Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February's New to You Cross Training Challenge

Month 2 of Kim's New to You Cross Training Challenge was not as big of a success as January's challenge- probably because I did it last minute... as in ... today.
One of my new focuses of 2012 is to get STRONGER....
I'm not expecting crazy results like this hunk of meat Taylor,  <cough> team edward <cough>

But what I WOULD like is for running to come easier so I can go longer and faster with my runs. I enjoyed bootcamp so much last month, that I kept it up about twice a week for February, and before I knew it, February was almost over. 

I decided to re-visit something I tried just once back in August that I wasn't a fan of...
Brazilian Butt lift
 Brazilian Butt lift is actually a part of the Beach Body Program that promises the following: (taken from website) 
The secret is Leandro's proven TriAngle Training Method, which works all three major muscles of the buttocks from multiple angles to:
SHAPE your gluteal muscles to get you that perfectly round Brazilian "bum bum"
LIFT your butt to look great from every angle
FIRM your butt and thighs and melt away those stubborn saddlebags
Leandro combines Brazilian dance, cardio and signature lower-body sculpting moves to help you look divine from behind." 

If you like a cuban accent, you got it. If you like shaking your butt, you got it. If you like looking stupid while you try to figure moves out, you got it. I remember back in August I was SO SORE for 2 days after doing it, so time will tell in the next handful of days in how my body reacts.  To be fair, I'm going to do this video a few more times before judging on if its right for me.

So unfortunately I can't give you much to go on, but I promise for a better review in a few weeks- in the mean time, here's a recycled video of after "bum bum" 6 months ago

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Say no to inflammation!

Over the course of the last several months I've had quite a few conversations about nutrition with other bloggers or ?s asked via email and comments. Although I LOVE a good nutrition conversation, since most of my day is spent discussing it at work in detail, I generally just blog about other things so I don't get burnt out. 

I promise I'll get better at doing a nutrition post here and there- first up topic is INFLAMMATON- woo!
So there are certain types of food that cause inflammation- depending on how greatly your body reacts to that food, could be a reason for why it may be difficult to get rid of unwanted weight, controlling allergies, trouble with energy, sleep etc. The foods are (in no particular order) Dairy, gluten, sugar, red meat, and alcohol (ya... all the good stuff)

Last year I did an experiment to see if I could cut one of these out for lent. Although I would have loved to give up gluten or red meat- I didn't have enough time to find replacements to allow for proper nutrition with training (looking for all gluten free products + the only white meat I do is chicken, not a turkey fan and HATE sea food--- pork is NOT white meat) 

Although I don't do a lot dairy, I thought it would be interesting to try to COMPLETELY eliminate it from my diet--- my actual explanation for choosing dairy specifically can be found HERE  There is the obvious dairy: milk cheese, butter, however I went to the extreme and did  no baked goods w/ milk, no chocolate, no items that contain 'milk solids' (which by the way, is in everything- cookies, chips, crackers, dressings etc) 

My one week recap of different substitutions can be found HERE. Unfortunately I got into the busiest season right when lent ended, so I never did a follow up post--- my experience was great- I felt better, more regular, and best of all in the first 2 weeks I lost 7lbs. I still do ranch dressing, chocolate, and cheese, but aside from that dairy is very minimal (occasionally I'll have a greek yogurt here or there) 

In the spirit of eliminating more inflammation causing foods (lets face it, alcohol will not be taken out of the equation) I decided this year to give up 2 things. First up is sugar (except fruit, yogurt and apparently 1 coke that I craved on my 16 mile run)- I think the hardest part is the brand new jar of Nutella my mom sent me for Valentines day--- it stares me down everytime I open my cabinet... that and the fact that a few of my teammates at work are offering up free girl scout cookies.... not just any flavor either... THIN MINTS!!!  

In all actuality- both the Shakeology and chocolate soy milk completely take care of my 'chocolate fix'. If I want something sweet, I just grab fruit or yogurt---I don't forsee the no sweets being TOO big of an issue. 

 The other food I'm eliminating is all meat- originally I said bacon, but decided to go all in- go big or go home!

I like that the no meat forces me to not only look for other sources of protein, but its also drastically prompted me to increase my veggie intake so I have something to eat that is filling. 
A few of my go-to protein sources now:
  • greek yogurt
  • chocolate soy milk
  • Shakeology for breakfast
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • nuts
  • beans
  • quinoa
  • barley
I can't wrap my head around a lot of the soy / veggie burger products, maybe in due time, but for now I'm satisfied with my options that I have listed above. 

