Area 13.1 Recap (hint hint I PRed)

On November 8th I ran my first half marathon in a year. After running 4 halfs in 2013, I spent the first half of 2014 training for my first marathon. I knew after I finished that I had to make some changes and I wanted to PR a half marathon.

I started working with Jesica again and she really pushed me to step out of what I had been doing and really go for it. And as the training cycle progressed (and my weight continued to go down) my times were getting better and better. Paces that were hard to keep for a 5k became my long run paces. And all that hard work paid off last night.

I picked my goal race based off of a couple things: date, course (flat flat flat) and location. Originally Rock N Roll Vegas was going to be my goal race but when my childhood bestfriend chose the night before as her wedding date I knew that was out (I did however still run in Vegas, just flew in the day of the race). Then I found a race the weekend before Vegas, on the trail/road that I run on all the time about 2 min from my house. It seemed perfect (other than the 5:30 pm start time) and in reality it ended up being perfect.

The race I chose was the Area 13.1, there were definitely some pluses and minuses to this race. Packet pick up was super easy, I was able to grab it the Sunday before from my local Lululemon. The race was fairly small which made race day logistics much easier.

Since the race was at 5:30 I had to sit around all day until it was time to run. My parents came to town with my grandmother to meet the newest member of the family. So luckily my parents were able to spectate and be there for the race. My morning started kind of strangely, I had to eat chicken and rice for breakfast. My nutrition plan for the day was to eat my typical dinner the night before a race for breakfast, so a chicken breast and 2 cups of white rice was breakfast. After that I was on a bagel and hard boiled egg diet until after the race. I ended up eating two bagels and two hard boiled eggs. I ended up with a fun sinus headache but I don’t like how I run when on my migraine medicine so decided to not take anything.

I got to the race later than I anticipated so I didn’t get in my full warm up, but did a couple minutes of jogging and did dynamic stretches until the start. I also took a salted watermelon GU about 30 min before the race.

My head was still hurting pretty good at this point and I was hoping adrenaline would kick in and make it go away. There were no corrals so I lined up towards the middle and was surprised at how many people had on long sleeves and long pants. The weather was perfect high 50s that would drop to the high 40s by the end, which for me that means a tank top and shorts.

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Right after the start
The first mile was on the road and I was trying to keep myself from going out too fast, I let people pass me because I knew if I went out to hard I would crash. The first 4 miles were pretty congested, around 1.5 you go into a narrower trail into the woods and people were walking and blocking the trail. This was my slowest mile, but after we got out of there around mile 3 I started to pick the pace back up. It was still crowded and the course was really weirdly planned out. There were a lot of random out and backs. The one around mile 3 was really confusing and kind of a mess but not nearly as bad as mile 4 back in Riverside park. They did a bad job directing runners but my parents were at this split and pointed me in the right direction.

By this point I really wanted Gatorade, they said there would be Gatorade at 4 and 7.5 but there was nothing at 4. I waited til 5 to take my gu in case Gatorade magically appeared but it didn’t. At this point I realized I was moving pretty quickly, a lot of my miles were in the high 10s, but I felt really good. My head had stopped hurting and I was just cruising. It was pitch black and I was really happy to have worn my headlamp. Around mile 5.5 the lead guy came running past (and then by me again quickly after that) and he was moving! Between 6 and 7 we hit the two “hills” of the course but they’re not too bad and I’ve run them a bunch in training runs.

I found the elusive Gatorade at mile 7.25 and was glad I did, I was starting to feel a little off and the Gatorade made me feel better within a couple minutes. Again I was cruising and was starting to really pass people. I’m usually getting passed so it was nice to be the person doing the passing. The next few miles felt the longest but my body felt good and I just kept moving. Around mile 10 I realized that I could come in around 2:25 (my garmin was short by 1/4 mile but I didn’t realize it when I was calculating) and I wanted to keep that up. I took another GU here and then kicked it up a notch. I made the final turn around and new I was about 1.9 miles from the finish. Since I run this course often I know the mileages and realized my garmin was off at mile 12. And then I did more math and realized I could beat my mom’s PR if I kept it up. I got a pretty bad shin splint but there was no way I was stopping.

