Monday, November 13, 2017

Monumental Marathon 2017.


I did it! I finished my half marathon two weeks ago!

  To be really honest, my only goals for the race was to finish and raise at least $50 for World Vision. To physically get my body across the finish line. Anything more than that would be a bonus. So, imagine my surprise when the entire thing ended up being a ton of fun and not nearly as difficult as I had built it up to be in my head! I ran the entire thing, didn't have any pain, and didn't feel as if I had to "muscle through" any parts of it.

  To clarify, I'm a super average person. I have an average fitness level, I'm not really competitive, I'm a slow runner, and I don't really love doing hard things. I know that literally thousands of people run half marathons all the time and its not a challenge for them. I don't fall into that camp. When I set this goal back in May, it was actually a big goal for me. One I knew I'd have to work pretty hard for.

  The training leading up to the race was one million times more challenging for me than the actual race. Maybe everyone feels that way? I had some longer runs that were just really hard and some physical things pop up that made me anxious about upping my miles. Mentally, it took time to not psych myself out about distance and endurance. I think that's why, on race day, I was so surprised to find that the actual race was fun and easy! All my training added up and paid off and had truly prepared me.

Duh. I know that's common sense and why we train for things, blah blah blah. Its one thing to know that and another to experience it!

Long story short, I loved running 13.1 miles. I want to do it again next fall! Running with World Vision and helping to raise $600,000 with my teammates was the best decision I made in all of my training. I was super slow (full marathoners finished before me!), and didn't care at all. I was ready to get up and run the next day! Setting hard goals and achieving them is such a good feeling.

If you're a super normal person like me and want to train for your first half marathon, here are my tips:

  • Use this training series and build in a few 'grace' weeks (that is, start the program a few weeks early so if anything comes up, you have time to catch up before your race)
  • Get the right shoes. They'll cost a lot of money, but they are absolutely worth it.
  • Find a few people who are excited and will talk about your training with you. Maybe they'll even run with you!
  • Have a bigger purpose. Running with World Vision to help bring clean water to people in Africa absolutely gave me a purpose in the entire thing- especially when things got hard and I wanted to quit.
  • Try a new podcast on your long run. I was super surprised to find that a couple new true crime podcasts made my 9-10 milers FLY by!
  • Do it. Set a big/hard goal and just do it. 
Ps. You can still donate to my World Vision page here


Friday, October 6, 2017

Weekly Top 5 | v.4

 I'm all sorts of ready for the weekend and that is mostly because I was off in lots of ways this week. It's crazy what a few days of getting off track (going to bed too late, not eating well, etc) can do to all the things. I am a bit behind in my training schedule and I've basically thought it was Thursday since Monday. Oy. I'm planning to get a 9 miler in on Sunday and am trying real hard not to psych myself out before then or give in to one of a dozen excuses to skip it. I have to do it!

  It seems impossible that its already October, but I love it! We're doing all the fall things, including making our first batch of chili tonight. I'm leaving Justin with the boys tomorrow to do some work with my sister, but we have a day date planned for next weekend and I can't wait. Have I mentioned that day dates are our new favorite thing?

  Here's some weekend reading for you:

Southern Spice Hash Browns & Apple Bars. For whatever reason, I've spend more time in the kitchen over the last few weeks than I did all summer. I stumbled on this new (to me) hash brown casserole recipe and its amazing. One of those that I actually wrote down on a recipe card and put in my recipe box so I don't lose it! I've already made it three times this month for different things (bible study, new baby meal, for our family). Another recipe I can't stop making this month? My mom's apple bars. So. Good.

So Yummy.  Have you seen this instagram account? I've seriously cut down the number of people I follow on there and am really picky now about what I fill my feed with. But this account is just fun! They have short, simple videos of creative things to make in the kitchen. I'm obsessed with the halloween treats they shared this week! (and I'm not the only one that loves them...they have 4.9 MILLION followers!!!)

Last 90 Days Challenge. Did you know there are less than 90 days left in 2017? One of my favorites, Rachel Hollis, is doing a challenge to end the year well. With the busyness of Fall and the holidays, its the most popular time of year to let things slide or get off track (whatever track you might be on). Her tips are pretty lighthearted and fun, but also add up to just getting good things done and ending the year strong! Its already been a big encourager for me to keep up with training, building my Noonday Collection business, and maintaining my trek through the Bible this year.

The coziest pullover. It's absolutely not in the budget right now, but I'm obsessed with this pullover. It totally meets my 'neutrals only' tendency with clothes and I love the subtle verse written in script. Gah. Someone buy it and tell me how cozy it is! (This Tami Taylor top is equally as amazing)

YNAB. I'm probably super late to this, but has anyone else tried the You Need A Budget app/software? I did a ton of research and it seems to be, hands down, the best budgeting tool. I've just started using it and have so much to learn before I have it figured out, but its SO much better than Mint (which is the only app we've used for budgeting). And of course I heard about it on the Young House Love episode this week, because all good things come from John and Sherry! (you can google and find lots of referrals to get a free 90 day trial)

Happy weekending!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

5 houseplants for anyone.

  I'm a sucker for houseplants, and I know that makes me sound trendy. But before you assume that, know that I grew a houseplant in 3rd grade for 4-H that I'm 80% sure is still alive and thriving at my parent's house. Basically, I've been a nerdy houseplanter for 20 years.

  Our last home didn't have a ton of space for plants, so I've only had a few over the years. I always kept one in my office when I worked (my favorite, Sally, lasted forever and I gifted her to a co-worker when I left my last job). Since we've moved, however, I've rediscovered my love for having pots of greenery around our house! I want to invest in a few more.

  Right now I have 5 planters around our house: an herb box with basil and oregano that I grew from seeds, a vintage planter gifted from my mom (I have no idea the name of the plant inside!), a dienffenbachia, an orchid that was birthday gift from a friend, and a super cute plant I found at Wal-mart last year but don't know the name of. Its sort of silly how much I love them all and how fun it is to take care of them. Also, so simple (well, I'll keep you posted on the orchid)! Here's my no-fail way of keeping them thriving:

Read the care instructions! Every houseplant comes with a plant marker when you buy them- it tells you how much sun they need, how often to water, etc. So if a plant needs full sun, I know to find it a place on our dining room table or kitchen window sill. Having too much/not enough/just the right amount of sunshine is KEY to keep houseplants happy!

Water them every 1-2 weeks (basically whenever I remember or notice the soil has dried out- houseplants are pretty durable and just need a few good soaks every month). I do them all on the same day and let them soak in our utility sink so all excess water drains out before I put them back in their places around the house! *I did lots of research on orchids and everything says not to over-water, so I simply put 2-3 ice cubes in the pot once a week*

Prune often. If there are dried up, yellowed, or dying leaves- I tear them off at the root. For spider plants, philodendron, pothos, and ivy specifically (they grow like crazy!) I cut off shoots to keep the plant from getting bigger than I want and to keep the plant healthy.

Re-pot when necessary. I buy most of my houseplants as little babies and most of them actually outgrow the planter I put them in. This is a good thing! The biggest signs your plant has outgrown its container are that you can see the roots coming through the soil and it stops thriving despite appropriate care.

Here are my top favorite houseplants to buy for myself and gift to others- and I promise, they are nearly impossible to kill! In fact, I've learned that with some TLC you can revive virtually any plant. So don't give up! Give it a good pruning (it may look as if you've pruned the entire plant and there's nothing left, but I promise it'll grow back!), a good watering, and the right amount of sun. After three-four weeks of that I would put money on you having a happy plant again!

Ok, but back to my favorite houseplants!

Spider plant




(and if I can ever find out the name of my mystery plan, I'll add it. Because it has been the easiest to care for!)


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

1SE (Summer)

1SE of Summer from katie rush on Vimeo.

It's been awhile since I've done an update on our 1SE adventure, so here is our summer so far in one-second clips!

Our fav summer highlights:

a weekend in Chicago with college friends (and ALL of our kiddos)
Caleb's birthday
our first Playdate with a Purpose
lots (and lots) of ice cream
annual trip to Stone Harbor
visiting new parks
playdates with friends and cousins
family breakfast dates
Grace Kids Camp
catching lightening bugs
meeting our newest cousin
visiting our neighborhood pool
sunset boat date with Justin
visiting Grandma at Columbian Park
first First Friday at our house
visiting the fire station

Monday, October 2, 2017

(Imperfect) Half Marathon Training.

  I'm 4 weeks from running the Monumental Half Marathon and, to be honest, I'm nervous as all get out. Gah! 13.1 just seems like a lot of consecutive miles, am I right? My 20 year old self would have laughed and run it confidently, but eleven years and two babies later have me a little anxious about it all.

  But let's back up and talk about the training process. Despite my nervousness about the actual race, I have loved these weeks of training. Loved them! And for a host of different reasons. Re-establishing a morning workout routine, falling back in love with running, having a tangible (and big!) goal to daily work towards, and pushing myself- all have been fun/hard/worth it.

  Setting a big goal and actually working towards it has been one of the best parts. Daunting, for sure. Setting out to run 13.1 miles and raise $2k for World Vision aren't small things. Will I be able to run then entire time? Will people actually donate money? But its the smaller, broken down milestones during training that are encouraging. 13 miles? No way. But 5? I can do that! Heck, I ran 8 last week and didn't die. $2000 is so much money! But slowly, donations have come in! That feels amazing! So much of my life right now consists of immeasurable and not-concrete work. Taking care of babies, loving my husband, tending to relationships. Amazing things, but not the kind that you can track progress easily. I've been reading Nehemiah this week and the theme I keep hearing from his story is 'pray and put in the work.' Again and again, Nehemiah talks with God about rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem and then, he does the hard work. Every day. Not one without the other- they're always together. Prayer and action. The training process has made that lesson real for me. I have covered my runs, fundraising, and the actual race in prayer, and I've also put in the work and miles.

  The second biggest takeaways I have from training is that I (or God in me!) can do hard things and its ok to give myself grace. I have a tendency to take myself out of things because they're too hard or I assume I could never do it (whatever 'it' may be). That has always seemed logical to me, to simply sit out of things I'm not qualified for. I have probably missed out on a hundred amazing things because I bought into that lie! I'm so glad I stopped wanting to be a runner again and simply became one, one mile at a time.

  Also, grace. Grace upon grace upon grace. I push myself, but I also don't beat myself up. Done is better than perfect. I don't want the fastest mile or to keeping running when I know I should walk for a minute. A finished race is a race ran well! A missed training day for a toddler who woke up too early is ok. Even if I fall short of my actual fundraising goal, friends and family have already donated enough to provide clean water for TEN PEOPLE! It's the grace along with way, coupled with not quitting, that will (hopefully!) add up to a finished race on November 4th!

  I might change my mind by November, but right now I want to keep running. Maybe I'll find something else to train for? I'm not sure, but I love that I'm back in a groove enough to want to keep going!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Weekly Top 5 | v.3

 Thumbs up for Friday! The days are already getting shorter and it seems as if the warm weather really is on its way out. I've been drinking my favorite chai every morning and started layering the boys' outfits each day. I love it! Caleb started preschool this week and its been so stinking fun. He is in such a different place developmentally this year and already loves school! He's happy when I drop him off (never even says goodbye!) and is bouncing off the walls with excitement when I pick him up. The in-between hours have been a fun chance for Tyler and I to hang out and I think we both love that one-on-one time that's been rare since he and Caleb are so close in age.

  We're spending the weekend sort of trading off time with the kids; I have a training for church and Justin has to work. But we're squeezing in some fun time with friends tonight and hopefully a fun family dinner/park date tomorrow!

Here's some weekend reading for you:

1. BBW wax melts. I'm super picky when it comes to fragrances and I don't branch out often. One of my all time favorites is Leaves from Bath & Body Works and I just discovered this week that it comes in inexpensive wax melts! Its perfect because I have a couple of wax warmers that I never use after not being able to find scents I actually like. With their 3/$12 sale, my house officially smells like Fall now!

2. Spotify playlists. I'm SO late to this, I know. But Justin just showed me how to use spotify on my phone (we share an account) and I downloaded this and this playlist and I LOVE THEM.

3. Emily's blog post on wellness vs science. If you're a human, you should read it!

4. Busy boxes. I know this is super toddler-mom specific, because that's my life right now. I made the boys a handful of simple learning and sensory boxes this week and I've been so surprised at how big of a hit they are! The current favorites are kinetic sand (of course), matchbox car 'parking garage', and the biggest hit has been the dry pinto bean box.

5. Jen Hatmaker and Brene Brown. If you only ever listen to one podcast in your life, make it this one.

Happy weekending!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Our summer in seconds.

  It seems as if Labor Day weekend and the first of September mark the unofficial end of summer. And man, was it a good summer for us. We were busy and not busy and did fun things and normal things. I set out to make it an intentional summer (we even made a bucket list!), and I can officially say that happened. Here are some fun clips of our summer!

1SE of Summer from katie rush on Vimeo.

Summer '17 highlights:

visiting friends
taking advantage of our neighborhood pool
a trip to the beach
ice cream (so much ice cream!)
date nights
celebrating birthdays 
visiting a fire station
exploring new parks
spending time with family
soaking up time outdoors
catching lightening bugs

ps. If you aren't using the 1SE app, you're missing out!