Monday, January 30, 2012

Half Marathon Mondays... Less than a Week Left

Hi friends!  I cannot believe we are less than a week out from our half marathon.  I am starting to get really anxious about the whole thing.  

Yesterday we had to run 12 miles.  Hubs and I went to the trail. He took 10 strides and realized that he couldn't do it.  He was having major knee issues.  I had to run it alone... 12 miles by myself.  He has been by my side for every single long run. The idea of running without him by my side scared me. But unbelievably, I did it, and it felt great. 

After the run I did my very first full ice bath.  I screamed and may have even cried a little.  It was terrible.  BUT I will admit, I felt wonderful after it was done.  And I feel really great today.  The ice bath definitely made a huge difference.

Hubs on the other hand was not feeling great. His knee is very painful today. He has started to panic, thinking the worst has happened and that he may not be able to run on Saturday.  It breaks my heart to think that this is even a possibility at this point.  He has worked so hard for this.  We are going to do everything we can to ensure that we cross that finish line together on Saturday.

He has taken baths, rested, iced, elevated, and is keeping it wrapped in a knee brace all week.  Tonight I went and bought a foam massage roller for him, in hopes that he can work it out.  If things aren't better by Thursday, we will be going to the Urgent Care center.  

I feel like I am as prepared as I am going to be for Saturday.  No matter how the race goes, I am proud of the work we have put in to get to this point.  Much sweat, tears, pain, laughter, and triumphs have led to this week.  I am going to cross that finish line.  



The next time we do another "Half Marathon Monday" it will be a recap of the weekend.  That excites me.  We are running with a group of friends.  Six of us will do this together.  

My friend, Meghan (@MegEJ) has recently started her own blog while working, wedding planning, and all that comes with her life.  She started the Couch to 5K program today. She wants to run a half this time next year.  I can't wait to follow her along on her journey.  

Can't wait to update you guys on the run next week!  I can't believe it's finally here.  Say some prayers for us... especially that Hubs heals fully and quickly. Talk soon, friends!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 
Philippians 4:13

XOXO,
Brandi Nell

P.s. I promise that I will start blogging about something other than running soon.  It has taken over our lives for the last 12 weeks. I can't wait to start being a normal person (and blogger) again.  HANG IN THERE!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Half Marathon Mondays... less than 2 weeks left

Hi friends!  Hope you are having a great Monday.  It was a cold, soggy one here in Atlanta - making my a very sleepy girl.  In fact, it's been cold and rainy for the last few days.  

Yesterday, in that cold and rainy mess, we had to run ELEVEN miles.  It took us a little less than 2 hours to complete the run.  We were (and still are for that matter) hurting afterward.  Hubs' knee has been swollen and is really painful for him.  He has been resting, icing, compressing, and elevating it.  We feel like we are 90 years old.  HA!

We used the GU Gel and Gummies for extra energy boosters. I can't believe how well these things work.

I really like the gummies, but the gels are just as good.  We took them at miles 5, 8, and 9.  They made a huge difference.  I could feel my energy level go up and even my pace quickened.  I am not sure that we could have finished the full run without taking them.  Do you have any energy boosters you use? I need suggestions, friends!

It's hard to believe we are less than 2 weeks out. We are so close now! My knees, FOOT, and hips are really looking forward to taking it easy after the race.  HA! 

Hope y'all have a wonderful week!  Talk soon, friends!

xoxo,
Brand Nell



Monday, January 16, 2012

Half Marathon Mondays

This was my view yesterday. Beautiful, right?


And this is my view tonight (and last night as well)...


Quite different, no? This foot is really getting on my nerves. This week I will be doing the RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) method in hopes that it feels better for Saturday's eleven mile run.  It needs to quit giving me trouble.  Race day is getting closer and closer!

Wishing y'all a wonderful week! Talk soon, friends!

Xoxo,
Brandi Nell

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Master Bathroom Update - New Shower Head


Hi friends! Happy Thursday!

Slowly but surely, our Master Bathroom is coming together. Today, I don't have a HUGE update, but rather a small one. But, It's amazing how the small things seem to make such a big difference.  This week we changed out our 1980's massage shower head to a much more updated one.  I am so super proud of it and am finding it even harder to get out of the shower in the mornings.


I hate that we forgot to take a "before shot," so Hubs decided to just hold it up for dramatic purposes.  Ha... love that he humors me.  I almost ashamed to admit that I have been showering with this thing for over three years.


YAY for a new, modern shower head!


 OMG, such a difference - at least it is to us!

 We got a new shower curtain too.  I really love the fact that it's almost the exactly the
same color as the paint on the walls, and I am always a sucker for anything star burst related.

 I am so thankful to have a functioning bathroom again.  Woo hoo! 
Do you remember what this bathroom looked like before? Here is a reminder...

Thank goodness it no longer looks like that!

As you can tell, we have done a great deal to this bathroom.  Here is a list of things we have done so far:
  • Ripped out carpet
  • Demolished old vanity and sink (so fun)
  • Removed and replaced toilet
  • Removed and replaced builder grade mirror 
  • Refinished old dresser and retrofitted it for new vanity
  • Added new sink and faucet (thanks hubs)
  • Laid new tile floor
  • Demolished old fluorescent light soffit
  • Repaired dry wall from old soffit 
  • Sand down textured walls
  • Added new lighting
  • Tiled the shower
  • Added beadboard and chair rail around the room
  • Painted the room twice (ha!)
  • Added beadboard to ceiling
  • Added crown moulding, corbels, and base moulding to the room
  • Made cornice and installed cornice board
  • Installed new shower head
We still have to get the tub glazed, find new rugs, add a towel rack, and find some art... but we are so close to calling this room complete.  I can't wait to be totally done.

I am so thankful that tomorrow is Friday. This has been the longest week ever!  Hope you all have a great weekend!

xoxo,
Brandi Nell

Monday, January 9, 2012

Half Marathon Mondays... 10 miles!

It's Monday! Time for another update on our Half Marathon Training. I cannot believe it is in less than a month now! That scares me half to death.

As y'all know, last week I had some major issues with my foot. I couldn't even walk without a limp. After a few days or rest, icing, compressing, elevating, and a new pair of kicks - I am finally feeling like myself again, and back to running! WOO!

I cross-trained on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday, I did a SLOW three mile run on the treadmill. This was the first time I ran in my new Nike Pegasus. It felt a little strange at first, but I quickly adjusted.

On Saturday, Hubs and I had to do our long run... TEN MILES. This is the furthest we have ever run. The last mile, I was certain my legs were going to fall off. I swear they felt like the weighed 900 lbs a piece. I was very aware that my pace slowed down majorly. I think if I were going any slower, I would be going backwards! HA! This is definitely something I will need to continue to build on.

We were both incredibly sore on Saturday afternoon. We went and got a recovery shake after our run. Ummm.... I had to sit in the middle of the floor in GNC. My legs literally couldn't hold me anymore and they didn't have a chair. If it had been any other day, I would have been super embarrassed. That day, I honestly couldn't care less. HA!

I cannot believe how far we have come in our training. We are soooo close now! EEEEEK!

This is the training schedule I have posted in my cubicle at work.

I am also very excited that this weekend only calls us to run six miles. WOOO! Re-reading that statement makes me giggle. Who would have ever thought I would be excited about six miles... and thinking that six miles was the equivalent of taking a break!?!? WHO AM I?!? LOL!

Hope your week is wonderful. I have a bathroom update and a delish recipe to share this week! Talk soon, friends!

xoxo,
Brandi Nell

Friday, January 6, 2012

Final Goal: Grow Stronger in Faith

I am so happy it's finally Friday. Today also brings me to my final 2012 Goal:

Goal 4: Grow Stronger in My Faith

It is rare for me to talk about religion. I think of my relationship with God as a personal one. With that being said, today I make an exception.

I grew up in a church. I pray multiple times a day. I am a Christian. But truthfully, I do need to be honest with myself and admit that my Faith could be stronger.

We frequently visit a church here in our area. I like it - and Hubs feels comfortable there, but it doesn't seem like the perfect fit quite yet. We have been talking about visiting other churches - we just haven't made it a priority. In 2012, we will do this.

I also need to quit worrying about every.little.thing. I need to learn to have Faith in situations - knowing that He has a plan for me, for us. I need to be thankful for what I have. I need to learn how to trust.


I'm not going to go on and on about this one - I don't want to sound preachy. This is just one more of my resolutions and goals for 2012... so I needed to share.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We are having a quiet night in - trying to stick with our 1st goal for 2012!

I wish you all success, happiness and love in 2012. I really do think this is going to be a great year for us all. Thanks for reading in 2010, 2011, and now 2012. Talk soon, friends!

xoxo,
Brandi Nell

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goal 3: Health and Weight Loss

Hi friends! I have shared two of my goals and resolutions for 2012 thus far. Today I share a third.

GOAL 3: Continue on my health and weight loss journey

This is not an easy post for me to write. I have struggled so many times in what to say, or even if I should even share this with y'all. But, here I am typing away... trying to find the words to say it.

The journey started in January of 2010. It was the close of the holiday season. While looking at photos of myself from Christmas, I was shocked ... I barely even recognized the person I was looking at. This was NOT what I had been seeing in the mirror every day. Is this what I looked like to everyone else?!

Now, I am not saying that I was obese. I was overweight and just plain not happy with what I was seeing. When did it happen? How did I let this happen?

Something had to change.
For my 2010 New Year's Resolution, I decided that I needed to lose weight. I started dieting. I did the soup thing. Hubs and I took walks with the pups. We cut back on going out to eat. And in just 3 months, I had lost only 8 lbs. I wasn't seeing results as quickly as I had hoped. Looking back - I was going about things entirely the wrong way - I had never fully committed.

Things got hectic again. Life got in the way. I didn't
put my health as a priority - work, weddings, friends, the house - those were my priorities. After those initial 3 months, my New Year's Resolution faded to the back of my mind. Oh sure, we would still walk the dogs and occasionally spend a weekend afternoon on our community's trails. It wasn't anything drastic, but I hadn't put the initial 8 lbs back on.

Life went on.
Then it happened again. I saw another unflattering picture. You know the kind - I was in the background of the shot, not knowing I was in the photo. It wasn't pretty, I looked terrible.

At that moment in October of 2010, I decided to make change,
not just a change - a life change.

In November 2010, we joined a gym. Of course it was hard to make time initially. Our daily schedules were already draining us, but we were committed this time. Hubs and I needed this. I needed to feel better about myself, and Hubs needed the stress release from a taxing job.

We started eating better and taking better care of ourselves. Looking back, I wish we had done this sooner, but I don't know that we would have been fully committed before.
We continued to go to the gym, attend classes, and eat better through the beginning of 2011. We were actually doing it. I had lost 7 more lbs in just a matter of weeks. Hubs felt better than ever with an outlet for his stress.

In February, we decided to start running. We took classes, did training programs, and in just a few months - we came to love it. A few months later, we decided that on the year anniversary of our start to running - February of 2012 - we would run a half marathon. I won't go on and on about that... you can read more on our training HERE and every Monday.

It's like something clicked in my brain during those first few months in 2011. I was amazed at the things I could accomplish. I loved pushing myself to new limits. Suddenly, I realized that it was worth the time, the pain, sweat, and tears... Things had changed. I had changed.


Christmas of 2009. I'm on the left

New Years 2010
Obviously there are few shots where my whole body is included. ha!


Christmas 2010 - right after starting the gym
More Recent photos:












I have now lost around 40 lbs and have gained lean muscles. I have 16 lbs more to lose before I hit my personal goal weight. Hubs has gained almost 25 lbs in lean muscle. He enjoys it just as much (if not more) than I do.

We will continue to eat better and make smart choices. Once we hit our goals, we won't sto
p. We want to continue to live this healthy lifestyle and never go back to the way we were before.

In 2012 we will hit our goals - and
push ourselves even harder. I am so glad we started this journey together in 2011. I have more energy now than ever before. The best part? We have fun with it together. He encourages me, and I do the same for him. We serve as accountability partners, and as a support system for one another. Honestly, this whole thing has made our marriage stronger, as we have something else besides house projects to do together. We still have a long way to go... but we are getting there.

Please don't take this post as a vain one, or as a pat on my own back. I have struggled so many times on how to write it. I have actually cried three times while sitting here. It has been a bit of an emotional journey as well. I realize there will be more bumps and bruises along the way - but I thought this was a resolution worth sharing... even if it is taking multiple years to accomplish it.

I have one more goal to share with you tomorrow - FRIDAY! Talk soon, friends!

xoxo,

Brandi Nell

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goal 2: Clean and Organize Our Home

WOO HOO for Hump Day! We are closer to the weekend, folks! Even though this week is a short one at work, it still seems to be creeping by. Yesterday, I shared our resolution to save more money. Today?

GOAL 2: Keep a Clean and Organized Home... consistently.

We have some issues in our home:
  1. We are always busy. Between work, gym, half marathon training, and our social lives, our calendar seems never ending at times. When we do get a day at home, it's hard not give into the temptation to just be lazy and enjoy "vegging out."
  2. We have a Black Lab. I love her, but she sheds more than any other dog I have ever seen. I don't understand how she has any fur left on her body.
  3. We have so many home projects going at one time. When we bought this house 3 years ago, I didn't realize what a never ending mess it would be.
  4. My home office needs to be finished. LIKE TOMORROW.
Now our home is not disgustingly dirty by any means, but it is a struggle to keep it cleaned and organized consistently. Honestly, I haven't even had time to take down our Christmas decorations yet. I can't even imagine how hard it will be once we decide to have children. I desperately want a clean and organized home on a consistent basis.

Enter TidyMom.net! No, I am not a Mom, but Cheryl seriously has some great advice to keeping and maintaining a neat and tidy home. And her blog is pretty much amazing - you should definitely hop over there - only after you finish reading this of course! :)

Also be sure to check out her post, How to Clean a Home. I love all of her ti
ps.

She also has printables for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly chores. This is awesome for me. I make to do lists every day. I love the feeling of checking things off! Check them out below.

Daily:




Weekly:


Monthly:


Yearly:



I love that she breaks things down for you. And the yearly one is all about organization and decluttering. JUST WHAT WE NEED.
Align Center
I will start with taking down all of the Christmas decor and doing a thorough cleaning this weekend. I feel better just thinking about it! Again, Hubs and I are both committed to making the changes. This will make our chaotic lives a little less, umm.... chaotic.

I Hope you had a great day! Looking forward to sharing my next goal with you tomorrow! Here's to a great, organized, and clean year! Talk soon, friends!



xoxo,
Brandi Nell

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Goal 1: Save More Money

Hi friends! I hope y'all had a great Tuesday! It was extremely cold (for us) here in Atlanta this morning. I do NOT enjoy weather that is this cold... it makes my bones hurt. HA!

So this week I thought I would share my goals for 2012 with you - one goal each day, until Friday.

Goal One - SAVE MORE MONEY.

Confession(s): We like to eat out. We like to shop.
Translation: We spend too much, and don't save nearly enough.

In 2012, this is changing. We are committed to this change, committed to saving.

Last week, we signed up for Mint.com. This FREE online home accounting software is an amazing tool that allows users to track bank, credit card, investment, and loan transactions and balances through a single website. It also allows you to set budgetary goals!



This website (which is completley safe) connects to your bank accounts and allows you to see every dollar you spend. Mint then categorizes all of your purchases for you allowing you to see your trends are on a monthly basis. This tool is just awesome!



This isn't OUR screenshot, but rather, an example. But let me just tell you, when we saw how much we were actually spending, it hurt... a lot. Our major problem areas were dining, gasoline, and shopping. OUCH!

Mint has a section for budgeting. It can automatically set budgets for categorical spending, but you can go in and manually change things as well.



We can't do much about the gasoline (Hub's current job requires him to travel 80 miles a day), but we can definitely cut back on the dining and shopping. We had to. It was ridiculous.

We sat down and made budgets for each of our spending categories. It is going to be a major change, but I believe we can do it. We made some allowances for ourselves so we don't fail.

Another feature I love about Mint is it allows you to set financial goals. You can set goals to pay off debts, save for vacations, save for an emergency fund, save for a home... almost anything! It's amazing :)



Of course, our goal was to save more money. Our savings account isn't nearly as healthy as it should be, but we have all intentions to fatten it up! :) Yes, this means less going out, more staying in, wearing the same outfits over and over, and taking our lunches to work - but we can do it!

We are very excited about taking ste
ps toward our financial goals. It's going to be a challenge, but it is going to be so worth it a year from now!

What are your goals for 2012? Looking forward to sharing the next goal tomorrow. Talk soon, friends!

xoxo,
Brandi Nell


**Mint.com did not ask me to talk them up, and they certainly haven't compensated me for this blog post. They don't even know who I am. This isn't saying that I wouldn't accept money if they tried to give it to me - after all, I am trying to save more money :)