The Romagnolo Family

The Romagnolo Family

Sunday, March 19, 2017

2017 Princess Marathon Weekend Arrival & Expo

I can't believe that it's been three weeks since we were at the 2017 runDisney Princess Half Marathon.  It was such an amazing weekend.  It began bright and early on Thursday morning, February 23rd.  The girls and I had a 6:am flight to Orlando, so we were up around 3:am.




It's easy to get up that early when you are heading to Disney.  😀 💜  Once we arrived in Orlando, we took the Disney Magical Express to our resort, Old Key West.  Our room wasn't ready, so we left our carry ons with Bell Services, grabbed a bite to eat and then hopped on the bus to the Expo.  I think that next time we will plan on heading to the parks first and then head over the to the Expo.  It was very crowded at the Expo.  We got our bibs, race shirts and then I picked up a few merchandise items.





One of my favorite parts of the runDisney races is seeing my Disney friends!



After we were done at the Expo we headed back to our resort to meet our friend Meredith before heading over to Magic Kingdom.  





We headed back a little after 8:pm because I had to get up early for the 5K.  Stay tuned for more on our race experience!  Check out my video recap of our arrival and the Expo.


The 2017 Humana Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon


Well, I did it!  I completed my 5th Half Marathon today since I started running a year ago.  I was really hoping to PR (get a personal record) this race.  The odds were not in my favor for this race though.  It started when I went to the Expo on Saturday to pick up my bib.  My bib was nowhere to be found.  They didn't have it.  They sent me to another table to get a new bib and timing tag.  I was originally supposed to be in corral 12, but this new bib put me in 7.  I decided to stay in 12 to start the race with my friend Wanda. Speaking of my sweet friend Wanda...I think that she has forever spoiled me for a Dallas race.  She had booked a room at one of the hotels in downtown Dallas that ended up being right next to our corral and the finish line.  She invited me to stay with her.  It was AMAZING to be so close and to be able to take a shower right away after the race.  Thank you Wanda!  You are an ANGEL!  Ta-Wanda!!!!  (Anybody know what movie that is from?)😀




We got to our corral this morning and were ready to go.  I had my wireless headphones all synched to my Jeff Galloway app on my phone and everything was working great until the race started.  It sopped working.  I tried to fix it, but gave up because I wanted to focus on running.  Besides, there was supposed to be a band at every mile and this was supposed to be an awesome race.  Oh and remember my new timing tag?  Well, my friends had signed up days ago to track me, but they were tracking my old bib (that didn't race), so they got nothing.  I didn't even think to have them change to my new bib.  Oops!  Back to the race...it was SUPER muggy this race.  My sunglasses kept fogging up.  I was having a great pace until the 10K mark.  I was right on track for my goal of finishing the half in 2 hours and 30 to 35 minutes.  Then I hit the MOTHER HILL. It was awful.  It just kept going up.  😞  There were also MANY inclines that would mostly level off.  The saying "what goes up must go down" didn't really apply to this race.

I had to go from down here to up there! 





There are a few things that I noticed about this race.  They said that they had a band at every mile.  I don't remember there being a band at every mile.  I could be wrong though.  I also noticed that there weren't enough water stops along the race.  In fact after when my friend Wanda got to the water and Gatorade stop after the mother hill, they were out of water and Gatorade.  She said that they were trying to fill up water cups from a hose.  😒  I started to slow down around mile 7.  Between the heat, hills/inclines and lack of water stops, I was just barely holding on.  The highlight of the race was when I was just about to the finish line and saw the Dallas Cheerleaders.  One of my friends is a Dallas Cheerleader and seeing her beautiful face made my heart smile.

My overall time for the race ended up being 2:42:04.  My very first Half Marathon (the Plano Balloon Festival) was 2:42:13.  So, I did better then that one but not as good as the 2:36:00 that I did at the Dallas Half Marathon in December.  Oh well.  I'll just keep training and I'll use the next few months to focus on PR'ing the 5K & 10K's.  I know that I'll have great races and not so great races.  I'm just going to keep pushing through though.




Brunch after the race with some sweet friends!




Thursday, December 15, 2016

Forgiveness

I am by far not an expert on this subject.  In my short 44 years of life I have had a little experience with it though.  I recently had an incident come up in a relationship where I had to chose whether I would forgive or not.  I have a friend that betrayed my confidence and it hurt.  I'm not going to lie.  I was ready to cut off the friendship right there and then.  After I let the shock of what had happened wear off, I took some time to pray and start processing through everything.  While I was processing, my friend came clean about her mistake (which is what I now truly believe it was) and she also reached out individually to those that she had hurt.  The ball was now in my court.  She had admitted her wrong and repented.  What was I going to do now?

