Weighty Wednesday

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I have a confession to make.

I have not been the healthiest of health/fitness bloggers lately.

I’ve also resorted back to my gluten-full ways.

It all started right around May 1st – I was moving, so it was easy to grab food on the run. Then I had a week full of appointments, so I decided again that it was easier to grab food on the run.

Then I had a race and Mother’s Day – so I ate out twice in one day and indulged in a few beers.

Then it was time for Reach the Beach and my system got all out of whack – post race? Burgers and beers. Then pasta and more beer with my parents.

Are you seeing the trend here? And it hasn’t stopped.

Sunday afternoon I felt like absolute death. Between Wednesday night trivia (chicken sandwich and beer), Friday night out with the bf and one of his friends (nachos and fries for dinner…and beer…), Saturday party at my house, Sunday grad party at a pool hall… OMG, I was in unhealthy food/alcohol overload.

Then I stepped on the scale Monday morning and wanted to scream. I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be after I tried on 2 pairs of jeans and something like 3 or 4 shirts Sunday afternoon and couldn’t fit into any of them properly.

I was up 10# from May 1st. Whoops. How the hell did I let that happen? Now, I’m not going to give my weight here, or my goal weight, because I don’t want to start any type of discussion about that.

All I know is shit’s gotta change. And I started Monday – food only on Monday because I was still feeling overly sluggish and disgusting from the poor choices I had made for practically a month straight.

I’m back to gluten free.

I’m back to regularly scheduled workouts.

The best part is – I have plenty of accountability. My best friend watches my MyFitnessPal account like a hawk and yells at me when I screw up. The boyfriend is trying to lose weight so we’re in this together. My mom also follows my MyFitnessPal and we chat about our food choices.

With a 10 mile road race, 2 half marathons, and a marathon yet to come this year I have a lot of training to do and I want to be my healthiest. The number on the scale may not always reflect that, but I will know when my clothes fit right and I feel my best. Right now, that is not the case.

We are all a work in progress, sometimes the progress gets stalled. Sometimes you fall down. As long as you get back up and continue to strive toward the best you can be every day, it’s never failure. Just a stepping stone in this health and fitness journey.

Have you had any food/alcohol/exercise mis-steps lately? What did you do to remedy that?

Are you on My Fitness Pal? Follow me: runcupcake19


Five for Friday: Favorite Things

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I realize that a great majority of my posts are either running or fitness related, with the occasional sprinkling of other things I enjoy, like photography.

Today, I’m going to share a bit more about me that has nothing to do with fitness me. 

Five for Friday: Favorite Things. 

Five categories.

Five favorite things in each category.


Favorite Girly Products (Can’t Live Without)

When I’m not running, getting sweaty, or soaking up the great outdoors, I’m a bit of a girly girl. Here are my can’t live without Top 5 Girly Girl items:

1) Victoria’s Secret Love Spell Body Lotion and Body Spray. I love this scent like no other! 

2) Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush Lip Gloss. My two faves are Yummy Berry (it’s SO fruity!) and Mocktail Hour (the perfect neutral shimmer color). I can’t live without lip-gloss (or at the very least chapstick – but not Chapstick brand – it has to be Burt’s Bees).

3) Maybelline “The Falsies” Mascara in Very Black. My eyelashes are virtually invisible without mascara, and this particular mascara gives them a bold, dramatic look without being too over the top. 

4) Aeropostale tank tops. I own them in a HUGE variety of colors (no joke: purple, pink, teal, green, orange, black, etc…). I literally wear one almost every day. I wear them under polo shirts, under sweaters, under t-shirts, with everything. I buy them in bulk whenever I make a trip to the outlet store.

5) Bath & Body Works Anti-Bacterial Hand Lotions. These reside in my purse, on my work desk, on my home desk, in my car, in my bathroom, etc…I can’t stand dry hands.

Favorite Non-Running/Non-Fitness Hobbies

1) Reading. I’m a giant bookworm – I am always, always reading something. Here’s what I’m reading right now: 

2) Shopping. Duh. I love to shop. My fave shopping partner is my mother – seriously, we often joke about it (but I don’t think it’s a joke really) that no one else “gets it”, the way we shop. We can be walking around the outlets, and both look at a store and go “Yup.” or “Nah.” and we agree, and carry on our way.

