This weekend I got my hair done at Preston Salon Spa – it’s a must if you live in St. Louis. I’ve been wanting to go lighter for awhile now, and now that summer is approaching, this was the perfect time. I used to be blonde all the time, but the past few years I’ve gone a little darker when fall and winter comes. I always miss and like my blonde hair better though, so maybe I’ll keep it year round this time!
The person who got me started with blonde hair from the beginning? My sister, Stephanie, of course! She used to dump an entire bottle of Sun-In in my hair and blow dry it for what seemed like hours. That little lady had a birthday this weekend!
I love her so much, and not just for her amazing photography skills or the fact she’s always one text / phone call away. But those too.
My family celebrated with a lovely brunch at my parents’ house yesterday morning.
My family is the best. (We missed Jason and Jackson!)
William had fun with his cousins.
Those clowns. William loves loves loves music, especially the guitar (even better when Pops is playing!), so when the three of them get together to jam, they all have the biggest smiles! Goofy faces and all!
As you know, Audrey has a deep love for baby William. After all, he’s basically her baby, or so she thinks. So when I pose for a picture with William, she’s often not far away and requests to join in. And she must be touching him at all times.
Not that I mind one bit. When I go out with both of them, people think they’re both mine. And I may not correct them…
As you know, my precious little baby turned one. Life with a one year old is crazy! Ok, maybe it’s not that much different, but things have felt a bit busier over here this week. Instead of blogging last night, I took the hour to straighten up some things around my home. Fold the laundry, wipe the counters, change the sheets. And there’s still more. There’s always more. Eh, I’d rather have a lived-in and loved house than a super tidy one; isn’t that how the saying goes? Or something.
So today I’m keeping it light on the blog and sharing five sweet photos from my sister, the photographer. The first is one of my favorites and was taken on his first birthday:
Little old man baby.
Yes, we’ll need this same picture in eighty years in the same outfit. Moccasins. Trousers. Button-up. Newsboy hat. On a bench. Black and white. Yes, please.
The next photo was also taken on Baby William’s first birthday and was taken sans clothes, diaper (and cover) only in the fresh spring air, birthday excitement radiating out of him. Fists clinched, huge smile, ready to celebrate his day!
That smile. Those cheeks. Those teeth. Those eyes. That belly. That baby!
We have no plans to cease calling him Baby William.
When we were in the studio, Jacob and Audrey came along to entertain the little one. Stephanie captured them gazing out her big windows into the big, open world.
Audrey, as always, is right next to Baby William and has taken him under her wing (quite literally). She may not be able to hold him as easily as she once did, but that doesn’t keep her any further away. She’s always right.there. and nobody would have it any other way.
linking up with clare at fitting it all in for five things friday with these five photos!
Jacob was probably explaining the wonders of the world while Audrey was probably saying, “You like that, Baby William? You like that? He likes it! He said, ‘Yeah!'”
The love between these cousins is amazing.
While Stephanie was trying to capture a picture of me and William, William kept burrowing his face in me. Not that I minded one bit. He loves his momma.
Haha, I’m sure my mom will be thrilled to see this picture and discover I put my running shoes on the counter. Sorry, Mom! (We slept at my parents’ the night before since it was going to be such an early morning, and they were watching William.) Back when I was running a few years ago, I always ate a bowl of oatmeal before a race or long run. Classic toppings include bananas, cinnamon, peanut butter, and raisins. Usually I add honey, but I couldn’t find it in their kitchen.
mid-race fuel: (no pictures since I was running and am not coordinated enough nor did I feel like trying to take out my phone during the race. all my energy was put towards running!)
I may be weird, but I love race fuel. I love it all. Supercandy is a relatively new-to-me fuel that I’ve really been enjoying. It tastes good, is more natural than others, and includes b vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes.
post-race: an ice cream sandwich from Ted Drewes
Instead of going for the granola bars or bananas, I went for the ice cream sandwich. And I ate it before a picture could be snapped, so Barbie re-enacted what I probably looked like. The Go! had great food when you crossed the finish line. But truthfully, my hands were full of my ice cream sandwich so I couldn’t grab anything else. There was even toasted ravioli!!! (unique to St. Louis!)