Many years ago, I read this book by R.T. Kendall called Total Forgiveness.  Here is a description of the book:  "One of the core messages of the gospel is that of total forgiveness…not only that we can be totally forgiven by God, but also that we must, in turn, totally forgive others. Our culture is bound up in bitterness, resentment, and wallowing in wounds inflicted upon us by others, wounds that we all too easily accept and even cling to!"  There is a quote (that I'll paraphrase) from the book that has always stayed with me.  He said, there is nothing that anyone can do to me, say to me, etc. that can compare to what I have done to Jesus Christ.  If you haven't figured it out by now, I am a hot mess.  I am SO FAR from perfect and I don't have it all together (nor will I ever pretend to).  I know that I have broken Jesus' heart more times then I can count with my actions, words, avoiding him, etc.  Despite all of that, He loves me beyond reason and came to this earth to die for my sins so that I can spend eternity in Heaven some day.

Before you think..."Great!  Ann is talking that Jesus mumbo-jumbo again!"  First, that is who I am.  Secondly, let's all get off our high horses and think about it this way...Not one of us (yes, I am included in this) can say that you have never gossiped, betrayed a confidence, hurt someone, etc. Can anyone of you say that every single one of your relationships are perfect and that you have never screwed up?   I can't!  Now, when you have done those things and you have apologized how have you wanted your apology to be received?  Have you wanted grace to be extended to you?  Well, if you have wanted grace extended to you, why can't you extend that grace to others?

I think that I know my friend's heart and I truly believe her apology to be sincere and I also believe that her intent was not malicious.  It was a mistake.  Can you say that you have never made a mistake.  Ummmm...no!  If you are acting like you've never screwed up something in a relationship then I'll just tell you...you are a big fat liar!!!  Sorry, but let's be real.

My friend and I had a chance to FaceTime recently and to begin mending our relationship.  It breaks my heart that she felt like she didn't deserve to be forgiven.  She obviously has forgotten the dysfunctional mess that I am (we all are).  I also told her that she has done her part.  She came clean and repented.  Groveling, begging for forgiveness, or continually feeling like you are walking on egg shells and having to ask for forgivness is not necessary.  If people choose to not extend grace, that is on them.  I've learned that holding onto your bitterness and unforgiveness only affects you.

Now I know that some of you have been hurt so much more then this little incident that I've described.  Some of you have had physical or emotional abuse.  I am DEFINITELY not an expert in that area, I do know that when you forgive, it does not mean that you have to go back like nothing ever happened.  You may have to extend that grace but remove yourself from the relationship if it is toxic or dangerous.  I have a relationship where so much damage was done.  I have forgiven, but it does not mean that I open up my heart and welcome that person in like nothing ever happened.  I will still be kind and treat that person with respect, but I don't know if I can let them in completely.  One of my pastors did a sermon on forgivenss once and said "everytime you remember, FORGIVE!"  It is a process and not an easy one.  I do know that holding on to the bitterness will only hurt you.  Here are God's thoughts on forgiving:


Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
1 John 1:9 
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Daniel 9:9
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

These are just a few verses.  When I googled "verses on forgivenss", 16 came up.  I'd say that forgiving is pretty important, wouldn't you?  This is just something that has been on my heart lately. There is so much hatred in our world today.  Teach your kids to love, be kind and be gracious.   What are your thoughts?  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Video Recap of 2016 BMW Dallas Marathon

Here is the video recap from my experience with the BMW Dallas Marathon.  Click the link here.  Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube page for more recaps from races and our crazy family.  😊



The 2016 BMW Dallas Half Marathon Recap

I can't believe that I just finished my THIRD Half Marathon for the year.  If you have been following along with me on my journey, you know that I only started running this past January.  Y'all!  That's insane!

The BMW Dallas Marathon is different from any of the races that I've done this year in my area.  This race and the Hot Chocolate Run were the only races that had Expos that you had to go to pick up your race bibs.  This Expo was even bigger than the Hot Chocolate Run.  There were tons of booths and merchandise to browse.  The girls and I headed there on Saturday afternoon.  I got my bib first.  I was placed in Corral D.  That was the last Corral.  😞  Oh well.  It was what it was.  I got to sign my name on the wall, the girls got to bounce in the bounce house, and we got some free shirts.




My friend Allison had been there a little earlier and found my name on the car.



My girls got to have a sleepover at a friends so that I could prep for the race.  I did not sleep well though.  I was having some major anxiety over this race for some reason.  I talked a little about it here.  To ease my anxiety though, I made sure that everything was laid out and/or charging before I went to bed.  