Before the race I had never run longer than 12.4 without stopping, not even during marathon training. I wanted to get over that hump, even if I was running 15 min miles, I was going to keep running. Luckily I ran some faster miles and was cruising to the finish. I got a little caught up on a boardwalk piece of the trail behind a woman who was not happy when I yelled on your left and ran by her. She did the same to me about .1 from the finish but then I sprinted past her because I wasn’t going to let her finish ahead of me. I crossed the finish line at 2:20:13!! Over 25 min PR and over a minute faster than my mom’s PR.

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After the race

I never really thought this time was possible. 2:30 was my goal, but I thought 2:27ish was possible. I felt great most of this race and didn’t really have any bad miles. Mentally I was much better off than I usually am. I never hit a mental wall like I have in every other race.

I just couldn’t be happier with my performance. I worked really hard to get to this point and I’m really proud of myself for accomplishing multiple goals during this training cycle.

Hopefully my vegas recap isn’t too far off since I just finished that race this past Sunday.

Up next: Atlanta Half Marathon on thanksgiving day!

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Timing (Atlanta 10 Miler Recap)

Timing really is everything. And I’m not talking about race times (yet), I’m talking about when things happen in life.

I’ve lived a good life so far and have been fortunate that timing has been on my side for the most part.

I’ve always thought that things happen when they need to and if something you want to happen doesn’t, then it wasn’t meant to happen. I’ve found this to be true in my career especially. I have had a good progression of jobs and the right opportunity always seems to present itself.

With my move to Atlanta from Vegas, it was definitely time for me to move to a different city (I love all my friends there but I needed a fresh start). The right job presented itself and I truly believe I’m at the right company for me. And while I was trying to get other jobs within my current company (after being there a year), I didn’t get certain opportunities I applied for. Then my now current job opened up, I knew it was my dream job (for this stage in my career, let’s be real I want to be a C level exec one day). If I had gotten one of the other positions, I wouldn’t be where I am today in just the right spot for me.

Today I ran a kickass race! (I swear this will tie into the above ramblings, just go with the tangents like you’re talking to me in real life) I had 12 miles on my schedule for today and was signed up for the Atlanta 10 miler. So my plan was to do a 2 mile warm up before the race. My coach wanted me to keep my paces in the high 11s since my goal pace is 11:40 for my half. I ran the warm up just in the 11s and was feeling great. The race was delayed due to traffic so I was a little disappointed I didn’t time the warm up better but nothing I could do about that.

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After my warm up waiting for the race to start

I couldn’t have asked for a better race. The course was tough, so many hills (but it is Atlanta) and it went through some pretty neighborhoods and the crowd support was great. I started a little conservatively, my plan was to take advantage of all down hills and keep moving up the hills as best as I could. Honestly I’ve never felt stronger running. It felt pretty easy until the 8 mile mark (10 miles for the day) and then I had to get my mental game in check for the rest of the race. I ran into a friend at about 8.5 and we off and on ran together to the finish. I had a 6 min PR from the cherry blossom 10 miler in 2013 and ran 1:51:39.

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With my co-worker Patrick after the race (photo courtesy of him, thanks Patrick!). He volunteered today and was handing out medals.

So let’s tie this all together, after the race I was texting with my coach (Jesica) and we were discussing how well I’d executed this training cycle and how my weight loss (20 lbs!!!) has really improved my running. I made a comment that I wish I had done this a year ago and her reply was spot on, she told me I wasn’t ready then to make those changes, but that this is just the beginning for me and my running. That really hit home for me, because I wasn’t ready last year and I knew I couldn’t handle the changing of my diet during marathon training. This was the right time for me and I’m ready to have a great race November 8!

