Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I've literally just spent 8.5+ nearly non-stop hours in a desk chair trying to get everything ready before I leave the office tomorrow evening. Tomorrow will be a repeat of today, as true to form, we are slammed this week (after being relatively slow for a while now).

We leave Friday AM, and I haven't packed one. single. bag. I have a tiny pile started and the laundry is done for the most part, but that's about it... granted, this is typical in our house (we always pack late), but anxiety-provoking nonetheless.

I am so exhausted at this point {eating a cup of yogurt, an apple, and the goldfish from your purse for lunch will do that to me...}, but I have endless stuff to do upon arriving at home.

I declare tonight "leftovers/fend-for-yourself" dinner night. Tomorrow will be pizza. Deal with it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lightning FAST!

...Which is, incidentally, not how one would describe me running or cycling ;-) But it does indicate the speed in which I will write/post this (okay, and the speed in which I will inhale my lunch - leftover "burrito" - while I type this post).

Workouts as of late:

This morning - 4ish mile run, no idea of the time. It sucked and I felt out of control the whole time. Plus, my dog is a moron and nearly killed me at least 5 times.

Saturday - 13 mile bike ride at 6:30am. So. Early. But lovely, really. The world is so quiet and peaceful at that time. It felt great to be on the bike, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't miss my Saturday morning run.

I can't remember what I did last week, but I will tell you that there wasn't much running. I think I did one 4-mile run at some point, and I know I went to the gym one morning.

It was a quiet, but beautiful weekend here. We spent a lot of time outside in the beautiful sunshine - I even laid out and got a little color (oh, I know - so bad. But so were my bright white appendeges). Vic did a long 61+ mile bike ride Saturday morning and Valentino rode his bike a lot (he's getting SO good at it!). We were active!

After running errands yesterday morning, Valentino and I had lunch, went to the library, then headed to the pool. This was our first visit this summer, and Valentino had a blast! We hang out in the 10-18" kiddie pool, and he was laying on his stomach kicking and jumping in from the side.

I'm suffering from a bad case of the Mondays today (and it seems that everyone else I come in contact with has the same problem). I'm hoping to double-up on workouts this week as much as I can. We leave for our trip in about 10 days!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve in Raleigh

This family {myself in particular} really enjoys getting out and doing things on the weekend. We try to experience everything that we can - mostly free festivals, inexpensive family outings, and whatever else we can find that entertains us as well as Valentino. I'm going to incorporate a few "reviews" of things that we do.

This past weekend the weather was absolutely, positively GORGEOUS. No humidity, slight breeze, mid-70s. Simply amazing for early June in NC {I told my co-workers that it compared to a nice July day in Buffalo, NY - the only nice thing about B'lo}. On our bike rides, we've passed by Wilkerson Nature Preserve many times, and in keeping with our vow to be healthy and teach healthy behavior to our son, we thought Saturday would be a good day to check it out and take a hike. We had a GREAT time! Valentino loves hiking, and the amenities at this park are perfect for kids!

First, we popped our heads into the Welcome Center to grab a map. As Vic grabbed one and got the low-down on the best trail to take, Valentino and I perused the bookshelves that were full of "nature" items perfect for a kid to explore - molds of animal prints/teeth/eggs/poop, fossils, books, and diagrams. Then, Marty {who, as it turns out, is the manager of the park} informed us that they had trail packs that we can check out. The kid-sized trail packs were donated by REI and contained a bug box, magnifying glass, compass, maps, guides, a journal, and binoculars, and Marty also had a large net that we could use. Valentino's eyes were huge as he was being handed all this stuff - he couldn't wait to get going!

Valentino modeling his pack and net
I'm a sucker for little kids in backpacks!
After applying copious amounts of bug spray {there were "watch for ticks" signs everywhere}, we took off on the "Hidden Rocks" trail. It took us through the woods, past some huge boulders:

Vic and Valentino on top of the "Hidden Rocks"
In all, the hike was just about 1.5 miles, which was plenty for Valentino. I highly recommend long pants - we pulled several ticks off our legs {thankfully, none had latched on} - or lots of bug spray w/DEET and vigilant awareness of what's on your legs.

Ranger Valentino, scoping out the route
We will definitely be returning to the park for future hikes! The easy terrain, relatively "short" paths, and amenities from the Welcome Center make this an absolute must-do for any family who enjoys the outdoors! I can't recommend this park enough!

COST: Free

BRING: Bug spray, water, snacks/picnic {there's a picnic shelter}, camera, kite if it's windy {although they have some to borrow as well}, well-behaved dog
Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve is located at 11408 Raven Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27614

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June Goals {a little late}

I ran after work today and I don't know why, but I am seriously wiped out now! I did my usual 4 miles around the lake, but the effort was really hard and I felt sloppy. I'll blame it on being P -5 days ;-)

Workouts since my last post:

Sunday: 14 mile bike ride with Vic pulling Valentino in the trailer {it was mostly leisurely, but a nice calorie burn nonetheless!}
He's grown a bit since the first time we put him in there!
{Take note of the lunchbox full of snacks - of course, we never leave the house w/o  it!}
Today: 4 mile crappy run

I'm planning on hitting the gym tomorrow morning then squeezing in a bike ride after work. Burn baby, BURN!

