Archive for the 'half marathon' Category

running and life update

Hey hey friends!  

I know, I know…I won’t even start with my excuses for not blogging.  Let’s just say that I’ve been living life and enjoying it!  I absolutely love blogging and will continue to do it, but whenever it starts to feel like a chore, I make myself step away for a bit.  

The half marathon count down is on!  In five weeks and five days, I will have finished my very first half marathon!  My training has been like my blogging lately – inconsistent.  However, I feel good on my runs and definitely feel like I can rock the 13.1 when the time comes.  Yesterday, I ran 8 miles before church.  I didn’t map out my route before hand to see exactly how long it was, and I ended up having to book it the last 2 miles to make it home in time to get ready to be at church!  It was a good push.

My new running shoes have made the biggest difference in my runs!  I cannot say enough good things about FleetFeet and the Mizuno Wave Riders.  In. Love.

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Next week is football homecoming – yeah – in September.  It’s crazy early, but it’s coming so I guess I better prepare for it!  We are having a TON of cheerleading practices this week and next week, and we are decorating the school this weekend.  Our theme is Back to the Future, and the dress up days go throughout the decades (we even have a futuristic day – I think I’ll make an outfit out of aluminum foil hehe).  Any dress up ideas for me?  I like to go all out! 

Another random thing I want to tell you about is yet another new obsession from Trader Joe’s: Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds.  Seriously – these are the most addicting things I’ve ever eaten.  If you looked up perfection in the dictionary, this is what you would see:

I’m convinced that the little bit of sea salt is what keeps me reaching for just one more, and one more after that.

OH – and big news!  It’s officially my birthday month!  Of course I started celebrating on September 1 (even though my birthday isn’t until the 26th) – we went out for sushi and then frozen yogurt!  Daniel asked me like 3 weeks ago what I wanted (he’s so awesome – I didn’t buy his gift until the day before his birthday…shhhh don’t tell him!  It was a great gift – does that make up for it??), and I originally said I didn’t want anything.  This is very unlike me, because usually I’ll want something for a while and instead of buying it I’ll make it a birthday or Christmas suggestion.  However, I honestly couldn’t think of anything I wanted this year!  Five minutes after I answered with “Nothing.  Seriously – I can’t think of anything.  Let’s not spend any money on my birthday and save it for our anniversary trip or something,” I went in the kitchen to make a smoothie.  Daniel heard me yell, “I know what I want now!!!!!!!!!  A vitamix!!!!!!!”  

It’s only $650…that’s not too much to ask, is it? 🙂  

One day, my friends, I will own a vitamix, and it will be amazing.  One day.

I know this post is all over the place, but I wanted you to know that I’m still alive and kicking running!  

I hope that you have a GREAT week!

much love,


so tell me….

What have YOU been up to lately?

What do you want for your next birthday??? 


my favorite running day ever

Hey y’all!  

I sincerely hope that you each had a marvelous Monday!  I am just so excited right now because I hit a new running milestone yesterday!

In case you are new around here, I’m training for my very first half marathon.  The race is a little bit less than two months away now, and I’m trying to increase my mileage in an extremely safe way.  However, in the last few weeks, I haven’t been getting in my long runs on the weekends.  Sure, I’ll run two or three short runs during the week (usually 2-3 miles each), but the distance running just hasn’t happened lately.  Last time I ran any sort of long run (for me – remember I’m still a running newbie) was almost a month ago, and it was a six miler.  

Enter Monday: my favorite running day ever.

Yesterday morning, I woke up super early – 4:30 – and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I read my Bible (on my phone via the youversion Bible app – it’s awesome!) for about 30 minutes until my alarm went off.  I hopped up and started getting ready to go out for a run, and I was all set to go at 5:15.  I kissed Daniel goodbye and headed out the door.  Did you know that it’s still pitch black dark at 5:15 a.m.???  It may be just me, but I don’t feel safe running in the black dark with no street lights (too many CSI, Law & Order, and Criminal Minds episodes!).  It was also drizzling rain, so I headed right back inside.  I was determined to run today since I didn’t get a long run in over the weekend.  I packed up all my stuff for the day, took a quick shower, and drove to school to run on the track.



