Reflecting on 2014 and Goal Setting in 2015

2014 is nearly over. Thank goodness. It was not a great year for me. Looking back over my goals from the year, I'm grateful that I hit some of them, but not all of them. Let's review. 

1) Spend more time with my husband. Have at least one date per month. It doesn't have to be dinner and a movie. In fact, we prefer that it isn't. We enjoy the company of one another and really enjoy spending time together cycling. It also might be easier for us to find a more reliable sitter if it's during a Saturday afternoon rather than a Saturday evening.

Sigh. This sadly did not happen. James and I had to work very hard on our relationship throughout 2014. We had a lot of ups and downs. Like most marriages ours was ebbing and flowing. Thankfully we managed to reconnect again towards the end of 2014, and now we  have a much stronger bond. Me returning to work outside the home was a HUGE help in bringing us closer together. Weird how it worked out that way, but it did. 

So I'd really like to try to keep this as a goal in spend more quality "date time" with my husband. It's going to be hard. My mom moved to North Carolina and she was our primary kid sitter, but we'll figure it out somehow. 

 2) Spend more 1:1 time with each of my kids. This needs to continue. I've made great progress with each of my kids, getting to know them better, and as they get older and start to pull away, I want us to have the relationship where we can go out and spend quality time together.

Thankfully I have been able to do this. I've been fortunate that Ronin LOVES to come with me to races (where he's running and kicking some serious butt) so we've been able to talk a lot during his training, and our drives to and from the race events. I was also able to take the girls out 1:1 for shopping trips, we got our nails done once or twice, and I managed to have lunch with them at school a few times throughout the school year. 

3) Run 14 in 14. I will run at least 14 races in 2014. I've registered already for the first 5, and 4 of those are with the kids, so that's a great start!

I did make this goal as well. I did have to back out of two races because of injury, but I still made my 14. I'm not sure if I'm going to attempt 15 in 2015. I am still nursing an injury, and rather than running, I am strictly a walker, but I've loved walking, and have some great walking partners, so we'll see. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't. No big deal. 

4) Pay it forward. Continue to do what I've been doing on my blog and on my Facebook page. I get such a feeling of pride helping other people. 

YES! I was able to do this! And it makes me feel so good to be able to help other people. 

5) Participate in another CrossFit competition. Maybe I'll even step further outside my comfort zone and do one held outside my box. 

No. I did participate in the 2014 CrossFit Open, but I injured myself during the last WOD 14.5. That injury has stayed with me for the last 10 months, and I'm still recovering. I had registered for one comp outside my box, but transferred the registration to a friend. And then our in house competition I couldn't do b/c of injury, but Ronin did it and rocked. 

For 2015, I am planning on doing the 2015 CrossFit Open, and am excited that they will have a scaled division. While there might be some jump rope (in fact, I can pretty much count on it) I can do it once in a while for a WOD. 

6) Deadlift 300 pounds. My current PR is 240, so I think I can get to 300 pounds by the end of 2014. 

Sigh NO. This didn't happen. We didn't have a year with a lot of deadlift programming. Rather we focused on squatting. So while I didn't PR in deadlift, I did PR in squats, both front and back, so I'm okay with this. 

7) Lift 100 pounds over my head. This is going to be a huge challenge for me. 85 pounds is my current max, and I think maybe, just maybe I did 90 pounds once, but overhead is a huge struggle for me, but I'm going to work on increasing my weights in my daily WOD's and that will help me to get stronger in my lifts.  

No. Injury again  held me back. And fear. I am changing this goal to not lift 100 pounds over my head. Rather, I would like to be able to clean 100 pounds by the end of 2015. 

8) Continue with Weight Watchers and lose the 23 pounds I gained towards the end of 2013.

No. In fact I gained even more weight. Oh well. It is what it is. I'm working hard on trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that I am doing "wrong" and trying to remedy it. But I am eating good for me food, and I FEEL good, all my "numbers" are good...except for the one on the scale and the one in the back of my clothing. Tongue Out I did recently cancel my Weight Watchers membership because the mobile app was not working at all on my phone, so why pay for something that I can't use. 

9) Speak at a conference. I applied to speak at a few, and I hope I get selected for at least one!

No. But I'm okay with that. I was able to speak to several news stations in the early part of 2014, and was featured in FIRST Magazine, so that's just as good in my opinion. 

10) Be a better house keeper. In order to keep a better house, I need to spend less time on the computer, so this is a double-edged goal. But spending less time on the computer will also make me more present in my families life, so really, it's a win-win. 

Cool Yes and No. We got the entire house remodeled in February. That forced me to do some deep cleaning and weeding of junk. I've managed to stay on top of all the clutter, which is good.


1) Walk at least 1 mile every single day. Rain or shine. Hot or cold. I love walking and I've been taking a 1 mile walk every afternoon during my lunch break.

2) Save money. I'm going to do the 52 week money challenge.

And really, that's IT. I'm going to focus on my career, my family, and a few of the goals that I need to still work on from 2014, plus my 2 new ones for 2015.

And how about you?? How did your 2014 go?

Go XTREME with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

For the 10th consecutive year our family will be heading to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Every year the circus comes to Tampa right around Haley's birthday and this year is no exception! RBBB will be in Tampa January 1-4, 2015 at the Amalie Arena.

You can read about our 2014 adventure HERE and 2013 HERE. Prior to those years I wasn't a blogger, so I didn't chronicle our trip. But trust me, they've all been GREAT!

In 2015, the circus promises to be XTREME!!

It’s time for your family to be amazed by all the X-TRAORDINARY things you know and love about America’s favorite live family entertainment experience. Be astonished by UN-XPECTED circus spectacles you’ve never seen before and that can’t be seen anywhere else but at The Greatest Show On Earth® . Get ready for an X-HILARATING adventure with X-TRAORDINARY circus artists and magnificent X-OTIC animals! It’s time to awaken the spirit of Children Of All Ages and stir the imagination of your family! Ringling Bros.® Presents Circus XTREME. It’s time to have XTREME fun with your family! 

Our family always enjoys the motorcycle show.

And the elephants are crowd favorites, too.

You can buy early and save XTREME with the promo code MOM4. You'll save $4 off tickets. Offer valid only for Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 11:00am, and Sunday at 11am and 7pm.

You can also WIN a family 4 pack of tickets right here on my blog!! The tickets are available for OPENING NIGHT, January 1, at 7:30pm. The tickets do not include parking. 

What do you have to do to win? Simply leave me a comment letting me know your favorite part of the circus!

I'll pick a winner on Friday December 26th!

Good luck!!

Walking a Half Marathon Successfully

6 weeks ago I mentioned that I would be walking my FIRST half-marathon!!

Well, the day for the big race has come and gone, and I'm here to tell you that it can be done successfully!!

I  participated in the 13th Annual Holiday Halfathon, and spent 12 weeks following the Hal Higdon Training Program for Walkers. 

I started off GREAT, easily making it through the first 9 weeks, and then I accepted a position with the Hillsborough County Public Library system, and that really put a crimp on my training. Tongue Out

But when you are determined (like you all know I am!) then you will make it work!

For the previous 8 weeks I had been training with my CrossFit En Fuego friend, Connie. We did our shorter walks right after our WOD's, and our longer walks we did on Thursday mornings.

But that all changed the week of November 17th.

I had 9 miles on the training plan, and that was also the week I returned to work full-time. Connie and I had tentatively made plans to meet on Saturday morning, but when I woke up it was drizzling and ugly outside. I texted her and she told me she was already at the meeting spot with her sister and was going to attempt to start walking then. I was not prepared to leave so quickly so I told her I'd do it on my own sometime that weekend.

And I did! But not alone. My 8yo son Ronin came with me. He's training for his first 15K, the Gasparilla 15K in February, so doing some mileage would be a good thing for him to get under his belt.

We decided we'd do a 3 mile out and back, 3 times. That way in case he got too tired, hungry, etc., we weren't more than 1.5 miles from the car at any given time.

We did 6 miles with ease, I even attempted to jog a few times, and looked over to see him walking right next to me. Laughing His walking pace is my jogging pace. Sad for me. But it gave me a good laugh.

His dad called and said he was going to come out and would be bringing Ronin's bike along. That worked out great. 

As we were coming back in from mile 6, dad met us with the bikes. Ronin took off with Dad for a 14ish mile cycle ride. So he walked 6 miles with me and then biked 14 miles with dad. The kid is a machine I tell ya, a machine!

I finished the last 3 miles alone. It was tough. I got a cramp in my foot/calf on mile 8. But I pushed through.

And then for the next 3ish weeks I backed down on my mileage, continued to CrossFit, and walked every single day during my lunch break at work. I averaged about 1.5 miles every day. 

Race day morning came without any problems.

Connie and I arrived on site by 6am. Checked in, and let the race director know that we'd be starting earlier than the 7:05am walking start time. We wanted to make sure we had PLENTY of time to finish as they had recommended that all walkers finish within 4 hours. Since neither of us had walked more than 9 miles during our training we honestly had no clue how long that last 4.1 miles would take us and we wanted to err on the side of caution.

They were fine with us starting, let us know that the roads would not be closed until 7:35am when the runners started and that our chip time would reflect 0:00. We were both okay with that, and off we went on our brisk Sunday walk!

We finished our first 3 miles UNDER our anticipated pace! We were both really happy with that.

It was COLD so I think we were trying to warm up!

3 miles down, 10.1 to go! Right off the bat I noticed that my GPS was measuring a bit off, like about a 1/4 of a mile.

Both of our hands were FREEZING but we were feeling good and strong! The aid stations were starting to be staffed and people looked at us so confused as to why we were out in front. LOL. Don't judge a book by its cover. Wink

We hit mile 6, refuled with a banana and a port-o-potty and kept right on trucking!

We kept breaking the race down into 5K chunks. 2 5K's done, 2 more to go, plus a 1.1 extra miles for good luck.

The course was great and Connie and I both kept wondering WHEN the runners would start to pass us. As of this point we were still alone out on the course.

I started talking about my fast friend Chris (also part of Team Polar) and I wasn't sure if he was running or not, but I told Connie that if other runners at his pace were running, I'd expect them to start passing us around mile 7. 

Well, just as we hit mile 7, I heard the police sirens, looked behind us, and sure enough, there came the running pack!!

As they ran past us I thought I noticed my speedy friend Chris and I told Connie, "I think that was Chris" and then she told me she thought she heard someone yell "GO CHRIS" so then I yelled "TEAM POLAR" but I still wasn't sure if it was "my" Chris or not.

After the leaders passed us, the pack started coming on a bit more heavily. Groups of 5, then 10, and then suddenly 50 or more started passing us by.

We tried our best to keep our pace, and keep out of their way. Connie kept going over into the grass and I kept telling her, "NO, stay on the course, runners are used to going around slower paced people, as long as you stay to the right, all is good." But she felt bad. She felt like she should get out of their way. But I told her that runners don't look down on someone walking or running more slowly than them, as long as the rule of the road are followed, all is good. 

When we hit mile 9 we were both so happy!! We knew we only had 4 miles left to go, and we knew we could do it!! But then....around mile 10....suddenly 2 things were against me.

1) I had to pee. BADLY. And there were no bathrooms to be found anywhere! And we were on a public trail and there were no spots to sneak off. Trust me, I checked.

2) Blisters. I could feel some pretty gnarly blisters develop on the bottoms of both of my feet. I could tell that they were filled with fluid b/c I was feeling a squishing feeling every time I stepped down. I tried to do more of a "wog" and that did help some.

But it was bad folks, real bad. 

We hobbled, we snacked. Connie joked that while all the runners were passing us we were walking having a picnic. It sure lightened up the mood.

We passed mile 11, and knew we had 2 more miles in us! We walked 2 miles after WOD'ing for months! We could surely do 2 now when it counted!

And then BAM! We came into a park, and there was a BATHROOM!!!  Thank goodness!!

We both stopped, freshened up, and went back on the course. Laughing and nearly crying at the same time!

We passed mile 12 and I was so happy to see that sign.

It was right after mile 12 that my friend Denise from RUNDMT caught up to me. I knew she would. It was only a matter of time. She was kind enough to pass me a packet of organic gummies and they did the trick. My feet were killing me, but my energy level picked up. Connie and I also snacked on some cashew nuts, and we could see the finish line across the lake so we knew we were getting so close!

We could hear music playing, names being called, people cheering. It was exciting. There were also a lot of runners who were now walking. I guess 13.1 miles can take its toll even on the most seasoned of runners.

I told Connie to go ahead if she wanted to run, because I knew I was holding her back from finishing as strong as she could. So off she went! 

I kept walking. I will ALWAYS RUN across a finish line, so I had a landmark in my mind and knew when I would start running. I rounded the corner towards the finish line when a well meaning woman yelled at me "GET RUNNING" and I snapped at her "I'm a REGISTERED WALKER, I'LL RUN WHEN I'M READY!" I guess I was feeling a little testy. Tongue Out

But I shuffled through the finish line and earned my medal.

Race results show that I finished in 2:35.

But that's not accurate because we started earlier. This is much more accurate. Wink

I stopped my Polar within one minute of crossing the finish line, while I forgot about my app for just a few minutes while I got my bearings and looked around for Connie.

We kept between a 16mm-17mm, which is faster than anything we trained for. We would have made it to the finish line in time if we had started with the other walkers. But honestly I don't think we would have had as much fun. Having the course to ourselves for 7 miles really was something else. And we need to factor in our time that  we stopped for photos. And the bathroom.

I'd say our first WALKING half-marathon was a success!!!

Was it easy? NO. Not one bit. Was it worth it? YES. Without a doubt yes.

And in case you were wondering.

Yup, that was my buddy Chris!

He finished the race in 2nd place overall with a time of 1:14. Yes, you read that correctly. He ran a half-marathon in ONE HOUR FOURTEEN MINUTES.

Told you he was speedy quick. Laughing

So what would I do differently?

1) I'd follow the training plan up through the last week. Had I walked 10 miles during training I might have developed blisters and known how to properly deal with that possibility. I'd been discussing buying new shoes throughout my training but never did it. Ugh. I had well over 500 miles on the shoes I wore.

2) Buy new shoes during training. 

And that's pretty much it.

I felt well prepared for this event.

Something else that I found interesting was this this race was not the typical out/back races I've done in the past. This was just an OUT race. There was no back tracking. That made it both challenging and exciting. I think in training for my next out race I'd actually do some out training and have the husband pick me up somewhere. I've only trained out/back and tend to rely on landmarks.

So there you have it. My first half-marathon as a WALKER. And I was successful!!

A HUGE thank you goes out to Enell Sports Bras for sponsoring me for this race. I wore my Enell Scuba Blue Bra, and my Enell racing jacket during the race.