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!

White House

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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…

MeMomBalcony

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!

I did it!

Well I’m officially a half-marathoner, it was a crazy 11 months of blood, sweat, tears and blisters. I definitely needed time to fully digest my thoughts after the race. Let’s just say the race didn’t go as planned, at all. For the 3 days after the race I was definitely throwing a pity party for 1 and really wouldn’t listen otherwise to what anyone said. But let’s go back to the beginning…

My first half marathon was the Rock N Roll Vegas Strip at Night. The race was on Sunday night and I decided to head to Vegas Thursday morning to get adjusted to the time zone and have quality time with some of my favorite people. Vegas really has a special place in my heart and was the perfect location for a racecation for me. I was able to get the employee rate at The Palazzo and had an unbelievable suite (which is just their regular room and I’m a hotel snob after working 5 years with Ritz-Carlton). I had a great trip and here are some of the non race pics…

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Katie and I in our race shirts after the Expo

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The last $88 I needed to exceed my fundraising goal of $2,700!!

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Hanging out at Bally’s with Brandon and crew

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Spent Saturday with this lil cutie, Madeline.

Okay I guess I will finally tell you about the race. I’ve really been putting this off. I actually would barely talk about the race the first couple days, mainly because I just wanted to cry at the thought of reliving it and I was just so disappointed.

Race started out with a breakfast I knew would work for me…

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a waffle and almond butter, just like I had for my 12 miler. I couldn’t sit still in my hotel room and the race wasn’t until 4:30 pm. I decided to head to one of the outlet malls to go to a couple stores and just get out of my room before I went stir crazy. After an hour at the outlet mall I grabbed a sub at subway (another pre-tested meal) and headed back to my hotel room. I had just the right amount of time to eat, get ready and not be stressed out. I laid out my race outfit when I got to Vegas so everything was ready to go. I got dressed and snapped a self pic…

selfpicbeforeraceA gear post will be coming soon!

Then I headed to meet up with Carmen and the rest of my Team Challenge teammates. We took a pic…

MeCarmenCarmen and I before the race. I couldn’t have made it through this without her!

Then headed off to the start line. Team Challenge arranged transportation for us to the start and luckily my teammate Rachel has run a few halves before was giving me tips and helping ease my nerves as we headed to the start. The busing was so helpful and we were dropped off right at the start. We headed to the Team Challenge area to check our bags, Carmen and I hit the porta potty one last time, and it was time to warm up. Our coaches Joe and Max lead us in a bunch of exercises and then it was off to the corrals. Luckily 4 of my teammates were in my corral and best of all my BFF, Katie was waiting for me there since my cell service wasn’t working with 20,000 people in one place.

BeforeraceBefore the race

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Katie and I before the race. I miss her so much already, but don’t worry we’re already planning our next race together!

And then she was off to one of the earlier corrals since she’s quite a bit faster than me. As the race started, they were doing around 1.5 minute wave start between the corrals. So I didn’t start for a while, during this time the wind really started picking up and I had lost all the energy I had earlier in the day. Night races are just so different. It was finally time for my corral to go, I started my playlist (which was in shuffle mode) and Clique (Jay Z/Kanye rap song) came on. It was exactly what I needed to get my energy back up, then we were off.

The first mile was into the wind and I had to weave to get through people, I probably did the first mile in 11 min miles (my goal was to do 11:27 miles). Since this part was going south on the strip away from the hotels there weren’t buildings to block the wind and it was whipping. I never thought I would get to the Welcome to Vegas sign so we could turn around and have the wind at our back. It was probably only that first mile but it felt like 10. The wind was blowing pretty hard and gusting a lot at my back and literally pushing me forward. At one point it picked up one of my legs and slammed it into the other. I was going fast for me at this point and ran the next two or three miles at 10:30 pace. This is where I made the mistake of going too fast too early. I felt good at the time, but by the time I was at mile 7 I was not feeling great. My calves were tight and my left ankle just hurt. It was my left ankle that hit my right leg so I think that may have been part of it. I slowed down a little bit at this point, I even cheered for a friend that was finishing under 1:30 that I saw go by the other way (by cheer I mean yelled his name as I kept running). It was pretty cool to be on the strip. I think I was so focused on surviving that I didn’t look up and enjoy the sites as much as I would have liked.

