Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kentucky Derby Half Marathon Recap

Linking up for Tuesdays on the Run!!

I have no idea where to even start with this race. I went into it not expecting much. I mean, I knew it would be a fun race but I had no expectations of PR-ing after running way too many miles last week.  

Spoiler alert: It was by far one of the BEST runs of my entire life. 

So, let's start from the beginning. 

I feel like I did everything you're NOT supposed to do before a big race. I played it light on the carbs leading up to the race, I bought brand new compression socks that I've never worn before at the race expo, I taped up my achilles tendon the night before (never done that before), I only got 4 hours of sleep--it was one of those "do as I say, not as a I do" kind of races.

But oddly enough, it all worked in my favor. 

I arrived in Louisville Friday night to major, MAJOR traffic. Derby activities + rush hour + construction = not fun. It took me about an hour to go 5 miles but I eventually made it to Chili's to have dinner with my family. I went with the soup and salad combo and maybe snuck a nacho and fried pickle or two. Carb loading, duh! ;) Packet pick-up was downtown and lasted until 9pm so we waited a bit and then headed down. We ended up getting there around 8:30 so most of the vendors had left but I did get a chance to pick up new compression socks (I usually go for sleeves but finally decided to just go for it) and a couple of t-shirts. Waiting until the last minute was totally the way to go because there were absolutely no crowds and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It looked like it was well organized though so that's a major plus. 

My cousin and I drove back to my aunt's house and hung out until about 10:30 talking with everyone and then I finally decided it was time to head to bed. 

I slept TERRIBLY. I wasn't really sleepy when I went to bed (odd) and the combo of new bed + nerves and I was tossing and turning all night long. When I woke up at 5:15am, I was seriously dragging. I figured that was a bad sign but splashed some water on my face, chugged some Spark, and kept going. As far as what I ate/drank/did before the race, I've come up with my perfect pre-race "happy hour". ha. Around 5:30am, I went with Advocare Catalyst, 6am I had chugged some rehydrate (similar to gatorade), on the way to the race, I drank my Advocare Meal Real replacement shake (equal parts protein + carbs), and then at 6:30, I took Advocare O2 gold. This combo really works for me and gives me the boost/sustained energy that I need to run longer distances. 

My aunt dropped me off in downtown Louisville (thank goodness!) so I didn't have to worry about parking--something I was MAJORLY stressing about. There was no traffic which was nice so she was able to drop me off about a block from the start line. Once I got downtown, I never felt stressed once. There were plenty of portapotties, everything was very well organized, the corrals were well marked--no issues whatsoever. I got put in corral A which was kind of neat. I wasn't sure if I was feeling a corral A time before the race but I went with it. ;)

The race was slated to start exactly at 7:30am and that it certainly did. They played the famous Call to Post (super cool!), the National Anthem, my Old Kentucky Home, and boom, the gun when off and we were running!

Like I said earlier, I wasn't expecting much from this race based on the way I was feeling pre-race. But as soon as that gun when off, it was on. My legs felt great, I had a good play list, I didn't have to spend much time weaving in and out, and it was an interesting course. It was seriously like a like just switched on in my head and it was just go time. 

I'm not one of those people who remembers every single thing about every mile--I always wonder how others are able to do that? ha. But I'll say this--the first 7 miles flew by. When we hit mile 7, I took a look at my watch and saw that I was running at a pretty decent clip. I started calculating in my head what it would take to PR and it was then that I decided I had enough juice to really push the pace. It was a flat course so I figured it was time to go big or go home. 

I got a little bored between mile 7 & 8 but then my favorite part of the course came up--we got to run INSIDE Churchill Downs. How freakin' cool is that? It broke up the monotony enough to get me excited again. 

We hit mile 9 shortly after getting out of Churchill Downs and the rest of the race was so much fun. We ran through some cool neighborhoods, had lots of crowd support, and I really, REALLY enjoyed myself. 

Side note: I briefly mentioned on Friday that the weather was supposed to be terrible for the race. I'm happy to report that DURING the race, it never did much more than sprinkle/drizzle. Major win!

Once I hit mile 10, I saw that I had a pretty decent shot at destroying my previous PR. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd be able to get a sub 1:40 half marathon but from mile 10 on, that was my goal. And I ran my BUTT off. In fact, the last 3.1 miles were pretty much a blur but I remember smiling a LOT, grabbing some orange slices from a random stranger (thanks!), and running my tail off. 

