Monday, November 30, 2015

#Thankful

I am so sad the long Thanksgiving weekend is over! It was full of family, food, drinks, games, running and fun! Here is a snapshot of some of the events...

After a leisurely morning/afternoon on Wednesday (I love how we get the day off work), I picked up my new kitten! And ,no, she still does not have a name. I am simply calling her "baby cat."

Still no name!!! She got so much love from her family over Thanksgiving!
Then on Thanksgiving morning, my siblings and I ran our annual Turkey Trot 10k! It was hilly, but I did a course PR and the course is beautiful. However, every year I do this race I am always surprised at how hilly it actually is...I need to remember this better.



We spent the rest of the day hanging out, eating and playing cards/doing tequila shots:)

Friday was gorgeous, so we did a walk along the river and into Belle Isle. We also went to Triple Crossing Brewery and an awesome dinner place called Family Meal before going home and playing more cards and taking more tequila shots...


Saturday was full of football and small business Saturday, and we even got started on our 2nd puzzle of the week. I think we are obsessed.

On Sunday I introduced my kitten to her big brother, Tony Romo, with limited luck and got to see my friend Emily's new baby!

High school friends!
As least Romo is staying in the room instead of running away...
The next few days will sure be an adventure in new kitten adjustment at my place (any tips?)! And the next few weeks are full of fun holiday events, and I am excited about being done with classes for the semester in a short 9 days (December 8th!) :) Hopefully work will go quickly this week, and I am entering it feeling very thankful for the wonderful people in my life! Too bad I did not sleep as much as I intended to...why does that always happen?

How was your Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Losing Perspective

I had a very humbling moment the other day that put a lot of things in perspective for me. I was sorting through old emails that I had saved from work and was reading through various funny exchanges with coworkers, and then I cam across the announcement from when I received a big promotion. I saved the initial announcement and all the subsequent emails that came from friends and coworkers congratulating me. I remembered that feeling of excitement and shock from when I received the position and how proud I felt of myself. I remember exactly how it felt to think about the new job and what a great opportunity it would be for me. It's like I was back to two years ago in that moment. It seems like a long time ago, but it was only two years.

I tend to get antsy. I am always looking ahead or in the future for the next thing I want to do or try. I get fed up and make plans for other things. I have a hard time staying in the present and really working through things that aren't making me satisfied. I stay busy instead-> buy a condo, go back to school, run marathons, get second jobs, go on trips, and contemplate what else I could be doing rather than what I am doing. I lose perspective of what the purpose is of all this.

I always lean towards the grass being greener even though I know that is not the case. I know it in my head but my heart feels differently. Lately I have been working on mindfulness and presence and trying to make good of situations. It's hard and I am fighting against a lifetime of habits and mindsets. I crave change and challenges yet the second they aren't new or exciting anymore I crave something different or something I used to have. I live in the past or the future and not the present. That is not the way to live life.

The emails I read recently, the Paris terrorists attacks, talking with people who are struggling financially or with their health or their families...that all brings me back to ground. I don't want to be one of those Generation X/Y people who can't sit still. Those people who are always moving and changing and unsatisfied. Yet, I don't want to sit still either. I think I need to be more mindful of my thoughts and actions and really work on me before I make well-thought out changes. Change doesn't fix things that are going on within myself and I need to remember that. Everything has pros and cons.

I need to make sure I don't keep running away from things and instead face them head on. What this means and how I do it doesn't have to be drastic, but I think that the common thread to all my problems is me. I need to really figure out what is best for me- whether it is personal, professional or physical. I can't lose that perspective. Easier said than done for sure, though!


I hope you’re learning to listen
And I hope you’re learning to stay
And I hope you find what you’re missing
And I hope that you’re making you’re way
I’m a headcase if I don’t keep moving
And my head hurts if I don’t sit still
It’s an itch that I’ll never stop scratching
It’s a hole that I’ll never quite fill
-Electric President


Anyone else struggle with this? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

Image result for thinking out loud blog

Here I am 5 days out from my the marathon. I can successfully walk without pain, had my first short run back today (2.5 miles on the treadmill, thank you rain), have rehashed the race with all my running buddies, and feel like my appetite and energy levels have gotten back to normal. I think my recovery this time around was faster than last March, but it is still a surprise to me how long it takes me to feel normal again after a race like this (aka bathroom habits, sleep schedule, body fatigue, ect). These marathons sure do put a toll on your body! How ANYONE can do a recovery run the day after a marathon is beyond me. 



I posted some race photos that my friends and family took of me, but let's check out the attractive official race photos... (notice I am not posting them all)

Mile 20...about a mile before I started to die.
Down the finish chute!
Salty goodness!

I went to dinner last night with a group of people I trained with during the weekday morning runs (and who also did the Saturday training teams). It was awesome to hear everyone's feelings about the marathon and how awesome/hard it was. I kept thinking how runners are really amazing people and I am so glad I have found a community that share this passion with. We were talking about how we were sad the training program was over because it leaves such a void in our week. As exhausting and time-consuming as it is, I really enjoy how even though running is such an individual sport, you really become part of a group while doing it. We all understand the aches and pains and how many of our days revolve around running (whether they should or shouldn't)-> Going to bet at 8 PM? Totally normal! Who has time to date when you are training for a marathon? -> I won't miss having to run 8-10 miles before work, but I will miss the people and having a goal. After all, isn't that what it is all about?

So it's been a good week, albeit a slight letdown from the anticipation of race week! On the plus side, I AM adopting a new kitty from work though. I need name ideas! 

Tony Romo's new baby sister.
I get to bring her home on Wednesday! I am excited to spend Thanksgiving with her and her aunts and uncles!

As for me this weekend, I have Friendsgiving (I am hosting) on Saturday afternoon and a quick trip to Charlottesville to see my friend's new baby boys! Other than that I am going to try to not spend money, as November has ended up being an expensive month between socializing and my new car. I gotta save up for the holidays and hopefully a trip during my two weeks off from work. 

How did everyone else's recovery go this week? Anyone running races in the next few weeks?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2015 Richmond Marathon

I was thinking yesterday after the marathon how hard it was to put into words how I was feeling, because I was feeling so many different things: tired, sore, thankful, blessed, accomplished, proud...it was an incredible day of love, support, and the strength of the human spirit.

I finished the marathon under my top goal of under 4 hours at a new 11 minute PR of 3:57:49.

This marathon was special to me because it ran in my city. I ran by my condo, my friends' houses, where I used to work, where I used to babysit, where I go to school (VCU), where I met for training team every Saturday for the last 5 months, and it ended in the heart of this city I have called home since I was 7 years old. I saw so many friends and family along the way, those I knew would be there and those I didn't, and I even had a friend run me in from miles 21-25...it was a very special day.

Thumbs up when I saw my parents right before mile 13.
That is not to say this race was easy by any means:) The weather WAS perfect (low-40's at the start and low-50's at the finish-> both my races have had the best weather). But I kept thinking along the route how HARD running is, even when you do all the training for it. I did two 20 milers this time around which I think helped me, but my pace the whole way was a solid 20 seconds faster than any of my longest training runs, so that was hard to keep. I went through many ups and downs in terms of how I was feeling during the race-> miles 10-12 were tough due to hills and running directly into the sun, miles 17-19 were another tough group due to an incline and fatigue, and then after mile 21 I was mentally not in a great place and felt I could not run any faster or my legs would fall off. I had to keep reminding myself that it SHOULDN'T feel good at this point, but to not let me not accomplish my goal when I was so close to the finish. Pain is temporary. The last 5-6 miles really are when you have to accept the discomfort and tough it up. All the training in the world can't make those miles easy. I was lucky in that I didn't have any serious pains- my hips were tight but everything else felt good (even my feet remained unscathed- no blisters or any shoe pain)!

All that being said, this race was FUN and went by SO FAST. I thought multiple times along the route how quickly it was all going by. I blinked and we were at mile 7...and then 17! That could be because I knew the route so well, but I also think because I was more relaxed and thankful this time. I knew I would finish (I just didn't know if I would get my top goal) and with everything happening in the world on Friday night, running a marathon really took perspective. I GET to do this. I don't HAVE to do it. It is a privilege to have the time and energy to train and run races. That mindset made me really enjoy the time even when it was hard.

The marathon training team coaches that I had worked with all training season were all over the course and would always cheer me on or give me worlds of encouragement when I needed it (shout out to a coach that motivated me at mile 18 and another at mile 25). I also had ZERO stomach issues which is always something that concerns me (I sometimes had to go during training runs), and my fueling went great- I took water or gatorade at every stop (mostly water) and took gatorade chews at miles 6 and 11 and gu that was available on the course at miles 16 and 21. I didn't walk through the water stops until after the halfway point, but if I did it again that is one thing I would start during the first half because I don't think I was getting enough water by running through, which may be why I had rough few miles before the halfway point.

My pace was very consistent- I averaged 9:02-9:05 the entire time via the various splits they gave me (10k, half, 20 miles and finish). I could see the 4 hour pace group the entire marathon- sometimes I was behind them and sometimes ahead of them, but they were always close. I also never used music because of the great crowd support and music along the course. I also met some great people that stayed with me for a big part of the race (it was cool to meet out-of-towners and hear their comments on how beautiful the course was!). My group thinned out closer to the end, though. The last mile was downhill, which was a very welcome situation. It was like you didn't have to try to run anymore (ha)! My quads did not like HOW downhill the last .3 was, but it made for one of the best finishes because you can see the river and Brown's Island as you come down from the city. I knew I had PRed and beat my goal, so I enjoyed it!

This was me seeing my dad right before I crossed the finish line telling him I PRed!
I felt surprisingly good after the race at the post-race party and got to reunite with friends and family. Hunger didn't kick in until a few hours later and all I wanted was SALTY FOOD. I was done with sugar due to all the gatorade and gu:)

Literally 1 minute after I finished!!!
Friends at the finish!
My parents!
We celebrated with dinner later Saturday night at Mellow Mushroom (pizza!) and I had a slightly rough night of sleep due to the soreness kicking in but I went to be early so I got a decent amount of sleep:). I know I will be sore for a few days and I am looking forward to training for shorter races! I have a Turkey Trot 10k coming up on Thanksgiving that my whole family is doing and then a half marathon on December 6th in Fredericksburg (I have never run a half there before). I do not have a strong desire to do another marathon any time soon, but I loved this course and training experience, so I may think about doing Richmond next year...we'll see how I feel once all the soreness has worn off:). I honestly don't think I can go much faster, and I am spoiled that my first 2 races were both under my goals for each and the weather was perfect...I know I can't keep that up! Maybe running a race with a friend who needs support would be fun, or in a new city...we'll see:) I am also so lucky not to have been injured either of these training seasons. Our bodies are incredible things!

Thank you again to friends and family for all your support and listening to be talk about training for so long:) And a big shout out to all my friends that ran the full and those that did the half!!! Runners are AWESOME!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Richmond Marathon Training Part 4 (aka TAPER CRAZIES)

Ya'll...it's race week! I am 5 days away from Marathon #2!!! I am PUMPED.

The last few weeks (of taper) have been a great and awful part of training...you are excited about lower mileage and more rest/sleep, but you begin to doubt that you can actually hit the higher mileage again. I have had a lot of good runs during taper that were at marathon goal pace (9:10), but the doubt is still very much present. Can I hold that after 20 miles?!

To make myself feel pumped/capable/emotional, I have been reading blogs of people's Richmond Race Recaps and looking at various other training plans to not feel so crazy about my taper:) This good news is I FEEL good. I just want Saturday to be here!

That being said I have three goals for race day:

1. Finish (-> obviously a marathon is no joke any time you run it)
2. PR (4:08:52 was my Shamrock finish time)
3. Sub-4:00 (!!!)
(^I think if the stars align this is very doable based on my training runs as long as I can hold my pace for the last 6.2 miles)

Good quote to keep in mind:)

Anyways, here is my running during the taper!

