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…


Katie and I in our race shirts after the Expo


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


Hanging out at Bally’s with Brandon and crew


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…


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


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.


Feeling good the first half of the race


Still feeling good


Even posed for a pic while running


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


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


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.

Things I learned moving across the country

I’ve been in Atlanta just over two weeks now. I’m finally beginning to get things sorted out. I’m really enjoying my job so far and everyone I work with has been welcoming and friendly.

I’m sure I’ll eventually tell you more about my life in Atlanta, but for now you’ll just have to deal with the things I learned in the 2.5 weeks I had to move myself and my stuff across the country. 

Things I learned:

  • Pods are really EFFING expensive! Seriously they wanted $3,800 and my furniture cost maybe half of that.
  • Uhauls are not nearly as expensive as pods but when you start calculating gas prices you realize, holy shit I’m going to be mad broke.
  • Your co-worker that has a template for everything will have the best ideas to save money and move across the country. He will also make an excel spreadsheet that shows you how much money you will save if you sell all your furniture and ship the stuff that won’t fit in your car.
  • That same co-worker will also remind you of two other previous co-workers who just moved and may be in the need for furniture.
  • It is so much easier to sell your stuff quickly to your friends than to put in on craigslist.
  • You have to learn to let go of stuff. I didn’t want to leave stuff behind, I wanted it all to fit in my car or in the boxes being shipped. I finally just had to kick myself and say stop being an idiot and give it away.
  • It’s amazing how much stuff one person can have in a 850 sq ft apartment. 
  • Giving away a full car load of stuff to goodwill felt GREAT! So did giving all my office furniture away to some random guy in my apartment complex. It was going to the dumpster and instead of me having to help my dad carry it there, that guy carried and got it for free.
  • Shipping via greyhound bus may be the BEST thing EVER! I shipped 550 lbs of suitcases and rubbermaid containers for under $450. I dropped it off on Sunday and it made it to Atlanta by Wednesday. They delivered it to my door (cost me an extra $50 totally worth it!) the next morning. I highly HIGHLY recommend this to anyone moving across the country.
  • I truly have an amazing dad. I already knew this but it needs to be mentioned. My dad took a week of his retired time to fly across the country and help me move. He had no idea what he was getting himself into and I could not have done it without him! 
  • When your dad asks for a scrub brush and you tell him yes I have a magic eraser, he will think you’re being a smart ass and will proceed to make you cry by telling you off. Later he will find the magic eraser and say wtf you have a scrub brush to which you respond yes I told you that, it’s called a magic eraser on the box. Your dad will realize that you were in fact not being a smart ass and it becomes a funny joke you tell.
  • Making a lot of noise while packing up to annoy your obnoxious downstairs neighbor is so fun. And nothing is more satisfying then when the biatch comes upstairs to tell you off and you just look at her and say I’m moving out in an hour, would you like some free paper towels. To which she tells you how blessed she is because she really needed those paper towels. 
  • Giving the little boy dumpster diving in my complex for all the stuff I threw away a brand new calculator and school supplies and seeing the grateful smile and hearing a very sincere thank you very much will melt your heart.
  • You will be thankful you’re moving out of your all the sudden not so nice complex after seeing a meth head dumpster diving as well.
  • Pick a book on tape for your 3 day drive across the country with your dad that does not have a sex scene. Who would have thought a mystery novel would start with a sex scene?? Seriously I was mortified and my dad just thought it was funny.
  • Having a cousin who lets you crash in their extra bedroom for the first month you’re in town while you look for your own place is AWESOME and said cousin is AWESOME! It’s even better when your cousin’s husband likes to cook and makes you delicious meals.
  • Saying good bye to friends is the hardest part of moving. I really suck at good byes and honestly just try to avoid it so I don’t have to deal with the emotions. 
  • You will start crying at random times, like when you’re saying good bye and thanking your mechanic of 3 years. Seriously I got teary eyed at the mechanic’s but not when saying good bye to friends. I was quite the emotional roller coaster.

I honestly had a pretty smooth moving process for having no time to prepare. I also spent as much time as I could with friends before I left which led to a lot of last minute packing and cleaning. I wish I had more time to say good bye in Vegas, but I’ll be back in December for my first half marathon!


Food Truck Friday Featuring Ben’s BBQ

During my parents visit to Vegas there was a food truck event going on at the Nevada Cancer Institute called the Food Truck Roundup. Four food trucks were there and a percentage of their sales went to the NVCI. The event is put on by own of my favorite Food Trucks, Ben’s BBQ. I haven’t had a chance to feature them yet, since my work schedule over the summer never matched up with their schedule. Luckily I was able to bring my parents to try out my fav BBQ in Vegas!

Ben’s BBQ is newer to the food truck world in Vegas but they make amazing bbq! Since living in the south I really love bbq and hadn’t found any I was totally in love with until I tried Ben’s for the first time. But I won’t just tell you how good it is, I’ll show you!

Ben’s Menu for the day

My Dad and I ordering, they had a nice crowd, which I always love seeing!

My dad got the pulled pork sandwich (so did I) and the smothered greens. My dad grew up eating greens so he knows his stuff and he really really liked these! We both really enjoyed their pulled pork sandwiches. The meat was really good and the hoagie roll was soft and perfect for the sandwich. They offer two BBQ sauces, we tried their milder one (hot doesn’t really go well for my family) and it was perfect!

My mom got the BBQ chicken sandwich (my mom is the healthy one in the family, she’s doing a sprint triathlon tomorrow) and the bleu cheese coleslaw. She ate all of it and loved it!

I think I could live off of mac n cheese, it’s one of my favorite things, and Ben’s mac n cheese with smoked bacon is AMAZING! Bacon is also one of my fav things so the combo of the two was great. I was pretty stuffed from my sandwich so my dad and I shared the mac n cheese.

After that filling meal, we had to try to dessert and Sno Ono Shave Ice just happened to be parked nearby as well.

Always up for some shave ice!

My dad really enjoyed his! And while not pictured, my mom thoroughly enjoyed hers as well!

My parents really loved their first food truck experience! Please check out Ben’s BBQ if you see them around town! The owners are the nicest people and their food is AMAZING! You can check out their website, twitter and facebook for more info and where they’ll be!

Also if you’re going to be in Vegas tomorrow night, you should check out the Saturday Night Truck Stop, 5 food trucks in one place from 10 pm – 4 am! It’s at Tommy Rockers off of Flamingo across from the Rio.