Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review

My puppy turned 1.  And had a birthday party with the rest of her litter where they wore party hats.  How cute.

Somebody didn't want anyone else to use their wifi.  (Aka... nothing eventful happened to me.)
I started this lovely blog!
I did a group run for Boston and it was the coolest thing I have ever done.

I finished my second half-marathon!
I ran a 5K and placed in my age group (even though it was just a funish run for me).
I did a run streak.
Lauren Fleshman responded to a comment I left on her blog.  Yes I screen-shotted it.
I celebrated National Running Day.
I drank Cheerwine (but not for the first time, of course) and I swam.  A lot.
My niece finally arrived!!! Two days after my birthday! Go check out pictures on my sisters blog at http://faithandmacaroni.blogspot.com.  She literally has the craziest hair now.
I ran the ALS HOPE race in memory of my wonderful Aunt Tina.
I gave blood.  You should too!
I ran the hilliest 10K ever.  Well for Charleston.  There is my shoe.
I ran my 3rd half-marathon at Kiawah.

What was your favorite moment of 2013?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Kiawah Island Half-Marathon 2013

December 14, 2013

Thomas, my brother-and-law, came to pick me up bright and early at 5:45 to carpool to Kiawah.  Unfortunately, I slept through all my alarms, but fortunately Thomas was there to wake me up or I probably would have slept through the race.  Luckily, we made it to the race with plenty of time to spare.  We took a bus to the start from a parking lot since there is not enough parking on the race itself.  We met some very nice marathoners who we had a conversation with.  This was slightly intimidating too- he wanted to run a very fast marathon- all I wanted to do was run a sub-2:00 half-marathon.  Oh well.  He was nice.  As most runners are.

At the start.
We got to the start.  I lined up with the 9 minute mile pacer.  The first two miles clocked in at an 8'30" pace.  Waaayyyyy to fast.  I double checked the sign- 9' mile pace.  So I slooooweeed waaayyyy down.  Sooooo much energy wasted.  Boo.  Boo.   I was able to maintain my pace for the next few miles, but by mile 8 I was all done.  The last 5 miles were rough.

The course was gorgeous!!
Training for this was a bust.  Sleep got chosen a lot of times over training.  My long runs were better than normal, but overall training was worse.  Disappointing race for sure, but the course, volunteers, and employees of the resort were awesome!!  The aid stations were well stocked and well organized.  The food afterwards was delicious and everything about the race was well done.  No complaints.  My time was disappointing, but I really enjoyed the race.

Mile 13- Almost Done!!!

 I am so excited for a fresh start in the new year.  I will have a year recap and future goals post soon.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Random Finds

1. Foam Rolling 101- this is the basics of what you should be foam rolling.  I have had a foam roller forever (made one here), but haven't been using it to its fullest potential.  But now I am (a few tight runs later).

2.  Plantar Warts* A plantar wart may look like a little bump with a pinhole through it.  Mine was little bitty and it felt like I had an embedded splinter in my foot.  PSA: it doesn't have to look like your typical wart (cauliflower pattern).  Your foot callusing (runners- I am talking to you)- might just cover it up.  I went to the doctor because I thought I had something stuck in my foot.  I waited for 30 minutes only for my doctor tell me it was a wart after a 3 second look at it.  Awkward taco moment.

Also, under no circumstances should you ever look up plantar warts on google images, that was gross. And, I learned that my foot problems do not compare to others'.

3.  French Fry Holder.  Only in America.  Only at KMart.

4. Knitting and Running
Somebody knitted a scarf and ran a marathon here.  Crazy.

5. I ate McDonalds after a Thanksgiving feast.  My sister and I ate Thanksgiving as lunch, got hungry at 9 pm before going black friday shopping at 10.  Nothing was open except McDonalds.  Bad decision.  My stomach was not happy during all the shopping (even though I only had a snack wrap- although my sister's decision to eat a cheeseburger was probably more painful).  Also trying on clothes after a Thanksgiving meal is difficult.  I definitely had a food baby.

*I am not a medical professional.  I am not responsible for your foot problems.  This is just based on my experiences.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Giving Blood

Why You Should Give Blood:

I gave blood today.  Here is why you should consider it:

1.  It saves lives (the most important thing).

2.  There are free cookies afterwards!  (Today we even had Chick-fil-a)!

3. You can figure out your blood type.  For free.  People pay money for that- the Red Cross sends you a card with that info on it- fo' free!

4.  You can justify that piece of Reese's Cheesecake after dinner.  It was soooo good!

5. If you forget to tell them to do it in your non-dominant arm (like I did)- you don't have to do much with that arm for the rest of the day.

(Those were meant to be humorous-- do it to save lives!! The rest are just fun perks!)

Running and Blood Donation

Ok, it is not advisable to do this one week out from a race, but if you do it mid-week, surrounded by easy runs, you will be fine.  Check with the organization you are donating with and they will tell you how it should affect you, when not to exercise, ect.  Runner's World has also written some articles about the best way to cycle it into your training:


Eat your iron before you go (and in life in general).  They will test you for iron so that your body can healthily regenerate blood cells after you give blood.  This is especially for women athletes (so most of us)- it is possible for our iron to get low- so watch out.

The Process

1. Sign in.
2. Mini Physical- blood pressure, health and travel risks, temperature, ect. (They don't want sick/infectious people donating... obviously).
3. Then they sit you down in the chair with a stress ball.  They clean your arm, give you a Sprite (so you don't pass out), and mark your vein.  Here comes the fun part- the stick.  The lady will say "You will just feel a little poke."  Wrong.  I looked down and the needle was, in the words of my father, "the size of a drinking straw."  Yes, it was VERY large.  I was bit worried, but once it is in, you mostly can't feel it.  The actual "insertion" hurt a little bit, but it was not terrible.  Don't let the big needle deter you.  Honestly, it is not that big of a deal.  Blood will flow out into a bag.  They take the needle out, and put a band-aid and a wrap on your arm when it stops bleeding.

4. The Feast- cookies, pretzels, food so you don't pass out!  Yummy!
5.  Your arm will be a little sore, but it is well worth it.  (Next time, I will ask for it on my left arm, because it made writing, driving, ect. difficult for the first few hours-- which is why I am currently typing).

I don't judge you for not giving blood, but if you are able, please consider donating.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Race Bucket List

I just looked and I forgot to post last week.  Sorry... This weeks post will surely make up for that!

Race "Bucket List"

1. Downhill at Dawn- this is a downhill (hence the name) half marathon that starts early in the morning: at 6:00.  It runs through the mountains of North Carolina near our mountain house so it would be fun.  All of that downhill running would be painful, I am sure, but better than uphill, right?!

2. Boston Marathon- some people are opposed to having a race that you have to qualify, and I agree that running should be an open sport, but I think that it is kind of cool that you have to qualify.  This might be distant- I am not ready for a marathon, yet, and I definitely have some time work to do, but I really want to do it.   Especially because of what happened this past year.

3. Nike Women's Half-Marathon Washington DC
I love Washington DC and I really really wanted to run this race last year, but it was just too far to go for two days!  I want to run it someday because I have heard Nike puts on a good race and I love DC so of course I want to run this race.

Those are the three for now and I know that they pop into my head all the time, so I will have to do an updated post (or maybe a tab) later!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

They call it pacing for a reason. (ALS HOPE Race Recap)

You know how your gym teacher always told you not to sprint the first lap, to save some for the end? Well, as a distance runner, you would think I would listen to this theory.  I listen to this theory (law) during longer races, but on Saturday I decided on the following plan: hold onto the fastest pace I can possibly go from the start.  That didn't work.  It resulted in the opposite of negative splits.  Granted, this was not a goal race by any stretch of the imagination.  It was a race for a cause I support, but it was still disappointing because you would think I would know better.

7:30 am: I woke up on my own (no alarm clock).
8:00 am: Breakfast: Banana Muffins (and not the healthy kind)- Breakfast of Champions, I know.
9:00 am: I attempted to study, but I fell asleep instead.
1:00 pm: I woke up and I was very hungry.  I was also surprised that I slept for 4 hours.  I ate the lunch of apples and Macaroni and Cheese.  The Kraft kind.  I know, my nutrition choices were not great.
2:00 pm: I sat around and took another nap.  Man I was tired!!!! That is what no sleep during the week will do to you.  I need to work on that.
4:00 pm: I woke up for the third time in one day and got dressed for the race.
5:00 pm: Left for the race.
6:00 pm: "Gun goes off." Really: a guy in a lawn chair says "Ready, Set, Go!"
6:01 pm: I have the genius idea of sprinting.
6:07 pm: My idea fails.  I am getting tired, but I am still below an 8' mile pace.
6:15 pm: Oh no.  Worst 5K ever.  My stomach is upset.  My legs are burning from the sand.
6:15-6:31 pm: Run/ Walking/ Hobbling to the finish.  No good.

I finally finished in 31:00ish.  I was super disappointed with my time, but not every race can be a good one and I did absolutely nothing to prepare for this race specifically and it was just an off day.  I am still super proud that I went and supported a great cause (ALS support) and I had a blast doing it (except for during the actual race).

On the bright side, I still got first place in my age group (this was a super tiny race)!  I now have a brand new shiny medal (on sparkly ribbon) to add to my collection!

Race Recap Roundup on Runners Luck

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Race Time

I am doing a night race this evening.  It is a 5K on the beach to support research and care of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's).

From the ALS Association Webpage:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment–"No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.
As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look "thinner" as muscle tissue atrophies.
My aunt passed away from ALS so I am running for her.  It is a really small race in Charleston, but it is for a really good cause! I encourage you to search for ALS races in your area because it really is a great cause.  Money is used for care (medical care, equipment, support services) and research- both of which are desperately needed.

Race Goals:
I have been training for a half-marathon, and I am in the middle of training for that so I am not expecting a PR out of this race, but who knows?

A Goal: Sub-25:00- It has been done before, but not recently.
B Goal: Age Group Place- Like I said, this is a really small race so it isn't super competitive, but it is always a goal to shoot for.
C Goal: Sub-27:00- So goal pace for my half-marathon, so hopefully I will be able to do it in a 5K (I had a super-successful speed work session this week so I am hopeful)!

I am going to try to do a race report before next Saturday, but we will see!

Don't forget: look for a race for ALS in your area if you are looking for your next race.  If you have trouble finding one, contact me and I can help!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I like this weather.

Look: I woke up late and it still wasn't a bajillion degrees outside! If I were to normally wake up this late (well this was even after my run), it would be at least 90 with at least 70% humidity. Today it was only 80 after my run AND breakfast! This is awesome. Well except for the fact that if I wake up late, I always get side stitches. Like every single time. I have no clue why.

My four mile run got cut short after a very long, slow, painful mile (think snail speed). I will try to go back out this afternoon to finish my run, but I thought this weather was so worth sharing!

Update on my break: I am back.  The last month has been the craziest month ever.  I had a guest at my house for two weeks which was absolutely fantastic (playing tourist in your own town is great- you should try it, I learned so much about the place I have always lived), but it also took up so much of my time and then with school starting I have had no time! I really am going to try to post at least once every week.  I think Saturdays will be my definite days so check out my blog early Saturday afternoons, and I should have a post!

Update on training: like I said, it has been crazy around here the last month.  I have been running, but not as much as I should have been.  Good thing my race isn't until December! I am so excited to be back training again! Oh serious running, how I have missed you!

Shoes: I ordered the Brooks Ghost 5s on clearance on the Brooks website.  I love them.  I took a leap of faith ordering a new pair of shoes online, but I have the Brooks Launch which I love, I was just looking for something with a little bit more support for longer runs.  I have only run 4 miles in them so far (I just got them), but I love them!  I will do a more formal review in a little bit after I have logged a few more miles in them.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekly Update

Since I am starting training tomorrow and I have set monthly goals, I am going to be doing a "weekly update" to keep myself accountable.

Goal Part 1: Head for the trails.
 I have not gone to the trails yet (I haven't done that much running this week).

Goal Part 2: Schedule the workouts you like to do.
I tried to do hill repeats not once, but twice this week, but my ...monthly cramps... decided that they did not want me to do hill repeats.  Bummer.  I tried.  I really did, but each time I only got through one repeat.  I will try again, although I know my next few weeks are going to be filled with pretty boring, easy runs (beginning of a training cycle).

Goal Part 3: Set Goals

4-Week Goal: Consistent in half-training.
I don't start until tomorrow.
3-Month Goal: Blog twice a week.
Done for this week (barely, I almost forgot to blog tonight).
6-Month Goal: Sub 2:00 Half-Marathon
That is a long way away.

Goal Part 4: Sign up for a short-for-you race.

I haven't signed up yet, but I know for sure that I am going to do one in September.

Goal Part 5: If you are on the fence about going on a run, GO!

I was not so good at this one this week, but I am hoping that next week with a solid training plan starting, I will be better.

I am not even going to recap my weekly training because I really didn't have anything specific planned.

And, I am not judging you, even if you run weird (better than not running at all), but I love this oldie, but goodie Don't Be That Awkward Runner Video.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Overnight Oats and Fitness Friday

So you need to go check out run4treats.  It is a great blog run by a physical therapy student (and obviously a runner).  She kept talking about Overnight Oats, so of course I had to try them.  The idea is simple: combine a few ingredients together the night before and enjoy a yummy breakfast the day of.  I am in love.  I may never eat anything else for breakfast ever again.  They were just so delicious.

Here is the recipe:

Combine all ingredients, then put in the refrigerator overnight.  "Flavor" in the morning.

1/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats (Not those quick ones, the "real" ones).
1/4 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I just bought a big container of it and I have been using it for all sorts of recipes lately-- including delicious Tzatziki sauce that I will post a recipe for soon).
1 1/2 Teaspoons Chia Seeds (She told me not to skip them.  I got them at Whole Foods in the Bulk Foods section).
1/3 Cup Milk (can substitute almond milk)

I made mine with strawberries and Nutella (add in the morning), but she had some other suggestions:
Honey, Banana, and Peanut Butter
Blueberry Cobbler
Pumpkin Pie
Nutella Banana

Half-Marathon training starts on Sunday and I am so excited to be back in a routine again! Wahoo!!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fitness Friday and a GIVEAWAY!!!

I am super lucky to have this giveaway from the great people at the Color Run.  I am so excited to be able to present y'all with such an awesome giveaway as my very first giveaway.  I have never done the Color Run as I am planning to run my first in March, but I will give you all the details!!!

The Color Run is also known as the happiest 5K on the entire planet.  That is pretty exciting!

It is a 5K run where you get covered in colored powder at each kilometer.  The Color Run has two "rules:"

1. Wear white at the starting line.
2. Finish plastered in color.

Another thing I already love about the Color Run is the charity connection.  Even though the Color Run is a for-profit organization, it has an emphasis on charity. In each city, The Color Run partners with a charity.  The partnerships happen in different capacities, but it is great knowing that you run for a cause!  It just makes running that much better!

Nervous about being covered in color? Don't be, none of these people look worried.  They are all ecstatic to be running covered in color!! I can't wait to try this!

This event isn't only for runners.  According to the Color Run FAQ, "you can run, walk, crawl, or cartwheel if you wish." So there is no excuse not to enter this giveaway and do the Color Run!

What are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway!!! You will receive one Color Run entry to the city of your choice!

View cities here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***I was offered two free entries for this post- one for myself, and one for a giveaway.  All opinions are my own.***

Check out http://www.talkless-saymore.com for her #fitnessfriday.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Goals

I literally just wrote July 32nd on something, then realized that didn't exist and it was AUGUST (one of my favoritest months)!!!  So, a goal setting post for YOU (and me) was necessary.

In the January issue of Runner's World, there was a resolution guide, but it was unique.  It gave you goals each month to help improve your overall running.  Much more manageable than the goal of "getting better this year."  After all, goals should be SMART:

Okay, I will stop boring you now.  I just had to put a little bit of geeky-ness in there.  But for real, you shouldn't set a super broad goal without setting smaller steps in there.

Anyway, I have kind of forgotten about it, but I saw that another blogger was doing some August goals, so I decided to dig out the old Runner's World (well the website actually), and commit to the August goal.

The broad goal of August, as defined by Runner's World, is "Rediscover your Mojo."  They must really be geniuses because this was just what I was needing!

No, I need to rediscover it.
There are five specific parts to the August goal of rediscovering your mojo:

Head for the trails, where the shade will often be more plentiful than it is on a road. Plus, technical trails require concentration, which means you’ll be mentally engaged with your footing—not with the heat or your remaining mileage.  We have some trails around here, but not too many.  Maybe I will try the beach too? It kind of defeats the purpose of the shade, but I could do it early morning.

