2019 Word of the Year: Courage

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting

Source: Take Courage, Bethel Music

2019 has been ushered in! For the Willis house, it happened quietly, just like any other night would. Except nights around here have been different – the mister and I go to sleep at the same time (by 11 PM) and most days he is out of bed before me. This new reality (as I’ve lovingly joked) is actually quite blissful. So we were asleep by 11 and woke when it was time for him to be at work. Bliss.

Each year, I like to proclaim a word of the year to set on my heart. It helps me to focus my thoughts, my prayers, and my decisions. This year will be no different.

2019 Word of the Year: Courage

Whoa, right? Courage. This coming from a woman who has conquered quite a few things – worked her childhood dream job as a teacher, survived two years of a mentally and physically abusive relationship, was a single mom, fell in love, had more babies, lost many pounds, fell into a true dream job, ran many miles, speaks about her faith – this woman needs courageYup. I do. 

You see, the last quarter of 2018 threw us some curve balls that we didn’t see coming. I mean, God had been planning something big but we had no idea that would mean me failing the test that would have made me a wee bit more advantageous out on the job market and then coming back to work to find out I needed to be on the job market. But God has plans and this was a blessing and a half of a plan.

Greg dove in head first to a complete career change when we got this news. He saw it as his time to step into something a little uncomfortable and will test next week to become a CNA (he’s working now as a Nursing Assistant) at a care facility in Kittanning which means we have our evenings together and slashed a good $400 a month out of our gas budget. Glorious. And not just the money – this man is motivated to wake up and serve for his family and the residents he works with. It is truly a blessing to watch him grow.

And me? I’ve joined M&S Consulting (based in Morgantown, WV) and am a Salesforce Consultant which means every day there could be something new and different on my plate, depending on my client’s needs. But I get to work from home or on-site with my clients which is making for some changes for the kiddos – we’ll be hiring a mama’s helper to get the kids on the bus and to pre-k starting at the end of this week. Travel starts soon and we’re all a little nervous about the changes but excited.

It will take courage to make all these wheels turn, so I figure what a great word to set as my word of the year for 2019.

Oh, But There’s More

The word doesn’t stop at needing courage for the changes, because truthfully we are about six weeks in (how did time fly?!?!). Courage is going to come into play in many ways…I’ll be running at least one more half marathon this year (watch for a BIG announcement on that) and now that I don’t commute I feel all these words will come out of my brain and onto the computer. Not sure what that means yet – more blog posts? a book? more speaking? Not sure, but there is something that is going to take courage to put on paper and this is the year. I feel it.

And it doesn’t stop at me. Courage is going to flow through our family – courage to step up in sports, at school, at work. Courage to be bold about our faith and our love for all people. And that means all of you reading this. Yep, there are already some special prayers on our hearts for some of our friends and family who need 2019 to be an amazing year and then some.

Take Courage

That song that I started this post out with – “Take Courage” – it proclaims that God is in the waiting. I watched a video interview with Kristene DiMarco, writer of this song and she mentioned 2 Chronicles 20:17 where Jehosophat was told he did not have to fight the battle, that God would deliver. She goes on to say that this is a language of hope, and goodness, isn’t it? Courage in the waiting is big, that triumph that is unfolding is even bigger!

Exodus 14:14

It confirmed a verse that’s been on my heart since October 4 – “The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:14).  And He is. He rescues us so that we can rise to victory, if we just lean in and let Him unfold his plans. If we don’t let our words and thoughts get in His way. And I am standing just a little taller here on January 1 to tell you that yes, He does and He will.

So will you join me and take Courage this year? Will you make 2019 a year that you are waiting and standing still for the victories about to come to you? I pray you will.

Love and peace!

2018 Word of the Year: The Wrap-up

As 2018 comes to a close (gosh, we are so close), there are so many feelings going through my head. Between thoughts of reflection on 2018 and expectation for 2019 (thoughts my church family affirmed yesterday), there is this space. This space here that I launched last year and a space where I proclaimed my 2018 Word of the Year would be worthy.

I wrestled with taking the time tonight to sit with my computer in my lap and write this wrap-up. Truth be told, sorry Mr. Greg Willis, writing is where I feel most me and while I know you are anxious to get us to watching a movie before we turn into working adult pumpkins, I want to reflect on this year! #LoveYouForeverLikeYouForAlways

What better time than in the quiet of the last hours of the year to write! 

Oh, 2018. Admittedly, I cried way more tears this year than I had expected, way more tears today than I’d hoped. But as we enter 2019, I know that this year was all part of the amazing plan that God has in store for our family. And honestly, things weren’t as bad as my head likes to make them. I’m ending the year with a job that I love, a motivated husband, and healthy kiddos. It really wasn’t that awful in the end. So let’s take a look back at what made 2018 for me and how I made it worthy.

