Friday, March 29, 2013

Five for Friday

ONE - Once again I waited too long to sign up for a race and now I can't run it. On June 1st I had planned to race the Virginia Wine Country 1/2.
My parents had agreed to come down and then we would tour all the wineries in the area rest of weekend. I was looking at flights while on the phone with mom and she suggested I see if they allowed packet pick up in the morning so I could fly into Dulles on Friday night (so i could work during day) First thing when you go to their website is
Registration is sold out! Good Luck to all participants. 

Gah, I need to get better about being on the ball. 

TWO Since VA is a state I still need, I looked for alternative races in VA that weekend, but none struck my fancy. What I DID find was the PERFECT race to cross MD off my list for a diff weekend- May 18

13.1 miles along the water, Eastern bay, with a profile elevation that looks like this- yes please!
no more than 5ft elevation change. 
It looks so good, P is coming along to see if he can PR again, so it will be a fun little weekend of exploring a new city with what appears to be a great small town race!

THREE- A large chunk of my time has been spent studying for part 1 of 3 of my CEBS certification test (certified education benefits test)- sound easy, yet there is SO MUCH you have to know. I swear if I hear the word fiduciary one more time, I might scream. Yesterday was d-day and I took my test

Since the test was on a computer I found out my results right away--- I did not pass. Dang- what a blow :( My company paid $1500 a piece for a bunch of us to get this certification, so they informed us we get a freebie if we don't pass, which is great... I haven't felt this dumb in a long time.

FOUR- After my test I headed straight home. I drowned my sorrows in a Culvers burger and a chocolate mint shake which helped... then about 45 min from home I got this....

Tire was absolutely shredded. Turns out I had a slow leak and driving on it for 4.5 hours did its toll. 

FIVE- Since I wasn't too far from home I call my dad to see if he can help. Mom picks up the phone and informs me they are in the ER. Earlier in the morning they were on a walk together and suddenly my dad  went paralyzed from waist down.... it's 5:30 pm and I'm just now hearing about this?? After more explanation I learned he has 2 generative discs that when he stands upright slip into his nerve channel, press against his nerves thus paralyzed from waist down. Simple solution is he has to sit or bend over. He'll have surgery this summer, and until then he can't walk completely erect. 
All is fine now as he is back home, but man... that is not news you want to hear when you're stranded on the highway

Needless to say... yesterday could have been better.

How was your week?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Foam Fest 5k Giveaway

So no, I'm not talking about the kind of foam parties that fraternities would throw as an excuse to see women in barely there clothing get all wet... 


I'm talking about a 5k run where "foam is the new mud"

How can this NOT be fun?!?!

In between all the half marathons ran, I still try to fit in a 'fun run' when possible. Last year I did a muddy buddy, and although it was only 4.5 miles, it was WAY tougher than I anticipated.  This year Foam Fest is coming to Nashville May 4th, and you better believe I'm joining in on the soapy goodness. 

I checked out the website and it looks like within the 5k distance, there are 15 different obstacles including several wall climbs, slip n slides, mud pits, and crawling. I haven't done a slip n slide since Bonnaroo a few years ago, so you better believe I have time to perfect my run up to the mat  to get the most distance. 

When I ran Muddy Buddy with Ashley, we were still trying to see if we could place, I like that this one doesn't have any pressure on time, so I can take it easy and not worry about falling down... which I'm sure will happen plenty.. 
If you are looking to beat a world record or run so hard that you nearly lose bowel control then you might be disappointed. The 5K Foam Fest is not a hardcore race it is a FUNCORE race.

Just because something is 'funcore' doesn't mean it will be a walk in the park (something I always forget, 'hey i run half marathons, I can do a 5k no problem' haha) 

We prefer the term challenging, as opposed to hard. The obstacles won't be easy and some are inherently dangerous—so be careful and don't try and do anything beyond your skill level. If you are questioning your physical/mental capabilities or have a medical condition please consult with your physician before signing up for the race. You are responsible for avoiding an obstacle if you feel you are unable to complete the course or obstacles. Mud is fun but only when its safe!

