This or That

If you now us, you know we love a good survey. So, when I saw this survey on Paige’s and Katie’s blogs, I swiftly dropped it in my favorites to remember to do it on just a lazy Sunday evening such as this one. Here we go!

1. Run/workout in the heat and humidity or freezing cold temps and snow?

Amy: Freezing cold for sure. My first half marathon was about 45 degrees and rainy. My second was mid 80s and full sun. While I bested my time the second time around, the first was very enjoyable…here is photographic proof. 🙂

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Ashley:   I would also have to vote freezing cold!  I started running in the summer so really all I know is running in the heat and I’m not sure I can say I really LIKE it.

2. Washboard abs or flat abs?

Amy: Flat. I feel like washboard can look weird sometimes.

Ashley:  Flat!

3. Dr. Oz or The Doctors?

Amy: Well, I’ve only ever seen Dr. Oz, so I guess he has to be the winner here.

Ashley:  Is it bad that I have never seen either one?

4. Cardio or strength?

Amy: Well, I like to switch it up, so I enjoy both. I’ll probably go with cardio, though, just because the time flies by while I’m doing it.

Ashley:  I’ve only been doing Cardio but talked to Amy this morning about the fact that maybe I have to start adding more than just running to my work out routines.

5. Cravings: Protein or carbs?

Amy: Carbs, carbs, and more carbs. If I wouldn’t feel horrendously guilty, I could make a meal out of bread.

Ashley:  Carbs… I struggle to find a good source of Protein that I really like.

6. Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper?

Amy: Bob. I just love him. 🙂

Ashley:  I don’t know who Bob Harper is… I better find out.  Jillian Michaels is intimidating but she does her job well.

7. Frozen yogurt or ice cream?

Amy: Fro yo. For some reason I feel like ice cream is too sweet.

Ashley: Fro Yo!

8. To train: upper body or lower body?

Amy: Probably upper body. I’m a wuss and lower body workouts make me sore for days, haha.

Ashley:  Lower body

9. Protein powder or food with protein?

Amy: Food with protein. I was on a protein powder kick or awhile, but I’m kind of in a stage right now where it grosses me out. Peanut butter is the better way to go. 🙂

Ashley:  Food with protein…I feel weird adding powder things to my food or drinks.

10. Squats or lunges?

Amy: Squats. I especially love sumo squats. 🙂

Ashley:  lunges

11. Sweet or salty?

Amy: I have an insatiable sweet tooth.

Ashley: Salty!

12. Workout attire: cute or comfy?

Amy: A mix of both. I like to find cute things, but if they aren’t comfortable, I won’t wear them.

Ashley:  comfy..there is usually NOTHING cute about my workout clothes.

13. Body Pump or heavy lifting?

Amy: Can’t really choose, as I’ve never done Body Pump, but it seems like something I might like.

Ashley:  I don’t really know many details about either of those…

14. Yoga or Pilates?

Amy: Yoga. Although the only Pilates I’ve done is a rather lame video.

Ashley:  I haven’t tried either one but i’d love to try yoga.

15. Nike or Adidas?

Amy: No preference here.

Ashley:  I don’t prefer one to the other.

16. Running: On the treadmill or outside?

Amy: No question here: outside it is. I can’t stand the treadmill.

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Ashley:  Love outside.. I have yet to try running on a treadmil but i’m not a fan of walking on it.

17. Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?

Amy: I’ve never been to Whole Foods, so I guess TJ’s wins this battle.

Ashley:  I enjoy Trader Joe’s.  I’ve never shopped at Whole Foods but I have tried food purchased from there and it was good too.

18. Summer or Winter Olympics!

Amy: Summer! Pretty sure I have never watched so much TV in my life as I have in the past two weeks. I even watched speed walking…

Ashley:  Summer!  I’m watching the closing ceremony right now and it is kind of sad to see it end.

19. Exercise classes or exercise videos?

Amy: I love working out with others, so classes it is. I just wish there was a more convenient option for my time, budget, and schedule.

Ashley:  I’ve been a “loner” with my workouts lately so I might have to vote videos.

20. Steamed veggies or roasted veggies?

Amy: Well, I like them either way, as I am a bit of a rabbit and love me some veggies. Roasted would probably be my preference though.

Ashley:  Steamed, yum!

We would love to hear from you! Pick one of the choices and answer in the comments!

What Made the St. Jude Run So Awesome

Ok…so I have posted multiple times about the St. Jude run in the past week. This post will be the last one, and then I’ll move on to other things, haha.

As you can tell if you’ve read our previous posts (found here and here), we had an amazing time at the St. Jude Peoria Run last weekend. We’ve given you a recap, but I wanted to take a moment to explain why it was such an awesome experience.

1. The people were awesome.
I will admit that I get nervous in situations where I don’t know people well. My friend Amanda was going to have to leave early, which made me nervous. However, I quickly discovered in the morning that there was nothing for me to worry about. St. Jude runners and volunteers are some of the nicest people I have met. One of my strongest memories from the day is when I was struggling a little on my last leg. The group noticed and all held up a little to help me out. It made me feel like a member of the team, not a slow-sky. 🙂

2. The heat doesn’t matter.
In most cases, I hate running in the heat. Typically, though, I will do it anyway. On this day, however, the heat did not matter to me. In fact, I barely noticed it! Yeah, I was hot and sweaty, but the cool stuff of the day made it feel…well, not cool, but not as hot.

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3. It gave me an opportunity to run with a bunch of people and not have to worry about beating them.
Races are super fun, but one of my favorite things about them is being among a big community of runners. This run gave me that without having to worry about splits or time.

4. Motorcyclists are cool.
Typically on the road, people will wave or honk. We spent some time next to a breast cancer motorcycle charity ride, and it was so cool to see nearly all of them wave as we supported each other.

5. It reminded me to appreciate all the great things I have.
Running all day to help sick children will really make all of your problems seem small. I am a lucky girl.

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6. Last, but not least, it was a reminder of how much good there is in the world.
In this day and age, it is easy to get bogged down in the horrible things that can happen that we always see in the news. This day was a true testament of how many good people there are in the world who are willing to sacrifice their time and money to help others. Very, very cool.

Pick one of the six above and tell us a story of how you have learned it.

The End of the Run was the Awesomest

Yes, I am an English teacher. No, awesomest is not a word. Yes, I used it anyway.

If you read Monday’s post, you heard all about the St. Jude run on Saturday. However, I stopped before I got to what was probably the best part of the day.

The running portion of the day ended (well…almost ended) at around 5:30 when we stopped at a gas station just outside of Peoria to get our yearly St. Jude Run t-shirts. This year’s were red, white, and blue in honor the of upcoming Olympic Games.

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Then came the true coolness. All of the runners got together and this point and took the road into Peoria together. We ran a little less than a mile, and, as we approached the Peoria Civic Center, the streets were lined with members of the community to cheer us on. The final stretch was down the street that was lined with all of the other teams from other cities, including St. Louis and Chicago, to cheer us on to the finish. It was so, so cool.

Soon after, the Memphis group, who had been running for about THREE DAYS rolled into town. We cheered and cheered, and then it was time to line up for the parade.

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Ashley joined in at this point and was ready to rock and roll.

This portion was a short run into the final celebration, and each team took turns running in together.

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Here we are just before our turn to run in. Yes, I know I look pretty rough. At this point, it totally didn’t matter. 🙂

This short run was lined with kids and St. Jude families. We high-fived them as we entered, and there are truly no words to describe just how cool it was. Some of the images from this portion of the day will never leave my memory.

Finally, it was time to celebrate. All the groups were together in the convention center while the telethon proceeded in the center. I have had spaghetti, bread, salad, and cookies on many occasions, but I don’t think they have ever tasted as good as they did on this night. Too bad I didn’t get a picture!

We had a great time catching our breath, chatting with other runners and volunteers, and shopping for St. Jude gear, and, before we knew it, it was time to go home. Before getting in the car, I spotted what had to have been my favorite St. Jude vehicle of the day:

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Can’t decide if it reminds me more of Blues Brothers or Ghost Busters…is that weird? : )

Has an amazing day ever made a seemingly ordinary meal kind of extraordinary for you? I will probably never see spaghetti without thinking of this day, haha.

Taking Running to a Whole New Level of Awesome

If you know me, you know that I love to run. Up until now, I didn’t think I could possibly love it any more. I was wrong.

Let’s back up about 6 months. My best friend Amanda, whom I’ve talked about before as the friend who got me in to running, participates in a St. Jude Peoria run every year as a way to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. With a half marathon or two under my belt, she asked if I would be interested in participating. She has had nothing but positive things to say about it, so I thought, why not?

Here is how it works:
-Group/team members raise money to donate to the charity.
-At the starting point of the branch, runners set out with at least 3 on the road at a time to head toward Peoria, Illinois.
-At the end of the run, all of the participating groups meet up at the convention center in Peoria to celebrate and take part in the St. Jude telethon.

The branch of the run that I joined was the LaSalle/Peru branch, which was a 66 mile trek to Peoria.

The day started bright and early at 4:30, so we could leave Amanda’s house at 5 am. The run kicked off at 6:30, and we had an hour drive to the start. Of course, we had to stop for coffee to get us running. 🙂

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The run is split into 6 mile legs, which the coordinator also splits in half to keep people from burning out too quickly, especially since ours is a smaller branch of the run. We started with the second leg, which included a massive hill, but a very pretty bridge over the Illinois River. I ran the full six (and saw Ashley collecting donations on the way!) before taking about an hour long rest.

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I alternated between 3 mile runs and breaks of various lengths through most of the morning. By far my favorite leg was a beautiful, shady, downhill 3-miler that a nice group of girls did all together. We had a great time chatting and laughing in the beautiful scenery.

After lunch, I was feeling good on one of my legs and decided not to stop. This was TOUGH. Luckily, the driver of the van that followed us down the roads was super supportive and kept updating me on my distance. Amazing people participate in this event; it truly blew me away.

This five-miler took a lot out of me, especially as the heat began to ramp up, so I rested for awhile and got to meet up with Ashley, who was volunteering, before my final leg.

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I was slowing down at this point, but my group was amazing and held up with me and motivated me when I needed it.

Finally, we reached Peoria for the culmination of the day, which was nothing short of amazing. This post is getting lengthy, so Ashley and I will work on a continuation for tomorrow.

When all was said and done, I ran 20 miles– more than I have ever run in one day. I love running and racing, but this run was entirely different. Each and every one of those miles was bigger than me and meant to benefit children who need it. No matter how hot or tired I got, I knew I had to keep going, for the pain of a run is nothing compared to what some innocent children have to endure. I ran to end it, and I will run to end it as long as I can. We can only hope that, as cool as this experience was, we can find a cure and not need to run for this reason any more.

Stay tuned for the recap of the best part of the day!

Have you ever done a St. Jude run, or something Iike it?

Simple Things A to Z

As I’ve been blog surfing recently in my time off from work, I stumbled upon several of my favorite blogs, including Tina’s, Janetha’s, and Paige’s, that we’re doing a “Simple Things” survey. It’s always good to stop and appreciate the smaller things, so I thought this would be a good weekend post for the sister and I.

A Appreciation
The smallest expression of appreciation from another person can mean so much, right? Feeling appreciated can make a bad day good again.

B Baby giggles
I have been babysitting one of my best friends’ son once a week this summer. He is just a little too adorable.
(Ashley) A baby giggle is why I am in love with having a profession in Early Childhood Education.

C Coffee
I am typing this before going to the store on a morning that I am out of coffee…so I REALLY appreciate it today! Haha
(Ashley) I don’t like Coffee very much so my “C” will be carefree because sometimes you just have to be!

D Dog noses
Wet, yes, but adorable.
(Ashley) Makes me think of my “niece dog”-Libby

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E Eating
We all have to do it… does any one get paranoid about it like I do and not eat past 7pm?

F Friday evenings
There is nothing quite like having two days off freedom ahead of you!

G Grilled cheese
…but only if it’s made correctly. 🙂

H Happiness
What we feel when we run and after a good run.

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I Iced coffee
Can you tell I’m really missing it this morning?

J Jimmy Johns
I don’t know why, but a beach club on whole wheat bread makes me a little more happy than it should.

K Karate
(Ashley) I have a very weird ambition to try to learn karate.

L Listening
Sometimes listening is all you really can do in a situation when you don’t know what else to do.

M MapmyRUN
(Ashley) This is a feature I add to my runs that I almost cannot live without.

N Not having to set an alarm
No explanation needed here.

O One
(Ashley) Today is my godsons 1st birthday.

P Photography
(Ashley) I’ve been getting back into my love for it lately.

Q “Quiet” running
Some people refuse to run without music…I find it kind of awesome.

R Running
This is a given word for us at the moment.

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S St. Jude
Amy is running in a huge St. Jude Children’s Hospital event next week. I don’t feel confident enough in my running yet, but I’ll still tag along beside her as a volunteer!

T Text messages
I don’t know about you, but when I’m at work and check my phone to see a text waiting for me, I get excited. 🙂

U Update
I really hope you are all liking this update!

V Variation
Who wants to get bored with the same old thing?

W Water
I pretty much love sitting outside by the water on a nice summer night.

X – HELP??

Y Yes!
(Ashley) Totally the word that was running through my head over and over today when I realized I had run for the longest I have ever run at 1 time. It was Fantastic!

Z PiZza
Yeah…I cheated. But is there anything better than a good pizza?

Pick a letter…what simple thing comes to mind?

Amy’s Running Story

I have been running for a little over two years now. I truly never thought I would call myself a runner, but now, here I am, blogging about it.

It all started with my college roommate, who remains one of my very best friends. When we met, she was on the cross country team. She eventually went on to start the first running club on our campus. Although I didn’t run, she asked me to be the “pr chair” of the club, which basically meant I put together the newsletter.

Running always intimidated me, but I admired runners from a distance. One day, several years after graduating college, I decided I should give it a shot. I looked up the Couch to 5k program. For me, it worked like a charm. In the past, I had a tendency to bite off more than I could chew when it came to running. This program really gave me the opportunity to build confidence gradually.

I took my time, and, six months later, I was ready to run my first 5k.

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For me, this was one of my most exciting accomplishments. I was at a point in my life at which I needed a confidence boost, and this definitely did it for me. I was hooked.

In the 6 months that followed, I ran several more 5ks and had a great time.

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Soon enough, I decided to take this relationship to the next level. I signed up for a half marathon.

I never expected to do this. But I did. And it was awesome.

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Now, running is a huge part of my life.

I have run…

Five 5k’s.

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Two half marathons.

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In Central Park.

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With family.

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With friends.

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And lots in between! I am looking forward to all the adventures running still has in store for me…including…a marathon?

So, runners…when you look back, how did running start for you?

Summer Bucket List

Welcome to our first post on our new blog! We’re glad you’re here! As we have been blogging for the past year, we have noticed out focus begin to change, mostly to running (although this post isn’t really about running…haha). So, we figured we should change the blog along with it.

Back on the old blog, we started the summer with our Summer Bucket List.

Today, I saw a bunch of blogs’ Summer Bucket List, including Janetha’s and Tina’s (yay for some of my favorite blogs!), on the top nine on the daily buzz healthy living.

So, I figured it would be a good time to do a little recap of our summer bucket list so far.

1. Go fishing.
Hasn’t happened yet. Honestly, it’s been so horribly hot here I don’t know how much fun fishing would be lately,

2. Eat a nice dinner outside.
I’ll admit that this one was my idea. I have eaten a couple dinners outside already, but I’m not quite sure what qualifies them as “nice”. So, the jury is still out on this one.

3. Go to the zoo. Check!
The three of us knocked this one off of our list this past weekend on a trip to Milwaukee. Living in the Chicago suburbs, we have always been visitors of Brookfield Zoo. It’s a good one, but we think Milwaukee County Zoo takes the cake. We got face to face, just about literally, with a tiger and saw some lion cubs rough housing. Too cool.

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4. Go to a Milwaukee Brewers game. Check!
Checked this one off this weekend as well! It was a great game, with lots of home runs.

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5. Tour at least one brewery. Check!
This one was added to the list by the brother in law, and he now has brewery fever. We went to Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee this weekend and had an awesome time. It is a definite must-stop if you are in the Milwaukee area.

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6. Have an official picnic.
This entry was Ashley’s, and we thought we had checked it off at lunch at the zoo this weekend. However, as I look back on the original post, we said no tables allowed. So…back to the drawing board on this one.

7. Read on the beach.
I’ve got a beach date with a friend on Thursday, so this one is soon to be checked off.

8. Run a 5k with at least one friend, preferably more.
The race has been chosen. Starting to recruit people today. Yay!

9. Capture summer in a photograph.
Ashley is working on it. This one likely won’t be finalized until the end of the summer when Ashley picks from her electronic folder if greatness. 🙂

Thanks so much for checking out our first post on our new blog!

Before you leave, we want to hear about you. What have you most recently checked off your summer bucket list?