Training Tuesday: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Week 15

Normally this is the week the taper crazies set in, but because my mind has been so focused on LinkedIn, I’m pretty amped that week 15 is in the books. Read on for an update on how things are going as I train for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 21, 2018. (This post contains affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week 15 (October 7-14)

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Tuesday 10/9: 4.01 miles, 11’48″/mile. Four miles of tears on my beloved North Shore Trail because I’m not sure how many more runs I have to take on this path. It was a beautiful day for running in Pittsburgh, so I headed toward dahntahn instead of north as I have been recently. The trail was packed with people out enjoying and I couldn’t do anything more than soak it all in.

Thursday 10/11: 3 miles, 11’47″‘mile  The day was extremely long at work and I decided it best to end the day with a run. Ending it after eating a giant crab cake for lunch might not have been the best idea, but alas I did it. Again, I cried through most of this run and it didn’t feel amazing but it was done and I somehow smiled at the end.

Sunday 10/14: 6 miles, 11’54″/mile On Saturday I was sitting by the soccer field and it felt so cold and damp that I decided it best not to run my six between soccer and a hayride later in the day. I’m so glad I held out for Sunday because it was absolutely GLORIOUS out there. I wore shorts and my Pittsburgh Marathon long sleeve and head wrap because it was just chilly enough to need them. This time, I didn’t track with an app – I just ran to where I knew three miles down the trail was and back, using my FitBit Versa’s stopwatch feature. I wasn’t focused on time or tears. I just prayed and ran and was amazed to see what I pulled off.

Okay, one little lie. I looked down at the end and know that my last mile was an 11’36” based on one mile from my house down the trail and my ending time. Wowza! As the last long run before the big one, this one was something great.

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Stay tuned to see what the last two runs of this training cycle bring or check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 13 runs, 68.59 miles, 12’00″/mile

October: 5 runs, 29.09 miles, 11’57’/mile

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The Last 90 Days

Mondays are usually so motivating but unfortunately, this one feels a bit different around here. It’s time to do some confessing! Two weeks ago, I dove head first into Rachel Hollis’ Last 90 Days program, vowing to be the best me I could be as we head into the holiday season. Things haven’t been going all that well. This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you make a purchase through a link on this page.

The Last 90 Days

What is the Last 90 Days program? It’s a movement by Rachel Hollis (author of Girl, Wash Your Face) to get us ramped up into 2019 in the last three months of the year instead of slipping into the holidays without good habits.

The concept is that we always try to start the year with good intentions, why not go into the end on top then it won’t be like starting over?!?

21 days to create a habit, 90 days to change your life – Rachel Hollis

Rachel guides the Last 90 Days community into committing to “Five to Thrive”:

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use the time for YOURSELF.
  2. Workout for at least thirty minutes.
  3. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  4. Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating.
  5. Write down ten things you’re grateful for every single day.
Source: Rachel Hollis on Facebook

Nothing that lasts is accomplished quickly. -Rachel Hollis

How Has it Looked for Me?

Ugh city. I tried. I really tried. I got out the gate knowing I couldn’t sneak into the kids’ candy bags but seven days in we went treating at Idlewild and I caved to a gummy cherry slice. Then another. Then a gas station hot dog in a pretzel bun (and I have gluten issues). My stomach hated me. I dove back into a relatively keto diet last Monday but had some treats over the weekend and even tonight just before coming here to tell you how it’s been going. Sigh.

I attributed my binges to the fact that I was dealing with losing my job and training for the Half, but I quickly had forgotten the values that job had brought back to my life in the health realm and the fact that the leaner I am on Sunday the better my pace will be.

But those excuses need to take it to the curb. I’m going to start tomorrow by recommitting myself and I’m putting this out here because I need support. I’ve done this so many times with some amazing success. Now I need to raise that flag and say I don’t have it all together and need my tribe.

How Do You Get Started?

If you aren’t already in the Last 90 Days community, there is still time!

Commit. Commit to a better you. Maybe tackling all five of the principles is too much. I get it. There’s a LOT on my plate right now and something has to give. I’m going to commit to doing this the best I can and with honesty. Will you do the same?

You can read more and join the community here and get caught up with a bit of grace in that the last 75 days starts tomorrow and we can be on the same page, sound good?

Runner Tip: Compression Socks

Disclaimer: I received compression socks in exchange for this post and my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

As a runner, I have found a love for compression socks, especially when they are bright and fun. While some people run while wearing them, I use them for recovery after long runs and on trips by car or plane. Each person needs to evaluate what level of compression they need and when they need to wear them for the best impact of inflammation reduction.

Related: 7 Foot Care Tips for Runners (see point number 4!)

