Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hot Chocolate 5k

On November 3rd I ran the Hot Chocolate 5k that I trained for over the course of 8 weeks.  My sister, Chelsea, Luke, and I all ran it together.  Well, I say together loosely because Luke was about a mile ahead of Chels and I.  Our only real goal was to run the entire thing without stopping to walk and we accomplished that.  The race was set up near Principal Park in Des Moines alongside a river (that was empty near us and giving off a horrible stench).

It was really fun to actually run with PEOPLE.  I've been running by myself for so long that it felt like a special treat.  I finished the race 25th out of 55 in my age group.  I was pretty proud of Luke who finished 31st overall out of about 500.  He barely even trained - he's just that good. ;)

After the race we had a glass of victory hot chocolate and immediately drove back to Oakmoor where I was playing in a racquetball tournament.  I played in the finals of my Women's B division and got 2nd.  I don't like to make excuses, but I am wondering if I would have won if I hadn't run a 5k directly before.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda - no regrets.

I'm very happy and proud of myself and my sister that we did the entire 8-weeks of training and ran this 5k together.  We went from non-runners to 5ker's.  Some weeks were hard and it was quite difficult to get our training in.  Other weeks we had to do extra training to make up for times we weren't able to run the week before.  I have much more endurance and all the running has greatly improved my racquetball game.  Although right now I am on a bit of a running break, I fully plan on running more 5k's in the future.  

To my friends and family, thanks for following this journey of mine and being an encouragement to me and Chels.

Enjoying victory hot chocolates post-race.
(Luke and I are wearing the fleeces we received for participating in the 5k.)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Training: Weeks 6-8

I am officially a Couch-to-5k graduate!!

The last three weeks flew by.  My body became used to running and it wasn't even something I was apprehensive about by the end.  It became part of life.  Something I'm used to.  Who would have ever thought I would say that about running?  "Yeah, I can go out and run three miles regularly and it's not really a big deal.  I'm not even that tired when I finish."  I have a new respect for putting in training.  It takes dedication and time and effort, but if you do it the way you should you will always be ready for the next step.

Near the end of my training when I was running 2-3 miles every time I started realizing that I am not ready to move onto 10k training as of now.  3 miles is a nice distance, and as of right now I don't feel the need to go farther.  Another part of it is that I live in a small town and I feel like I have explored every crevice of it.  I'm getting a little bored of running the same streets over and over.  I started to listen to a book on tape while I was running - "Divergent".  That made my runs a little more interesting, but I still have no desire to go farther.  

I'm really looking forward to running my first race on November 3rd.  It will be so fun to see all of my work put into action.  I have been waiting 8 weeks to be ready for this, so it is really exciting to know I am ready for it.  Also, I am looking forward to running with other people instead of all by my lonesome.  

You may or may not know that I am a racquetball player.  Luke and I do a few tournaments a year and they are SO FUN.  Make fun all you want, but it is a blast.  I didn't realize until after I registered and paid for my 5k that our favorite tournament is the same weekend.  So I will be playing a racquetball tournament on Friday and Saturday, followed by my first 5k on Sunday morning, and if I'm still in it more racquetball after the 5k.  A very athletic weekend.  I am bound to be very sore.   

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Look what I did today.

What do you guys think?  Honestly I am feeling very self-conscious about it so far.  It's something I've thought about for a long time.  I never knew if I'd ever actually get a tattoo.  I decided to go for it.  Those are my babies birthdays in case you were wondering.  It's strategically placed so that I can wear my hair down and cover it up if I decide I don't want it showing in certain situations.  I know that I will get used to it, but for now I am still in tattoo-shock.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Training: Weeks 4 & 5

      I'm having a hard time differentiating the individual weeks at this point because it just seems like I'm constantly running and progressing.  But I do know that I just finished week 5, and tomorrow I start week 6.  

      I would say that week 4 was a turning point for me.  When I have run in the past I am literally in this state of dread with each step that I take.  The whole time I'm thinking, "I'm running.  This sucks.  My legs hurt.  Oh no, a 5 minute run is coming up.  Not looking forward to that.  When will this be over?!"  I have taken a turn and now it is kind of like I am in a state of zen as I run.  I'm thinking about the lyrics to the song I'm listening to and enjoying a little free time away from my crazy wonderful kids.  

      My younger sister, Chelsea, and I are doing this training together so it's fun to be able to call or text her later that day and say, "I ran.  It was _____ (insert: awesome, terrible, exhausting, etc.).  How did yours go?"  The first few weeks my response was usually along the lines of "tiring" or "really challenging", but the last few times I have said something like "Great!".  That right there is progress.  There is nothing like the feeling of seeing your body do things you didn't know it could do.  I am NOT a runner.  I think I will maintain that for a long time.  But I am becoming one.  I am becoming somebody who ENJOYS running.  I am becoming somebody who says things like, "I'm really looking forward to my run tomorrow."  I never knew that Courtney existed.  