There is a costume costume as well ,but considering all the mud, foam, and water, i'll be wearing as much spandex as possible... so if you want to join me, we can be team Olivia Newton John??

If you're in the Nashville area, OR you want to travel here for that race, I have one entry to give away to a lucky reader!

All you have to do is leave 1 comment telling me you'd like to join in on the Foam Fun by 4/1, and I'll choose a winner via on 4/2. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jelly Bean Virtual 5K

If you haven't heard of Run with Jess' 3rd Annual Jelly Bean Run... I'm pretty sure you've been living under a rock

There are 3 distances you can choose from to participate in  March 20-March 31:
Run 5k
Run 10k
Run Half-Marathon
Bike 21k

The special part about this virtual race is once the race window closes, random participants who submitted their results for the distances they completed will be selected for prizes, sign me up!

Yesterday was the opening day and since I still haven't broken in my new Saucony Virattas, I thought testing them out with a 5k on the treadmill (easier to control my stride on the 'mill) would be a good way to kickoff the event. 
Ready to go

Close up of my bib and new shoes :)

As stated many times before, I really want to fall in love with my shoes. For 2 years I was in Saucony Guides and then I was told I don't overpronate so I could be in a neutral shoe. I was placed in the Brooks Glycerine and although I loved them in the store, I actually think they are too bulky, and ironically are MORE heavy that the guides. I've been noticing I love running in my Newtons and Assics which both have minimal cushioning, so I thought it might finally be time to see if I can truly run in a zero drop shoe- thus my obsession began with Virattas. 

I'm super awful at warming up on treadmill, so I figured I'd start my 5k at 8 min /mile pace and then every .5 I would increase speed 2 levels to see how 'going fast' felt in the shoes. By mile 2 my feet were feeling fine, but my lungs were having difficulty keeping up, so I increased the speed more and upped the ramp so it would force me to lengthen my stride which translates into fewer steps and not bouncing around as much

Note to self: taking a photo while running = blurry photo (and next time turn off the flash... also all the cool kids go matchy matchy to the gym--- unplanned) 

The last .5 mile of the run I forced myself to do 6:20 pace... can I run that in real life toward the end of a 5k.... absolutely NOT, but on a treadmill its all about the stride and the faster I go, the heavier my stride becomes which would naturally make me land on my heel more and I wanted to see how it would feel if I ended up heel striking in a zero drop shoe. DIDN'T EVEN FEEL IT---amazing!

Finished the 5k with a new adult PR- 23:01. Had I done the math beforehand, I would have adjusted the pace so I could have made up a measely 2 seconds, but I guess thats a different goal for a different day.  

Happy with the run one I did in these, now a day later and my calves really aren't that sore, so I will be testing them out for a 4 or 5 miler to see how they go. In the past 6 miles has been my determining factor.... I can run in almost anything for 6 miles, but after that is when different pains set in. 

First Jelly Bean virtual race a success-- next up, 10k! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Aftermath of Georgia Publix Race

I don't have the biggest blog, I don't get a lot of free swag to review and giveaway, and I don't have all these earth shattering tips to share with you all on a weekly basis--- there are some bloggers out there that the above reasons are why they blog, which is great because we all have our own reasons on why we do it. I started blogging for accountability and a way to document my races and learn (potentially) from my mistakes. The reasons why I continue to blog is because of the friendships I've made along the way and turn some of my 'imaginary friends' into 'in real life friends', IRL for short.

I love, love, love meeting up with bloggers for races, comparing their 'blog personality' to their real personality, and just getting to know them on a personal level. What's even better is when you can make a gals race weekend like we did for this past weekend in Georgia. recap HERE.

It's no secret that Kim and I travel a lot together, so anytime spent with her is literally catching up with a friend and just updating eachother on what's new, although we do a decent job via facebook, texts and email. Jess I met back in September at the Air Force 1/2 and her and her hubby came over for a bbq we had at our house and we ate, drank, and laughed the whole night. Elizabeth and I had never met. We've both been following eachother's blogs for over 2 years, and although we only live 3.5 hours away, our schedules never aligned, so this weekend  was a special treat.

I didn't arrive to Elizabeth's in Atlanta til 10:30 at night, and the second I got out of my car she greeted me with a giant hug- southern hospitality at its finest. We spent the next 2 hours learning all about eachother- boy talk, girl talk, blog talk etc, and to an outsider looking in, you'd never know that this was our first 'in person' conversation.... I love that .

Eventually we got Kim from the airport just shy of 1am and proceeded to all catch up for another hour or so before bed time. Kim did a good job of recapping the weekend outside of racing, so you can read that here and I'll fill in the gaps.

Saturday we made our way to the expo, and after a road rager's worst nightmare of driving and parking, we did manage to make it in one piece. The expo was put on by Publix which meant a LOT of free samples. Even though the expo was large, it never felt congested as some of the traditionally large expos do.

For the life of me I can't flip the picture the right way, but what you see are two bags of baked chips (one blue tortilla, one sweet potato), 2 cutting boards, 2 jars of Bischoff spread--- seriously, amazing, 2 bottles of stove top cleaner, granola, 2 larabars, sample of my favorite coconut oil, our bag, and shirt. I know Kim doesn't like the shirt, but aside from the see through factor I actually love the fit and how "Bring your Best!" is on the side vs. having the logo on my chest.

Pretty much what every photo looks like that Kim and I are in... height is beauty :) 

Once Jess arrived from our double header we immediately went for a walk down the road to the Atlanta Cupcake Factory and King of Pops (gourmet popsicles)- sugar doesn't count if you're going to burn it off the next day right?? Now I'll admit, I generally don't like fancy cupcakes because I find that the cake part is generally dry and the icing is sub par... give me a cheap cupcake from grocery store or homemade any time. 
Cheap Kroger cupcakes for SuperBowl Party

To put it lightly... the cupcakes from Atlanta Cupcake Factory were the BEST CUPCAKES I'VE EVER HAD...seriously. Not only were they moist, but the icing was thick with a cream cheese like texture (not taste though). I bought 3- 2 grasshoppers (mint chocolate) and a guiness baileys one + a whoppi pie. Originally I was saving the whoppi pie and one of my grasshoppers for P back home, BUUUUUUUUT I caved and only left the whoppi pie, oopsie.  

I cannot believe I didn't take a photo of the glorious cupcakes I devoured, so instead, you get a photo of the patient Jess waiting until AFTER THE RACE before finishing hers off... 


Once we got home we did a taste test of  the newest 3 flavors of Nuun- watermelon, cherry limeade, and lemonade- -personally I liked watermelon the best, tastes like a jolly rancher-

 For those who haven't seen Elizabeth's Nuun video application last year, she made a Grape Nuun outfit... I HAD to fashion it for a bit, naturally. 
Does my sexy pose make you want some Nuun? Yes, I am wearing clothes underneath!

After some re-hydration, it was time for some dehydration- I forgot my math and didn't realize that a 22oz was this big--- I'm embarrassed to say I had difficulty finishing this with dinner. 

Elizabeth took us to Osteria, an italian restaurant that did not disappoint. While everyone else got pizza, I went for pasta and chicken--- it hit the spot- good food, company, and gorgeous weather. 

Before heading to bed after dinner we added these super awesome dollar tree shamrocks and stickers to our skirts to get a little festive... happy to report, they all stayed intact, not to mention we looked super cute! 

The race itself was okay- I generally run solo and don't talk much to others while running. The conditions were perfect weather wise, the terrain was a beast, but it was tackled. It's races like these that I don't go for the running itself, I go for the camaraderie of before and after the race with whoever I'm with. I love that through the simple art of blogging, people can come together for a weekend to share their love of running- it's hands down my favorite part of traveling for races.  

