Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 2011 by the Numbers

How can August be done today?  This month has flown by.

August miles run: 132.69 (highest ever by 1.01 miles)
August races:  0 
August days run:  31 (100%)
Shortest run:  2.15 miles 
Longest run:  19.27 miles
Pain:  none, although the outside of my left leg is tight

Coming up in September:  a life change (heading back to work), my longest run ever, little kid soccer coaching, going to the gym, and learning how to organize a fun run.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not Enough Summer Left

I have not been on my computer because I am trying to savor every last minute of summer vacation.  We still have a week before everyone is at school (me included...check this post if you missed it).  I had ample time on Sunday when we were inside all day when Hurricane Irene's left-overs went over us but we had no power.  No power means no playing on the web and doing important things like reading blogs.  Next week...I promise I'll be back next week.  Until then, if you need me I'll be outside enjoying the cool mornings, perfect afternoons, and comfortable evenings.

Last, but most important, thank you to everyone who said congrats and wished me well in my last post.  I'm beyond excited to get in the classroom.  I'm also petrified to go back to work after all these years, but it is a good petrified.  When the unknown comes, I remind myself that it will all work always does.  Going back to work is no different, it will all work out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Change is in the Air (great news post)

This post should start with "Once upon a time..." and end with "They lived happily ever after" but it isn't a fairytale, it is my life, so I'll tell it how it is.

Eight years ago this month I left my job, ADP defended and passed his doctoral dissertation, we moved half-way across the country and moved into our first house.  Five weeks later ADP had just completed the first month of his first 'big boy job' and our first born entered our lives.  A short 16 months later our youngest arrived.  I have not had a full time - out of the house - job in the last eight years.  I've played around with a fun job (Pampered Chef Consultant), a job to keep me honest (Weight Watchers Receptionist), and some other things here and there.  The past eight years have been nothing less than spectacular with my kids.

This year will be different.  Both my kids will be in school full time this year.  I officially graduated last December and participated in commencement ceremonies in May.  I have been looking for a job but in this economy and with teachers being laid off in almost every district where I live there are not jobs to choose from.
And then there was another job posting to apply to.  I was asked for an interview.  I wanted to have high hopes, but it would be my fourth interview since graduating the other three did not go anywhere.  Less than 24 hours later I was offered a JOB!  Change is definitely in the air!  I'm headed back to work on September 1. 

Let's not get too crazy though.  I've been home for eight years so I think that working a part-time (.4 in the education world) job is going to be perfect.  I'll be getting my foot in the door in a public school!!  I'll be teaching general chemistry!!  I'll be home to get my kids off the bus in the afternoon!!  Like I said, I could practically end this with ...and they lived happily ever after.

1 thing:  I am posting this because I have been getting all the paperwork for starting school and will go to orientation this Friday.  BUT, I won't be "official" until the School Board approves me toward the end of Sept when they next meet.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

19 Miles and RunLove Compression Socks (review)

Yesterday I completed my longest training run ever.  It all started bright and early (a.k.a. before the sun came up) and finished many hours later.   One running rule of thumb is to never wear something new on race day so I have been trying out different running items during my training (including yesterday).  So, when I got a letter from Cindy and Christy at RunningSkirts with a pair of RunLove Compression Socks I knew I needed to try them on some of my longer runs.
It all started a few weeks ago when I wore them to a training run and realized the azure color matched my shoes.  I never match this well when I run.  The socks treated me well, but I didn't notice any major difference after those 11.6 miles.  Since I didn't notice any major difference wearing them while running <12 miles, decided to wear them after running for recovery.  Nothing makes my calves happy like putting on a pair of RunLove compression socks after a run!  They definitely helped when I wore them all day.
They match my shoes

Yesterday I wore them again...and not only did they match my shoes, but they matched my shorts as well.  I put on a white RunningSkirt performance tank to finish the outfit and then completely forgot to take a picture of myself.  It was before the sun came up so please forgive me.