      My most recent workout was one that my sister and I had been dreading.  Before it had always been intervals.  An example would be: 5 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 5 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 5 minute jog.  The longest we had run would have been for 8 minutes at a time.  But this most recent workout simply stated, "Run for 20 minutes.  No walking."  That was scary to me.  That seemed like a big jump to me.  But I got out there and did it.  And my text to Chelsea was (word for word), "It was awesome, Chels!  I wasn't even tired!"  

      I am so looking forward to my training this week.  It has cooled down quite a bit and I really enjoy running in the cool weather.  It really almost makes me giddy to talk about.  We even registered for our 5k on November 3rd, so it's official.  I am actually enjoying my training so much that I am going to continue training for a 10k.  My friend, Hannah, has agreed to do that with me, which is another thing that has me so fired up.  

      Never in a million years did I think that I would be saying these things to you.  Anybody can run a 5k.  If you've been wanting to do it, I urge you to train.  It is so fulfilling.  I love it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Training: Weeks 2 & 3

I was originally going to update about my 5k training weekly but then I realized that there's not a whole lot to talk about. I'm just running in intervals and it's getting progressively longer and harder. I will however try to update every couple weeks.

Week 2: After a particularly hot run at the track I decided to listen to my sister's advice and try running through my neighborhood under the shade of the big beautiful trees. I really enjoy doing this because not only is it more comfortable, but I'm getting more of a road-race feel doing it this way. I've also been enjoying exploring my neighborhood. It is very beautiful. As with most small towns there isn't continuity from one house to the next. There might be a large, beautiful house next to a tiny little shack next to a historic home next to new construction. There aren't rules like in some of the newer neighborhoods. It's fun for somebody like me who really enjoys real estate to snoop around in this way. Here are a few of the homes I get to run by:

Week 3: I was really getting into the swing of things and then I got sick for about 2-3 days. I missed a run because there was just no way that I could do it in the state I was in. I was all ready to do a make-up run on a day that I don't normally run and all of the sudden a huge storm hit. It looked like a hurricane outside my window. When everything was said and done many trees had been knocked down, broken in half, and destroyed. Everybody was out cleaning their lawns. Our neighborhood was cluttered with tree debris. I finally was able to run after the storm and it was interesting running around and seeing all of the damage. It was fun to run through. Here are a few pics I snapped of the damage:

I can tell that my body is getting used to this training. I feel ready each time that I run. The runs aren't intimidating. And if you can believe it I actually look forward to them. It's a little time to myself to just be alone and listen to music. It's very therapeutic. I hope that I'm saying the same thing the next time that I post.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Couch-to-5k: Week 1

This was my first full week (out of 8) of couch-to-5k workouts.

This week's exercise consisted of alternating 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes with a 5 minute warm up and cool down period at the beginning and end.  I really liked this workout because as the title suggests it starts out very beginner which makes it seem not as intimidating that I'm training for a race.

Monday was my first workout and I arrived at the local high school track around 10 a.m.  I don't think I could've asked for a more beautiful day to begin training.  It was in the 70's.  The sun was shining and there was a nice cool breeze.  I turned on my C25k app that guides you as you are running and keeps track of your workout.  I blasted my music and was able to do my workout with a really great mindset.  I felt like the training was challenging but doable.  Remember that I had a baby 4 months ago, so this is the first working out I've really done in over a year.  I left the track feeling very accomplished and with a general positive attitude for the rest of the day.  

Luke is actually doing some training of his own for SWAT tryouts that are coming up, so we're running on the same days and alternating watching the kids.  On Wednesday he went to the track first and when he got home he warned me that there was a high school gym class that was out running the mile that day but they should be done by the time I got there.  I headed to the track and sure enough they were just finishing up and about to walk inside.  "Phew, I missed them!", I thought.  Maybe 10 minutes into my 30-minute workout another class came out and they were obviously going to be running the mile as well.  As I ran by the PE teacher I asked him if it was okay if I keep running.  He said yes, and that they would be timing the mile.  I told him I would do my best to stay out of their way and not interfere with their running.  As the class began to run I would try to get into one of the middle lanes as the kids came up behind me so they could have the inside lane.  It didn't matter to me since my workout isn't about a specific time or distance at this point.  I could hear some girls running up behind me as they were about to finish their mile.  I stepped to the side so they could run on the inside and apparently one of the girls wasn't paying attention and she just PLOWED into me.  I laughed, and thought about how she was probably humiliated since her whole class saw it.  Her teacher yelled out, "That's why we don't look down when we're running!"  Poor girl, I definitely don't miss that part of high school.