3) Photography. You guys pretty much knew this one already. I love to take pictures of everything, I love it even more when I get the pics to come out super pretty. One of my fave nature pics: 

4) Scrapbooking/Crafty stuff. When I actually have time, I love to do crafty stuff. I plan on starting a race-bib scrapbook this winter (I have about 20 races under my belt now, I think I better get started!).

5) Singing. I totally love karaoke nights. They’re so much fun! 

Favorite Bands

Click on the band names for YouTube links to my fave songs by each band! 

1) Nickelback. Yeah yeah I know. A lot of people think they’re whiny, cry baby b.s. music. Listen to their non-radio play stuff and it just may sway ya’. 

2) The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I’ve seen them live at least a dozen times. 

3) Daughtry. Total chick music. Chris Daughtry’s hot. ‘Nuf said.

4) Godsmack. I love me some Sully metal, probably more often than you’d think from pink loving bubbly little me.

5) Alter Bridge. I am forever grateful to my friend Gary for introducing me to Alter Bridge. Myles Kennedy has a voice that just blows me away. If you’ve never heard of them (a lot of people haven’t – which is shameful) give them a listen. I hope you’ll enjoy their music as much as I do.

Not Your Typical Favorite Foods

I could list some other faves, like pizza, cupcakes, and peanut butter, but I don’t know very many people who don’t love that stuff. 

1) Chowdah and clamcakes. Here in Lil’ Rhody those items are one “food”, always served together. 

2) Littlenecks. Also known as steamers. Literally what the name says – they are clams with a “little neck.” You can eat them raw (littlenecks on the half-shell) with lemon juice and horseradish or hot sauce (not too much though – I damn near choked myself to death this summer by doing that). Or steam them and serve them with drawn butter. Either way, super yummy. 

3) Pasta fagioli. My grandmother’s recipe only. I seriously hope my Aunty (that’s pronounced on-tee, by the way) learned how to make this before my Grammy passed away, otherwise I may never have it again (unless of course Chef Little Bro thinks he can duplicate it…).

4) Butterballs. Not the turkey. The cookie. I just re-discovered my love for these delicious little babies last night. They’re a cookie that is made every Christmas in my family. I’ll ask Mommy if I can share the recipe (I believe it came from her Grandma). Lets just say little buttery nutty balls of goodness rolled in confectioners’ sugar. What’s not to love?

5) My mother’s fried chicken. Wicked bad right? I don’t care cuz it’s sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo goooooooooooooooooood. 

Favorite Beers

I love beer, it’s no secret. I love a wide variety of beer too (no cheap-o girly beer here).

1) Guinness. Most recently, Guinness after a hard 5k. I would like to hug the brilliant person that decided to sell $1 Guinness drafts at a local pub after the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. Sheer brilliance.

2) Left Hand Milk Stout. I ordered this one day because I’m left handed, so I thought it’d be fun to try. One of the smoothest beers I’ve ever drank in my entire life. 

3) Dogfish Head 60 and/or 90 Minute IPA. I was never an IPA fan ’til one fateful night in South Carolina when a bunch of runners were gathering for drinks at a pub in Charleston after running half and full marathons…Do I really need to finish this story?

4) Post Road Pumpkin Ale. I really wish I could get this year round. Pour it into a glass that’s rimmed with cinnamon and sugar and it tastes like liquid pumpkin pie. Heaven in a glass.

5) Harpoon. This seems to be my go-to draft when I’m out at a restaurant whose draft beer selection is less than stellar (read: Bud Light, Coors Light, ick, gross).

Now that I’ve written you a novel, tell me, what are five of your favorite things?!

Downtown Jingle Bell 5k Race Recap

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Today I ran the Downtown Jingle Bell 5k with every intention of at least a PR, at most breaking 25 minutes.

Last night I got ready for the race: 

Hooray for festive fingernails!
Totally love the “ruby slippers” headband. It may become a regular wear item.

Then this morning I had my typical long run breakfast, but I ate it two hours before the race to make sure it was fully digested. The race was set to start at 11:15 – I didn’t put a single thing in my stomach after 10 a.m., I didn’t want to risk any sort of stomach troubles during this race.

Breakfast of 5k PR’ing champions – and coffee, of course, in my favorite mug

Before the race I got to meet Jessica and her family. We live pretty close together, so we’re definitely going to try to run together another time (I hope I can keep up!). 

