Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday 5: Things I'm Loving!

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for my usual Friday Five post!  Make sure to check out their favorite indoor workout theme!  Since I have been focusing mainly on running lately (Cross training?  What's that?), I decided to just go over some things I've been loving right now, but I will say that Nike Training Club workouts rock!

1. These boots.  I ordered them before we were supposed to get our first snow of the year up here because I thought they were cute as far as snow boots go.  Now that I've had a chance to try them out, I love them even more!  They are warm, keep my feet dry, and I have yet to bust my butt. (Knock on wood.)

2. Sudoku.  This is silly, but I love the feeling I get when I solve them.  Sometimes you just need a win in your day.

3. Maddux's treat ball.  A couple of evenings ago it hailed.  Maddux and I were not walking in the hail (ouch), plus the sidewalks were super slippery.  Pup was cranky that he didn't get his normal walk, but this treat ball kept him entertained for a nice long while and wore him out.

4. Homemade cookies as running fuel.  I have an easy time saying no to most packaged cookies, but I am a sucker for homemade cookies.  I baked cookies before my run (because what better time is there to bake cookies?) and believe it or not, I had an amazing workout.  One of my fastest and best feeling runs of the training plan!  Woohoo!

5. Free classes!  Courtney posts all the time about her love of Pure Barre and I've been wanting to try it for a while now.  As I was looking for studios near me I found a Valentine's day special!  Check out your local studio to see if they are running a similar deal!  I figured the best time to try it was when I literally had nothing to lose.  I'm really looking forward to it!

What is something you are loving lately?  Do you use cookies as fuel, too?  Pure Barre lovers--what is it about it that makes everyone hooked?!  I want to go in prepared :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Update!

Happy Monday!  Thank you so much for all your kind words after my post on Friday!  I usually try to keep my blog positive, but every once and a while you have to get it all out there so that you can move forward.  I'm happy to report that after the weekend I'm already feeling much better!

Saturday morning Maddux woke me up around 8 (pup let me sleep in--a miracle!) and I was surprised to see only clouds (a rain/sleet/snow mix had been predicted!).  After a quick check on the weather app, I decided to head to my group run.  I'm so glad that the weather cooperated, because I was in much better spirits after!  The route was hilly, but it was a nice challenge and I felt fantastic when I was done. A stop at Starbucks for a mocha made a post chilly run even better.

This fella loves to sleep in on gloomy days!

The rest of Saturday was pretty gloomy, so I spent a lot of time cleaning and organizing.  It's incredible how a clean apartment can improve a girl's mood.  When the sun started peeking through the clouds, I took a much needed break and Maddux and I headed to the park and had a great walk.  Seriously, how can anyone be moody when you are walking in one of your favorite places with your favorite guy?  (Pup is doing MUCH better now!  All back to normal!)

Speaking of pup, Maddux got selected as the Mariner's Dog of the month at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News!  When my nice friend and I went back in October for Crawlin' Crab, we took Maddux to our favorite trail that we frequented in college.  We saw a sign featuring a "Mariner Dog" and I jokingly said how it was my goal to have Maddux be on that sign one day!  A couple of months later I got an email saying that he was Mr. January!  I love that my favorite pup gets to grace the Noland Trail all month!

My amazing Roomie snapped this picture for me!
If you're in Newport News be sure to check it out!

Sunday morning I headed to the grocery store first thing (more snow was predicted and I had no food in my fridge..) and was happy to have beaten any presnow madness.  I got some ingredients to make a couple more meals from my Runner's World cookbook (I'm loving it!).  Could it be possible that 2015 is the year I like to cook?  We'll see!

Sunday was still kind of gloomy, but the weather was in the 50s!  I had 9 miles on my schedule and couldn't have asked for better weather!  The run was definitely tough, but it felt so, so good to have it done.  It was a big confidence booster!  8 weeks until Shamrock and only 4 miles to add on!

By the way--It's my week to take over J&A's Facebook page!  Make sure to play along in the comments!  I would love to see what you have to say about my topic!

I'm linking up with Tara from Reading 'N' Running for the Weekend Update!  Have a great week!

Tell me something fun about your weekend!  Anybody else get awesome weather for a long run this weekend?!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday 5: Poor Shamrock

Shamrock is officially less than two months away!  I have no idea how I managed to complete every single one of my runs in my super long training plan last year.  This time around I seem to be struggling in more ways than one.  I'm linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for the Friday 5!  Make sure to check out all the great blogs.  It's growing every week, so you'll have plenty of reading material for this snowy weekend!

1. Germs, germs, germs.  Annnnd I'm sick again.  Not trying to whine, but didn't I just get done with this?  I started getting a tickle in my throat on Thursday and by Saturday night my nice friend and I started out weekend getaway with a trip to CVS for Nyquil and decongestants.  I'm really fun to date.

2. Weekend get aways are amazing.  Even though I was gross, I had the best time.  We did a quick trip to Lexington, Virginia, to celebrate my nice friend's birthday.  We started with Devil's Backbone Brewery and then Blue Lab Brewing (which has the best logo in the world!).  We also got in a lot of amazing walks and I had a great (although slow) run around downtown.  I loved getting to see the mountains!  The area was absolutely beautiful.  This may be lame, but our hotel had tea and honey available 24/7 and it was incredible being able to have tea whenever my heart desired.

3. Pup did not love weekend getaways.  Poor, poor Maddux.  When I picked him up, the sitter said that he hadn't been feeling very well.  That was a bit of an understatement, as we ended up at the vet with my sweet boy hooked up to an IV getting pumped with fluids and medications.  No worries, he is doing much, much better, but it definitely gave me a scare and I am so thankful for a vet who doesn't judge me as I break down in her office.

4. Crap weather.  Wintery mixes and freezing temps makes it SO hard to get out from under my covers.  I know this is stupid, but I'm in such a rut lately (not just with running, but with most things in general) and snuggling with my pup has won out on way too many occasions.

5. Motivation.  It's just not there at the moment and I can't say why.  I am beyond excited for the race itself and I had a great 8 miler a couple of weeks ago, so I'm right on track.  I know this post makes it seem like I've missed most of my runs, and that's not true.   I've stuck mostly to my plan,  I'm simply having a hard time wanting to get out there.  My fire from last year is gone and I'm not really sure what I need to do to get it back.

Sorry to have such a downer post, I just needed to get it out there so maybe I can start to put a better foot forward.  Any ideas on how to get back in the groove would be greatly appreciated!  This may seem silly, but doing a major cleaning of my apartment is the first thing on my list.  I think once I feel more organized I will feel better about life!  I'm also looking forward to running with my group again, because it's been way too long!

What do you do when you get in a weird place with running?  Bring on the thoughts!  I'm ready to be back!

**PS--It might help to have more friends run Shamrock!  Sign up before it sells out!  It's getting close!  It's one of my favorite races ever!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday 5: 2014 in Review

Yes, it's late.  I realize that we are already halfway through the first month of 2015, but life has been a little busy lately and honestly, I just haven't had it in me to reflect.  But, today is a new day and I'm linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for the Friday 5!  Make sure to check out all the great blogs linking up!  2014 ended up being a fantastic year.

1. Stay focused on the happy in life.  I think I did ok with this.  At the beginning of the year I wrote down little things that made me happy each day.  I should have tried harder to keep this up, but you know how it goes.  Maybe I'll try once a week in 2015.  It's nice to be able to look back and smile!

It's hard not to be happy when this boy is in your life!

2. Be proud at the end of my races.  Definite check!  Off the top of my head, my races of 2014 included the Shamrock half marathon (PR!), Crawlin' Crab 5k and half marathon, the Scarecrow Classic, and Surf-n-Santa 5 miler.  I trained hard for these races and had a great time.

3. Attend at least 3 Lucky Dog Animal Rescue Events.  I did well with this one, too.  I started fostering in April and when you agree to foster, you agree to take your pup to an event.  I fostered 5 pups this year and went to several events.  I'm happy to say all of my pups are happy in their forever homes.

4. Make a better effort in my relationships.  Well, this one could probably always be better, but I did end up getting to go on some great trips and I got in a lot of family time and my nice friend and I had a fun weekend get away.  I also got quite a bit of best friend time this year, too!

Fun times in Colorado!

5. Try new things.  I did end up trying quite a few new recipes.  It's been nice mixing things up a little.  I started running with my group and it's been really good for me.  My nice friend and I went to the Go Ape! obstacle course and zip lining place and while it was terrifying, it was a lot of fun.  I also went to Dogfish Head Brewery and tried a lot of new to me beers.  Counts, right?

So glad it was over!

How did you do with your 2014 goals?  I'll have to start setting some new ones for the 2015 soon! Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday 5: Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler Recap

Hello!  It's been a long time since I've posted, but I have really enjoyed unplugging for a while.  I spent the holidays with my family in Alabama (it was beautiful--lots of hanging out, eating, reading, and sleeping).  I made a pit stop on the way south in Virginia for J&A's Surf-n-Santa 5 miler!  I convinced my best friend that it would be a perfect excuse to see each other and she was game for a festive race to start the holidays.  I'm linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia today--make sure to check out all the awesome blogs participating!

Quick disclaimer--I'm a J&A race ambassador and was offered a free entry to this race because of my affiliation.  All opinions are my own and I am not required to give positive reviews.

1. The Expo:  It was really small and we got there around 2 (the race started at 4:30).  We were able to park at the Virginia Beach Convention Center with ease and got our packets and shirts really fast.  I liked how they had headbands and hats you could buy at the expo to wear at the race.  We passed on purchasing anything, but I was really tempted to buy the "ugly sweater" tech shirt.  After we were done, we headed to Beach Bully BBQ (maybe not the best idea before a race, but it was amazing!) and relaxed before heading to the starting line.

It's unfortunate you can't see our amazing tights.
It's also unfortunate how much those amazing tights chafed.  Ouch.

2. The Course: Oh my gosh guys, I loved this so much.  I was really excited because I met up with one of my good friends and her boyfriend at the starting line and we got to run the whole race together.  I definitely pushed harder than I would have by myself (I didn't have any real goals, I just wanted to have fun) and I was really pleased with my time.  Before we started, we checked out all the fun costumes walking around.  I'm so impressed with people's creativity!  They go all out and I love that they have a costume contest.  Just adds to the festivities!  It was so much fun running on the boardwalk under the lights and I really hope that they use the same or similar course next year.  I wish that I ran with my phone (and that my phone would have taken more than just selfies--it's finally fixed).  There were two water stops, which was nice. I had a fantastic time and it was made even better with running buddies. The only thing I would have changed was a later start time because it wasn't quite dark enough on the boardwalk by the time I got back on the main road, but I think I heard something about runners having to clear off the boardwalk so cars could start viewing the lights.

3. The Finish Line: This part was really cool.  The end winded around the convention center and you ended up running inside the building!  They had bleachers set up so spectators could watch, but I wasn't really sure how to get over to them.  It was pretty crazy in there, but I had no trouble grabbing my power bar, banana, and bottled water.

4. The Post Race Party: When we finished the race the beer lines were pretty short and you could choose from the regular Samuel Adams or the winter one.  They also had hard cider.  When my best friend finished we got our chicken chowder bread bowl (yum!) and listened to the music for a little while before calling it a day.  It was just a little too crowded for my taste and the room didn't flow quite as well as J&A parties typically do.  From what I could see though, people were having a great time.  I had to laugh as they raffled off the life size Sam Adams cut outs.  You wouldn't believe how much people love those things.

5. The Goods: I really loved our race shirt.  It certainly captured the spirit of Christmas at the beach.  We also got a Santa hat (I wore it before and after, but stuck to my fleece headband during the race!)  It all came in a reusable bag (the same ones we got at Crawlin' Crab! Perfect for groceries!).  The medal doubles as an ornament, which I think is amazing.

J&A hit another race out of the park!  Next on tap is Shamrock weekend!  If you want to join in the fun make sure to register soon.  Rates increase on January 15 and it's quickly on its way to selling out!

Did you run any holiday races?  I realize it's a little late, but who doesn't love talking about the most wonderful time of the year?