Time to say goodbye…kinda

It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog post to inform you my time at autopilotlegs.com is coming to an end.

This blog has been a huge source of encouragement for the past several years and I have learned a lot through the running blog community, had some wonderful opportunities, and met some amazing people.

Because I am now a mommy, I find myself leaning more towards blogging about being a healthy/active/fit mom, and that is all-emcompassing. Due to my struggles with injury and some recent health stuff that’s cropped up, I’m pursuing other sports and more cross-training for the time being. I’m dabbling in a lot of different forms of exercise that I never gave a second look at before for the past several years.

I’m not done blogging, however. I have a brand new blog called “Kickin it Mommy-Style:” www.kickinitmommystyle.com where I hope to share my day-to-day struggles as a first time mother, discussing the reality that comes along with being an adoptive parent, my child’s crazy antics, as well as my constant pursuit of maintaining a fit and active lifestyle so that I can be the best mom I can FOR my child.

So while I am saying goodbye to my running blog, I will be continuing to blog about my health and fitness over there, I am just not restricted to talking only about pounding pavement!

I truly TRULY appreciate all the support I’ve found through my blogging over here. I have gone through a lot with you all and I am so thankful.

I encourage you to check out my new blog and join me over there. I’d love to have you continue on as a part of my life. I also have a brand new Facebook community attached to “Kickin it Mommy-Style” and you can find a link to “like” that page on the new blog.

Thanks again, so much for all your support. I hope to “see” you all in the future.


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When enough is enough

Well if you read my last post, you know I’ve really been struggling with my running as of late. Dealing with injury always weighs heavily when a runner tries to make a comeback.

It turns out that my stress in life may not be the only factor playing a role on my horrid running performance as of late.

I’m going to save you the sob story and just tell you I have finally broke down and gone in to see a medical professional and had lots and LOTS of blood drawn. The final straw was me having to call in sick this weekend to work and then being sent home because I was borderline delirious the day I actually drug myself there.

I’m in a constant brain fog, very weak, have no energy, headaches, my hair is falling out, I’m in extreme pain in several of my limbs, my legs are chronically freezing despite summer temps, I’m over-heating within a few minutes of every run, I’m having night sweats, and I could literally sleep for days and days and days, I’ve had an 8-9 lb unexplained weight gain in the last 5 months, I can’t comprehend or concentrate on things, etc etc.

It’s time to stop avoiding the obvious. Something is wrong. After multiple discussions with friends in my life who are either Nurse practitioners, PAs or MDs, I got my butt in and had huge vials of my blood drawn this morning to get some answers.

I’m praying this is my thyroid.

Yes. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true. If it isn’t, then we’re about to embark upon a crazy train of a medical mystery that I’m not uber pumped about. Some of my blood work is coming back already and it’s not necessarily indicating anemia, so that’s good.

TSH will be back sometime later this week.

Thankfully I have found a PA who freaking LISTENS TO ME. She understood my concerns, talked to me thoroughly about my life as a runner, mother, etc.

After much discussion, I am pulling myself out of my plans to run a half marathon this October. I have got to get my crap together physically, mentally, etc before I take on a longer distance. I’m tired of running injuries. I’m tired of constantly feeling sick. I’m not going to give up entirely on working out and keeping up my cardio, but I’m removing a goal that shouldn’t be there, simply because I know if I don’t get through it without a single problem, I’ll be pissed. This is not worth it. I know who I am and I know that this has to be done; even though it kills me to say this.

Will I start running again once I get a handle on whatever this is? You bet. Will it be for a half marathon in 3 months? No.

I’ve done 4 this past year. Time to chill.

Not gonna lie, though, it pains me simply because I’m not going to be able to keep up with a lot of my friends, I’m not going to be present at a lot of their fun events, I feel like I’m going to slip away. I don’t know what else to do. It sucks being the one sitting on the sidelines watching others do the very thing you’re unbelievably passionate about.

I’m tired of being on the sidelines…A LOT.

I’m done. I’m getting this taken care of. I’m fixing my focus. I’m re-training my body. I’m gonna focus HARD on strengthening my dumb core. As soon as I am able, and my body no longer feels like I got run over by a semi, I’m going to cross train.