Midweek everyone who is in the group gets an e-mail from the coaches letting us know when and where to meet on Saturday for our long run.  The past few weeks we've done an out and back so I looked at the map and figured out where the turn around would be (I didn't see a map for Sat's run on the link they sent out).  I dropped off a bottle of water there and let ADP know that if the family was up to come by the turn around (a.k.a. park) because I'd love to see them.  So, imagine my surprise when we were told we weren't going to be going all the way to the park.  Instead we were going to do a 1 mile look twice so we wouldn't have to run up 'the hill.'  I was looking forward to seeing my family and running up the hill so I did the loop one time with them and then took off.

I ran alone.  I ran alone some more.  I kept wondering when everyone was going to catch me (because it is no secret that I'm the slowest).  Well, they did when I stopped at mile 6.5 to fill up my water and see the smiling coach who man's that station.  By this time the rest of the group had done 7.5 miles.  Yeah, I'm slow...but it works for me.  I ran with the group and then they turned around at the bottom of the hill and I went up!  I ran up the whole thing and it was one of my faster miles!!  I got to the park only to find out my family wasn't there (they slept in).  I turned around and was greeted with this (I had to stop to get a couple pictures before moving on):
view from the top of the hill

the path goes for a bit and then disappears down the hill
RunLove socks after 11 miles
Let's not forget this is a review.  I had run 11 miles and I never felt the socks on my calves because they were so comfortable.  I remembered to take a picture of the socks on the top of the hill.  It was great that they never bothered me.  They never felt like they were going to fall down.  I had 8 more miles to go and then the real test would begin - how would my calves feel over the next 24 hours?

I kept on chugging along.  One foot in front of the other.  I loved waving and saying hi to everyone on the course.  Pretty soon I was back at the smiling coach which meant there was another 5.5 miles to cover before seeing my car.  I chatted with her and she said all the perfect things to me, all things I needed to hear while training for my first marathon.  I thanked her for waiting for me, knowing I was the last one to go by.  I saw her again 2.5 miles later where the group had more water and fuel.

nice flowers at the top of the hill
Then I was in uncharted territory.  I'd never run this far before.  My upper legs started getting tight.  Thankfully, my IT band was not hurting.  I walked between .05 to .1 mile in each mile from mile 15 on; I am fine with this.  I turned the last corner and saw the group.  The other marathoners-to-be were getting in their cars and leaving while I was finishing the last .25 miles.  I finished my run and there were a few people there.  Usually when we finish runs there is water, gatorade, food, bananas, oranges, and other goodies.  This time there was nothing.  I know I am slow, but some water would have been nice.  I'm glad that I brought an extra bottle of water for the drive home.
top of the hill flowers
24 hours later my calves feel amazing!!  I attribute this to the compression socks from RunningSkirts.  I wore them during my run and my calves have felt great since I took them off.
"R" for right
The verdict:  They are definitely worth it!
Info:  RunLove Compression Socks can be purchased at for 32 dollars.
Pros:  You can wear them while running or after or both.  Great colors (check out the website for the colors).  They stay put.  They really work.
Cons:  I do wish they were a little tighter through the lower calf (where the soleus is).

Disclaimer:  I was sent these socks free of charge.  The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday, 8.18

1.  Yesterday is best described using the title of a children's book because I had a 'terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.'  Nothing major went wrong, but if it could go wrong it did.  In the opening of Viorst's book Alexander says that he went to sleep chewing gum and he woke up with the gum in his hair.  Had I put gum in my mouth yesterday it would have managed to not only get in my hair, but it would have been so imbedded that my hairdresser would have had to seriously cut my hair.  It was that kind of day.