2. Schedule the workouts you like to do: If you really like hill repeats or despise tempo runs, run accordingly. “It may not be perfect physiologically,” says Leivers, “but if it’s a workout you’re excited for, you’re more likely to actually do it.”
I start official half-marathon training the third week of August, but I will try to do some fun things between now and then.  I really like hill repeats.  They are hard, but I like them (I have no clue why).  I also really like tempo runs because I feel legit.  I mean I get to run fast.  Who doesn't like that? I am not a huge fan of long runs, but I am beginning to like them more (which is a good thing because they are pretty important to a half-marathon buildup).  Spoiler alert: September's goal is mastering the long run, so I am pretty excited about that.  Why haven't I been doing these goals the whole year?

The only hill in Charleston.  Well pretty much the only one.
3. Revisit—or set new—both short- and long-term goals. “Give yourself four-week, three-month, and six-month goals,” says Baker. “Once your goals are out of your head and on paper, they are closer to happening.” 
4-Week Goal: Be consistent in half training.  I want to only have missed two runs for the scheduled runs of the month.  Unless something terrible happens, then I will adjust.

Three-Month Goal: By November 1st, I want to have blogged twice a week every week.  I know, not really running related, but it will keep me reliable for my training.

Six-Month Goal: Sub-2:00 half marathon.  That is technically a 4.5 month goal because I want it to happen by the end of the year at Kiawah.  And if it doesn't happen then, you can bet I will be signing up for the Charleston 1/2 Marathon in January.  But only as a last resort.  I have heard the course isn't that great.

Well actually 1:59:99
4. Sign up for a short-for-you race—could be a 5-K, could be a trail half-marathon. “The immediate satisfaction you feel from crossing a finish line can kick-start the rest of your training,” says Underhill.
I am running the ALS HOPE Race 5K in September so kind of delayed, but it will be fun and it is for a great cause.  Check out runs for ALS in your area.  They are for an AWESOME CAUSE!

5. Finally, if you’re on the should-I-go fence, mentally fast forward to later that day. “I always know I’ll feel worse if I haven’t run,” says Jessica Hofheimer, a running coach and Pilates instructor in Reston, Virginia. “I’ll be disappointed in myself, so it’s worth it just to try. Plus, there’s nothing like the feeling of being done with a run.” 
I probably should go.

It's cute.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blog Post

Don't you just love the descriptive title?

I have decided to make some adjustments to my blog-- nothing major, but just some things like adding social media icons, some new tabs, maybe actually categorizing my posts, ect.

Bear with me in the next few weeks- there might be something looking kind of wonky when you visit my blog, but it is all for the best.  I promise.  Even if you aren't interested in blogging/ are going to skip this post, I would still like to hear from you:
-What is your favorite blog (design-wise and writing/content-wise)?
-Is there anything obvious (or not) that I need to include on my side bar, ect?

I am not going to give any of my own advice on blogging (yet) because I still have a ton to learn, and any suggestions would be welcome, but I will share a few websites with you that I have found tutorials on, ect. (If you have more, PLEASE let me know! I would love to learn!)

1. Codeacademy- I have not completed it yet, but it has a great HTML 101 course that has been helpful.  During this whole design process thing, I haven't done anything major with HTML coding, but it has come in handy when playing with my social media icons, ect.

2. 10 Blogging Commandments- these are nothing super specific, but they are good things to keep in mind.

3. Social Media Buttons and Tutorials- I don't have them up yet, but I have been working on them.  Believe it or not-- my blog has a twitter.  Don't get too excited, I haven't started using it yet, but soon it will be filled with all sorts of running (and non-running) tweets! So follow up!  I might even get crazy with an Instagram and even a Facebook page-- so watch the icons.  If you want some for your blog, you can Google "Free Social Media Icons" or use the link from Her New Leaf that I am using.

The whole "Primp My Blog" series on Her New Leaf is great.  She includes guest post instructions, signature image creation techniques (which I desperately need to do-- the little pictures with your blog name on it that looks super cute and everybody else has), free fonts, and pin it buttons.  Basically everything.

For you to answer:

Favorite blog?
Anything I am missing on my page that you would like to see?