Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My First Ultra Marathon

I still don't even know how I was able to do it. My training plan, which I had laid out in October to allow me five full months to build up to a 50K race, was shot to you know what over and over and over. I needed this training though. About 4 years ago I did a 10K cold turkey, and I really struggled to run start to finish so I wanted to adequately prepare myself. 

About 5 weeks into my training last fall, I was at the ER being treated for a foot fracture. After about 10 weeks or so of healing, my foot was finally feeling better. I tried to play catch up on the 10 weeks lost and had two weekends of an 8 mile run and a 10 mile run...then at mile 8 of that 10 mile Saturday run my foot was hurting again. It wasn't ready yet. It did finally heal...but then I ran into a pole at the rodeo. Yes, it was a funny as it sounds. My knee was killing me and I was officially out until the week of the race.

I figured I should do something before race day so I ran 3 miles for speed this past Tuesday. The race was Sunday. To recap, the longest I had run in my life was 8 miles a couple of months ago, so the plan for Sunday was to push myself to the 10 mile mark and then walk/run/walk/run as needed simply to finish. I told Biz that I wasn't going to be silly about it and that when I was hurting or hitting a wall, I would stop. So, I bobby penned the heck out of my bun, slapped on some no chaffing gel, bought some Oakleys, a hand-held water bottle and a cute keep my hair out of my eyes headband, double knotted my shoes and was ready to go.

It is crazy for me to type this next sentence, but I was able to run the entire way. All 31 miles. HOW?! No idea. I wasn't tired. My back was kind of hurting and my feet were getting sore, but not enough to consider stopping. I just kept going and going and going. I was praying pretty much the entire time; I kept reciting Phil 4:13 in my head, early on a woman was holding up a huge sign with Isaiah 41:10 which is one of my favorite verses, and I was a broken record asking God to get us all through because I knew I couldn't do it myself. Boy did He ever pull through. I ran with my brother and his girlfriend, and we did stop for a few bathroom breaks or to give the kiddos a quick squeeze whenever we saw them, which were nice mini-refreshers, but we kept a slow pace, stayed fueled...and I am ready for another one! The energy of the crowd was amazing, bands were playing along the way for the first 12 miles or so which was awesome, and overall it was a great run around every neat part of Fort Worth. 

I think I was able to do it because I was literally thinking there was NO way I would physically be able to run that far, and wasn't remotely considering to run past mile 10 or 12. Zero expectations on myself. There was no pressure and I certainly wasn't going for time (I really, really applaud those that do marathons or ultras and can keep a 7 or 8 minute pace - WOW). The goal for this race was to simply enjoy it and finish. Mission: Accomplished! Now that my injuries are healed and I can finally start back to CrossFit, I look forward to seeing what the next race will be like. 

Does anyone out there do ultras and have any great ones they recommend? I have heard of the Keys 100, which is 100 miles from one tip of the Florida Keys to the other with a 38 hour limit I think...as if that makes me feel any better. I was telling a friend about that today and said well, at least you can have a crew drive along with you for help, to which he replied, so you mean a psychiatrist can come and tell you you're crazy?? Made me laugh ;) Obviously I am nowhere near ready for that and the heat would be the hardest part, so I think keeping it around the 50K mark is good for now. Any suggestions, let me know! 

Below are some snapshots from the race on Sunday. Bravo to everyone that went out and did it from the 5K to the 50K!! I am so proud of us and I'll see you next year!

6:30am and it was about 30 degrees outside! We walked over to the starting line. 

 One last photo op before starting....

...and a shot of our shoes. Inov-8 is the brand, and they are a company in England that started with the goal of being specifically directed towards Ultra runners. LOVE them, and definitely a key element of getting me through!
{Side note: these help you NOT heel strike which is the complete wrong way to run, another reason why Five Fingers are also so great. The idea of "needing support" is so 1999. Read this article HERE in New York Magazine for further info and don't feel too bad, it's not you, it's your shoes!}

My first time to see the kids around mile 14 and I was SO EXCITED!!!

Teeny stretch and we were off again...

...until we saw them around mile 18, where sweet Squish was waiting to give me some lovely flowers he had found!

Raced to him and Munch for some recharging hugs :)

There was just a small bend in the trail so my brother carried Squish for a little bit before dropping him off with our crew again: my mom and Biz :)

Leaning in for a sweet kiss.
Between mile 18 and 20 the sun was really heating up. I did not want to overheat as that would add fatigue, so I had to regretfully lose my top. Was NOT planning on doing this otherwise I would have layered a tank top underneath my long sleeved shirt!!

This boy is going to run with me one of these days, I know it.

Around mile 25 I believe. We just split from the marathoners and have a separate loop to go around to complete the 31 miles.

Squish sprinted out as we turned the corner into the final stretch to the finish line, and we held hands and ran across together! It was awesome.

Our amazing team. We did it!!!

I am looking so rough here but I had to post it. This was inside picking up our medals and shirts, and I leaned on that pole. It felt so good to stop running for the first time in 6 hours that I never thought I was going to move again. I actually think I am asleep with my eyes open.

The best part of the run: I tucked one of the flowers from Squish around mile 18 into my water bottle and was able to look at it every time I took a sip. Heartsies.

...and THEN I had a photo shoot at 9am on Monday! {The magazine it was for is a secret but you will find out SOON!} See my awesome sunburn? My entire back is that color as well, and I have a pretty fabulous spandex shorts tan line. Yay for hair and makeup :) I *might* have worn compression recovery leggings under some of the long dresses...shhhh...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Stop. Sit. Breathe.

I think today was the busiest day of my life. Truly. It went kind of like this:
7:55am - driving Munch to doc, 30 minutes away
9:00am - driving Munch home, bare legs, sans pants. Pants are soaking wet and crumpled up on my floorboard. It was 34* outside this morning.
9:20am - leave Munch with sitter, drive to get poster frame at JoAnn's
9:40am - searching JoAnn's for down pillow inserts. Misson failed. 
10:10am - buying a cowboy hat at Leddy's {they carry SF and are AMAZE} 
10:35 - drive down the street to investigate down pillow insert mission. They have some, but seem pricey. I call a store across town, find a place offering them for 1/4 of the price, and decide it's worth saving the money even with such a long drive.
11:00 - at new store, scooping up 12 pillow inserts for photo shoot Monday, shove in car with massive poster frame, cowboy hat in a box, and dry cleaning still residing in trunk from last week
11:20 - arrive at UPS drop off to mail 5000 tags to India
11:30 - leave UPS to pick up Squish from school
11:35 - arrive at school and have a blissful 10 minutes in my car catching up with an old friend {Melissa, who the fab Melissa dress was designed and named for fyi}
11:45 - pick up Squish, go home to squeeze the life out of Munch and Snooze since I hadn't seen them all morning, remembered I forgot to get a mattress for Munch's new big girl bed, grab Squish, and get back in the car
11:50 - painter stops us as we leave. Talk to painter for 15 minutes. 
12:05 - Head to get mattress
12:20 - At mattress store where Squish proceeds to jump on every.single.mattress with his very.dirty.shoes on but I turn a blind eye so I can pick one out and get home and SIT AND EAT BECAUSE I AM HUNGRY
12:50 - leave mattress store, arranged delivery for 5 hours later, and have to build her bed in the meantime #ha
1:05 - get home and realize I also have to build a bookshelf. 
1:05.10 - decide eating is most important
1:05.20 - remember dogs need to go out
1:20 - finally sitting and eating and watching Star Wars with Squish, who has dropped his nap, which I have mixed feelings about
1:50 - start building bookshelf
2:30 - no. not building bookshelf. break to sit and escape and blog. stop. sit. and breathe.
3:05 - finish checking some emails and wrapping up posts for today. have to have all three in car and ready for swim lessons {ISR - if you haven't looked into it - do so stat} in 40 minutes. I think we are supposed to have date night tonight - which in all likelihood will be at Central Market so we can multitask and grocery shop at the same time. #romance 

Going to go get suits and towels ready for swim. 
Running 50K on Sunday.
Photo shoot on Monday morning. 
Pray I can wear heels for it. Maybe just pray my feet don't fall off on Sunday actually.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stylish Sisters Share Their Secrets

Click here to read, in their own words, what a fun time they had at our casting call this past summer. They looked AMAZING in their SF pieces!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

What Callie's Cooking :: Orange Chicken + Toasted Cashews

Paleo Orange Chicken with Toasted Cashews
yields 4-6 servings
This recipe is a delicious Asian-inspired alternative to Chinese Orange Chicken. It is kid-friendly and adults-alike will gobble it down! One of my all time favorites. 

2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 lbs boneless skinless organic chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
2 cups orange juice
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Zest of one large orange
½ cup toasted cashews
½ cup scallions, sliced thin

Heat a medium Dutch oven over medium high heat. Meanwhile, season both sides of chicken thighs with kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. Add grapeseed oil to hot pan then add chicken thighs in a single layer to brown. Sear for 3-4 minutes per side until thighs are browned. Remove thighs from pan and set aside on a plate.

Add garlic to hot pan and sauté, for one minute. Pour in orange juice and coconut milk and nestle chicken thighs back in liquid. Bring mixture to a simmer and partially cover with a lid. Let simmer for 30 minutes, turning heat down if it begins to boil, until thighs are fork tender.

Remove lid and turn heat to high. With two forks, shred chicken in the orange sauce, letting the sauce thicken. This step is very important because you want the sauce to turn into a thick, creamy consistency and “coat” the shredded chicken. If your sauce is still thin, you might need to reduce a bit longer. When sauce has reduced and chicken is shredded, stir in basil, cilantro, orange zest, cashews and scallions. Serve in bowls garnished with sliced orange, fresh basil leaves and a sprinkling of cashews.


Fun links:

Oscar de la Renta kids :: Yes, they hired away Papo D'Anjo's lead designer of nearly 20 years, causing the Portuguese company to close its doors, but at least they have stayed true to her vision and given her full creative license. Thank goodness they're adorable. I think Munch needs this one

Dear Juice CEO :: Via the Honest Toddler. Laughing out loud when she references the "We eat Paleo" snobbery. Obviously I have absolutely no idea what she is speaking of. 