2.  I have only run outside a handful of times this month.  Part of it is due to our daily schedule and trying to fit all the last minute summer activities in.  The other part is the amount of rain we've had.  We needed the rain after a hot and dry July, but 6.5" in the first half of August is a bit much.
3.  I really love running.  I wrote this to some friends after my last long run (this is a snip-it of the note):
I'm over half-way through my training and I have 2 months and 2 days until my marathon. Yesterday I ran 16.2 miles.  Training is tough and the long weekend miles leave my legs tired and sore.  The thing is that I'm LOVING it! I think I may have fallen into the deep end here. wub.gif my running wub.gif

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chiropractic Ouch

I love my chiropractor.  He takes my headaches away.  He talks running with me (he does tri's).  He keeps my lower back pain away.  He talks running with me.  And then we talk running some more.

Last night I had an appointment and I mentioned my IT band was getting tight again.  No pain, at least not like when my IT band reduced me to walking during a half marathon and then sent me to PT.  I've been through this before and my chiropractor talked me through it, made sure I was doing the right exercises, and helped me stretch.

I was surprised when he started working the ITB with his hand.  And then he started pushing on it.  OMG!  I was holding my breath.  I was closing my eyes tight.  I was sweating.  I was trying not to scream as he was working on my ITB.  Wow, the pain!  It hurt when the PT did something similar 18 months ago, but not so localized and OUCH!

I now know what the pain was - I have black and blue marks where he was working my ITB.  The pictures did not turn out.  When I left he said there might be some bruising.  Apparently he doesn't understand how easily I bruise.  Or, that I won't be able to touch that area for a week.  Or, that it will be a good three weeks before the bruises finally fade to 'only noticeable if you know there was a black and blue mark there.'  I just hope it isn't so tender come Saturday morning when I put on my compression shorts for my long run.

I love my chiropractor, but I think I'm going to let him focus on my back and headaches and take the ITB tightness elsewhere.

FWIW, this morning's 2 miler was no different than any other morning in regards to my ITB.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

9 are Good & 3 in Pain

Saturday morning was beautiful!  The temp was about 60 when we (the USA Fit group) started off.  Some of the group only had to run 8 miles so they turned around at four miles.  One of the people who turned around runs about my pace...the first few miles were a great pace (10:15, 10:31, 10:28, 9:58).  

When they turned around I kept going with the only other person running 12 for the day.  Let me tell you...I wish I could run like him now and I hope I can run like him when I'm his age (~60)!  I knew better, but I kept going with him even though he's faster than I am.  Our splits came in at 9:59, 9:48, 9:36, 11:39 (water/stretch stop), 9:25.  Then I said I needed to stretch and he should go ahead.  Wow, it felt great to run faster but I was running out of steam.  Then I saw this:
It is almost like there was a bump in my run and although the first 9 went great, BUMP, the last three went down hill.  My IT band was giving me big troubles.  I felt like I couldn't catch my breath.  It felt like my heart rate was too fast (which in fact it was averaged 150 for the 3 miles).  I jogged the flats and downhills.  I walked the uphills.  I got my phone out and called ADP.  I tweeted about my run.  I decided I would do what I could to run the last little bit of my run.  I did what I could and my last splits were much slower (10:37, 10:53, 11:38, 12:01).  Can you tell when I started walking?  I finished the day with 12.05 miles.

Why is it that today I barely remember the nice 9 miles run while the last three stand out so vividly?

One thing I love doing when I get home is to cross off another week of training.  This plan is 24 weeks long and I am done with 15 of them!
This week:
Monday:  30 minutes easy
Tuesday:  track session, 6 x 1min/2min
Wednesday:  20 minutes easy
Thursday:  40 minutes tempo
Friday:  off
Saturday:  19 miles (GULP!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five Things Friday, 8.12

