Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why AM~Erica Willingly Made Up a Race

So anyway...

As I approach 9-weeks of running, I have certainly had a lot of ups & downs. Progress slid, so I am working my way back up...especially since I have registered for more 5k runs in the upcoming weeks!

If you remember back when I started this running thing, the switch flipped 9-weeks ago, today. (reminder about all of that HERE)

One of my inspirations, Aimee, contacted me earlier this week about doing a race with her. It was The Color Run being held in KC. Problem was the price. It is one of the races I REALLY wanted to do! By the time I started researching it, the morning was completely filled, and the price had already gone up. bueno. And the next session started at 2:00 PM. I'm a morning runner (not a morning person...just to keep that straight), so I was NOT stoked about the afternoon time...especially with it being at the end of May.

Well, my friend (who I've known since the 1st grade) wanted me to run this race with her since it was happening on her birthday! As much as I wanted to spend that race with her...this was a fee I couldn't do. I. Was. Bummed.
But I encouraged her to run it since it's supposed to be a happy race, and she is turning 40! She has made fantastic strides in her journey (slight pun intended), but I just couldn't do that race with her. Instead, I told her I would run with her in spirit.

I ran my own 5k. was a training run. However, I put myself out there to run that 5k distance! And...I did it in my racing gear: tutus. I wore 2 tutus (yeah...say that 5 times fast): one red & one orange. I'll tell you why in a moment.

I decided to have "This Girl is on Fire" as my personal race theme:

1. Aimee is en fuego! Her journey to get healthier & fitter has been amazing! It's why she was part of my inspiration!

2. She decided she WANTED to run a race ON her 40th birthday. She is awesome!

3. It's freaking hot out there! The humidity & temps are ridiculously melt-worthy!

So...I put my race outfit together that included red, orange & yellow to be reminiscent of flames. And then, with it being a race, I needed a race bib. So...I fashioned my own bib & customized it specifically for her birthday. I pinned that sucker on, slathered on some serious sunscreen... and then headed out.

As I promised her, I would run with her in spirit. So, I ran a 5k 2:00 in the afternoon of the last day of May.

It was brutal! The heat. The humidity. The gawking neighbors...
Oh yeah...I did it thru my own neighborhood! I really surprised some neighbors sitting outside, and I even had a car turn around to follow me to see if they were seeing what they were really seeing! A tutu runner running thru the in a race or something. CRAZY!

Did you know those tutus contain super powers? I took off, in hopes of actually taking it slow. With the heat & humidity, it was gonna be rough...but I wanted to finish the race in 40 minutes...for my friend's 40th birthday. No big whoop! It could happen...until the tutus kicked in! I was running one of my faster paces! Like I was in a race or something! Between that & the heat/humidity...I wore out pretty quick. I ended up having to walk some of the way. But you know what? I got in that 5k! I went 3.15 miles in 36:06. So...still not bad. Faster than my goal for this one.

I really did have amused neighbors who got a kick out of seeing this crazy chic running in tutus like there's a race going on...and I was the only one! HA! I had a car pull over to cheer me the creepy car that followed me to see if I was the spectacle they thought it was. I was...

I haven't heard how she did in her race today. I'm stoked to hear! Because she needed that race today. You know: "...the happiest 5k on the planet." She is rocking in her journey! And I was SO happy this race fell on her birthday! I'm hoping it's on her birthday weekend next year so we can plan ahead to actually do it together!

But this year...running on my own, in her honor, will have to suffice.

How about that, all my fellow runners? For a gift to a race in their honor! Even if it's one of your own accord. And get someone to take pics of you so you can show them that they were your inspiration!

I had Teen Girl take some pics for me. And she did a great job!

Today was all for Aimee! A long time friend who is accomplishing great things!

Happy 40th Birthday, Aimee!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Sunday, May 25, 2014

AM~Erica Can't Believe It

So anyway...

A major rush of emotions have been rushing over me lately. I'm a mess!

Today, I'm wearing butterflies. I'm wearing butterflies for several reasons. But hang on a moment while I grab a tissue or two so I can pull myself together to tell you why...


OK. *breathe in, breathe out*

Today, my daughter actually graduated high school. Seriously.

I know, right? How is that even possible! I'm not old enough to have any kiddo that age. That's exactly my thought!


So, yeah. That happened today. And it has been quite the journey to get here!