And total side note: I highly recommend the Atlanta 10 miler, the course was great, the event was well organized and the swag (long sleeve hoodie with thumb holes + cool medal) is great. The Atlanta Track Club puts on great events and is well worth the membership I’ve had the past 2 years. Hopefully I’ll feel the same after the half on Thanksgiving!

What I learned from Marathon Training

Marathon training was definitely a time of growth for me. I spent a lot of hours alone getting my runs in which leads to a lot of introspection and also time to figure out random things.

So here are some of the things I figured out while marathon training…

1. You potentially will rip holes in your shorts. I wish this was a joke but it’s not! I only had 3 pairs of shorts that I really liked during that time and they were discontinued. This led to me running in them all the time… Which led to multiple holes in each pair. The night before the marathon I went back and forth with Katie about which pair would not rip any further for 26.2 miles. I picked right! And carried a sample size of body glide in my pocket. I’ve now found a couple different shorts that work for me up to 6 miles so let’s hope they can make it 13.1!

2. The brand of body glide you use does matter! I was using the body glide brand since I started running but still always had a little chafing. Then one of my running friends mentioned Run Guard and how it had worked better for her. I switched to that and it’s very rare that I have any chafing!

3. Finding the right running shoe is hard! I envy those of you that can wear a bunch of different shoes and not have any problems. I am not one of those people! It took 4 shoes and orthotics to get there but now I’m in a shoe that seems to be working for me. My calves are also tight so that makes shoes even tougher. I can’t handle much of a drop at all.

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Shoe #1

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Shoe #3

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Shoe #4 = My new favorite! 

4. Being alone for all those hours can make you a little crazy. My longest long run took 5:45 to finish! Let me know the next time you have to run for that amount of time and see how sane you are. I wish I would have gotten into audiotapes or something to get me occupied mentally. Music just wasn’t enough.

5. I needed someone to hold me accountable. I struggled the last year with keeping up with runs, I just slacked and had no plans. Having a running coach really helped keep me in line. I knew she wouldn’t take my excuses of not wanting to get out of bed. It really helped me to get all the workouts in (minus the ones I missed while injured) and it got me to do a little cross training.

6. Not running my best race for the marathon made me want to try again… Just not right away. I really think I have a faster marathon in me so with a stronger base built up before training begins I think I can do a lot better. So expect to see me either at the London marathon next year or a local race (with not as many hills) next spring all depending on lottery for the London marathon (my company also sponsors this marathon so I might be able to finagle a bib this way).

7. There are gels out there that won’t make you burp… so this is a weird one but true. Same running friend as the run guard mentioned Huma gels since she was doing no processed foods for Lent. They’re chia seed based and taste really great! I love the mango and strawberry flavors and used those for the race. They gave me energy when I needed it the most and kept me from getting sick or having any stomach problems. I recently tried the blueberry flavor at the Peachtree Road Race expo and liked that so I will add that into the rotation.

8. You will not lose weight while marathon training… unless you’re some ridiculously disciplined person. Which let’s be real, I am not! I didn’t gain any weight, I maintained, but I was hungry ALL THE TIME! And when you’re always hungry it’s hard to make good decisions… pass the French fries and cookies please. I also couldn’t handle the focus on running with the focus on eating right, my brain couldn’t process doing both at the same time. Now I’m working on the eating better part.

9. You become superstitious about what you eat, outfits, pretty much anything you deem can effect your running performance. I ate the same thing for every long run (both night before and morning of) and was afraid to buy a different brand because I didn’t want to get sick. But this one was so bland and boring, finally I switched and I didn’t get sick so I rolled with this other brand that actually had flavor! And then I only ate that and even cooked it my hotel room the night before the marathon. I also had favorite pieces of running clothes and for race day picked the outfit I had the best long run in.

10. Everything starts to revolve around running, if it didn’t already. Happy hour after work, sorry I have to go run. Chance to go on a trip? Only if there’s a place for you to get your miles in (I ran 14 miles in Aruba, 5 outside in the heat, 9 on a treadmill, not so fun). Want to go to dinner on a Friday night? Nope sorry I have to eat my special superstitious meal for my Saturday morning long run.

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On the floor of the gym in Aruba after finishing 14 miles

11. You will embrace running in the rain! Unless you live in Vegas where it never rains, you will deal with rain on multiple occasions and have no choice but to run through it. My 18 miler had a 3 mile stretch of running in rain and was probably the fastest and most enjoyable part of that run.

12. You will have a mental break, maybe just one or maybe more. My 18 miler had a lot of tears and a pretty big breakdown around the 12 mile mark. You have to learn how to handle the mental battle. To me that’s the hardest part of a marathon. I struggled with this the most and know I need to work on this for the future.

13. During marathon training is not the best time to get a dog. I got my pup, Matty, the week before marathon training started. I absolutely love him but he completely changed my life and my schedule. I have to either run before work (which he hates) or go after I come home from work and walked him (which he hates). Matty wouldn’t eat if I went in the morning and he would sulk if I went in the evening. This caused a lot of dog mom guilt, which isn’t conducive to getting in all your workouts. He’s slowly getting more adjusted to my workouts and I bribe him with bones and various treats.

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This is Matty telling me he’d prefer if I didn’t leave him

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Snuggle time with Matty

14. Marathon training is not the best time to switch jobs. I was interviewing for a promotion on a different team at my company during peak marathon training. I ended up getting the promotion (yayyyy) but the transition to the new job was the week after the marathon and I had a lot of stuff to wrap up in my previous role before I could transition. This led to a lot of stress that I wouldn’t recommend right around your race.

15. Life doesn’t stop when you’re marathon training. As much as you wish you could pause other things so you can focus on your training, stuff still happens. My dad was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor during peak training (and while interviewing for my new position) and not knowing what that meant or what the treatment would be was hard. The thought of losing my dad was really difficult. Thankfully the tumor was benign and the surgery went well and he is almost fully recovered.

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Holding hands with my dad when was in the ICU post surgery

 

I learned a lot from round 1 of the marathon… Enough to make me want a round 2 sometime next spring. Right now I’m focusing on half marathon #6 and hoping to PR. I’m working with Jesica again and I’m really excited to see what happens with the amount of mileage I’ll be putting in along with the strength training I’ve added. I’ll be working with a personal trainer once a week and taking a Barre3 class each week. I’ll also be dabbling in a little bit of hot yoga too. If you remember a couple years back when Tina was my personal trainer, she’s now a yoga instructor, and I hope to take a few classes with her to help stretch everything out.

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With Jesica at the Braves Country 5k two weeks post marathon (photo courtesy of Jes)

 

I feel good so far and I’m already down a few pounds so hopefully the downward trend continues as the mileage goes up.

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Marathon Training is HARD

The past 4 months I’ve been spending a lot of time running. I’ve run farther than I ever have before and my weekly mileage just keeps going up. On June 1st I will be running my first (and probably only) marathon. I haven’t blogged much during the process because I haven’t been able to put words to the emotions and I’m just so tired all the time (and not sleeping well either).

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Running in Aruba

The last few weeks have been really tough for me. My 3rd pair of shoes (I hate when shoe companies update a shoe) of this training cycle was causing stress on a certain part of my foot which led to perineal tendinitis. I was almost 6 miles into my first 16 miler (and feeling really good) when I suddenly had a sharp pain in my foot. It hurt to even walk on it. I couldn’t run anymore but was over 2 miles from my car. I started limping towards my car (it was Easter Sunday) until a nice woman stopped and offered me a ride. I went to my sports massage therapist (who’s AMAZING) and he helped a lot. He knew what the injury was and recommended a podiatrist to confirm it. I spent the week on the bike and was cleared to run by the podiatrist by the weekend.

