Monday, December 30, 2013

Who Dat?

After being bummed about the cancellation of the St. Jude Marathon Weekend, I FINALLY got the official email with my transfer/registration code for the...
I will be running the Half!
I am so excited! My husband & I love NOLA...the food...the atmosphere...the architecture...
Yes, this is definitely an added expense that we weren't expecting, but when the opportunity came up to transfer my St. Jude registration & seeing how heartbroken I was with the cancellation of the race, my husband didn't hesitate...he said, "Let's do it!" (meaning..."Let's run the race, I'll drink beer & cheer you on!") I'm sure when he realized that the race is being held Super Bowl weekend in WHO DAT Nation, that was just a bonus to huge party in the French Quarter! Now, if only the Saints can win the play-offs! Geaux Saints! I don't's an excuse to eat some awesome cajun food while there.
One of our favorite places to eat...The Gumbo Shop
located on Saint Peter Street
Another favorite...Mulate's (best bread pudding)
near the Riverwalk Mall
Luckily, I found a hotel, the Andrew Jackson Hotel, in the French Quarter for $159 a night (not as bad as I thought it was going to be). I've never stayed at this hotel, but it looked very quaint. When the receptionist asked me what I was looking for, I told her "Honestly, I'm looking for a place to lay my head & a tub to soak in after the race!"
I know I've walked past this place many times strolling up & down Royal Street.
Since the cancellation of the St. Jude, I've continued to train in the hopes of getting in to this race...a little over a month to go...February 2, 2014 to be exact. Then I will "earn" my beads & all I'll have to show for them is hard work, determination, & sweat!
So, with all that being said...the only thing left to say is...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bani Bands Review & Giveaway

I believe I discovered Bani Bands on Twitter, somehow. I didn't own one of their headbands. One Wednesday they posed a question on Twitter about gym workouts, I responded & was sent a turquoise sequin headband. Later in the Summer, I won a gold sequin band from another Twitter question that was posed. I thought they were going to be like some of the other "big name" headband companies, but I was VERY wrong! These are now my absolute favorite headbands!

I must say that Renee Hanson, owner & designer of Bani Bands, is a GENIUS! Her headbands are like no other that I've tried before. They are made of an adjustable elastic band, so they NEVER stretch out! The elastic in all of my other headbands eventually stretches out.

I wear my headbands to the gym, on a run, to the beach, and around the house. I have yet to have this headband definitely stays put (even when I've fallen asleep on the couch)! I can't say enough  good things about these bands.
Just finished a run while wearing my turquoise sequin BaniBands Headband (not the greatest pic)
Showing off my new St. Jude Here singlet after a gym workout in my turquoise sequin BaniBands Headband.

Recently I was approached to do a Guest Blog on their very 1st time doing a Guest Blog. It was about the "Top 5 Reasons Why Every Runner Should Cross-Train". Check it out HERE. In exchange for doing the Guest Blog, they sent me some headbands to do with as I wish.

I have decided that I want to spread the Bani Bands LOVE, so I am giving away 2 headbands: 1 Sequin Pink Sparkle & 1 Sequin Yellow (see photos below).
Sequin Pink Sparkle
Sequin Yellow
Be sure to visit the Bani Bands Facebook page and let them know Jennifer from Teacher in Training sent you.
The giveaway will end on December 22 at 12:00am. Good luck, everyone!



Friday, December 6, 2013

St. Jude a No-Go!

I'm sitting here in bed...wide awake. I would've been asleep long before now, preparing for a 3am wake-up to get ready for the St. Jude Half-Marathon tomorrow and the 1 1/2 hr. drive into Memphis. Due to Mother Nature bringing in an ice storm, an announcement was made around 7pm that the race had been cancelled. Over 20,000 runners were scheduled to run this race.

This was to be my first time running the St. Jude & my first race since April (returning from IT Band injury). This is a difficult race to get sells out within hours. I decided, while I was injured, to sign up for this race by staying up 'til midnight when registration opened guarantee that I had a spot. I even signed up to run as a St. Jude Hero, in which I received donations from others. This race was my drive to come back from injury stronger. I couldn't wait to see how I'd do compared to my other 2 half-marathons. I was curious to see if the PT, Active Release Therapy with the chiropractor, and all those resistance band exercises paid off.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't heartbroken when the announcement was made. I even cried a little. I busted my butt to get back to where I am. I just wanted to get out there & be a part of something bigger. I wanted to feel the excitement of running a race again. I wanted to run through that St. Jude campus wearing my Hero singlet proudly.

I know the decision of canceling the race was for the first. I have to admit, I wasn't really looking forward to running with a windchill of 5* & 15mph winds, but one of my students reminded me that it's for the KIDS! So I was willing to suck it up.

According to the email I received, we can transfer our registration to an upcoming race. So I'm eyeing the New Orleans Rock N Roll Half on Feb. 2...that is if it isn't full & I can find a room and my principal will let me off.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Preparing for my last training run...