Thanks to Chipotle, I was able to go to the VIP tent after the race. There was a wonderful spread of food, and I had a little bit of most of it. A waffle with strawberry topping, pecans, and syrup, sausage, bacon, cheesy eggs with spianch, and potatoes. There were sweet rolls and fruit, too, but I stuck with the hearty stuff.
I actually thought there would be Chipotle in the VIP tent, but there wasn’t. I had it stuck in my head that I was having Chipotle after the race, so around 1:30 in the afternoon, William and I ventured out to fulfill my craving. William took a nap shortly after, so I could have leisurely eaten my bowl. Nope. I was starving I literally inhaled it. Usually I get a bowl with chicken, but after my race I was famished, so I went with steak, black beans, brown rice, lettuce, corn salsa, and cheese. So good. I could eat Chipotle everyday and never get sick of it.
dinner snacks: everything in sight!
Since I had a large late lunch and I didn’t feel like making anything, I literally grazed the rest of the day on anything and everything I found in my kitchen. Some of my snacks included chicken, a whole avocado, cereal, cheesy toast, scoops of peanut butter… I’m telling you, I ate everything. It was fantastic!
And I drank a couple bottles full of Cocogo to make sure I replenished after the race.
Yesterday I blogged about my experiences in the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon. Almost immediately, I received feedback from race sponsors about my posting, including comments about the new course, which took racers through East St. Louis. I wanted to clarify a few thoughts, lest I leave people with the wrong impression of my experience!
Born and raised in St. Louis – nothing but love for this city!
As a West County girl, I haven’t spent a lot of time in East St. Louis, which is an area of the city that struggles with crime and is sorely in need of economic development. When the race course included sections of East St. Louis with boarded up shops and chained up businesses, I wondered why race organizers had decided to highlight that part of St. Louis. Well, race organizers reached out to me to explain why they did so.
Jeff, Director of Business Development for Go! St. Louis, wrote:
“GO! St. Louis is a VERY customer centric organization. We’re all about the runner, sponsor and spectator experience. We’re very dialed into feedback. Candidly, almost to a fault.
When we surveyed the St. Louis running populace over the course of the last couple of years, the most common reasons for NOT signing up for the Half Marathon and Marathon were that the course was ‘stale’ and/or ‘too hilly’. So, we undertook a 10 month effort to organize and align all the political entities to make a new course possible. That process involved a lot of work, a lot of meetings with various factions of the City, the City of East Saint Louis, The East Saint Louis Police Department, The State of Illinois, MODOT, IDOT, the St. Louis Police, St. Louis streets, special events, Lumiere Place, etc.
Given the explosion of running events across the country, most events are experiencing a downward trend in race registration. The new course, in large part, provided GO! with expanded race registration, particularly in the Half Marathon.
East St. Louis has been fantastic to deal with. They were excited about the race coming to town as a chance to showcase their community. They organized their city, their community organizations and fully staffed the first Water Station in East St. Louis. By all feedback, they did a tremendous job!
From a race operations perspective, there are only two bridges we can use, the MLK & Eads. Clearly, volume prohibits use of the Poplar Street Bridge and the Stan Span is federally owned. It takes, literally, an act of Congress to use that bridge.
I can share that I personally spoke to hundreds of half marathon and marathon finishers after the race. The course changes are being very favorably reviewed as evidenced by the comments on our Facebook Page. A litany of people mentioned how beautiful downtown St. Louis looked as they returned via the MLK bridge and how neat it was seeing the Eastbound runners on the Eads Bridge.”
After reflecting on this some more, I’m so glad they changed the course. Here’s why:
First, the Go! St. Louis half celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, and feedback from past races indicated that runners thought the old course was getting a little boring — and way too hilly. The new course took runners across the bridge into East St. Louis (which is technically in Illinois), then looped back around and returned to Missouri for the rest of the course. The return trip into the city offered amazing views of the St. Louis skyline — a fact which might have been obscured in my memory because that was also a point in the race when it started to rain on us! But I remember the views, and they really were great.
