Monday, November 26, 2012

November Celebrations

The past few days have been fantastic.  I got to go home for Thanksgiving for a few days and it was so nice getting to hang out with the family again.  I hadn't seen them since AUGUST and that really wasn't working for me.

I got home Thursday afternoon and my sister was excited to share her dog's agility tunnel with Maddux!  We had a lot of fun watching the dogs go through the tunnels.  Maddux wasn't quite sure how he felt about it, but once he got the hang of it he really seemed to have a good time!

After playing so hard in the back yard we were ready for our Thanksgiving dinner.  It was really nice all being together.  I always laugh a lot when I'm with my family and I honestly didn't even think about all the stresses I currently have in life.  I pretty much disconnected from life and just relaxed.

What's more relaxing than petting your dog by a lake with a big pipe sticking out of it?
The Runner's World holiday running streak started on Thanksgiving, so I convinced my brother to head out on a mile run around the neighborhood after dinner.  It was a lot easier than I had anticipated a run being after a huge (delicious!) meal and it was nice getting to catch up with my little bro for a few minutes. 

Friday the weather was looking like it was going to get a little nastier than I wanted to run in so I started getting ready to get it over with.  My dad surprised me by coming downstairs in running clothes!  I haven't gotten a chance to run with my dad in months, and it was nice having my favorite running partner back!  We ran a couple miles on a nearby trail and then I finished up my 45 minute run with some neighborhood hills.  Yep, the 45 minute runs are back!  I'll give you a training plan update soon!

On Saturday I had yet another running partner.  Barley joined me on a mile run around the neighborhood.  Although we got off to kind of a rough start when we came across an old lady and her little fluffy white dog (NONE of our family dogs seem to do well with those breeds!), she pulled it together quickly and we had a nice run together.  She didn't make nearly as many stops as Maddux does when we run together.  Our record is .25 miles without stopping for a pee break!  Hopefully he will be cleared to run soon though because watching him run makes me smile!

Bar ran MUCH faster through the tunnel than she did with me...Look at that blur!
Sadly, I had to make the drive home today.  Visits with my family are always too short.  I ended up getting a much later start than I had originally planned, so I decided just to reschedule my training plan run and knock out my RW streak mile on the 'mill instead.  It was the worst mile I think I have ever run.  I have the world's weakest bladder, so I tend to dehydrate myself before longer car rides (smart, I know) and as soon as I had unpacked my car I jumped on the treadmill without stopping to really get ready at all.  I had the worst cramps ever!  I actually stopped the treadmill after a couple minute to take a sip from the water fountain which helped a little, but man.  Lesson learned.  Drink more water.  

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving!  The holiday season is officially here!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Don't Panic 5k Recap

Last year I found the Don't Panic 5k on a race calendar and was really excited because it was local and even more excited because it was the weekend before my birthday.  I proclaimed it my "birthday race" and had a blast running it last year.  When I saw it was back on the calendar for this year (once again, the weekend before my birthday) I couldn't wait to sign up!

My friend Val came up from Richmond to run and it was so good to catch up!  We got up bright and early and made our way down to the race.  Packet pick up was quick and easy and we got lots of goodies in a reusable shopping bag plus a cute (long sleeve!!!) t-shirt.

I worked really hard to capture that natural light.  Can't you tell? ;-)
The weather was chilly, but once we got started I warmed up pretty quickly.  Talking with Val made the time go by really fast and I only glanced at my watch when we hit the mile marks.  I really just wanted to enjoy the race and not stress too much about the time.  The first two miles felt really good.  We were hovering around low 9 minute miles which was a perfect pace for a 5k.  The volunteers were really nice and the course went around the city and through a trail that I love running on.  Once we got past mile 2 I knew what was coming--the dreaded final mile uphill.  Not gonna lie, it was tough.  I felt like my breakfast wasn't sitting perfectly and my legs were just starting to feel really sluggish going up. After what felt like an eternity, we finally rounded a corner and had a nice downhill finish.  I ended up finishing the race (according to my Nike+) in 28:05.  Not too shabby.

I feel like the race knew it was my birthday race because once again there was a variety of Georgetown Cupcakes to choose from and a Barefoot Wine booth that was pouring mimosas!  Seriously, could there be a more perfect ending to a race?  The atmosphere was really relaxed and everyone just seemed happy.  As much as I love all the excitement surrounding the larger well known races, I like the smaller local races just as much.

All in all, a perfect race that I will definitely be running next year!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why I Run--Let Me Count the Reasons...

Zooma recently posted this video about why people run.  Now that I'm not specifically training for anything (for a few more weeks at least!) it really got me thinking.  Here are a few of the reasons why I run (drum roll please):

  • It keeps me sane.  After a crazy day at work it feels so good to work up a good sweat.  I ALWAYS feel better after a run, even the crappy ones.
  • Running clothes are so comfortable.  Oh my gosh.  Does it get any better than running clothes?  My favorite pants ever (other than my high school cross country sweats) are these Champion pants from Target.  I wear mine way too often.  I'm also a big fan of race tees. 
  • Cookies taste better after a good run.  I made these pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies after my run yesterday and they were divine.

  • I love Race Day and race expos.  Yes, I get ridiculously nervous before most races, but I think a bigger part of my race day jitters comes from being so freaking excited to run with a bunch of other people who also love to run.  Expos are fun because they have a ton of stuff that really intense runners probably use on a daily basis, but I feel pretty cool buying.  For example, when I was traveling for the Disney race, I couldn't fit my foam roller (ah!) in my luggage, so I purchased this bad boy at the expo:
Not the torture device that the foam roller is, but great for traveling.

  • It's a fun way to challenge myself.  I'm really competitive, but when it comes to running, I'm mostly competitive with myself.  I know I'm not an elite runner and that's ok.   I love trying to beat my personal best and get a ridiculous runner's high after particularly good runs.  Remember the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon?  I still smile thinking about that race because it was so much fun.  Challenging?  Yes.  Amazing?  Definitely.  I rode that runner's high for a good 3 weeks afterward. Ok maybe not that long, but you get the point.
  • It's a good way to give back.  I love that so many races benefit good causes.  My birthday party race this weekend benefits injured firemen.  While I donate to a few organizations, some I wouldn't have even heard of had it not been for races.  It's nice to be able to have fun while helping others out, too.
Honestly, I could keep going on about the reasons why I run.  When it all comes down to it, I just love doing it.  If you want to share your reasons, check out the Zooma site and you may even win a prize ;-) 

Happy running!  

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Happy Weekend

This weekend has been nice and relaxing.  I was lucky enough to have today off of work so I didn't have to stress about  catching up on work too much for the majority of the weekend.

Saturday I went on a run at the park.  Although I normally don't like running with my phone, I used the RunKeeper app to check the calibration on my Nike+.  They were within .2 miles of each other so I say that's pretty good!  I ended up running 4.20 miles in about 40 minutes and let me tell you, it was TOUGH.  The route has some pretty good hills, but I did almost the same run a week ago and it was not nearly as rough as Saturday's.  I guess that's the beauty of running--ya never know what you're going to get ;-)  All in all, I tried to relax and enjoy the beautiful day.  It really was gorgeous out and I was happy that I went.

Look!  I got faster as the run went!  (Spoiler Alert: the big hills were over at that point)

After my run and my usual arm workout, my nice friend and I headed back to the park to take Maddux on a walk.  We had plans to go to dinner and a movie and figured we'd let Mad Dog enjoy stretching his legs a little first.  I love seeing how happy my pup is when we go to parks and trails.  He's really in his element.

We had been planning on trying Frisco Taphouse for a while now (we like going to restaurants with a good beer selection an we had heard good things!) and it definitely lived up to my expectations.  My Punk Bitch IPA came in a huge, heavy glass.  Does lifting it up count as part of my workout?  I'd highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who enjoys trying unique beers.

After dinner we headed to the movie theater and were glad that we stopped by before dinner to get our tickets--the line was insane!  Once we got in the movie I could see why so many people were lined up. The new Bond movie was incredible!  I always enjoy the movies, but this one I'm pretty sure was my favorite.  I never felt like it was getting too long, which tends to happen with those movies for me.

Sunday I continued on with the lazy day theme and did a little shopping with my aunt, uncle, and a couple of my cousins.  I hadn't really spent money on anything other than running apparel lately and necessities, so it was nice to find some good sales on things I can actually wear out (psh like I don't wear my running spandex out..).

Told ya I'd get that red cup picture ;-)
Needless to say, it was another perfect weekend.  Today I plan on another outdoor run (woohoo!) and getting some work done before my return to the grind tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Weekend is Here!

This week has gone by extremely slow and I am incredibly thankful that it is finally the weekend.  While there were definitely some high points to the week, I feel like it dragged on forever (although November seems to be FLYING by!).

On Wednesday night I got my butt out the door for yet another treadmill run.  I was feeling the need to get a really good sweat going, so I decided to try to push it and try to break my 27:00 5k time.  Guess what?

26:40 wooo!  Now I just need to get it done in real life.  As much as I use the treadmill, I know that it's not quite the same as running outside.  It definitely made me feel like reaching that goal in a future race is possible which made me really happy.

Speaking of 5ks, my "birthday" race is coming up next weekend!  I'm so excited because it looks like quite a few of my friends will be able to run, including Val who is running a half marathon this weekend!  Seeing all the posts on Twitter from different runners getting ready to do races lately has made me excited to start training for my upcoming ones in a few weeks!

The weekend has started off nice and relaxing.  I started off with a batch of pumpkin pancakes from a Target mix that I've been dying to try.  They lived up to my expectations and were delicious!  I even went gourmet and added a handful of pecans to the mix.  I even remembered to take a picture before I ate them.  I totally should switch to food blogging :-)


Now I'm off to the park to get an outside run in (this whole dark at 5pm thing really isn't working for me) and then see the new James Bond movie tonight!  Those are always better on the big screens :-)

Happy weekend!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November is the Best Month EVER

Don't get me wrong, I love summer.  I'm pretty sure there's a post very similar to this saying why summer months are the best ever.  Disregard that one, because November is definitely better and here's why:

I get to see my family: I haven't seen these guys since August.  It's been hard.  I rarely get homesick, but lately I have really been missing them.  I can't WAIT to get home for Thanksgiving!  Added bonus, my sister is coming to visit me the last couple days of November!

My birthday is on Thanksgiving: I love, love, (love, love, love) my birthday.  It may be a whole middle child attention thing, but I love that there is a whole day (let's be real, MONTH) dedicated to me.  No, I'm not 5, I just love to celebrate.  My brother's birthday is exactly a week from mine so we get to double celebrate when we're together for Thanksgiving.  Party, party, party!

This donkey has been on my birthday wish list for YEARS.   His name will be burrito.

Starbucks red cups are back: PEPPERMINT MOCHAS HAVE RETURNED.  Yes, I know you can technically get them all year long.  I used to do that.  It would be the dead of summer and I'd be sipping on a peppermint mocha.  Then I realized that it's not really special around the holidays if you have it all year round so I made a pact to only get it in the winter months unless I was having a true emergency day that only a peppermint mocha could fix.

*****There was going to be a picture of me and a red cup here.  Then I went to Starbucks and I was one of the only people to not get a red cup.  Figures. ONE DAY I WILL GET ONE.****

Pumpkin is still big: October is wonderful because pumpkiny goodness returns to our lives.  In November you still have it, plus all the peppermint things, too.  You really can't go wrong with having all that happiness in your life.

Leftover Halloween Candy: I have a lot to buy at the grocery store today.  Chocolate is not one of them.  For whatever reason, I didn't have many trick-or-treaters this year.  It's only ok because now I have enough chocolate to tide me over for the next 3 days.

November is Bread Month: I didn't know it either until I read this tweet:

I don't need to be told twice to eat more carbs.  Come on, it's a celebration.

November is also Runner Safety Month: I love how so many running safety tips are flying around Twitter these days.  I feel like too often I see something on the news about women getting assaulted while running (alone) at night.  It's nice to have all these tips in the back of our minds so that we can minimize risks, not only at night, but in general.  I think it's SO nice that I can run in the middle of the afternoon and not have it be oppressively hot, but if I know I have to do an evening run, I stick to the 'mill.  You never know what can happen, and in my opinion it's better to be safe than sorry.

Speaking of runner safety, I don't want to get into this too much, because I know there are a lot of opinions out there, but I am very saddened by the cancellation of the New York City Marathon.  I completely understand reasoning behind it.  I thought a good point was made when the mayor said,
"We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.  We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event -- even one as meaningful as this -- to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track" (source).  It would have been unfortunate for a race that usually brings on so much unity and camaraderie to have been turned into an event that divided runners, or even runners and the city.  While I liked the original idea to have the race and to ask the runners to donate $26.20 to hurricane relief, I'm sure that the reasons for cancellation were completely valid.  Having 47,000 runners running through a devastated city may not have been the right choice.  Who knows.

Ok that was heavy, let's lighten this back up by recapping: Family, birthdays, CARBS, candy, holiday cups at Starbucks, and focusing on keeping runners safe?  Yep, saying November is the best seems accurate.