Running for a Cause

Several of my friends & family (and, you!) asked me if I was going to keep running after I ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October.
(You can read about my race experience HERE)

I started training for that 1/2 marathon in July.....after a 10 year running hiatus.
You see, I used to run all the time. I was a runner (and soccer player) in high school and college.
After I graduated college, I kept running. 
Kevin and I ran together almost everyday after work when we first became friends & then started to date.  He actually proposed to me when we were on a run...up in the hills. 
Running was a big part of my life.
Then in 2005, we decided to start trying for a family.
Summer of 2005 was the last time I ran.
I got pregnant in September 2005 and then had a miscarriage at 10 weeks in October 2005. 
I was in a funk for several months & then in May 2006 I found out I was pregnant with Kate.
Even after my pregnancy with Kate I didn't start running. 
Then when Kate was 11 months old, I became pregnant with Claire.
These were my excuses:
"I'm nursing....it will hurt to run with all that milk in the ladies"
 "I'm too tired"
"I don't have enough time"
"I'm too out of shape"
"I don't want to"

Kevin would beg for me to run, when we moved into our current house, it backs up to a running trail. I promised him we would start running together.
I broke my promise....I kept making excuse after excuse on why I couldn't run. 
Again, these were my excuses:
 "I'm too tired"
"I don't have enough time"
"The jogging stroller is too heavy to run with"
"I'm too out of shape"

Again, these were all excuses & lies that I was telling myself.
I did have the time, I just wasn't making it a priority to work out & run.

But, the real reason I wasn't running was because of 2 things:

I had too much Pride to start running again because I knew that I wasn't the runner that I used to be. When I was in my teens & early 20's I was a really fast runner. 
(I still hold a school record in track at my high school) 
I had too much pride to start running again because I knew that I wasn't going to be as fast as I used to be. 

It was also Fear. 
I was scared to start running again because I know how much it hurts to start from scratch.
You are so sore those first few weeks back.
I was fearful of the pain & also fearful that I would be slow.
I knew that taking years of running off, plus having 3 kids & now being in my 30's would mean that I would be slower. 

It was pride & fear getting in the way of starting to run again. 

Thankfully, I FINALLY pushed that aside when my friends Jackie & Steph asked me to sign up for the Nike Women's 1/2 marathon. I actually laughed when they asked me & said "No Way"
Then I realized it was a lottery to get in, so even if I signed up with them, we might not get in. 
I decided to humor them & agreed to sign up for the lottery with them.
Imagine my shock when we got in. 

 We got in for a reason, so I needed to suck it up, swallow my pride & fear and start running again.
So on July 16th, I started running again.
The first couple of weeks running were pretty brutal.
I was sore & I was winded.
I was SO out of shape.
But, I kept running.
As the weeks of training turned into months of training, it became easier & easier to run.
I was enjoying it and I felt stronger and fitter.
I couldn't believe I wasted 10 years of NOT running.

When October 18 arrived & it was time for the Half Marathon, I was ready, I had trained hard for 3 months.  The race was hard, but amazing...lots of hills. But, when I crossed the finish line, I had tears in my eyes...I had done it. I ran a half marathon. It was a great feeling.

After the 1/2 marathon I didn't run for 2 weeks because I hurt my left knee at mile 11...it was all downhill. Those 2 weeks that I took off, I was missing running! I couldn't wait to start running again.
It made me realize what a waste those past 10 years had been...I could have been running for 10 years, but instead I made excuse after excuse.

It made me realize that I didn't want to make excuses any more.
So,  a few weeks ago when my older sister asked me to join Team World Vision and run another 1/2 marathon in December, I knew I couldn't say No.

My sister Elyse has been running with Team World Vision for several years.
World Vision is a non profit organization and Team World Vision is a team of runners & a community of people helping each other get to the finish line while changing lives around the world.
My sister has done many races with Team World Vision, including the Chicago Marathon in October.

I always donate to her runs, but now I joining her and running the Walnut Creek 1/2 Marathon on December 12th with Team World Vision.

My goal is to raise $1310, which is $100 for every mile I run...13.1 miles.
A $50 donation will provide clean water for LIFE for 1 person.

Water changes the lives of children in Africa.
They have better health, improved nutrition, and can go to school instead of spending the day fetching water. Through World Vision’s comprehensive and sustainable water projects across Africa, $50 will provide clean water for one person for a lifetime.
If you can't donate $50, any amount helps....$5, $10, $15, $20, $25, etc.
Would you be willing to give up your Starbucks money one day and donate $5 to my run?
All donations are tax deductible.

You can donate {HERE} on my fundraising page.

In October I ran my first 1/2 marathon for myself, but on December 12th, I am running for something bigger & better than myself.
 I am running for a cause.
I am running for those who can't run & for those who don't have access to water.
I am running for others. I am running for water. I am running for life.


Bacon Wrapped Dates

Tis the Season for Holiday Parties.
I don't know about you, but we have several holiday parties that we are going to between now & Christmas.  
I always offer to bring something to parties we are invited to, and often times I bring either an appetizer or dessert. 
This is one of my go-to's!
Need a SUPER easy appetizer?
Look no further!
 You just need 2 ingredients!
 Bacon & Dates
I use Hormel Bacon (thick or thin)
I use pitted dates (so I don't have to cut the pit out!)