The track around our football field is one quarter of a mile.  I set out with the goal of running twelve laps, which would equal three miles (I know, I’m an amazing mathematician).  The rain had stopped and it was a cool 62 degrees with a light breeze.  I reached in my bag for my little shuffle, and came up empty-handed.  WHAT??????  NO MUSIC????  HOW WILL I RUN???  Yeah – all those things went through my mind!  I then remembered that I am strong (and extremely stubborn) and could get myself through 12 circles around the track.  As soon as I started, I decided to pray through the first lap.  Then, I decided to pick one thing to pray about for each lap I did.  This seems like no big deal, but I know I am guilty of the 2 minute prayer that encompasses everything, so it was a nice change to really focus on one thing or person and pray about nothing but that for at least two and a half minutes.  I kept thinking of more things that I wanted to talk to God about, so I ended up running 14 laps total (3.5 miles).  The run felt amazing.  I honestly did not even miss the music.  Prayer is such a powerful and peaceful thing, and it was the best start to the day and to the week.  I think this will be my new Monday morning routine!  Anyone else want to join me for a prayer run?


I went throughout my day planning, teaching, and prepping for the rest of the week.  I had it in my mind that I wanted to get in at least 2 more miles after cheer practice.  When I got home, I was having those “oh, I ran this morning” and “man, I just want to sit down!” thoughts.  I punched those thoughts in the face and mapped out my evening run.  I set out at 6:15 and ran a loop that ended up being 4.15 miles.  That’s right – I, Natalie, the former non-running-enjoyer, ran TWICE in one day for a total of 7.65 miles.  Yep, I’m proud!  On Wednesday, my friend Amy and I try to run after school together, and this week we are planning on either 4 or 5 miles depending on what time we get to start.  It’s supposed to be warm, but hopefully it won’t be too terribly bad.


I still can’t believe all this running talk is coming from me – who have I become?  🙂

I hope that y’all have a great day today!

much love,


so tell me…

Why do you run???

What motivates you the most to get out the door and start your run (or any workout)?

the rest of daniel’s birthday week and my announcement

Is it really already Saturday???  Wow – time flies when it’s your last week of summer break!  

I hope that y’all had a great week and a fun Friday night!

Daniel and I have had a fun week celebrating his birthday (even though he says it’s “just another day” – psh).  For his birthday dinner, he requested chicken and cheese enchiladas, so that’s what I made.  I wanted to make him some type of summer dessert, so I bought some fresh peaches and made a couple of individual peach pies.  I didn’t really have a recipe, so I was surprised with how delicious they turned out to be!

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served hot with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream

The rest of the week was fairly uneventful until we got around to Friday.  I had an early morning haircut appointment (nothing new – just a trim) and then came home to tell Daniel what I had planned for us.  I had told him to not make any plans for the whole day because I had something up my sleeve!  We grabbed lunch at Panera before hitting the road for Memphis.  One of our best friends recently moved to Memphis, so we stopped and chilled with him for a couple hours.  It was SO GOOD to catch up with him!  We did a little shopping and then decided to go to the Cooper Young district to walk around.  Our first stop was Cafe Ole, and then we ended up going to Cortona for dinner.  It’s a contemporary Italian restaurant, and oh my gosh, the food was incredible.  It started with fresh bread and herb compound butter that was delicious.  I asked our server for his recommendation on dinner because I was having a very hard time deciding what to order.  I went with his suggestion and it was one of the best Italian dishes I’ve had in my entire life (seriously!).  I ordered the chicken and asparagus ravioli with walnut cream, pesto, pine nuts, and fresh shaved Reggianno cheese.  I can’t even begin to explain how scrumptious this meal was.  All of the pastas (and pizza crusts) are homemade with imported Italian flour.  Yeah.  It was to die for.  Usually I don’t like to order the same thing at a restaurant, but I would totally get the exact same thing the next time I go.  Daniel ordered the grouper special, and the fish was incredibly fresh and the sides were quite tasty as well.  I wanted to order dessert so badly, but I was already overly full (and it was worth it).  After that, we drove to a cool place in Germantown to hang out for a bit before heading back home.  It was such a fun night, and it was great to be able to spend that much time celebrating Daniel’s birthday.

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sorry for the fuzzy phone pic

Okay, now on to that announcement…

Remember when I said that I was officially training for my first half marathon?  Well, my training has been sidetracked for several reasons over the past month (vacation, the ridiculous TN heat, and some digestive issues), and there is no way I can be ready to run 13.1 miles for the Chicago half marathon in September.  SO, I decided to find another half that was a bit later.  My cousin and her husband told me about the Go Commando half in Clarksville, TN (near Fort Campbell military base).  It’s October 20, so that gives me quite a bit of extra time to train AND hopefully it will be much cooler!!!!  I went ahead and registered for it, so I am officially signed up to run my first half!!!  Since I’m going back to work next week, my schedule will be much more consistent, so I can get settled into a training routine.  I am very excited!  I really hope they have tshirts that say something like “I went commando for 13.1” hahaha.  Wouldn’t that be funny?  Anyway – I’m a little disappointed about not going to Chicago, but this will definitely be better for me.  I’ve got to get back into my long runs on the weekends. 


