An early morning view

5:30 AM and Running

WHY ON EARTH would I get up THAT early? well let me tell you. . .

Generally I would say that I am NOT a morning person. In fact I HATE mornings. I do a lot of stupid things in the morning before I’ve had my coffee.  Despite my aversion to early mornings I am a morning runner. Those of you who’ve known me since my teen years, lived with me in college, or ever been an overnight guest will probably scoff at that remark. It’s funny how kids change things in your life.

I think that every person has their “thing” that lets them clear their heads, de-stress, and enjoy themselves. You know that thing in your life (maybe passion would be a good word for it) that when you’re doing your thing everything else around you falls away and you are 100% intensely focused on exactly what you’re doing IN THAT MOMENT, and when that moment ends you feel refreshed. For me it’s most things fitness related but especially running. I LOVE running, and I LOVE running in the early mornings. I HATE getting up though. EVERY SINGLE TIME my alarm goes off at 5:30 I consider not getting up, the catch is that I ALWAYS regret sleeping in, and NEVER regret running.

Post run snap shot!

Post run snap shot!

I know, I don’t work so if I despise mornings WHY do I go so early? When I’ve been for an early morning run I get to start my day with some personal time. (I resent anyone who messes with that by waking up early and trying to talk to me while I get ready to go.) I use that time to clear my head, pray, think through challenges in life, and catch up on podcasts. Some days it is the ONLY time I get to myself to process life. I find that I get to kick start my day with a fresh perspective and a good attitude and I am a much better parent for it. We live in a BEAUTIFUL area, surrounded by mountains, and it’s only a short run to farmland so I am constantly looking at an overwhelmingly gorgeous view. I can run 25km without using any main roads and encountering very few cars if I go early in the morning so my gawking is undisturbed.  If I wait until nap time and slip out in the afternoon or put it off until the evening I find that other things come up and I often don’t go, or don’t enjoy it as much. If I wait to shower until after my run and I don’t run until 2pm then I don’t feel like my day has started until after my run which means I find myself unmotivated, sluggish, and sometimes just plain lazy all day long. When I’ve been out for an early morning run I feel fresh, motivated, and ready to take on the world.  If I’ve run 15K, showered and eaten by 8 am then my head is clear, I am ON FIRE and ready to take on the world.

An early morning view

An early morning view

For some people it’s music, others art, my hubby cycles, I run. We all need something in our lives that gives us some personal time to process life. When you’re busy with family, work, play, and just life in general it’s easy to let other things get in the way. At 5:30 I am usually up alone, the house is quiet, the roads are quiet, and there is no one around to distract me. So I encourage you to spend some time figuring out what it is that makes you feel rejuvenated then set aside some time every week to enjoy it. You’ll be glad you did!

2013 Goals

The McHale Family ready to embark on new adventures in 2013

The McHale Family ready to embark on new adventures in 2013

I’ve always been a very goal oriented person – really anything I can check off a list is highly motivating for me. I regularly set goals/create to do lists for the short term, but until recently have never considered setting long term goals to give structure to my whole year. I’ve been working on some personal growth over the last 6 months and a recurring theme amongst all of the books and podcasts is goal setting, giving you something to strive for. So I figured sure, why not! I’ve tried to set my goals in a number of areas of life to allow me to round out my life and hopefully keep things in balance, so I’ve got everything from career, to fitness, to personal goals. The Hubby and I even set some joint goals that we are going to work on as a couple. He has also set his own goals which he posted on one of his blogs late last month (sorry I couldn’t tell you where to find them I have no idea).

I hadn’t really planned on making my goals public, but publicity also creates accountability. I may or may not also have a few other “private” goals up my sleeve ;).

Here we go these are my goals for the year:

  1. Double my income in the year 2013 by starting a side business. (More on that in a later post I hope)
  2. Pay off the car by March 1/13. – Last February we started our “Total Money Makeover” after reading Dave Ramsey’s book of the same title, and it has been life-changing for us in more than just the financial realm of life. If you have ANY debt at all seriously check it out, read it. It’s been an amazing journey for us and is really what has started my journey to self improvement.
  3. Run a 10K race – I know I can do this, but it’s fun to participate in the event!
  4. Run a 1/2 Marathon – got up to the distance last year but then was unable to participate in an event.
  5. Run a full Marathon – this will be the true physical stretch for me, farther than I’ve ever run before!
  6. List & sell our current home
  7. Buy a larger home hopefully with a smaller mortgage
  8. Read all the books on my reading list. (See reading list below)

While some of these may seem like lofty goals I think “Go big or Go home” is a good principle by which to set your goals. If they are easily attainable then you aren’t going to find it challenging enough to keep you interested (at least I’m not). And hey, if I only make it 3/4 of the way then I’ve still made it farther than last year and ultimately while I am always going to strive to meet and even surpass a goal that I’ve set – that’s just the way I am – making it even 1/2 way there on most of them is still pretty good.

