Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My name is Random.

I'm out of town for work this week which means a different daily schedule and new places to run!! That makes me especially happy! I also drive right by a Starbucks on my way to work this week, so super-win!!

Paneras really nails their salads and I'm particularly happy with the roasted turkey harvest salad!! I NEVER get dressing on my salads because I'm super picky and never like dressing, but their cherry vinagarette is stellar! Try it!

When I got done with work I had just enough day light to get in a quick run. I decided to try for 3 miles and see how I felt. I ran 3 slow miles last week and ran/walked two on Monday, but just have NOT been feeling it this week. I knew I would not regret taking time to run tonight, even if I didn't feel like it.

This was literally my face the entire run- a huge silly grin! It was heaven!! Yay for good runs! I felt amazing and decided to go for 5 miles because I felt like a million bucks. It was cold, but invigorating.
On the left are the stats from my run tonight, and on the right are my stats from my run a month ago. I've improved my pace by nearly a minute! I'm super excited to be seeing faster times and stronger miles- I never knew I had it in me, but I intend to get faster!! It's exciting to look back and see improvement-- slow but steady!

I ran an unfamiliar route and several of the houses on the route had dogs. One of them ran out in the road and nipped at my heels. I was freaked out and just tried to get away as fast as I could. I didn't even notice till I was finished but he actually drew blood. My legs must have been too cold to feel it when it happened.

When I got back I was hungry. I had a vegetable stirfry with shrimp and a blueberry chobani for something sweet. I've been feeling dehydrated this week so I'm amping up my water intake and trying to get in some tea once or twice a day. I LOVE iced tea but can't make myself drink hot tea. It just tastes like nothing to me.  
 Tomorrow is my last day before I head back home from this job. I have a hair appointment in the morning before work............still trying to decide what I want to tell her to do with my shaggy mane. I've been flirting with the idea of chopping off some serious length and getting some layers......but I'm just scared- my curly hair is never predictable. It is hat season, so if it's horrible I can just hide underneath a hat for the next 3 months. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Long Time No See!

I totally did not intend to drop off the face of the earth!

This has been a super hard month for me and for most of the month I have just been hanging on for dear life. The week before my half marathon I encountered a crisis within my family that pretty much rocked my world. I managed to proceed through the 1/2 as planned but pretty much spent the next week just watching different thing in my life crumble into about a million pieces.
I have written about my faith before, but I cannot even begin to express how precious it is to have such a loving and faithful Heavenly Father. Even when my world is upside down- He is my rock and high tower! I am so grateful for a God who never leaves me or forsakes me!
There have been some pretty big mountains this month, but I haven't given up yet. The summit is worth the climb, don't you ever doubt it!!
My family is the best thing in my life, and I am so grateful for each of my siblings, my parents, my nephews & nieces and my brother-in-laws. Relationships aren't easy, but they are so, so worth it.
It's been a crazy month and I've been traveling, working, and trying to keep things in perspective! most days- WIN! Workouts have taken the back burner, especially with the cold weather cramping my outdoor style.
Photo dump:

Road trips with the sista. Yes, those are pickles that she is eating.

Shoe love. 

Ice skating.

Best friends. 
Super-cold morning runs.  

Runs through Wisconsin and Illinois countryside.

Post- Thanksgiving dinner run. 

Hanging with my girl Grace! 

Wedding bells for my friend Hillary. 

Wedding attire.
(yay or nay on this look? it's a step outside of my normal style and I still can't decide if I'm into it or not. help a sister out and let me know if you think this look gets a thumbs up or a thumbs down!)

Salad dates and a couple hours of consecutive 24 episodes. Jack Bauer for the win.

Keep choosing joy my friends! Life is good. You will encounter trials. You will get swallowed up by hard times. But never, never give up. There is always hope! Always, always, always hope.
I'm sorry I've been absent, and I hope I still have a few readers!

What's ahead;

new fitness/workout goal.
next race announcement.
tears, heartache and trusting Him.
favorite Christmas treat recipes.
sibling photo shoot

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Run woman Run.

Workout- 3 mile run
arms & shoulders strength session

I am tackling some major items on my to-do list today. Like drinking an entire pot of coffee by myself.