I’ve definitely been struggling with the higher mileage. I have been doing most of the runs alone and mentally it’s just tough. I’m not fast so these runs take me 4 hours or more. This past weekend my 18 miler took me 4:40. I had a breakdown at mile 12, called my mom and cried to her about how I couldn’t do this. At that point I was ready to just give up and do the half. But then I started to think about all the time and effort I’ve put into this. And I thought about how I would feel when I told people I gave up on my goal. Then I realized that I only have to be miserable two more times and I’ll be able to say I finished a marathon. I’m definitely not as prepared as I would like, but that’s due to injuries, not any lack of planning. My mileage is lower than I or my coach would like, but my lack of base and injuries have made it hard to add higher mileage without risking other injuries.

Next weekend I’ll be going for 21 miles. I will definitely be looking for a new route because I’ve definitely worn out the river trail the past two weeks.

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After 16 miles

This is just so hard but I want to cross the finish line so badly. And I have to control my emotions and win the mental race to get there. I struggle with the mental aspect EVERY run. The marathon is really where your mind plays a huge role and I just haven’t gotten my mind game right. I have self doubt every run, I know I haven’t been doing this very long and I’ve never really put the time in before. This time I’ve given it everything and I’m just not sure it’s good enough. I’m not a quitter though and I’m going to keep trying. Maybe something will click this weekend, or maybe I’ll be miserable, but I will cross that finish line June 1!

If you’re in Atlanta and want to keep me company for a few (slow) miles let me know! Or if you have a good 21 mile route with water stops give me ideas!

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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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!

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….

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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.

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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….

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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.

2012: The Year of Running

At the end of 2011 I decided to make 2012 the year of running. At that point I had tried couch 2 5k once, but hadn’t really put much effort into it. By the beginning of 2012 I was ready to commit to couch 2 5k and make 2012 the year of running. I knew my end goal was running the Vegas Rock N Roll half Dec 2nd but I wanted to work my way up to it.

I made it through couch 2 5k and finished my first 5k, slow and steady, at 38:04 on St. Patty’s Day with my best friend, Katie.

me and kt after

After my first 5k I had Tina add in some speed work and tried to get faster, my 2nd 5k led to a drop of over 5 1/2 minutes off my previous time with 32:30 time and a Shave Ice Treat.

after race

After that I headed a few weeks later to Disney for Expedition Everest with my mom and cut another 23 seconds off that time and had a BLAST around Disney World.

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That was my last race for a while because at the end of May I decided to move from Las Vegas to Atlanta for a better job opportunity. I was super sad to leave my friends behind, but excited to see what was to come. After getting to Atlanta in the heat and humidity of the summer I only ran twice in a month. After that I really got serious about running and working out. I made sure to fit in all my workouts and really committed myself. Half marathon training was beginning officially in September so my trainer, Tina, wanted me to have my base mileage at 15 miles per week. Throughout the summer I worked on building up to that with two runs during the week and one longer run on the weekend. It’s crazy how “long runs” become the shorter runs as long runs become distances you never imagined running before.

In September I joined Team Challenge to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America while training for my first half marathon. This experience was a difficult one for me and really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I began the not so easy task of half marathon training and surprisingly really enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself to run long distances. Halfway through training right before Halloween I ran my first 10k, Monster Dash, through downtown Atlanta. It was pretty terrible, but I learned a lot from it.

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After Monster Dash it was all smooth sailing. I ran 12 miles a couple times, got scared in the dark and then on Thanksgiving I ran a turkey trot with my mom. I dropped almost 3 minutes off my 5k time to 29:41! I got under 30 minutes and pushed myself pretty hard in that race. My mom still beat me but she’s got a lot more experience than I do.

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After killing it in the Turkey Trot, I struggled through my first half marathon in Vegas. But 2 hours and 45 minutes later I finished it! It was rough but I made it! I also made my $2700 fundraising goal for Team Challenge and couldn’t be happier!

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2012 was a great year of running for me! I dropped over 10% body fat and have changed my life forever. I’ve found a hobby that I love and want to continue doing, that not only makes me happy but keeps me healthy. I’m so thankful for all of the support as I went on this journey and I look forward to continuing this running journey with a lot of big plans for 2013!