Me and Jessica – you can tell by the socks we both love Target!
Me and Santa Mom – the picture does the hat no justice! It’s sparkly!
 We split up right before the start – Jessica with the really fast people, my bro and I at the 8 minute mile section, and my rents near the back, as they were planning on run/walking the entire race. Huge shout out to mom right now – she ran the entire race, with little to no running training recently, in 38:57. GO MOM!
The ‘rents view at the start

The weather at the start was perfect, roughly 50ish degrees. About a quarter mile into the race I told my brother, I feel much better than I did last week (Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot – I didn’t write about it, it wasn’t worth writing about!). 

Mile 1 - I was right on pace. Bro even said to me, “Nice pace!” My lungs hurt a bit though.  I think it’s because the weather here has been so nice lately (thank you Mother Nature!) that my outdoor runs have not been in temps lower than roughly 55-60 degrees. And my outdoor runs have been limited to once or twice per week since it’s dark out so early. 

Mile 1.5 - I had to start talking to myself. My lungs had warmed up a bit, but I knew that without some really strong mental endurance I would slow down and I would not accomplish my goal. 

Mile 1.75 – The only real “hill” on the course.  I’ve run this course a couple times before, and many of the races that take place in Providence take this exact route, so I was expecting it and prepared for it. I didn’t slow, instead I put my head down, pumped my arms, and focused on running strong up that hill.  I never lost my goal pace for the entire hill (not that’s very long…).

Mile 2.5 – Things start to get ugly (in my head).  My legs were tired (Mile 1 was 7:57, Mile 2 was 7:58), my lungs were on fire, and I had to pee. Yup, I peed before but apparently two cups of coffee and 16 ounces of water is too much, even with an hour of nothing beforehand.  I started talking to myself (in my head) so loud that I don’t even remember what was was playing on my iPod. 

Mile 2.75 - I could see the last corner before the home stretch. I feel lucky that I know this course so well, because that totally helped my mental state. I told myself, “You’re almost around the corner and it’s only 1/4 mile from there.” It also helps that it’s slightly downhill to the finish line. It’s a good thing I was this close, my legs did not want to play anymore. My pace at this point had dropped to 8:20ish, but I was NOT having that. I was so close to reaching my goal, I wasn’t letting out of my sight. I finished that mile in 8:

Mile 3 - I’m around the corner and I can see the clock now. The first two digits on that clock read 24, I knew I was golden. I busted into the finish line sprint (holy 6:06 pace!) and next thing I knew, I was done. 

I finished 3.08 miles in 24:26 according to my Garmin. Official results, 25:12. I have no freakin idea where they got that number from, it’s so far off base to me, so I’m not accepting it. At all. I started and stopped my Garmin on the timing mats, so, I’m taking this 24:26 as my new PR and running with it (pun intended). 

That my friends means, I can tell you this:


Post race happiness

After the race me, bro, ‘rents, and two of moms friends went to lunch. We tried to eat lunch at the sponsor restaurant, but their service was sub-par, so we ended up at Bar Louie instead. It was great, that’s the second time I’ve eaten at a Bar Louie in 2 weeks and I was impressed both times. They even went so far to buy the table a round of drinks because the kitchen made a mistake on my mom and her friends taco orders. They will be seeing much more of my business.

Here’s to wicked awesome PR’s
Turkey, ham, and brie with blackberry jam AND dijon mustard on parmesan bread. It was to die for
Hello Mr. Tall Sam Winter, it’s so nice to meet drink you
All in all it was a fantastic day spent with my family, I’m so glad they join me on my short distance running events. I also decided that I think I’m going to go outfit crazy for all races from now on, planning outfits and painting my nails, and coordinating everything is way too fun.

I’m also glad that Coachy has me do mega awesome speed workouts, without those this PR would not have been possible. Thanks Coachy!

Up next: More marathon training for Marathon #3: Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon in March!

I hope everyone else had an awesome Sunday/weekend!

It Hasn’t Been All Bad (Happiness in an Otherwise Blah Week)

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Hello darlings! Can you believe it’s Thursday? Thank goodness this week is going fast because this is how I feel about it:


It hasn’t been all bad. Yesterday two three wicked good things happened: 

1) I ran a KICK ASS speed interval session, IN THE RAIN

This included 8 quarter mile intervals ranging from 7:21 avg to 8:14 avg

2) I got a surprise birthday package filled with chocolate and beer. It made my day GREAT. (Other than a small incident at work that gave me a massive heart attack made me slightly nervous, but is now over, and all is well again). 

3) I went to dinner with a lovely lady who I hadn’t seen in way too long:

And then today I did this:

Pay no mind to that elevation, I think my Garmin started in space…

6 miles turned into 7 because I have an awful sense of distance, but the crazy part is that this run is my best recovery run EVER. Most times when I run the day after running speedwork, my legs protest, my lungs don’t want to hear it, and I slog on down the road like a sloth on ritalin. 

No, no, not this Sloth (Source)
I think he needs some ritalin (scary, but cute, no?) (Source)

I’m feeling faster and stronger with each run.  My hip did protest a bit today, since I’m building back my mileage, so I’m going to treat it to some elliptical rather than running tomorrow.

Anything else?


Have a great evening my friends, thank you all for the kind words this week on my posts, about my accident, etc. It means so much to me!!!! Year 30 is going to be a great one, I can feel it. 
I love Snoopy, Snoopy loves Woodstock (Source)

My Kind Of Friday

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I started my day with a great P90X X-Stretch session, oh wow did I need that.  I felt GREAT afterward.

Then I went to the doctor’s office for my annual physical.  The nurse told me I’m down 7 pounds from last year.  WOW, YAY! I’m not trying to lose weight anymore, but that was the reason I started running.  Then the doc came in and reviewed my blood work with me – he was so impressed, and said to me “Your numbers (cholesterol, blood counts, etc…) show just how much you’ve been running.” It’s good to know that a year and a half of this running business has paid off in the health department.

Then of course I had to go to work and blah blah blah boring boring boring…

But, while I was at work being bored (even though I should have been busy – I totally had the Friday afternoon slump going on), I was tweeting (can I admit that here? Yeah, my boss doesn’t even know how to use a computer…). It dawned on me while tweeting that, since my dinner plans fell through, I was left without a plan (oh, the horror!). Pizza came to mind – since it is Carb Friday after all.  So of course I took my thoughts to Twitter:

And, I received some great responses – all of which I favorited because I will try each and every one of these.

It was Krissie’s reply that stood out the most. Brussel sprouts? On a pizza? (Notice how I don’t think pickles on a pizza is weird…) Was this just some strange way of using a vegetable that no one eats? (Okay, a lot of you probably eat brussel sprouts – I forgot they existed, honestly) Of course I had to check it out, so I headed on over to Stylish, Stealthy and Healthy and searched for this recipe.  Turns out, the recipe was something she came up with because she needed to use up leftovers.

HOLY SMOKES! The light bulb went off in my head – use what you have to create your pizza (although, I guess this wasn’t really my idea…perhaps the light bulb really said, “What a great idea to use leftovers to make pizza!” you know…if light bulbs could talk.)

I have leftover steak from Monday’s dinner.

I have way too many tomatoes.

I love vine ripened tomatoes

And I have banana peppers (I always have banana peppers – except right now, because I just ran out)

I swung by the grocery store on the way home for crust, sauce (I usually use homemade – but it’s all frozen), and cheese. And with that I created my steak, tomato, and banana pepper pizza!

I’d love to tell you that I stopped at these two pieces. But I devoured half of the pizza and could’ve gone back for more. I enjoyed it with a delightfully crisp, refreshing Pilsner Urquell (or 2…or 3…but who’s counting?)

Can someone please teach me how to slice a pizza so it still looks pretty?

I am going to enjoy the rest of my Friday by doing nothing.  My body is screaming at me to take it easy, and since it is two days before my race, I am doing just that. I already have my pajamas on. I think I’m going to just turn on the tv, zone out, and get to bed early.

I hope everyone had a great Friday.

Don’t forget – you have until tomorrow morning to enter my Bendiful giveaway. I will be picking a winner around 8 a.m. tomorrow so get your entries in!

All Sorts of Good Stuff

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I’ve experienced a lot of good stuff lately! And since it is Monday, I will present it to you in the “What I love on Monday” style.

1) The weather. It has been beautiful here in Lil’ Rhody for the past few days.  Temperatures well into the 70′s and 80′s. I spent my weekend outside working at my grandparents farm, and it was perfect weather for it. I also went for a two mile walk on my lunch break today. Perfect.

2) Pumpkin beer. It may not feel like fall, but the calendar says it is.  Friday night I went out with friends to Mew’s Tavern in Wakefield, RI for dinner and drinks. They have a great beer menu item called the “Rack-O-Draughts”. It’s four 7-oz beer samples.  Imagine my joy when I realized there were enough pumpkin beers on the menu to make my ”Rack-O-Draughts” a ”Rack-O-Pumpkin Draughts”.  Oh yeah. I had, Cisco Pumple Drumkin (4), Post Road Pumpkin Ale (1), Wolaver’s Organic Pumpkin Ale (3), and UFO Pumpkin (2). I was going to review them, but I don’t really know how to review them, so the number in parentheses next to them is my rating, #1 being the best. I also had an 8 oz snifter of Southern Tier Pumking – holy moly that stuff is good. I need to find it in the store ASAP.

