Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TOTR: My First 20-miler.

I feel like every time I start a post on Tuesday's on the Run lately, it starts out with, "I just set a new PDR!"


Well, here it is again folks--I JUST  A NEW PDR!!

Linking up for Tuesday's on the Run!

So, I alluded to how my marathon training was going last week and although it's kicking my butt week in and week out, I'm constantly learning that you know what? I might just be able to do this whole 26.2 mile run thing. And Sunday was a HUGE confidence booster toward that. 

I normally do my long runs on Saturday but due to some conflicts (i.e., I had to help out with a race), I made the switch to Sunday this week. Not exactly ideal since I don't like taking Mondays off from running but I'm realizing more and more that the big thing with training for marathon is learning to be flexible. So, Sunday it was.

I lucked out this weekend and found a friend willing to bust out 10 with me so I got up early, knocked out 10 on my own and then as soon as I was done, drove a few minutes to the next town over to meet up with her for the final 10.

The first 10 was pretty uneventful because well, I did them on the treadmill. I know some people are totally against the treadmill but it's really been a big help for my running this last year. And hello, I was watching the Food Network the entire time. ;) 

Once I finished up, I rushed to meet my friend who is slightly quicker than me (a good thing!) and we set off. 

We couldn't have asked for better weather. Not very hot, kind of cloudy, and we even got rained on a bit which cooled it down even more. The route was one I hadn't ran before so that helped the 10 miles go by fairly quickly.

One thing I'm still struggling with is fueling. And hydrating. As I've said before, I've never had to fuel for a run before and I didn't do a great job on Sunday either. As we got toward the end of the run, I could tell my body needed an extra boost, which I'm pretty sure I could have avoided had I fueled properly. You live and learn though, right? I have two more 20 milers so I still have some time to tweak my plan. Any suggestions?

Anyway, back to the run. We stopped once for a water break but other than that, we kept up a pretty decent clip for the entirety of the run. Minus the fueling issue, the run was a HUGE confidence booster for me. I think I intimidated myself from the get-go thinking about the fact that it was TWENTY MILES. I mean, who does that?! Well, me now apparently. Before the run, I was still having major doubts about this marathon and the possibility of me completing it. After the run, I KNOW I can finish it. I may not run the entire time and I may not hit sub-4 (my dream) but I have no doubt that I'll at least cross the finish line... and let's be honest, that's what really matters. 

And my mental game was strong too on Sunday. I took the run 1 mile at a time and that seemed to help. When I think about the bigger picture, I get overwhelmed but taking it in small increments definitely made it easier. And not to mention I had someone to talk to. Maybe I need to convince someone to run Richmond with me solely to keep me entertained. ha. Any takers?!

Anyway, my average pace for the 20 ended up being between 8:30-8:35 so I'll take that. If I can manage to keep it under 9 for 26.2 miles, I"ll be a happy camper. 

Physically after we finished, I felt okay. Not great but not nearly as bad as I felt after my very first half marathon. ha. I felt a little light headed (again, FUELING!) but my legs didn't feel SUPER tired. I think what saved me was the fact that I kept moving for the rest of the day.

My stats for the day.
So there you have it. My first 20 miler. A pretty boring recap but it's kind of hard to make 20 miles seem interesting. ha. Basically all you need to know is.... I SURVIVED!!

Also, Sunday I took a look at my mileage for the year to see where I'm at toward my goal of 2015 miles in 2015.

And you know what?! I'm less than 140 away! Meaning, I should hit it in the next month and a half or so! CRAZY! I knew I'd run a lot this year but man. As of this morning, I've ran 1882 miles--basically the distance from my small town in the Southwest corner of Virginia to Salt Lake City, UT. Not too shabby, right?!

Here's to my last 140 miles!

Happy Tuesday Ya'll!


Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favorites

I have to be honest--I love sunshine but man, sometimes it's pretty great to have just a classic, old school, rainy day. I seem to be the most productive when it rains so hopefully that holds true today--I've got a LOT of work to do!

Before I get to work though, I'm linking up with Heather, Jill, and the Virginia Bloggers for my Friday Favorites!