  1. My running schedule is changing once again.  Today was the last day of half-day camp for the kids so I now need to get up early and run or run after ADP gets home.  I have a feeling early morning running on the treadmill will win out the majority of weekdays.
  2. I finally added up my mileage for August.  Whoa-Nellie!  I think it may be another big, big month for me.  I knew training for a marathon would up my mileage, but I didn't expect it to increase that much.
  3. Earlier this summer I found a chocolate bar in my house that was beyond the date (expiration or sell-by??) printed on the wrapper.  Since then I have been doing my best to make sure to check, and then eat, all chocolate in the house.  I must like buying Hershey's bars for s'mores because there are too many 6-packs of chocolate in the house especially since we've made s'mores once this year.
  4. There is no more guessing what NFL team I cheer for because the personalized plates for my car arrived.  To my new readers..WELCOME!  I love having you here.  And so you are clear...I love running but there is something that trumps running:  the GREEN BAY PACKERS!  I am seriously considering skipping my New Year's Day half marathon because there is no way I'd make it home to watch the whole football game on TV.  Yes, I will skip races to watch my beloved Packers.
  5. I will not complain, but my weight doesn't seem to be going down.  Perhaps this is a side effect of #3.

Monday, August 8, 2011

e = Easy

Today was the first day that my legs and head both wanted to follow the "e" on my training plan.  In black and white my training plan says 35e meaning 35 easy minutes.  For the first time all my easy miles were slower than my long distance miles.  Or maybe it was the humidity.  Or the fact that my quads still have some lingering 'you ran farther than you ever have before' pain.  Or I'm just down-right exhausted.  Or I'm learning.  It doesn't really matter why it happened; I'm happy I was finally able to do easy.
one of the sunflowers we planted has 8 flowers on it
Part of what helped was the picture taking.  Yes, I stopped my garmin when I took pictures (mainly because I was using my phone and I wanted to play with Instagram instead of just clicking and going.  Here are the results (some ok, some bad, all fun for me):

bright sunflower, really bright sky before the clouds came in

1 of 8 flowers on the plant

time to turn around and go the other way (trail = paved biking path)

this sign didn't survive the spring...but they keep mowing around it
Instagram is fun, but I think I'll stick to my camera.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More Miles, More Blisters

This morning I set out for my longest run to date. It was good. It wasn't great because I had garmin troubles again ( I solved them mid-run), my tummy didn't like the Gatorade on the course, and I got a new blister and then I got a blister on (or under) the first blister. The great: I tried out my new belt. I love how much I can fit in it and yet it never moves.

I put some pictures below but since I'm doing this post from my phone I cannot write between the pictures or it gets deleted ( who knows why).

All in all:
16.21 miles
Less than 3 hrs total (breaks included)
10:50/mile ave (breaks included)
I'm happy with the run and really looking forward to "only" 12 miles next weekend.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Injury Prevention - Seminar #2 Overview

A couple weeks ago I went to a seminar put on by the marathon I'm running in the fall called Nutrition for Runners (see my overview here).  Tuesday night I went to the second seminar and it was called "Injury Prevention" but in reality it was an overview of six common injuries in marathon runners.  I debated leaving when I saw who was giving the talk and what was being covered because I had seen this same talk given by the same PT a year ago.  There may have been some differences, but there were the same errors on the slides as he had last time.  I stayed because I was chatting with Darlene and some of my USA Fit Saturday morning 'let's run together and see if we survive marathon training' peeps.

According to Matthew Alheim, PT, the most common injuries are:

  • plantar fascia
  • achilles tendonitis
  • shin splints
  • hip tendonitis/bursitis
  • patellar tendonitis
  • IT Band
He went through some signs & symptoms of each of these injuries.  He then outlined some of the treatment they use at the PT office he works for.  Then he quickly went through all kinds of stretching and strengthening exercises that would be good for certain &/or all of the injuries.  