Like my rack?
Yummy beer makes me happy!

3) Great home cooked meals. I made myself the most amazing dinner tonight. I grilled a steak, threw together a simple side salad, and cooked up some of Mama Pea’s spanish quinoa.  So delish and so satisfying. I had never had quinoa before – I really like it.  I can’t wait to make more recipes with it. 

Mama Pea – I apologize for serving steak with your side dish. But it was really good.

4) Getting good news. I am now an official FitFluential Ambassador.  Cool, right? I’m very excited and can’t wait to get to work.  What’s that? Don’t know what FitFluential is? Click on the FitFluential badge on the right hand side of this page for all the details.

5) Getting faster. I had two totally butt kicking speed runs last week.  On Wednesday I ran 4 miles at an average 8:46 pace and on Friday I ran 3 miles at an average 8:28 pace.  Who am I?! I’m loving it because it really has my confidence boosted for my half on Sunday.

6) My first giveaway. What? What’s that you said? I said:


Yes, that’s right.  But not right now. Tomorrow. Remember last week when I said I had a surprise for you? 

Stay tuned, because tomorrow is the big day!

But for now…

I hope everyone had a great Monday! 

What do you love today?

Listening to your Body

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I am exhausted. Even after 8 1/2 hours of sleep last night, I’m sitting on my couch right now (at 8:30 on a Friday) practically falling asleep.

I’ve had this feeling all day. I’ve also had that pain in my foot, coming and going as it pleases, all day long.

After yesterday’s AWESOME run, I thought I was golden to move right into training for the Amica Half Marathon. My body says otherwise.

I discussed this with Coachy today, and he told me to take a rest day. Okay twist my arm. I did argue it a bit, stating how I have another half in 25 days, to which he assured me that he is 100% confident that I will kick that half’s ass.

Okay okay – Coachy’s right.  Body says exhausted, foot says ouchy, time for this:

A couple Advil, my couch, Dexter Season 5, and I’m having a chill night.

The moral of the story is: LISTEN to your body.  If you’re so tired you can’t stay awake at your desk at work, you probably need a break.  Don’t push your limits or you’re going to end up burnt out, overtired, or at the worst, injured.

How often do you listen to your body? Do you know when to keep pushing and when to rest?

Random question: Does anyone’s feet/legs get REALLY hot when wearing compression socks? My feet are burning up right now.

U.S. Air Force Marathon Race Weekend Report (Marathon #2)

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I was a bad blogger this weekend and forgot my camera every time I left my hotel room.  My lack of organization could be due to the fact that I woke up Friday morning at 4:52 for a 6:25 flight.  Whoopsy. I set both alarms on my clock radio, so I have no idea what happened there.  I’m glad I normally wake up around 5 to work out.  I ran through my house Tasmanian Devil style getting dressed and wrapping up any last minute packing, and was out the door by 5.

Things went really well for me from there:

  • I was already checked into my flight, and since I was only going for two days I didn’t check a bag.
  • The shuttle from the parking lot to the terminal was sitting right by the parking spot I chose.
  • The security line was long but moved fast.
  • When I got to my gate, my group of seats was lining up to board.
Phew.  I was in my seat by 6:19.  Talk about cutting it close.
My flight and arrival were uneventful (aside from a landing that felt like the pilot threw the plane at the runway…yikes). 
Later in the day Tim, Jim, and I headed over to the expo to pick up our packets.  The expo was good, but most of the vendors were the same as what I saw at Rock N Roll Providence, so I didn’t spend much time browsing. However, I did manage to score a free reusable water bottle and sweat towel!
The expo was held at the Nutter Center at Wright State University which to me looks like where they hold sporting events, concerts, etc… We made our way down onto the arena floor where packet pick up was taking place.  The booths were very well organized with knowledgeable, friendly volunteers. We were able to pick up our bibs, t-shirts, and race bags very quickly.
All three of us were hungry so we headed straight over to the Air Force Museum for the all you can eat pasta dinner. I don’t normally buy tickets to pre-race pasta dinners – I’ve seen a couple and they looked terribly unappealing, but we were assured that this one was really good.  And it was! I loaded my plate up with salad, pasta salad, tortellini with Alfredo, rigatoni (I think it was, I don’t really remember) with meat sauce, and of course a breadstick.  I also grabbed a banana out of the fruit bowl for the morning.  The food was delicious. After eating, Tim mentioned that he had seen a few people with dessert, so naturally we scoped out the dessert table.  I had a chocolate chip cookie, a small piece of German chocolate cake, and what I believe was a magic cookie bar .  We were all officially stuffed after that.  Stuffed but fueled up and ready to go!
Tradition has it with our group of friends that whenever we go out for a race weekend we scope out a local watering hole and make it our headquarters for the weekend.  Jim scoped a place before we arrived in Dayton, so we stopped in for a couple of beverages to discuss our morning game plan before calling it a night. 
We all headed back to our hotel rooms early Friday night for a 5 a.m. wake up call. 