Tonight's dinner (and probably tomorrow's lunch) sauteed brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots with barley + couscous mixture. 

It hasn't been a full week yet of cutting these 2 food groups out, but I don't notice as big of a difference as I did with dairy immediately- time will tell and I promise this go round to actually document my progress or lack there of.

Do you experiment with cutting out different foods? What were your results?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Breaking into new (mileage) territory

Although I've run close to 30 half marathons, I haven't really ventured to a distance farther than the coveted 13.1. In an attempt to become semi-prepared for Race to Beach Ultra Relay, I decided it was time to suck it up and start to incorporate longer runs so my body can adapt in plenty of time.

Originally when I was thinking longer distances, I was leaning toward building up slowly and starting out at 14 miles. After talking with J, he somehow convinced me it would be a good idea to do 16 miles together on Sunday.  I've noticed when it comes to running, I can be easily convinced into doing crazy adventures- case in point Becka and Kim convinced me to join up in Colorado in April for the Platte River 1/2--- the race wasn't even on my radar till Kim pointed out I could meet her husband Scott-- apparently he likes my dance moves (she took a quick video in our hotel room last weekend, sent it to him, and "can't stop watching it")

Anywho- before my races I have a set routine of what I do- 2 days before race day I carb load and then eat light the day before. I kind of forgot I was doing 16 miles and Friday night instead of carb loading I enjoyed one of my new favorite local restaurants

I decided that instead of giving up sweets and bacon for lent, that I would go a step further and give up all meat, so this was my last hoorah meal- Gai Yang- "chicken sauteed in light evoo, garlic, and cilantro on a bed of jasmine rice w/ steamed veggies".... I guess the rice was some type of carb loading...

Another 'breaking the habit / forgetting I was running' was on Saturday I had 2 HUGE helpings of the salad bar for lunch (oh you know tons of fiber the day before your longest run ever, NBD), and to top it off I went to a Preds hockey game and enjoyed a great healthy meal before bed...
Yes, I ate every single chip and dipped it in liquid fat cheese 

So the run...

Original plan was to have J come over at noon and then we'd start and end at my place. At 10 I got a text asking if 11 was okay, so I had to scramble around to find something 'light enough, but filling' to eat since now I only had an hour till go time. Randomly got some matzo crackers on clearance (they're HUGE) and just did one of those with peanut butter hoping it would suffice. 

J's garmin wasn't charged, so the pace was strictly up to me which is perfect since that is something that has been a large focus for me this year. Since I already know I go out too fast, the goal was to keep pace at high 8s low 9s and just hang and not be a chatty cathy or i'll be out of breath... but most of all, have fun (which I'm GrrrrRRReat at) 
Around mile 5
For those who don't know, my last name is Jameson.... with an E, not an I

I warned J that if I saw an 'animal bouncy ride' at a park, I would HAVE to get on it... I'm a woman of my word
Mile 8ish 
Out of all the animals, why did it have to be a beaver??

First half of the run wasn't bad. We stopped at a gas station at the half way point to get some refreshments since it was H.O.T. and my water belt of 10oz of water & 10oz of nuun wasn't going to cut it. While J got gatorade, a power bar, and jalapeno cheddar cracker sandwiches, the only thing I craved was a coke (my guilty pleasure occasionally after a long run)
Channeling my inner Dave Mari and posing with refreshments mid run. 

For those who are wondering, yes I had a few 'carbonation burps' but no it didn't really affect me. Although my legs were getting tight, it wasn't too bad thanks to my lovely compression socks from (figured if they could prevent me from being sore with Austin's continuous hills, it was worth a repeat for this run)

Around mile 10-11ish I got REAL HUNGRY--- note to self: matzo cracker with peanut butter is NOT ENOUGH to fuel my run. Shortly after mile 11 I announced I was going to take my gel at the stop sign, so J had the genius idea to race to the stop sign--- my stride was NOT opening up and thats when I realized how tight my hips already were, great.

Once we hit the half marathon mark, I announced we went sub 2, which was pretty cool to do, then shortly after J congratulated me for hitting a 'new territory / distance '- bless his heart, he was supportive and encouraging, but all I could think of was how I wanted to be done. I was hungry, hot, and I could use a pool and a massage. Although our last few miles were faster, I think a large part of it had to do with it was along the same route that I run every day--- I think your body just recognizes familiar surroundings and speeds up, because I definitely didn't feel like I was going faster.