Amazingly, June has started - I cannot believe summer is in full swing already! I absolutely love summer and I have a feeling this will be the best summer yet!

Time for June's Goals:

1. Lose at least 10lbs. Ultimately, I need to lose at least 20lbs to be close to my "ideal" weight. That being said, this goal will continue to stay near the top of my goal list until it's been acheived completely! I'd love to exceed the 10lb mark in June, especially with vacation and beach trips coming up {in addition to our *hopefully* big plans in July!}

2. Cut the junk. Vic and I are working together to eat healthier and to be more mindful of what we eat. We're going to keep junk food and soda out of the house, and only allow them every once in a while when we're out. So far, so good :-)

3. Fill the frames/get working on our family photo album. I started our gallery wall back in, oh... January? Several of the frames are empty or have temporary pictures in them. I need to get on Snapfish and order some prints to fill the frames, but I keep putting it off.  I also need to get to work on the MyPublisher photobook that I have a LivingSocial coupon for.

4. Have a great vacation! It's going to be interesting - between a long road trip {12 hours} and my unpredictable-ish family - but I know we're going to make the best of it. I'm hoping that the weather is nice and we can visit Frankenmuth {a German-themed city} while we're there, as well as check out some of the other local attractions {zoo? Kensington? something great I don't even know about?}
From our last visit to Frankenmuth in December 2008. It was seriously cold and drizzly/snowy, but we had fun
{Sidenote: my legs look [were] so much skinnier then!}

I look creepy, but German, right? And 4 years younger, of course.
Let's hope I can improve upon my goal failure rate from May!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

May Goal Re-cap/Life update extravaganza!

I know you've all been dying for an update on my super-exciting life ;-)

I'll start by stating that I've decided not to run the 1/2 marathon tomorrow morning, and it's not for a lack of training or desire to do. Basically, it boils down to not wanting to spend the money for the entry fee when we've got a trip at the end of the month to pay for {on top of a car to maintain, a dog to take to the vet, etc.}. It just didn't seem like a wise financial choice. Also, I didn't like the fact that this particular race didn't donate to a specific charity, nor did all runners receive a medal! I want a medal for my first race, darn it! I'm still doing my training though, and I do plan on participating in a half marathon sometime this summer/fall.

Workouts for the week:

Saturday morning - 8 mile run
Monday morning - "strongest man" workout
Wednesday morning - 20 minutes stair stepper/12 minutes elliptical
Wednesday evening - "strongest man" workout

I ran 6 miles this morning, plus we went on ~1.5 mile hike today. I'm planning on riding my bike tomorrow morning. In fact, my plan is to ride my bike a lot more now that I'm not actively training for the 1/2, though I will definitely be keeping up with longish-distance runs.

I cannot believe that May is already over. Time to recap my May Goals:

 1. Stick to my training plan. SUCCESS! Aside from the planned 10-mile ride last Saturday {I dropped it after realizing that I wasn't going to do the 1/2, plus I got a late start and was very sore from early-week workouts}, I kept to at least 2 short distance {at least 4mi} runs during the week and a long run on Saturday mornings. It felt GREAT!

2. Lose at least 10 lbs. MOSTLY FAIL. I lost about 5 lbs, although we just got a new scale yesterday which weighs in 7 pounds heavier than the one I was using {talk about a blow to the ego!}. I need to start hardcore counting calories and sticking to my mindful eating plan better.

3. Complete the Photo-a-day Challenge. FAIL. I fell off before the first week.

4. Plan a cookout at our house! FAIL. Well, unless you consider an impromptu Memorial Day cookout with our neighbors and their kids.

So all in all, I didn't do so hot with those goals. However, the first two were most important to me, and I mostly succeed at them, so I'm good with that.
Four things I love about this week:

1. Long weekend/Short work-week. We didn't do much for Memorial Day (hung around the house and with our neighbors), but it was glorious. The weather was so nice and having an extra day off from work was well-deserved.

2. Having an inquisitive child. Valentino has been asking questions about everything. "How do the clouds get full of water {and cause rain}?" "How did someone get up there {on the water tower} to do that {graffiti}?" "How do binoculars work?"

He loves his binoculars! They were his Nonno's
3. Being busy at work! Call me crazy, but even though it was nuts for me at work this week, I was sort of enjoying it. Each day seemed to fly by!

4. Fresh fruit. I loaded up on watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries when I went grocery shopping. We've been enjoying all our favorite fresh fruit all week long. Can't wait for those summertime Carolina peaches - they are like candy! SO sweet and delicious!

We had a great day today, and I hope to be back early next week with a weekend update and June's goals.