Sprouted Soy :: Why it is even worse than unsprouted, even if organic. I've said it before and I'll say it again, in all of my Paleo preaching, please, I beg you, no soy! 

Kiwi Create :: Um, amazing. A friend sent this to me and I don't even know where to begin! It all looks incredible and I will give a full report back once we have actually done the dirty work and tested out some crafts.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Behind The Scenes!

We are doing a lot of Behind the Scenes montages in our email blasts this year, so make sure to sign up for the list to be able to see all of the fun outtakes! This is the only one I'll post on the blog...all the others will be via the newsletter. You can sign up HERE on the website contact page :)

ps I do indeed have those gold J.Crew sandals and they are AH-MAY-ZING. Invest.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love, The Frenches

So the plan was to get a nice, put together, hair brushed, clean fingers and wiped faces special everybody smiling at the same time with precious dimples Valentine's Day picture.....but then real life got in the way so y'all get this :))) 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jeans + Heels

...is there anything better? Particularly when the heels are neon metallic snakeskin...with fluorescent pink leather piping. I wore these so often while I lived across the pond that the cobblestones broke the heels straight off. They are repaired, but delicate, so I carefully pick and choose when I wear them.  Fluorescent cashmere makes the cut.

Most people save special furs for special occasions, and for that matter save ALL "special" items for just the perfect moment or event, but I always wonder...WHY? Why keep our best gems and most fun closet treasures reserved for once or twice a year? No way! Stack on the rhinestones, pile on the cuffs, cashmere and fur, throw lots of gold into the mix - pair with ripped jeans so you're not toooo over the top - slap on some hot pink lipstick, don't waste time brushing your hair - just run with it - and you won't be able to stop smiling. I promise. {just try it...then let me know how it goes}

Sweater - J.Crew :: Jeans - COH :: Bracelets - J.Crew :: Shoes - Matthew Williamson :: Gloves - Prada

THEN we had an event last night that the same stole was perfect for, and I paired it with one of my all time favorite dresses ever, though I use the term "my" dress loosely...since it is not mine, but my mother-in-law's!! It is probably 50 years old, but nothing short of a true gem. I absolutely adore it. I wish I would have had a gold clutch {or hot pink?!} that I could have paired with it...I am on the lookout!

iPhone snapshots from the party...
{with one of my favorite New Yorkers}

{with my favorite Biz} 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

God Made A Mother

God had said --

I need someone to get up at midnight and scoop the most fragile of humanity close to her warmth and rock though she can hardly stand and nourish though she’s mostly sleep-starved and change the diaper and the sheets and the leaked on, leaked through, and leaked down clothes though she’ll have to change them in the morning and next week and that won’t change for years.

So God made a Mother.

That God had said I need somebody with a strong heart.

Strong enough for toddler tantrums and teenage testing, yet broken enough to fall on her knees and pray, pray, pray.

Someone who knows that in every hard place is exactly where you extend grace, who looks a hopeful child in the eye and says yes, even though she knows every yes means a mess but this is how you bless, who has the courage to keep letting go because she's holding on to Me.

So God made a mother.

God said I need somebody who can shape a soul and find shoes on Sunday mornings and get grass stains out of Levis.

And make dinner out of nothing and do it again 79,678 times, and keep kids off the road and out of the toilet and in clean underwear and mainly alive though she’s mainly losing her mind and will put in an 80 hour week by Wednesday night and just do one more load of laundry.

And one more sink of crusted burnt pots.

And keep on going another eighty hours because raising generations matters and weaving families matters and tying heart strings matters and these people here matter.

So God made a mother…

It had to be somebody who could comb back pigtails and tie up skates just-right tight.

Who could pretend she remembered algebra and how to get home from here and that really, she was just fine, that it might just be the silly onions.

Somebody who would run for the catch, jump on a trampoline and play one fierce game of soccer and not give a thought to all those labors and her weak pelvic floor. Somebody who’d stay up late with a science project that never ends, who’d get up early for the game in the rain, somebody who’d wave at the door until the taillights were out of sight and still be smiling brave.

So God made a mother.

It had to be somebody willing to keep loving when it made no sense because that’s what love does.
Somebody who knew that patience is a willingness to suffer.

That joy is always possible because there is always, always something to be thankful for.

And that life is not an emergency but a gift -- so just. slow. down. There are children at play here and we don’t want anyone to get hurt and the hurry makes us hurt.

Somebody willing to feed and lead, lay down her life and pick up her cross, give of her time because they have her heart. Someone who knows that we all blow it — and what matters is what we then do after.

Someone who could humble herself into the tender sorry that covers a multitude of sins.

And who’d bow her head at night over the girl asleep with the doll in the crook of her arm — and thank her Father for this hidden life that’s the turning gear for the a whole spinning world.

So God made a mother.

Thank you Ann for this amazing post. After such a rough week, I sure needed it. Please read it in its entirety, including commentary on the great God Made A Farmer SuperBowl ad and the wonderful farmer in her own life, with her own photographs HERE.


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