Shall we start with my “Top Nine” from Instagram

A Worthy Decision: Food and Fitness

Looking at my top photos of the year, it is clear that fitness played a big part in my year. Yeah, I’m a little sad that none of the photos of the kids or Greg made it, but when you look at that collage hopefully you see a woman who has changed for the better for those kiddos and their daddy. A woman who started the year heavier, a woman who planned on running one, not two half marathons.

2018 was full of moments fueled by healthy food (I’ve found that Keto eating is best for me – going off it the last three months has wrecked my gut and body) and committed fitness. I chose to be healthy for my family and we made it through two training cycles that led to PR’s in both races. My kids got to watch both Greg and I cross the finish line in Myrtle Beach and be inspired by our accomplishments. We started to go to the chiropractor as a family (thanks to my 2017 Christmas WOD injury) and are all feeling the advantages of these life changes.

Total Miles Ran: 450.23

Races: Pittsburgh Marathon: 5k, Pittsburgh Marathon: Half Marathon, Richard G Synder YMCA 10K, Myrtle Beach Mini (Half) Marathon, EQT 10-MIler

Worthy: Family and Fun

As a family, we pulled through a lot of things together, ending the year together and smiling. Highlights included:

  • Arianna’s spring softball season; Evan’s spring soccer season; both played fall soccer
  • Our pond
  • Monster Jam
  • Glamping at Yogi Bear
  • Ava and Isla started Pre-K
  • Family vacations to Myrtle Beach and Virginia
  • Running the Kid’s Mile with the Bigs
  • Running the MB Mini with Greg
  • Mom’s getaway with Missy to Williamsburg
  • Dreamforce (and yeah, that includes seeing Metallica and Janet Jackson and running the Golden Gate Bridge)
  • New jobs – yes, it was sad to see the end at Excel4apps but starting a new job at M&S led to positive changes too! Greg enrolled in and graduated from a CNA program and has started a job at a local care facility – no more long nights on the road!

It really has been a year where we had to pull together for each other!

Worthy: Faith

Without faith, this year would not have ended as well as it did. There were a lot of hours on our knees that led to rejoicing and thankfulness. It was a big year of faith for us – Arianna was baptized in January, Greg saved in February, Evan baptized in April, then Greg and I baptized in August. I joined the worship team and the Bigs kept at Girls’ and Rangers. I gave my testimony at Women’s Ministries and then spoke at our women’s conference.  We’re a family with souls on fire for God and it shows through our tests and difficulties and then blessings. We are counting every blessing and so thankful for our faith, our church, and most importantly God.

Medal Monday: 2018 EQT 10 Miler

It wasn’t my intention to plan to run a half marathon and then follow it up with the EQT 10 Miler, but my head and heart felt it was something I could handle. And if you had asked me within the three hours after finishing yesterday’s EQT if I would ever do it again “back to back”, the answer would be been a solid no way. But now that I’ve let the feelings aside, that answer just might change! Read on to hear why the 2018 EQT 10 Miler was full of lessons and memories.

The Training

Pretty much all of my training for the 2018 EQT 10 Miler was my sixteen weeks spent training for the 2018 Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon, which I ran exactly two weeks before.

What should have happened? The plan was to reverse taper the week of vacation/post-half (2, 3, then 6.2 miles) then taper (3, 2, 2 miles) last week. Eating would have been as close to Keto as possible.

What really happened? I enjoyed life. I rested. I didn’t feel like I had run a half marathon in the days following MB, so instead of running, I enjoyed two full days in the sand and water with the kids and then realized I was sick with a cold. I kept resting. We went on an all-day date that involved two wineries. I felt like my lungs were shut but only took store brand day and night cold meds for four days. I ate glutens and trick or treat candy.

I came back to reality with a plan to eat Keto and run. There were two run days that were two miles each (and pretty fast for me, at that). Still feeling sick, I spent the 2 days before relaxing and making better food choices but it wasn’t enough to fix my enjoyment from the last 2 weeks. Life happens.

Race Day 2018 EQT 10 Miler

The day started out cold so my fans didn’t come along with me to the city. I didn’t put out my clothes the night before and take a “flat Becky” photo. I felt off of my game in general, but still tried to make it work. Things really went south when I was in line for the porta potties and I spotted my work team waiting together but then didn’t catch them after I was finished up in line. I always feel alone when in Corral D but really felt it after that – the reality that I am soon to be without the job I’ve known for the last two years started to sink in.  But that wouldn’t be the last time of the day…

We runners had to wait until about 8:20 to cross the start which was a major blessing to me – I had forgotten to take my inhaler! As cold as it was and as cruddy as I felt, I needed it, so taking it at 7:55 ended up an okay deal.