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Feeling good the first half of the race

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Still feeling good

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Even posed for a pic while running

Beginning

And this is where it all goes downhill

Once we got into the ugly area of Vegas between the strip and old Vegas I was over it all. I wasn’t sure how much longer I was going to be able to run or if I was even going to finish the race. Miles 8-10 were going through old Vegas and random neighborhoods that were not in a nice area of town. At mile 10 I was over it and in so much pain. I finally gave into walking around mile 10, at this point I was mentally just DONE. I started texting my mom telling her I wasn’t going to finish and that I was dying. My poor mother was 3 hours ahead and staying up to see how I did. She sent me encouraging texts to help keep me going. Around this time I got a text that Katie was finished. I started texting her that I didn’t know if I’d make it to the finish and that I might have to go to the medical tent. I was fully in drama queen mode. Although for a while I really thought I was going to end up in the medical tent. I ended up doing a little running and walking as much as I could. At mile 11.5 I decided I wanted to run the rest of the way. I made it half a mile before I had the most debilitating cramps I’ve ever had right above my knee. I’ve never had a pain there before and it was extremely painful. I kept walking, but I must have looked really pathetic because two people running came over and asked if I was okay. I thanked them and told them to keep running their race, that I would be okay. At mile 12.5 I was determined to run the rest of the race without stopping. I put my head down and just kept going. My legs started cramping but I pushed through it and made it across the finish line.

walking

Walking and crying, yes there were tears and no they were not happy ones

barelymoving

I think hot is the only word that comes to mind when I see this pic. Also my legs could barely move.

eyesclosedfinish

And how do I not share this gem? Eyes closed and totally EXHAUSTED

My time was 2:45:19. I was severely disappointed. And it’s not about the time, it’s about the walking. If I had run the whole race I would have been ecstatic and proud, but the walking really just bothered me. It took me three days of just being bummed before I could even be happy about the race. But after some prodding by the most important people in my life I realized that I’m not being fair to everyone who supported me in this race, donated to my fundraiser, and listened to me talk about running for months. I needed to be proud of my accomplishment and learn from it. So I am, I’m a proud half-marathoner who raised $2,700.37 for a great cause, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Never in my life would I think I would be able to raise that much money for something.  And that’s something to be proud of. I’m looking forward to the my next race and applying what I learned from the first one. When I started this blog I wasn’t even working out, a year ago I hadn’t started running. Now I’m a half-marathoner with my next race less than 6 weeks away. So much changes in a year.

My next race is going to be a fun one with my mom. I can’t wait to run my 2nd half marathon while my mom runs her 4th, while my Dad cheers us on. Running has given me something else to share with my mom and I couldn’t be happier about that! So after a week and a half of minimal running it’s time to get back on my running game. I even have a running date with my Team Challenge buddy Carmen on Saturday!

Thanks for the race photos marathonfoto.com! If only you had reasonable prices so I could purchase them instead of $40 for one pic or $70 for all of them.

Peak Weeks

So I’ve been slacking on the blog writing the past few weeks. I’ve been busy with work, training and socializing and honestly just not felt like putting all my thoughts into words on the screen. I have a really awesome post with some fun gear I received but it’s just not ready yet, hopefully tomorrow night I’ll get that one up.

After running the monster dash I definitely wasn’t feeling great but it was time to get back out there and start running 20+ miles in a week. My long run was set for 12 miles. I knew this was going to be the big one for me. It was the also the last training session with Team Challenge that I was going to be able to make before the race. The group was meeting at Stone Mountain to run the 5 miles around the base. Honestly that run SUCKS, it’s super hilly and I just wasn’t ready to face hills for 12 miles. Luckily there is a flat trail that starts at Stone Mountain heading east back to Atlanta. My trusty running partner Carmen was all about running on a flat trail so she agreed to go that route with me. She was only doing 8 miles, so we ran 4 miles out and then back. Carmen and I run a similar pace and usually fall into a groove while running. Our coach Max went along with us on his bike, keeping us company and cheering us on. The 8 miles with Carmen went well, when we said bye at mile 8 and I turned around for two out and two back I knew this is when it was going to get tough. Around mile 10 I hit a wall, pretty hard. I was running low on fluids, it had gotten pretty hot. I stripped off the arm warmers I was wearing and instantly started to feel better. I put my head down and just kept pushing through. The worst part about the trail I was running on was I had to stop a couple times for red lights to cross streets. I’m fine if I can keep running but the whole stopping thing really throws me off. I was toast by the time I hit 12 miles, it took me around 2:35 with the stopping at the red lights.