Enough is enough.


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I’m not sure how to interpret life right now

I’m really struggling with my running. And by really struggling, I mean that I have the insane desire still, I just am exhausted beyond belief while out running and it’s bumming me out BIG TIME.

I had an AMAZING training cycle for my last half marathon during my maternity leave. I signed up for my last half the day we brought our son home from his foster family’s house at 1 month old. As I’ve written about before, people told me I was out of my mind to think I’d have the time to train for something like that with a new baby and being a first-time mom.


Thankfully I have a very supportive husband who never ever complains about my running obsession and he knows and acknowledges how important of a part in my life it is. So while yes, I had a screaming baby trying to figure out that I’m actually his mom now, who had been hospitalized, had to have surgery, went through a horrific bout of reflux, and never seemed to sleep, I still managed to rock the heck outta my half marathon training and came out with a huge PR on race day.

So you were wrong naysayers.

With that being said, my job is killing me. Now that I’m back at work, I’m doing 15 hour work days; sometimes back-to-back in a stressful environment. This job isn’t new to me. I’ve had it for 4.5 years, but couple that with the things mentioned above baby-wise + add rehabbing the dumbest leg injury known to man and I’m constantly exhausted.

I did not get in to the TC 10-miler for marathon weekend via their lottery system. I had my heart set on that being my “A” race with finishing out my ’13 season with a half marathon a couple of weeks after that. Stupid of me to put all my eggs into one basket, but I was super super bummed I didn’t get an entry. It doesn’t help that I’m the only one of my immediate circle of friends that didn’t get in. However, perhaps there’s a reason for it. I’m not sure I’d make it through that race feeling good about it on the other side if things don’t change soon.

It’s honestly very difficult for me to admit that I’m struggling with finding the mental energy to pursue the goals I have for myself. I’m never one to back down from a challenge I’ve set forth and I always take the hardest road possible at times to push myself. I feel doing so has made me a much stronger individual; thus making this blog post difficult to type.

And it’s not even a question of me not having time with my son. He’s my biggest and best training partner I’ve ever had. He LOVES being out in the jogging stroller with me. It’s one of the best things we do together and it gives me an opportunity to teach him how it’s important to be active from early on in his life. I combine my new “mom status” with my “runner status” and it works…except that I’m drained.

The unfortunate part is that it’s an area of my life I don’t particularly care for that is creating the biggest obstacles. If we had the luxury of me being a stay at home mom, I guarantee this discussion wouldn’t even be happening. I just literally am gone several days at a time and don’t sleep nearly the amount I need to be because of my hours. When it was me working this job and only having to take care of myself, it wasn’t difficult. Now that there’s a child involved, that’s a whole new ballgame.

Unfortunately our financial situation is one that if I were to leave my job, we wouldn’t have a roof over our head, and well…I don’t think making that decision for our family would be a wise one, eh?

So here I am 2 days out from starting my training cycle for half marathon #5 and I’m terrified. I’m terrified that I won’t get to complete it; not because of injury, but simply because I can’t overcome my mind constantly being obsessed with how tired I am.  And to be honest, I’m not sure if I really AM tired half the time or if I just believe I should be. Does that make sense? My physical game isn’t good simply because my mental game is a mess.

The one good thing is that my mom and dad are moving back to MN next week for the first time in 5 years. I do believe part of my exhaustion stems from the fact that we’ve been through hell on earth for a year straight with adoption proceedings and then being thrown into the world of first-time parenthood like fish outta water and no family nearby to keep us afloat at times. So perhaps I have a life raft on the horizon.

Right now I just am writing to tell you all I’m tired. My 3-mile runs feel like marathons. I walk when I know I technically don’t need to. My pace has dropped off the face of the earth. I do nothing but tear myself down mentally the whole time I’m out there on the road.

It’s not good.

Moms who work…do you struggle with stuff like this to? Cuz I’m having a hard time finding balance being a mother, wife, and my job in nursing. It’s hot mess central up in my brain.