Since traffic had been horrible the day before getting to the Expo, Allison and I decided to meet up at one of the Dart Train Stations and take the Dart to the race.  That was the best decision ever.  I got up in the morning, got ready, drank my coffee and ate a waffle with Peanut Butter and headed out to meet Allison.



The temperature was in the high 40's (51 by the time the race started).  It was enough to need my daughter's Olaf hat, gloves and a jacket.  Once we got to the Convention Center, we took advantage of using their bathrooms.  We then headed over to gear check.  I really debated on whether I wanted to check my jacket with my stuff or keep it.  I decided to check it and I used my Mylar Blanket until the race started.  Once we checked our bags, we headed over to the Omni Hotel to warm up, relax and use the bathroom one last time. 



At around 7:50 we headed to our Corral to stretch and wait for the race to start.  The race started at 8:05am.  Our Corral started at 8:35.  I took a slow and steady pace the first 3 miles.  I didn't want to waste a lot of energy weaving in and out of people.  It started to clear up around the 5K mark.  At that point I was at a 12:06 pace.  Somehow over the next 3 miles I picked up my pace.  By the time I crossed the 10K mark, I had brought my pace down to 11:48. I am shocked by that because it was around mile 5 that we entered Highland Park and that's where a lot of the hills were.  It was also during this time that the "stitch" in my side that had started right around mile 2 started to really hurt me.  I just kept sucking in my stomach and trying to take deep breaths during my 30 second interval walks.  At the 15K mark, my pace was 11:47.  Around mile 10 the soreness in my legs started to kick in.  It wasn't a pain from an injury, but my legs were just getting tired.  Every time I got to a mile marker I kept telling myself, "you only have ___ miles to go!  You can do anything for ___ miles!"  I promised myself that when I got to mile 12 that I was going to push it as hard as I could.  I wasn't going to hold back.  I didn't care how sore I was.  

The course had some great entertainment.  I loved seeing the homes in Highland Park.  We ran by this home and someone said, "It's pretty sad that their decorations cost more than my house!"  Yep!  It was pretty though!


This guy and his friends passed me along the course.  I'm not sure if he was doing the full or half.  Either way he didn't make excuses.  What is your excuse now?



One of my friends in my running group had posted this week about a lady getting lost on a half marathon course that was on a trail.  I'm glad that they made it very clear which way to go.  I would've cried if I had somehow ended up on the course for the full marathon.


I was feeling a little sorry for myself because I didn't have anyone along the course cheering for me until I heard, "Ms. Romagnolo!"  One of my students was getting his service hours by volunteering and handing out water to the runners!  


I finally got to mile marker 12.  FINALLY!  I texted this picture to my friend Angie to let her know that I was almost done.


I had promised myself that I would push it this last mile, and I did.  Of course as we came around the corner during mile 12 the wind kicked up.  I kept pushing though.  It took everything in me.  When I crossed the finish, I pulled out my phone and checked my time (I had signed up to track myself).  I couldn't believe my eyes!  My time was 02:36:00!  I had shaved off 6 minutes from my first half marathon in September!  SIX MINUTES!!  I am still shocked!  There is no feeling like a PR (personal record)!



After I got my pictures I waited for my friend Allison who was just a little bit behind me.  We got changed (I'm SO glad that I packed extra clothes to change into), got our finishers bag that had pretzels & cookies in it, and then we found the IHop tent!!





I am so glad that I did this race. I'm glad that I didn't let my anxiety or exhaustion win!  It was a good course with plenty of spectators and entertainment throughout.  I also liked how (like the Disney races) I was never alone on the course.  I always had running "buddies".  I'll probably do this one again next year.  The announcer said that 48 states and 20 countries were represented in this race.  If you are looking for a good race then come out next year and try the BMW Dallas Marathon.

What about you?  Did run this race too or have you run it before?  What are your thoughts?  Be sure to check out my YouTube page for the video recap (& other race recaps) that will be coming soon!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Confessions From A Tired Mama

If you haven't figured it out yet, I am one tired mama.  😀  For some reason this has been a really exhausting month.  Maybe it was the excitement of training and prepping for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  Then, in the blink of an eye it was over.  This whole school year has been weird.  I am ready for summer all ready.  I don't know why.  Don't get me wrong.  I am loving my students this year.  I am excited to see what our spring will be like.  I know that I am not the only teacher that is feeling the same way right now.  So many of my teacher friends are frustrated with this year.  I can't put my finger on it.  I try not to feel sorry for myself, because I chose this life.  I know of many single moms didn't chose to do this alone.  This is the path (for now) that God has had me follow.  Some moms aren't blessed to have a great support system like I am.  I know that I am not the only tired mama out there.

Tomorrow is my last (& 3rd) half marathon for 2016.  I'm usually so excited for my races.  I'm just not feeling it for this one though.  I'm even dreading it a little.  I'm also feeling some anxiety over it.  13.1 miles seems so daunting right now.  I know that it's because I'm so tired right now.  This past week has been so crazy with only Sunday & Wednesday night off.  The one thing that is making me a LITTLE excited about this race is that I get to run it with my sweet friend Allison and we are both in the same Corral.

I am thankful the weather will be warmer.  It's supposed to be in the 50's.  This past week has been in the 30's.  I am just ready to sleep for like a week.  One more week of school and then we are off for 2 weeks.  I am also ready to get back into my strength training routine.  I have slacked off a little with it this semester.  I still do it at least once a week, but I want to bring it back to where it was last spring.  I'm looking forward to getting started on that this upcoming week.  After my Hot Chocolate Run next week, I'm going to ease up on running for 2 weeks and focus more on my strength training.

I'll be doing a LOT of self motivating talks to myself tomorrow morning.  It's actually when I'm running that I start thinking of different things to blog about.  😀   Running has become very inspiring for me.  It was during some runs over the summer that I came up with our theme for our Pop Show that will be this upcoming spring.  😀  Hopefully I will be equally inspired during tomorrow's run.  I just want to do well.



I am ready for a quiet schedule for awhile too.  My girls and I have been enjoying evenings of quiet and devotional time before bed.  I'm looking forward to normal bedtimes this week and to be back in our routine.

How do you handle it when things get busy and you are exhausted?  Take care of your self mama!  Your kiddos need a healthy you!


Teacher Gift Ideas for Christmas

Are you stumped at what to get your child's teacher for Christmas?  As a teacher myself, I'll tell you that you can't go wrong with gift cards.  Over the past few years, my students and their parents have taken the time to know me.  Some of my favorite gifts from them have been gift cards from Starbucks or Disney.  If you know me at all, you know that I love anything from Disney.  😊  Last week, I was blessed from a group of "Secret Santas" almost every day.  I wrote about it here.  It got me thinking as how I could bless my daughters' teachers this season.  Here are some easy, not over the top expensive ideas that I'm doing this year.

I decided that instead of just one gift to give the last day before break, that we would do little gifts throughout the 2 weeks.  We started yesterday with a small Christmas themed container that we got at the dollar store.  We filled it with Hershey Kisses and then added this note in the container.

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon doing all of my holiday baking.  I made Pizelle Cookies (a favorite that my mom used to make - you need a Pizelle Maker for these), our chocolate covered peanut butter cracker cookies (so easy and yummy), and then pretzel rods dipped in melted caramel and melted chocolate.  I bagged the Pizelles and the Preztel Rods seperately in treat bags that I had gotten from the dollar store.  On Friday, their teachers received a treat bag of either the Pretzel Rods or Pizelles.

Over the weekend and week I had the girls write out things that they loved about their teachers.  Once they were done, I recorded them reading their "letters" to their teachers in front of our Christmas Tree.  I then edited a short video that I uploaded to our YouTube page to send to their teachers.  This is something that I hope will be so meaningful, encouraging and...it was FREE!!!

On Monday and Wednesday they received more treats.  I had bought 2 Christmas themed "candy" dishes.  I used those to put the chocolate covered cookies on.  I got this recipe from a parent probably about 18 years ago.  It is so simple and delish!  Mia even helped me!  Take Ritz crackers and make peanut butter sandwiches with them (that was Mia's job).  Melt chocolate almond bark and then dip the crackers in the melted chocolate.  Place them on a tray with parchment paper and place them in the fridge to harden.  That's it!  So easy!




Friday's gift included a wrap around scarf that we got at Target, Christmas pencils (because what elemetary teacher can't use more pencils) and a glue stick (again, a need for the classroom) and stickers.



That's it!  I'm big on getting people gifts that I KNOW that they will enjoy or things that I KNOW that they could use.  For teachers, I try to get them supplies for their classroom whenever we get them gifts (expo markers, glue sticks, post its, hand sanitizer, pencils, stickers, paper clips, highlighters, tissues, etc.)  Not sure what they need?  Just ask!  I usually will send an email right before Teacher Appreciation Week and ask them what they are in need of for their classroom.  Like I said earlier, you can't go wrong with gift cards too.  😊