Can you believe February is over?
I realize that things have been a little quiet on the blog as of late, but I can assure you that I’ve been running, eating delicious things, spilling stuff on myself and being a weirdo, per usual.
I’ve spent the last two weeks doing some major race planning items. I had a planning meeting last Friday and pestered a bunch of local businesses whenever I had any free time…Seriously, I glanced at the list I have and it appears that we have already contacted over 130 businesses…. not too shabby for January and February!
I also got the official word that Clif will be sending us some sample size bars for the race! That will be in addition to a ton of other goodies we’ll be getting…. I’m so excited about this, I can barely handle it!
In other news, I am absolutely loving my new running shoes. I’m sad because they’ve gotten a little dirty with all of the mud/rain we’ve had….but it’s fine. They’ve even helped motivate me to go out and run on my lunch break a few days last week.
Wednesday, I talked Farmer Ben into meeting me for a lunch run (on his day off), even though it was so cold that my face hurt and we could barely breathe! We only ended up doing a little over two miles but it was well worth it.
As we started running, he looked over at me and said, “Noelle, you are my ONLY motivation for being out here right now.”
That comment had me smiling for the rest of the run and the rest of the day!
I know he was trying to be funny… but, seriously? Swoon! I love that guy!
It got me thinking about what my motivation is. I’ve discussed this before, so I won’t go into great detail, but I’d love to hear what motivates you…especially on your “I don’t want to do this!” days.
So, let’s discuss, what is YOUR motivation for getting out and running…even when it’s so cold that it makes your face hurt?
I told you about the Run to Chocolate in Fairfax, VT…but you may have noticed that I said we did TWO races last weekend!
Frostbite 5k-Rouses Point, NY
After our trip across the lake, we were ready to take on a windy 5k on Sunday. We woke up bright and early last Sunday morning to attend prayer at our church and ate a delicious breakfast of roast beef hash and eggs (thank you, Farmer Ben!).
Then we relaxed for a few hours before heading north to Rouses Point, NY. Sunday was much colder than Saturday and it was WINDY, especially because this little town is right on the lake…and next to Canada.
We hooked up with our friend Preston and his two little ones for the race. Preston took his 1 year old in the stroller and his 8 year old ran the race—his first 5k!
We got there to register about 40 minutes before start time and I was lucky to be able to chat with my friend Gerry (who was a HUGE help at Strides for James last year). He even took some time and explained the course to me. We hung out inside the fire station and made small talk with other runners. I even got to chat with some reps from the Fleet Feet across the lake.
Of course the women’s bathroom was non-functional, so the line for the men’s room was pretty long…and I had to pee 1234234534 times before the race started (does anyone else have that problem? I don’t know what it is but as soon as my body knows that I’m racing it starts to revolt!)
I was a little nervous because we were running around town so there were a lot of turns, luckily there were cones and volunteers at just about every turn, so any confusion was almost non-existent. It was a little slippery, but it was nothing compared to the conditions we ran in the day before.
This was another low-key race, we lined up at the start and as we took off, I could hear people around me chatting and laughing—always a good sign! I wasn’t planning on going super-fast, as we had raced the day before, but I also wanted to keep a pretty consistent pace.
As I mentioned above, we were running through the town, near the elementary school, a local company, and by the water tower. Luckily the sun was shining and I ended up peeling off my heavy sweatshirt and tying it around my waist about 1 mile in. It was pretty windy, but the sun kept it comfortable. Of course, I didn’t run with a watch, so I have no idea what my splits were, but I ended up finishing at 29:01, which, is just about the same pace as I had run the previous day.
I was super happy to see Ben waiting for me at the finish line (probably my favorite part of the race). He finished in 27:04…speedy! After I crossed the finish line, we jogged back to look for Preston and Jared (his 8-year-old). We saw Preston first, rounding the last corner but I decided to keep going to look for Jared…Farmer Ben walked behind me.
After jogging back through the course, I finally found him, looking pretty tired and walking along with two women. He saw me and brightened up a little bit, showed me that he had scraped his hand after taking a spill and then started to slowly jog again.
I told him we were almost finished and that seemed to brighten his spirits, his face lit up as he saw his dad and Ben coming with the stroller and he sprinted to them…forgetting he still had a little ways to go.