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The race that kicked my patoot

So this past weekend, on what could be described as a total “whim,” I ran a local race in my town that was technically a “6K.” The Rice Lake Classic 3.7 miler is held every year during our town’s local summer festival and the race course encircles a beautiful lake less than 2 miles from my house. The entry fee is a whopping $8 and you even get a t-shirt. :) How can I pass up the opportunity to race for $8? Ya know?

Given that I have been battling my stupid posterior tibial tendon for the past 2+ months, I didn’t want to go into this race expecting much, but I of course hold myself to a higher standard than I should most of the time.  I’ve been following the Pfitzinger “return-from-injury” training plan and haven’t run anything over 3 miles at one time in I can’t even remember. The plan called for me to run 12 minutes, walk 2, run 12, walk 2 and run 12. I didn’t care about my time (or at least I told myself I didn’t), and given the chunks I was allowed to run, I figured I’d end up running about 98% of this race and it would be worth the entry fee.

Because of my lack of training, my body hasn’t been as accustomed to the insane heat wave we’ve been dealing with as of late. When I do run, it’s either late at night on a treadmill following at 15-hr work day (gross), or at 6AM before the heat. This race started at 8AM. It also followed a very heavy downpour/thunderstorm, and did I mention had some wicked hills?

I knew the course like the back of my hand. I also knew that we’d be starting off in one giant mass at the “start line” in a baseball field. I also knew my race experience was going to fully depend on whether or not we headed out right or left off at the start. I wanted to go left (more downhills), and we most definitely went off to the right. UGH.

Here’s the mass start line in the baseball field:


Do you think I paced myself well off the start given my knowledge of the hills the last half of this course? Nope. First mile was 9:40 (which is usually comfy as of late), and killed me the last half. My 2 minute walk breaks turned out to do a couple of things 1) they didn’t feel long enough with the humidity and 2) they were too long because they gave me way too much down time to over-think the humidity and I BONKED.

I lost it. Absolutely lost it. I never made my last two 12:00 running chunks. I made it like 10 for the second and basically obliterated the last chunk with walking waaaaay more than I should have.

I was MAD.

I also realize I shouldn’t be so hard on myself given that I have barely, and I mean barely, been able to run at all compared to my normal training/mileage. I had unrealistic expectations. Gotta be honest, though. Getting done with just 3.7 miles and literally feeling like I could sleep for days after that was a little disheartening.

Finish line photo of me ready to die (orange shirt):


I’m not even going to tell you my time because I view it as “pathetic” for what it would have been if I’d been up to par. It only serves to fuel my desire to get back out there and moving normally again.

Once again I’ve got my work cut out for me in my “come-back,” but I’m ready and willing and waiting for my racing season to officially begin! I start half marathon training in a week and a half and I could not be more ready to get on with life and leave this mishap behind.

I did get a chance to hang out with some of my fabulous friends from my Moms Run This Town chapter. We had a great time hanging out and they all ran fabulously! So proud of them!



Perhaps the best part of the morning was that my son got to experience his first race ever! :) He and my hubby stood at the top of the last hill as I was coming around the bend towards the finish line. Evan looked every which way but at me while I was running past. Oh well! If they hadn’t been standing there, I probably would’ve had to walk some more. In the words of my hubby, I looked utterly “exhausted.” Thanks, babe.



Basically I’m bound and determined now to get on with my running life for REAL.

Here’s a shot of the cool shirt! Love the colors. The photo doesn’t do it justice. It looks like yellow writing, but it’s really neon green on bright purple.


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I had 16 total entries for OrthoLite inserts.

I had 3 of my coworkers pick a random number between 1-16.

They chose 4,8, and 11

The winners are Noelle B, Rachel K, and Jen L.

Please email me at autopilotlegs@gmail.com with your mailing address and running shoe size and I will forward that info off to my OrthoLite representative.

Thanks so much for entering and sharing what you’re most looking forward to this summer! I appreciate it and be sure to stop back and tell me what you think of the insoles!!!

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Give your feet a break! GIVE-AWAY TIME!!!