Right about when he started talking about IT band something was nagging at me.  What was it?  Why this curiosity about the hip.  I flipped back a few pages in my notes and then I remembered:  I slept on the couch Saturday night because my hips were killing me.  During the Q & A portion I didn't ask my question, mainly because I had no idea how to phrase it.  So, I stayed after and chatted with people some more.  Finally I had my chance to talk to Matthew one-on-one. I have this pain on both of my hips.  The only way I can explain it is, well, it feels exactly like my hips did in the months prior to having my kids when I was really pregnant and my hips were loosening up.  (see why I didn't ask in front of 70 other people??)  He was great as I fumbled through my thoughts and tried to explain where the pain was.  We talked a little and this is what is getting inflamed on those long runs...the bursa:
No wonder I couldn't sleep on my side AT.ALL on Saturday night!  It also explains why the couch was the most comfortable...that part of my hip was right between two cushions so there was no pressure on the inflamed bursa.  Now I patiently ice down my hips once a day.  Do you know how cold ice water is as it runs down your legs?  Really COLD!

*I didn't go see a doctor because it doesn't hurt except after rare long runs.*  *And, it hurt on BOTH sides and injuries that I have usually aren't equal on the left and right.*

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ClipE Review

Remember this little picture? (Here it is if you don't remember)
There is something different about this is the earphones.  I don't run with music often and when I do I'm continually struggling to keep from catching the cord with my hand.  It is never fun to yank the earbuds out of my ears on the run.  So, when I was asked to review a BRAND SPANKIN' NEW PRODUCT called ClipE that would help, I had to say yes.

A few days later this came in the mail:

It is little and does exactly what I want it to do - keeps the cord out of my way while I'm running.  Here are a few key pictures:

I clipped it onto the collar of my shirt even though all the pictures so the clip attached to the front of the shirt.

clip on my shirt...I just wasn't a fan of the wrinkle.  I did run with it there for a while and the ClipE didn't move.  It didn't pull on the technical shirt.  It stayed put.

The back of the ClipE.  Basic and yet ingenious.  This is where there is minor fault.  Every time I tried to put it on my shirt one of the cords would fall out.  It could be the earbud cords...I have not tried different earbuds to see if it is the ClipE or the earbud cords causing it to fall out.  The falling out ONLY happens when I open the clip.  Once I got it on my shirt with both cords tucked in there was no problem!
A little about the ClipE.  You can find them on their websitefacebook and on twitter (@MyClipE).  It looks like they are adding designs all the time.  Their website has them priced at $7.95 and you checkout through Amazon (so you know it's safe to buy them on-line).  Part of the promo write-up I got says this:

The ClipE was invented by Jessica Bylsma, a professional pilot and avid runner who was dissatisfied with the limited solutions available for restraining her headphone cords while exercising. She searched through the options available on the market, but found them to be either unattractive or ineffective at keeping the cord from bumping around or interfering with movement. "Portable music is a must-have motivator for my workout routine, but I can't have wires getting in the way," says CEO and Founder Jessica Bylsma.

Would I buy these?  Yes, if I ran with music more often.
Would I recommend these?  Definitely
Will I use it again?  I put my iPod away with the ClipE still attached because I plan on using it until it no longer works.

Disclaimer:  I was sent this free of charge.  The opinions of my review are mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nutrition for Runners Seminar Overview

Two weeks ago I went to a nutrition seminar that was put on by the marathon I'm running in October.  The seminar was two hours long and had a lot of valuable information.  Some was old info to me, some was new, and there is no way I can share it all.  My favorite section is toward the bottom...timing of when to take fuel with practical suggestions.  Since many asked for an it is:

Nutrition for the Long Distance Runner by Marci F. Murphy
We need energy and energy come from carbohydrates (CHO), fat and protein.