We cheered Jared on as he got closer to the finish and reminded him to run as fast as he could through the finish line!
He was super happy to be finished and we were all pretty proud of him for finishing his first 5k (with no training). He ended up getting a blue ribbon for being the first and only boy in his age group. How exciting is that?
Farmer Ben and I both placed 5th in our respective age groups and we all got a pretty nice fleece hat and $10 Fleet Feet gift certificates out of the deal. Overall it was definitely a win and I am looking forward to doing this race again next year.
I’ve never been much of a winter racer! But I am definitely seeing the appeal… I’m a big fan of low-key, local races!
So there you have it, race number two of my 14 in 2014!
Let’s chat, favorite winter race? Favorite Race Swag?
Happy Monday Friends!
How was your weekend? Mine was pretty spectacular. Not only did I get to spend some quality time with the hubby, but we also knocked off two races this weekend!
Friday night was spent hanging out with the teens in our youth group. P.S.: I’m starting to feel really old when I make movie/music references and they have zero idea what I am talking about….sigh… but other than that, we had a good time.
Run to Chocolate (2 Miles):
On Saturday, Farmer Ben and I got up early, layered up, packed a bag with extra clothes and headed across the lake.
After we got off the ferry, we stopped at Wally’s Bagels for breakfast and coffee. If you’ve never been, check them out. Best. Bagels. Ever. I went with egg and spicy cheddar on a rosemary olive oil bagel.
Once we had our bagels, we jumped on the highway and headed north to Fairfax, Vermont. It actually wasn’t too long of a trip. Even better, I can finally say that I have driven on a covered bridge…unfortunately, I forgot to document this with a photo.
The hubby and I got to the school where the race was held about 40 minutes before starting time. Luckily, it was a pretty low-key event, so we had plenty of time to register, stretch and stay in the warm gym.
We lucked out with the weather, it was a beautiful, sunny day… but the course was snow-covered and slippery. It was an out and back on a dead end road, complete with a nice uphill toward the end… coming back through the school parking lot for the finish was a little tricky, so I didn’t have my usual kick. Farmer Ben ran the race in 17:34 and I finished at 18:44, not too shabby for the conditions.
After the race, we walked back into the gym to find tables of chocolate. There were chocolate bars, truffles, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, hot chocolate and a chocolate fountain. The chocolate bars, truffles and fountain were all local. Heck yes! We even scored a few Fleet Feet $10 certificates… not too shabby for a $10 registration fee!
Farmer Ben and I got some hot chocolate and brownies and grabbed some of the other chocolate goodness for later. We ended up chatting with two women from Hardwick, VT and even talked them in to coming across the lake for Strides for James!
After the race, we headed to Fleet Feet so I could pick up a new pair of running shoes. The staff sized me, did a gait analysis and then had me try on a few pairs of shoes and watched me run on the treadmill. I ended up getting the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10….with $35 off.
Then, we went to Chipotle. And we had a gift card.
After Chipotle we headed to downtown Burlington and meandered around Church Street.
We ended up going to the Saratoga Olive Oil Company and came out with 4 bottles…1 was free!
I guess you could say Saturday was the day of the discount!
Overall it was a great day off and it was so fun to race with the hubby!
How was your weekend? Did you race? Would you run for chocolate?!
I don’t know about you, but I am getting sick of this snow! Getting to work was a bit rough this morning (luckily Farmer Ben drove me).
Life has been crazy and I’ve been a bad blogger-my apologies!
In other news, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Doing anything special? We don’t normally do much, but I couldn’t resist doing something cheesy….So, I sent the hubby a meatball pizza at work….meatballs in a heart shape.
He loved it! I’m so glad, because he’s pretty great… and he got to share the love with his coworkers!
That’s all for today… Have a great weekend!
Best Valentine you’ve given? Received?!
Hi friends! Happy Friday!
It’s that time of month: Foodie Penpal Reveal day! For more info on the FPP program and to view other posts for this month, click here.
This month, I had the pleasure of being matched up with Raina at The Home Plate. She lives in Tennessee, so I sent her some local favorites including maple syrup (obviously) and Michigan seasoning. We had a great time exchanging emails and getting to know each other and we seem to have pretty similar food tastes. Win! You can see Raina’s post here.