Being in Corral D, my hope was to keep the 11:30’s off in my eyesight and the 12:00’s behind me. Welp, I started behind the 13:00’s because of the jam packed way we were all in the Corral and figured this was just like everything else lately just going to be my own dang race. I got around the 13:00’s pretty soon after the start but still felt so slow. When I got to mile one, my app said I did it in an 11:23, but the 12:00’s were still nowhere in sight and I started to feel like an awful runner. The race clock said 15:19, so I didn’t know if I should trust my app or my gut – I had just run up two decent hills at a good pace was the reality.

In the West End, I climbed the hill alongside a kind gentleman who heard me let out a huge sigh at the top – “but we made it!” I said to his “I heard that!”. We laughed and talked about the hill then I pressed on like Lee Nails. This PR wasn’t going to happen if I was going to be chatty. Mile 2 across the West End Bridge was slower by about 10 seconds but I was still doing amazing considering where I’d started.

Running past the stadiums in Pittsburgh is pretty awesome, but one thing really stuck out – a dancing police officer by PNC Park! High fives! It felt like forever to get from 3 to 4, still at an okay pace but I was confused why I was slowing a little on the flats of this section. Time to cross the 2nd bridge (7th ave, right?) and I finally saw the 11:30’s and 12:00’s in the double back. I was nowhere close to them and decided this wasn’t going to be a PR race for me so just run for running.

By the time I climbed the hill to mile five, my lips were sore and my hands were back to freezing. I clung to a vaseline stick an aid gave me along the route for all of mile 5 to 6 then put the gloves back on. That climb up to six always kills my hips, but this year it wasn’t a stopper for me. I knew *MY* bridge, 16th Street, was waiting for me.

Crossing 16th Street Bridge might be where the wheels started to fall off. I don’t know how many more times I’ll get to run that bridge unless in a race. And the last two times I ran this, my family was waiting for me at the end of this bridge. They wouldn’t be there today. My heart was sinking fast.

Mile 7 to 8 were the end of me. During this mile, I glanced at my office and the tears came. I was finally letting reality set in and it set in hard. I was miserable and thought about just logging a DNF. It had nothing to do with the time and everything to do with my reality. Reality is that I am sad and scared and hurt and want to be sure I make the best choices for my family and I don’t feel the confidence to make one more decision. But in that moment, I decided to press on, again, for those kiddos waiting to wear my medal around the house.

Tears, walking, it continued in cycles until the mile nine marker. I knew I had to pull it together for the finish and ran that whole last mile like it was the last mile I’d ever get to run. The crowds were almost non-existent for those of us who take more than two hours to run our race and it fueled me to just keep moving even though it felt like no one was watching or cared.

Crossing the finish line at 2:03:26 hurt. Physically (my lungs, my hips, my knees) and emotionally. Going from an 11:58 at the five-mile mark to a 12:21 overall truly sucked, but I did it. I got out of bed when I didn’t have to and ran ten miles. I ran through pain and tears and ran although it felt so alone.

And when I got home? Those kiddos gave me some of the biggest hugs ever because they are so proud of their mama. And that feeling that they believe in me? That’s what counts and that is what is going to fuel me to my next race and the next chapter in our lives.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018

Things have been honestly hectic in my life in the last four weeks.  I cannot believe that two weeks ago we were driving down I-95 for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon which my husband and I ran 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 16 (October 15-20)

A crazy life means I never got around to posting week 16’s dedicated post. Good thing it is quick and easy!

Tuesday 10/16: 3.12 miles, 11’28″/mile. Get me angry and I will run like I mean it. This run felt SLOW which is insane considering that speed AND that I ran through the Strip District > 31st Street Bridge (0ver and back) > then down Liberty Avenue and encountered some non-pausing street light stops. My first half mile was done at a 10’57” pace then I climbed the bridge and slowed a little bit, ending that mile at 11’33”. The third mile was 11’18”, so there is proof I can run faster than I let myself. Again, I was angry and felt like I wasn’t moving. This made me think a big PR was coming my way.

Thursday 10/18: 2 miles, 11’07″/mile  This one was with Greg who had been having some knee pain. Even at that, I’m sure I held him back on our quick out and back on the trail through town. We talked the whole two miles and while I struggled a little, it was tough to think that I would be anywhere near my 12’04″/mile pace from Pittsburgh 2018. (I should note here because it becomes important for my next big run, it was in the low 40’s for this run and I felt a cold coming on.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018: Prep Days

We left after my work won Best Places to Work Pittsburgh: Medium Sized Business (talk about a gut-puncher) and the twins got off school. We were surrounded by angels for the drive down, narrowly missing be part of at least two known accidents and another few that could have been. It took Friday evening and Saturday most of the day to get there.

Saturday 10/20: 

The Expo. Call me spoiled. The Expo wasn’t much to write about – maybe 12 vendors and nothing really caught my eye. The kids got some water bottles from Publix and we had a fun photo opp.

