Sunday, December 30, 2012

Old time photos

We are in Branson for a few days of R&R. Unfortunately, there is no rest for a group fitness instructor as we have the month of launches coming up soon. So Zumba, Body Flow and Body Pump DVDs all came with me as well as my barbell set. Yes my dear husband was thrilled when I walked out with that at the last minute. But hey I need ton prepared for the onslaught of new people who will be attending my classes in January.

Day 1 in Branson was nice and relaxing. After my workout was completed we wet to the pool for a while. No, I didn't get in. Still haven't been in the water since August 26....uh-oh. Later we spent some time at the arcade playing laser tag and various other games followed by dinner at Montana Mike's Steakhouse. We went to the Clay Cooper show that night. My girls were not thrilled as they are not country fans but the show was more of a variety show than anything and very entertaining.
On Sunday we visited two different wineries. At Mt. Pleasant winery, I found an apron I wanted to buy which said "Zero to Naked in 1.5 bottles". I would have bought it but..... It was an apron. What would I do with that??? Seriously
Maybe it pertains to me. Maybe not. 

For the afternoon we went to the Landing for shopping. We had many laughs at the Old Time Photo shop I'll post pictures later once I get the pictures uploaded. Instead you'll have to enjoy this lame picture I took of Abby and I before getting out of our old time clothes.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


From our home to yours.....

2012 - What a year!
Wishing you the Merriest Christmas and hopes for the happiest of the new year. Bring on 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Sometimes I like to shock the world. Every once in a while I can be domestic. I know it's hard to believe, but when given the right inspiration I can bake.

I found a recipe on Pinterest (with my 504 followers just so you know) for Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. When I pulled out my spring form pan, Samantha was confounded. Obviously, in her 17 years of life, I have not used this archaic tool for baking frequently.

Peppermint Cheesecake
My dear husband says I just need the right motivation. So he mixed my motivation up in a brown jug: Peppermint White Russian.

Said MOTIVATION in a bottle
Now I know some people need alcohol to help them through the holidays due to too much family time; however, I truly love spending time with my family. Mainly because they make me laugh so hard I end up with tears streaming down my face. 

Sandy & Ruth
When I was younger, my sisters were stuck with me at various times and believe me I'm sure I was not always a pleasure to have around. I was one year old when my oldest sister, Ruth, got married and her daughter was one of my best friends growing up. Now that I am older my relationships with my sisters are so incredible. I feel as if I carry a piece of each one of them inside of me. They helped to form me into the person I am today. My sister, Ruth, has an incredible gift of laughter. My sister, Sandy, taught me the gift of conversation. My mom used to say she could talk to anybody. My sister, Sus, taught me about the gift of true friendship. I can spend hours in silence or deep heartfelt discussions with her. My sister, Pam, taught me the about true love and acts of service. Pam married her high school sweetheart and she's still madly in love with him. I love watching the two of them together. It fills my heart with joy. My sister, Dera, is the one I have been close to throughout my entire life. We've shared so many stories and cried so many tears together. When her life changed, my life changed.

Corey learning about Santa. Don't ask. 
Sometimes people are shocked when I tell them I am the 8th child of 9. Coming from a large family, the holidays have always been hectic and crazy. When I was young, Christmas Eve was the one night when we all try to be together. My dad would order the $5 pizzas from Little Caesar's. In order to work it all off, we'd all go to the basement and play ping pong.

Run, Run as fast as you can GO!

We'd usually start out with a round robin tournament until someone realized they got stuck with the "bad" player. After a few rounds, we'd switch to Run Around the Table Ping Pong playing round after round until we were down to the final two. Then the competition got serious.

Fortunately, the tradition of Cheap Pizza and Mean Ping Pong still continues with my family. Only now we meet at my sister, Sus', house and like this year it's not always on Christmas Eve. Jeff spends the evening talking with my brothers-in-law and I spend my time catching up with my sisters, nieces and nephews. On the way home, we swap stories catching each other up on all of the family news and highlights.

No matter what I am thrilled to spend time with the people who know me best and love me the most. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Issues in my life

I have issues. 

No really. I do. 

Jeff tells me about it all of the time. I'm not trying to be difficult - in this case. I'm just a little oblivious sometimes. I really thought he was making it up until I saw these pictures from IMLOU.

Once you see it, you actually have to believe it. Oh. My. Gosh. I am pathetic.

YEP, This is me.

Pretty much, I could be the entire graphic. I have helmet issues. New goal for 2013: PUT YOUR HELMET ON STRAIGHT. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's Launch Time!

January is again the month of launches.

January 5th at Tremont Parks & Recreation Center.
January 12th at Illinois Central College.
January 19th at Parkside Athletics.