See, she hasn't exactly been the most "studious" kiddo since she hit the 3rd grade. We have had issues with teachers that were nightmares & sweet blessings of teachers who were saints the rest of the way thru. We pulled, we prodded, we left it alone, we nagged, we encouraged, we punished, we stayed in contact with the was quite the struggle to get her thru. I'm sure there were teachers who cringed hearing from us...or even cringed having to contact us.


The amount of work WE did to get her to scrape by was exhausting. It caused us a lot of anxiety. Because she is SO smart!!! That's why so many of us attached to the journey had been very frustrated with her! But you know what? She did it...just enough to get by. Every. Single. Time.

She also had problems getting participation points in classes. The girl who can sing & perform like no one else's business could not, and would not, do presentations in classes & would hardly speak up in class...because she didn't want to draw attention to herself, especially if she was wrong. But I got thinking about it, and it actually saddens me...

When we lived in StL, she was in middle school. We were there for her whole middle school life. Moving can be difficult on kids. Especially on someone who was such a leader & felt they could rule the world! To get in a situation where you need to make new friends can be very difficult. And the forming of trust issues can arise.

Teen Girl was in a situation in middle school with "friends" that was so traumatic, hurtful, heartbreaking & breaks my heart every time I think about it. A verbally abusive bullying situation was so intense, my daughter never wanted to go back to school. A girl so dominating that other "friends" wouldn't speak up against her. A ring leader that others would just do what she said without question...even if they knew it was wrong. Until the new kid, my daughter, stood up to her over a stupid Halloween costume. And things escalated quickly. Horribly.

In that time, the bully ring leader had a birthday party where she, along with her over-bearing mother, had a bracelet making party. My daughter chose to make her bracelet for me (probably because she knew she was in serious trouble with me before we left). It had my favorite colors & a butterfly charm. She made it about 6-years-ago, and I still wear it.

When she made that bracelet, it was a dark time for her. Both with school & with friends. She just wanted to go back "home"...not wanting to accept the fact that StL had to be our home at that time. Middle school is hard enough on an individual...but no one should EVER have to endure what she did!

So she has had trust issues with friends, classes & people in general. She no longer steps up & makes herself known & has been a great part of her own self doubt. This is all on top of her not wanting to do all the work anyway...
Imagine our struggle...

We were shocked when we went to parent/teacher conferences. We would hear, "She is very quiet in class." We would find ourselves retorting with, "No, no, no. Our daughter is [Teen Girl]." And then we'd get the weird looks.

In her struggles to even wanting to do the work, as well as finding & hanging on to decent friends, the journey to today has really been a struggle. She's been fighting this cocoon for a very long time.

So, today, I felt it was appropriate to wear butterflies. Not only was my deceased grandmother into butterflies as much as I am (reminder HERE), but it was a beautiful significance to graduation.

Today, I wore butterflies...including that bracelet. Such a symbolic accessory to show that she has fought hard & risen above a lot.

The bracelet she made for me several years ago

She began to get noticed for her amazing talents. She had people fighting for her & with her to get her to walk that stage.

Today, I wear butterflies. To make sure my grandmother was ever-present, as well as to remind my daughter how far she has actually come!

Today, she became a butterfly...we watched her wings spread as she focuses, now, to fly off to her next adventure. She is still looking at a couple of colleges (Remember that whole being afraid of being turned down & trust issue stuff?). But getting accepted, having amazing friends, getting to go on big adventures, and she has turned the heads of talented peers that she really had no idea she could hold her own with...ones she really looks up to!

Her very last day of free public education...ever!

We are so proud that we, as a village, have gotten this girl to the end of this stretch of the journey. It's time to turn the corner to a whole new path.

And I have handled this whole "I have an adult graduate as a kid" thing SO well...*ahem*

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, May 10, 2014

AM~Erica Ran Across the 50 Yard Line

So anyway...

I've done it again...I have only been running for six weeks (as of tomorrow), and I have run 2 races...


I know. Crazy to think about!

I ran my first 5k last weekend. (reminder HERE) And that night, I signed up for another one. Ummm...happening the following weekend. Which happen to be this weekend.

If you remember my original motivation (reminder HERE), the switch in me flipped when I saw some of my non-avid runner friends doing these 5k runs covered in colors, wearing tutus & getting some bling!