This morning was nearly PERFECT running weather. 37 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze. I don't know about you, but I can't think of any better way to start my day than a run out in the brisk air. It's cold to start, but you warm up and by the end you feel fannnntastic. Please promise me that if you live in a 365 warm-climate state, you will bucket-list a run in the cold weather!
After I finished my 1/2 on Saturday, I began thinking about when I would run next. I know that proper rest post-race is REALLY important for injury prevention. I decided to take Sunday off and hit it again on Monday morning. Skipping a run on Sunday was pure torture because I felt SO super awesome and my legs wanted to go!!
Monday morning brought some last-minute plans to run with a friend, and I forgot to mention that they were supposed to be recovery/easy miles for me. We busted out the first mile in under 9 minutes. I have never run a sub 9 minute mile in my life, I was shocked that I was running that fast and I felt GOOD! We kept a fast pace and finished 3.5 miles in just over 32 minutes. Wow. I had no idea it was in me to run that fast!!

My run this morning was perfect. I just headed out with no speed or distance goal, I just decided to run as long as I felt good. I ended up running a 5k distance with an average page of 9.22. What the run!?! Since when did I get that fast!? I was amazed to see that Monday's run wasn't just a fluke.....I am faster than I think I am!! My legs felt a bit heavy this morning, but they warmed up well.

I've been contemplating 'what now?' since I'm no longer training for a specific race. I have a couple ideas and goals for these next couple months, and I'll share them in a post later this week. :)

Breakfast- eggs, fruit and coffee. All the essentials for a filling breakfast.

How many days do you take off after a race??

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An evening in the deer blind.

I am SO excited- deer season is RIGHT around the corner!! YAY! As we get close to the season, I try to spend a few nights out in the field just observing the wildlife activity. It's honestly so relaxing and peaceful, I do this year round and would do it even if I wasn't a hunter. If you haven't ever just sat in the beautiful outdoors, sunshine streaming across your face, birds flitting around you, breezes rustling the tall grasses and bright fall are missing out!!
The trick is to get in and be as absolutely quiet and still as humanly possible. I love seeing how close the animals will get to me before discovering me. Today I had a squirrel jump on top of the blind and stick his head in the window. After he saw me he jumped back over to the tree and scolded me for several minutes. It was terribly entertaining.

 I had the evening free to get out and spend some time in the field where I plan to do some hunting in about 4 weeks. I am my own trail camera. :)

My 16 year old brother bought me this camo/pink shirt for Christmas  last year and it's super warm and comfy to layer under my heavy hunting clothes. It was still warm enough that I didn't need anything heavier that night. 

How many deer can you find in this picture???

I saw this on fb the other day and it is SOO true! I literally died laughing!

I do want to say that I want to be sensitive to my non-hunting friends/readers. I realize that not everyone believes that hunting is okay, let alone morally right. I was brought up in a community where ripped jeans are from climbing over barbed-wire fences, everyone has deer antler decals on their trucks, every eating establishment puts "hunters welcome" on their ads in the paper and you learn to shoot while the shotgun is still taller than you are. But, I was also raised by a mother who grew up on Long Island and the ONLY reason you had a gun was to KILL someone or if you were a policeman.
I realize that it may be offensive to many people that I kill animals. I am not a 'sport' or 'trophy' hunter. I refuse to take any shot that I don't think will KILL the deer immediately. I hope my lifestyle is not offensive to you. Please don't hate me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pilgrim Pacer 1/2 Marathon Recap.

Packet Pick-up Friday night.

Race day began at 0700 hours.  No such problem. We were staying about 4 miles away from the race, so we got dressed and out the door. I had everything laid out the night before, except my earphones. Last minute I realized that they were MIA. After much freaking out and crying calm searching, they were located. :)

In the car I had 1/2 of a banana and 1/2 of a Clif Bar. I didn't want to overload my stomach, but looking back, I wish I would have eaten the full banana and full bar. I definitely felt under-fueled of this race.

Parking was 1.5 miles away from the start/finish, so they were running trolleys every 15 minutes to and from the parking lot to the start area. I didn't want to be stuck waiting for a trolley and miss the start! We got a trolley at about 0802 and got to the start at 0807. It was 66 degrees and the sun was already way up in the sky. It was breezy- 15mph with gusts up to 25mph. Waiting for the start was easy since we weren't cold.
I was so nervous, my stomach was in knots!
There were no corrals, just everyone crowded to the front for the gun. The 1/2 and Full marathoners started together at 0830, the 5k and 10k runners started together at 9:30.
Tabitha and I said a quick prayer together for an injury free race and we were off!

By process of the jostle, I ended up towards the front of the pack, so I immediately pulled to the right and tried to let the faster runners get around. It stayed pretty congested for the first 1/2 mile, but then started to spread out. It wasn't a problem for me, but I don't know if some of the competitive runners might have found it frustrating. 

The course was an out-and-back and the first 1.5-2 miles were all downhill. I tried to take advantage of the hill, but still run moderately. I decided not to turn on my music until mile 3, so I just took in the scenery and enjoyed the view for the first 3 miles. It was PRETTY! I was getting passed a lot, but a lot of people were also already taking walking breaks, which I found surprising.

At mile 3 I checked my GPS and saw that I'd run the first 5k portion in under 30 minutes. I was happy with that but knew it was also faster than I had planned. I turned on my music and just kept running. I wasn't checking my GPS, I didn't really want to know how far along I was. I think it was between mile 3 and 4 that the first 1/2 marathon runner zoomed past me headed back to the finish. Wow. 
Between mile 4 and mile 5, I saw a familiar face- I almost ran into the back of my sister! She was having a bad race and not feeling good. She urged me to go ahead so I pushed on. I figured she would catch up in a couple of miles. Her miles are consistently 2-3 minutes faster than mine, so she was really suffering.

There was an aid station every mile starting at 1.5ish. The stations had water, a sporks drink, GUs and some of them had bananas and oranges. When I hit mile 5, I started to feel a bit affected by the heat. It was over 70 and I was running into the sun. I grabbed a water at mile 5.

There were rolling hills, and a couple steep ones as we approached the turn around. A lot of people were walking up the inclines. I told myself I couldn't walk so I powered up the hills. Whew. When I reached the turn around I felt great. It was really a good feeling to know I was 1/2 done! :)
Between mile 6.5 and 7.5 I passed Tabitha as she approached the turn around- she was doing better but still struggling. I grabbed a GU at mile 7, but never took it. I just carried it with me in case I needed it. I took either a water or sports drink at all of the aid stations after the turnaround.
At Mile 8 I was struggling a bit. I was starting to feel empty- my poor fueling the two days prior to the race really caught up with me. I reminded myself of how awesome I had just felt at the turn around and how close I was to being done. I stopped paying attention to where I was miles wise and just started to try and pass people if I could. I didn't speed up, just kept going and passed quite a few people.
At Mile 11 I started to really struggle mentally. It was HOT and I was feeling dehydrated and a bit weak. I knew I was going to hit the last 1.5 miles of HILL and I knew I needed to save steam to get up those hills.
The last aid station was congested so I didn't stop for anything but told myself to gear up- only 1.5 miles left!!! I had done a lot of my training on hills, but nothing could fully prepare me for that last brutal mile - all uphill! It also rained on us briefly.  

I happened to glance at the time and realized that I was not going to hit my 2:30 goal. I wasn't far off- just a few minutes, but it was discouraging to think that I was going so slow. I had thought surely I had a sub 2:30 in me, and here I was breaking up on the last hill. I kept pushing even though I was disappointed in myself-- but not for long!!

The last hill was a struggle and I broke down to a walk....I would walk and then run a few yards, walk and then run a few yards. I wanted to run the whole thing and I am proud of myself that I held out until mile 12 to walk at all!!  I may have trained on hills, but this hill ate me for dinner!!
When I finally crested the hill, I could hear the crowd at the finish and I kicked it. I came through the trees and could see the finish! I started sprinting out towards the finish!
When I saw the time I couldn't believe my eyes! I  finished with an official time of 2:28:25!!!

After I got my medal I turned back around and headed back to the top of the hill to wait for Tabitha. When she crested the hill I whooped and hollered and ran her through the finish. She kicked it for the last little bit and finished with a time 2:38:01!!! I'm so proud of her!!
I just wanted to take in the entire experience and remember every minute!!

Overall it was an AMAZING experience! I trained hard for this race and it was awesome to see my hard work pay off. The race was great and I can't wait to run another one.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Liebster Blog Award.

Tyly from One mile at a time nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. I initally started reading her blog because it's pink and grey, but stuck around because she's got an amazing, enthusiatic way of writing and is an awesome runner! Go read about her races!!
Thanks for the nomination, Tyly!!

The Liebster award is for up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Blogging isn't about your following, it's about content and the beauty that you bring to the world just by being you. 'Liebster' is German for 'favorite'.

The rules:1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose 5 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
5. Go to each blogger's page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog!

11 Facts About Me;
1. I'm a control freak.
2. I hair naturally curly hair. Or; naturally frizzy hair that I coax into curls. :)
3. I live for football season!
4. My 'signature colors' are pink, purple & teal.
5. I LOVE fruit.
6. Sometimes my dreams are in Spanish.
7. I hate swimming, or being immersed in water with a passion.
8. I have 6 sisters and 5 brothers. (photo from 2010)
9. I absolutely cannot stand to wait in a line. I will literally leave the store, theater, park, etc...if I have to stand in a line.
10. I have never broken a bone or been severaly injured.
11. I love, love, LOVE my precious Jesus and the personal relationship I have with Him!!

Tyly's Questions;
1. Do you have any pets?
No. I am allergic to cats and dogs, so I never plan to have my own pets.
2. If you could buy one single item, cost not an issue, what would it be and why?
A motorcycle. I'm a boots and leather chickie and would love to have my own bike. Unfortunately, it would be a total hobby, so it's not taking financial priority anytime soon!
3. What is your dream job?
I have my dream job! :) If I didn't work this job, I think it would be awesome to be a flight attendant- free travel!
4. What is your favorite tv show?
I don't watch tv usually, just sports. If I had to choose, I'd probably vote for Bones.
5. What is your favorite movie?
6. What item is your one prized possession?
My box of journals. I have kept a journal faithfully (with a few short breaks) since I was about 12. I can't wait to pass them down to my daughters someday.
7. Do you enjoy reading?  Your favorite book/series?
LOVE reading. My favorite is always changing as I read new books........but I have always been a fan of the great classic "Pride and Prejudice".
8. What is your dream race to run?
Nike's Women's Marathon.
9. What city would you love to live in?
I am a small town girl at heart, but I'd have to choose NYC.
My brother & I in NYC 12/2011.
10. What is your current favorite song?
Currently my favorite song is "Steady my Heart" by Kari Jobe. GO LISTEN TO IT!
11. If you could watch anyone in concert, who would it be?
Celine Dion. She is a fantastic singer and I have heard that her concerts are AMAZING!!
My Questions;
1. Four Seasons, or sunny weatherr 365?
2. Favorite form of cross-training?
3. How often, if ever, do you wash your car?
4. What do you consider the greatest accomplishment of your life?
5. Would you rather run or bike across the USA?
6. Are you a lead foot or a granny going to church driver??
7. What is your favorite form of social media- Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc....
8. What is your favorite Holiday?
9. If you were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would you want with you?
10. What is your #1 pet peeve?
11. If you are married/dating, what is your favorite thing about your spouse/significant other??
I nominate:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Double Digit Runner.

I'm officially a double digit runner!! Today was another distance PR, and my last long training run before my 1/2!! It was a perfect day for a run- a bit windy, but really lovely!

Last week's long run was perfect- I could have run twice the distance or more. It was one of those effortless runs that just clicked. I had mentally prepared for several days because I knew 9 miles was a long way for me- and I wanted it!
Today's run was tough. The word grueling kept surfacing mentally, so I had to make myself think positive thoughts. My legs felt really dead for the first 2 miles. I felt like I could have run faster on my hands and knees. I stayed focused and kept telling myself I COULD. I really didn't prepare myself mentally for a 10 miler today.......I knew it was coming up, but I didn't focus on it. I didn't really even think about it during my runs throughout the week. Something NOT to repeat in the future!

Mile 3 brought on the side stitches, which I NEVER get. I very rarely ever cramp up during a run, and today was a certain exception. I kept telling myself they would go away........and shortly after Mile 5, they did. I'm still feeling a bit beastly for pushing through serious side stitches for almost 2 whole miles without giving up. Whew. SO glad that's over.

Tabs & I have vastly different internal thermometers!! I was wearing a tank and short-sleeved shirt and leggings, she was wear a tank, long sleeved shirt AND a thick sweater. I kept expecting her to chuck the sweater to pick up later, but she wore it the entire way!! Crazy girl!!  

Somewhere between the shopping bag on Monday and the 15 different places I was this week, I misplaced my shotbloks that I had planned to fuel this run with. I do have a mocha Energy Gel that I picked up last week, but this morning my stomach wasn't feeling great, so I decided not to try it on today's run. Instead I subbed in some candy corn- not the best choice either. I think I may have successfully ended my addiction to candy corn. :)

Post run smiles!!

We did it!! We made it!

Pretty much a perfect Saturday after our nap was cut short by several of my siblings jumping up on the bed with me! A massive tickle fest much fun with my family! 
Supper- charcoal-grilled steaks, scrambled eggs and pancake battered apples. SO tasty!!
This perfect Saturday is winding down to a very lovely end-- listening to a very exciting game as my beloved K-State Wildcats run away towards a win against Oklahoma State.

Only 7 days until my 1/2- this girl is PSYCHED!!

What's your best advice for a first time 1/2'er??