Rise and shine around 5:15 (I just can’t get out of bed without hitting snooze). The guys and I had decided Friday night we were going to go to Tim Hortons for coffee/breakfast on our way so we all loaded into Jim’s car by 6 and hit the road. 
We were told to be on the base 1 1/2 to 2 hours before the race start (7:30). We figured we’d have plenty of time since the hotel wasn’t too far from the base. Oh boy did we ever cut it close (two close calls in one weekend – that’s enough for this girl thankyouverymuch). When we exited the highway and started driving down the road that leads to the base we were greeted with a long line of traffic. Dead stopped, not moving traffic. I tried to stay positive, Jim looked like he was starting to  panic a bit, and Tim was more concerned about the fact that he forgot his Garmin. 
But there we sat – and sat, and sat some more. Creeping forward every so often. We finally made it and parked the car around 7:15.  It was a chilly morning (about 55 degrees) – I decided to leave any extra clothing in the car, since we didn’t even have time to check a bag at this point.  Poor Tim – he’s from Louisiana – he was freezing and looking for snow flurries. 
We warmed up with an almost mile long power walk to the start line from our parking spot. About 75% of the way from the car to the start line we stopped for the national anthem. Then we continued our power walk to the line.  We all quickly spotted our project finish times, wished each other good luck, and got in line.
Right before the starting gun a B-1 Lancer flew low over us – holy cow, that was SO COOL.  Loud, but cool.  Really cool.  Like I had to call my mom after the race to tell her about it cool. 
Next thing I knew the starting gun (cannon? That was loud too!) had gone off and away we went. 
I felt great from the start. I couldn’t find my pace group so I figured I’d just run at what I felt was a comfortable pace and hopefully catch up to them eventually.  
One thing I really enjoyed about this race is how wide the course was.  I’d say I was at my pace and comfortable where I was within the first mile, and there was no more dodging people or shuffling trying to pass. 
The miles ticked by.  One person asked me if I was a pacer, since I had my name and projected time on my back, to which I replied, “No, I haven’t been able to find them yet!” 
Then I heard another voice from behind me say, “Oh, look, there’s a 4:30 pacer”.  I turned around and told them I wasn’t, but I’d run with them if that was the time they were trying to reach. One of them immediately picked up on the fact that I’m from the northeast by my use of “wicked”.  They were from NY. Around mile 6 we finally spotted the 4:30 pace group. They were cookin’. I had run all of my miles up to then at a sub-10mm pace (except for one – pee break!).  The pace for a 4:30 marathon is 10:18! I was less than impressed with the pace leader for that group – she had zero cheerleading skills, held the sign up with the time on it maybe 50% of the time, and spent the majority of the time just chatting with the people that were running right next to her. 
I was still feeling really good though, so I stuck with the group.  At this point, my new friends had pulled ahead of the group. We ran through a beautiful area that I believe was either Air Force Housing or part of Wright State University – either way, it was beautiful.  Lots of trees and well maintained buildings/houses with beautiful landscaping. I made sure to look around and really take in the scenery. 
At this point I had met another person – he was running his first marathon.  He was in the Air Force and it was fun chatting with him because he educated me on some of the planes that were flying overhead during the race! As we were headed into the little town of Fairborn, I had just commented about all the people headed back toward the base.  I said, “Wow are these people really fast or are we near a turn around?!” Turns out it was both, because those words had no sooner come out of my mouth when I saw Jim! I shouted to make sure he knew I saw him! He was looking great – strong, happy, on target. He said I looked like I was doing really well at this point too. I was about 9 miles in at this point, so he was probably at least at Mile 11. 
I reached 13.1 in 2:12:20 – which is only 2 minutes and 7 seconds slower than my half PR.  I had all the confidence in the world, but I could tell that I wasn’t going to keep this pace for another 13.1.  Things were starting to feel sore.  I kept pushing though.  Then of all things I had to go to the bathroom! Ugh! That slowed down my Mile 16 and I was never able to regain the momentum. 
I must have pushed Mile 16 too hard trying to regain my speed and make it a decent mile because suddenly my left hip felt like it was going to give out and send me to the ground. I saw a figure up ahead that looked familiar – it was Tim! I had seen him once earlier on, but we lost each other. He was running kinda slow – so once I caught up to him, I slowed too to see what was wrong.  He was getting a bad blister on his foot, which he had experienced before, and knew it could get pretty ugly.

