bars for dessert, and last night I made him gnocchi’s for dinner.

I’m also looking forward to a tough week of workouts! Saturday my coach told me he was upping all of my speed workouts (typically I do speed work twice a week), from his original workouts that he sent me. Today is a speed day…and I’m excited. (I know, it’s sick. ;) haha!)

Just in case you thought I was kidding about how much Gabriella likes going to the gym…

keysThis was her on Friday when I asked if she was ready to go the gym. Makes me happy. Fun for both of us!

Happy Monday!

She Must Be Loved

HAPPY FRIDAY!

After a week of hard workouts, I am excited to have an easy 8 miler today & then a long run Saturday of 14 miles. Sunday will just be a shake out run- maybe 3/4 miles- just to get my legs moving.

Thursday workout: 1 mile warm up (7:53), 6 mile tempo run- 5 miles at 6:53 & last mile at 6:35, 2 miles to cool down. (8- 8:30 minute pace) Finished with 30 assisted pull ups, 25 pushups and 10 minute ab workout.

Honestly before starting my workout yesterday I was kind of negative going into it. That’s not like me what so ever when it comes to running. But yesterday my legs were heavy and I just felt tired. The whole time I was running my warm up mile I was dreading the next 6. Again, NOT like me. All it took was getting into the tempo run, right around the 2 mile mark, and I was good to go. It also helped that my coach came over to me & was talking about the Ravens game! He said he was sure we were excited, so I showed him the picture of Gabriella in her Raven’s gear that she wore yesterday.

ravens smile

pink Ravens

Every girl needs her pink football gear, right?! ;)

Once we talked for a bit he made a comment about how strong I must be to be holding a regular conversation and still running at 6:53 pace with no issue. It was like when I heard that all of my thinking changed. I’m LUCKY to be running, AND I’m LUCKY that I have been blessed with this talent of running. Keeping things in perspective is sometimes hard to remember to do, but when you do it makes a HUGE impact on life & positive thinking.

This little girl helps me with positive thinking too…

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Even on the days that she makes me absolutely CRAZY, she will do the funniest thing & I can’t help but laughing at her…or with her.

I got one of the nicest complements yesterday that I have ever received. I went to pick up Gabriella who was in her tumbling class at the gym, and the teacher pulled me aside. She said, ‘I can tell you must really show her lots of affection. You can tell she is a very loved little girl.’ I asked her what she meant, and she said that Gabriella just walks around hugging all of the teachers & kids in daycare. This MELTED my heart. <3 My sweet girl, who is VERY loved, shows that love to other people too.

hayden hug

^Like that time when she wouldn’t just leave her cousin alone…Gabriella didn’t want to let poor Hayden go. Hayden is looking at me like please stop taking a picture & help me. Haha!

Since she got such a complement, I figured she deserved a little surprise.

crayons

After we left, we went and picked out Gabriella’s first REAL set of crayons. I think I made her day…like she made mine. :) So we spent the afternoon coloring, playing with stickers (her favorite thing EVER), and going to the park chasing after each other. It was perfect.

Well, since I’m writing this on Thursday night (to post this morning), I’m going to sign off because Big Brother is waiting to be watched! We are addicted to that show…I cannot even lie- I’ve watched it from the very first season and when I met Craig I forced him to watch it with me. Now I have him hooked as well. ;)

 

Gym Membership & Pear Cake

One thing that I am VERY thankful for is our gym membership. But not just for my benefit, but also for Gabriella’s benefit. It’s not a typical gym daycare- they actually learn while they are there. With our membership she also gets to take tumbling class at least twice a week (sometimes 3 times) and I can already tell we have a future gymnast on our hands. ;)

She gets so excited every morning when I ask her if she wants to go to the gym. She starts jumping around, then runs and grabs my keys to open the door. It’s so funny! Once we get to the gym, she takes my card and runs to the front desk.

Gabriella gym

One of the thrills in her day is giving the card to the lady at the front desk to scan. It’s the little things in life. ;)

Yesterday’s workout: 1 mile warm up, 6 strides (10.0 mph, 1 %), and the core of the workout: 6 x 880m (a BIT more than a half mile)- with 2 min jog in between each, and a 3 mile cool down.

