Cinco de Mayo (and April winners)

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Cinco de Mayo without margaritas is like… the saddest holiday. But, I’ve made it through once and I’ll make it again. Guess I’ll just have to make up for it with some extra guacamole.

Emmaline is saying… “outside”… she always wants to go outside. It’s fun trying to type with a toddler on your lap.

So, how am I celebrating Cinco de Mayo? First, I’m headed to my first ever appointment with a chiropractor. These extra 25 lbs have been doing a number on my lower back and sacrum lately, and with my history of that sacral stress reaction last year, I don’t want to take any risks.

Next, I’m going to take Emmaline and Bella for a walk. My workouts have been a little scattered, but most afternoons I’ve been able to at least walk 2-2.5 miles. I’ve had a few decent (but short) runs lately, but I’ve learned to be flexible and just do what feels comfortable. We have HUGE hills in my neighborhood, so I’m usually okay to run the flatter sections and walk the very steep uphill/downhill sections. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy. I’ve gotten a few comments like, “Wow, you really have your hands full!” since my daily workouts involve pushing a stroller and hanging onto a dog leash, and Bella is constantly pulling me in different directions.

And finally, I’m going to make a Mexican feast that I found on Pinterest (that will likely not turn out as perfect as the photos, but there’s no harm in trying). I won’t be drinking a margarita but I’ve already put in a request for one when we get home from the hospital. Only 7 and a half (yes, I’m counting halves) weeks until my due date!

Here are the winners for my April Giveaway!
Multi-function Eye Cream- Anne MacKay
Amp MD Roller System- Joanne Pasquale
Microdermabrasion Paste- Kristtyn Suarez
Essentials Body Lotion- Anita Qualter

I’ve already sent the winners notifications- congratulations!!

So tell me… what are you doing to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

April Giveaway

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I can’t believe this, but I have never, ever done a giveaway on my blog. I think that means I’m not even a blogger yet. So let’s get this going!

Awhile ago I mentioned that I had started a business venture with Rodan and Fields, a new skin care line from the doctors who created Proactiv. (If you want to read more about why I started this business and how it relates to running, here it is: Running, pregnancy, and skin care)

Anyway, I have a few giveaways on my Facebook page that I wanted to share with you all. So here we go… first giveaway!

I’m raffling off a Multi-Function Eye Cream ($60 value).

Eye cream giveaway

Eye cream before and after

Here are the rules:
-All new Preferred Customers in the month of April will be entered in the drawing (this applies to anyone who has already made a purchase this month… I got ya covered)
-Anyone who sends me a referral for a new Preferred Customer will also be entered
-Anyone who shares this blog post on Twitter- make sure you tag me (@miss_mollie) when you share!
-Anyone who shares this blog post on Facebook- make sure you tag me on Facebook as well

But wait… there’s more! I’m also sponsoring a giveaway with my Rodan and Fields team worth over $300!

There will be 3 winners for the following Prizes:
*Amp MD System (with 60 night serum capsules)
AMP_MD_System_main

*Microdermabrasion Paste

Microderm Paste

*Essentials Moisturizer

Essentials Moisturizer

Here are the rules:
-All new Preferred Customers in the month of April will be entered in the drawing (I’ve already entered you in the drawing if you made a purchase in April)
-Anyone who sends me a referral for a new Preferred Customer will be entered in the drawing as well!

If you have any questions about the giveaway or about the products, send ’em my way. The drawing will take place at the end of April, so you have until the 30th to get your entries in!

Moving forward, moving back…

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The process of moving has taken up basically all of my brain power for the past two weeks. I’m exhausted. I have run once since my Shamrock 8k. If you know me, you know that’s weird.

The rest of my time is split between taking care of my ebullient and precocious little girl, writing training plans and following up with my coaching clients, and growing my new skin care business. I haven’t been reading as much as I would like (or writing as much either). But I can’t seem to change the number of hours I get in each day, so there are some things that maybe aren’t as much of a priority right now. Such as showering.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to move “back home” and if it has really been what I originally thought it would be like. In reality, I think it has turned out a lot better. Things that used to bother me don’t bother me any more- like having to drive 10-15 minutes to get everywhere, the winter weather, and whatever else angsty teenagers complain about. Yes, I was one of those kids who would slam their door and blast music on a regular basis (but I was a good kid, really, just way too emotional). Hey, the music in the 90’s was pretty good too, you can’t blame me for wanting to listen to that instead of my parents.

So… moving forward. I can’t hardly believe it myself but our little girl will be here in about 10 weeks! I have a few 5k races planned this spring in addition to spectating at the Boston Marathon next weekend. I find it hard to believe that it’s been a year since I actually ran Boston with my sister, and two years since the bombings. I’ve never actually spectated at Boston so I’m looking forward to catching a glimpse of a few of my favorite runners- Shalane, Kris, Jennifer C (before you move abroad!), and Steph (my sister)of course.

