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.

CRR 10k

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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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….

MeMomBefore

Love my Nuun tat and Team Sparkle Skirt

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Heading to the start

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

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

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

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

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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!

Beforerace

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

Donation

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…

racebreakfast

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.

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

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

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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!

Rebounding

So the last couple weeks were pretty bad workout wise. I really just had bad runs the entire time. It was killing my confidence. Since I joined Team Challenge I really haven’t been as concerned with the running. I know I’ll be able to do it and instead my stress/anxiety was focused on raising money. This mental lapse totally effected my training. I wasn’t concerned with fueling my body properly, I just ate whatever and didn’t think about how it would effect my runs the next day.

After my business trip last week I really needed to get back into my routine, but it wasn’t that simple I had shifted my weekly chiropractor appt to Monday night and had a massage scheduled for Tuesday night. This definitely threw off my ideal running schedule of Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with cross training strength workouts on Wednesday and Sunday. Not to mention my BFF, Katie was coming into town on Wednesday evening with her husband, Phil (also my good friend from college) and I planned to spend all day Thursday with them.

Since I knew my routine wasn’t going to happen I made a plan of attack. I had a personal training session on Wednesday, then planned on running Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to get my 5 mile run in on Thursday, but I kind of overslept, so I just did my 4 mile run. I had a great day with Katie and Phil so my semi decent run didn’t bother me too much.

Saturday was long run day, I had 8 miles on the plan. Since last week didn’t go so well, Tina suggested I only do 7, but I’m trying really hard to get all the long runs in no matter how difficult they are. On Friday I ate well all day and made sure to have a good dinner of shrimp and pasta. I woke up on Saturday morning a little late and wasn’t able to get ready in time to join my running group. I needed this run to go well and I was determined for it to go well. I went to my favorite flat running trail. The weather was beautiful and I beat the crowd and didn’t have to wait for a parking spot. I knew the 8 miles was going to be tough and I brought a GU to try for the first time. I started out slow, which is hard for me, I usually just take off and go fast (for me). My legs felt good and I just had a great run. I took the GU at mile 4, which tasted absolutely DISGUSTING (no more lemon lime flavor for me), but I definitely felt a boost from it. I decided to pick up the pace for the last few miles and negative split the rest of the miles, with the last mile being my fastest. I couldn’t have asked for a better confidence booster. This run came when I needed it the most and I was so proud of myself when I finished. I really wanted to high 5 someone at the end of my run but since I was solo I decided not scare the other people on the running trail with random high 5s. Luckily when I went to Katie’s house later to watch football and just hang out with her and her family, she gave me a high 5.

I wore my compression sleeves under my jeans to katie’s house to get my legs recovered for my Sunday 5 miler. The 5 miler was supposed to be a pace run, with 1 mile warm up and cool down and 3 miles at race pace. I went into thinking it would be whatever my legs decided it was going to be the day after a 8 miler. Well my legs were feeling good Sunday too and I actually went faster than race pace on all 5 miles. I don’t know what happened this weekend but I hope it happens on race day! I ran 13 miles this weekend and I feel great. I’m just proud of myself for rebounding from my rough travel week and bad runs.

I also have some great great GREAT fundraising news! I’m up to $1130 and 42% of my goal. I still have a long way to go so if you would like to donate go HERE!

Man I love Honey Boo Boo animated gifs!

I Need Your Help!

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve signed up for a half marathon, and actually I’ve signed up for two. Not really sure how smart it was to sign up for my 2nd half before training really began for my first, but I’ve always acted on impulse.

After my 3rd 5k, Expedition Everest.

Speaking of impulses, I also joined Team Challenge, which raises money for research and awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis. Team Challenge Georgia happens to be heading to the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon on Dec 2nd, which is the half marathon I already signed up for. Since I’d already made the decision to run the half marathon (plus I’ve already paid for my plane ticket, race entry and hotel room deposit, which is what Team Challenge covers in expenses for you) it just seemed like a good idea to join Team Challenge.

