Some of my favorite pictures!

I had mentioned some of the people I took pictures of most recently. I have been having so much fun in the last year, learning to use my Mom’s DSLR camera. She and my aunt do photography and it has really interested me (www.fourkays.com). They do an amazing job and my mom has let me take her camera anywhere I’ve asked! Trusting, right? Since I was teaching myself/ gathering tips from my Mom and others along the way, I just did all of my “photo shoots” for free. When you use the word FREE, you get lots of people with all sorts of different events to be your test subjects. It worked out wonderfully. I did friends, families, couples, maternity, newborn, weddings, etc…

These are some of my favorites:

My favorite man has grown up so quickly! Loved this day!

My favorite man has grown up so quickly! Loved this day!

Another little cutie - and so smart, too! :)

Another little cutie – and so smart, too! 🙂

Good luck finding anyone who loves dog more than Megan! :)

Good luck finding anyone who loves dogs more than Megan! 🙂

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That fave little boy again. I wonder if he’ll ever see this when he’s older… 😉

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These two were part of my FLAWLESS cousin's engagement shoot. I'm sucky lucky to know such a beauty :)

These previous two were part of my FLAWLESS cousin’s engagement shoot. I’m so lucky to know such a beauty 🙂

The soon-to-be famous Tyler gave me the honor of practicing with some headshots!

The soon-to-be famous Tyler gave me the honor of practicing with some headshots!

My love for this picture isn't because of any editing or technical aspects. This is sheer joy, and I love it.

My love for this picture isn’t because of any editing or technical aspects. This is sheer joy, and I love it. P.S. Each of them is wearing one their race shirts, runner followers! :p

Finally, my most recent love. When a picture ends up exactly as you picture, it's a good feeling. Simple and classic for the mom-to-be.

Finally – my most recent love. When a picture ends up exactly as you imagine it to, it’s a good feeling. Simple and classic for the mom-to-be.

Although I have so much to learn still and so many more types of things I’d like to photograph, I am thrilled with how far I’ve come in the last year with editing and recognizing bad shots (and good shots, too!).

Do any of you mess around with photography? 

What are your favorite types of pictures to look at?

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Creating My 1/2 Marathon Training Plan

Good morning!

I have about 14 weeks until my next race, which is one of my favorite courses: Gazelle Girl 1/2 Marathon

It’s not a secret that my goal for my April ½ marathon is 1:45:00. This will be my 6th half marathon and my current PR is 1:49.17 on a very similar course in the same city. I have never followed a training plan before! My thoughts have always been: get a long run, a fast run and a couple mid-distance ones each week. Therefore, I am SO EXCITED to follow a plan, try to eat a little better, and see what my results are!

I’ve been searching through other blogger’s tips, Runners World, Hal Higdon’s plans and other random sites for some of the best 10 and 12 week programs. I had some luck, even finding a couple geared specifically to my time goal. So, this weekend, I’ve started tweaking what I’ve found, into the first customized training plan I’ve ever developed. The best part is that it has the things I want and need during training. I have some running friends who have paid for running coaches, and I’d love to one day – it’s just not something doable for me right now. So, lots of research, advice from long-time runners and knowing what my body excels at will have to do!

Here’s a sneak peek at what I’ve developed so far!

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I’m registered for an IronMan 70.3 in August so you can see the start of some swim and bike training. In the later months, I’m obviously adding more of each, and brick workouts. It’s odd thinking about swimming outside when it is FREEZING here.

What is different on mine from most that I have seen, is that on one of my rest days, I have it dedicated to a long stretch. I’m thinking a good 45 minutes! I was a trampolinist until about 2012 and with that background, I was flexible and limber. It’s amazing how fast some of that has left me. Now, I suffer from tight hamstrings and other muscles, a back that’s always cracking, etc… I am not a professional, but I know that MY body needs to get back in the habit of good stretching.

Other than that, I feel I’m consistent with some speed, easy runs, etc… Once I hit the 10 week (to race day) mark, the mileage begins to reach 30-35 miles a week. Last year, I had set a resolution to run 1,000 miles throughout the year. I failed. I failed bad. This year, following a plan, I have a lot more confidence going into it with mileage like that up until at least August.

One thing I noticed on most of the training plans I found was that they consisted of 5 run days per week. I know that it works GREAT for some runners, but not this girl! You’ll see me peak at 4 runs a week. I started running for the same reason as a lot of people – to relieve stress, have time to think, etc… Although I love racing, shooting for a new PR or trying a new distance, I have NO desire to get burnt out because I have every intention of being a life-long runner.

Winter has decided to show itself in the last two days. Since a plow hadn’t been anywhere, our 6 mile run yesterday was… interesting. 😉 It was just an easy run, filled with the best conversation. The friend I ran with is running the Walt Disney World Marathon next weekend so it was definitely all about what she needed to feel good and stay loose for her race weekend.

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Have any of you customized your own training plan? What is your advice?

– This is my first time! Send me your suggestions! 🙂

Do you prefer running with a friend?

– I love my running buddies, but I still prefer to do speed alone. Any other run, I enjoy the chats and encouragement from someone else.

The BEST Me – From the Inside, Out!

2014 was such a quick year. My mom has told me that they just seem to go by faster as you get it older. I sort of hope that isn’t true!

Every year, we all make lists of things we want to accomplish. I started to write those down again. It had a lot of the same things from prior years that I say I want to do and then fail at by February 1. Those things usually revolve around reducing the amount of sugar I consume, running at least 5 days a week, losing 10 pounds, etc… Here’s the thing: My soul and I really love ice cream, some weeks your body wants NEEDS more rest and my worth is not in those ten pounds. Enjoy those treats in moderation, know when your body deserves to sit on the couch and watch an episode of Friends, and most importantly, know when to push your limits and when to say, enough is enough for today. NOBODY wants an injury that makes another goal unattainable! That definitely doesn’t mean don’t push yourself. It just means, take the time to enjoy the aspects of life that have nothing to do with your physical appearance or fitness level because your heart, soul and your brain matter so much more, as cliché as that sounded. When your heart is happy, you will want to push harder for all of those fitness goals!

That being said,  I do have a shorter list of specific goals for 2015 but it’s definitely going to be about focusing on my soul – being my BEST self.

My running goals consist of:

  1. Get a sub 1:45 ½ marathon time this year! Here’s what is on my race schedule so far: 2015 Races
  2. Complete the Steelhead ½ IronMan in under 6 ½ hours.
  3. Be consistent about supplemental strength training.

My internal goals are:

  1. Take my niece to the beach.
  2. Also, eat some ice cream with her. She’s growing up so quickly.
  3. Read 5 books.

Other than that, my biggest goal is to put positive thoughts and LOVE into every conversation and interaction I have with another person – leave him or her feeling better than when I first encountered them. Life is good and I want to share how good it is with everyone I meet.

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Happy, Happy, HAPPY 2015 to you from me. I hope this is the best year you’ve ever had – in life, love and of course, your running! 🙂

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What books should I be looking at reading? 

What is your favorite inspirational quote?