The second, and more important, reason that organizers chose to take runners into East St. Louis was to make sure that community could be involved in the race, which made the overall experience much more diverse for everyone — always a good thing! While the buildings and landscape were a little run-down, the people in that community were AWESOME. There were groups of people from East St. Louis churches (dressed in their Sunday best!) who cheered us along the course as soon as we crossed the bridge into their community. And the water station in East St. Louis was staffed entirely by volunteers from that community, including high school kids. I love that East St. Louisans came out to support runners–many of whom (like me!) are from a very different part of the city.
I may have been a little too glib in my post yesterday. I certainly didn’t mean to speak poorly of ESTL. If anything, the race showed me that the spirit in that community is strong, and that those of us from other parts of the city should be proud of the diversity our city offers and encouraged to get involved to help out when and where we can.
So you know how last week I announced my awesome Chipotle sponsorship for an upcoming half marathon? Well, I may have failed to mention that the race was this past weekend. Hence the title of this post: I ran a half marathon that I didn’t train for. But you know what? I survived, and not only that… I KILLED IT!
We killed it. One of my best friends Barbie and I, that is. The race started at 7:00 am, and we were downtown St. Louis by 6:15. Talk about an early morning. We made sure to do our pre-race stretching jumping. We were excited to be running the same race we ran almost ten years ago.
The Go! St. Louis changed its course to make it less hilly, which was very much appreciated by the runners. This year, we ran through East St. Louis for part of the race… not very pretty. It kind of left us scratching our heads (and running faster) as to why they would have taken us through a really crummy part of town. Regardless, we powered through.
My goal was just to cross the finish line alive. Since my longest run was six miles, and I had run a total of six times prior to the race, I knew I couldn’t set my expectations too high. However, I really wanted to complete the race without walking. A lofty expectation, I know.
The race began and I felt good. We had great conversation, and before I knew it, we passed mile marker one. Then, two. Then, three, four, five, and six. I was trying not to psych myself out since six was the longest that I had run prior to this race, but aside from my knees feeling sore, I was feeling awesome! I couldn’t believe it, and was excited to continue. This feeling stayed with me… until we crossed the finish line!
Official time: 2:12:39! That’s about an average of ten-minute miles! To say I’m proud of myself is an understatement. It’s amazing what the body can do when you put your mind to it!
Go! St. Louis Finisher
The weather was perfect. The race began at 50 degrees and finished at 60. It was overcast, so we didn’t have to worry about the bright sun. There was a slight drizzle just for a few minutes mid-race, but all in all, I’d say it was perfect racing conditions!
I wouldn’t have even raced if it weren’t for this girl. I thought, “No way!” could I run a half marathon with as little as I’ve run recently. Barbie believed in me, pushed me to sign up, and stayed with my every step of the way!
Post-race, I headed to Chipotle’s VIP tent. There was a delicious spread of food, Chipotle swag, chiropractors to stretch you, and this lady:
All in all, it was a fabulous race. Huge shout out to Chipotle! They were the best sponsor to one of my favorite races. I’ve got the gold to prove it!
Not that I would suggest running a half marathon without properly training, but I am super impressed with my body. I feel like running has finally clicked for me again, and I’ve been bit by the racing bug! Now to decide which race is next…
Did you race this weekend? Do you have any upcoming races?
Baby William turns ONE today. ONE! I cannot even believe it. Wasn’t it just yesterday he was this tiny, five-pound wrinkly little thing? And now he’s turned into the most beautiful (ok, handsome), one year old baby EVER.
But seriously. Cutest baby one year old ever.
Height & Weight: 20 pounds 10 ounces and 29 inches (as of last week!).
Eating: William still eats Earth’s Best oatmeal in the morning with fruit. He really likes banana and scrambled eggs. For lunch, he has vegetables and sometimes turkey or chicken. He doesn’t seem to like cheese, but does enjoy plain Stonyfield yogurt. For dinner, he has vegetables and sometimes chicken. Favorites include sweet potatoes, carrots, and avocado.
