Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Post Race Life: Meet Macey

Race weekend seems like it was forever ago.  Since then I haven't gotten many workouts in.  I've been running twice and have walked with my pup a lot.  I did one of the 15 minute Nike Training Club workouts the other day, and I swear my legs hurt more now than they did after the half!

Now that I am officially not training for anything I want to keep some sort of schedule because it was a long, slow road to get into shape and it's a quick ride to get back out of shape.  I'm planning on doing 6-10 mile runs during most weekends and a couple of 3-5 mile runs during the week.  I'm going to attempt to start cross training, but you know.  When I have a choice between running and other kind of workouts, 90% of the time I want to run (although I can't wait until summer when I can start taking spin and Body Pump classes again!).

This week has been a big walking week.  You know how I said one of my goals was to attend at least 3 Lucky Dog Animal Rescue events this year?  Well technically I have already checked them off, but I think there will be many more as I am officially a foster!  I picked up my first pup on Saturday and I absolutely adore her.  Meet Macey:

Maddux isn't quite sure what to make of her, but is slowly adjusting.  She is head over heels for him, but he is simply tolerating her.  Any time they are sitting closely in peace I make sure to snap a picture!

I'm going to be so sad when she leaves us, but I know that the family that adopts her will be amazing and love her to pieces.  Lucky Dog takes great care to make sure their dogs get matched with the best possible families.  Whoever you are, you are extremely lucky!  

Until she finds her forever home, I will be sure to keep you updated!  She is a cutie and I know the dog lover readers will be crazy about her, too!

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Shamrocked the Shamrock Half Marathon!

The title may give you some hint of how my race went last weekend: it was absolutely amazing!  Buuut let's not skip any of the important details.  I made you guys suffer through 20 weeks of training, so it's only right that I make this post extra long and detail filled.

Friday night I vowed to get a good night's sleep.  I've been fighting a miserable cold for the past couple of weeks and figured that a good night's sleep would be the best thing for me.  They (who exactly "they" is is unclear) say that it's not the night before the race, but the night before the night before the race that counts.  Maddux had other plans.  He decided to choose the most important night before the night before the race to not be able to sleep and make sure that I couldn't get any rest either.  If you wanna hear God laugh tell him your plans, right? 

Maddux says everything I tell you is lies.

Saturday morning came bright and (way too) early.  Maddux and I hit the road for Newport News where we were meeting up with my roommate who was nice enough to take my pup in for the night and my best friend who was riding out to Virginia Beach with me.  Traffic was a bit of a beast, so we only had a few minutes to chat before heading out to the expo.  I can't think of anything super exciting about the expo other than the smoothie and cereal samples, but I was really excited to get my number and my insanely bright shirt.  (Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever be able to wear it.  I tried and it gave me a headache it was so glaringly bright.  I've also been sick, so I'm hoping I will stop being a pansy soon.)  

So happy to be at the beach!!

Guys, let me just tell you that my best friend is seriously the best.  After the expo we checked into our hotel and I was thankful she was with me!  I wouldn't exactly call it luxury, but it was right across the street from the finish line and I was able to walk to the start.  The front desk lady was so incredibly nice, too!  Combine that with a late race day check out and I am sold.  After checking into our hotel we decided to stroll down the boardwalk and find somewhere to eat dinner where we could get a good pre-race beer.  I remembered eating at Abbey Road years ago with my dad and figured that we would probably be in luck with a good beer selection and I was right!  My best friend patiently listened to me switch on and off between "OMG I'M SO EXCITED" and "OMG I'M SO NERVOUS" and then we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

Bestie says it's easier to listen to me blab on about running when she has a drink in hand.

At 5:17 (random, I know, but it was already set from another time I got up too early so I rolled with it) the alarm went off and I started my pre-race prep.  I ate a peanut butter power bar while drinking a crappy cup of hotel coffee and put on the outfit I had laid out the night before.  Here's where my issue was: It was supposed to be around 50 degrees by the time I finished the race.  I get SO hot when I run so I figured I would be ok with just a short sleeved shirt and shorts (when I ran the Crawlin' Crab in 2012 I wore shorts and a tank top in similar weather and was fine).  Long story short, my arms were SO cold during this race.  The rest of me felt fine, but my hands were not cooperating because they were so cold and it took me a little bit after the race to get normal function back in them.  I ended up having to hold my Shot Block baggie in my hand towards the end because I was so sick of trying to mess with the zipper on my pouch.