Reading List:

  1. The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey – finished Jan 4/13
  2. The Millionaire Next Door – Dr’s Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko – Finished Feb 11/13
  3. Wisdom Meets Passion – Dan Miller
  4. Guerrilla Marketing – Jay Conrad Levinson
  5. Entreleadership – Dave Ramsey
  6. See You at the Top – Zig Ziglar
  7. $100 Start-Up – Chris Gilibeau – in progress
  8. No More Monday’s – Dan Miller
  9. Tribes – Seth Godin
  10. Love & Respect – Dr Emerson Eggerichs – started & abandoned 3/4 of the way through – good content, just not my style.
  11. Thou Shall Prosper – Daniel Lapin
  12. Becoming a Person of Influence – John C. Maxwell
  13. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

If any of these books look interesting to you and you’d like to support the site then check out here and pick them up!


Dec 6 the Hubby and I started the Team Beachbody 60 days of Insanity workout.  We’ve had the package for a while but it has taken us a little while to get organized and motivated to actually get going on it.  So far I’m impressed.

I’ll be honest with you, the first um, 3 days for sure, but we’ll say week for good measure were some of the most painful days I’ve experienced after working out.  The only more painful workout experience I remember is my FIRST EVER day at bootcamp two years ago after having my daughter and being minimally active for an extended period of time. Ow. Otherwise I would normally consider myself to be in fairly good shape so I was a little surprised at how long the pain lasted.  Over the summer months I was going to bootcamp two mornings a week and running pretty much all other mornings.  At my peak I was running 22km, yup 1/2 mar.  But as fall crept along I kind of let things slide and had gained a couple pounds.

I don’t have a totally accurate starting weight because we didn’t have a scale. Our snazzy high tech-electronic one got washed out in the bathroom flood this summer (that’s a whole nother story).  We picked up an el-cheapo (I’m talking bottom of the barrel, low tech $9 no electronic parts CHEAP scale) at Walmart last Monday while Christmas shopping and I was pretty skeptical of it’s readings so I started weighing myself on the mail scale at work as well.  I was astonished to find our budget one was accurate. The first day of the program I would guess that I weighed in around 130ish which is still what I would consider an acceptable weight, but a little heavier than I like.  This morning I was looking down at 120lbs on the scale, and we’ve only been at it for a week and a half!

The package we bought came with an “Elite Nutrition Guide” as well.  They recommend eating 300 calories 5 times a day and ramping it up as the workouts increase in intensity and duration.  The plan gives multiple options for each meal. I followed a similar plan in the summer when I was going to bootcamp 2x/week and running about 4x/week training for a 1/2 marathon.  I’m always surprised and impressed with how little I actually need to eat when I’m eating properly, and how much better my body performs when I eat this way as opposed to gorging myself 3 times a day. I’ve also been using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to help track my caloric intake a bit more accurately.

The goal of this whole deal was to fight the winter/Christmas bulge that we so often spend most of the spring/summer/fall trying to get rid of.  So far I would say this is working, and if I’m feeling brave when we’re done I’ll post the before and after pics, but I can’t promise that now, you’ll have to catch me on a good day later. 🙂

To Run or Not To Run . . .

Normally I would tell you that I am a runner.  Lately I’ve been struggling with motivation and I’m not sure I fit the bill.  Until early August my weekly routine was 2 morning boot camps, and three morning runs.  Then I had to go away on business a few times and my routine got all out of whack.  It’s funny how a short break in the routine can have such a lasting effect on your daily life! Now a month later I still seem to be having some motivational issues.

5:00 am just doesn’t feel that great to me right now, and it’s gotten dark.  I don’t know about you but I’m not a huge fan of running in the dark.  Working full time I don’t have a lot of other choices though. I can run early in the dark, or I can run late in the dark.  So I’m trying to work through this, I don’t want to give up running for the winter but some mornings I just can’t convince myself to go.  Some mornings I win the motivation battle.  Others I loose.

In part I think my problem is that I’m not training for anything in particular right now.  I’m not working towards any goal.  I was training for a half marathon in August, but for a variety of reasons I was unable to run.  Now I feel like I’m just kind of running aimlessly.  I am however trying to get back to a place where I enjoy it. Running has started to feel a little like a chore that I have to tick of my list everyday.  That makes being motivated hard.  So I’ve turned off the pace setter on my running app, and quit worrying about the distance that I’m running every week.  For now I’m going to run for the sake of running, and hopefully when I come across an event that strikes my fancy, I’ll be ready to go.