My good friend gifted William this board. It’s from Board and Loving It - I absolutely love it and can’t wait to hang it up! You can personalize it any which way (colors, what goes on it, theme, etc.); the artist is so talented!
Sleeping (naps): William’s naps lately have been AWESOME! Like, an hour and a half twice a day which is a major improvement from the past. However, I’m pretty sure it’s because he’s been sleeping terribly at night…
Sleeping (at night): Waking up every two hours… or more. It takes him forever to go down, and he wakes up way too often throughout the night. Yikes.
Clothing: Mostly twelve month clothes and size three diapers.
New this month: William is getting really good at standing without holding on to anything! He still needs something to pull up on, but then let goes and can hold his balance for a little bit. William is “talking” more and more. He recently mastered the “ba-ba” sound/babble, in addition to momma and yaya. It’s funny when he says yaya because sometimes his cousins will ask him a question, and if he’s babbling they think he said, “Yeah!” and they get so excited!
William loves his momma and his momma loves him!
William likes: William still loves throwing things – everything – his toys, balls, food, you name it! He also really likes feeding me. He cracks up when I take whatever he’s trying to put in his mouth. William loves standing. I can’t get him to sit down in the tub which makes bathing him quite difficult. He loves standing and walking with a walker. He’s so funny because he gets going so fast that he’s practically running with the walker. I know I said it last month, but it’s true: Future Athlete!
William dislikes: EAR INFECTIONS! Ugh, he got his first ear infection last month. Unfortunately, it wasn’t treated with the first round of antibiotics, so we’re finishing up the second. I’m glad he made it this far with just one because it has been rough.
I just couldn’t love him any more than I do. He’s the absolute best.
It’s Passover, so you know what that means, right? Matzo for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. I’m sure my fellow Jews understand this. During Passover, it’s matzo matzo matzo (unleavened bread). By the end of Passover, nobody wants to eat matzo again. Well, at least for another year! I’ve been eating all the classics of matzo for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For my friends who are part of the “tribe” or for anyone wanting to know how to make a meal of matzo, here are the classics:
breakfast: matzo ‘n eggs
This is a recycled photo because the weekend was the only time I had to actually make matzo ‘n eggs. A couple of years ago I wrote a Matzo ‘n Eggs post, so check it out if you want the details. Basically, it’s like the french toast of Passover. Matzos cooked in eggs and dipped in either syrup or sour cream and jelly (I always do plain Greek yogurt with homemade chia “jam.”)
lunch: matzo peanut butter and jelly
I add cinnamon for a little extra something. And I eat two whole sandwiches (four pieces of matzo) because that’s how much it takes to fill me up.
dinner: matzo pizza
You could get creative with this, but I went with plain sauce and cheese matzo pizza. It’s fast, easy, and tastes good. Well, good for matzo pizza during Passover.
To make these meal slightly healthier, I do always buy unsalted whole wheat matzo. Each piece contains 4 grams of protein and fiber as opposed to just one or two.
And if you haven’t seen this 26 Delicious Ways To Serve Matzah This Passover, you must check it out! Machos = Matzah + Nachos, Drunk Passover Grilled Cheese, and Matzah Chocolate-Mint Ice Cream Cake sound the best to me, and way more exciting than what I’ve been eating!
As you can see, getting in a sufficient amount of vegetables seems to be more difficult with all this matzo. So when matzo ‘n eggs don’t happen (every weekday morning), I go with a green smoothie loaded with spinach and A-Game!
In the mix: a banana, two huge handfuls of fresh spinach, a scoop of A-Game, plain yogurt, NuNaturals stevia, peanut flour, cinnamon, ground flaxseed, hemp hearts, and vanilla almond milk.
Jews: What do you eat during Passover? Non-Jews: What is traditional Easter food for you?
Timing is everything. Figuratively and literally. In running and in life. The time must be right. Well, let me tell you something. The time is right. The time is right now!
The time has come. It’s time for me to run a race.
A half marathon, to be exact. Go big or go home, right?
Back in February, my best friend Barbie called me up shortly after I announced my fitness goal for 2015. She said, “Let’s sign up for the Go! St. Louis half marathon!” Say what?!? I hadn’t even run once in three years at this point. She’s always full of crazy ideas. In 2006 when we were both away at our perspective colleges and I was feeling homesick, she suggested we both sign up for the Go! half marathon. Barbie has always been a runner competing in cross country and track throughout high school. Me? Not so much. Running was what I did during sports, not as a sport. But, since I trusted my best friend and figured I had nothing to lose, I said, “Why not?” and signed up.
I knew nothing about running back then. The longest I trained was six miles, and that was long for me. I remember calling Barbie after almost every run and telling her how many miles I completed. She was proud regardless if it was one or five. She stayed with me that whole race (including the many walking breaks I requested/needed), and even convinced me to sign up again the following year. We made it a tradition to run that race every year, and it’s happened more times than not.
Fast forward to this year. First time running in over three years. I’ve been (mostly) loving it, and have run a total of six times. And, you bet, they’re all documented!
Well, just the other week a company I love reached out for a partnership for the Go! St. Louis Fitness Weekend. When I explained that I was already registered for the half marathon, they offered a sponsorship.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is sponsoring my comeback half marathon! To say I’m excited is an understatement. I was ecstatic before, and now I can hardly contain myself! Why Chipotle? Well, Chipotle has an appreciation for living an active lifestyle, just as they have an appreciation for fueling up with food made from great ingredients. So, it makes sense, and it’s perfect timing!
Everyone loves Chipotle. I have never met anyone who doesn’t like it. In fact, my little brother Justin is so obsessed with Chipotle and eats it so often that he e-mailed them requesting they create a breakfast menu featuring eggs, so he can not only eat Chipotle for lunch and dinner, but breakfast, too. The love is real.
Back to running.
What’s my goal for this half marathon? Since my training has been so sporadic (running once a week while training for a distance race is less than ideal), my goal is simply to cross the finish line. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to get close to the two-hour mark, but when I achieved that in the past, I had put in long hours of hard work and many, many miles. My very first half marathon was two hours forty-something minutes, so I’d definitely like to beat that… by a lot.
Truly, my goal is to cross the finish line. I’m sure I’ll have to take walking breaks, but that would be amazing if I didn’t or if they were minimal. Mostly, I’d like to enjoy racing again; it’s something I’ve missed and craved for so long.
In just a few days, it’ll be time to wake up before the sun, tie my shoes, drive downtown, find my spot among thousands of other runners, feed off their energy, dig in deep, and go! All with this girl by my side…
You better believe we’ll be stuffing our faces refueling with Chipotle right after.
It’s a crazy idea, but I’m up for the challenge, and excited to race!
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! Whether you were celebrating Passover, Easter, both, or neither, I hope you were surrounded with sunshine, family, and love. We certainly were.
Silly sleepy smirk from the little one.
My parents hosted a wonderful Passover seder. The table was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the house was filled with love and laughter – just as it should be!
William especially loved my grandma Mama’s homemade gefilte fish.
We are definitely spoiled by my mom and grandma’s cooking. It literally doesn’t compare to anyone else’s. We’ve happily enjoyed leftovers for two days straight now.
Here are a couple snapshots from the evening:
And you know we had to take a picture of Audrey holding her baby William…
…no matter how big he’s getting!
Linking up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday and Erin for Weekend Snapshots.
So now that we have the holiday highlights of the weekend covered, let’s talk running. This weekend I ran twice. Yes, twice! Two consecutive days!
On Saturday, I went out for a quick jog. And I actually do mean quick!
3 under 30, baby! That’s a milestone for me! It was close, but the last mile was primarily downhill, and after the first mile and a half being mostly uphill, I embraced it!
Then on Sunday I really didn’t want to go for a run. I know, I know. I’ve talked so much about how glad I am to be running again, but I just didn’t feel like it. I went back and forth in my mind, and ultimately decided that I would feel better once I got going and would definitely be happy when I finished. For extra motivation, I drove myself to a nearby park and off I went!
My goal was to run five miles since the longest I’ve run recently is four. There are a couple of parts where you can decide to take the shorter or the longer route. I was feeling so good that I chose the longer route… twice! I actually felt like I got my groove back with running. It was so nice out and I was feeding off the energy of all the other people out. Not only did I run five miles…. I ran six!
And I was happy with my time! Just over ten-minute miles! I think, I think, I’m finally getting my running legs back! I’m definitely making progress and I’m feeling better most runs. My confidence is improving as is my mileage and my speed.
A couple of weeks ago, my blogging friend Ashley and I took a private boxing class at Brick House Boxing & Bells in St. Charles, Missouri. I had only taken a boxing class one time prior, but this was even better because it was so personalized. It was a full body workout that left me crazy sore the following day!
And clearly I had a lot of fun as evidenced by all my smiling photos.
Brick House Boxing & Bells is located inside Dudas Fitness, a private and semi-private personal training facility, and run by Matt Dickson. Matt has a lot of experience and background as his dad was a boxer (a National Golden Gloves Champion!), and Matt competed in the Ringside World Championships in 2007 and 2008 taking second place both times. Additionally, Matt is a Certified Personal Trainer through AFAA and NCCPT, and has his Kettlebell Certification through the WKC. He knows what he’s talking about!
While we had more of a private class, Matt teaches boxing classes throughout the week. He typically keeps his class sizes between 6-8 participants, so everyone receives individual attention. This ensures that there is minimal wait time between drills and he can check often to maintain safe exercises.
Ashley made an AWESOME video to show our workout. She took clips for each part (warm up, learning technique, bags, stations, intervals, and mitts), so you can get a glimpse at everything we did. And as a bonus, she also shares three healthy salad dressings – perfect for spring and summer! Take a look:
To summarize our workout (but you get a much better idea if you watch the short video), we warmed up (and Matt told me I had the best lunge he had ever seen – woot woot!), we learned proper techniques of jabs, crosses, and uppercuts, and then we went to the bags. Matt had us do different combinations of the punches with some calisthenics in between. So he basically never gave us a chance to rest!
My favorite station that was different than merely hitting the bag was when you got on your knees, pushed the bag out, went down to the ground, and got back up before the 100-pound bag swung back. It was challenging, especially as I became more tired, but fun to make sure I got out of the way and not whacked in the face with the bag!
After we were on the bags, he set up four stations which we rotated through a couple of times. Then, we did intervals of wall sits, exploding to the bag, and punching. Finally, we ended the class with “mitts” which was, by far, the best part.
The whole workout was intense, but don’t let that scare you. Matt carefully watched us to ensure proper form as safety is a priority. No matter if you’re new to working out or an expert, I guarantee you’ll have fun and sweat in this class.
Matt wore the mitts and we took turns as he coached us through various drills. We were constantly moving and Matt kept changing up the combination of punches. And if anyone ever thought that boxing only worked your upper body, they were wrong! Lower body is an important part as you’re always moving, and sometimes ducking to avoid being hit. Yes, Matt tried to hit us.
Clearly, I wasn’t scared of him.
While part of mitts included Matt telling us specific combinations of punches (jab, jab, cross), the last part was hitting his mitts and not letting him get behind us. We needed to move around the room with some fancy footwork, punch him back, and avoid getting hit. This was so much fun and my heart rate skyrocketed during this activity!
I only have positive things to say about Matt and the facility. The workout included such a variety of exercises and moves that my entire body felt it for the next couple of days. It was a change of pace from traditional weights and cardio, and was an absolute blast. I love how different the workout was; it wasn’t just hitting a bag. I highly recommend you check out Brick House Boxing & Bells inside Dudas Fitness with Matt Dickson.
I’ll definitely be back. Not only was it fun and a killer workout, but it was incredibly motivating. I want to get better. I want my punches to get harder and crisper. I want to get faster. I want to get stronger. And I want to hit.