It was HARD. Not too hard, but past the point of comfortable running. ;) I LOVE pushing myself, and this was one of those workouts that definitely did that. I learned my lesson though…I will not be running 10+ miles before a hard workout. Well, I can do 10 miles, but they will be easy. (My 10 miler on Monday was 7:38 pace, and then I did strides after- making it 11 miles) Lesson learned.

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I have this issue of running too much or too hard. My coach warned me that if I keep going like I was going to get injured. It could be a stress fracture or muscle injuries- he said it may not be now- but if I didn’t get smart about training it would happen eventually.

Today’s workout: 6 miles- 8 minute pace, followed by 6 strides at 9.4mph and 3% incline- making it a total of 7 miles. Today’s run was an easy run, because tomorrow is another hard day. After running I did 5 minutes on the elliptical (stretches my muscles out), then a weight workout. I did this 10 minute arm workout, then these circuits:

Back/ Chest

10 Pushups
10 Plank Rows (10 each side- I used 12lb. each hand)
12 Chest presses on stability ball
12 Crunches on stability ball

Shoulders

10 Presses
10 Upright Rows
10 Lat/ Front Raises (Alternate side to front)

Then I did this ab workout twice & 30 Leg Raises on Roman chair. (split into 3 sets of 10 reps)

After Gabriella woke up from her nap yesterday, she wanted to bake. (We didn’t get to on Monday) We had just gone to Costco & I stocked up on pears. (They are my favorite fruit- well, and honeydew) Since I had such an abundance, I decided to come up with something using pears.

I went with a coffee cake style of cake, and tried to ‘healthy it up’ a bit- not too much though. I have tried to make things very healthy in the past & it just doesn’t taste right. So, here it is:

Crunchy Cinnamon Pear Cake

pear

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup butter (or margarine), softened
-3/4 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups all purpose flour
-3 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup greek yogurt (I used 0% Chobani)
-3 cups chopped, peeled pears
Topping:
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 tbsp. butter, cold
-1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with Greek yogurt. Fold in pears. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over batter.
  • Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Delicious! The pear flavor wasn’t too over powering & actually made the cake even softer. We all loved it- and Gabriella even ate some for breakfast. (I mean it is like coffee cake ;) )

And random Gabriella tidbit of the day…she is obsessed with having her sunglasses on.

Gabriella shades

The second we get in the car she sees me put mine on, and she says ‘Ella on.’ Which means, Gabriella wants hers on too. (We call her Ella.) Seriously she is too much and does the cutest things that crack me up.

Weekend Workouts

I had good intentions to post Monday morning, but the weekend got the best of me.

Since starting my new blog (this one- I had two blogs prior to this one), I promised myself that family comes first. My blog was not going to get in the way of spending time with them.

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I also don’t want it to feel like a ‘chore’ so I’m only going to post when I FEEL like posting. Which is mainly when I FEEL like I have something to say….and that is pretty frequently. ;)

First let me back up and tell you about my AWESOME workout on Friday. I registered for my first half of the season last week (Jacksonville Marine Corp Half- one of my favorite races) and my coach told me all of my workouts for the next 8 weeks. These 8 weeks are going to prep me to run under 1:30 for a half marathon, hopefully pushing me closer to 1:25.

Anyways, back to that workout on Friday, it was a 2-1-2 workout. (ALL at 1% incline) I did a 1 mile warm up (7:53 pace), followed by 2 miles at 9.1 (6:35 pace), 3 min recovery (walk), 1 mile at 9.1, 1:30 min recovery & then 2 miles at 9.1. After I finished the workout I did 2 recovery miles (at 7:53 pace), and then 8 strides to finish it all off. Like always I did a 10 minute ab workout, 25 pushups and 30 assisted pull ups.

I loved the workout a bit too much. A few times I was really feeling it, but I just switched songs (I LOVE running to rap and hip hop…the more hard core the better- HA!) & everything was better. I needed some help figuring out good speed workouts to do, and HOW much to do, so I’m thankful I got some help to figure it out.

Saturday I did a ‘shake out’ workout. I ran for 3.2 miles (7:45 pace), then followed that with a 45 minute strength training class. Sunday was my longer, easy run- 11 miles at 7:58 pace. It was SO HOT out – 85 degrees out at 6am, & 86% humidity. YUCK. Welcome to Florida running ;)

Yesterday’s workout was a 10 miler (7:38 pace), followed by 5 strides (9.4 mph, 3% incline). I had 8 total strides to do, but I got in trouble by my coach for running too much. He came over and told me to get off the treadmill. Oops. ;) I am an interesting person to coach, and I told him that when we first talked. I am VERY much a perfectionist and apply that to exercise as well. I’ll have to write another post about that whole subject one day.

Other than talk about running stuff, I’ll tell you a little about our weekend. :)

My sister, brother in law, nephew & niece (our Goddaughter) came over on Saturday to spend some time with us.

pool with cousins

Love having all of the cousins together, and Gabriella is always in her glory when she gets to see Ethan & Hayden. I was trying to get a picture for my other sister (who lives in Buffalo) because it was her birthday- I wanted to get all of the kids together. But instead, I got this ^. It makes me laugh though because right after this picture, Ethan sprayed the girls with the hose. Love those kids!

Gabriella had so much fun with them that she didn’t want to sleep on Saturday night. AT ALL. I was up most of the night because of her. :/

no sleep

At least I know I can still run hard on little sleep. :) When I set out on my run Sunday, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go…because I was tired…but it went much better than I though AND it was a bit of a mental reassurance too. Even with tired legs (from the workouts, but also physically tired), I can still set out to do what I need to for training.

Looking forward to spending some quality time with my little lady this afternoon. We are going to probably end up baking something delicious (about to pour here) and then make dinner for Craig later.

baking g

She’s ready to get baking, who am I to stop her?! See ya later!

 

A Lesson in Patience

This girl…

shades

I frequently tell her that ‘it’s a good thing she’s cute…’ because OH boy can she be a sassy little thing.

She quickly went from that picture above, to this:

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I wasn’t at all surprised at her little melt downs throughout the day. She was up at 4am, (& so was I ;) ) and I couldn’t get her back to sleep until like 6:30am. Normally she wakes up around 6/ 6:30am. She slept until about 8am and then we headed off to the gym after she ate breakfast.

Yesterday was one of ‘those days.’ We all have them, and you know what? Someone once told me that it’s OK if we, as adults, have bad days, but we expect our children to be well behaved and happy all the time & when they aren’t we get upset or frustrated with them. So now I just try to remind myself that maybe Gabriella was having a rough day or just didn’t feel right, and since she can’t express herself through words she just cries. She does speak about 30 words, but she can’t sit down & have a full on conversation with me as to why she is upset.

This definitely does NOT mean that I don’t get upset with her or lose my patience, but I can honestly say that I have changed SO much since I had her regarding patience.

black and white

Having a newborn can really bring out the highs and lows. One minute you are just in awe of this little baby that you created, and then the next second you are so frustrated because you are doing EVERYTHING you can to get that precious baby to sleep. It’s funny though because they can really upset you, and the next second they do something SO adorable that you completely forget the thing that made you upset. (Hopefully that made sense)

Anyways, needless to say I was drinking WAY too much coffee yesterday and trying to cheer Gabriella up. One thing that she loves is talking to ‘Dada’ on the phone when he’s not in town. Since he had not been home for the earlier part of the week, she REALLY wanted to talk to him yesterday morning. So I made it happen. :) & she even made him a special video….

Every morning after I dress her, she runs to our room where Craig is getting ready for work & twirls around to show him her outfit. It is so sweet, and really makes my heart melt.

Yesterday was one of those days that reminds me to take the good with the bad. And it’s OK when bad days happen, because just the littlest event can be the brightest part of my day.