Tomorrow morning will be my last training run of the season...8 miles...before the St. Jude Half. A week from now I'll be so wound up...anxious & nervous that I probably won't be able to sleep! This will be my 1st race since my injury back in the Spring. Tomorrow I will also be visiting my chiropractor for my last Active Release Therapy (ART) session before the race.

I must say that I am very grateful my chiropractor introduced me to Rock Tape! It has worked WONDERS on my knee during my long runs! If you haven't noticed...I like funky & different. I also have a roll of Tribal Tattoo tape (not pictured).

A week from tomorrow I will be running the St. Jude Half-Marathon as a St. Jude Hero. I raised a little over $500 for the children of St. Jude, so I will be proudly donning my Hero singlet.

Front view...a wee bit big, but proud to be a HERO nonetheless!
Back view

Not only will I be running for the kids of St. Jude, but I now have another reason to run. Two weeks ago I was matched with my "running buddy" from IRun4. I am running for a nine year old little girl named Bella that is struggling with seizures among a few other issues. I hope that by running for her & posting pictures to the IRun4 Facebook page, I can bring a smile to her face & give her a little something to look forward to...even if it is just a tiny bright spot in her life.

This says it all...
IRun4 Bella shoe bling...whenever I want to quit I look down at these.

If you're interested in donating to St. Jude, you can donate to my Hero page HERE

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Holiday-to-Holiday #RunChatHunt

I'm not one to run with my phone, but since I recently won a FlipBelt from someone's now makes it easier to carry my phone.  So I thought I'd play along with this photo scavenger hunt sponsored by #RunChat . My half-marathon training is winding down, which will make it a little easier to be more relaxed on my runs & look for some of the items on the list...some of them I can even incorporate on race day.

Here's a list of the items I'll be looking for...

 Day 1: Thanksgiving Day
Before my COLD #RunChatHunt a shout-out to my new #IRun4 Buddy, Bella!
My 1st item...a body of water! Easy peasy!
I couldn't resist this body of water when I saw the geese coming in for a crash landing. The pond is FROZEN on Thanksgiving Day in Tennessee (not normal)!
Item #2: a Snowman...real or decorative
Cold enough for snow, but no real snowmen a decorative Frosty will have to do!
I saw some deflated inflatables on my run, but didn't think that would count...maybe next time! I also run past animals on a farm (usually cows) on a regular basis, but they weren't anywhere in sight this morning.
Hopefully on my long run this Saturday I can get a picture of a mile marker, if we run the highway.
At the St. Jude Half-Marathon, I know I'll get a picture of a porta-potty & a runner I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if I see someone running as Santa or at least wearing a Santa hat with the race being on Dec. 7.
Get a load of some of these sweet prizes...
Each tweet is considered one entry to #RunChatHunt for the following prizes:

Check back to see if I'm successful, or better yet...join me in the Holiday FUN!

Day 3: Saturday, November 30

Today was my last LONG run of training! I only had to run 8 miles, so I wasn't sure if I'd be successful with any pics today.

I ran with my training buddy, Ruthie. When I told her about the Scavenger Hunt, she was all for it...she said it'd help take her mind off all the miles she had to run.

We first looked for the COWS (animals on a farm) down our usual hill, but I still didn't see them. I swear, I think they're hibernating because it's so cold here in the South!

Next, we headed down to Meadowbrook (the next subdivision/street)...when what to our wandering eyes should appear, but a blue All-Brite porta-potty in the clear! Ruthie was the one that suggested there may be one..I had totally forgotten about the new house being built.
Then we headed for the grounds of the Mental Institution in the hopes of a historical marker, but no such luck. Though, on our way out & past Wal-Mart we noticed THIS...
(Too bad it wasn't mile marker 13 for my upcoming half-marathon!)
Probably won't get anymore pics until Race Day, since my next two runs will be at 5am. Check back to see what I find next...
Day 5: Monday, December 2

The one day I don't take my phone with me, because it's a 5am run & it's dark...not a lot to see, I spot a holiday inflatable! I WILL bring my phone along on the next run!

Day 7: Wednesday, December 4

Today was my last training run before the St. Jude Half-Marathon on Saturday in Memphis.

I wore my FlipBelt this morning & took along my phone. Luckily, the holiday inflatable was up! I made my running buddy, Beth, take a picture of me with the inflatable on our 5am run. We had to go all the way up into this person's yard (almost to the porch) to get the picture. I was so scared we'd get caught or wake the people up, but I GOT IT!
This makes 5 items! 5 more to go...
I couldn't believe how warm it was this much so, that you can see I ran in shorts & tank top! We have had some cold weather early for a few warm days...then we're under a Winter Storm Watch for Friday!!! The weathermen are predicting an ICE STORM! Just what I don't need for my half-marathon!

Day 11: Sunday, December 8

On Friday evening, I got the disappointing news I had been dreading...the St. Jude Marathon Weekend had been CANCELLED due to winter weather/ice (I live an hour east of Memphis & we didn't hardly any ice). Needless to say, I was devastated! I had trained my butt off (literally) to come back from injury. I was to run the half-marathon as a St. Jude Hero. I had raised over $500 & received my Heroes singlet to wear on race day.

I did a lot of moping on race day, Saturday, December 7. I could've run at home that day, but it was extremely cold & windy with a 5 degree windchill & 15+ mph winds. So I decided to run my own St. Jude Half today. I honestly didn't know if I'd make the whole distance. I didn't leave the house thinking I'd run 13.1 miles. I just told myself I'd just see what my body felt like doing. Well...I DID IT! I ran the entire thing all by myself...absolutely no running buddy motivation. I came within 12 seconds of beating my 1st half-marathon time! My 1st half-marathon I ran with no walk breaks with a time of 2:02:59. Today's half-marathon I ran in 2:03:11 with a few walk breaks (still have to take it easy with injury).

My husband hopped in the car with the dog & found me along my route to cheer me on and let me know how proud he was of me.
Here I am around mile 10 (wearing my St. Jude Hero singlet)
I did not find any #RunChatHunt pics on this run, but I just had to share. I was on the "hunt", just didn't see anything to take pics of.
The cancellation of the race really messed up my plans for pics. I had hoped to get a pic with many runners I didn't know & I just knew with the race being so close to Christmas I'd see someone in a Santa hat. Also, several miles of the race take place in downtown Memphis in which there are train & trolley tracks.

Saturday, December 14 (starting to lose track of how many days into the hunt)

I've been hunting, but in my small town I just haven't had a lot of luck lately with the photos.

I did snap a picture of this yard display of Santa. It wasn't the Santa or Santa hat I was hoping for, but it's the closest thing I could find. It may not count for the actual list item, but it's still fun to have people wonder why you're taking pictures of other people's yards. :)
Notice the little reindeer head with antlers on the house (a deer hunter must live there)
Tuesday, December 17
I ran by myself this morning, so I decided to take a different route to see if I could see the cows at 5am. I was in luck! Several of them were lying in the pasture. The flash of my camera phone must have startled a few, because they started coming towards the fence were I was standing. Unfortunately, the only thing you can see in the pic is the glow of the cow's eyes. Better luck next time!
Looks like an alien cow...freaky!

Friday, November 15, 2013

My 1st Guest Blog...

Recently I was approached to do a guest blog for Bani Bands on my Top 5 Reasons Why Every Runner Should Cross Train. I JUMPED at the chance to do this! I just realized that my post is now LIVE! So exciting!

I discovered Bani Bands a while back ago on Twitter. They are a FABULOUS headband company! And I don't just mean your typical running headbands, these are different from any I've ever worn. They are made of adjustable elastic, so they'll never stretch out! Can you say G-E-N-I-U-S?

Please go check out my blog post & Bani Bands headbands HERE . Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win some of their awesome "schwag".

Friday, November 8, 2013

Penny the Pirate invades Jamaica

During my Fall Break, we returned to Jamaica. We "adopted" Penny the Pirate for the week.

One of my friends/co-worker is doing a project with her class, which she calls "The Pirates". Her whole classroom is pirate-themed. She has put her own spin on "Flat Stanley". She is sending out "Penny the Pirates" & "Perry the Pirates". People agree to take them on their travel/adventures & document with pictures. She has even created a Facebook page (Room 7's Pirates) where people post their pics. Her goal is to get a pirate on every continent, though Antarctica may be difficult. If you'd like to adopt a pirate for a bit, let me know...I can get you in touch with her.

I thought I'd post some of Penny's adventures here.

Here's the letter that came with Penny.
Penny all tucked in & ready for Jamaica. She only got 3 hours of sleep!
Penny meets Elvis.
Penny meets her 1st Jamaican!
"Roger Robinson" doesn't know what to think of Penny.
Penny chillin' with the towel art.

Penny floating her cares away in the Caribbean...
Penny enjoying my favorite dish...fried, ripe plantains...YUM!
Penny hangs out with some young boys spear fishing.
Penny makes a new friend.
(one of our decorations under the hut)
Penny meets a Jamaican cat.
Penny being spoiled...
Penny catches a "croaking lizard".
(these make a peaceful chirping sound at night)
Penny being attacked by an alligator.
Penny photo-bombs while our good friend, Teco, naps.
(Apparently our hut was the napping & hang-out place.)



Penny waves good-bye as the planes take off.


Saying good-bye to our butler & friend, Nasha.
Our friend Marc & "Puny" as he kept calling her.
Alas, Penny sees one of her kind...
If only I could have Penny's life EVERYDAY!  "A pirate's life's for me..."