CHO (she was a huge CHO pusher):

  • CHO is the master and is needed for the brain, to burn fat for energy, spares protein, the only macronutrient that can be used to make energy without oxygen
  • We need simple and complex CHO.  Focus on simple CHO during and after exercise.
  • Good CHO choices:  whole grains such as wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, buckwheat noodles, barley, bulgar wheat, oatmeal, quinoa, spelt berries, basmati rice.  
  • Good combinations:  
    • cooked oatmeal or bulgar wheat with milk, dried fruit and nuts
    • whole wheat toast with peanut butter
    • stir-fry with veggies over brown rice or whole wheat couscous
    • fruit/veggie smoothies with peanut butter, yogurt, milk or juices
    • fruits/veggies raw for snacks or add cooked to soups and sauces
    • milk/alternatives include cow and goat milk, soy, rice, almond milk, cheese and yogurts
    • bean/alternatives:  beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy (add canned beans to salad or pasta, hummus for snack or sandwiches)
  • needed to maintain and development of muscle, recovery and healing
  • athletes need more protein because of the energy cost of activity and for growth and repair
  • Complete protein:
    • eggs, dairy products, meat, high quality fish
    • soy products
  • Incomplete protein:
    • grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds
  • is an energy source at lower intensities
  • supports immunity, adds flavor and makes us feel satisfied
  • Not all fats are equal
  • Good choices:  olive oil, canola oil, fish, nuts and seeds, steak cuts that end in "round" or"loin"
Diet Composition:
  • 50-60% CHO (5-10g CHO/kg bodyweight)
  • 15-20% protein (.5-1.0g protein/lb bodyweight)
  • 20-30% fat
  • fruits and veggies should compose 1/3 - 1/2 of a meal
It is all in the timing  (the section I was really interested in!!):
  • High energy snacks:
    • canned, fresh or dried fruit
    • whole grain cereals, bars, bread
    • fruit smoothies
  • Eating before training/competition
    • 24 to 4 hours prior eat high CHO meals (60-70% CHO) with protein (3- oz lean meat) and fat for balance
    • Less than 4 hrs:  mostly CHO (>2g CHO/kg bodyweight), make it low in fat, fiber and protein to reduce GI distress
    • Nothing new on race day
    • Training/race lasting longer than an hour:
      • 7-10 oz fluid every 20 mins
      • 30-60 g CHO/hr
    • Practical suggestions:
      • sports drinks:  14-19 CHO/1 cup (watch the sugar content)
      • sports gels:  24-28 g CHO/packet
      • energy bars:  38-45 g CHO/bar
      • with gels and bars don't forget to hydrate
      • Start soon and replenish often
    • After training have
      • .5g CHO/lb bodyweight within 15-30 minutes
      • 6-29 g protein
      • 2 cups fluid for every 1 lb bodyweight lost
      • ~300 mg sodium for every 1 lb bodyweight lost
      • Practical suggestions 15-40g CHO:  orange, 2 graham crackers, 2 fig cookies, 1/2 cup apple sauce, cereal bar, 1 cup chocolate milk, banana, 1 cup yogurt
      • Practical suggestions Protein + CHO snacks:  yogurt cup + cottage cheese + fruit, PB+J or deli meant on wheat bread, trail mix, sports bars, hummus + pita or raw veggies, chocolate milk
She also gave a lot of equations, things to take into account, and other information.  I really cannot recap it all, but this is the basis of what she said.  I really liked the practical suggestions.  

Tonight I go to the next seminar:  Injury Prevention

I didn't proof this so sorry for any errors.  Time is short today.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gotein Winners

Thanks to those of you who entered my Gotein giveaway.  The winners are:
Congratulations!!  Please e-mail me (runningonmytimemail at gmail dot com) your mailing address and I'll get your prizes out to you.