The next week of training was supposed to be a recovery week, so the runs were a little bit shorter this time, my long run was only 8 miles. I had plans to head to South Carolina for homecoming weekend to watch a lil Gamecock football and hang out with my best friends. This meant the long run had to happen on Friday, I took the day off from work and just had to go in for a lunch so I did got up and headed to my favorite trail along the Chattahoochie river. Brought a new Gu to try out that had 2x the caffeine (I usually use the caffeine free Gu) since I was running in the morning and wanted to see if the caffeine would have any effect on my running. The first 4 miles went well, I took the Gu at my turnaround point and wow did I feel the caffeine. I just kind of took off. I ran around 11:20, 10:40, 10:20 and 10:04 for the last four miles. Now this is FAST for me, like really fast. I usually do long runs around 12 min miles sometimes 11:45 if I’m having a good day. I felt really great this entire time and pushed myself at the end. I know I’m not the fastest runner but times like that just make me so happy. I really like the 8 mile distance I think it’s actually my favorite. After this run was complete I was ready to enjoy my weekend and you can see the highlights below…

Brittaney, Austin and I at Flying Saucer

KT and I before the Gamecock vs. Arkansas game

My favorite place in the Fall – Williams Brice Stadium

The USC Smokestack – Head towards that to find the beautiful Horseshoe

After my fun weekend was over it was time to get back on the running grind. It was my peak week of training and 23 miles were on the schedule. My 6 mile tempo run went great I felt good and ran faster on the treadmill than I ever had before. My 5 mile easy run did not go so well. I decided it would be a good decision to eat a big piece of cake around 3 pm and then run around 6. Needless to say I almost vomited and had to take this run at a slow pace.

For my last long run of training for this half marathon I wanted to simulate race day as much as I could. Since my half marathon starts at 4:30 I wanted to see how I would feel with a set meal that I could have when I’m in Vegas. I stayed out a little late on Friday night but didn’t drink. I still woke up with a headache even after sleeping in til 8:30. I was just not feeling good most of this day, but I didn’t want to put off the run because if I have a headache on race day I won’t have a choice but to struggle through it. I picked a new trail for this run after hearing good things about the Silver Comet Trail that is over 30 miles that stretches from a Suburb of Atlanta to Alabama. I started a little after 4 and was planning on 6 miles out and 6 miles back. One thing I didn’t factor in was how effing dark it would get and that there were no lights on the trail. I made it 9.5 miles before it was pitch black. The run was going great, my legs felt awesome and the Gu’s I had taken were making a difference. The temperature was just right. Really no complaints, but as it got darker and darker, my fear of getting killed like an episode of Criminal Minds was becoming more and more real. I took my headphones out and decided I needed to be on the phone with someone the rest of the my run. No one knew where I was and I was alone in an area I didn’t know. I called my mom and made sure she knew exactly where I was and made her stay on the phone with me as I ran 2.5 miles to my car. This entire run I was going pretty fast. I kept every mile under 12 min, and I think was under 11:45 min miles most of the time. The last few miles I started flying. Fear is a great motivator and I pushed it. Fortunately my mom is a saint and kept me entertained as I ran the last few miles. I made it 12 miles in 2:19:26, cutting 15 min off my time 2 weeks prior. I’ll take it!

I know what you’re thinking, wow Amy you’re a total idiot for running in the dark, alone on a trail I didn’t know. Honestly I’m thinking that too. That was a terrible call on my part and I will never do that again. I just assumed there would be lights on the trail and I just went for it. Scary enough I was talking to a friend about it the next day and she told me she heard there has been a woman who was raped and killed on the trail a year or so ago so I’m glad I made it out safely and will stick to the trail in the day light hours only.

Overall the last 3 weeks of training have been great. There have been some ups and downs but I’m feeling ready for the half marathon. I’m also only $217.63 away from my fundraising goal for Team Challenge. If you would like to help me reach my goal please donate here.

The next two weeks leading up to the half will be like a recovery week. I’m turkey trotting with my mom on Thursday and I’m hoping to blow my 5k PR of 32:07 out of the water, at least by 2 minutes. Here’s to a great week with my family before I head out to Vegas to take down the Rock N Roll Half Marathon!

Monster Dash Recap

This week of running was supposed to be a recovery week, instead it was a rude awakening of how not every race is going to be a good one. My first run of the week went really well, it was a 6 mile pace run. I did it on the treadmill and felt great. Maybe I should have taken it easy to rest up, but that was Tuesday and my race was on Saturday. Plus I’ve been upping the mileage and felt okay in my long runs so I wasn’t too concerned.