Best friends wake up with you and freeze so you don't have to start the race alone.
They also surprise you by telling you they packed you extra tissues!

Back to before the race--We made it to the start line in plenty of time.  The corrals were well marked and each section had a glorious row of portapotties.  At the last minute possible I handed off my layers to my best friend and headed to my place.  I was really nervous, but  before I knew it, we were off!  I think my corral (5) started about 7 minutes after the initial start.  There were a couple of signs that said "You are no where near being done!" and "Only 13 miles to go!" Soon after that, there was a house handing out cups of beer.  I wish I was confident enough in my ability to run after drinking a beer, but my mom would probably be proud I didn't take drinks from strangers, so I guess there's that.

The race was pretty uneventful.  I enjoyed the course, but thinking back there weren't any super interesting or odd things about it.  I liked the signs that are on the course with jokes and quotes and laughed around mile 5 because during my first half marathon that's where my brother stopped for the bathroom line and I semi freaked out about running the last 8 miles by myself.  As the miles clicked by I saw that my pace was faster than I intended.  I kept trying to slow myself down because I hadn't been running that fast in my training runs lately, but as each mile passed I was staying at about the same pace.  I figured it was what it was and if I totally lost steam at the end of the race then that's what would happen.  I skipped the first water station, but got a cup or two of water to follow a shot blok at all of the remaining stops.  I've been cramping up terribly lately so I avoided the gatorade (and sadly the oreos).  Around mile 6 or 7 we rounded the corner in Fort Story and I got a glimpse of the ocean which gave me a little extra boost.  I laughed a little bit because I heard a couple of girls talking about how you never realize how hilly Virginia Beach is until you try to run.  This course was as flat as a well made pancake.  

Finally we reached mile 11 and some one yelled "It's almost over!"  It kind of hit me then that everything I had worked towards was almost over.  It also hit me that I had hopes of coming close to my old PR (2:06:??).  I picked up the pace and cranked out that last mile at an 8:58 pace woohoo!  I felt amazingly strong as I did the final kick on the boardwalk and crossed the finish line at 2:04:50, a brand new sparkly PR!

I was absolutely elated and the best part?  I felt great!  My best friend and I headed to the post race party after I got my photo snapped and grabbed my snacks to celebrate with a beer.  I ran into Colleen and her sweet family on the search for the beer line.  (I met them last weekend at the ZOOMA Kickoff party!)  Finally I was ready to warm up a little (the post race party was in a tent, so we escaped the wind, but I was still a bit chilly) so we headed back to the hotel and I grabbed a shower before we went to the amazing Pocahontas Pancake house.  Our race was on the marathon course, so it made perfect sense to eat pancakes while we waited for the roads to open ;-)

Pretty sure I PRed in breakfast, too.

So folks, there it is!  Thanks again to J&A Racing for another incredible race experience!  A HUGE thank you to all the volunteers who helped the event run smoothly and who helped cheer us all on.   And last but not least, thanks you all of you for all your words of encouragement as I trained for this race!  I can't wait to come back next year!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Final Stretch!

AHHH Race Day is only days away!  The past week of training was really easy and consisted of three five mile runs.  I can't lie, it's a little nerve wracking reading about how other people were doing their last long runs this past weekend, but I wanted to stick to my game plan and make sure I was resting properly since I've been having a little bit of off and on pain in my shin (I also had a couple of days with some pain on the bottom of my right foot, but that appears to have worked itself out!).  No sense in overworking it before the big day.

It was so nice to have some gorgeous weather to run in last week!  I did one of my runs on the treadmill, but the other two were outside and wonderful.

On Saturday I went to the ZOOMA Kick Off Party at Charm City Run Annapolis.  It was SO nice having some running buddies!  I spent most of my time running with Cynthia from You Signed up for What?!  Guys, she is seriously the nicest person ever.  She even stuck with me when I got the most horrific cramp at the end of our run.  For a girl who never gets side stitches, I sure have been getting a lot the week before my race.  My sides better get themselves in check!  It was a beautiful day and it was fun chatting with some of the other girls there and sipping yummy coffee and mimosas!  I talked with Cynthia and Colleen from Live Free and Run for a while and met Mar from Mar on the Run.  It was fun getting to meet them after following their blogs!  There were so many amazing ladies I wish I had time to get to know them all better!  We got lots of goodies to take with us on our way out.  Another win for ZOOMA!