I'm happy to report that I hit the finish line at 1:36:39 (!!!!!!!!!)--completely demolishing my previous PR of 1:42:38! There are absolutely no words to describe how I felt after seeing that number pop up. It completely validated all of the hard work I've put in over the winter. It was the best runner's high of my entire life. And the best part? I felt like I could keep running--a good sign for my marathon in November. 

Oh and that rain? Yeah, as soon as I crossed the finish line, it started POURING. But I didn't care. I PR'd my butt off and that was all that mattered. :) 

The Kentucky Derby Marathon/ Mini Marathon was a wonderful race and I totally give it my two thumbs up if you ever get a chance to run it. It was a flat course (perfect for PR-ing), it was well organized, fun, and the course itself was interesting. I will TOTALLY be back again next year. 

I feel like I've left out so many aspects of this race but I'm definitely still working on my race recap method. Ha. When I'm racing, I really zone out and enjoy the "process" so it's hard for me to write detail after detail. We'll get there though. ;)

And now? It's time to head to FLORIDA! I'll try and pop in a few times and give some updates on how the week is going... but no guarantees. :) 

See you on the flip side! :)


Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday! It's an especially happy Friday for me--I'm off work until May 5th! ;) Not to mention the weather is going got be absolutely beautiful today. Can't beat that!

Time for another addition of Friday Favorites!

Linking up with Heather, Clare, & Jill today. 

1. First thing on my list this week? The Boston Marathon, of course. I've been so obsessed with reading race recaps, pictures, stories... all of it! As a runner, this is of COURSE my dream race but I'm more determined than EVER to get there now. I guess I better actually RUN a marathon first, right? ha. I've had a lot of people ask me if I'm going to try and BQ when I run Richmond in November but honestly, for my first, I'm just hoping to get out there and a) finish and b) maybe, potentially, possibly get it in under 4 hours?

2. The Big Bang Theory. This is absolutely nothing new but I'm so obsessed with this show. It's slightly ridiculous. I have no idea what's going on in the newest season (I've always been at LEAST one season behind) but every other season out there? I've seen some episodes at LEAST 10 times.

3. Louisville this weekend! Obviously I have the race tomorrow (weather is going to be terrible for the race.. ugh) but I get to see my family AND go to Trader Joe's/ Whole Foods! Do you know what it's like to live somewhere where the closest Whole Foods/TJ's is 2 1/2 hours away? Terrible, that's what it is. ha. I plan on stocking up on many of my favorites before I leave on Sunday. (PB Cookie Larabars anyone?!?!)

4. Seeing progress from lifting! I've made it very clear that I'm not the biggest fan of lifting but I've started incorporating it more and more into my routine and I'm definitely starting to see results. I've focused a lot more on my core in the last month and can tell it's made a huge difference in my running. I don't quite have a 6 pack yet (ha) but maybe one day. ;) 

5.  Absolutely everything about this recipe. Pancakes + Funfetti = BEST IDEA EVER. Peter's birthday is coming up next weekend and even though I'll be in Florida (whoops), I think I may have to make it for him.

Now, it's time to go pack for Louisville! I'll be back on Monday with my race recap! Think happy thoughts for no rain!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

I love Thursdays because I can totally just ramble on and on and it's okay. ha. :)

-So, my favorite magazine, Women's Running, posted a picture of my boss & I from our half relay on Tuesday. It was kind of awesome. And so naturally, I screenshotted it and pretty much sent it to everyone I know.

-Today's my last day of work until May 5th. In fact, this time next week, I'll be in sunny Florida! I'll be sitting in a classroom trying to get certified to become a group exercise instructor but still, I'LL BE IN FLORIDA! Here's to hoping a) I pass all of my certs and b) we can find at least one day to head to the beach. ;) Or Disney World. I'm kind of okay with either.

Flashback to our honeymoon!

-Half Marathon #4 on Saturday! I'm heading to Louisville tomorrow morning and will be running in the Kentucky Derby Half on Saturday! Anyone else doing this race? So far, the weather looks like its' going to blow. Like, hardcore. There's a 90% chance of showers and thunderstorms all day..... REALLY? Thinking a PR isn't in the books but we'll see what happens.

Current PR

-I'm almost ashamed to admit that I've had the same thing for dinner for the last 2 months. Not even lying. I'm pretty much obsessed with grilled chicken, baked sweet potato, and sauteed veggies.

-Speaking of obsessed, I've very recently gotten addicted to Larabars. For the longest time, I wasn't a fan and couldn't handle the tastes of dates. But within probably the last 6 months, it's totally changed. Isn't it weird when that happens? My flavor of choice at the moment is peanut butter cookie but of course, I live in the middle of no where so no one carries it. I fully plan on stocking up this weekend in Louisville.

-I watched the BEST documentary the other day on Netflix. It was called "The Summit" and is about a group of climbers who attempted to climb K2--a mountain not much smaller than Everest. It was so good. Totally worth checking out if you have a couple of hours to spare. (Anyone else REALLY love documentaries?!)

Alright, time to buckle down and get some work done. Lots to do before leaving for a week!

Have a great Thursday!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TOTR: Why Do I Run?

Happy Tuesday! Linking back up for Tuesday's on the Run.

Today's topic: Why do I run?

At first, I thought this would be an easy question to answer. But the more I started thinking about it, the more complicated it became. Why exactly do I run?

When I first started my weight loss journey over 10 years ago (!), I started running because it helped shed pounds fast. But trust me, I didn't enjoy it. I hated waking up at 5am to head to the gym with my mom before school. I remember watching this one guy slug it out on the treadmill for over an hour and wondering what the heck possessed him to do that? (funnily enough, I out run him now)

Once I graduated high school, running became one of the those necessary evils. I walked on to my college's softball team and part of the summer training plan included running. And lots of it. My mom actually PAID one of my former high school teammates to teach/train me to run (not even kidding!). I still didn't like it very much but over the course of that summer, I at least came to terms with it. I remember very clearly running a mile and being proud of it. And then two. And slowly by the end of summer, I was up to 3! It eventually just became a part of my routine. As soon as dinner was over, I'd digest for a few minutes and then head over to the track and run some laps. Never more than 3 miles at a time but to me, it was like running a marathon.

Once I got to college, I kept running on my weekly schedule but nothing too extreme. I eventually quit softball after my sophomore season however and being an athlete my entire life, it felt weird not competing in ANYTHING. My whole life I'd gone to practice everyday, trained everyday, won or lost everyday and all of the sudden, that was gone. And everything just felt off.

So, I decided that I'd take up running a little more seriously. It still wasn't exactly that I enjoyed it yet but I did start appreciating it more and more. I trained and ran my first 5k during the fall of my senior year of college and being slightly hungover, I managed to win my age group. My time was slow and there were only 3 others in my group but I felt a sense of accomplishment that day that I'd never felt before. See, with running, it's all you. There are no teammates to rely on, no one to help fix your mistakes. Everything that happens out there is a result of your training and the time you put into it. And I totally dug that. It was that day that everything started clicking.

As soon as the race was over, I was ready to sign up for another. I ran a few more 5k's that year and ended up winning my age group in several. Some by the pure luck of being the only one in my age group but still. My times were in the 27 & 28's and I was proud.

I continued running and continued improving and my love for the sport slowly became very real. I eventually got my 5k time down to 25 minutes... then 24 minutes... then 23... and now I hover between the high 21's and low 22's. It's been a long, long, LONG process. And I love it. Running doesn't come easy for me. I'm not a natural born runner. Many things have come easy to me in life in regards to sports but running isn't one of them.

And now my newest addiction is long distance--which totally blows my mind considering I once thought 3 miles was a lifetime. Long distance has taught me a lot about life--you have to be patient, have to trust the process, and you have to really, REALLY want it. I love the feeling of getting a 10 miler in and being completely and utterly exhausted. I love knowing that I gave it my all and left nothing out there. To me, that's pure gold.

So, funnily enough, after all of that, I guess I still haven't answered the question of why do I run? See, I told you it was complicated.

Here it goes.

I run because it's my time to think. I run because the feeling of working my body to it's max is one of the best in the world. I run because it's taught me the value of patience. I run because it's not easy. I run because I love the sense of accomplishment I get. I run because I love winning. I run because sometimes, it IS about the t-shirt. I run because it's my version of coffee every morning. I run because I love talking to other runners and sharing ridiculously awesome and gruesome stories. I run because it's FUN. 

I run because most importantly, it makes me happy. 

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Marvelous (Marathon) Monday!

Happy Marathon Monday to all my fellow runners out there! Even for those of us not running Boston, it's totally our runner's version of a holiday.

Time for some running themed Marvelous Monday action.

Marvelous is.... the Boston Marathon, of course. As a runner, my biggest goal is to one day make it to Boston for the marathon. But then again, isn't that every runner's dream? I can't wait to run my first 26.2 this November and test the waters!

Marvelous is.... my run this morning. 9.6 miles before work = best way to start the week.

Marvelous is... my fourth half marathon this Saturday! Looking forward to running the Kentucky Derby half and potentially going for a new PR, depending on how my legs feel/conditions/everything else that I need to take into consideration. My current PR is 1:42:38 so I'll have to really book it on Saturday to beat that!

Marvelous is... the new Asics Gel Nimbus 17's. I. need. these. now! The Saucony's I got in January already have 700+ miles on them so, yeah. And that being said, I love my Saucony's (I rock the Triumph) but.. I miss my beloved Asics.

Marvelous is... being a runner. Try and take our marathon away? We say screw you and come back stronger than ever. Rain/snow/sleet/hail... you better believe we're running anyway. Our sport is other's punishment. Our idea of a "short" run is 6 miles. We spend hours upon hours pounding the pavement. We run 26.2 miles for FUN. We don't exclude anyone from our "club".. if you lace up shoes, put one foot in front of the other, and take a quick jog around the neighborhood, you're one of "us."
I love this sport and am so glad I stuck with it 10+ years ago. I can honestly say I've never worked harder or been more dedicated to something in my entire life.

Happy Marathon Monday--go run some miles for Boston!


Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Favorites

A bit of a rough start this morning (ugh!) but hoping to turn my day around with some of my favorite things this week.

Linking up with Fitting It All In & Life in Leggings.

Happy Friday!

One// My Insanity class last night was on POINT! I feel like most weeks my class always makes it on this list but this week was particularly good. Everyone's energy was off the charts which in turn pumped me up! I mean, I'm always pumped to teach but let's be honest... some nights, your class just isn't feeling it. Last night though? We worked our butts off. I incorporated some new moves, the music was on point and we burned some major calories. I felt so energized when I got out of there!

Two// My half next week! I know it's still 8 days away but I can't help but to start getting excited! Most of my family lives in Louisville and they've been trying to talk me into this race for a few years now but because of work, I've never been able to do it. So when the opportunity arose this year to sign up, I jumped right in. I'm a little nervous but I LOVE the atmosphere that comes with big races. I'd love to PR but... we'll see what happens.

Three// Lilly at Target! I'll preface this by saying I'm not a huge Lilly fan but do have a few Lilly items in my collection.... and wouldn't mind adding a few more. Especially the houseware items! So cute! And perfect for summer!

Four// Umm, my marathon training is just around the corner?! I was talking with my Insanity crew after class yesterday and they were asking about my marathon when it hit me--I'm like, 2 months out from training. WHAT?!?! Is it really almost July?! I guess I need to start buckling down and a) pick a plan b) do some research and c) get mentally prepared--it's going to be a crazy ride.

Five//  This quote. I've been struggling with some big decisions lately and sometimes, you just need a little reassurance that life isn't always easy. Being a twenty-something is hard. Figuring out career and life decisions is freaking stressful.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thinking Out Loud!

Before I start, can we just talk about how AWESOME it is outside this morning? The sun is FINALLY shining after what seems like weeks on end of rain and it's been a huge mood booster for me. It's amazing what a little sun shine does for the soul.

(Deep) Thinking Out Loud

It's amazing what happens when you put away the scale. For a long time, my life was defined by the number that popped up every morning when I stepped on. If I was up even half a pound from what I considered "normal", I was devastated and would skimp by on next to nothing. If it was down, you better believe I was indulging that day. I made myself MISERABLE over a stupid little number!

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it on here but I use to be over 200 pounds at my heaviest. In fact, I was over weight until I was 18 years old--and that's when I decided enough was enough. I started exercising, found my passion for running, and began eating healthier. I didn't pay much attention to the scale--I'd weigh myself MAYBE once every couple of weeks, if that. When I headed off to college, I weighed somewhere in the upper 170's which from where I started, was AWESOME. I felt good about myself and although I knew I had more to go, I didn't stress over it too much. My freshman year, I lost another 8 pounds or so and did it the healthy way.

And then my sophomore year hit and my roommate and I bought a scale to put in our bathroom. That's when things slowly started derailing for me. There's always that pressure in college to "fit" in,  literally. My friends were great and they of course didn't care one way or the other but I started getting up and weighing myself every morning before class. This is where mentally, I started falling apart. I didn't show it and to be honest, none of my friends probably even knew (nor do they know now) that I started having issues with my weight but this was just the start of what has become a battle I still fight occasionally to this day.

This "battle" as I like to call it got to be it's worst last summer, right before my wedding. Let me tell you--weddings = pressure. Especially for a perfectionist like myself. I was pretty go with the flow about the details about my wedding (i.e., food, venue, flowers, etc) but when it came to my wedding dress and looking good on the big day, I was adamant that I was going to look freakin' GOOD. No matter what it took. Combine this with a few big family health issues that popped up and man, I was a mess heading in the WRONG direction. There were times last summer where I'd weigh myself 3-4 times a DAY. How ridiculous is that?! I'd weigh myself before every single meal and after on occasion, just to see how much I gained. And when I say I would get devastated over the number..... I mean it. I was a beast to be around on bad days. It completely consumed my mind and affected every pat of my day. I remember the day it hit it's peak--I ran this incredible 8k one night and had a freakin' blast. I was stoked because I ran at night so SURELY I had to weigh less the next day when I woke up. (That's how bad it was!) Well.. news flash--I woke up 3 pounds heavier and was PISSED. I was even more upset because we had our wedding food tasting later that day and I knew that it was going to be completely unhealthy and that I'd gain even more. That Sunday was when I was at my lowest and knew that something had to give. It HAD to.

And then, a week later, a good cross fit friend of mine introduced me to Advocare. And before anyone starts rolling their eyes, this is by no means an infomercial or product review telling you to go out and do the 24 day challenge. But in my case, Advocare is what mentally helped me get to where I am today.

After going months and months with eating next to nothing, not caring about nutrition, and letting the scale rule my world, Advocare FORCED me to eat every couple of hours, fuel properly, and throw calories counts out the window and focus more on the quality of food I was eating. Day 1 of the challenge, I told my husband to take away the scale, lock it up, and not get it out until day 25. And you know what? During the course of those 24 days, I quit caring about a number and started caring about myself. And I ate... a LOT.

During that first challenge, I lost four pounds. Nothing substantial in the least. But I felt good. And for the first time, I didn't really care what the number said anyway. Mentally, this is where I started taking back control of my body.

On my wedding day, I have no idea what I weighed. Like, no clue. The night before my wedding? I drank way too much whiskey, had ice cream cake, and god knows what else. But you know what? I looked darn good the next day. And my honeymoon? Boy did I ever indulge. I drank more than I had since COLLEGE, ate any and everything fried, and enjoyed life not caring about anything other than spending time with my new husband.

That was six months ago. And I'm happy to say today that I weigh 7 pounds MORE than I did after that first Advocare challenge. But you know what? Since last August, I've learned what it means to fuel myself properly, I'm stronger, I have muscles I didn't even know existed, I look BETTER and most importantly, my scale is currently on top of our dryer collecting dust.. and lent. No matter what your feelings are about Advocare, I don't care. I just know that I'm grateful I found it because it helped me gain control of my life again.

Okay, this is totally not where I saw Thinking Out Loud going today but.... I'm glad I put it all out there. If you stuck around to read the whole thing--I'm impressed. :)

I hope this helps someone. But if anything, it's helped me to leave it all out there.

Have a great Thursday! And remember, you're more than a number!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Training Update.. or lack thereof?

Today's topic for Tuesday's on the Run is a spring training update. Which got me thinking... I don't know that I have a specific training plan? Or that I've ever had one really. Is that bad? ha. 

I run because I love running, simple as that. I've been lucky enough to hit all of my PR goals for my half marathon's without any sort of "concrete" plan. Don't get me wrong--I run all the time and am constantly cross training with Insanity and weights thrown in but as far as following something to a T--I've never done that. 

So, how do I feel so far about my upcoming races this spring? Pretty darn good to be honest. I've added a lot of different elements to my training over the winter that I think are really going to help. I've done more speed work that I ever have before and on my race Saturday, I could tell just how MUCH it's benefited me. I've done a lot of HIIT training not only in Insanity but on the treadmill as well. I've also incorporated weights more than ever before. And something completely new to me? I've focused a LOT on my core over the last month or so. 

Combine all of these elements along with cleaning up my diet and I feel AWESOME going into the start of racing season. I'm really looking forward to seeing what my body can do. The next big race I have coming up is the Kentucky Derby half in 2 weeks and then several other smaller races over the course of the summer. I'm also hoping to make it up to Winter Green for the Spartan Beast in August--I'm crossing my fingers I can work it out!

Now, that being said, I do PLAN on following a plan for my full in November. I haven't decided on which on yet but as soon as I do, I'll definitely have a write up on it. I'm actually pretty nervous about sticking to a plan just because I like to do SO many different things when it comes to exercise. And I'll admit, it's hard for me to "rest". I'm getting better about it and I KNOW my body needs it but.. man, rest days are TOUGH! So that's something I definitely need to work on between now and summer. 

I hope your spring training is going well! 

What big races do you have planned?!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Bristol Half-n-Half Relay Recap!

Happy Monday! I'm proud to report that it was a VERY successful weekend! Do you ever have one of those runs where absolutely EVERYTHING just falls into place? This was totally one of them. I don't know that I've ever felt as good about a run as I did this one.

From the beginning...

So, the race started in Bristol, VA which is right about an hour and 15 minutes away... which meant with a start time of 8am, it was an early morning for my partner and I. I woke a little before 5, showered, gathered my gear, and booked it to the college to make my MR shake and meet up with J. We ended up leaving a little later than planned but got there with enough time to grab our bibs, make a bathroom stop, and see a few of our friends before J had to get on the shuttle to the relay point.

We decided a few days prior that I'd run the first 7 mile leg and J would run the 6.1--this was the furthest she's ever ran in a race before. I'm a little faster so it made sense to get me out there first and see what I could do.

After a few pre-race ceremonies, we started right around 8:10am... and I'll be honest, the next 7 miles were a blur. Literally. After a few days of rest (well, by my standards), my legs felt INCREDIBLE. After hitting mile 1 at 6:45, I decided to just freakin' go for it. Why not? The course was fairly hilly but I kept telling myself that NOTHING will ever compare to the race in Asheville. ha. There were probably around 200 runners or so but it spread out pretty quick and for the most part, I was in a pack of about 4 other guys.

ha, I totally fixed my bib after seeing this. I was in a rush to get it on and yeah, bad all the way around. 

There were water stops at every mile but I made the decision to bypass them all. This isn't something I normally do but I was in the zone and didn't want to slow down. It was a neat race because we started in Bristol, VA and by the end of it, we were in Bristol, TN.

After mile 3, I slowed down a little bit but still had a decent clip going. In fact, I think I hit the 5k mark somewhere in the 21 minute range which is what I normally run it in anyway on a good day. Crazy. I didn't really have a goal for this race other than my partner and I wanted to win the female relay. ha.

some pretty decent splits!

The one mile I do remember is mile 6. It was brutally hilly. A few slow rollers mixed in with some steep climbs. Again, still not even CLOSE to Asheville. And plus, at this point, I knew I was close to handing off the bracelet to J so I booked it. There was one guy ahead of me as we inched closed to the relay point so I used what I had left in the tank and sprinted past him. ;)

I ended up hitting the 7 mile mark right around 51 minutes and handing off my bracelet to J. I was DONE! And ecstatic! I knew right then and there that all of my training this winter has totally paid off. I've been worried about this racing season because I've done 95% of my runs on the treadmill but I think adding in so much speed work has totally helped. I ended up averaging 7:10/mile--I was so, so, SO stoked.

ha. my signature pose, clearly. 

After getting my medal, telling practically everyone I knew (ha), and finding water and Larabars (umm, best race treat ever?!), I hopped on the shuttle and ended up getting to the finish just as J was coming into the stadium. And she absolutely crushed her half of the race too! Our total time was 1:41 and some change. We both definitely had some awesome runner's high going on.

And better yet? WE WON! We met and really actually EXCEEDED our goal. We were hoping to hit somewhere right around 1;50. ha.

Overall, this was a great race. It was organized, the course was awesome, and the medals and plaques were killer. I would totally do it again and if you're around my neck of the woods, I recommend checking it out next year!

Have a great Monday!

Linking up with Healthy Diva Eats for Marvelous Monday!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday! It's another rainy one here but I've got an exciting weekend (well, Saturday) so I'm not going to let it get me down. PLUS, I've got a busy day at work so that always makes the day go by faster!

Time for some more Friday Favorites! Here are five things I'm totally digging this week!
Linking up with Fitting It All In & Life in Leggings today!

1. Half relay this weekend! I alluded to it yesterday but my boss & I are running the Bristol Half & Half relay tomorrow! I'm pretty stoked to run a relay--something I can knock off my bucket list. Our goal tomorrow is at MINIMUM place top 5 in the female relay category but we're both SUPER competitive so in reality, we want to win. ha. I think if we're smart, we can totally do it. My leg tomorrow is 7 miles and I'd like to keep my pace somewhere between 7:50-7:55. I ran an easy 4 miles today and an easy 2 yesterday so I've tried to keep my mileage down this week. Here's to hoping it pays off!

2. Gym time this week. It's been a weird week and sometimes it's nice to go in the gym, get a good workout in, and get away from the world for a while.  You know?

3. I'm officially half way through the 10 day cleanse portion of ADVOCARE! So far, so good. The first two days I felt a little off and I think it's because I wasn't getting in quite enough water... but yesterday and today? I feel AMAZING. My energy level is WAY up, I feel good, and I'm pretty sure I could conquer the world this morning... if it wasn't raining outside. ;)

4. This arm routine. I do this on the regular and have seen awesome results. It's quick, challenging, and effective--exactly how I like my weight workouts. Funny I can run all day but when it comes to weights, I want to be in and out as soon as possible. Try it next time you're in the gym!


5. And finally, my last Friday favorite is the fact that I woke up this morning and when I headed out the door to the gym at 6:30am, it was SEVENTY degrees. If that's not enough to make you jump for joy, I don't know what is. We're almost there guys--it's ALMOST summer!

Have a wonderful weekend! I'll be back on Monday with a full recap of my half relay!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

Okay, has this week absolutely flown by for anyone else?! Seriously, I feel like yesterday was Monday. I could totally handle it if all weeks felt this way!

Time for a little Thinking Out Loud!

1. I started another round of the Advocare 24 day challenge this week. I'm on day 4 right now and feeling AWESOME. I eat pretty clean and healthy anyway but it still feels good to focus in a few weeks. Often times, I eat really well during the week and then fall off the bandwagon a bit during the weekend (which is okay!) so it's always a good way to get back on track. I'll post more about it next week! 

2. I'm running my first half marathon relay this weekend! My boss & I decided to sign up for it last minute. I've done several halfs, but never a relay so I'm pretty excited. The course is supposed to be pretty hilly but after running in Asheville, I think I'm good. ha. I can't wait to write all about it on Monday!

3. Florida is officially less than 20 days away! Although it's supposed to get 80 (!!) here today so it already KIND OF feels like it. Now if only there were a beach nearby...

4. Speaking of Florida, I need to start studying! We'll be taking our personal training cert and a couple of others while we're there so yeah, need to get on that!

5. We're also going to run a race while we're there... because in addition to working out for 9 hours a day, why not add a race in too?! I'm glad my boss is as crazy as I am. But on the bright side, it's just a 5k and there's blueberry pancakes at the end. And it just so happens to be the day after the challenge ends so it's basically a win-win situation. 

6. I've been a little stressed out lately over a few things but have really started to just take life one day at a time. I tend to get caught up in thinking ahead and of all the possibilities of a situation instead of just letting it flow. I guess that's not always the best way to approach it but right now, it's working for me. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday! And if it's warm and sunny where you are, I hope you have a chance to enjoy it! 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Just another rainy Tuesday..

I've seen this survey going around and because it's a rainy Tuesday morning, I figured, why not?

1) What’s your whole name?
Sarah Christine Smith... and well, eventually, Carlson. I haven't quite gotten around to changing it yet. Whoops.

2) Are you named after anyone?
Nope! My aunt picked out my middle name but only because she liked it.

3) Do you have any siblings?
I do! An older brother & sister. My sister is 8 years older and my brother is 6 years older. Needless to say, they weren't the biggest fans of me when I came along.

4) Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the smallest city in the state of Virginia. A tiny town about 20 minutes from the border of Kentucky & 40 from the border of Tennessee.

5) What activities did you do in high school?
Pretty much every sport I could manage! I was a HUGE tomboy in high school. When other girls were interested in makeup, I was interested in shooting hoops. I played varsity softball, basketball, & volleyball all four years in high school. I don't think I really did anything outside of sports now that I think about it?! ha.

6) Where did you go to college?
The University of Virginia's College at Wise... The only branch of the University of Virginia.

7) What activities did you do in college?
ha. Oh boy. What DIDN'T I do?! That's the real question. I played softball for two years, joined a sorority, participated in the Student Activities Board & Student Government Association, was a member of several honor societies, was the student member of our board of directors, an orientation leader, president of PHC, extended orientation leader...... we could seriously be here for days.

8) What did you study in college?
Business Administration. Although if I could go back and do it all over again knowing what I do now, I would have majored in nutrition sciences with a minor in exercise physiology. Or something along those lines. It's hard knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life when you're 18!

9) What was your first job out of college?
I worked at a bank for 6 months... and it was awful. Luckily for me, a position opened up at the college and I jumped right on it. It was in Student Activities & Outdoor Recreation and was AWESOME. I took kids skydiving, white water rafting, races, got to watch comedians and musicians for a living, and plan really fun events for students! And then our wellness center opened up and it was meant for me. I've got the best job ever!