Learn more about CCFA here

To be honest I wasn’t that familiar with Crohn’s or Colitis at first. I agreed to go to an info session for Team Challenge and had the mindset that if I had to raise more than $1000 then I wasn’t going to do it. When I saw the number was $2,700 I almost peed my pants, but then I started listening to the stories of people with the disease and talking with the coaches and mentors of the group. After that I just couldn’t say no and I wanted to help in any way I could to find a cure for this disease. I’m really not going to go into the details of Crohn’s or Colitis, but they are autoimmune irritable bowel diseases. Most people who have this disease are embarrassed to discuss the details because of the nature of the symptoms. After signing up for Team Challenge I found out that I have a family member with the disease.

So I’ve signed up for the task to raise $2,700 for Crohn’s and Colitis and I need your help to make this possible! A donation of any amount would help and I would greatly appreciate anything you can do to help! If your not able to financially support, I would love any moral support you can give me during my training and race.

You can donate online by clicking here. If you’d rather mail me check please send me an email or facebook message and I’ll get you my address. All donations are tax deductible and 82 cents of every dollar raised goes straight to the cause. It’s even more with donations to me since I’ve already paid my expenses and while I’ll be reimbursed, I’m donating all that money back into the cause.

I’m also trying to come up with fundraising ideas, so if you have any good ideas please let me know! I’m already planning to sell a YSL purse on ebay to donate all the proceeds. I may even sell some of my red velvet white chocolate chip cookies too.

Please help if you can! And look forward to updates about my training!

First 5k Recap

After 3 months of running, it was time for my first 5k. I signed up for the race a couple months ago and somehow convinced my bff, Katie, to join me, even though she hasn’t done much running since her marathon in December. I wanted to pick a fun race and give myself enough time to be ready for it. What’s more fun than a St. Patty’s Day race through the old railroad tunnels by the Hoover Dam?

Initially I had the goal of running the 5k in under 30 minutes, then once I really started I running I realized that there was no chance in hell I was going to be capable of that. The former athlete in me definitely didn’t like that, I like to be good at things. I’m usually not the best athlete, but I’m always decent. About 4 weeks ago I had to get over my ego and just be proud of myself for keeping up with running and not giving up. I kept working at getting faster, but I knew I wasn’t going to be where I thought I would be.

A week before the race I came down with a sore throat and cough. By Tuesday afternoon I pretty much lost my voice, and even now I don’t have my voice fully back. I wasn’t at 100% for the race, but I knew my goal was to just finish the race without walking. Last Sunday I managed to run 3.1 miles, it took me over 40 minutes, but that gave me the confidence that at least I could make the distance.

Friday night came around and Katie and I packed up our running gear and headed down to the classy hotel by the Hoover Dam, the Hacienda. The Hacienda definitely has character, but I’m glad we didn’t spend much time there. After a night of not so great sleep since I couldn’t stop coughing, it was race morning.

I was definitely nervous, which really isn’t surprising, and could barely get down my pre race meal of a luna bar. I managed to eat half, take some cold medicine, and drink a lil bit of caffeine and smart water. Katie and I put on our best green running gear and made the trek from the hotel to the race start (only about 700 yards).