Friday was the hardest workout of my first week.  It was very hot out.  The high was in the 90's, but because I was there in the morning it was only in the mid-80's.  But man, it was still miserably hot.  The whole time I was huffing and puffing and drinking water and just not digging it as much as I had the past two workouts.  Running on the track might not be the best idea until it starts to cool down a bit.  There isn't any shade from trees and I can feel the sun beating down on me.  I think next week I am going to try running through my neighborhood with all of the nice mature trees providing me shade.       

Overall still feeling very motivated and excited about my training.  I'm hoping to keep this positive energy as I continue with my workouts.  Also glad that I have three workouts behind me and that I have two days off before I start up again on Monday.  Thank God for the weekend.

Friday, August 30, 2013


For the past few years I've been interested in doing a 5k race.  The most I've ever run is (embarrassingly) two miles, and a 5k is 3.1 miles.  I'm not really a runner, but I know that with a little training it is definitely something attainable.  Another thing is, I still have about 15 lbs to go until I will be more comfortable with my body and at my pre-baby weight.  I've heard other people talking about doing the couch-to-5k program.  It's an 8-week program that takes a non-runner gradually up to 5k shape with three 30 minute workouts a week.  This sounds perfect for me because I have limited time as a mother of three young children. 

I found a race that is on November 3rd and it's routed through the fairgrounds.  I was looking for races in November so that I would have 8 weeks to train and also so that the weather will be cooler.  This means we will be starting our training next week if we want to finish it in time.

I recruited my little sis, Chelsea, to train with me.  Neither of us is a runner so it will be a challenge for us both.  I'm really happy about this because while I know Luke is willing to run with me, that doesn't really bode well for either of us.  He is an advanced runner and much faster than me, so he would have to slow way down so that I could keep up.  Now Luke can run his speed, and Chels and I can run ours.  

A couple years ago I committed seriously to a diet leading up to one of my best friend's wedding.  I realized then about myself that I have a hard time sticking with something unless I have an end goal.  I lost 25 lbs then, and I am hoping to have similar success.  I will try and do a weekly progress update on how our training is going to hopefully keep myself motivated.

Wish us luck!!

-Finish the Couch-to-5k program
-Finish the 5k
-Lose 15 lbs
-Fit into a smaller pant size

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Asa Lennox

Asa Lennox Harden 
Born: April 28th, 2013, at 12:22 p.m.
8lbs 4.5 oz, 20.5 inches long.

His due date was May 5th (cinco de mayo, AYE AYE!) and he was supposed to be induced on the evening of April 28th, but Asa had his own plan.  At around 4 a.m. I woke up with my first contraction - it was very light and I didn't even know that's what it was...until I had another one, and another, and suddenly they were strong enough (around 6 a.m.) that I decided to go downstairs and have some coffee and just see what these pains were all about.  Luke had worked overtime the night before and was sleeping in the basement so I woke him up and told him what I was feeling.  Went back upstairs and wasn't up there for long when I realized this was it.  Started timing my contractions and they were becoming very regular.  

Luke got up, we packed our bags in between contractions (yes, I wasn't packed yet), and headed to the hospital as soon as my Grammy arrived to watch the girls.  The ride to the hospital was interesting.  This was my first time really experiencing true contractions because with my first two I was able to get my epidural before the real pain started.  I'd be fine one minute and then literally climbing my seat and yelling the next.  

I was able to check in pretty smoothly.  A man that rode up the elevator had seen me having contractions and was very concerned and got me a wheelchair.  He pointed at his name badge and told me if it was a boy to name him "Michael", like him. Sorry Michael, it was a close second.  ;) 

After a while in triage we were taken into a room finally and I was given some medicine to make the contractions less intense, and then ultimately I was given an epidural.  Thank God for modern medicine.  I was very comfortable after that and just had to wait to dilate completely.

The same doctor that delivered my girls came in to deliver the baby.  We were so happy because if I had been induced like I was supposed to it would have had to be a different doctor.  We really like our doctor so that was just so special to us.  

After about 90 seconds and 3 pushes, out came Asa!  It was so easy.  
They say those first ones pave the way!

Asa has been such a joy.  He is an incredibly easy baby.  He's always been very content.  At 3 months old he has already been sleeping through the night for at least a month.  I am so in love with my little boy.  And that's another thing - we just can't believe we have a boy.  I honestly thought it was going to be all girls for us, and I think Luke did too. (Even though he claims he knew Asa was a boy all along.  Yeah right.)


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