10) What kind of music do you like?
ha. I don't even know anymore. I'd have to say my favorites are Jason Mraz & Maroon 5.

11) What’s one hobby you’d like to pick up?
I'd like to be crafty. I'm not patient enough!

12) What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up?
ha. I kid you not, for the longest time I was convinced I was going to be the first woman in the NBA. But then I didn't grow past 5'8" so yeah, that never happened.

13) What’s the biggest project on your to-do list right now?
Coming up with our wellness center's summer shape up plan. Currently in the works!

14) Do you have any irrational fears?
Mainly that I'm going to look back on life and regret it. I hope not and so far I don't but... it's always in the back of my mind.

15) Have you ever traveled outside of the country? If so, where?
yep! My sister & I went to Greece for 2 weeks in college. And then I went on a school trip to Ireland my junior year and it was the BEST.

16) When’s your next vacation and where are you going?
ha. I wish I knew! Probably Hilton Head for the Fourth of July, like always. Peter & I have thought about going on another cruise for our one year anniversary so.. I'm kind of hoping that will definitely happen.

17) Do you speak any other languages?
ha. No. Not at all!

18) What’s one talent that you wish you had?
I wish I had rhythm! Put me in a dance/Zumba/choreographed class and I'm completely LOST.

19) What’s something you wish you did more of?
Relax! I'm on the go constantly because I hate sitting still... even though I know I need to!

20) If you weren’t in your current job, what would you be doing?
This question is fun because honestly, I'd be doing exactly what I'm doing now. In some form or fashion. I love being in the fitness/wellness industry!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Weekend Update!

Good Monday morning everyone! I woke up today feeling great after a relaxing weekend. Sometimes, Monday's aren't so bad, ya know?

Weekend Recap

Friday// Typically on Friday, I try and leave work a little early but I was the only professional staff member on duty  so it didn't happen this time around. Which, when you love your job, isn't really a big deal. ;) However, I'll admit, it was SUPER slow. Around 4pm, I decided to take my "lunch" break and hop on the treadmill and hit the weights. Nothing crazy but definitely effective.


After work, Peter & I ran to Wal-Mart to pick up some supplies for the weekend and OMG--they FINALLY had chocolate chip cookie dough Arctic Zero! I seriously look every single time I go to the store and am always, ALWAYS disappointed. I wasn't even going to look this time but figured might as well. And of course they did! And guys... it's delicious. I may have gone through 2 pints this weekend.....

The rest of the night was pretty low key--we made dinner, watched a movie, and I destroyed another Sweet Haus cupcake and added in some of the Arctic Zero. ;) (I start my 24 day cleanse today--cheating was the theme of the weekend!)

Saturday// Saturday morning I continued my trend of taking a class at the gym. I usually take TurboKick but this time, it was a Tabata based class--still fun! I worked up a decent sweat and then ran 4 miles after.

Upon returning home, I somehow managed to talk Peter into going on an adventure with me. And an adventure it was. There is this AWESOME lookout tower in our area that I kept seeing my friends pots pictures of so I was bound and determined to find it. I went on the local tourism page, got directions, and off we went. Except, the tourism's page took us COMPLETELY the wrong way. Like, not even the remote same direction. What should have been a 45 minute drive took 2 HOURS. That being said, we had so much fun and when we finally did get to the lookout, it was TOTALLY worth it. I can't believe I've lived here my entire life and never been.

We ended up getting home around 7... much later than anticipated. ha. But we had dinner, watched a little basketball (YEAH WISCONSIN!) and of course, I was in bed by 10pm. No surprise there.

Sunday// I've been totally digging my longer runs on Sunday lately. I love having that time to reflect on the weekend, think about my upcoming week, and start formulating plans in my head for meal plans, workouts, etc. Not to mention, I love watching the Food Network--duh. :) This run was no exception. I finally restocked my Advocare O2 Gold (MAGIC!) and popped a couple of those about an hour before hand and it was another incredible run. A solid 10.10 miles and my legs felt so unbelievably good. I'm not sure if I'll PR at the Kentucky Derby Half but I'm hoping I at least have a shot.

It was a great start to a super low key Easter. My mom & dad were both out of town and my niece, brother and sister-in-law celebrated with her family so Peter & I just hung around the house and got some work done, cleaned, and meal prepped. Typically Sunday stuff. :) I tried staying up and watching a movie with him but once 9pm came, I was out like a light.

All in all, not a bad weekend. This weekend, my boss and I are running a half marathon relay! So excited! I've done several halfs but never a relay!

How as your weekend?!