This week I tested out graduated compression socks that went to my knees as well as runners (ankle socks) from Crazy Compression. With just 8 days until race day, I need to be taking care of these feet!

compression socks

My pro tip for the knee length socks? Get someone to help you put them on. I’m not the skinniest and I struggle to get knee-length compression socks on – to the point I usually pop my hip out. Ouch. These are tight (because they should be – they need to help with blood flow) and require me to roll them as small as they can be and work inch by inch up my foot.

It starts like this…

So close…

Once I get past the heel, I’m usually all set and can get them up my calf. The pair that I tried was LG/XL, perfect for a size 10, but was a bit tighter than expected on my calf. (This size shows it is to fit a 15-18″ calf, my calf is 16″.) Overall, I give the Vibrations (Pink & Gray) Compression Socks from Crazy Compression a 4 out of 5!

The runners were super comfortable and easy to slip on. They kept my feet feeling tight and comforted during and after a run. Moisture wicked and my feet felt supported everywhere they needed to. Overall, I give the Elite Running Socks from Crazy Compression a 4.5 out of 5 (because there was some bagginess at the ankles)!

Bonus! If you are running in a fall event and will be in costume, Crazy Compression has some AMAZING socks in their Halloween Collection. (I’m personally crushing on black and orange bats!)

Do you wear compression socks while running? What are your tips for runners?

To find out more about Crazy Compression, visit their website or check out their Facebook page.

 

How (NOT) to Make Cauliflower Pizza

This post contains affiliate links to products that will help you make cauliflower crust pizza. Although I earn a commission when you shop through the links, all opinions are 100% my own. 

Back to the Food Basics

I’ve been stress eating and now (with 8 days until my next half marathon) is not the time to do that. With the help of the #Last90Days, I’ve used this week to commit to making better food choices which started out looking like Keto then went to no “added carbs” when I remembered how much fruit we had at the office and home. Five days in, and I’ve done pretty darn well with the exception of pumpkin spice in my Dunkin’ today but I confessed to my accountabilibuddy and now to you all so there’s that. 

Because I don’t want to spoil my progress, I tried to make cauliflower crust pizza for my dinner tonight. Usually, on Keto, I’ll go for a “fathead pizza crust” but that uses almond flour and I frankly see that as added and unnecessary carbs right now. This was only my second time attempting this crust and I basically hadn’t since the first because I had PTSD from how awful it was that first time.

Spoiler time. Nothing has changed. I do not like my homemade cauliflower crust pizza. People, you can keep raving about how the steps below are perfect and how I just need patience but as a kid raised on pizza every Friday night, this healthy version doesn’t do me justice. It’s so simple I don’t know how I mess it up. Here’s how others suggest making cauliflower crust pizza:

How (Not) to Make Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Ingredients

  • 12 oz bag of frozen riced cauliflower, cooked and drained
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBSP shredded parmesan cheese
  • pizza toppings as desired

Steps

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the riced cauliflower, egg, and cheeses together in a bowl.
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray (I love the coconut oil spray in this pack!)
  4. Press the mixture onto the cookie sheet and form into a circle.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until the edges are a crispy, golden brown.
  6. Top the pizza as desired.
  7. Bake an additional 10 minutes, optionally broil on low for the last 2 minutes for crispier toppings.

The pizza should come out looking like something on Pinterest. Mine doesn’t. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. It comes out like this:

I get all frustrated and still feel hungry after. Clearly I am doing something wrong.

How to Make Cauliflower Crust Pizza Casserole

Follow the instructions above but forget that you are making pizza. Get it out of your brain. Scoop the baked goodness into a bowl and enjoy your cauliflower crust pizza casserole. It’s better that way anyhow.

Maybe what I need to do is get into a partnership with a company that sells those pre-made cauliflower crusts? Is that the trick? I’m totally going to need to try before I buy or it’s back to fathead dough for me! 

Twinning with Mom

There is something I can’t help but love and that is when moms and daughters are twinning it up. I’m sure my three girls won’t always love to do this, but I think that we’re going to need to start collecting and sharing our twinning with mom moments. Let’s start today, shall we? (This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links are at no extra cost to you but they help keep this site running so thank you!)

Twinning with Mom

For real, there are so many adorable photos of moms and daughters who are super fashionable. With three daughters (two of which are twins), it is sure to happen. But for our family, I think every time it is on accident. That makes it even better, doesn’t it?

Really love having your daughter(s) be twinning with mom but don’t have any similar outfits? Then check out Amazon and Pinterest for inspiration! 

October 3, 2018 – Tropical Twinning


This one was a complete accident! I don’t think Greg saw what I wore to work but he matched my black skirt with gold pineapples pretty perfectly to the twins’ black shorts with gold palm trees. We don’t live at the beach but we don’t care, tropical twinning day can happen more often, right?

July 5, 2018 – Fast Pitch Twinning

Arianna’s softball team took the field one last time this summer in their playoff game. They ended up taking second but it was a great season. Cheering on my kiddos is one of my favorite things to do – especially when it means we get to twin!