The view on the walk down to the course

We watched the half marathon start, got warmed up and took some pictures…

Apparently I can’t keep my eyes open

But Katie can 🙂

There was a big crowd of people for the 5k and the race trail was narrow for that amount of people. Katie and I went kind of towards the middle/front. My garmin of course didn’t load in time, but it did just in time for when the crowd thinned enough to where I could start running. Katie and I said bye at this point, since she was going to finish at least 10 minutes ahead of me. I turned on my tunes, found a good pace, around 12:30 a mile, and kept going. For the first mile I was weaving in and out of people that were walking, but that thinned out around the water stop at the first tunnel. I hadn’t trained with water and my coughing miraculously wasn’t bothering me, so I kept going. I was really feeling strong and knew I was going to make it the whole way without walking. The tunnels were interesting. They were really dark and the ground was uneven. I had a couple of oh crap I may fall moments, but made it through without falling or breaking my ankle. After the turn around I was still feeling great, I made it through the two tunnels and was actually enjoying myself. I started to notice two different women, who I would pass while they were walking, and as soon as I got to them they would start running again. They pretty much did this for the rest of the race. It was pretty annoying, but I tried not to pay too much attention to it. As I was getting closer to the end I knew I was going to start sprinting at a certain point. After finishing 11 min ahead of me, Katie came back up the course to cheer me on, it was nice to have a familiar face there. Once past her I decided to sprint the rest of the way, I passed the annoying run/walkers and made my way to the finish line. They had someone announcing your name as you finished, which I thought was pretty cool. I grabbed my medal, a bottle of water and went to cough my lungs out after the sprinting. As I was making my way towards the finish, I was kind of getting emotional. I had worked so hard for the past three months and I was finishing something I never would of imagined doing 4 months ago. I thought I may cry after finishing, but I kept my emotions in check, caught my breath and took some pictures of course!

My Race Medal

After I finished (and stopped coughing)

Katie Post Race

BFFs

Katie’s Post Race Outfit with our lovely hotel room in the background

After rehydrating a little bit, we packed up our stuff and left the lovely Hacienda Hotel and Casino. We decided to stop for breakfast and ended up at Crepe Expectations in Henderson. It was delicious and I want to go back to try one of their sweet crepes.

Ham, egg and swiss crepe

My first 5k was a success. There were definitely bumps along the way, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and I can’t wait to run another one. Thanks to all of you who texted, tweeted and facebook liked/commented! I really appreciate all your support!

Weekly Workout Recap

I’ve expanded beyond the one day a week strength training and three days a week running. I’m keeping the running the same and upping my strength training workouts to three times a week. Like I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve enlisted Tina’s help for online personal training. She has devised a personalized workout that incorporates the couch to 5k workouts I’ve already started and complimented that with a day of upper body supersets, a day of lower body + core supersets and a day of full body supersets.

This first week has been interesting for me to say the least. I enjoy the challenge of her workouts, I’m doing exercises I’ve never done before (or was too afraid to try) and for the most part getting through them. I definitely struggled with the bench push ups and the V-ups. I thought I almost threw my back out on my first V-up and decided it probably wasn’t a good idea if I kept doing them. Good thing is Tina is only an email away to answer questions, give support or help with modifications. I’ve been working with a trainer at the gym, but only once a month. It really hasn’t been enough to help me figure out a plan with variety. We’ve moved up machine wise but I still don’t have a lot of different exercises. Tina’s plan gives me the variety I need and she knows what she’s doing. I trust her way more than I trust myself to figure out what to do. Tina’s also really reasonably priced, her training is less a month than my gym membership.

I’ve become the crazy girl at the gym that is randomly doing plyometric exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers and jumping in place mixed into full body exercises and I LOVE it! I’ve also found the ideal time on Saturday mornings to not have to fight for equipment with all the new years resolutioners, 8 am. Now most people would probably think I’m crazy for getting up and going to the gym that early, but Friday nights are usually my chill night at home, so it makes it much easier to be at the gym early. I’m also really really sore from yesterday’s full body superset workout, I’m blaming it on the incline chest fly to press.

My runs this week definitely got much harder. The first two were manageable but the 3rd was 20 minutes, no walking. The previous long run was 8 minutes, so upping that by 12 minutes was definitely scary. I also did that 20 minute run at 6:45 am, my first run before work. It was hard, but like usual I took it slow and made it without having to stop to walk. I always feel so good about myself after that. This week is the last week of intervals and leads up to a 25 min run without walking. That should be an interesting one, but I’ll approach it the same way and I’m sure I’ll get through it.