Last summer I was given the opportunity by the good people at OrthoLite to review a pair of their insoles. I was smitten right away and was super impressed by how well they held up over continuous use. I still use OrthoLite in several pairs of shoes to this day. You read my full review HERE: OrthoLite Inserts Review

Here’s a bit more on their product:

OrthoLite, one of the world’s leading suppliers of comfort insoles and found in millions pairs of shoes every year such as Nike, New Balance, UnderArmour, Merrell is the easiest way to upgrade and extend the life of your footwear. Even better, $1 from each purchase goes to  directly to the Level Field Fund, a grant-giving program that strives to bridge the gap in funding to uniquely talented athletes. Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps recently announced his Swim Fund with Level Field Fund.


OrthoLite Fusion insoles are available at ortholite.com or amazon.com for $19.99. Features include:

  • Designed to fit all athletic and outdoor shoes or boots
  • Made with open-cell foam, allowing air to circulate around the foot, keeping it cooler and drier inside the shoe
  • Wicks moisture away from your foot leaving your foot cooler and drier
  • Unique spring-back technology ensures that your insole won’t flatten out and it will retain over 95% of its thickness over time
  • Our patented anti-microbial formulation (approved by the EPA and FDA) fights fungus, bacteria and shoe odor
  • Lightweight and fully washable

Last week I was again contacted by OrthoLite to see if I’d be willing to host a give-away of their Fusion Insoles! Never being one to turn down an opportunity for my readers to get some free and awesome gear, of COURSE I jumped at the chance!

3, yes 3 LUCKY READERS will win a pair of their very own OrthoLite Fusion Insoles! Here’s what ya gotta do…

1) Comment below on this blog post and let me know what you’re most looking forward to this summer (can be running related or not).

2) Take a moment to either “like” OrthoLite on Facebook or follow them on Twitter (as I realize not everyone has a Twitter account, then please do Facebook).

Spread the word of this Give-Away please! I really believe in their product and think a lot of people could benefit from using these insoles (runner or not).

Give-away will end Thursday, June 27th at 11:59 PM CST. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON HERE next Friday, June 28th. So be SURE to check back and GOOD LUCK!

OrthoLite Fusion Insole

Posted in Product Reviews & Give-Aways | 16 Comments

Who woulda thunk it?

So because I’m still rehabbing my dumb right leg from it’s most recent stint of tendonitis, I’ve amped up my “walking” and “cross training” (read: running kinda hurts more than it should still so I’m restricted). I’ve been rotating between the elliptical, the stationary bike (thankfully I have one in my home), the ARC trainer, revolving stairmaster, Body Pump, yoga, and walking while pushing my kid in his BOB stroller.

I just got a Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor as a gift. I’d never trained with a HRM before, but was curious to know what my caloric burn typically is for my cross-training endeavors. I was shocked to discover just how “off” the machines really are. I was busting out 45 minutes of a ladder workout on my stationary all the time and figured I was getting about 400 calories doing it. Um…WRONG. Try 270 (if I’m lucky). This explains why I gained a fair amount of weight last summer during my 2 months off with a tibial stress reaction that was a total soul-sucker. I was way over-eating for the amount of “training” I was getting being restricted only to that machine.

Not that I count calories. I don’t. I just pay attention to the things I put in my body as fuel, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a total shocker the first few times I cross-trained with the Polar strapped to me.

Fast forward to today. I took my son out in his BOB at promptly 11:30 this morning (nap time #2). I had never taken the HRM out for either a run or walk, but decided to strap the Garmin on my right wrist and the Polar on my left to see what happened. I haul butt pretty fast while walking with my kid. I tend to stay between a 14:30-15:00 pace walking/pushing him. I was surprised to discover, after our 5.5 mile walk that I’d burned 551 calories! That’s roughly the same as when I run by myself at a 10:00/mile pace. Apparently that little extra weight was just what I needed to get a bigger calorie burn. This is also good for me to know on days that I run at the break of dawn and then take him out for a long walk later that morning. I’ve not been supplementing my nutrition for it.

So yeah…this whole HRM business has been interesting to say the least. I’m going to have to test it out with him on a run sometime. The 3-miler I ran with him last week felt like I was gonna keel over and die, but not in a bad way!



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