Last week, the Park Trot 5k Run/Walk was OK. I ran the whole way, and I decided to wear camo & orange due to it taking place around Bass Pro. But there was limited bling to give out. Let me point out that it was a FREE run! I literally used it as my "test run". But today was different...very different!

Somehow, my hubby came across the Chiefs' Finish on the 50 [yard line] 5k Run/Walk. He thought about doing it. He asked Teen Boy if he wanted to do it. He sent some feelers out to some church friends (and a couple others) to see if they wanted to do it. And there I was...faced with whether or not to jump back into another 5k situation with very little training.

So...I signed up. I decided I would turn right around & get in on this! I mean...seriously, folks. You should know my love for my Chiefs! (find out HERE if needed)

= It was happening AT Arrowhead Stadium...the hooooome of the CHIEEEEEFS!
= It involved running into the stadium AND onto the field! THE FIELD, folks!!
= It involved getting some bling (read: a medal) for crossing the finish line.
= The finish line was ON THE 50-YARD LINE!!
= I got to wear a tutu...DUH!


From the sheer numbers of people involved, to the prize at the end, to even the group of people I knew running it this one (which was a completely different group from last week), it was awesome!

Sadly, I didn't get the needed time in this week to really prep for this race. It was killing me that I had to walk about a quarter of a mile in the second mile stretch. I hated (yes...strong word...but it was a devil mile) the second mile.

I want to back up a bit to this past please allow me this moment:
As I was trying to get some time & distance in while dealing with humidity (which hasn't been going well so far), Lil Guy has decided to give running a try & wanted to get in some running time. I knew he wasn't gonna go far, or go very fast, so I ran with him one evening. I hold my phone so I can check out my running app while on the go. I have been wanting to try to get an armband, but had not gotten to that point yet. At one point, Lil Guy assumed I was making a turn (I wasn't), and he turned abruptly in front of me, hit my hand...and my poor phone went flying & hit the sidewalk, Not. Good.

After trying not to pull a Bill Hader in a T-Mobile commercial...

...I got my screen fixed & an armband purchased! So I got to try out my new armband, too!

And I was getting it in place, as well as mentally propping myself for this 5k:

When the countdown to the start of the run began (which was awesome to hear anyway), those who were running, I took off. I was hoping to watch my pace a bit...and somehow I was going at a pretty steady 9:44-47/mi pace! I couldn't believe it! I was being passed my several...but I was in my own zone (where I prefer to be when I'm running), listening to my Beastmode playlist & listening to the clipping & clopping of the trotting & stomping of hoards of racing feet hitting the asphalt. It's such a an awesome sound. I remember hearing the sound for the first time last week.

We were told that the halfway point would have a water station where you could get your water from Chiefs TE, Sean McGrath (The Bearded Wonder, for those keeping score). I did see him handing out water, he turned his back to get more water as I ran by. I didn't want to stop!

However...the Devil Mile (read: Mile 2) had a "slight" incline & kicked my behind. It broke my heart that the sun beating down on me, the lack of getting in my distance this week, and that stupid incline really took a lot out of me. Probably my killer pace at that time, too.
I *sigh*
So, I walked about a quarter of a mile off-and-on...but then the great part was coming...

When I saw the opening to THE TUNNEL, I kicked up my pace! And I could tell there was music blaring in the tunnel! So...I took out my earbuds (since I wouldn't be able to hear my music anyway), and could hear the Tomahawk Chop blaring thru speakers & bouncing off the cement walls of the tunnel! Runners started getting pumped & going crazy. Heck, a guy went flying by me like he was Rocky on the steps in Philly acting like he'd just won the race! It was exhilarating!

Last week, I finished my first 5k. I really thought I'd be really emotional about finishing it. I wasn't. I was ELATED; I certainly wasn't emotional. Color me surprised! (I'm sure it's a total Crayola color)

Today, I was going thru the tunnel...feeling like a Chiefs player...and I could see it! The light at then end of the tunnel! It was the opening to the field! That did it. I was totally verklempt & emotional by the sight & idea. I got so choked up hearing loud music blaring, the people lining the raceway...and the finish line was coming into view!

I looked to my right...and my family was there with cameras, cowbells & cheers. On my left, I could hear my name being cheered for (which was hubby, Teen Boy, and another teenager from church who ran). It was beautiful!