Anyway, Raina sent me an awesome package.
She sent me all the makings for apricot chicken including chicken broth, apricots, rice, olive oil, spices Tabasco (yay!) and a great recipe!
How neat is that?
She also sent some amazing chocolate mint cookies which were devoured within two days.
I have to say, this is going to be a tough month to beat. Thanks again Raina!
Have a great weekend, friends!
I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am that today is Friday…. even though I got suckered into working at job number 2 tomorrow night with the dreaded stairs (my calves are going to be ten times bigger than they already are in a couple of weeks!). This week took a lot out of me and I so looking forward to sleeping past 7:00 am. Isn’t that such a glorious feeling?
Anyway, here are five random facts for your reading pleasure:
1. Strides for James is taking over my life… and I am kind of okay with that… I’ve mentioned it before, but this is something very close to my heart and it’s a great way to give back to the community. I’m also super excited because we are getting a post-race chocolate milk donation. For the win!!!
2.I’m wondering if there is any topic that you’d like to see more of/featured more in-depth on Noelle’s Notebook… I have this slightly-larger-than-the-blog project (idea) that I’m kicking around…but I want to know that it’ll be something people are interested in. So, any input is totally welcome! Help a girl out!
2a. To go along with said project, I want to do an “ask me anything” post/series (depending on how many questions I get).
So, if you could do me a huge favor and asking me ANY of your burning questions in the comments below, I’d be forever grateful, and will be answering all questions next week. Many thanks!
3. I am STILL doing my planks and push-ups every day… I think this is the longest/most consistent I’ve ever been with sticking to one of these challenges. It makes me feel so accomplished and I can see a little more definition!
4. I don’t remember what it’s like to have long hair. In related news, I recently had a co-worker tell me he doesn’t remember me with long hair either (who has worked with me for the last 3+ years)… so I dug up this photo….
Weird. Weird. Weird. Long or short?
5. Current Guilty Pleasure: Rum Caramel Chocolate bar from Lake Champlain chocolates… our co-op always stocks Lake Champlain chocolate but they never seem to have this kind. I hit the jackpot the other day while shopping for my foodie penpal… I sent her one and took one home to share with Farmer Ben…and I’ll probably be going back to check and see if they have more. Pricey but so worth it.
6. Bonus Fact. I got an email from a friend today with this verse and I just had to share it with you all…food for thought:
“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” -Luke 12:48, NIV
Now it’s your turn: Current guilty pleasures? Long hair or short?
Don’t forget to ask me anything!
Can we have a real, honest-to-goodness conversation? I need to unload a bit…there are a lot of thoughts roaming around in my brain!
I am a big ball of nerves and randomness lately…not sure if you’ve picked up on this or not. But, as strange as it sounds, I feel more focused and clear-headed than I have in months. It’s strange; I’m all over the place, yet… I have it together (in my head anyway). Does that make any sense? Have you ever felt like that? I just feel like something big is coming… what it is, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s something important!
I’m looking forward, hopeful…but I’m also enjoying the present (mostly). This is something that I’ve always struggled with and this feeling of hope and moving forward is relatively new—and exciting! I’m ready to challenge myself and to do bigger things than I think are possible…it’s scary territory but I am finding it’s exciting and helps me push past those feelings of uncertainty.
I try to keep this relatively light-hearted on the blog… I also don’t hide my faith, but I don’t discuss it very often in this space. However, I feel like we know each other well enough that I can be truthful and open. I’ve wanted to tell this story for some time but I wasn’t sure if the time was right… today feels like the right day to take a chance and to make a confession.
The winter months are typically very difficult for me. I struggle.
I have a hard time being my best self in the winter. I don’t know how else to explain it and I never understood it in my younger years, it was just something I dealt with…I still don’t completely understand it and I still “just deal” with it.
When I was a kid, I’d push my feelings down and focus on something else… then I would eventually have a melt-down and repeat. Not the best way to deal with things, but it got me through.
As I got older, I had a harder time dealing and pushing my feelings away. I would go to work every day, but on weekends I would hide away, not changing out of my pajamas and just trying to block the world out. Or I would cling to other people, other things, put all of my hope on them for my happiness and self-worth, which automatically set them (and me) up for failure. I never talked about my struggle.
I vividly remember a conversation with someone close to me during a particularly bad year. I was having more frequent meltdowns because I couldn’t find a good distraction and things were falling apart before my eyes, I couldn’t deny it much longer. We were having an argument and he looked at me and said “Why can’t you just be happy?”
I was stunned. And I couldn’t answer, so I did what I always did; ended the conversation and cried myself to sleep that night.
I had asked myself the same question several times but I had never uttered it out loud… I would make up excuses and just tell myself that I wasn’t happy…yet. That it wasn’t my fault. But even though the same question had always tugged at my heart, no one had ever asked me that out loud… and it hurt. It made me feel like a freak…a failure.
Even though I never answered him and that person is no longer in my life, that question has haunted me. (Looking back, I realize how completely insensitive that question was…but he had every right to ask it, even if I couldn’t answer it.)
I blamed my failure at happiness for making my life fall apart (this happened a few months after that conversation). I took all of the blame; it was all my fault because I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t attractive enough, my job wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t HAPPY enough. I was messed up. Looking back, I realize that this is all bull shit (pardon my French). Yes, I did some stupid, terrible things, but sometimes things happen that are out of our control. And it’s never entirely one person’s fault.
It was a God thing… I needed to be broken so I could be made stronger. And I’ve never been more grateful for a series of events.
In a recent conversation with a good friend, this time in my life came up and she asked if I was truly “over it.” Answering as honestly as I could, I said, “Yes. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t get upset thinking about certain things, but I have no ill will. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t still painful to think about at times, but it’s because I didn’t like the person I was then. And thinking about that former self is difficult.”
A lot has changed in the years that have passed since that question was spoken into existence.
I’ve regained my faith as a direct result of things falling apart. It’s incredibly freeing to know that no matter how much I mess up, God is there. That He will take care of anything I give to him, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Yes, I still have responsibility, but He’s behind me.
I still struggle with “just being happy,” especially in the winter months, but I’ve been blessed with an incredible support system that gets it and the ability to find joy in the small things. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get down and I don’t get depressed…however, I don’t pin all my hopes and future happiness on other people and events…that’s just not realistic. But I do things that make me happy and I try not to over-obsess about the negative. And I try to be a better person and to help others.
If I’m having an off day, I admit it. Embrace it. And I talk about it… then I try to find the good and move on. Some days, this a lot harder than others.
In recent years, people ask me a completely new question and it always catches me off guard: Why/how am I “always so happy?” Quite a change, right? The answer is simple; I’m not. But, I don’t let my off days consume me as they once did.
In my slightly older/not-that-much-wiser years, I’ve discovered there are things that help me.
The number one thing is my faith, the second thing is my incredibly understanding and hilarious husband, Farmer Ben.
Running helps. A lot of people assume that I run because I want to get/stay in shape. That’s not the reason (most of the time). I run because it reminds me that I can survive and that I can persevere. It makes me feel strong and brings me a joy that I can’t completely explain. It’s also my time to talk to God. Running helps me get out of my head, get out my frustrations and my fears and just helps me … to be.
Speaking of talking to God, prayer. I’ve been a “re-Christian” for almost five years and sometimes I still have a hard time with prayer, especially praying in front of other people…but I’m finding that practice makes perfect and HE can do amazing things.
Another thing I’ve found is reading my Bible helps. I’ve always been bad about reading, but this year I am making a concentrated effort at making this a daily habit. It’s amazing what you find reading through this book. David, for example, was a man after God’s own heart. Yet, he STRUGGLED. He faced so many challenges; including someone trying to kill him… and he also struggled with “just being happy.” The first time I really read Psalms and paid attention, I was overwhelmed….speechless.
I had a lot of hard lessons to learn before I could “just be happy” and I probably still do. I suffered a lot of heartache and setbacks, but it forced me to take responsibility, to take a long look at myself and it made me move forward. Again, I’m far from perfect, but I’ve I feel like I am finally there–or at least a lot closer–even with my off days and my struggles…I’m in a good place and I’ve been incredibly blessed. Great things are happening, and there’s a plan for me (and you!) in spite of those times when I don’t feel like my best self.
Why can’t YOU just be happy?