Maddux and I headed to the park afterwards, but cut our walk there short when I got a text from my nice friend saying that he could explore Great Falls with us!  We quickly headed down to Virginia and had a great (although muddy) afternoon.  I had one tired pup by the end of the day!  

Yes, he sleeps beside his bed.

On Sunday Maddux and I headed to one of my favorite trails and walked for a long time before I headed out for a neighborhood run.  I'm not sure what was going on, but even though it was really nice out I just wasn't feeling this run.  I think I'm just ready for Race Day!  

It's hard to believe that in just a few days it will all be over!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!  I have one more 5 miler standing between the race and me!  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Five: Springing Forward

Happy Friday!  It certainly felt like it took a long time coming and the Friday Five's theme of Springing Forward is just the thing to start off a great weekend.  I have so many great things coming up so it's nice to look forward a little!  Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia are the hosts of the link up, so make sure to check their awesome blogs out!

1. ZOOMA Kick Off Run. I had so much fun at last year's event and I'm really looking forward to having some running buddies for the day!  It will also be nice to switch up the scenery a little as I've been doing the same routes (or treadmill) because of the weather lately.

2. MY RACE!  NEXT WEEKEND!  It's finally in the 10 day weather forecast and I'm trying really hard not to obsessively check it.  The best part is that I have some great friends that live in the area that I'll get to see.  Not gonna lie, I'm also hoping to stop by my favorite Mexican restaurant and local coffee shop at some point, too!

3. Weekdays at the park.  Maddux and I frequent the different parks and trails on the weekend, but by the time I get home from work we usually only have time for a quick walk before it gets dark.  With the extra hour of daylight we will get to have some more exciting walks.

4. My former roomie's wedding festivities!  The first celebration is just around the corner and I'm having a lot of fun throwing around ideas with the other bridesmaids.  It doesn't hurt that her wedding is also going to kick off summer....

Friends no matter what color I dye my hair :-)

5. Some shorter race distances.  I am super excited that it looks like I'm going to be able to do some local 5ks and 10ks in a couple of months and it will be nice to focus on just getting faster.  After some great training runs this cycle it seems completely possible to smash my 5k PR.

I hope everyone has lots of fun things to keep them going until we get some warmer weather!  They say spring is on its way!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week 18 Recap and a Winner!

The last long run is complete and I am in the final stretch to Race Day!  After all the months of training I've put in, it's a bit strange that it's so close. 

Wednesday: 5 miles on the treadmill.  It felt really good the whole time and it was nice to play around with the speed.  

Friday: I was debating running on Friday, but knew that I wanted to get my long run in on Saturday since the weather was supposed to be a little gross on Sunday.  I didn't want to have to worry about running 5 miles on Sunday after running 13 miles the day before, so I laced up and hit the treadmill.  I tried to keep it at a nice, easy pace and overall had a really great run.  

Saturday: I was so ready for this run.  I just got a Camelbak and was excited that I would be able to run as far as I wanted without having to loop back to my car for water.  It was a really nice day, but maaaaaan was this run tough.  It was not the confidence booster that I was hoping for, but I was proud of finishing when I wanted to quit about 17 times during this run.  I did stop several times to stretch my calves which helped a little bit.  They were incredibly tight and  I will be spending a lot of quality time with the foam roller over the next couple of weeks!  I think a combination of having a little extra weight from the Camelbak and an unexpected late night at the vet (don't worry, everybody's fine) made this run harder than it should have been.  After I ditched the water around mile 9 I felt a whole lot better.

At least I have a pretty place to run!

I know not every run will be perfect and I know it takes time to get used to running with extra stuff, but it's never fun when runs don't go as you would have liked.  I won't be using the Camelbak in the race because there are plenty of water stops on the course, but I am excited to keep using it on future long runs!  Maddux and I headed back to the trail later that day and had a great walk which helped to loosen up some tight muscles.  

Maddux always has fun at the park :)

Total Miles for the Week: 23.1
Total Training Miles: 296.7

There were some other long walks and some strength moves happening at some point this week, but honestly the days were just a blur!  I can't believe it's already March.  Where is 2014 going?


Annnnd finally, the winner of the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race entry is: 

Ja: "I love milk chocolate bars! :) I'd love to the race in Columbus! :)"

Ja has been emailed!  Thanks to everyone who participated!  And remember you can still get a free travel mug if you use the code LINDSRUNMUG for the Philly Race in April!