My non-running kiddos with cowbells

Hubby & the boys after cheering me on from the other side (since they were faster)

No, my time wasn't recorded (I'm glad this time), but I got a chocolate protein bar, a bottle of water, and my bling.

I finished. I crossed the 50 yard line. I didn't stop. I kept going...

Finish line, crowds & just getting my bling

And it was incredible!

My hubby & I have had conversations about gift-giving lately. We have discussed that "stuff" isn't as awesome anymore...but experiences are...

This was one of those experiences. I'm so glad we did it! And now...we might do the Royals 5k this summer, too!

Participating group from church - not as a team...just cheering each other on

Apparent family affair as my brother was participating too

Yes...I'm planning more 5k runs. Hey! More tutu, more bling. Bring it!

Let's do it again!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, May 3, 2014

So...AM~Erica Did a 5k

So anyway...

With all my butterflies racing last night (reminder HERE), I was a wreck this morning.

My jitters were rampant! I was trying to eat my breakfast fuel...but my belly was not having it. I only ate about 1/3 of my peanut butter, honey, pumpkin pie spice & almond on whole wheat toast.

I was getting hydrated & brewing the coffee...because this was not, I repeat - NOT, going to happen without some coffee.

So I drank water, had some coffee, put together some pre-race fuel (cheese stick & banana) along with bringing some coffee & more water, got my bib number attached, my camo & orange outfit on, topped off with the tutu so I could get ready to head out the door.

My running costutume for a the 5k around Bass Pro: camo & orange
So I headed over with Teen Boy (who was there to support me as Lil Guy had badly timed flag football games around the same time) so he could try to capture a bit of my first 5k.

I fueled up with my cheese, banana, water...and coffee...made sure my tutu was in place & then secured my timing chip to my shoe.

I then headed over to the starting line area to look for some of my peeps I knew would be there!

Found my baby sistah from another mistah before the race. YEA!

Then found my future sis-n-law doing the volunteer thing before she participated! Woo Hoo!
And time was getting close to begin the race. So I looked over at the sun rising & several runners beginning to gather at the start line.

So I took a moment to compose & begin to head over to the start line, too...

We found out the race was delayed by 10 minutes due to the traffic back up! There were over 1700 registered to be a part of this Park Trot 5k! That's a lot of people's folks!

I'm somewhere in that mob, folks. Lots. Of. People.
And after my niceties & excitement & girl, Beqi (the baby sistah from another mistah) & I decided we would quit talking to each other & just hoped for matter who did it first. And the same for Angel, my future sis-n-law.
And...we were OFF!

I squealed in nervous excitement that we were starting...

And I ran...
And I ran...
And I ran...


I was focussed on getting to the next opening of people! And, as I did, I looked at my phone app to see that I was going at a MUCH faster pace than usual!
I usually do my 5k outings in about 35-36 minutes. My hubby predicted I would finish in 35:35! *GULP* No pressure!

However, I think in the power of the tutu (and since I was the only one wearing a tutu) made me run faster! I'm usually running about an 11:something pace. I was running just over 10 minutes per mile. wha-WHA??

I wanted to begin walking at one point, but I saw I was at the 3-mile marker...I couldn't give up NOW! So...I ran. I ran to the end...

And...I was exhausted. Smiling I finished & accomplished...but I was BEAT!

But I got to find my buddies & some others, too, after the race!

Beqi & I survived! *SMILING*

The Beems! Great family to run into! And...Kate (far R) is the one cheering me on as I cross the finish line

 Found Angel (future sis-n-law) after she crossed the finish line!

Found this lovely lady, Aimee, on the way to my car! So glad I got to see her!

OK, remember the large crowd? There was no line by the table to get your official time. There was just a mob of people! And I needed to get out of there. So I didn't take much with me when I left. I will look it up online later. is my unofficial Runtastic results:

Can hardly believe I did it. But I did it. And I thought I'd be way more emotional...but I was totally elated...and exhausted. But really elated!

And then, Teen Boy & I got ourselves to the car, had a lot of issues getting out of our parking spot, so I got to finish some water, get down some dry roasted edamame & a granola bar, and take a couple of swigs of Gatorade before a very nice man, who was a race participant, figured out I wanted out & made sure I got to leave. God, bless that guy 100 fold for being aware of us trying to get out of a very busy place!

Now...I rest. And hydrate...and rest. That took a lot out of me! The full-out run & the stress behind it really took a lot out of me!

But you know what? I have tried to work really hard...but it has been the extra encouragement from my friends & family! I know it was funny when I started out. Who woulda thunk it? But here I am...and I cannot thank enough those of you who have inspired & encouraged me! I'm gonna find some chocolate. Like a Cadbury Egg. Yeah...I deserve that.

Because I ran an entire, officially timed, 5k today. I will get the official results soon...I hope.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, May 2, 2014

Why AM~Erica's Tummy Butterflies are Racing

So anyway...

I decided to embark on a new adventure just short of 5 weeks ago...(reminder HERE)

5 weeks ago, today, I read an article about racing tutu shaming & the fight back: that was merely toeing the door open.

5 weeks ago, tomorrow, I saw pics of long-time friends, posted on Facebook, who had done these races in our tutus, some covered in colors, and receiving amazing medals: that was my motivation switch-flip...tutus, colors, medals.

5 weeks ago, come Sunday, I went for my first run EVER that I was actually willing to do: that was the beginning of my journey.

In this 5-week time frame, I have gotten so many tips & so much's a bit overwhelming. I heard about this C25k method to use to get moving. It's short for "Couch to 5k". A method that slowly gets a beginner (even a lazy one like me) ready for a 5k run. It is supposed to be a 10-week build up. But I have taken off & have already run 5k in training. More than once!

Well, tomorrow will be my first official 5k. I realize it's extra soon into my training, but this one was FREE to register for! So, I figure that I'm not out anything if I royally screw this one up. If I have to walk at all, or if I have to lay on the side of the road for a may not be pretty. I will finish. That is my goal for this 5k.


I am taking a rest day today so that I have fresh legs for tomorrow morning. But...the butterflies in my stomach have been running a marathon in my belly. I'm not gonna lie. I'm kind of freaked out.

Yes, I realize I have run for pi & a little more. (reminder HERE) But this is different.
* I'm gonna be running in a very different location. It's not my immediate neighborhood.
* I'm gonna be needing to run a set distance. No ducking out early in a set course from the neighborhood. Can't take the shortcut home if I'm not feeling it.
* I'm gonna be surrounded by people. A whole lot of people. I will know some of these great people...but I'm not used to running with...people. *GULP*
* I'm gonna have a number, a chip, a tutu & semi-costume. Not necessary for the run...but a motivation for me.

There's so many factors that are freaking me & my belly butterflies OUT! But...I'm looking at this as a "test-run". (Yes. Semi-pun is intended.) No big big whoop. Amm-i-rite?


I'm excited though! And nervous. Very. In both variables.

But I'm getting myself as prepped as possible. I'm trying.

I'm not aiming to medal (I think only top finishers of each age category medal & very top finishers get a plaque...but don't hold me to that), but just to finish & say that I got my first one out of the way. But mostly to just...finish. That's what I need.

Around 4:15 this afternoon...I went & picked up my stuff.

...and I went to my car...and got all emotional. I didn't even open it until I got home! Just the thought that the official bib & chip were in my possession was just completely overwhelming.

Now, as I try to calm a bit, I'm pulling together everything I need:

Shoes?      CHECK

Socks?      CHECK

Bib Number?     CHECK

Time Chip?     CHECK

Sunglasses?      CHECK

Music Playlist?      CHECK

Running App?      CHECK

Outfit with Tutu?      CHECK might be wanting to know about what I'm gonna wear for this run. Amm-i-rite?

Well...stay with me...

One of my running friends posted a pic featuring Richard Simmons...yes...RICHARD SIMMONS in an orange tutu. Yes...Richard an orange tutu.

You. Are. Welcome. Good luck sleeping tonight...

So, I was nearly challenged to pull off the tutu (even the pearl necklace...but not sure I can run with that on). So, it was not that hard since I had planned on wearing orange & camo for this race anyway!

Ummm...yes...I am wearing camo & orange for this 5k. Why? It's taking place at the Bass Pro. Camo & orange with a tutu is TOTALLY fitting! (I will have pics at a later time)

OK...time to focus. Shake the jitters & be ready for the adrenaline to get me thru.

Have I mentioned that I'm actually excited...and nervous? I can't tell which butterfly is winning right now...

This is actually happening, yo!
And...I'm gonna go get a little more emotional now...again...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica