Building it back up

2014 started off slowly and now I’m finally getting back to a good running place. I start marathon training soon (probably within a week or two) and I needed to get my mileage up and get used to running consistently again. It’s definitely not been easy for me but the last two weeks are making me feel a little bit better about what is going to be coming my way soon.

Let’s back up a little bit (I consider my running weeks Monday to Sunday) to MLK day. I was in Florida for the long weekend celebrating my Nana’s 85 birthday. I had already done a beach run with my mom on Sunday and decided to run on my own on Monday by the beach. I waited too long and it was so hot and humid on this run, totally my fault. But I managed to struggle through 3 painful miles.

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I ran a 5k on Saturday (the 27th) and it was not pretty. It was hilly (finished with 1/2 mile of uphill) and I’ve just lost so much speed it makes me sad. I was pretty disappointed with my time but I have to start somewhere. This race left me pretty sore, but I needed to get in a few more miles for the week. I had brunch plans and I haven’t been sleeping well, so I fit in 2.3 miles before having to go get ready. I finished the week with 8.4 miles, not a lot but at least I ran 3 times.

This past week went fairly well. Overall I’ve been sore and have some tight muscles, but I expect that as I get back to running more. My first run of the week was on Tuesday morning before the snow started (don’t get me going on this topic, I’m really upset with everyone making fun of Atlanta. You have no idea how serious the situation was for a lot of people) on the riverside trail near my place. I did 3 miles and this run felt pretty good. Little did I know what was coming for me. I spent the next 48 hours trapped in my place. I did get out for things like this…

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On Thursday the roads were mostly clear so I ventured to the river and ran 3 miles. There was a little of this…

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And I survived running through it in a couple spots. It was actually another really nice run. My speed wasn’t great but my legs felt fairly good. I also felt like a badass running when there was ice and snow (I’m really not a badass but it’s fun to pretend).

Saturday brought a little bit of a longer run, I did 6 slow miles. There was still ice on the side of the paths but otherwise it was a perfect day to run. My legs loosened up about a mile in and I got into a groove. After the six miles I felt like I could have done a couple more, which is a good sign for what’s to come, since you know I’m trying to run 26.2 miles on June 1st.

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Post-run recovery smoothie

Sunday I wanted to get in 3 more miles. Again my legs were a little tight but I felt good and ran this a little faster than I had earlier in the week. It was super foggy and humid and 50 degrees felt like 80 after all the cold weather the past week.

I finished the week with 15 miles and I’m really happy with what I’ve done. I’m hoping to do around 17 this week and continue running 4 days a week. I also want to get in some cross training and strength work.

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Recapping 2013 and Rock N Roll Savannah Half

I usually don’t blog unless I feel like writing and well today I feel like writing. Instead of setting new year’s resolutions I set a theme for the year, 2012 was the year for running and 2013 was the year for half marathons. I ran 4 half marathons in 2013 (ran might be stretch for describing a few of them) and I really lacked in my preparation for them. 2012 I was focused and dedicated to my running for the most part. Yes I slacked here and there but I usually got most of my workouts in and if I skipped something it was a strength workout, not a run. I was pretty much the total opposite of that in 2013.

Let’s back up a little bit, in 2012 I worked out with Tina, who gave me monthly training plans and I felt like she held me accountable for completing those workouts. This motivated me immensely and in 2013 when I was unable to work with Tina anymore (she stopped doing individual personal training to focus on things going on in her personal life) I had to go on my own. I picked up Crossfit and did it for 9 months. I really had a love/hate relationship with Crossfit. I enjoyed pushing myself and trying new workout techniques, but I hated 3 of the 5 trainers at the gym I went to and it was starting to get ridiculously expensive (I started with a groupon). Then I realized my clothes didn’t fit anymore (as in too tight) and I had gained a decent amount of weight. No one seemed to notice that I gained as much weight as I did, but I could see (or my friends are just too nice to say anything, love you all). I know it wasn’t just crossfit as my eating habits are pretty terrible. I had an unhealthy relationship with cookie cake (and just plain cookies and cake) and French fries (I haven’t been able to break this yet). The combination of crossfit, the decrease in my running mileage (from training) and the bad eating habits I’ve had my whole life are finally beginning to show. I always talked about crossfit via twitter and hinted at it on my blog but never wrote about it because it just never worked for me the way it has for so many people. It bothered me that I didn’t have that love for it and I’ve come to the realization that you can’t just do it because it works for other people; you have to do it because it works for you. And no knock to anyone that loves crossfit (I have close family members who it works great for) it’s just not the right workout for me.

I have found some things I loved in crossfit that I look forward to continuing to have in my workout regimen, rowing being the main thing. I absolutely loved rowing. It’s hard as hell but I felt like it gave me a great workout and was really helping me gain flexibility in my hips. I received a rowing machine for Christmas and will be using that for cross training in my upcoming race training plans (more on that eventually).

You’ve heard about most of my races in 2013, but I’ve yet to recap Savannah so let’s just do that now. Rock N Roll Savannah was my favorite race of the year. I had a lot of emotions going into that race, my mom was supposed to run with me but was sidelined with a torn ligament in her ankle, and you may recall this post, which was a huge motivator for me.

The morning of the race I woke up bright and early, had my typical picky bar breakfast. My parents drove me downtown to drop me off. Luckily a local Panera bread was open and I used their restroom instead of a port a potty. The temps were in the 40s so I had on a tank top, arm warmers, shorts and procompression socks. I also had some throwaway gloves. I met up with my little cousin who was running the race with a friend (it was her first half) to say hi and then jumped back into my corral. This was race different than most others from 2013, because other than my first race, I did the other two completely solo. Had no one cheering, was staying in a hotel by myself, you know doing the alone Amy thing. But this race I would actually have crowd support and I never realized how much that helps me. My parents decided that they could get from miles 4, 8 and the finish fairly easily so they planned on cheering for me there. This helped break the race up for me and after looking at my times at the 5k, 10k and 10 miles you could really see how it helped my mental state and speed. The Savannah course starts in the historic area and immediately takes you into a not so nice area of town, surprisingly, I really enjoyed this part. The people who lived in this area sat on their porches watching in awe and picking up the throw away clothes that runners had left. Little kids were giving high fives and cheering. By mile 4 we were winding back towards the historic area and I enjoyed laughing at the men that were peeing at the edge of wooded areas instead of waiting in line for the portapotties. I found my parents right after seeing my favorite set of signs: “Go harder” with a guy 10 feet past that point with “That’s what she said”. I tossed my arm warmers to them and said wow I’m going fast maybe I’ll PR and kept moving. I actually didn’t even stop to walk at this point. Side note: my goal for this race was to finish and my strategy was to run as fast as I could for as long as I could.

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Couldn’t stop running but Dad wanted a pic, so I ran backwards

This part of the race (miles 5-8) had a lot of crowd support, went through pretty parts of Savannah and I was just speeding along. I couldn’t believe how well it was going. Also I teared up at least once by then thinking about Katie and her battle with cancer and how if she can do that I can keep running. By mile 10 I started to slow down and hit the wall. I saw my parents at mile 8 (they almost missed me because I ran pretty quickly for me) and yelled maybe I’ll PR! I kept trucking through some nice neighborhoods. I hit the wall at mile 10 but kept running. It wasn’t until I hit the split off between the half and the full along with the section of rolling hills, that I realized that yes I went out to fast but wow I just ran over 12 miles without even stopping to walk. I’d never done this before and was so proud. But my legs were cursing me and I started walking the uphills. I looked down at my phone and saw texts from Katie, obviously I teared up again, but tried to fight through the pain in my legs. This off and on worked but that last mile was a BITCH. I got dizzy at one point and then caught my breath and started running again. I took on the last uphill, turned the corner and headed down the finisher shoot. I sprinted by a couple people at that point, had some pretty bad calf cramps and crossed the finish line in 2:46 and change. A little over a minute over my PR but 20 minutes faster than my previous half in Philly and 45 min faster than Chicago.

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Me and Mom after the race. So thankful for my cheer squad!

I really really really ENJOYED this race! And even beat my little cousin :) The course was great,  the weather was perfect and I just had fun. Taking the time stress off of myself did wonders for my mental state. And maybe doing races alone isn’t the best idea for me.

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Family after the race.

So now that I’ve written a book I’ll tell you what my theme is for 2014: The Marathon! I only have one planned (I think that’s enough for now) but I’ve got to work on my training consistency to get there. More on this later!

Half #5 for KT

Today I’ll run my 5th half marathon. I can’t believe that less than two years ago I started running and in the last 11 months I’ve run 5 half marathons.

Today is also my best friend’s 29th birthday. You’ve heard a lot about my BFF, Katie. She’s been there for me through ups and downs and is truly like a sister to me. A couple months ago after noticing something weird on her chest she went to the doctor. Flash forward a week or two (plus a couple doctors and insurance hoops) and Katie was diagnosed with Paget’s disease. It’s a rare disease that causes breast cancer. And before the age of 29 my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. I can’t even imagine the emotions she was really going through because she stayed extremely calm and collected. And I know in that situation I would have been a total wreck ( I pretty much was a total wreck but never showed that to Katie).
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Luckily Katie caught the cancer in the very early stages but the course of treatment was still shocking, a double mastectomy. She is now a couple weeks out of surgery and doing well, she’s even gone for a run! She’s supposed to run the same race we both ran last year, rock n roll Las Vegas, next weekend. Katie was training her ass off for that race and will hopefully still be able to run the race, just not the PR she was shooting for (KT I know that you’ll get under 2 hours soon!).

Katie was a large part of why I started running, after watching her run her full marathon I knew I was going to run a half the next year. So today I’m running in honor of my best friend, a survivor and fighter. I’ll be in as much pink as I can stomach and thinking of how she fought breast cancer and using that to power my every step. She truly inspires me all the time and I’m so thankful to have her in my life.

Love you KT! These 13.1 miles are for you!

And my PSA: please please please check yourself regularly! If Katie hadn’t noticed so quickly the results might be much different!

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Philly Half Marathon

Today I ran my 4th half marathon and my only goals were to finish and have fun. And I successfully completed those goals.

I highly recommend the Rock N Roll Philadelphia half marathon! The course is flat and takes you through a lot of great areas of the city. It starts and finishes at the Art Museum where the famous steps from Rocky are. It takes you through the sky scrapers (where your GPS watch will lose signal) to the historical areas of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell and back past the museum to the river. You go along the side of the river where the boat houses are for rowing. These were so cute and I really enjoyed this part. I had been feeling strong up until this point and thought I could potentially PR. I tried to ignore all the pain I was in, pretty much everything ached. After a couple miles we went over a bridge, that was surprisingly flat, and turned around to run back along the river. This part was the hardest stretch for me, there was walking every 1/2 mile and it was a mental battle to keep moving. And around mile 9 I knew a PR wasn’t going to happen, but I knew my time would be a huge improvement over Chicago.

There were a lot of musicians along the way, while I had my headphones in, I enjoyed the bag pipe band and some teenagers playing jazz. The race finished with a short uphill to lead you right in front of the museum steps. I picked up the pace here and passed a few people along the way.

My lovely friend from high school, Trudy, was waiting for me at the finish line. She snapped a couple pics for me…

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And then we went to brunch at Jerry’s Bar (get the hashbrowns!!) The food was awesome and the company was even better. I feel so fortunate to have good friends all the place that I’m able to see when I travel.

After brunch Trudy dropped me back at my hotel. I’ve been stretching and relaxing since I have a 6 am flight and go straight into work tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be rough but I really enjoyed my time in Philly!

Chi Town Adventures

I really like to leave you hanging around here, but life has been really crazy lately and writing just hasn’t happened for me. Work has been busy, I’ve been traveling a lot and I’m under contract on a townhome (more on that in another post). Right now I’m relaxing at my parents’s house in North Florida.

Lets just say that the Chicago race did not go well but everything else that weekend was great. Got to see great people, explore Chicago and saw the best concert I will probably ever see!

I know you’d rather see pics then hear me babble so here we go, Chicago in pictures…

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Lunch outside by the bean

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Taking pics in the bean

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Chicago skyline pic while walking over a bridge

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Looking at the race start

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The view from my corral, OMG so many people

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Race recovery brings out the best fashion statements

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My first Chicago deep dish pizza! Perfect race recovery meal!

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View of Chicago skyline from boat on the way to JT and Jay Z concert

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The ladies after docking at Soldier Field

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When we made it up to the 8th row for the encore!

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Dancing allll night

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More dancing

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Dancing on chairs

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Before the show

I had a great time in Chicago and would definitely go back! Totally recommend Siena Tavern for dinner! That place was amazing!

Time to get SERIOUS

It’s less than 3 weeks until my next half marathon so I really should have gotten serious two months ago, but better late than never? I’m really going to test the whole crossfit makes you a better runner thing in Chicago.

So lets talk training, the past few months I’ve run very little, maybe once a week, plus the runs in crossfit which is usually around a mile or two a week. The last couple weeks I’ve started upping that, to two or three runs a week plus crossfit 2-3 times a week. I’ve been trying to do a long run (which really aren’t that long) once a week as well. My body really wasn’t feeling the distance but this past weekend I finally had a distance break through and ran 8 miles. It wasn’t perfect but I was mentally strong and was able to push through, I hadn’t done more than 4 miles recently. I really needed this run to go well and it did. I needed the confidence boost and I know I can finish 13.1 in 3 weeks, it won’t be fast and it won’t be pretty! But it will happen even if there is some walking (hopefully no crying). And afterwards I looked really hot…

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And since I don’t have access to a 7-11 for a slurpee I had to make due with a freezoni or freeztini or whatever it’s called from QuikTrip

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The next day I went to crossfit and I was happy to see exercises I could do without modifying the movements. That’s rare for me, anything that involves gymnastics or pull ups is a struggle for me (I can’t even do a cartwheel, seriously) and I have to modify. I eventually want to be able to do these movements but I really have to improve my upper body strength.

This week I ran 3 times and went to crossfit 3 times! I’d say I had a successful week and am finally getting serious about training! And one of those runs was with Bart Yasso, but he deserves his own post, which he’ll get but probably not for a week or so.

I hope you all have a great holiday weekend! My parents are coming up to Atlanta, my mom and I are running the Peachtree Road Race on Thursday! Then we head up to Tennessee for zip lining, white water rafting, boating, slip n sliding and relaxing! I CAN NOT WAIT!

Recent Races

The past few months have been pretty busy for me. Between work, working out and traveling, I’ve been all over the place. And when I’m not doing those three things I’m sitting in my La-Z-Boy recliner watching as much TV as possible. This leads to not wanting to pick up my computer and blog in the evenings. But some really fun stuff has happened in the last few months so let’s get you caught back up.

In March I ran two 10ks, back to back weekends. I really just signed up for these little local races because they said they were relatively flat and I needed to ensure I got the mileage in. The first 10k was in 20-30 degree weather with snow flurries. I wanted to die from the cold, but luckily being the gear junkie I am, I just bundled up in my cold weather gear, stayed in my car as long as possible, and hid behind a building until the race started. There were a couple little hills throughout but nothing terrible. It actually had a downhill finish that I totally dominated (long legs = pick up good speed going downhill) I didn’t carry a hand  held water bottle and just walked a couple steps through the water stops when I needed a drink. This race was with a local running group, for the most part everyone in the 10k was fast. I was running decently for me and was in the back of the pack (which isn’t much of a surprise since I wasn’t really training). I was trying to keep a good pace and noticed a couple other people that I seemed to be staying with most of the race. I tried to keep a couple people ahead of me in my sights at all times. For some reason this race just clicked, maybe because there was no pressure and I didn’t have any expectations after my last 10k disaster last October. My pace was 10:46 and I finished in 1:06:46. This was almost a 7 min PR! I was pretty stoked and know I can continue to improve on this. Fast forward a week and it was time for the next 10k on one of my fav trails, the Silver Comet trail. The trail is flat and goes for miles, this is where I had that 12 miler that ended in the dark (not my safest running experience).  This race was a little bit more slow runner friendly the previous one and flatter. There were a couple hills before we got on the trail, but after that it was smooth sailing. It was crowded because the trail is pretty narrow and it was open to other people, but I didn’t have any trouble. I was also trying to negative split this race. I honestly can’t remember if I did or not, but my avg pace was 10:22 and I finished in 1:04:01. I took another 2:45 off my PR from the week before. I was trying to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s really what 5ks and 10ks are all about. Pushing yourself to the level of discomfort that you can manage for the distance. I felt great during this race and will definitely run it next year. Eventually I would like to get my 10ks under an hour. I know it can happen, it will just take some speed work, which I’m not sure will be happening a lot in the near future. I do have a 10k in 2 weeks for the Peachtree Road Race, but it will be hot and hilly so I don’t expect to have a killer time in that race. Not to mention there are 60,000 people running it, I think it will be a little bit crowded. Basically I ran these 10ks to get some distance in since I was running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in April.

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Finishing 10k #1 in the 20/30 degree weather. This is right at the downhill finish and I’m pretty sure both of my feet are off the ground. Proof I’m flying!

 

Back in December I found out one of my college BFFs, Meg, was entering the lottery with a group, I joined as did my BFF Katie. We all made it in for the April 7th race in DC. I was super excited for this race and trip. A long weekend with my favorite people is always great. I just didn’t train for the race, I was just going to crossfit two or three times a week (more on this in another post) and trying to get a long run in on the weekend. The weekend before the race I made it 7.5 miles with a little bit of walking. Not really ideal but it was all I could do. We got to DC two days before the race. Meg showed Katie and I around DC, we did a lot of walking, but we got to experience so much of the fun stuff DC has to offer! Probably walked around 10 miles or so in the two days before the race. Needless to say my legs weren’t entirely fresh on race day. My main focus for the race was to not get picked up by the slow bus, so I knew I had to keep the walking to a minimum. I planned on walking through the water stations and not carrying my hand held water bottle. I’m trying to figure out the best hydration methods for me. I’ve tried gatorade and nuun, but I stopped drinking gatorade after my first half marathon in Vegas. I tried nuun during my 2nd half marathon. For some reason (even when I train with nuun or gatorade) during races I crave water and not the sports drink I brought in my hand held. I decided to try just water and a gel at 5 or 6 miles, depending on how I felt and where the water stations were.  Apparently this method worked well for me, I didn’t run my fastest race ever but I felt good and only had to walk during water stations and potty break (I made the mistake of not going right before the race, I had to pee the whole race). I finished in 1:57 and change and I LOVED this race! The route took you by all these great sites in DC. You start and finish at the Washington Monument, you wave at Honest Abe as you go past the Lincoln Memorial and say what’s up to Thomas Jefferson as you run right by him. Lot’s of fun photos from this trip….

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At the National Mall the day before the race

Cherry Blossom Ale

Carb Loading with a Cherry Blossom Ale

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T Rex at the National History Museum “I’ve got a big head and little arms”

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Me and Katie freezing before the race. It was chilly!

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Check out those nice bruises on my legs, thanks crossfit!

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I was pretty happy most of this race, I have a feeling I will not look like this in a month in Chicago

After Race

With KT and Meg after the race! We loved this experience so much, we decided to sign up for a Ragnar Relay Race!

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Thank you KT for this awesome photo!

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Had to stop by and say Hi to Barrack and Michelle.

I also ran Expedition Everest in May as a team with my mom, our second year doing this race. My mom was coming off of an injury so we didn’t go our fastest but we beat all our family members, plus came in 27th out of 500 women’s team. We’ll take it! They made some changes to the race this year, some I liked, some I didn’t. I didn’t like that the scavenger hunt finish line was all the way back at the front of the park. The scavenger hunt was much longer this year since you had to go back to the front of the park, which I think made it more difficult for people just expecting to do a 5k. I think we did close to 5 miles with the scavenger hunt. I thought the changes to the 5k course were for the better and Disney really puts on a great race. Although I was a little frustrated with the corral situation. There wasn’t enough room in each corral and we weren’t able to get in ours until later on. Signing up early for this race was the best decision we made because that put us in the 2nd corral and eliminated the weaving in and out of people (and kept my mom from yelling at people, I think she only yelled at 1 or 2 people this year). This race is just always a blast and getting to ride the rides at night is always fun. Here’s a couple pics of our Disney weekend…

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The group before the race. I also had more family there, but they hadn’t arrived yet.

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Red, hot, sweaty messes. This is at the end of the scavenger hunt, notice the dirty knees from the sand crawl obstacle.

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Happy to be finished! Love running races with my mom!

So you’re caught up on my races now, sorry for the hiatus. Half marathon season a month away, I can’t run more than 3 miles without stopping right now, so July will be interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

My Fav Running Gear: Shoes

I’ve been saying for a while that I was going to tell you about my favorite gear. Finally my ADD has allowed that to happen. I am a COMPLETE gear junkie and a total sucker. If you try to sell me something in a store, it’s very likely I’ll buy it, especially if I’m in the market for something similar or just need some retail therapy (which is all the time). A big motivator for running and working out for me is new gear. Yes I like to have nice clothes, shoes and running accessories. I can’t help it, but running is my hobby and I’m going to spend money on it, so deal with it. At least my hobby isn’t sitting on my butt watching terrible reality tv and eating cupcakes (oh wait that’s my 2nd favorite hobby behind working out). After starting this post I realized I loved my shoes too much so you’re just getting to hear about my newest show love. Other gear posts to follow, hopefully.

When I first started running I was not particular about things. I was running in my mom’s old running shoes and wearing stuff I normally worked out in. Thankfully the weather in Vegas was still warm at that time. Once I got part way through couch to 5k I decided that I was going to keep up running and I should invest in proper running shoes. I went to a local shoe store in Vegas and got fitted (not the real way with gait analysis and running on a treadmill) for shoes. This guy put me in a stability shoe, probably because I have high arches, without seeing me do any real running. He was very nice and all but he put me in a shoe that was so not right for me. I didn’t have any problems since I was running short distances but when I moved to Atlanta in June, I decided to get fitted at the local Atlanta running store, Big Peach Running Co. since they have this whole fit process. I knew I would be upping my mileage when half marathon training started and I wanted to make sure I was in the proper shoe. Of course I wasn’t and I made the switch then to the Wave Rider 15s, which I absolutely LOVED. You may remember how pretty they are from this awesome post.

After running in the Wave Rider 15s for 4 months or so Mizuno came out with the Wave Rider 16s. Big Peach had a preview where the Mizuno rep came out to the store and you could test out the shoe. I didn’t have anyone to go with me to this awesome event, so I went solo (something I never would have done before I moved to Atlanta). I met with Jay and Ali from Mizuno, tried on a pair of shoes (wanted to run away with them, but I’m sure they would have caught my slow self), and fell in love with this update of the Wave Rider. The only change was to the upper part of the shoe, they changed the mesh which made them lighter. The cushioning and lower part of the shoe remained the same so I didn’t have to worry about it not being the same as the 15s. I tried to buy a pair that night but couldn’t, but Mizuno was kind enough to send me a pair of shoes since I was so in love with the brand and a big fan. I honestly didn’t expect that AT ALL. I really just went to show some brand love, see the new shoe and try to buy a pair before they came out. I actually received my new pair of Wave Rider 16s two days after the preview and I had them a week before they came out. I almost didn’t want to wear them because they were so pretty and I’ve never been cool enough to get a product before it hits the market (especially in running, don’t they know I’m slow). I love the 16s even more than the 15s! The colors are great, the fit is perfect and I can definitely tell a difference in weight. I mixed in the 16s with the 15s until I knew my feet were fine and even did my super quick 12 miler in them during my Vegas training. I wore them for the Vegas race and have been wearing them ever since. Aren’t they pretty…

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iPhone photos are their finest

I loved them so much I decided to by a 2nd pair in another color. You may remember the awesome pictures of my wave rider 15s by my cousin in law, Dan Schultz. He got a hold of my new 16s and sent me this amazing picture…

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Of course his picture is unreal and makes my iPhone photo look sad. Who else is with me that Mizuno needs to hire Dan for their photography? He’s even Atlanta based!

I’ve also convinced him to take some action shots of me running so as soon as its warm enough and he’s not busy working, I should hopefully get some good shots. Check out more of his work here.

ZOOMA Amelia Island Half Marathon Recap

My 2nd half marathon was only 6 weeks after my first. I just felt burnt out after the first and struggled to get all my training runs in. I usually got them in, but they weren’t always pretty and they weren’t always the distance they were scheduled to be. I managed to get in a 10 miler, but my 12 miler did not go well. The 12 miler sucked (and ended up being 8 miles with walking) because I apparently I had strep throat and didn’t know it. I went to the doctor the Thursday before my Sunday run, but she said my strep test was negative. On Monday morning I found out I did had strep throat. I had less than two weeks until the half marathon and I couldn’t get any good runs in. I took it pretty easy to try to get better. I had one good shake out run before the race, I was done with antibiotics and it was time to head to Florida for the ZOOMA Amelia Island half marathon.

This race was special for me because I was getting to run it with my mom. I didn’t set high expectations since my training was sub par and I had been pretty sick leading up to the race. I was just going to go at a pace that felt comfortable and would try to push it when necessary. The race took place at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, which is one of my favorite places. I used to work for Ritz for 5 years and I’ve been to this property at least 10 times. I used to stay there for only $50 a night and I definitely miss that rate, but I was able to get the friends and family rate for this weekend, which was $125 and more than $100 less than the group rate that ZOOMA had secured for the weekend (this girl LOVES a good deal). My parents and I arrived at the resort a little after 4pm. We checked right into our room, you can see the view from the balcony here…

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After the bellman brought our bags up we headed down to the packet pick up and expo. Since this was a small boutique type race, it was very quick to get our race bibs and swag bag. We checked out a couple vendors, my mom really likes Muscle Milk, who is a big sponsor for the ZOOMA events. After checking out the expo we went over to the concierge to find a restaurant for dinner. We made an early reservation at Ciao, an Italian restaurant on Center St. (the main downtown street) in Fernandina Beach. We showed up early and were seated quickly. I’m so glad we got there early, within 20 minutes the restaurant was full and there was a wait. My mom and I both enjoyed our pasta dishes. We also snuck in some Dairy Queen at my dad’s request (the man loves his ice cream). We headed back to the hotel for an early bed time.

The race course was a point to point that started in Downtown Fernandina Beach, went through Fort Clinch State Park and along A1A back to the Ritz. Shuttles were available to those staying at the Ritz at 7 am so we all jumped on that. My dad is the ultimate spectator/bag holder. He rode the shuttle with us and took back whatever clothes and such. He was told he would be able to take the shuttle back, but the drivers got all weird about it that morning. He ended up finding a guy who had driven there and was going back to the hotel, so he asked him for a ride (my dad has no problem asking these things of complete strangers).

The shuttles got us to the start early and since it was a little cold and windy that morning, a lot of us were huddled behind a building waiting for the race to start. I was bundled up and wasn’t planning on wearing anything more than a t shirt, shorts (with a team sparkle skirt over it) and procompression socks. I ended up adding arm warmers because of the wind. Check out a few shots before the race….

MeMomBefore

Love my Nuun tat and Team Sparkle Skirt

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Heading to the start

This race was small with around 400 people (mostly women) running. I really loved that Zooma had pacers even with a small field of runners. Everything was well organized. There weren’t really corrals but they didn’t need them.

They called the start and my mom and I wanted to stay around 11:30 pace as long as we could. I wasn’t sure how I would do with being sick the two weeks before the race. We made it almost to mile 3 before we had to slow down a little bit. I took my arm warmers off at this point too. By now we were in the state park which was really pretty. I took my first gu after mile 3. I think this made my stomach not so happy. Around mile 5 I saw one of my fav bloggers, Julie, from Peanut Butter Fingers finishing the out and back portion. Not far behind her was Presley from Run Pretty, who luckily yelled my name so I could say hi :)

Around miles 6-7 I was starting to get dizzy and light headed. At that point I knew it was not going to be a good race. I had to start the run/walk and felt so bad that I had to slow down my mom. I tried to walk 0.1 mile run the rest. This continued for the rest of the race. I knew this was my lingering sickness and not the same cramping issues I had in Vegas. I did the best I could and really was wishing I could do better. My mom pushed me to keep running and I did what I could.

Then came the surprise last 0.7 mile of the race, it was on the beach, as in ON THE EFFING SAND. I had no idea that was happening and needless to say there were MANY curse words coming from this girl. I ran most of it until we got to the sand that looked like it would break an ankle. The finish line was soon after that and my mom and I grabbed hands and ran across the finish line with our arms raised.

MeMomFinish

Half #2 Complete!

My time was slower than Vegas but I went into this with low expectations. I knew I wasn’t 100% after being sick. And then I got sick the next day and ended up on antibiotics again. I was pretty much sick the entire month of January.

After the race we went to the after party. Zooma does a great job with this and had massages, wine and a lot of vendors. My knee was really hurting at this point and my dad went to find me ice. The lovely Tricia from Zooma wanted a pic of my skirt so my mom and I stopped for this photo….

MeMomAfterparty

Can you tell it was windy by my hair? Photo courtesy of ZOOMA Facebook Page

We skipped the massages there since we made appointments in the spa for that afternoon.

Overall this was a great race. It was well organized and in a beautiful location. I would definitely recommend this race for a racecation!

I’ve switched up some stuff in the last month so more on that soon!

What’s Next for 2013

2012 was a great year for me and now I’m looking forward to what’s next in 2013. I’m kind of a planner. I like to have trips planned out ahead of time. I may not book every aspect of a trip but I like to have an idea of dates and such. Before I ran my first half marathon I had this thought (because I’m crazy like this already planning ahead) that I might try to run a half marathon every month in 2013. After the half I threw that thought clear out of the window. My body is just not ready for that kind of stress. I definitely have big plans for 2013, they just don’t include a half marathon every month.

So what’s up first in 2013? Well that’s been planned for months, I’m running the Zooma Amelia Island Half Marathon on January 19 with my mom. I’m pretty excited for this race, it’s located at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, which is my favorite Ritz (I worked for Ritz for 5 years and have been to quite a few of them). The resort is beautiful and I can’t wait to spend the weekend with my parents (my dad will be watching from the sidelines). This race is geared towards women that like to go on weekend running trips with their girlfriends. They serve wine after the race and have complimentary massages afterwards. My mom and I also booked a treatment for after the half marathon that day. Some of my favorite bloggers will be there too so I’m looking forward to meeting them in person.

In February I’m looking at a 5k up in Kennesaw. My running buddy Carmen is doing the half marathon so I figure I’ll run the 5k and cheer her on. It’s an inexpensive race, around $25 or so for the 5k. I was contemplating the Publix Georgia Half marathon in March but it’s too late in the month to do with my April race plans. I may do the 5k with that one or look for another St. Patty’s day themed 5k or 10k.

I’m very VERY excited for my April race, the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington DC. I haven’t been to DC since I was 10 years old so I’m pretty pumped to check out all the sights. To make this race even better my BFF, Katie, will be flying in to do this with me and we’ll be meeting up with another one of our best friends from college, Megan, who will also be running with us. The course starts at the National Mall by the Washington Monument. I’m just hoping the weather won’t be too hot so I can get a good time at this one. There is so much I want to see in DC and would love any suggestions for things to do and eat!

May brings another really fun run, My mom and I are heading back to Disney for Expedition Everest the 5k obstacle course then scavenger hunt at night through Animal Kingdom. We did this in 2012 and it was such a blast, this was the third race I ever did so I’m looking forward to how much quicker I can do this one. We also signed up earlier so we can be in an earlier starting wave to not be stuck behind a lot of walkers like we were last year. In 2013 my cousin Emily and her husband, Dan, are going to join us. Here’s a pic of my mom and I finishing last year:

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As of right now I don’t have any races for June and it will probably stay that way unless I find a fun little trail run nearby. I’ll be in half marathon training mode though because I have a couple half marathons on the books for the later part of the year. I haven’t fully decided yet but I may be doing the Chicago Rock’N’Roll Half Marathon in July. I have a good friend who works with a partnership marketing firm and his account is one of the sponsors for this event. This could potentially lead to free entry into this race for me. If this happens then I will definitely be running this race. Free entry into a Rock N Roll race is always winning to me! I had fun in Chicago when I was there a couple years ago and I would love to go back and explore more.

The next for sure race is the Philadelphia Rock’N’Roll Half Marathon in September. When Rock N Roll did the 12-12-12 $20 off a race deal I couldn’t resist signing up for this race. It was only $65 (and if I do Chicago I’ll get a special medal for two races in one year with Rock N Roll) which is a great deal for one of their races. My good friend from high school, Trudy, lives in Philly and I can’t wait to see her!! It’s been a while since I’ve seen her since she’s all busy being a doctor but she’s one of those great people you meet in life and will always be friends with.

The rest of the year is up in the air but other races I’m thinking about are the Peachtree Road Race in July, Big Sur Half Marathon in November or Vegas or Savannah Rock N Roll if Big Sur doesn’t happen. I’m really excited for what I have planned and can’t wait to see how my running progresses in 2013. I would love to hear what races you’re doing or would suggest for me, especially fun ones in the Atlanta area!

Other than running my goals are to continue to cross train with strength training and work on my eating habits, but the focus is really on keeping up with the running and getting faster.