Time to study, but look who made the ICC Launch poster.
OK, I am a little bit blurry, but I am there!

ICC Launch

And yes my dear husband is thrilled that I am taking a barbell set on our mini vacation. Thanks hon!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Benefits of Cross Training

"Everyone has limits on the time they can devote to exercise, and cross-training simply gives you the best return on your investment balanced fitness with minimum injury risk and maximum fun." - Paula Newby-Fraser

When I look back at my incredible day at IMLOU, I can attribute my success to one thing: CROSS TRAINING. During the training period leading up to race day, I taught 3 classes a week each of Body Flow and Body Pump as well as 2 classes of ZUMBA. Some days my legs were so tired I didn't think I'd make it through my workouts. Instead I had to rely on my mental toughness to find a way to get through the endless hours of exercise. Could that be another form of cross training? Well, I definitely think it helped to prepare me for my Ironman.

Now that we are in off season it's time to discuss some serious cross training. Not only does cross training help prevent injuries, it also rejuvenates you allowing you to focus on some activities which are actually fun. By focusing on activities which do not feel like work, your motivation can soar according to an article by Runner's World.

The goal of Strength Training? Muscle definition
We can all benefit from some strength training especially during the off season which is why I love teaching Body Pump. Ladies!!! I don't want to hear it! Strength training is not going to turn you into a bulky body builder. You do not have the testosterone for it. Building lean muscle mass will make you a stronger swimmer, cyclist or runner and rev up your metabolism. Can't make it to the gym to attend a Pump class? Try this cross training program for cyclists. Google cross training programs. You have tons of resources at your finger tips.

In addition to strength training, I believe yoga and stretching are keys to your fitness. So many times I watch runners finish their daily training and then plop their butts down on the nearest seat. My muscles tighten up just watching! Instead use a stretching program to wind down your heart rate as well as trying to lengthen your muscles. I always tell my Body Flow classes we have to do our hamstring stretches in order to prevent us from shuffling as we enter old age. We want to take nice, long confidant strides in order to get from point A to point B.

Strength training and stretching are just two options for cross training. If you are tired of running, take up cross country skiing. If you are tired of cycling, start a pick up league for basketball or volleyball. Just be active and challenge your body in a new way.

You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2013 Race Calendar

My 2013 Race Calendar is quickly filling up. I believe someone once said running is our cheapest sport. Well, they haven't met me. For some reason, I like the most expensive races the most!!
Ugh - morning eyes! Wake up!!!!

May - Indy Mini-Marathon (4th), Peoria St. Jude Marathon (19th?? - If I have my ducks in a row since Samantha will be graduating on this afternoon as well.)

June - Tri-Shark (1st), Tremont Turkey Festival 5k (8th), Tremont Sprint Triathlon (22nd)

July - Ironman Muncie 70.3 (13th)

August - Disneyland Half Marathon (TBA)

September - Pumpkin Classic (14th)

October - Chicago Marathon (13th - Time for a little birthday celebration!)

November - Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon (9th - completing my coast to coast bucket list item)

I'm sure this will need to be updated. It seems I'm on a roll this week with registering for races. I seem to think I need to do them all this year!

Let's start training!!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

More Christmas Cheer

Tonight we attended the high school band and choral concert. I'm so proud of my daughters who have musical talent whereas I have none. Don't even ask me to read a sheet of music. I couldn't tell the difference between a treble cleft and a....what other note is there??

You can't see Samantha here because she's on the far left and this video was shot by another set of parents. This is the madrigals group singing at the concert. The Madrigals dinner is in just a few weeks. I can't wait.

A little Christmas cheer

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....even though we are just past the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We spent Thanksgiving in my hometown with the people who love me best:- my sisters, their children and grandchildren. Thanksgiving at its finest. A day spent with family.

For our Thanksgiving dinner, everyone contributes at least one dish. After my sister sent me the menu listing items such as: Corn, rolls, Oreo bites, apple crisp, devil eggs, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, Oreo dessert, rice Krispy treats, pizza casserole, taco roll ups, mash potatoes, cheesy potatoes, taco salad, noodles, and broccoli cheese rice casserole, i knew I was in trouble. When I read the Dishes off to Jeff, he said "And you wonder why diabetes runs in your family?" Haha ding ding ding. Ya think???

Butternut Squash
It was at that very moment when I knew my inner Martha had to come out. 90% of the food being brought for Thanksgiving was carb laden. What's a diabetic to do? I decided to make a butternut squash dish to provide some type of vegetable dish for the meal.

Smoked Turkey by Jeff
Thanksgiving morning started early with Jeff smoking the turkey out on the driveway. A delicious 18 pound turkey surrounded by lots of carbs and a token vegetable? Oh well. Once the meal was over, we spent most of the pouring over the ads looking for the best deals. By 7:30, we were on the road to our first stop: Wal-mart. We shopped and shopped. We even ate at Bakers Square about 3 am. I'm pretty sure the last time I ate at Bakers Square I was traveling with the WIU volleyball team. It was nice to eat at the restaurant without meal restrictions!

Samantha and Breah
We started our evening waiting in line for almost two hours so Breah could get an iPad. The Wal-Mart employees couldn't believe it when 5 of us walked by without collecting an iPad, but what's the point in having one person stand in line alone? We had lots of fun talking with each other as well meeting the other suckers people in line. We even sent Samantha out on mini-missions to find items for the people waiting behind us. Need a movie? We'll send Sam to go get it. She doesn't have anything else to do except spend my money!! We finally wrapped up our holiday shopping at 7 a.m. - tired and ready for a nap.

The front entry with our small tree
As is our tradition, we decorated the house for Christmas over the Thanksgiving weekend. The last few years I've been a bit of SCROOGE when it comes to decorating. Not because I don't enjoy Christmas, but because it takes a whole weekend and no one wants to help. This year, however, Abby was excited to help and I explained to Samantha and Annelise that if they wanted presents with their names on them under the tree they needed to help as well.

I saw Santa Claus!
We usually put up at least two trees on the main floor as well as two smaller ones upstairs. This year I explained to Abby that I wanted to have our big tree in the living room to look elegant. Abby responded by saying, "I don't want it to look elegant. I want it to look like us." What did that mean? Well according to her, she likes randomly placing the ornaments mixing colors and themes...and so that's what we did.

Our living room tree - meant to look like us - disheveled? 
Each year I give the girls an ornament which represents something significant which  has happened in their lives in the last year. Opening each ornament box is like reliving 19 years of memories beginning with the "Our First Christmas Together" ornaments, to "Baby's First Christmas", to the cell phone ornament which we purchased as a way to let Samantha know we were finally going to let her have a cell phone. While I had fun reliving the memories, I was also saddened to think that someday soon Samantha would probably have her own apartment, her own tree to decorate and take some of those memories with her. That was always the plan, but having the date loom closer and closer does make it all a little bittersweet. 

But in the end, I have to remind myself that we have one more Christmas together before she goes off to college which means another opportunity to create new memories. As our lives evolve, I cherish the little moments with my girls more and more knowing that someday they will venturing out on their own to create their own family memories.   

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jingle Bell Run

One of my goals for 2013 is to do some races which would take me out of the normal racing box. I have several wish list races I'd like to do. One of the races I've wanted to do for the past few years is the annual Jingle Bell Run for the Arthritis Foundation.

I have a friend who suffers with rheumatoid arthritis. Over the years her joints have fused together making mobility and exercising in general very difficult; however, you'd rarely hear her complain. She's a co-owner of my favorite hang out joint, Perdue's. I wanted to participate in the Jingle Bell Run in honor of my friend, Tracy, but I needed to wait and see what my teaching schedule for December would be.

The quick change in the car
As luck would have it, I was scheduled to teach Flow at 8 am. With luck and good traffic, I could get downtown to the Riverplex in plenty of time to find a parking space and meet up with my T3 teammates. So I registered for the Jingle Bell Run on Monday evening.

T3 Members at the Jingle Bell Run
T3 registered as a team for the run. As a part of the team registration fee, we received some awesome red and white striped socks. With a quick change in the car (hahaha don't tell anyone), I was ready for the run. I met up with the T3 team looking for someone to run with. I figured the Jingle Bell Run was a fun event and a chance for me to run with my T3 family.

Lots of Santa's helpers waiting for the race to start
The event had approximately 1,300 runners with a goal of raising $90,000 for the Arthritis Foundation. I haven't heard the final numbers yet to see if we met that goal.
TMS Running Club
In addition, the Tremont Middle School Running Club had about 20 participants running in the event. Parents, siblings and teachers lined the route cheering on the middle school runners as they started to enjoy the sport of running.

Jen crossing the finish line
I ran the race with my friend, Jen, hoping we'd put her on the path to a PR; however, I think we spent way too much time talking and enjoy the 60 degree weather. It was a beautiful day to be outside running. When we came to the final half mile, I told Jen to find a rabbit and chase him down. I took off after mine which enabled me to capture a picture of Jen crossing the finish line.

Crystal pushing to the finish 
Jen and I waited and cheered on the rest of the T3 members as well as the middle school runners. Everyone seemed to really enjoy being outside - and running without 5 layers of clothes. Instead, I was almost too hot in the long sleeved shirt and vest I decided to wear. Unfortunately, neither Jen or I achieved a PR; however, we enjoyed the fabulous December weather and raising money for a great cause.