May 5, 2018 – Running Family Twinning

This is the whole family, but it is too cute not to share, right? For so many reasons (especially yesterday’s post), I love this one. E.4.EVER.

Share #TwinningWithMom

This isn’t something this mom in a Pittsburgh suburb came up with, but I encourage you to share your twin moments using #TwinningWithMom on social media. Go ahead and tag my Instagram or Twitter (@mrsgregwillis on both) when you do and I’ll be sure to give you love.

As the girls and I twin more, we’ll share here and reshare this post. Let’s have fun with this, shall we?

 

My Front Door

I’ve been participating in a photo challenge on Instagram this October. When the prompt for Monday came up, I found myself writing and sharing some things that were too long for an Insta caption. Thus, this post, My Front Door.

The 8th day of the #everydayphotoaday challenge brings you to my favorite place, home. Lately, it has been a respite for me. This front door signifies so much. My front door is a window into our life as a family. It isn’t picture perfect or a new build. It is a beautiful piece of old architecture begging to share some stories.

It is the door we walked through and •knew• we had found the place to raise our kids. It is the door we shoved two 27′ trailers worth of life belongings through. It is the door that our dogs run out of a few too many times. It is the door that we carried our twin daughters through on a sunny Easter Sunday three years ago on their first day home. It is the door so many of my runs start and end with. It is the door that has welcomed friends for home group and family for birthday parties.

It is the door that my brother and husband picked out and replaced so we were sure it was fire safe and blocked out the winter wind and summer heat. It is the door our kids stare out when the Grands go home to Pittsburgh and Myrtle.

It is the door that slams when The Bigs are running off to the bus. It is the door that welcomes them home from a busy day at school. It is the door I will keep walking in and out of until I get to walk teens out to prom pictures, daughters to bridal dress fittings, and usher grandbabies into at Christmas. At least that is my prayer.

It is the door I walked out of when I was retreating to the hammock to decide to leave Giant Eagle. It is the door I walked through after my first day at Excel4apps, feeling so connected and welcomed and excited for possibilities.

It is the door I walked through when I came home from finding out my Company had been acquired and my time with my work fam is short. It is the door I will walk out of every day until I find a new job that I love as much as I love this one. 

Yes, this is the post where I tell you that I am on the hunt for a new job. It has been a stressful week and I’d love your prayers and support as we lean into God to see what is next. I’ve loved 99.9% of my moments at Excel4apps and unfortunately that 0.1% had to happen last week when the HR team of our {new} parent company came to the office I love so much and delivered the news.

Join me in asking God to open front doors and remove obstacles as this next chapter in our story begins?

Training Tuesday: Myrtle Beach Mini Week 14

I really needed to run this week and although (spoiler) I only got two runs in, it was such a good running week for me. Read on for an update on how things are going as I train for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 21, 2018. (This post contains affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week 14 (September 30-October 6)

Have you ever felt in a daze where you don’t know what day it is? Welcome to how I spent the bulk of week 14. Between jetlag and bad news, I really am not sure how I made it to the weekend. Maybe it was runner’s high from last week’s awesome miles?

Monday 10/1: 5.05 miles, 11’49″/mile. The start of a new week, month, and quarter kicked off at a quiet office. I assumed the quiet was because we’d just wrapped our first user conference, but I’d find out a bit more as to why later in the week. By lunchtime I was more than ready to get out to Liberty > 16th Street Bridge > to go north on the trail and back. It was in the low 70s and everything felt right.

Miles 0-2.5 and 4-5 were sorta slow but felt right. Just after I turned around, a fast co-worker came up and spent a mile and a half talking with me before she went to catch another co-worker. That last mile back Liberty with the sun bearing down on my back was tough but still faster than the first half of this one. Not sure if I had tears at the end due to dust in my eye or for finally being back under 12-minute miles for more than a 5k.

Office selfie because I forgot to take a picture outside. 

Tuesday 10/2: CrossFit at the YMCA.  Even though it was an injury risk, I’ve missed my YFit Fam with all the travel and soccer I’ve been doing. We were sort of heavy on the shoulders and I definitely felt it after – for two days. Because of soreness in my left shoulder and chest (not the side I injured at Christmas), I had to take a break on Wednesday (and Thursday when I REALLY needed a run) to rest up those muscles and get back to it.

Friday 10/5: 11 miles, 12’07″/mile A run that I’ll probably remember for a long time. I started off super fast for me (in the mid-10’s) then reeled it back at the half-mile because I knew better. I was running off anger and sadness on this morning run and needed my energy. I’d also not really slept and didn’t eat before trying 11 miles. Oops.

At the two-mile mark, I started crying profusely and yelling. I don’t think anyone saw or heard, but I do not care.