Surprisingly I wasn't as sore after the run as I anticipated. My knees and hips are slightly stiff, but otherwise I'm good. I know for a fact that I couldn't have done this alone, and I'm so appreciative to have someone that is willing to push and challenge me outside of my own mentality... I definitely need that.

As far as my consistent pace goes- there were a few variances, but overall I'm pretty pleased considering I only looked at the watch to see mileage and didn't focus on the pace. I think I'm getting better of not being all over the pace road map.

Pretty excited to randomly get a 16 miler under my belt- J suggested doing 17 next week, however he asked while we were still running, so of course I laughed and said no... now I'll change my answer to "maybe" --- more sun screen for next time, I got DARK (for me in the winter time)

Total pace for whole run was 8:52

Mile 1- 8:52
Mile 2- 9:02
Mile 3- 8:50
Mile 4- 8:37
Mile 5- 9:14
Mile 6- 8:59
Mile 7- 9:00
Mile 8- 8:59
Mile 9- 9:05
Mile 10-9:11
Mile 11- 9:23
Mile 12- 8:52
Mile 13- 8:50
Mile 14- 8:57
Mile 15- 8:56
Mile 16- 8:48

Friday, February 24, 2012

5 for Friday

1. Lady luck is on my side for this week- i've had several co-workers come up to me to ask for a quick 'rub' hoping luck will come off them.

  • Got a PR in Austin
  • Found a cheap round trip flight to NY for next month's race
  • Won free roundtrip air fare tickets from work yesterday
  • Today won 4 suite tickets to tomorrow's Predators game

2. Surprisingly I had quite a few of you email after reading my Livestrong Recap and noticing in one of my photos the "organization" of my headbands

 I actually have way more bands, but those are my 'often worn' ones. If you're a lady runner, I'm sure you've tried some company's headband before. Majority of them all work the same, but what I love about Chica bands is the price point, and variety. I'm a sucker for a  good deal, so generally I'll wait to go to expos for their 3 for $30 deal, or check out their facebook HERE for certain specials going on.
My favorite is this bad boy below because it's happy, fun, and VERSATILE- I probably wear it at least 1-2x a week (hard to tell, but its different colored peace signs)

3. Yesterday after work I found out my plans weren't happening till 8pm, so with my free time I got in an unplanned run.... not just any run, an 8 mile during the week run. This NEVER happens- I am consistently a 5 mile  on my lunch break during the week kind of girl. Even better was I felt quite lethargic but finished with an 8:24 pace -- woo woo

4. I've actually never ran past a half marathon distance (well maybe 13.5 miles), so in preparation for the ultra relay in May, I decided that I should probably explore past the 13 mile land this weekend. I was originally thinking 14-14.5 miles, but somehow J convinced me it would be a good idea to do 16 miles together on Sunday, EEEeekkk (mixed emotions of nervousness / excited to enter new 'territory')

5. Last week I exclaimed from the roof tops how excited I was about my Handful Bra that came in the mail HERE--- well I officially tested it out this past weekend for the race, and I'm proud to announce I'm in LOVE. I normally try to follow the rules of 'nothing new on race day' BUT I was too antsy and had to test it out. Zero chaffing, ultra comfort, and lets be honest--- its flattering in the chest region
recycled photo
Obviously Handful is targeted for a certain chest population, so if you fit into that category, I would HIGHLY recommend them :) 

Have a great weekend everybody! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Yesterday was the first day of lent--- last year I went gung ho and gave up ALL dairy to just rid my body of inflammation. It wasn't hard at first because I don't do much dairy--- but ranch dressing and cheese were tough. This year I decided to give up 2 of my big vices-- I really don't expect it to make an impact on my health like last year did (losing 7lbs in 2 weeks was a nice surprise), BUT this will more or less cut back on 'addictions'


No bacon and no sweets.  The bacon thing probably seems weird... but I LOVE it. I never make it, so its normally a staple when I'm going out to eat. Taken this weekend in Austin. 

Sweets is hit or miss for me--- basically my 3 staples are gummy bears, nutella, reece cups- yum! 

2. I secured my flight for NY next month to run this 
 It will also be my 25th state, marking my 1/2 point to my journey. Luckily I will be doing this race with my gf Heidi (did RnR New Orleans & Go! St. Louis w/ her) as well as we get to stay with our high school track buddy LaToya, so FREE STAY, gosh I love those!

 lastly, and most IMPORTANTLY.... Since December work has been insanely busy. To help catch up and meet our customer's promises,  leadership offered overtime to anyone who was willing to put forth the hours. Obviously with the holidays, everyone was on board. As an added bonus, you were put in to win a drawing for 2 roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the continental US. Today we had our business update where they chose 10 winners.....
Yes... I WAS ONE OF THE WINNERSSSS!!!!  Obviously this is PERFECT for someone like me because I've been eyeing a few states that are pricey and now I can get them out of the way. I know I'll have to book through a travel agent, and there may be some limitations, but who cares, free is free!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Livestrong Austin 1/2 (race recap)

State #24
chilly at start, mid 60s and humid by end
course: hills hills hills and CROWDED

First off I don't know how to put everything into concise words, so I apologize in advance. You can read Kim's recap HERE as well as Becka's HERE (you'll see a lot of repeat photos) 

Texas was one of the states that as soon as I decided to do this 50 state quest I knew it would have to be a winter race due to the temps. Originally I had my eyes on a few Dallas or San Antonio races since I had places to stay for free in both cities- obviously I chose differently. Kim R. had asked me sometime in the summer if I wanted to do the Livestrong race, but it wasn't until talking with my dad (he travels a lot for work) who convinced me that Austin would be the best city to visit and more scenic. Livestrong Marathon it is. 

Kim R did our hotel planning and it was so convenient to both getting around to the expo, restaurants to eat, as well as race start all by foot. We seemed to time everything perfectly all weekend long. 

Ever been to a Disney Expo?!? If not they have a tendency to be crowded, hard to maneuver, and wait in long lines to get your bibs. That was the case for this expo as well, but on the upside I got to hear Bart Yasso speak
meet up with an old friend, Carson

and purchased Pride Socks that my Bourbon Chase team had just discussed earlier in the week on getting for our 80s theme

Aside from the excitement, it was a relatively quick expo trip, as long as you're not looking for anything in particular. 
B, Kim, me, L

After dinner we went back to hotel to get all our gear ready for the morning- key to having 4 girls get up, get ready, and be out the door in 35 minutes (we're pros).

So lets just get down to it--- PR land 
It's no secret that I've been wanting to PR ever since I set my last PR  10 states ago in Wisconsin. I've been obsessing over breaking that time because in WI my garmin crapped out and I was just trying to 'take it easy' since it was my first time ever doing a back to back 1/2 mary weekend, so what could I do if I TRIED to PR?!?!  It's also no secret that I have a tendency to be 'all over the map' in regards to my pace. Me, Ms. inconsistent?!?!? nooooo. I'm SUPER competitive with myself and hate to fail, so I didn't blog about this, but over the last month I've really been trying hard to do a lot of my runs around the same pace--- it takes a lot of effort because I have to consciously not go too fast, but my last few runs leading up to this have been consistently b/n an 8:15-8:20 pace. 

Despite the elevation looking like this (and let's be honest, when have we ever accurately read an elevation map- I constantly think its going to be easier than what it is) I still planned a PR- Texas is MY race. 

So given all the above information, you can imagine how let down/disappointed/upset/sad etc etc I was when I was telling L and B how I brought my garmin charger to make sure there were no mishaps for the morning and all I pull out was the charger.... NoooOOOOooooOOO

Kim came to my rescue and immediately offered the use of her Garmin since she wasn't going for a specific time. I felt so bad taking someone else's Garmin, so it wasn't until the morning that I officially accepted-- only condition, the way hers is programmed the biggest number is current pace, so I had to try and be consistent to hit my goal. 
Race Morning

As stated earlier, this isn't any of our first rodeos, so we decided that if we left hotel at 6:15, we'd be able to get to the starting area before 7am. 
L, me, Kim, B- hotel lobby before the start. 

Photo bombing kims pre- finish line photo- it's what I do best 

The start and finish line were in 2 separate locations, so we had to actually walk behind the capitol before getting to the start MAYHEM
making our way toward the start

Literally right when we get to the start area the race begins. Unfortunately there is no corral start- just a 'line up by the marathon pace sign or wherever you please'<----- I hate this. 

Since B, L, and Kim had different goals than myself, I said goodbye to them (unfortunately Kim couldn't see any of my sweet dance moves, something for her to look forward to next time) and tried to run around and get as close to the start as I could- unfortunately the closest I could get was with the 3:55 pace group- drats

As far as recapping the race itself its hard to go into detail because I had one focus and one focus only- don't let the watch go above 8:20, but I'll try to recap what I do remember. As luck would have it, Kim doesn't have her watch programmed to do splits, so I dont have  proof of what pace was at certain moments
  • First and foremost the crowds were absolutely ridiculous... I cannot EMPHASIZE how annoyed and how many times I was cursing in my head at everyone getting in my way. My first mile I*think* was around 8:50- gah this is about 1 minute slower than normal. Between me trying to pace myself and literally not being able to get around people, I was freaking out. 
  • I knew that it was pretty much a series of uphills till about mile 5.8 so I just kept a semi-steady pace. I tell you as mad as I was at the complete disregard the other runners had at people trying to pass them, this was probably my saving grace. After the first mile, I couldn't go much faster if I tried just due to bobbing and weaving. translation = consistent pace
  • First few miles my times were 'behind' what is normal for me- even when it got to 5 miles I was freaking out because I was 2.5 minutes slower that the usual. I had to keep reminding myself that I felt great- zero pain, zero breathing issues... just need to keep the same pace and in the farther miles the time will reflect...
  • My original plan was to open up my legs and stroll down the 3 miles (6-9) and bank time. Once again the elevation map lied- although there were some downhills- it was mostly just flat and very very slight declines. I tried to "let go" and let gravity carry me, but again, the stupid crowds got in my way and there was no clear path in order to stride out- first time EVER where downhills didn't drastically fluff my time
  • Finally at mile 8 I realized that something would have to happen to slow me down in order to NOT PR, but jury was out if I would break 1:50. 
  • Just shy of the 11th mile we finally split from the marathoners only to be welcomed by a GIANT hill- woo. Up until this point I hadn't walked, thats right folks, zero walking (except for taking my gu, but I don't count that) so despite the suckiness & steepness of the hill, I knew I couldn't afford to slow down my time. .
  • Then mile 12 comes- the worst and HARDEST mile--- I would like to say that luckily I was prepared for it-- mentally I was, I knew it would be the hardest hill of the entire race followed by 2 more hills, but it didn't make it any easier.
  • yup we had to run up that bad boy, + 2 more ---- I hate to admit it- the first hill was so steep I decided to just stride up it thinking it would be easier on my calves. I don't think I lost too much time doing it, but alas I did lose a little bit.
  • to make matters worse they had count down signs- I do NOT want to see a sign that says 600M to go, 400M, 200M etc. Unfortunately it was hard for me to see if I was going to be breaking 1:50, I was cutting it REAL close 
  • As soon as I turned the corner and saw mile 13 sign I kicked it in with all I had and crossed the finish line and for the first time in a LONG time, I wasn't sore at all and just kind of walked off to the side- score.

Official time
1:50:14- so close, but all things considering, I did break 1:50 for a half marathon distance, so I'm confident I can pull if off for a future race. Much better than 1:51:56!

Since I don't have mile by mile splits all I have to go on is what was taken from official results
5k- 26:34
5M- 43:12
12M- 1:41:41
obviously I can tell my last mile was my slowest mile given 12 mi mark and official time-- stupid hills. 

I waited around for Kim, got a few photos, and made our walk back to hotel so we could eat, shower, and come back to cheer on B & L for the marathon

  • schwag- by far my favorite race shirt (complete with a map of the course on front), loved the cup they handed out at the end and of course, the medal
  • the convenience location that everything is in walking distance- about a $25 cab ride from airport, but once you're in town, no need to take a cab anywhere else
  • plenty of water stops along the way
  • course support was plentiful
  • plenty to see and do in the city if we had time
  • I PRed so of course that holds a special place for me. 
  • It's a tough course- definitely don't choose this course as a PR, but i'm stubborn and didn't want to eat my words
  • the overcrowdedness up until the marathon split--- needs stagger starts to make it easier to maneuver. 
  • serious lack of goodies after the race- they did hand out a bag with banana and chips inside- otherwise you could get a bagel, 1 bottle of water, and a gatorade... nothing else. 
  • price of race- was $95 (and I registered relatively early- both 1/2 and full did sell out)
  • No gu was handed out the entire course- thought that was kind of strange. 
  • i didn't get a SINGLE official race photo sent to me--- sigh. just goes to show how crowded it was if even I can't be spotted 
All in all it was a good race and I took a few nuggets away... 
- I learned that I CAN pace if I get my mindset right
- Compression socks during race (which I never do) really help with not being sore, I felt great the entire race and after- couldn't even tell I ran 13.1 miles!
- know what you're comfortable in. We had all planned on wearing yellow, and the only yellow tank I own has a high neck. I get H.O.T. when I run, so while packing my bags for Texas I decided to just pull out a yellow spaghetti strap I owned and run in that.... the girls made fun of me calling it lingerie, but boy did it help with the humidity, cooling me down, and no awkward tan lines, yay! 
too highcut for racing in TX heat