Daniel is at the duck blind drawing this morning, and this afternoon we are going to church for a bit to work on setting up for tomorrow’s service.  I hope y’all have a great Saturday!

much love,


so tell me…

What did you do for your last birthday?  

Anybody have a race coming up soon?

running is hard

It’s FRIIIIIIDAAAAAAAYYYY!!! Who’s excited???

So, I’ve said before that running has never been easy for me.  It has gotten easier since my legs are very used to dancing like crazy for Zumba all the time, and I’m better shape in general.  As I’ve been training for my first half marathon, I’ve had some awesome runs.  I’ve also had some not-so-great runs (I blame the heat).  However, this week, I’ve had some awful awful runs.  One run actually turned into a walk, and the other almost killed me.  Instead of just saying it was a hard week, I knew there was more to the reasoning behind these discouraging runs.  

Lately, my digestive system has been all wonky, and I was trying everything I could possibly think of to get it back to normal.  Nothing was working, so I decided to do a detox for a few days.  I started Monday morning doing a version of the Master Cleanse, drinking tons of water and herbal tea, and taking a few supplements.  The first two days were no problem at all as far as hunger pains or weakness, but boy did it mess with my run.  On Wednesday my stomach was definitely feeling a lot better (buh-bye bloating), and I was feeling good overall.  Thursday morning, I set out to meet my gorgeous friend Amy to do my scheduled short run.  In the heat.  With no fuel in my body.  We started out strong and made a pit stop at mile 1 for a bathroom break, then at the end of mile 2 I told Amy I was going to have to walk for a bit.  She was sweet enough to walk with me, and after about a third of a mile I felt okay to run again.  We ran about one more mile back to our cars and walked for a few to cool down.  I thought I was going to die.  What in the world was I thinking?!?!?!?!  I tell people all the time about the importance of properly fueling your body for running and working out, but apparently that doesn’t apply to me haha.  I guess I thought since I was feeling okay that my run would be normal.  Wrong.  

Food is fuel


I drove home and juiced an apple, three small cucumbers, and a zucchini (not part of the cleanse, but I needed some nutrients).  It helped tremendously.  I decided that being as active as I was that it wasn’t reasonable to try to do the cleanse without adding some extra nutrients into my body.  I decided that watermelon would be a good food to ease back into a “regular” diet, so I cut a couple of pieces off.  It was the best watermelon in the whole world (or maybe I was just a tiny bit hungry).  I ended up eating about half the watermelon (it was a small seedless one) yesterday.  I also had some squash and zucchini from the garden (which are coming in like crazy, in case you were wondering).

So, the lesson for today is that our body needs fuel to function.  You wouldn’t try to to run your car without gas in it, so why try to push your body without any food in it?  Another lesson – I need to practice what I preach.  Seriously – I can’t believe I thought I would be okay.  Who did I think I was?  Wonder Woman???



From now on, I promise to fuel my body properly.  Speaking of, I need to know some of your favorite pre and post-run eats!  I need ideas for both short runs and long runs.  Help a girl out.

I hope that y’all have a GREAT weekend!  To all the dads out there, have a great father’s day weekend!

much love,


so tell me…

have you ever worked out without properly fueling beforehand?  

tell me those pre and post workout eats!

Training update and running buddies

Hey hey my lovely friends!  I hope that you are enjoying your weekend!  I’m heading off to cheer camp this morning, and I am incredibly excited!!!!!  I know my squad is going to do amazing things this year, and I can’t wait to see how much they learn at camp.

Thursday morning I set off much later than planned on a short run at the park.  I had some coding issues that I couldn’t figure out, and I finally had to put it on hold so I could run before it got way too hot.  I set out around 9 and as soon as I took the first step I knew it was going to be a very warm run.  I did three miles at the park, and when I finished I think I was close to being overheated.  I walked for a bit and doused myself in cold water before walking slowly home.  As soon as I arrived home, I whipped a delicious post-run treat (recipe coming soon!) and then something magical happened…

The UPS guy brought me my new running buddy!


My new shuffle!  I don’t like wearing the band on my arm for my iPod touch (tan lines), and the way I’ve been carrying it lately just isn’t working.  I’ve been putting in between my sports bras (I wear two to run), but it keeps slipping out the bottom so then I carry it in my hand.  Shuffy is the solution to all these problems.  🙂  I’m calling him Shuffy for now, but I would definitely be open to some name suggestions if you have any.  I ran with him yesterday for the first time, and it was amazing.  Actually, the whole run was amazing yesterday!  I took off from house around 7:45 since the temps were much cooler (only 60 degrees when I started and cloudy), and I finished my 5.1 hilly miles in 53:30.  I was pretty happy with my time, but I was ecstatic that I enjoyed the whole run.  I think I was distracted (in a good way) by my new running buddy.  Not Shuffy, but this dog that decided to run with me the whole time.  He didn’t have a collar, and I don’t know where he came from, but he was the best little running partner.  His pace was quite a bit faster than mine (I honestly think a running buddy snail would have faster pace than me, but that’s okay…for now), and he kept looking back at me like, “Are you coming????”  He joined me as I hit about 1.5 and stayed with me until the very end.  I hope he joins me next weekend too!

Oh, and jumping back to the UPS delivery with Shuffy…here are a couple of other goodies that I received.


Coaches oats

Both of these are awesome products, and I can’t wait to share some recipe ideas with you! 

One last random picture from the weekend – Daniel and I went to the Blues Festival downtown and this was my running fuel for yesterday hahaha.  I know these are terrible for you, but there’s something about a carnival/fair style footlong corn dog.  We split this and some bbq nachos and had a great time listening to the live music!

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I hope that you enjoy the rest of your day!  I’ll be chilling with 400 screaming girls.  Much love!

So tell me…

Do you order things online often?  What do you get?  Where do you shop online the most?

What did you do over the weekend?

first little harvest and a workout

Happy Wednesday, people!  Am I the only one off on my days this week?  Long weekends AND being out of school means I have no idea what day it is at all.  I definitely thought yesterday was Monday all day long until it was time for me to figure out where I was teaching zumba last night.  

Since I know y’all want to know what goes on every second of my life, let’s start with Monday afternoon.

On Monday, Daniel and I hung out with my family at my cousin’s pool.  Of course we had to enjoy some delicious food before jumping in and swimming around (no, I didn’t wait 20 minutes or two hours or whatever).  I opted to skip the bun and just have bbq (pulled pork) and my dad’s famous hot slaw.  On the side I had a random combination of homemade cheesy salsa dip and guacamole, edamame, cheese, and a pickle.


As I took this picture, my cousin Jackson kept asking, “Nalale [how the boys say my name – it’s so cute – sounds like nah-la-lee], why you takin’ pictures of your foooooood?”  It was too funny, and I just ended up telling him I did it because I’m a weirdo and like pictures of food AND pictures of my favorite boys!


Before we could let the kiddos head out to the pool, we had some snake business to take care of.  I don’t know about y’all, but we have had more snakes this year than I can ever remember.  The first guy we found was coiled up in the yard, but thankfully he was already dead.  The other guy was in the koi pond and kept moving around under water.  He finally made a mad dash for the woods and got away.  He was almost three feet long!  


After our pool time, we headed back home to check the garden and relax a little bit.  Guess what is coming in!!!!!!!!!!  Squash and zucchini!!!!!  We should have a few ready at the end of this week, but in the next two weeks I think we’ll be picking every single day.  I’m pumped!  I also picked some of my Brussels sprouts on Monday (apparently these are supposed to be planted and harvested wayyyy later than we did – oh well – we’re learning by trial and error here, people).  I hope that my cucumbers and tomatoes start coming in soon!  The rest of Monday night included lots of lounging around, playing with dogs, and some tv.

Hatfields and mccoys history channel miniseries

Anyone else watching this???  It was obviously Daniel’s choice, but now I’m sucked into the story.

Yesterday started out with a humid early-morning run.  I set my alarm for 5:30 (this is NOT what I expected to do on summer break, but oddly enough it didn’t bother me in the least) and I was out the door by six.  Instead of jogging to the park this morning, I decided to take my time and walk.  I ran 2.5 miles at the park and then walked by home just in time to kiss Daniel goodbye on his way to work.  For my post-workout meal I devoured a breakfast cookie made with mashed banana, sun warrior, almond milk, cinnamon, pb2, and a few chocolate chips.  It was incredibly delicious, and it sure didn’t last very long!  After cleaning up, I ran some errands and then came back home for lunch.  I roasted up my freshly picked Brussels sprouts and used them as a salad topper.  This baby has red leaf lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, freshly sliced smoked turkey, pickles (I know, I’m a little strange sometimes), edamame hummus, chia seeds, and a little cottage cheese.  Enjoying my first little harvest from the garden made the salad that much better!  I remembered about midway through my lunch that I meant to put avocado on it, but it was too late then.


After an afternoon of cheer practice and then teaching SHRED, I started planning my workout for this morning.  Since it’s officially swimsuit season, I really want to focus on toning/firming/lifting my booty and my legs.  I found these two awesome Brazilian butt workouts the other night (via Pinterest, of course), and decided to give it a go this morning.  I have a feeling that I’ll definitely be sore!  This workout is on my pinterest workouts board, but since there is picture that could be offensive, I decided to retype it.  Please see the link for the original posting of this workout.



Okay, I have definitely said WAY too much in this post!  I guess since it’s summer now I should go back to daily posts instead of cramming it all in to three posts per week (or maybe I should just talk/write less??).


So tell me…

Are you scared of snakes?  I’m not, but spiders are another whole story!

Have you ever tried the Brazil Butt Lift workouts (from the infomercials)?  I’ve always wanted to!

Recent eats and my first “long” run

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope that you are enjoying a long weekend filled with fun and lots of good food!  Before we get to my first “long” run, I want to share some delicious eats that I’ve recently enjoyed.  First, some fresh crabcakes with roasted squash and zucchini and a baked sweet potato.  This is a very typical meal for us during the week – either chicken, fish, or some type of seafood paired with roasted veggies.  Daniel and I will usually split a sweet potato with a meal like this (even though I could easily put away a whole one on my own).


Then there’s this little beauty.  I like to call this one the banana coconut cake protein smoothie.  You could easily adjust the ingredients to suit your taste, but trust me, it’s good as is!



Banana Coconut Cake Protein Smoothie

*This recipe yields about 24 ounces, so I poured 8 ounces into a small mason jar and saved it for the next day. 

1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (I use Optimum Nutrition Performance Whey Vanille Shake)

1 frozen banana

pinch xanthan gum (this makes it so thick and creamy)


1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla)

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/4 cup low fat unsweetened finely shredded coconut (optional)

2-3 handfuls fresh spinach

1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese (it may have been closer to 1/2 cup, I wasn’t using measuring cups)

1 cup unsweetened almond coconut milk

3-4 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!  This baby was perfect after a hot and sweaty workout!

Now, onto that run I’ve been talking about.  As I’ve said before, I am brand spankin’ new to the world of running.  Last week, I ran about two miles on Tuesday and again on Thursday.  Saturday morning, I got up at 6 to get ready for my first “long” run in my half marathon training program.  I fixed a light breakfast consisting of half a toasted sandwich thin topped with one teaspoon of peanut butter and a little homemade strawberry jam.  I pulled on my shorts and a loose tank and headed out the door about 6:35.  After a 5 minute warmup, I took off on my run.  (I had already mapped out my run on Friday so that I would know my exact mileage.)  I left my street and ran to my parents’ neighborhood and went down every single street then finished up by running to my cousin’s driveway (gotta love living close to so much family!!!).  Man, I didn’t realize how many hills there were in my parents’ subdivision!  I felt like I was constantly running up a low grade incline.  Towards the end of the run, I had about a third of a mile that I got to run downhill.  It was glorious, but then I remembered that the very final piece of my run was one third of a mile up a fairly steep hill.  After jumping over a snake (I ran back to make sure he wasn’t dead – he wasn’t), I was feeling so tired for that last uphill climb.  The thoughts of “man, this is not going to be fun” and “I wish I was finished already” were creeping into my mind, but then something amazing happened.  “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana starting blasting into my ears, and it was the perfect motivation to finish my run strong.  I ran my 4 miles in exactly 40 minutes, so I was happy.  I would like to get faster at some point, but I know that will come with training.  

Even though it was pretty early, I knew my cousin would be up with her kiddos, so I walked up her driveway and she met me at the door.  She was kind enough to let me have a large glass of water AND chocolate milk, and then she even gave me a ride home.  She is too sweet.  When I arrived home, I ate the other half of my sandwich thin and then did about ten minutes of deep stretching and used my special foam roller, aka my rolling pin.  Even though it was a little painful at the time, it paid off because my legs were not sore at all the next day. 

This picture has nothing to do with this post, but it was taken this weekend at my friend Amy’s wedding reception.  It’s my new favorite picture, so I wanted to share it with you. 🙂

I’m off to fix some food for our pool party and cookout with family today!  Even though we are all enjoying the holiday weekend, I hope that everyone takes the time to remember and appreciate all those that served our country in the past, those that gave their lives for our freedom, and those that are currently serving.  


So tell me…

What are some of your best eats lately?

Do you have the day off today?  How are you celebrating?


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