1. Okay, okay... I'm like a broken record on this one but my job is almost ALWAYS one of my favorites because each week it brings something new and exciting! I feel so blessed to come into work each day and do what I love and this week was no exception. Yesterday I had the opportunity to go workout with 60+ kids and it was AMAZING. I always feel like I'm terrible with kids but man... they were so much fun! I had a blast, they had a blast... I think we may be asked back. ;) And on Wednesday, I took my Power Hour class outside and did some OCR type exercises (walls, tire flips, stadiums, etc) and they absolutely KILLED it. These ladies are all a little older than me but man, I felt like a proud parent. They've been with me since the beginning of summer and I've grown to absolutely love this class and my core group in it. They inspire me each and every week.

2. This one is along the same lines of my first favorite but I just HAD to single it out because it basically made my entire week. After our workout with the kids yesterday, a boy around the age of 7 came up and started talking to me and as he was leaving he told me "I'm pretty sure you're stronger than my dad." hahahaha. BEST. COMPLIMENT. EVER.

3. I mentioned them last week but the sweet potato brownies I've been making are FREAKING DELICIOUS! Seriously! And fyi--they are ESPECIALLY good when you heat them up and add artic zero ice cream.. and chickpea cookie dough dip... just sayin'. I got the recipe from here but made a few changes based on the ingredients I have in my kitchen. I subbed honey for the maple syrup, used PB2 instead of cashew butter, added a few chocolate chips (duh), and added a tad bit of splenda. If you have some extra sweet potatoes laying around (and let's be honest, if you're a runner/healthy living blogger/smart person) you have some in your kitchen. ;)

4. I posted the picture below on my instagram feed the other day but had to share here too. Three years ago this week I ran my first half marathon... and legitimately hated every minute of it. I got to mile 10 and was basically cursing any and everything in sight. And not to mention my body was not happy. I finished in 2:28 minutes. Three years and 4 half marathons later, I made #5 that very same race. This year I finished in 1:42 and have a half marathon PR of 1:36. I love this sport even on the days I hate it. It's taught me so much about myself and given me the confidence to achieve things in all areas of my life.

5. Speaking of throwbacks, this time last year I was just about a week out from my wedding! Next Sunday is my ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Can we talk about time flying?! I so wish I could go back to this day over and over and over again. :) The picture below is one of my favorites--we decided to go for the "first look" and I'm so glad we did. I remember how much it calmed my nerves seeing Peter before all of the craziness. It was such a special moment and one I'll never forget. I vividly remember thinking, "Wow, so I guess this means we're officially grown-ups now." ha. I don't know why that thought came to me but it did. I love this man.

Have a wonderful weekend! I've got 20 miles on the schedule per my marathon training plan. YIKES!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

TOTR: Marathon Training Update

Happy Tuesday! Since it's Tuesday's on the Run and there's no specific topic for  today, I figured it would be the PERFECT opportunity to update you guys on how my marathon training is going.

I think when I originally signed up to run Richmond, I thought that I'd start training, it would go fairly easy, I'd run the race, potentially do really well, and then continue running marathons from now until forever.

Talk about being naive last November. ;)

So far marathon training has been... interesting. Not quite what I expected but then again, I've never trained like this before. I'm use to things coming fairly easy to me and this has been probably one of the hardest things I've done up to this point in my life.

Physically, I'm having no issues. (KNOCK ON WOOD!) I think I do enough cross training and lifting to help keep my body strong enough to withstand the mileage.

For me, preparing my mental game has been the hardest part. Let's be honest--26.2 miles is a long freakin' way ya'll. ha. I'm still trying to convince myself that I'm capable of doing it in the first place. And I'll be honest, I can only keep my brain occupied on a run for so long. When I get deep into a long run, I get bored. And from that point forward, it takes everything I have to keep going.

And of course there's the whole weight gain issue that looms in the back of my mind as well. I try to stay away from the scale as much as possible but I know I've put on a few pounds since starting. It's not something I'm SUPER concerned but it's still one of those mental things that starts eating away at you after a while (no pun intended...;)). I've been making conscious efforts to make better choices on how I'm fueling up before and after runs so I think that's helping. I know my body needs fuel and I know that in order to run 26.2 miles, it needs to be as strong as possible.

So, basically what I'm saying is... I now understand why people say that it's impossible to train for a marathon and not have it change you.

It's the absolute most grueling, down and dirty work I've ever done.

One day I'll have the world's GREATEST run and the next I can barely make it a mile without cursing. The highs are great and the lows suck just as worse. I went into training thinking it would be a piece of cake and now all I want to eat is cake.... ALL. THE. TIME. :)

I feel like this has been an overly negative marathon training post but I swear--I really am excited to run Richmond in LESS THAN 2 MONTHS. Each time I reach a new PDR, I can't help but be so incredibly proud of myself for pushing through. And I can't help but be grateful to my body for allowing me to do something so incredibly crazy.