Although my body felt great during the race, mentally this was a challenging race for me. I was constantly having to check my watch to make sure my pace was on target--- I can't even remember many thoughts going on in my head besides my PR goal in mind. I'm satisfied with my performance, but it was sooooooooo unnatural for me to be going slow in the beginning- will take some getting used to. 

I officially decided last night that I WILL be racing in New York next month, so after I go "reeding" (funny joke only a few will get) the course map, I'll evaluate if breaking 1:50 will happen or if I use it for learning better pacing. 

Why Austin was so awesome

First off I'm behind in all my Austin posts, and commenting on all of your blogs because I was a genius and left my lap top at security in the Austin airport. My only access to blogging is my computer at work and I have been CRAZY busy with appts, so its hit or miss on how much time I can spend blogging.  Lap top just arrived while typing this, so i'll get to my recap this evening.

Highlights: * disclaimer, most photos taken from Kim)
I had SO MUCH fun this trip for so many reasons
  • First and foremost, the awesome ladies I got to spend time with. Another race completed where I stayed with the always inspiring and entertaining B and sister L, but the the REAL treat was finally finally finally meeting Kim R
    • She is the  sweetest and most thoughtful womanr (gave me the best compliment EVER which changed my outlook on my confidence, which is something I've personally been working on for quite some time)
    • She is also my height- nice to not be the tower of the group for once
    • She's a great documenter with always remembering to take photos, something I'm still trying to perfect. 
    • Never met someone before who printed out a race map and had all the hills already marked off- although we all made fun of her for it, it really did help immensely.
    • She let me borrow her garmin to assist in my PR attempt--- SO appreciative for that :) 
    •   Miss her already--- I'm planning a *potential* reunion by joining her, and of course B and L in Colorado. Details in a week if all is finalized. 
L, Kim, me, B @ the expo

towering over the shorties

  • Free happy hours at Embassy Suites followed by all you can eat pasta pre race dinner- new comer to the group Laura- aka speed demon with the most adorable daughter. 
L, me, B, Kim, Laura
  • I have 3 friends (2 were sorority sisters, and 1 high school friend) who all live in Austin.  The girls I haven't seen since 2006, Mike since 2002. I got to meet up with all 3! (thank you facebook for connecting us back up) 
Carson was in my pledge class (ZTA) during college- last time I saw her was graduation. She is a store manager at Betty Sport, a female athletic store in Austin- naturally she was working the expo.

Mike and I ran track together since 8th grade. He was our class president and its my 10 year reunion this year. We chatted for probably 2 hours about running (hes trying to qualify for Boston) as well as details for our class reunion in September. (thanks for being a great sport Kim for sitting through it all ) 

Met up with my grandlittle in my sorority, Jen, for the most amazing breakfast. She's doing an internship in DC this summer, so we're trying to coordinate a run during those few months so we can do a better job at staying connected! 

  • The location where we stayed (south congress area) was an EASY walk to expo, race start, 6th street, and cool shopping. Since I was the last one to fly out on Monday, I spent several hours walking around by myself, exploring all the unique shops and such
 How fun is this sign?!?

 I'm like 12- thought this sign was hilarious

picture doesn't do it justice, but this is an outdoor music venue and bar- LOVE 

hard to see, but its a park of all different kind of food trucks-- in Nashville our food trucks travel around, but here in Austin you can just go to one place 

cute shops

  • for those who love owls like I do, I'm sure you can appreciate this- got 2 of these bad boys from a fair trade shop- they both can hang on the wall and you can put a votive candle in them. ADORABLE. Much bigger than the picture portrays

  • My theme of the weekend was "everything is bigger in Texas"- found a great commemorative shirt to remind me of this....
  • I think ABOVE ALL why Austin was great was despite a tough course, I got a PR and finally learned how to pace---(shocking i know)  obviously I'll go into detail on that in my recap
and with that-

great time, with great individuals, in a great city!