Between Tim’s foot and my hip we weren’t in great shape, but we weren’t feeling awful yet either. We decided to run/walk the rest of the race, to protect my hip and Tim’s foot. We were going to cross that finish line come hell or high water.

Tim kept me entertained for 10 miles, to say the least.  He is a funny man. We talked about everything.

We ate sport beans and commiserated with each other.

We talked about how 98% of the population would never ever accomplish what we were doing.

We talked about how many people there were behind us.

We talked about Jim’s finish goals and if we ran into him along the course due to some horrible reason that caused him to slow down we were going to roll him over the finish line ahead of us if we had to. (We didn’t have to)

We talked about running to the next light pole, the next mile marker, how many miles we had left to go.

We reached Mile 20.  Tim thought we were at 19 – he was happy!

We celebrated only having a 5k to go.

Then we could see the finish line – but it sure looked a helluva ways off yet. We rounded the corner at 26 miles and my watched ticked off 26.2 and I said to Tim, “Well , we’ve already run our marathon!”

As we rounded the last stretch toward the finish line I told Tim, “Lets see how many people we can pass and finish strong.” The crowd was big and we were running under the wings of big airplanes. We passed at least a dozen people in the home stretch and before we knew it we were over the finish line!

Tim had just completed his first marathon, and I had just completed my second. I was so glad to have someone to run the last 10 miles with, and it was so awesome running with Tim to his first marathon finish.

Through the finish chutes we went – and we were given our medals by Air Force Officers.  That was really awesome.  I even remembered my manners after 26 miles, and when I was congratulated by someone I believe to be a Colonel, I said “Thank you, sir.”

Tim and I found Jim shortly after our finish.  He looked like a kid in a candy shop when he said, “Guess what my time was.” (That may not be a direct quote – I was a tad delirious with pain at that point). I thought he had BQ’d he was beaming so big! He thinks I’m crazy for even thinking that! But, he made his sub 4-hour goal that he’s been trying to make for a few races now! 3:59:58.  CONGRATS COACHY! You rocked it!

After the race we all got cleaned up and headed out to dinner.  We went for steak dinners at Lone Star, then back to the watering hole we had found the night before where we drowned our pain in celebrated with Dogfish Head 90 and shots of Jameson’s.

I did PR by 6 minutes and 5 seconds, but I was hoping for much better.  I’ve had some thoughts since this weekend on what I could have done, and I’ll be talking about it here soon, so stay tuned!

Here are my official stats:

I hope you enjoyed my rather lengthy recap! I can’t wait to do it again!

Committing to 26.2

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about My Love/Hate Relationship with Marathon Training.  And I was asked how I was brave enough to sign up for a marathon in the first place.

It took me a lot of time to commit to running a marathon. Okay, maybe not as much as I thought.  I ran my first half marathon on January 15.  I trained for it in like 6 weeks. And it was all peer pressure support, that got me to that point and through that race. You can read all about that here: Happy Race-iversary! (A Little Bit O’ History). Make sure to check out the crazy friends I mention in that post  - I wouldn’t be here without them!

I never really dove into the gory details of the how and why I signed up to run a marathon.  And how my first marathon is now going to be my second marathon. So, here goes nothing.  Try to stay with me, it’s a wild ride.

Finishing my first half marathon:

After I finished my first half marathon I knew I wanted more. I was already committed to another half marathon on May 1. Would that be good enough?

When I woke up the day after the race I felt great (aside from the slight hangover … what do you get when you combine 7 crazy runners in the city after finishing a race: mass amounts of beer consumption and eventually being told to leave because the bar is closing!).  So, all hangover symptoms aside, I felt GREAT.  I even walked around Charleston for miles – literally, 6 miles or something close to that.