Last weekend when I ran 18 miles, as tired as I was and as many times as I wished it was over, I couldn't help but smile and think back to when running 1 mile seemed like a marathon to me and now here I am, on the doorstep of my first. This whole "running thing" that started out as a way to lose weight has morphed into something I never thought imaginable and every mile that my feet run, I'm thankful that I have the ability to do so.

I'm not sure what November 14th will bring. I'm not sure what will happen when I hit the wall, not sure how my body will react, not sure that I'll finish... but I guarantee you that I'll be fighting every step of the way.

Have a wonderful day!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Again, terrible job on my part of updating. Maybe one week I'll finally get back to a normal posting schedule but with work, teaching class, grad school, running... blogging unfortunately falls at the bottom of the list for the time being.
In fact, I was going to write this post about 5 hours ago but had a few unexpected work meetings pop-up and well, now it's noon and here I am.
Better late than never though, right? :)

Anyway, linking up with Heather, Jill & The Virginia Bloggers today!

1. Running! It's officially LESS THAN 2 MONTHS AWAY from my marathon. WTF?! How the HECK did that happen? I feel so incredibly unprepared but I don't know that there's any way to truly feel fully prepared EVER when it comes to running 26.2 miles. But I'm doing the best I can. :)
I did have a killer 18 mile run on Saturday. Granted it was a bit broken up but still, no complaints. My legs felt awesome all day. I did a 10k Saturday morning (won my age group!), ran 9 more miles on my own, and then laced up my Saucony's one more time for a 5k Saturday night... which I actually ended up winning with not a TERRIBLE time for being my last 3 miles of the day.
Even better? I thought I'd be super sore and miserable on Sunday but in all actuality, I felt incredible.

2. I've had an incredibly productive week at work. Like, we're talking, to-do lists have been "to-done", budgets have been updated, payroll has been (almost) finished..... don't you love weeks like that? Not to mention I've had some great classes this week--teaching has become one of my favorite parts of my job. I love it!

3. Peter won an award on Wednesday night and we got to go to a fancy dinner and accept it! :) I've now been in dress clothes twice in one week (date night last Friday).. what's the world coming to? ;) But I'm so proud of Peter and all of his hard work. And all of our law enforcement officer's for that matter. In fact, today is National Thank an Officer Day so please, do just that. I know there's been a lot of negative attention on police officers lately but they lay their life on the line each and every day to protect us and I couldn't be more grateful. I say goodbye to my husband in the morning and never truly know if I'll get to say hello again.

4. I made sweet potato brownies last weekend and they are KILLER! Seriously! I'm going to try and get the recipe up on the blog soon because they are my new favorite! And no crazy ingredients! Aren't those the best?! I hate working with "real" sugar so I love when recipes sub honey or maple syrup. :) And just in case you're wondering just how good they are, Peter actually likes them and he always thinks my crazy "cheat clean" recipes are terrible. ;)

5. PETER & I ARE BOTH OFF THIS WEEKEND AND NOT GOING ANYWHERE! Seriously, this deserves all caps. :) I'm so excited to spend a weekend working on our house, relaxing, and just having fun together. We have no agenda and I'm freakin' stoked.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Favorites

Hey! Look! I'm alive! And it's Friday!

I must admit, Labor Day weekend threw me completely off of my schedule for just about EVERYTHING. I'll be catching up next week, promise!

Until then, here's another round of Friday Favorites!

Linking up with Heather, Jill, and the Virginia Bloggers!

1. I'm setting another PDR tomorrow... well, God willing. ha. I have an 18-miler that I'm a TAD bit nervous about. Okay, really nervous. I'm running a 10k, followed by 9 miles on my own, and then a 5k later on. Pretty unconventional I guess but whatever gets you through it, right? My focus right now is getting better at the mental aspect of marathon training. I know my body can handle it but I've got to get my mind across the finish line as well. Any tips?

2. Peter and I are going on a date tonight! Woop woop! AND he's almost done with his rotation on night shift! Seriously--does anyone else have a significant other who works the complete opposite schedule of you?! Luckily Peter only does 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off so it's not TOO bad but man... I hate those 6 weeks of night shift. They are the WORST.

3. Season 2 of the Blacklist is officially on Netflix and I'm so super stoked about it!!! After my 18 miler tomorrow, you better believe Sunday I will be posted up on the couch watching.

4. I guess I haven't talked about last weekend but basically, my Labor Day weekend was fantastic. I'ts probably my favorite weekend of the entire year. And can we talk about how amazing the weather was?! Lots of good lake/pool time. And good food. LOTS of it. Hence the reason I'm back to my clean eating bandwagon...... although I may or may not partake in a piece of cake in a few minutes.... I'm going to count it toward carb loading for my run tomorrow. ;) And yet again, speaking of running, I got a great run in while at the lake. It was hot, hot, HOT but I'm glad I got out there and did it.

5. 9/11. It's pretty much impossible to not include this one. I questioned whether or not I should put this in my favorites because it's obviously not something that I "love". But I wanted to pay tribute to this date in the only way I know how--writing. I was 14 years old and in my high school Spanish class. There was an announcement over the school PA system and I can still remember it like it was yesterday--it's like time stood still. I didn't realize the scope of what was going on at the time but I remember being scared out of my mind. At 14, all I wanted was my parents. I remember coming home from school and watching the news with my mom and dad and how scary it was. I heard helicopters over head at one point and running to my room to hide. I think what I remember most though was something that happened 2 days later. We had a basketball game and standing on the court before the game, listening to the National Anthem, it was like I FINALLY understood it for the first time. I remember crying and realizing how much different our country was going to be from that point forward.
I'm remembering all of those people who lost their lives today. And I'm especially grateful for those first responders who rushed in when everyone else rushed out. Those are the true heroes. I'll be hugging my deputy extra tight tonight.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday AND holiday weekend! Labor day weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the ENTIRE  year because it's time for my family's annual lake weekend! A lot of things change when you get older but I'm so thankful that this weekend hasn't. No matter how crazy busy everyone is, we always make time for this mini-vacation!

Anyway, it's been a while since I've done Friday Favorites so here we go!

Linking up with Heather, Virginia Bloggers, and Jill for this one!

1. Today's my ELEVEN month anniversary of being married. Holy cow! Has it really almost been a year?!?! I'm pretty bummed that I didn't start this blog until after our wedding but one day I'm going to do an entire post about it! It was the most fun and surprisingly relaxing weekend ever! I remember being stressed out the Thursday before and then as soon as I got to our destination, people were doing things for me left and right and it was..... nice. ha. It's been a CRAZY year with lots of changes but I'm so thankful I get to spend my life with the most amazing man!

2. Pioneer woman came out with a line of cookware and I'm pretty much in love. So speaking of my wedding, why couldn't this have existed when I was doing my registry?!?! (Side note: I'm kind of obsessed with all things Food Network and love, love, LOVE hopping on the treadmill on a Saturday morning for a long run and watching!)

3. Grad school is kicking my ass hardcore at the moment but I love it! I'm learning so much and just feel at peace with everything.. for the first time in forever! Working in higher education, it's almost necessary to have a master's degree or higher and for the longest time, I've been trying to find the program that best fits what I want to do with my life. And it's nice to have finally found it! Not really crazy about student loans but hey, it is what it is I guess.

4. So... since I now have the Spartan Sprint and Super under my belt, I'm very seriously contemplating road tripping to Vermont in a couple of weeks to tackle the Beast. And I think I've convinced Peter now too. :) It's basically a 13 hour+ drive but it's worth it, right? And plus, Vermont is supposedly THE toughest one (with Virginia & Pennsylvania a close second and third) so... if I'm going to do it, I figure go big or go home, right? I'll keep you guys updated on this development. ;)

BTW, this pic made the official Spartan Wintergreen album and I'm pretty obsessed with it!

5. And of course, I have to end with the HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!!! So excited for a few days of fun and relaxation with my entire family! No internet, barely any cell service, lots of good food and excellent company. Not to mention, Louisville football returns tomorrow! GO CARDS! Can't wait to pop of out work early and hit the road!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend! Relax, enjoy the last unofficial weekend of summer, and HAVE FUN! See you guys on Tuesday!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

TOTR: I survived my longest run yet.

Happy Tuesday ya'll! Two posts in a row from me is pretty rare at the moment but I had to pop in real quick and talk about Saturday!

Linking up for Tuesday's on the Run!

Saturday was my toughest and longest run to date and I'm happy to report that I survived. Barely. I feel like even though I'm not exactly a new runner, marathon training is teaching me something new each and every week--mostly that I'm capable of doing some awesome things if I just shut my mind up and go. Isn't that the funny thing about running though? Our mind gives out waaaaaaay before our body ever does.

As I haven't locked down a solid training partner yet (I need that accountability!), I decided at basically the last second to run a half marathon on Saturday. I had 16 miles on the schedule so I figured--run 13.1 and then tack on an extra 3. No big deal. The only problem? I forgot to factor in my overly competitive nature and even though I was just going out to get some miles in with about 500 friends, I ended up racing. Go figure. I have the worst time turning my competitive spirit off. It just doesn't happen.

So, Saturday morning I was up bright and early. Although I have to admit, after a 3:30am wake-up call the weekend before, 4:30am was a piece of cake. ;) The race started at 7 and was about an hour and a half a way so I left at 5, got there around 6:30, got my things together, did my business (ha), and it was time to go racing boys and girls.

Toeing up to the start line, I was pretty nervous. My legs didn't feel great, I wasn't exactly thrilled to be running a half marathon, and the thought of 16 miles was pretty daunting. Once the gun went off though, I tried to push that aside and just run. No thinking, no worrying.. just one foot in front of the other. It was an absolutely beautiful morning so it made everything quite pleasant.

It's funny what goes through your mind during a longer run. On Saturday, I couldn't help but think back to my first time running this same half marathon. It was my very first half EVER and it was a disaster. I was under trained, had major stomach issues, and had no clue what I was doing. Running seems simple until you actually start doing it and then you realize how much WORK and perseverance and knowledge it takes. I ran that race in 2:28:14. I'll never forget that number. I remember finishing and thinking that I would never do it again. EVER.

And now I'm training for a full marathon. Go figure.

Anyway, that consumed my brain for quite some time. I think that's what pushed me to actually race this one. I wanted redemption and I wanted it bad.

The first 5 miles of the race flew by. But then again, they always do.You're riding that "half marathon" high and all of the excitement is still in the air. It's mile 6-10 where things get a little dicey. At least for me anyway. I always feel like 6-10 take FOREVER. My brain slowly starts running out of things to think about, my mind wanders, and add in some major hills on this race and boom. It becomes miserable.

On the bright side, I was running a decent race time wise at this point. I was right with the 1:40 pacer and even though I was starting to feel a little sluggish and just over running at this point, I couldn't deny that for being such a hilly race, I was going at a good clip.

Mile 10 was where this race started getting interesting for me. Usually at mile 10, I know I just have a 5k left and am in pretty good shape. This race however... good grief. Mile 10-13.1 were ALL. HILLS. I mean, the course up to this point was pretty hilly but nothing like the last 3.1. I was so, so, SO done at this point. I normally don't fuel up during the race on halfs but I had no other choice on this one. They were handing out gels right before the big hill and even though I KNOW you're not supposed to change it up on race day, I grabbed one and sucked it down as fast as I could. Luckily it was pretty tasty and not too bad.

(For the record, had I been running all 16 miles right then, I would have brought fuel)

So with that, mile 10-13.1 were hell but I trucked on and finished. I ended up coming in at 1:42:13 and would have been in the 1:40-1:41 range but my GPS had the course running a little long. Not my PR by any means but for going into the race with a bad attitude and not really wanting to run (PLUS HILLS!), I have absolutely NO complaints. And it was actually my second fastest half ever.

And actually, I ended up winning my age group which was totally unexpected and pretty awesome. I've had a lot of success with shorter distance races and so to start seeing some with these longer distances gives me faith that my hard work is paying off!

After accepting my award and basically eating everything in sight (best post race food ever! Chick-fil-a and BOJANGLES! WHAT?!), I got in the car and trucked it back home. Which was inevitably a mistake as I majorly tightened up but it is what it is.

As soon as I got home, I headed to the gym for my last 3 miles. I thought about running outside but I knew that they wouldn't be quality miles at this point so the treadmill seemed like a better option. At least this way I could control my pace. I busted out the last 3 and with that, I breathed a sigh of relief because my longest run to date was OVER!

So what did I learn on Saturday? That maybe, just MAYBE I can do this marathon thing. I still have a long way to go but I'm starting to feel more and more confident in my abilities. I'm getting stronger on my long runs and feel like come November, I'll at the very least be able to finish 26.2.... which is the goal all along. If I can do it in a decent time, great. If not? Who cares. I just ran a freakin' marathon.

I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday!