Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 1 Recap

Shamrock weekend is only 14 weeks away!  Week 1 went better than I expected, but I'll admit I was a little concerned after the first run.  I felt like it was a bad sign (I know, ever the optimist).  

Monday: Nike Training Club app for 15 minutes of butt exercises.  Woo strength training.

Wednesday: When I got to the gym, I found that two of the four treadmills at our complex are out of order.  Both the remaining 'mills were taken so I jumped on the elliptical for a few minutes.  When a treadmill was free, I was bummed because it was the one that always hurts my joints.  Not sure what the deal is with it, but it's really uncomfortable.  After a mile and a half I called it and decided I would just run laps outside.  A mile and a half of laps turned out to be the most boring thing ever, so I leashed up Maddux hoping to at least break up some boredom.  Let's just say we didn't make it very far.

Thursday: I made up the mile I had left from Wednesday and then did 15 minutes of arm exercises and 15 minutes of butt exercises.  

Saturday: A little over 5 miles with my run club.  I definitely pushed harder than I would have on my own and I was really happy with my pace.  After the run I got ready to pick up my foster pup, Demi!  I only had her for the night, but she was super sweet and I can't wait to read that she has found a family.  Maddux was even excited to have her, which is a first!  If anyone is interested in giving my sweet girl (or any of the other Lucky Dogs!) a home for the holidays, find out more information about adopting here.

We couldn't get over how soft she is!!

Sunday: I said a somewhat tearful goodbye to Demi at the adoption event (I'm getting better!!) and then finished up the last bit of Christmas shopping I had left.  I chose taking my pup on a nice long walk over running outside and ended up running on the treadmill.  I finished my 4 miles much faster than I expected and am feeling pretty good about where I'm at after the first week!

Week 1 Miles: ~13.5

How is your training going?  Does anyone else include strength training in their plan?  This is the first time I'm officially adding it, so I hope it helps!  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday 5: Shamrocking 2015

Oh, Friday.  Thank you for finally making an appearance.  I'm linking up with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney today!  Make sure to check out all the great blogs!  Wednesday kicked off my training plan for the Shamrock Half Marathon 2015.  I'll recap the week early next week, but let's get into some of the other stuff going on lately!

1. My plan is 15 weeks.  Last year I had a really long plan.  This one seems short and it's scary.  It fit on one nice page and is ready to have some workouts checked off!

2. I added two cross training days.   Last year I think doing my Nike Training Club workouts helped a lot.  Plus, they are only 15 minutes so it's a nice way just to get moving a little after a long day.  If I can get some cardio cross training that's great, but I want to focus those days mainly on strength.

3. Two of our four treadmills are broken.  Eek.  I hope that when I get back from my parents' after the holidays that they will be back in order.

4. I got in a couple good non training runs last weekend. I ran on the W&OD trail with my nice friend last weekend as a last "hurrah" before my runs start to "count." Our last almost mile was at an 8:35 pace!  Probably should make him run with me more often because I always tend to do better when he's around! I told my run club that I need them to keep me accountable to make sure I am pushing myself at our runs and they were really supportive.  It's nice to have some running buddies!

5.  Unrelated, but Maddux and I are getting a puppy!  Lucky Dog was in need of some fosters and I felt like we should do something nice for the holidays.  They came up so fast this year that I feel like I didn't have proper chance to get in the spirit, so hopefully this will help!  Check out my foster pup here!  I'll post more pictures of her once she arrives!


Who else is gearing up for a spring race?  I can't wait to hear about how your training goes!

PS--Share this photo and comment with #SHAMROCKON15 and you will be entered in a chance to win 1 of 5 free entries to Shamrock weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday 5: Favorites

Hello!  It's been a little while since my last post (BUT I'm going to get more consistent here really soon).  In typical fashion, I'm linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for the Friday 5!  Make sure to check out the amazing blogs in the link up!  I can't wait to read what other bloggers are loving right now!

1. Thanksgiving with family.  This year Maddux and I went to my sister's house in Ohio.  She did an amazing job cooking our dinner and we had lots of amazing walks at the parks near her home. Maddux went to the beach for the first time and it was so funny watching him with the waves.  My sister and I went to a wine and painting class and had the best time!  I'm not sure my painting looks quite as the instructor had envisioned, but I had a great time trying to figure it out.   (Side note: my sister just hit her goal of walking 1,000 miles for the year with her pup today!  So exciting!!)

2. Sweat Pink Ambassadors. It's so nice being a part of this community.  I've been getting horrible side cramps lately during my runs, and when I posted in the group seeking advice they immediately responded with a bunch of different things I could try.

3. Holiday Sweat Challenge.  I decided I needed a little motivation to keep up with cross training this winter, so I signed up for my first fitness challenge.  Although I've been horrified at how little water I have been drinking lately (you track it every day), it has been fun trying to get the workout points!  I've been making it a point to try to get more water and by the end of this thing I am determined to get my daily water point!

4.  Buying gifts.  While I still need ideas for my nice friend, I have the rest of my family all figured out! I was so bummed that I ran out of tape in the middle of wrapping.  I've had the best time picking out things I think that my family would like.  They all did an amazing job choosing things for my birthday, so I'm glad I get to turn around and spoil them a little now!

Dachshund gifts from my sister.  Short legged pups = love.

5. TRAINING PLANS!  I finally have my Shamrock plan all figured out.  It's printed and on my fridge all ready to be conquered.  Last time I didn't miss a single run.  I'm going to try for that again!  As I mentioned earlier, I'm going to start tracking my training again, so writing (and reading y'all's blogs!) will get much more consistent than my sporadic posting I've had going lately.

Get used to all my pictures looking weird for a while.  My phone
only lets me take selfies, which is not easy if your self isn't in them :)

What are some things you've been loving lately? 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday 5: Birthday Eve

Is it just me, or did this Friday take its time getting here?   My mom says I can't complain though because it's my birthday week!  Having her say "Happy birthday Tuesday!!" was enough to make even the longest day seem a little better.  Plus, I've been seeing a corgi out on a walk lately on my drive home from work.  I think the Big Guy upstairs must know I needed a little extra boost lately.  I'm still battling with this cough (yes, over a month--hence the lack of posting lately), but I've been staying busy and November has been flying by.  I'm linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia!  Make sure to check out their adventures.  So many awesome bloggers have been linking up that you're bound to find some great reading material on these dark, cold days!

1. Dogfish Brewery.  My nice friend and I headed out to Delaware a couple of weeks ago and had the best weekend.  (Side note: I was so proud of myself because it was the first time I left Maddux with someone other than family or friends and I didn't even cry!)  If you love good beer and the beach I highly recommend this weekend get away.  The brewery was really fun.  We got there right when they opened and had about an hour before our tour started (it's first come, first serve so they just add you to the list and give you the next available slot).  We decided to go ahead and get our samples.  Although there were several we knew we loved, we decided to get some new to us brews.  Some of them were really funky, but it was fun trying some new stuff that we might not have been able to on a normal day. The tour was informative and our tour guide was fun.  They even had crocks for people who weren't in tour approved shoes.  After the tour, we headed to Rehoboth Beach and walked on the boardwalk before heading to the Dogfish Brewpub, where we got to try some exclusive brewpub beers.  It was the perfect relaxing weekend away.

2. Visits with Best Friends.  A while ago I saw that Andrew McMahon was going to be playing in DC.   I don't know many people who know him (and would be willing to pay for a ticket to a concert they didn't care at all about) so I convinced my best friend to come up for an early birthday celebration.  I had the best time catching up with her!  I had a fantastic time at the concert--he alternated playing his new music and songs from his former band.  I was a happy fan!  Saying goodbye wasn't quite as hard knowing that we'll see each other again soon for Surf-n-Santa and then again for Shamrock weekend!

3. Converting Friends Taste in Beer.  (Kidding....but seriously..) Look, I know I'm a beer snob.  I can't help it.  It's partly the way I was raised, and if I'm going to drink beer I want it to have some oomph to it.  (Granted, I have had many terrible craft brews, BUT gotta support small businesses, right?)  My best friend and I met up with my cousin and another good friend at Jailbreak Brewing and I loved watching them find beers that they liked.  I've been working forever to get them on my side! I had to laugh when my best friend later sent me a picture of some Heavy Seas beer she picked up on her way home joking that I had helped her see the light.

4.  Hanging with Maddux.  He is loving this cooler weather and acting like a completely different dog than he does in the summer months.  Unfortunately, the early night fall has made it hard to get decent walks in and I've been trying to find ways to keep him entertained.  We might have to look into signing up for another class soon!  Luckily he really loves his treat ball, so he will happily chase after it most of the time.  I can't wait until our days start getting longer.  I miss our after work walks at the park.

Bark Box deliveries make up for our lack of walking in Maddux's opinion.

5. Christmas Shopping!  Can you believe it's only a month away?!  I basically have one free weekend between now and then, so I'm trying to get all my ideas set so I can pace myself and have everything ready on time.  I've had a lot of fun in the search so far and can't wait to see my family in a few weeks! (I actually get to see my sister next weekend for Thanksgiving and my brother the next weekend for a belated birthday (and engagement!!!) celebration, but you can't beat the whole gang together!)

What have you guys been up to this month?  What concerts do you have to beg friends to go to? The only other one I get funny looks for is the Avett Brothers, but my sister is always down for a visit to see them!  

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday 5: Bronchitis Edition

It's finally Friday and man, it couldn't come soon enough.  I'm linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia.  Make sure to check out all the awesome blogs they've rounded up!  As the title of this post indicates, I've been a little under the weather lately.  I've been a disgusting, hacking, coughing mess.  I've still managed to have a little fun in the process though!

1. The Scarecrow Classic 5k.  I had such a great time at this race!  It was a blustery morning, and probably not the best for a girl recovering from a nasty cold, but it was nice running a low key race.  I was bummed that I wasn't feeling my best because I think I could have done really well!  The race was held at Meadowbrook Park in Maryland with plenty of parking and an easy packet pickup.  The race didn't start until 9 so I got to sleep in a little.  The park had real bathrooms which I appreciated, especially because I would have been nervous the portapotties would have blown away!  They ended up taking down the finish line arch because it was blowing around so much, but there was still a good number of volunteers cheering you on as you finished the race.  I grabbed my cinnamon crunch Panera bagel and Starbucks coffee (with to-go lid!  Nice touch!) and headed back to the car to get out of the cold and spent the rest of the day bumming around in my bright orange scarecrow tee.

2. Baking Cookies.  I have these awesome Halloween cookie cutters that I've only used one other time because I kind of hate sugar cookies.  I searched for a long time to find an alternative cookie that could be rolled out and found these chocolate chip ones.  They kind of taste like Chips Ahoy (which is ok by me, just not that nice homemade taste), but I had a great time baking them!

Every good baker has a Halloweiner cookie cutter.

3. Bennett's Curse Haunted House.  My nice friend and I joined his sister and her friends for a last minute Halloween adventure.  It was fun, but not all that scary in my opinion.  Maybe I was just in a silly mood, but I felt like most of the monsters just sounded like I had all week.  I suggested that they go get some meds for their hacking :-)  The chainsaw monster at the finish ended up walking next to me instead of chasing me like the other groups because I told him that if I ran I would end up coughing for the next hour and didn't really want to deal with it.  He seemed cool with that and stuck with me until his next victims rounded the corner.  Nice guy.

4. Reading.  I finally finished Crime and Punishment and have moved on to some lighter reading.  My sister lent me the Chet and Bernie series and I've been trying to finish them up before we head her way for Thanksgiving!

5. Shopping for my upcoming races.  I'm going to visit my brother for an ugly sweater run and have my outfit all ready.  I'll save the final product for the actual race, but it involves these awesome tights.  They may just have to come out for Surf-n-Santa a couple of weeks later!

Have a wonderful weekend!  I'm hoping next week I'll be up and running again.  I've been sticking with Nike Training Club workouts and walking so I don't anger my bronchioles, but am raring to go!

What do you do when you're sick?  Stay away from running or power through? 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday 5: Reasons to Race

It's the Friday 5 with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney!  Mar is running her first marathon this weekend, so make sure to give her some extra love!  This week the theme is "Reasons to Race" and I actually can play along this time!  There are so many reasons I sign up for races but here are my top 5:

1. Because you love the organizers.  Y'all know I love my J&A races.  I would run every single one of their races if I could.  I'm totally bummed I'm missing the Wicked 10k tomorrow.  At least Surf-n-Santa will be here before we know it!

2. Because you want to PR.  Other than just loving Shamrock, I know it's very PR worthy.  I didn't have to think twice about signing up for it this year.

I really hope I get a PR soon, because I'm as tired of this pic as you are :-)

3. Because you want to run fast.  Ok guys, I can't be the only one this happens to.  You know, when you feel like you're pushing really hard on a run and your watch beeps and you realize you're going ridiculously slow?  Well, at races I somehow manage to actually push myself.  I guess part of it is the crowd and the excitement, but my paces are pretty awesome during most of my races.

4. Because you need something to look forward to.  (I know my grammar is seriously bad in this post.  Sorry.)  Having a training plan makes me excited to run.  I look forward to these races for months and I love having something to work toward.  I also love planning my races around visits so I know I get some quality friend and family time!  

5. Because you want to just have fun.  I'm so excited because my brother and I are all signed up for an ugly sweater run that ends at a brewery.  It's going to be a crazy good time and I can't wait to just act silly and run with my bro again.

I expect our pic from our next race to be even better.

What are some of the reasons you sign up for races?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday 5: After Crawlin' Crab

I always get a little sad after races.  All the weeks of training and then in a couple of hours it's all over.  I get in a weird place afterwards where I want to try other workouts that I've been neglecting, but also want to keep running so I don't turn into a complete sloth, and end up not really doing enough of anything.  I need a plan.  For the Friday 5 link up with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney I figured I'd focus on the five things I have going on now that Crawlin' Crab is over.

1. Running with my group.  I'm going to try my best to keep up with the fast people.  You know, the whole run with fast people so you get fast, too?  I had been taking it easy in my group before because I had my long runs the next day, but now there's nothing stopping me.

2. Getting away.  I have a couple of family visits coming up and I'm really excited because my nice friend and I have a trip to the Dogfish Head Brewery next month.  I've been dying to go for ages now and it's finally almost here!

Love the alehouse, but can't wait to go to where it all started!

3. Surf-n- Santa 5 Miler.  This is my first year running this race and I'm really looking forward to running under the lights on the boardwalk.  I remember driving through them with my family years ago and it will be a fun experience running instead!

4. Strength Training.  I did this quite a bit during Shamrock training, but somehow neglected it during my Crawlin' Crab training.  I felt so good during my Shamrock race (no IT band problems, no shin issues) and I don't think it's a coincidence that it was my PR race.  This week marked the return of my Nike Training Club workouts and I am super sore.  It will all be worth it when I break 2 hours in a half, right?!

5. Another Half!  Speaking of half marathons, I'm all signed up for my next!  I might look for another before, but Shamrock Dolphin Challenge here I come!  I'll be running the 8k as well as the half.  Not gonna lie, I'm in it mostly because I love dolphins and was really jealous of the medal last year.  I guess we all have our things.

Shamrock holds my 2 fastest half times.  Let's make it 3!

And in the spirit of the Friday 5 link up, here are the 5 things going on my ipod that pump me up (none are really current, don't judge):

1. Feel So Close--Calvin Harris
2. Sweater Weather--The Neighbourhood
3. Daylight--Matt & Kim
4. Any song by Jack's Mannequin.  Miss them.
5. Wait! Wait!  Don't Tell Me! podcast

Happy Friday!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday 5: Crawlin' Crab Weekend

I went to write my Crawlin' Crab weekend recap and it was so long.  There were so many amazing things to tell and I realized that I would be writing for ages.  I figured I would condense it a little bit to spare you guys my rambling.  Make sure to visit the Friday 5 link up hosted by Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney!

1. The Shell Yeah! Challenge: I read about challenges all the time and I was excited to take on my first!  I ran the 5k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.  I ended the weekend with three amazing medals and my wall display has officially been taken over by Crawlin' Crab bling.  They had it really well organized.  You wore one bib for the 5k and then a Shell Yeah! bib for the half so that volunteers knew who got the extra medal.

2. The Courses: I haven't run a 5k in a long time and it was actually kind of surprising being done so fast.  There was a water stop halfway through (I actually took advantage of this because I stupidly ate a granola bar on the way to the race and forgot my water bottle.  I couldn't find a water fountain (didn't look that hard either..) and I was really thirsty!  Other than that, I can't think of anything too exciting about the course.  It was fun, the finish was great, but like I said, it was a big blur.  I finished in 27:31.  I was really happy with it, but am also ready to get that sub 27!

The half marathon on the other course was a different story.  This was my third year doing the race, and I believe it was the same course.  If not, there were very few changes although I didn't notice the fishy smell on the one bridge!  We had the most beautiful weather and I was comfortable the whole time.  I loved the part that goes through the cute little downtown Hampton area and you can't beat the stretch along the water.  The bands were great, the dj was funny, and the volunteers as always were amazing.  I was a little surprised that there weren't as many neighbors out and about.  In past years it seemed like the neighbors were more lively.  There is a short hill at the end, but it's a mostly flat course.  I finished in 2:06:58.  It was nice to have a great race since I had been a little worried during my training!   

3. The Swag: Since I did two races I got two sets of race fun.  The shirts were awesome this year.  They strayed away from the original crab and went for a more classic look.  I love it!  The shirts came in reusable grocery bags.  They're a little more durable than some of my others, so I'm excited to replace some of my older bags.  After the 5k I got a water bottle and after the half I got an amazing visor.  I was really excited because I have a lot of hats now from races, but I had been wanting a visor for summer running!

4. Post Race Party: This year there was a Craft Beer Fest after the race.  This was right up my alley and I was excited to try some new beer.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the full beer list was available after the 5k.  We had to drive back Sunday, so we knew we wouldn't be able to fully enjoy the festivities.  The post race party was a lot of fun.  There was music and we walked right up to the food and beer tables.  I had a great time celebrating the end of a fun race.

5. Hampton Roads: It was so nice to be back in my old stomping grounds.  My best friend was able to come up and do the 5k so we got to hang out for a while on Saturday.  After I volunteered at the expo for a few hours my nice friend and I took Maddux to the Noland Trail.  It made me miss running there so much!  I have so many happy memories on that trail.  Before we left to head back home we got to meet up with my college roommate and her husband for coffee at my favorite coffee shop.  I had been dreaming of that mocha for months now and it did not disappoint!

Thank you to J&A for another amazing race!  (I got to meet the J and A of J&A this time around and they were SO incredibly nice!)  I had a fantastic time and can't wait until Surfin' Santa in December!

Did you run Crawlin' Crab last weekend?  What did you think?  Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday 5: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Happy Friday, friends!  Today for the Friday 5 I'm going to list some of the Breast Cancer Awareness beauty finds I came across.  You know, look good while doing some good.  I realize the best way to help out is to make a flat out donation to an organization, but if you're in the market for some new cosmetics it doesn't hurt to go this route!  Be sure to check out the link up hosted by Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia!

1. Essie Nail Polish.  I think the Pink About You Sequin color is so cute!


2. Big Sexy Hair Spray.  I've heard nothing but great things about this hair spray!  I love how they named this product Caring is Sexy.


3. Ban Refresh Wipes.  I am looking for a good wipe for when I have to run errands right after a run.  This might be a good one to try!


4. eos and Nicole by OPI set.  Once again, I've heard great things about this lip balm, but I still think the shape is a little weird...If I see this set in stores though I'd definitely give it a shot!


5. Smashbox Be Legendary Lipgloss.  Remind me of How I Met Your Mother, anyone?  PS--I FINALLY saw the last season.  Was not impressed by the finale.  Just sayin'.  Anyway, my favorite lipgloss was discontinued (boo) so I'm in the market for some new gloss!  This one might be a little too bright for my taste, but thought I would share it anyway!


What are some of your favorite beauty products?  Any that only come out this time of year?  While it's definitely not a beauty product, I had a Pink Ribbon bagel from Panera today!  Love those things!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Strut Your Mutt!

This weekend I was all smiles.  Maddux and I had a fun day together and I got a couple of great runs in!  On Saturday I had one of those runs where you just remember why you love running.  It wasn't fast, it didn't feel particularly good, but just being out there made me happy.  On Sunday I conquered 12 miles and am finally feeling like maybe I can do this whole half marathon thing THIS WEEK!  I can't believe Crawlin' Crab is less than a week away!

Since Saturday was my first experience with Strut Your Mutt, I figured I'd give you guys a little recap of what the event is all about!  As you guys know, Maddux is from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.  LDAR is growing fast, and a big part of it is because of their awesome fundraising.  If you're ever lacking passionate people in your life, drop by a Lucky Dog event.  There are incredible people backing it!

Our first picture together!

I was so excited to be able to sign up for Strut Your Mutt this year!  I had read about it, but there was always something going on that weekend.  I made a vow that 2014 would be Maddux's year to strut.  I signed up with Lucky Dog's team so that my $25 registration would go straight to them!  There was a fun run and a walk option and you could choose to fundraise for your organization.  I had wonderful supporters who understand how much Maddux means to me and one of the LDAR volunteers organized a great fundraiser that I joined in on at the end of August.  One of the fun parts is that they make it into a contest.  The top fundraising rescue gets a special booth, which is great publicity for their animals.  I'm proud to say that LDAR was number one!  They raised over $25,000!

When we got to the event at Black Hill Regional Park, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I had been meaning to check out the park for a long time (it's in our Doggin' Maryland book) so I was happy that we finally had a chance.  Maddux was so excited as he saw all of the other dogs walking towards the festival.  The only bummer was that we had to park at a further away lot, which was kind of a lot for my pup's short, arthritic legs.  That paired with the warm, sunny day proved to be a lot for Maddux and he wore out kind of quickly.  The event did have lots of water buckets around for dogs to drink from and even a pool for pups to cool off in.  It would have been nice for a little more shade though!

View from our own strut.

The festival itself was really cute.  Registration was easy and a volunteer even offered to hold Maddux if I needed another hand for anything.  I got a cute t-shirt and there was even a poo bag for Maddux (smart thinking Strut Your Mutt!).  We opted to do our own walk instead of joining the group since we had a little time to kill before it started and I wasn't sure how long the actual walk would be.  Plus, Maddux can be a little loud (he get it from his mama) and I wanted to make sure not to get him too worked up.  When the official walk started, Maddux and I checked out the booths.  He got his paw prints done, we got our picture taken, he got a full sized bag of nice treats from a nice booth, and he got a goodie bag from a vet's booth.  He was so funny at the treat booth.  The volunteer put the box of treats down (I guess he wanted Maddux to pick out his own treat?) and my pup decided the whole box was for him!  He grabbed onto the side and tried to drag it away.  (He also gets his love of food from his mama!)  We all had a good laugh out of that one.  There were a few other booths that had belly rubs, acupuncture, and massages, but we opted out of those.  By that time Maddux was a tired pup!

Maddux and I had a great day at Strut Your Mutt!  I hope that we can participate again in the future.  It makes me proud to know that so many great people are out there to help pups find homes.  There were lots of signs at the event that said "I believe we can save them all."  I'm so thankful to Lucky Dog for saving my pup and am proud that we could support them in their efforts to help more dogs like Maddux find forever homes.

For more information on Strut Your Mutt visit their website.

If you're in the DC Metro area and are interested in adopting or volunteering make sure to check out Lucky Dog's website!

Have you ever participated in Strut Your Mutt?  How was it?  Any other rescue dog families?!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday 5: Recommendations

Happy Friday!  It's been a while since I've posted, but things have been going well on my part.  I'm one week out from the Crawlin' Crab half and while I'm really excited, I'm also really nervous!  My long run didn't go to plan last weekend (thanks, side stitches), but I'm hopeful that this weekend's will be better.

Since once again, running has been pretty uneventful, I'm going to switch up my usual post and instead ask for some recommendations.  The list below shows what I'm looking for.   And as always, don't forget to check out the Friday Five link up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia!

1. Easy, healthy soup recipes.  One of my favorite soups is literally dump everything in a crock pot and forget about it.  It's a little on the heavy side though, and while I love it, I know it's not necessarily the best thing for me to be eating all fall and winter!

2. Good face lotion.  Guys, I'm getting old.  Ok, not super old, but I definitely have wrinkles that weren't there before.  I think it's time to upgrade from my old standard, and I'm ok with spending a little money if it's going to last a long time and work miracles.  If it's over $20 though, I probably won't buy it.  Just sayin'.

3. Dog friendly restaurants!  So now that fall is finally here in the DC metro area, I would love to be able to enjoy some patio dinners where my pup can tag along.

4. The best local 5k, 10k, 10 milers.  Once again, I love fall weather, and want to make sure I have some good local races on my calendar to keep me motivated after this half.  I tend to fall off the training boat after a race and don't want that to happen this time!

5. The best pumpkin beer.  I was lucky enough to get to try a lot of different local pumpkin beers last weekend.  I went to Local Brews and Local Grooves and the Maryland Brewer's Harvest Festival and they had all kinds of fall beers out!  I highly recommend both events.  The Harvest Festival had food pairings as well from a few different places (including Volt!) and they were super tasty.

Good friends and good beer makes for an excellent Friday night.

If you have a recommendation for any of these I would love to hear it!  Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday 5: Happy Things

Life has been pretty routine lately, so blogging has definitely been slowing down.  I feel like my runs haven't been that eventful (which is fine with me), so the training plan recaps have been kind of dwindling down lately, BUT I will say that the runs are getting done!  The Friday 5 with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia has been a nice way to check in with you guys.  Make sure to take a look at the link up--there are SO many great bloggers who participate every week!   

1. Crawlin' Crab is almost here!!!  3 more weeks and then I'm heading down to Hampton to run my little heart out.  Fingers crossed for some nice fall weather!

2. I'm all signed up for the Surfin' Santa 5 Miler.  I'm so excited about this one.  My best friend is running in it (she's actually doing the Crawlin' Crab 5k with me, too) and it will be so nice just to have some time to hang out.  It's in the evening so there won't be any ridiculous wake up times and we can just enjoy the holiday season together.  I know it's still a little ways off, but I love knowing I have best friend time on the calendar!

Early race starts are made better by besties!

3.  We're one step closer to figuring out what's up with Mad Pup.  Poor fella hasn't been himself lately, but his blood work came out clean, so it's a relief to know that he doesn't have anything super serious going on.  He's on some pain medication for his arthritis which will hopefully work wonders, especially when it's paired with some cooler weather!

Maddux got ice cream after the vet because I felt
bad about his fast and that he got poked with needles.

4. I'm an official member of a running club!  Still planning on going to my store runs pretty regularly, but I like knowing I have options.  Plus, my store group runs 3-5 and sometimes a girl just needs a buddy for runs longer than that.

5. My cousin and I figured out a wonderful weekend run plan.  Meet at a trail in the middle, run however many miles we want/need, and then head to DuClaw Brewing for some game day specials for lunch.  Gotta replenish those carbs ya know? 

Sometimes we have contests when we run to determine who buys drinks.
Whoever had the most color in this race won.  I lost, only because I sweat a lot.

What are some happy things going on with you?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday 5: Getting Ready for Race Day!

Friday is finally here!  I'm back linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia.  The theme for the week is pre-race rituals, BUT since I am pretty boring in that department (think anxiety dreams and restless sleep the night before, drink a crap cup of hotel coffee, eat a power bar, and GO), I'll give ya the 5 things I'm doing to get ready for the big day!  Crawlin' Crab weekend is less than a month away!

1. Adjust my training plan.  Yep, it happened again.  Remember how I told you guys I was in that major rut?  Well, running the mileage on my plan was discouraging because I just wasn't there.  Last weekend I ran for an hour and ten minutes (I ran just over 7.5 miles) and this weekend I'm planning on going for an hour and twenty minutes.  As much as I hate cutting out my intervals, I'm just going to keep bumping up my long run 10 minutes a pop until Race Day.

2. Running with other people.  Sometimes when I'm alone my mind gets into that dark place (or that bored place) and I let myself get away with way too many walk or water breaks.  Running with the group the past two weeks has been great.  The miles have really flown by quickly having someone to talk to!  Plus, I have my pride and there is no way I'm walking up a hill when everybody else is killin' it.

I have a running date with my cousin this weekend!
The best way to catch up on life!

3. FOAM ROLL.  STRETCH.  I need to be so much better about this.  I know it's the key to not getting injured, but sometimes it gets overlooked.  Side note--does anyone have any good shin pain preventers?  I've had very minor pain in my shins, but I don't want it to become a problem!

4. Use one of my 5 milers to do some intervals.  Since I'm cutting out the half mile repeats out of my plan, I want to make sure I still have a day where I am pushing myself.  It would be amazing to kick off Race Weekend with a happy 5k time.

5. Smile.  Race Day is almost here and it's going to be an incredible weekend.  I'll get to see a bunch of my best friends, drink great beer, eat yummy chowder, and of course conquer those miles.

Maddux says chowder makes him smile, too.

What races do you have coming up?  Do you ever adjust the plan or do you always stick to it?

Happy weekend!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

5 Things about J&A Racing

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney today.  Make sure to check out all the amazing blogs!  They are doing a "Fall Preview" theme, but since I'm way behind in my life, I'm straying away and am going to talk about one of the big loves of my life: J&A Racing.  J&A holds my heart for many reasons which we'll get into in a minute, and I'm so happy that I get to be a part of their team as an ambassador for the 2014-2015 season.  There are many amazing things about J&A, but I'll try to keep it brief.

1. J&A Racing made me exciting about running.  I don't remember how I found about J&A to begin with, but I do know that because of J&A I realized that I was faster than I realized and could run further than I ever thought I could.  My senior year of college I ran the Wicked 10k with my little brother and had a blast.  We then decided that we may as well run the Virginia is for Lovers 14k to prepare for the Shamrock Half Marathon.  Each run felt amazing and was fun in its own unique way. VIFL had a cupcake curve.  Enough said.  Back then, there were only three races.  They've since expanded and have SIX!  Check them out here!

Wicked good times.

2. My first and best half marathons have been with J&A.  The Shamrock was my first half and I beat the time I thought I would by about 25 minutes. I remember crossing the finish line and being so proud and so excited, and also thinking I never wanted to run that far again!  (It was my burning quads talkin'.)  I guess somewhere along the lines that changed!  You can read my race recaps here, here, and here.

Shamrock Half is a PR kind of race.

3. The food is SO good.  This may seem like a silly reason to run, but I've gotta say that the awesome soup in bread bowls makes every single mile completely worth it.

4. The courses are fun!  They put jokes up on the course (which yes, are cheesy, but are also highly entertaining).  They have DJs, radio stations, and bands set up on the courses.  One of my favorites was at the Inaugural Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon.  They had a guitar player by the James River and although it wasn't traditional race course music, I really liked it!  The volunteers are incredible as well and cheer you on (your name is on your bib if you register early enough!) and hand you oreos and candy.

My friends are hooked on J&A, too :-)

5. They keep things exciting.  J&A makes changes to their races, but makes sure to keep the same feel and quality with each change.  I am so excited for the Crawlin' Crab Half this year because they are having a craft beer fest after the race.  They added a new race this year (the Harbor Lights Half Marathon and 5k) that just happens to be on my birthday weekend.  Must have heard how much I loved them.  The Surfin' Santa changed from a 10 miler to a 5 miler, and is going to be amazing because it's going to be in the evening so we can run through the lights on the boardwalk.  I cannot wait!

Have you ever done a J&A race?  Which one?  If not, which race would you want to do?