And right on cue, Emma is up! Catch you all soon.

After the Boston Marathon last year (and probably the only finisher's medal I'll ever hang on my wall)

After the Boston Marathon last year (and probably the only finisher’s medal I’ll ever hang on my wall)

Shamrock 8k Recap

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Phew! What a whirlwind of a weekend. Let me quickly (ha) recap my race and some other things that happened this weekend.

Our travel was delayed by a few unforseen circumstances (including snow, what was the heck was that about?)… We arrived at our hotel in Virginia Beach at 12:30 pm. The kids (Emma and my niece Mia) promptly woke up from sound sleep and started chasing one another around the room, so needless to say we didn’t get much sleep that night (sorry to whomever was in the room below us- we really tried to get them to calm down).

I woke up around 6 the next morning, but I guess that wasn’t enough time… because I looked at my watch thinking I had plenty of time and did a double-take when I read 7:15 already. I scarfed down as much of a Picky Bar as I could and pushed Pete out the door at 7:25, which left us 20 minutes before the scheduled start time of our race. Unfortunately we were staying on 6th street and the starting line was on 30th street, almost 2 miles away. Pete had to eat breakfast while running, and I was doing my best waddle-shuffle, frantically checking my watch at every street to see if we were going to make it. Luckily we did make it with a few minutes to spare, but it was a close one!

My original goal had been to run around 7 minute pace for the 8k, but with the travel and lack of sleep and accounting for pregnancy-related factors I adjusted my goal to somewhere between 7 and 7:30 pace (around 35-38 minutes for the 5 miles). In the beginning I did my best to relax, but there were a LOT of people around me bobbing and weaving. I was concentrating more on not being tripped than on my actual pace. I came through the first mile around 6:45, and I was surprised to run that “fast” and still feel pretty good. I made a conscious effort during the second mile to just maintain my pace and kept repeating “relax, relax” to myself in my head. The second mile was around 7 minutes.

Somewhere in the first mile- I'm in the orange (pop) arm warmers. Photo courtesy of Jen B.

Somewhere in the first mile- I’m in the orange (pop) arm warmers. Photo courtesy of Jen B.

At this point we had run two miles in the direction of our hotel and were rounding first street to head up the boardwalk toward the start/finish area. I got squeezed from the outside by another runner, which happens sometimes in road races, but I suppose the guy on my inside felt I was encroaching on his space so he actually THREW me and elbow and attempted to push me hard away from him AND hold his arm out to maintain his space. I, of course, gave him some lip service and sort of pointed out “hey, preggers here” but he ignored me! Then I turned my head and stared at him and asked him if he heard me, to which he finally responded “yes”. Then I took off and never saw him again. I was shocked that someone would act like that in the mid-pack of the race. People are usually supportive of one another and don’t show such poor sportsmanship. I feel a little bad for probably embarrassing him because I’m sure he didn’t know I was pregnant when he threw me a ‘bow, but I had to look out for myself and the baby. Ok, moving on.

Miles 3 and 4 were on the boardwalk with a slight headwind. I ran both miles around 7 minutes and felt pretty good. I passed a lot of runners on the boardwalk but there were a lot of people noticeably slowing down, likely from starting out too fast.

On the boardwalk nearing 4 miles. Photo by Jen B. again.

On the boardwalk nearing 4 miles. Photo by Jen B. again.

We then turned off the boardwalk to the left and ran up the parallel street, Atlantic Ave, for a half mile. I decided to try and pick it up at this point, mainly because I felt good and also because I had to pee and just wanted to get it over with. We turned once more to the right and back onto the boardwalk in the opposite direction. Finally I could see the finish line (isn’t that the best?) I ran my last mile a little quicker, around a 6:45, and crossed the line in 34:20, averaging a little under 7 minutes per mile. I think the flat course and extra blood volume helped my time a bit.

The Shamrock 8k was a fun race, and one of my favorite race distances. But the highlight of the weekend was Emma’s first race! She ran the Leprechaun Dash later that morning along with her cousin Mia. They separate the kids into age groups for each year, ages 1-5. It is the cutest thing!

Emmaline was very excited about her race number (and they printed the kids' names on them too)!

Emmaline was very excited about her race number (and they printed the kids’ names on them too)!

So they all lined up and the announcer told them to “Go!” Emma did such a good job running straight for that finish line. I cried a little bit when we crossed the line, thinking about all of the races she has ahead of her and all of the other fun things she will get to experience. I know it’s silly, but I was so proud of her.

Shamrock 3

Shamrock 2

Emma got her medal, which she wore all day and refused to take off. We stayed by the finish to watch Mia run her race. She is getting so fast! Then the kids ran around and giggled the two miles back to the hotel.

This is where I imagine Emma is explaining to Mia what happened in her race...

This is where I imagine Emma is explaining to Mia what happened in her race…

That’s about it. We got in late last night and I had an appointment this morning- 26 week check up and glucose challenge. Yum. Fingers crossed that I pass this time, because I failed by a few points when I was pregnant with Emma and would prefer not to go through the 3 hour test again. I did things a little differently this time so I’m hoping my research pays off!

Running, pregnancy, and skin care

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Running is still going. I ran a marathon relay a few weeks ago and lucked out with the shortest leg possible, 5.4 miles. The past two weekends I managed a ten mile run and eight mile run, so I know I’ll most likely make it to the finish of my 8k race this weekend in one piece. I hear there’s some type of bonus if you give birth at the finish line, but the baby isn’t quite ready for that yet unfortunately. (This is, of course, an attempt at humor, but I realize it’s not even that funny. It’s more of an inside joke, but I couldn’t help myself. Sorry.)

Totally different topic, but I promise it will all make sense in a minute…

Why didn’t anyone tell me that tanning beds are a bad idea?

DeFrancesco_Mollie

Ok, maybe some people warned me, and maybe I ignored them. I mean, we basically had to wear bathing suits year round and I figured I’d look better with a slight tan… which turned into me looking like one of those orange guys from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oompa loompas, I think they’re called.

All kidding aside, I spent lots of time running outside 7 days per week for hours at a time as a D1 athlete, at day long track meets in the hot sun as a track coach, training for and racing marathons in my 30s, plus plenty of time on the lifeguard stand and at the beach. As I got older I started to notice little changes here and there in my skin- as my tan would fade I noticed tiny freckles on my skin. Eventually they weren’t tiny anymore. I could cover them up with makeup but that became time-consuming… plus I didn’t want to have to wear makeup all the time. Who does?

In 2007 I went to a medical spa in northern Virginia where I was living. I was prescribed a series of mini chemical peels. Unfortunately they didn’t do much and cost a lot of money. My skin looked a little better for a short time.

Fast forward to 2009 when I decided it was time to fix my skin issues- I had just gone on a trip to Hawaii and came home with blotchy uneven skin and horrible break outs. I went to a medical spa and paid for several microdermabrasion treatments as well as a line of products to even out my skin, clear up my breakouts, etc. Did it work? Well, yes… but I dealt with very dry, very red, irritated skin due to the highly concentrated retinol prescription I was given. My face hurt like hell. It would flake off in public. I wasn’t working full time then, but I was taking classes to finish my Virginia teaching license and I’m sure everyone in my class thought I was a complete freak. Eventually I tapered off my use of the products so my skin would have time to recover before my wedding.

Afterward I started working full time and stopped using the products on a regular basis. I made a few more visits to the medical spa but ultimately decided that the cost was too much and that I couldn’t go to work with irritated red skin. I was able to keep my skin problems under control and cover up the unevenness with makeup, but I wasn’t happy with how my skin looked at all.

Then in 2012 I found out I was pregnant. Emmaline was born in 2013 and I was left with a new set of skin problems- Melasma (dark patches of skin on my forehead, cheeks, and upper lip). It got bad over the summer before Emma was born, but faded a bit over the winter. Then it cropped up again this past summer while I was still breast feeding and marathon training outdoors (and of course going to the beach).

The day after Emmaline was born. My skin was very uneven and blotchy. Aww, she was so tiny.

The day after Emmaline was born. My skin was very uneven and blotchy. Aww, she was so tiny.

This past winter I began to notice even more changes- fine lines forming on my forehead, around my eyes and wrinkles beginning to form along my “smile lines”. These are all common trouble areas for women in their 30s.

Luckily I got in touch with one of my teammates and friends from JMU and she got me hooked on Rodan and Fields skin care. I’d been stalking her amazing before and afters on her Facebook, and I will be sharing mine with you guys as well (as if the above photo isn’t embarrassing enough). Rodan and Fields are the same doctors who created Proactiv, and they recently created a whole new line of products and tools to fix four common skin issues- anti-aging, sun damage, sensitive skin, and adult acne. The products themselves work so well, plus they are so much more affordable than what I had used before. And there’s no office visit required. Not only that, they provide you with a schedule to follow so that your skin doesn’t end up dry, flaking, peeling, and irritated.

I don’t ever again want to take a bite of my sandwich and have my skin literally fall off my face onto my plate.

I want to be able to run outdoors or at the gym and not have to worry about breakouts and blotchy skin.

I don’t want to have to wear makeup all the time- I’m not the type of person that likes to spend an hour getting ready.

I also want to start taking good care of my skin now, fixing my issues, and setting up good habits for the future.

And so… I’ve decided to take a huge leap and join the Rodan and Fields team as an independent skin care consultant!

I will leave you with some incredible before and afters. If you have any questions about R and F I’d love to hear ’em!