These miles were pretty personal for me. I turned off my mapmyrun at 7 miles and just finished with my FitBit Versa‘s timer. There are so many issues in my mind about time, pace, and hearing it. That’s why I think that the 2018 Pittsburgh Half was so successful – I didn’t have music, I fried my Nike+ watch, I didn’t trust my Fitbit (it says I run 23-minute miles…) – I just ran. If I can do the same in Myrtle in less than two weeks, I’ll be just fine.

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Stay tuned to see what the next weeks (two left!) bring or check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 13 runs, 68.59 miles, 12’00″/mile

October: 2 runs, 16.06 miles, 12’01’/mile

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The Grasshopper

I’ve been working on some personal stuff lately, and as I scrolled through some photos from the summer, the photo of the grasshopper caught my eye. I’d forgotten about this bug probably since the moment my friend Jenn put him back into nature, but something about this picture made words start to flow.

I’ve never been one to stop and enjoy the tiny details in life, but that is going to have to change. My husband has been trying to get me to do this for nine years, but I wasn’t budging. Look at those eyes, the antennae, the color, and the legs of the grasshopper. All intricately made and on something as small as a bug. I stare down at my fingers typing this post and realize the wrinkles, the knuckles, the veins – they’re also intricately and beautifully made. Time to start appreciating these things more.

You see, I want to stop thinking about what to do in the future and start to live more in the moment. That might mean a few bumps along the way, but it is time to start truly enjoying the present so the future can be just as awesome.

Normally I would have flicked this bug off my daughter’s extra outfit and gone about my day, but something prompted me to enjoy it and take a photo just in case my husband and son wouldn’t get to see it. And seeing the grasshopper in my phone’s photo feed was exactly what I needed in the middle of a weekend spent not feeling like the world was just right.

As a person of faith, I’m one to believe in signs and messages and that we might not understand them until later when we think about them. The grasshopper appeared in our lives on a day that seemed so perfect – the weather was great, we were with friends, and I was looking forward to a holiday off of a job I loved. To anyone else, he might have been a nuisance, but to me, he was something I needed to see down the road – fast forwarding to this past weekend. You see, grasshoppers are symbolic of taking leaps of faith and that you are able to move forward from whatever you are facing.

This particular grasshopper popped up in a mindless photo search while I should have been doing 100 other things but was avoiding them because I am just not ready. I paused and thought about the details of this bug and the love that God put into making even the little things. God hasn’t forgotten me. He has plans for me and wants me to thrive in them. He made me intricately and wonderfully and holds me even in the darkest of days. I just need to lean on Him then jump with faith.

What are you facing that you need to take to God? Are you ready to step out in faith with me and jump like the grasshopper?

Our Baptism

Two months ago today, the mr and I took a big step in our faith. We had our baptism in front of our church family at New Life Center!

our baptism

Our church does water baptism in a pool on the altar area. It symbolizes dying to the old self and rising up out of the water new. While baptism isn’t necessary to go to Heaven, it is a pretty big step in faith. Letting that old self go and be made new is a pretty incredible feeling.

I’ve been a Christian since 1995 and had been sprinkle baptized as a baby – I can tell you that nothing felt like it made me feel that day. I was the last to be baptized of nine and my husband went right before me. There have been a lot of struggles in my life with relationships, comparison, weight, single motherhood, stepping away from my faith, and more. When I went under the water, many of those flashed before my eyes then a dark to light flash happened and I was up and out of the water, feeling fresh and new and whole.

After the service, I was away from my family a few days for work but couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about what all God has done for us. That day was awesome and will be a pretty brilliant memory for the rest of my life.

Want to know more? You can check out the video of our baptism here on our church’s Facebook page!

 

Kindness Is Contagious

In a world where there is so much hurt and hate, will you remember that kindness is contagious? I’m passing this onto my kiddos and hopefully will remember it myself.

I’ve been sort of silent in all bits of my life, not telling anyone but Greg the full story of what’s been going on in this overthinking head of mine. You’ve heard bits and pieces here in my running round-ups or maybe you follow me on Instagram and have seen my admission to some struggles. But today? Today was hard, you guys.

I’m still not ready to talk about it, but will be soon. The day felt very unkind. There were not enough hugs. There was not enough air. There were no amount of songs from my 2008 playlist that were going to help. Life really changed today and now it’s time to see what the next chapter brings for Team Wills (and ~55 or so other families). Sigh.

Get to know the people around you. Get to know people who are not just like you. If you are a faithful person, pray to be able to love people without conditions and love them right where they are at. Do the right thing. And remember, kindness is contagious.

kindness is contagious

This box is a snack box I started getting for my work’s snacks – if you are interested in the service (Snack Nation), please let me know and I’ll refer you – cooler stuff for you and me both if you let me know!