Racquetball vs. Running, Q&A


Michael from Slowly Tri-ing asked 
What's your favorite race you've ever done and why? Who thought it would be hard to answer with just one race?  My favorite fun race was Mud Mania!  I also love relays.
2011 Winter Marathon Relay

Darlene from My First 5K and More asked:
What is your favorite distance?  I really love running 10 miles.  Long enough to clear the mind, short enough to get it done and still have time with the family, and long enough to allow me to indulge in some extra food.
Where is your favorite place to run?  I really love running around my neighborhood.  I like the fact that I don't have to get in a car to start my run.  It isn't the most scenic, but it is home.  If I were to choose another place it would be in northern WI at my mom's cabin.  There is a great 5 mile route and the majority of it has water on both sides.
Why did you decide to become a teacher (study to become one)?  I've known for a long time I should be a teacher.  I just finally completed the coursework for it though.  I don't always want to do what is expected or easiest, so it usually takes me a bit to get where I'm going.
Will your hubby also run a marathon someday?  Ha, you'll have to ask him.  I doubt it, but I will not say never.  My love of longer distances is bound to rub off on him, right?
Have you and your hubby ever run a race together? Yes we have.  We have run a few, but he usually runs the longer distance and I do the shorter (5k/10K or 3 mile/10K).  I think the only time we've done the same distance/race at the same time was when we both ran a 5K in 2010.
Winter Series #3 2011

J from Morning Runner asked:
When did you start running? How did you get into running? I wanted a fun course my senior year of college so I took racquetball.  Unfortunately, racquetball was only a half-semester (which was a good thing because I sucked at it) so I took track and field the other half-semester.  Little did I know we would be running five miles by the end of the semester.  The next couple years were up and down with running, but I've kept at it since that course in college.

Marcia from The Studly Runner asked:
What was your first job?  Once upon a time I was a babysitter.  
Have you ever been fired?  Technically, no.  One place did try to let me go but it was because I didn't know how much the  different steaks on the menu weighed.  How in the world am I supposed to know that if you don't tell me first.
What does the ring tone on your cell sound like?  Don't know.  Someone would have to call it for me to find out.

AJH from Age Groups Rock asked:
What are you most proud of about your kids? I love how they try to solve things they don't understand.  They just keep trying until they figure out what they are looking for.  I hope this stays with them through their lives.  

Katie from Legally Fit asked:
How do you balance training for distance races with raising a family?  How appropriate you should ask this now that you will be a mom in a short couple months.  My family really supports me in my training.  Without them and their support it wouldn't be nearly as easy.  I also take the viewpoints of a lot of moms I know:  if you have five minutes take those five, if you have an hour then take the hour, don't marry your training plan, relax because it will all work out.  And, it is just running.  My kids come first and if they have something going on I try to run earlier or later in the day so I don't miss my kids' activities.  I also do not put pressure on myself for PR's or running distances I do not enjoy.  If I am going to take time away from the family then I'm going to enjoy every step I take.
Why do you love winter so much? ;)  
I'm comfortable (believe it or not I do NOT like being sweaty)!  Plus, I love going out and playing in the snow.  There is little better than relaxing in front of a fire while curled up reading a great book.  

Candice from I Have Run asked:
Are there any songs you associate with running and why? (For example, there is a song that got me through the last few miles of my first marathon.)  There isn't a song I relate to running.  I don't run to music very often and when I do it is definitely background noise.  Now if you were to ask about TV shows I associate with running I could list off a few series I've watched while on my treadmill.
What is your dream vacation?  
I want to go to Tuscany, off the beaten path, eat great food, run, drink amazing wine, and relax.  Or cruise the Mediterranean.  I've been a lot of places and both of those remain on my list.

Do you run while on all your vacations? Vacation isn't something that happens often for me, but when I do go I always pack my running shoes.  Vacation is better if I've run.

Christy from My Dirt Road Anthem asked:
What part of MT is your husband from?  He's from NW MT...near Flathead Lake
If you could live anywhere where would it be.  Harder question than it should be.  I'd love to live within driving distance of our families, which would put us in Colorado.  
Do you think you will ever be a snowbird?
  I do not think so only because I love winter so much.  Though, the time may come when I want to escape the cold for a month or two (GASP!!) and go south during the winter.  Ask me again in 30 or 40 years and I'll have a better answer.

I think that I got them all.  If you have more...feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer them!