And here’s my new website so you can check out the products for yourself: shop R and F

Meghan was a Rodan and Fields customer who was so blown away by her results (in just two months of using Acute Care strips and Redefine) that she decided to become a consultant too!

Meghan was a Rodan and Fields customer who was so blown away by her results (in just two months of using Acute Care strips and Redefine) that she decided to become a consultant too!

This customer used Rodan and Fields for 5 months and it took 10 years off her face- She started using Unblemish to clear up her hormonal acne, then started Redefine for large pores, sagging skin, and wrinkles (as well as the Macro Exfoliator and AMP MD Roller tools). She also just recently started using the Acute Care (fill a wrinkle while you sleep) strips. And all of these photos are makeup free!

This customer used Rodan and Fields for 5 months and it took 10 years off her face- She started using Unblemish to clear up her hormonal acne, then started Redefine for large pores, sagging skin, and wrinkles (as well as the Macro Exfoliator and AMP MD Roller tools). She also just recently started using the Acute Care (fill a wrinkle while you sleep) strips. And all of these photos are makeup free!

Winter running, part two.

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In case you want to read about what a dumbass I was at the beginning of this winter (when I thought 32 degrees was cold), part one is here.

I laugh at how naive I was (or maybe forgetful) a few months ago. Why did I think low 30s was so cold? Yesterday I ran outside for the first time in a long time and it felt HOT at 29 degrees. But first, there was a trip to Target, of course, because I’m a Basic SAHM.

Poor Emma, she really wanted to take that minion home.

Poor Emma, she really wanted to take that minion home.

We only had to get a prescription refilled, but it takes 30 minutes, so we just played in the toy section and Emma didn’t want to let go of this guy (we’ve watched Despicable Me a few times when I haven’t been feeling well, I admit). Afterwards we stopped at Bruegger’s and we got lucky that there were some hot bagels in our favorite variety (Honey Grain). I feel bad for people who don’t eat carbs because it doesn’t get much better than fresh bagels and cream cheese. I usually get Honey Walnut cream cheese and Emma prefers “pink” (Strawberry).

This is from a different bagel run, but you get the idea... pink cream cheese everywhere

This is from a different bagel run, but you get the idea… pink cream cheese everywhere

On the drive home I decided that it was way too nice for the treadmill, so I put Emma down for a nap and got some others things done. Then when she woke up we went running outside! Woof. It was hard pushing that stroller after a hiatus, but totally worth it.

Emmaline all bundled up after our run. She wanted to play outside. Her favorite word lately is "snow"...

Emmaline all bundled up after our run. She wanted to play outside. Her favorite word lately is “snow”…

I was going to write about what I wore in detail (I even took photos) but I realized it was basically the same thing as in part one, so I guess there’s no need. Hopefully this will be the last time I write about winter for awhile. February is coming to a close and I’m excited for the month of March for so many reasons, but the biggest one is that we are closing on our new house in a few days! More about that soon. Hope everyone is keeping warm and that my southern friends and family are enjoying their late winter snowfall from last night.

Some questions for y’all… What is your favorite bagel/cream cheese combo? What do you think about last year’s Boston jacket (or the 2015 version in purple)? You won’t offend me… I know it’s freaking bright. I mean, is there any possible shade of orange brighter than this?

Boston jacket that everyone thinks is hideous (but I like it for visibility on the roads)

Boston jacket that everyone thinks is hideous (but I like it for visibility on the roads)

Some baby news (and more)

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Well, first let’s begin with the other news.

My birthday was this past Tuesday, and I was pretty excited to get out on a weeknight for some Mexican food and homemade (by mom) birthday cake. We went to El Loco on Madison Avenue in Albany, and it was surprisingly pretty good for upstate NY Mexican food served by hipsters. We really don’t have many options for Mexican food here (compared to the plethora of authentic Mexican restaurants in Virginia Beach) and it’s my one constant pregnancy craving, so I was quite happy. Afterwards we went back to my sister’s house for some cake, ice cream, and presents.

New age group (I'll let you count the blurry candles to figure out which one...)

New age group (I’ll let you count the candles to figure out which one)

Running has been going pretty well. I ran a 7k race on Super Bowl Sunday (another of the HMRRC Winter Series races) and finished third, behind a fast teenager and my sister Steph. My time was 29:23, which was about a 6:45 average. Since then I’ve done most of my runs on the treadmill. I usually try to run 4 miles during the week (not every day, but most days) and one longer run on the weekends. I have to admit that I’ve taken a break this week (because of a stomach bug and then a bunch of other things that have kept me busy) and am having a hard time getting myself motivated again. The stomach bug seriously knocked my on my butt for awhile and it took me until my birthday to start feeling normal again.

And lastly, since we’re nearing the end of the second trimester already (time is flying)…

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