It was a Clemson game day, so we booked it to Conway (where Greg’s parents live) and watched most of the game before I got super cranky pants (I barely slept the night before, Greg and I had shared a teeny double bed that my feet hung off, but the suite we got was great for all the kids).

We went to House of Blues for the “carb load dinner” but there wasn’t anything gluten free so I had some plain salad (ie no dressing) and watched Greg eat some boring pasta and sauce. Wendy’s for some MEAT was on my list, but first I needed to find my Gatorade Chews and we headed to Walmart – and came out empty. (Don’t #bebecky – get them here before race day.) Another Walmart (because Myrtle has like 8, one around every corner) near our hotel did.

Checking into the Extended Stay, we called it an early night after I foam rolled the 10-hour car ride out of my calves.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018

Sunday 10/21: 13.1(++) miles, 11’59″/mile 

Waking up with about an hour before race time was a complete bug out for me. We didn’t have to travel far – staying less than a mile from the start helps – and the race was small (1246 participants) with no corrals. I ate my race day essentials (sausage links and a cheese stick) and shook while watching Greg drink his aminos because I’d ran out and had to settle for some Propel instead. (Bad planning, again, don’t #bebecky and get your aminos in advance from BPI Sports.) Greg had breakfast too. Breakfast isn’t his norm and that came to bite him in the first few miles, but this isn’t his story. 😉

We got to the Coastal Grand Mall at 6:45 and I started to hyperventilate. It was cold and I was in a tank top and shorts. I think it might have been my coldest half start YET. Really. And I needed to pee but the porta potties weren’t as close to the start as I would have liked and they were NASTY.

We snapped a picture at 7:00 just before the gun went off then plucked ourselves into the crowd and we were off. Within feet of the start we ran into our friend Ody and her family, cheering us on and Facebook Live’ing the race (Rico was running too). Hugs then I completely lost Greg which was fine by me.

There were pacers, but I didn’t want to settle into a 12-minute pace. I’d hoped for 11’45” but didn’t know how it would go because within the first half mile the crowds were gone and the tight running was already dispersed. So weird to me, but this is what smaller races are like I guess. At mile one, I knew I was on my own here – there were no clocks at the mile marker so I took my own note of the time via text and carried on.

My splits, while unofficial, were mostly 11’40” to 11’51” consistently with the exception of three miles that were 12’15” to 12’25” and a complete mind boggle to me because I’d drop back to the 11’40″s pace the next mile. I’m thinking, based on some results from others’ watches and apps, that the course was a bit longer than 13.1.

About the crowds…Along the course there were a few dedicated fans of some of the runners near me + Ody and the kids kept popping up which I loved + my doTERRA upline was cheering me on just after mile 10 + my family (kids, Mom-in-law, and sister) were just past mile 12. I knew Greg would be waiting for me at the end. Other than that, I had no energy to feed off of.

Other runners near me were pretty consistent too. There were some run/walkers who made my time in mile 6 a bit of a pain because we go up a pretty decent hill (don’t let them tell you it is fast and flat) then down to a narrow trail for a bit. It wasn’t made for more than 2 people across so stoppers would be a hindrance to those trying to run the whole way. I survived.

Water was plentiful but it was not sitting well with me. I clung to my Gatorade Gels like they were saving my life.

The truth is, this one was kinda tough! It wasn’t as flat as I expected, I wasn’t getting energy, my legs were tired from the driving, and I knew Greg wasn’t feeling quite in form to run it at the pace he wanted. I just wanted to say I’d done number four and in a new place after I finished mile 10 and started to try to calculate my finish time. But when I crossed mile 12 and saw my family? All bets were off and I was PUSHING.

That last “half mile” back to the finish was mentally painful. You pass the finish then loop back to it, so you’re hearing cheers that aren’t for you. Then you twist up a sidewalk into the WIND (which was rough the whole first 7 miles, blew sand in your face at mile 10-11 then again after 12) and onto a boardwalk that needs some new boards.

But crossing the finish line in my “2nd home” to “Let It Go” and knowing all four of my kiddos saw Mama complete Half Number Four even if I crossed it at 2:38:09 and missed my PR by 5 seconds was priceless. After I had a momentary lapse of my brain and took a bite of a bagel (which I threw up immediately – gross), I realized MY CLOCK TIME WAS GUN TIME AND NOT CHIP TIME AND HOLY CAMOLY I SET A PR!!!

This one was a 1:07 PR officially finishing at an 11’59” pace in 2:36:57. Boom! And my hubby is a Half Marathoner now, too! LOVE IT!

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Keep up with the blog to see where I am running next and 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: 9 runs, 49.46 miles, 11’49’/mile

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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?

 

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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?