Cut your bacon slices in half:
 Wrap the 1/2 slice around the date & secure with a toothpick.
 Place on baking sheet:
 Bake at 400 for 10 minutes:
 After 10 minutes, take out of oven & turn over.
 Bake another 10 minutes.
 Place on a paper towel to soak up the bacon grease.
 Let cool for 5 minutes & they are ready to serve!
These are a perfect little appetizer to have a parties because they are so easy to make & eat...just pop them in your mouth & it's an explosion of flavor!
They take less than 5 minutes to prepare (and 20 minutes to bake) if you need a last minute appetizer, these Bacon Wrapped Dates are where it's at!
They will be gone so fast...they are a real crowd pleaser.
What's not to like?
Bacon? Good.
Dates? Good.

Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger

Disclosure: This post was written as part of my participation in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger Program. While Hormel Foods provides me material and necessary resources to complete various activities, the thoughts and statements in this post are my own.


And, I am LOVING all your comments on my Regional Differences post {HERE}
I am working on my replies back to you.
I love how different & diverse our country is. 
Kevin and I are both born & raised in California, so we are having fun learning about different foods we have across the US that we have never heard of... Runza? Jello Salads? Whiz? 
Some of you mentioned Fried Pickles....I have never had them...but now I can't stop thinking about them...I need them!!!!! They sound amazing!
And, some asked about California stereo types...No...we don't all surf!
We do have some celebrities in our town (but they mostly live in Southern California.) We also have some famous Bay Area professional sports players live in our town.
Another fun thing about California that is unique is that because of our warmer climate, we have Farmers Markets year round. That means we can get fresh fruits & veggies all year long, which is something I take for granted! One of Kevin's co workers grew up in Boston and one of the things he loves most is all the fresh produce year round!

Have a great weekend!


Let's Talk about Regional Differences!

I saw this clip on You Tube last week about West Coasters trying food from Minnesota and it got me thinking about how different the regions in the US are!

I was born in California & have lived here my whole life (expect for 4 years in college when I went to the University of Colorado) Colorado is still the west coast & it didn't feel like culture shock when I went to college there....probably because it has a similar vibe to California (just colder!) and a lot of people from California have moved to Colorado.

Anyways...I digress....back to the video I watched.

It made me start thinking about how even though we all live in the US, things are very different depending on what region you live in. 
Food that we eat, traditions, clothing & the way we talk can be SO different!

So many of YOU are from different parts of our country...the Midwest, the South, the East Coast, etc.
I thought it would be fun to talk about some of these differences!

In the video about Minnesota, I had not heard of ANY of those foods that they tried. Not one!

What foods are specialized to your region?
If you have read my blog for awhile you know that I LOVE Cracker Barrel!
We don't have them in California, so whenever we travel to the South, I make sure we eat there at least once!
Here in California we don't have Sweet Tea...we have "normal" iced tea, it has no sugar, so if you want it sweetened, you have to add sugar packets to it.

You can't really find fried food here either. Everything is grilled. I've never had fried chicken expect for in the South.

Also, Okra? I guess that's a vegetable? I've never had it & I've never seen it at the grocery store. 
Is it a Southern thing?
 I had to google it to see what it looked like.

I had also never heard of Boiled Peanuts until last summer. One of my neighbors grew up in South Carolina, so he made boiled peanuts one day, so we all tried them. So salty!
None of us had had them before! I didn't even know there was such a thing.

What do you call soda?
Pop? Coke? 
In California, you call soda, soda. Or you say exactly what type of soda...Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Root Beer, etc.

 What do you call dinner?
We call it Dinner. Do you call it supper? 

I call a freeway a freeway, not a highway or interstate.
I call a sandwich a sandwich, not a sub or a hoagie.

We don't say y'all here in California...we say "You guys"

I also wonder about if decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving is also a regional thing.
Here in California, I don't know of anyone who decorates for Christmas before Thanksgiving, even in our town/neighborhood, only 1 or 2 people put up Christmas lights before Thanksgiving.
But, maybe that is a California thing? 
In your town/state is it common to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving?
Totally curious if it is a regional thing or not!
Don't worry I won't judge..... I am a firm No Christmas before Thanksgiving person, but I won't go there.....today :)
I am truly curious if that is a Regional thing also...maybe in other parts of the country people put up Christmas early because it is so cold & snowy already? We don't have that in California...again not looking to debate, just curious!

I know that clothing is different in other regions also.
On other people's blogs & Instgrams I notice that their kids wear smocking dresses.

I think they are adorable, but I have never once seen a girl wear smocking dress here in California.
And, what are those romper things that little boys wear? Again, I have never seen a baby boy or toddler boy wear one of those (what are they called?!?!) 

Same with monograms, no one really wears monograms in California.
Same with bows in girls hair...girls wear little bows or headbands with little bows, not big bows.

So, if you are reading....where do you live?
What are some things unique to your state/region?
I would love to hear about it!


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