And yesterday one of my ‘bright points’ was my workout. (<–how lame does that sound?! :D )

run rest repeat

I needed those two hours at the gym yesterday to get my endorphins flowing and to have some ‘me time.’ Gabriella loves going to the daycare at the gym (she grabs my keys and runs to the door if I ask if she wants to go to the gym), and I love being able to workout knowing she is taken care of and having fun.

Yesterday’s workout: 2.5 miles on the treadmill (7:30 pace, 1% incline), 1 hour strength training class (I LOVE IT!- high reps, lower weight), 4 miles on treadmill (7:40 pace, 1% incline- legs were sore from class) , and the usual 10 minute ab workout + 25 pushups.

Gabriella & I continued our afternoon shenanigans by baking some banana chocolate chip bread, going for a walk and playing outside. We were both thrilled to have Craig come home last night! He completes our little household. <3

beach family

We are all looking forward to a relaxing weekend (& getting a nice LONG run in!) & hopefully getting to see my sister, brother in law & my adorable nephew and niece. Gabriella has been BEGGING to see them for 2 weeks now.

Running Competitively

I’m baaaack!

After a break, and LOTS of changes in our lives I feel somewhat ‘normal’ again. ;)

So the past few months we have moved to our new house (I’m SO in love), I worked as a personal trainer at the YMCA…and then I decided to quit because of our move & started doing personal training on my own, I got a new vehicle, my Crohn’s disease flared up twice, I decided to get a running coach  & run competitively, and we just got back from a family vacation to Wildwood, New Jersey.

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Needless to say, we’ve been busy! Mostly good stuff- and we are so thankful for the opportunities that we have had.

It’s been nice having a running coach, as he knows me well & knows that I will do WAY too much. Once we got to talking & I told him I was running at least 10 miles a day, he looked at me like I had two heads. He said that’s too much- and that I needed to focus more on repeats- mile, 2 mile & eventually 3 mile. So far all of my workouts I have LOVED- they are tough & push me even harder than I was pushing myself.

I needed someone to tell me ‘Holly, it’s OK if you don’t ALWAYS do 10 miles.’ Now he still lets me do my 10+ miles 3-4 days a week, which makes me happy, BUT the other 3/4 days are HARD. I mean really hard, like 9/10 effort on a scale of 10. And my ‘easy’ run days are truly EASY, unlike what I was doing. Like running 7:45/ 8 minute pace for my long runs. (which is weird for me- I’m used to do 7/ 7:30 pace for my ‘easy’ days)

Quickly he learned my ‘style’ of running- I want to push myself EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I run, and that’s just not possible IF I want to run the times that I do. He said I remind him of a ‘caged animal who just has to get everything out every time I run.’ It made me laugh because it is SO TRUE.

shoes

After speaking with him, he has encouraged me to put all of my focus on half marathons. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to train for full marathons or halfs. But after talking for a while, he knew my true love in racing is the half, so that’s when he said I should go all out on that race. That was important to me, I wanted to be able to know what MY race was- and I know that yes, I can run full marathons, but I don’t LOVE them like I love half marathons.

Currently I am trying to run under 1:27 for my nice half marathon, which will be October 4th. Eventually I would like to get closer to 1:20, but like everything in life it takes time AND patience….and patience is something that I struggle with.

For now I’m putting my faith in my coach, and I know he is going to take me far!

Yesterday I did my favorite run- 10 miles- on the treadmill- Incline 1% (ALWAYS important to run at least 1% incline when running on a treadmill to stimulate the same as outside running, otherwise you are pretty much running at a decline) – 8 miles at 7:28 pace & the last 2 at 7:24 pace. I did a mile cool down of just light jogging and walking. As with everyday, I did 10 minutes of ab exercise & 3 x 10 sets of pushups.

One of my favorite things to think about when I’m running is my family, especially my little mini me.
pool

Lovely expression, right?! ;) She really is my motivation for running my very hardest. I want her to be proud to tell people that I’m her Momma, the crazy runner lady. :D

I’ve missed blogging, but honestly life has been so crazy lately that I haven’t had time to think about it. We are all looking forward to a more relaxing fall filled with football, baking pumpkin things & of course lots of family time!