October 26- November 1 (Week 16)
Mon- Rest
Tues- 5 miles
Wed- 8 miles
Thurs- 4.1 miles
Fri- Rest
Sat- 12 miles -> this run was exactly at marathon goal pace and I had negtive splits
Sun- Elliptical
Total: 29.1 miles

November 2- 9 (Week 17)
Mon- 4.05 miles
Tues- 6.1 miles
Wed- Elliptical
Thurs- 3.85 miles
Fri- Rest
Sat- 8 miles
Sun- 4.2 miles
Total: 26.2 miles (see what I did here?)

November 10- 15 (Week 18/RACE WEEK!)
Mon- 3.5 miles
Tues- Rest
Wed- 3 miles (planned)
Thurs- 3 miles (planned-> I may rest again and do a shake out on Friday instead)
Fri- Rest
Sat- RICHMOND MARATHON!!!!!!!!!!!
Sun-  Rest...like a boss
Total: 35.7 if I run my tangents well:)

Good luck to all the Richmond Marathon/Half Marathon runners!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Honda-ween!

I had a very exciting Halloween weekend!
 
First off, I had my 12 mile training run on Saturday morning that I did at goal marathon pace, so I was very excited about that (and the fact that I didn't have to run 20 miles)!
 
Secondly, after I got back from D.C. on Tuesday, my car started to make some odd rattling noises under the hood. This is my 2004 Saturn Ion that I bought after college with only 20k miles. She now has 108k miles, and has some "quirks," if you will. The coolant light has been on for over a year (the coolant is fine), the left windshield wiper is not on correctly (I had to get the bulb replaced last year and it has never been the same), I can't always get the key out of the ignition due to an electronic issue that never does it when I take it to the dealer so they won't fix it, her sunroof drains sometimes leak in my trunk and passenger floor, her hubcaps keep popping off, her paint is faded and the inside seats are stained, and her front lights keep getting a film on them due to a moisture issue, so I don't get great vision in the dark. Nevertheless, she is paid off and the taxes on her are super cheap! However, I told myself I would no longer put money into her because I am an adult and can afford a new car, so when the rattling started I was pushed to finally pull the trigger.
 
I have wanted a Honda Civic forever, so I did some research at the end of last week on prices and reviews, and went to the dealership to test drive. Well, of course I loved the car and due to my awesome credit score, the financing is very reasonable (.9% APR) and I was able to get what I think is a good deal for a 2015 since the 2016's are coming out now.
 
So at about 3:30 yesterday, I walked away from ROLYWA...(I am not keeping the same plates due to the vanity/UVA fees I got sick of paying every year)...
 
 
to this beautiful unnamed vehicle:) My first brand new car EVER.
 
 
Isn't she pretty and shinny?! And she has a back up camera, side camera, Bluetooth (and all that fancy jazz), alloy wheels and is alllll black. I was able to put down a solid down payment and my monthly fees aren't bad at all. Now, I have never in my life had a car payment, so we will see how fast I pay her off just so I don't have one anymore:) BUT I do recognize that my money is worth more earning interest in the bank than paying her off as fast as I can, and since I still want to travel and put money into retirement funds, and am paying for school, I am going to try to not pay her off super-fast, just so I have money for other things:) Welcome to adult financial decisions, right?! But can we say "road trip" fast enough for my two-week winter break coming up? There is some money saved right there versus flying somewhere (my gas mileage will be amazing)! See, she is paying for herself already:)
 
Afterwards, it was time to celebrate Halloween, so I borrowed some clothes to dress as the Easter Bunny and went to my friend's house for our version of Halloween- aka wine and a potluck!
 
In character as a Ninja Turtle, Egg, Bunny and Robber

Friends on Halloween:)

I just love Stewart (the dog) looking so guilty here:)

So I had a very successful weekend and I am looking forward to two days this week of no students due to Election and Parent/Teacher Conference day! Happy November- the official start of the holiday season:)
 
How was your Halloween? Ever bought a new car?