Wednesday night I headed to the gym to meet with my personal trainer. I told him I wanted to try some crossfit type workouts with heavier lifting. I don’t know if you have seen girls who are legit at crossfit, but their bodies are amazing and I want to be them. To me it’s not a bulky look, but a i can totally kick your ass and  you can wash your clothes on my abs look (i would totally have to change my diet to get abs like that).  So my trainer, being the big muscley (yes i made that word up) dude that he is was all for it. And he totally made me pay for asking for this. We did clean squats, which took me a while to figure out, with the bar (45lbs). I’m such a little wimp but I’m working on it. Then we did tricep dips and pull ups and repeated everything with less reps each time (but added weight, except the cleans, each set).  After finishing that I thought I might die, so then we did rows, dead lifts and pushups. Ouch, ouch, ouchhhhhh. Let’s just say I was walking funny for a few days.

I skipped my typical Thursday run to have fresh legs for the race on Saturday. I kind of wish I just did a shorter distance to shake my legs out and help the recovery process from the weight training the day before.

The Monster Dash was at 8 am at the Georgia World Congress Center, right near the Georgia Dome. It’s not the easiest place to get to by car and the parking is at least $10. To make the process easier I met with Carmen and Jen from my Team Challenge group at the nearest MARTA station (Atlanta’s version of a subway) bright and early on Saturday morning. I was actually on time for the first time in my life (okay maybe not the first time, but it’s rare). We made it down to the race area and I made Carmen take a pre-race photo for me…

Check out that Team Sparkle Skirt and ProCompression Socks!

I wanted to test out my Team Sparkle skirt to see if I liked it and could wear it for the half marathon. It definitely rode up but I think if I can pin it to whatever I wear underneath I’ll be all set for the race.

The race itself so did not go as planned. I was shooting for a time of 1:06 since that’s how quickly I’ve done 6 miles before. I guess I didn’t realize how bad the hills were going to be. So that time was actually a goal time I had said out loud to other people, in reality I wanted to be under an hour. I decided I was going to start out fast and try to reach that goal. Well starting out fast totally messed me up. I went out with 9 min mile pace for the first 1.5 miles, then the hills started and let’s just say that pace started to quickly decline and decline and decline. I struggled to the 3 mile mark and was mentally battling with myself to not walk, I wanted to just stay slow and steady, but I turned a corner, the wind picked up and was blowing in my face and there was a nice hill. I just cursed loudly and started walking. I tried to keep the walking to short time spans but once I start walking it just gets worse and worse. I continued this run walk thing until mile 5, around this time Carmen caught up to me. Seeing her gave me a burst of energy and I decided to keep running with her for the rest of the race. We hit the 6 mile mark and Carmen wanted to stop, but I pointed at the finish line and yelled 0.2, you totally have this! I think it was more for me then her but it kept her going and we made our way to the finish.

Carmen and I after the race

I really really really was disappointed in myself, but I didn’t want that to show to other people and put a damper on their accomplishments. I finished in 1:13:46. Not what I wanted but I finished it. I didn’t really want to admit my time to people afterwards, but sometimes you just have to realize that you have to take pride in what you do. Maybe it wasn’t the time I wanted, but I ran my first 10k and while I did walk some, at least I finished strong. And I know I can improve on that time and be smarter in how I start races. Let’s call it a learning experience and move on to the next.

After the race, I survived!

Since I skipped my Thursday run to have fresh legs for the race, I still had 5 miles to get done on Sunday. I hopped on the treadmill, put on some TV and set the treadmill at an easy pace. It very quickly was clear that my legs were tired and this was going to be a mental struggle. I decided to use this as mental training for the race. I knew this is how I’m going to feel during the half marathon and I need to be prepared. So I just made myself keep going, no stopping. THIS REALLY SUCKED, like REALLY REALLY SUCKED. I’m glad I pushed through the mental struggle and got it done.

Next Up: 12 miles (and I’m totally posting this two weeks late).

I forgot how it felt

I’ve been having trouble sleeping, I’m not sure if it’s just that I can’t shut my mind off or I’ve been running too much at night. Monday night/Tuesday morning I woke up at 4 am. I tried to fall back asleep but by 6 am I just knew it wasn’t happening. Since I had a run planned for that night, I decided to get it done in the morning. I seriously haven’t been able to do that since I moved to Atlanta four months ago (seriously it’s been four months alreasy!). I’m so not a morning person, but getting the runs done before work are so worth it. I’m trying to make myself become a morning person again and to get all my runs done in the morning now. It just frees up more time to sit on my couch and watch tv in the evenings now 🙂

That early morning run went well and helped me stay awake at work after getting five hours of sleep. I wish it helped me sleep better and maybe it did a little bit but not much. I decided my Thursday run was also going to be a morning run. I got up and got it done. It felt so good to be free that night and not have anything to do after work but sit in my la z boy recliner and watch TV. I know you were all starting to worry about my lazy girl status with all this running, but don’t you worry, I’m still sitting on my butt when I’m not running or lifting weights.

My long run this week was 11 miles. My running group was doing 9 miles at my favorite trail. They meet on the other side of the trail that is 1.5 miles away, so I parked on the side I normally parked on and ran to the other side. I met up with them and did another 9.5 miles. It was FREEZING (okay in the high 40s) at the start of the run. When I met up with them I was literally steaming, like had a circle of steam surrounding me. I really didn’t plan out my outfit for the weather. I wore shorts, knee high compression socks, a t shirt and arm warmers. I really needed gloves for the first couple miles, I legit was shaking my hands and rubbing them together because they were going numb. But after the first few miles I was good to go and had just the right amount of clothing on.

Those 11 miles were tough. I started having some aches, cramps and pains, but I just pushed through them to finish it. I knew my legs weren’t going to quit, it’s just keeping my head in the game. Afterwards I looked really cute…

Yep I’m hot, just admit it

Austin = Training + Traveling Success

Last week I headed to Austin for a business trip and a little bit of fun. As it gets closer to the half marathon date my weekly mileage is creeping upwards and the long runs are of course getting longer. I was gone Thursday to Sunday and I usually do two runs and one weight lifting session during those days. After my last trip I knew I needed to be smarter with my planning and make sure I get the workouts in.

I left for Austin in the morning and arrived mid day. This was waiting for me…

Totally felt like a baller. My own DRIVER! It’s like I’m a real grown up with a big girl job (I guess it’s time to admit I’m 27 and not 21 anymore).  I made one mistake on the flight. I really should have eaten a snack or lunch. By the time we got to the hotel and put our stuff away I was HANGRY (aka as hungry angry). Whenever I don’t eat quick enough a migraine starts to form. I definitely didn’t feel great. After lunch I did a little bit of work and then went down to the hotel gym to get in a run. My head was pounding at this point but I wanted to get a run in. I had 5 miles planned and ended up doing 3. I’m glad I just did something, it didn’t fix my migraine of course but I got it done.

We had an awesome dinner that night at La Condesa. It was high end tex mex. I really should have taken pictures but that just wasn’t happening. I also started to feel better about midway through the cocktail reception. I met some cool people on this trip. It was nice to get to know more people on the client side of the industry. It wasn’t like other conferences where you’re getting sales pitches the whole time.

The conference started the next morning at 8:15 am, luckily we were an hour behind Atlanta time so it was just like going to work 🙂 The conference was great and only went until 2:30 pm. After that we got our wristbands for Austin City Limits. After doing a little work on my laptop, I went back down to the hotel gym to get in a strength workout. Then it was time to shower and get ready for Austin City Limits. The line up that night included Florence + the machine, which was the main act I wanted to see. Florence was AMAZING. ACL was crazyyyyy. So many people just all over the place. The food was awesome. I was able to try Stubb’s BBQ and good pops (OMG watermelon and agave Popsicle).

 

Me in front of a sea of people

Hi Florence!

Since we spent the evening on our feet, I decided to do my long run on Sunday. On Saturday we spent the day sightseeing in Austin. We checked out the UT campus and the art museum. Then did a little shopping. I may have some real Texas cowboy boots now.  Saturday night we hung out at the Roaring Fork in our hotel to watch the Carolina game. Unfortunately the Gamecocks just couldn’t beat LSU. Needless to say I was a little depressed. I went off to bed as soon as the game was over.

I planned to run down to the “lake” (which is really a river and totally confusing if you don’t ask people) and run around there for 10 miles. I woke up to lightening and thunder so I decided to head down to the treadmill. Thank goodness for TV. I watched two episodes of say yes to the dress and the first hour of Shawshank Redemption. The treadmill is so boring but the TV makes it bearable. I felt pretty ridiculous taking GU’s on the treadmill but I needed them and felt great during my 10 miles. But I didn’t look so great after…

I was glad it when it was over! After two hours on the treadmill I had to pack up my stuff and shower. My Uncle and Aunt were picking me to show me around Austin. We had a great authentic tex mex lunch at Guero’s and then they showed me the highlights of Austin that I didn’t see yet.

 

After a fun day, they dropped me at the airport, where I found out my flight was delayed for over an hour. Guess that just meant I had time for one last Texas BBQ meal, so I headed to Salt Lick in the airport and had my last pulled pork sandwich of the trip.

I had a great time in Austin and got in all my workouts. I didn’t let migraines or weather get in the way and I got it all done. It’s just crazy how much working out and running has become my lifestyle. I really just had to learn to make it a priority instead of something I could do or not.