I figured if I felt that great after running 13 miles then maybe I was cut out for more. The wheels started turning…

Friends running their first marathon:

Two of those crazy friends I mentioned above had finished their first marathon in October and December of 2010.

One you can read about on his blog, “Running Bird”: Space Coast Marathon, All The Gory Details

The other is Coachy, and while he doesn’t write a blog, he did write this:

“If you guys ever willingly sign up for this abuse you must come run Chicago.  It was a huge party, bands and DJ’s all over, 2 million people lining the course cheering.  It was truly amazing. Despite the 8 miles of agony at the end, I’m ready to do it again…”

Yeah, he hit the dreaded wall, bad.  I’m praying that doesn’t happen to me next Saturday.  It didn’t hit me during Marathon #1, but I wasn’t moving fast or hard enough.

So, between these two, and other friends in that crazy group, my decision was definitely leaning heavy toward signing up for the race…

So, what made me pull the trigger?

Two friends in my crazy group also signed up for the Air Force Marathon to be their first marathon.  So I pretty much just said to myself, “Oh, what the hell?” if nothing else you’ll have a couple people to be miserable with for the last few miles. And so I did it.

But, now that’s not your first marathon? What happened?

Coachy happened.  He’s a persistent little devil you see. He has a goal to run all 50 states. He’s also crazy enough to run a marathon once every couple of months.  So, once we had finished running our respective races in Charlottesville, VA in April – he was already scheming his next race.  

He found the Mad Marathon in Vermont, and given that Vermont is driving distance for me, asked me if I wanted to join him. Apparently it’s really hard to find marathons in July- and Vermont was one of very few choices. I was iffy on it at first, I really didn’t think I’d be ready for a full in July.  But, since I had already run three halves, Coachy swayed me (I’m easily convinced by people to do crazy shit, can ya tell?). The course was hilly and it was probably going to be hot, so he said he’d run the whole thing with me instead of running for a PR for himself.

Well… okay.  It literally took me like 2.2 seconds to agree.  If I didn’t have to endure the torture of 26.2 miles alone, that’ll make it all better, right? 

I was scared and nervous to commit to it, with only 8 weeks to train. 

And now, as I get ready to embark on that 26.2 journey again – I’m just as scared and nervous as I was the first time.

My advice:

Do it. Don’t ever for a second think that you can’t.  If you are a runner and you think you kinda sorta maybe want to run a marathon – just. freakin. do. it.  You will not regret it.  I cried during the race.  I cried after the race.  I randomly tear up thinking about it, or when I see that 26.2 magnet on the back of my car. 

It is a HUGE accomplishment that most people will not  accomplish in their lives.  I like being part of the, “I did that crowd.”

Monday Love Labor Day Edition (Day 12)

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Good afternoon and Happy Labor Day! Welcome to the Labor Day Edition of what I love this Monday!

We’ll start with LONG WEEKENDS! Who doesn’t love a long weekend? I love this time of year because there are so many holidays – which means lots of long weekends coming our way! Plus I just love the holidays – everything from Halloween to Christmas makes me happy! (My birthday’s in there too – don’t forget, teeheehee).

Next on the agenda: Hiking. I love hiking. Long, short, hard, easy, it doesn’t matter.  Today I went on a two mile hike with my brother and a friend of his. It was steep! We climbed 448 feet in those 2 miles! It was so worth it though – beautiful views at the top.

Which brings me to: Endurance. Yup, I love endurance.  Why do I love endurance? Because I went on that same hike last year, in early March, before I started running and it was HARD.  Today? I felt it mostly in my tired worn out legs. I was winded while climbing (and at that only on the really steep sections), but recovered in seconds. YAY for endurance! YAY for being in good shape!

And then there’s: Random mid-day pizza and beer lunches. Oh yeah, this was sooooooo good after that hike. Plus, it’s always good to spend time with my lil’ bro.

Lets not forget: Night time in the fall. I have not had a bad night’s sleep in the past few nights.  I swear it’s because the fall evenings are so cool and crisp, and yet while it isn’t technically fall yet, it sure feels like it here!

And finally: Having that gym membership, because it looks like my morning runs are going to be wet this week, and a wet run at 5 a.m. is not my ideal way of starting a work day!

I hope everyone had a great long Labor Day Weekend! What are you loving today?