My next race is double header with B, but THEN a mini gals weekend in May with Kim and B and potentially L (slim chance but it may happen)- after that my races are with my family and I won't have another girls weekend till Labor Day weekend--- geesh that needs to be corrected soon! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Georgia Publix 1/2 (#3 13 in 2013)

The Race:1
Lifetime Half #45
2013 Half #3
Repeat State (originally state #5)
Official Time: 1:48:23
Sex Place: 286/4954

I'll be honest, this race was not on my radar at all. I've already ran Georgia and I'm trying not to spend money on states I've already done (unless its TN or Ohio since both are home). On top of that, Atlanta is hilly... like "Is there any flat route I can run?" type of hilly-- I get enough of that here in Nashville so why do I need to travel to a state I already completed to get the same thing? 3 great reasons...

1. Gals Weekend- Elizabeth, yours truly, Jess, Kim 

2. Glorious & unique Bling (this is in my top 5 fave ever earned!)

3- Redemption race from the last time I ran Georgia  (spoiler alert, I got injured)

Atlanta is roughly a 4 hour drive from Nashville,  I left after work on Friday and drove down to Elizabeth's house where we chatted for a few hours (first time meeting eachother IRL) before having to pick up Kim at the insane hour of 12:45am at the airport. Surprisingly we acted like we were teenagers and stayed up till after 2am talking away--- this translates into we slept GOOD that night and set ourselves up for a fun day exploring at expo, eating good food, and once Jess arrived from AL, catching up on all the running gossip :)

Race day:
The race itself started at the ripe hour of 7am, early start = early finish and that is a-ok in my book. Since Elizabeth is injured and awaiting surgery, she agreed to be our transportation to and from the race as well as our cheerleader during the race... how awesome is that?
50 shades of green

We get dropped off near the start, cycle through bathrooms at the hotel (unfortunately I did NOT have "success" and it crept up on me during race), and stretched while we waited for time to pass.

What do you call this yoga move?

I think there were some 16,000 runners between the half and the full, so I left with 15 min till start time to find corral E and hopefully avoid the cluster of people. It's been over a year, Livestrong 1/2 in Feb, since I've ran a race this large- my anxiety of large crowds of slow moving people was kicking in and it seriously took me 10 min just to get in my corral - why are runners so stupid and slow walking on race morning- gah!

Although there were corral assignments, there was no staggered start, so despite being in corral E, I crossed the start line about 1:20 after the clock.  Due to large masses of people, bobbing and weaving, and some slight downhill, my first mile was faster than I anticipated.
**Disclaimer- first mile was off with my satellite not recognizing signal right away, so my actual times are not accurate first couple of miles while my watch tried to play 'catch up' to equal the real running pace. **

6:45, 7:35, 7:59.

Although the race itself has some amazing views- its hills after hills, after hills... and then some more hills. I've gotten to a point in my running that I know my legs can handle the hills, but naturally it zaps my pace so then I just go into the "I don't care how I do mode". I felt myself already fading into mile 4. I got great sleep the night before, but I had no energy and just felt tired. We looked at the course the night before and although it didn't explicitly say they had gu, we all just assumed they would be giving it out at the jelly bean station around mile 6.5ish.  Since I was struggling so early, I chanced it and took my Cliff double shot gel at mile 5---- as luck would have it, only jelly beans at the aide station so I was SOL. (luckily I had 3 coke flavored jelly beans in my cup, they were delicious but man it took me forever to chew those up swallow them down.)

The course ran right by Elizabeth's home, and sure enough she was out there cheering like a true sport. I didn't know if Kim or Jess were low on energy like I was, but I let Elizabeth know that there was no gu for half marathoners, so she might want to grab some for when Kim and Jess pass by (they started in Corral I)--- man I wish  I would have brought a second one. The stretch by Elizabeths was the pretty much the only flat part of the course, naturally it was also where the most spectators and cheerleaders were as well.
8:36, 8:30, 8:28, 8:18, 8:11, 7:49 (clearly you can see where the cliff gel kicked in... i swear by these now)
why yes... I always smile when I run, don't you?

There wasn't much eventful going on, my whole race pretty much was watching all  the crazy outfits some had on for St. Patricks day, laughing at the drunks already out cheering for us with plenty of energy, and continually bobbing and weaving since the race was crowded. I had no idea at this point if my garmin pace was accurate, so I knew the only thing I could count on was my total time. Breaking the 1:50 mark is my new "I'd like to do this every race" pace. I don't claim to be a mathematician, but at the rate I was going it seemed doable--- only problem is Elizabeth warned us to save up for he last 3 miles as they were all uphill--- how cruel is that?

side bar: I'm either gaining weight, my shorts are getting old, or i'm changing the way I run but I got chaffing REAL BAD on my inner right thigh. Normally I don't notice it till after the race, but by mile 10 it was already rubbed raw. I saw a shadow of myself running and realized I was adjusting my stride to avoid the thighs touching... all I could think about was how bad that shower was going to feel later. 

Judging from the rest of the course, I think I blew the hills up in my head to be larger than they were, because although they weren't fun, they were not as bad as I anticipated- plus there was a little downhill action somewhere in there. The last mile seemed to drag on FOREVER-  You could hear the announcer speak,  yet my tangents were so off that I had no idea how close I really was to the finish line and I refused to "kick it in" till I actually saw it. Finally when we turned a corner there was the beauty- my legs didnt' really listen to me and I barely adjusted my pace since I knew I would get that sub 1:50 time
Look of determination

To "is it over yet" in a matter of sec

Photo proof that man in blue beat me- darn
, 8:22, 8:24, 8:35, 8:16, 7:56

1:48:23 for 13.32 miles (I'm awesome at tangents I know... I try not to think about 8:08 pace is 1:45:59 and just be happy with my 8.17 pace according to the 13.1)

Not going to lie, I had a HARD time breathing after the race- my legs want to do one thing and my lungs and heart are putting on the breaks-- this is my third half this year and the third time I've had that feeling that my heart was going to explode due to not being conditioned enough. No, I don't think its something medically wrong with me, I think its just my body reminding me "hey dummy, you need to train better if you want to go out at your pace"--- touche lungs and heart, touche. 

Elizabeth was cheering for everyone at finish line, but due to the way everything was set up, I couldn't venture back to her so I waited around in Olympic Centennial park and sent out texts of where to meet up. Once the gang was all there we chatted and laughed about how ridiculous the course was, but we all felt we did fairly well. Jess even rocked her first BACK to BACK double half marathon weekend... according to her, now she can be in the cool group with Kim and I...

Repeat State #5, State 20, State 12

All in all it was a decent race with some amazing gals. If you don't like or are not conditioned for hills, I'd definitely think twice before running this race. This was my 45th half and it was by far the hilliest. Was it the hardest, no, but most hills per course ratio, yes. We lucked out that the weather was great and the humidity subsided, otherwise things could have gotten ugly. I'm so glad I took the trip down, and extremely appreciative of Elizabeth for playing the hostess with the mostest.

Next up, Maine and New Hampshire double header in a few weeks! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five For Friday

Bootcamp - Mon - Thurs at work we have bootcamp offered for free from 4-5pm. I generally try to make it once a week for cross training and have been decent about holding up to that for awhile now. Back in July / August work started an incentive program for different levels of shirts based on how many bootcamp classes you attend:
  Blue   shirt = 25  bootcamps
  Green shirt = 50  bootcamps
Yellow Shirt = 100 bootcamps

Adam was the first (and only thus far) to earn his yellow shirt, thus sparked a group photo of all boot campers who've earned their shirts- check out my "guns" haha.  There are a LOT more folks that come to bootcamp, these are just some of the ones that have earned shirts to date.

Falling in love- It's been a long time since I've been in a committed relationship with my running shoes... highschool to be exact, good old Nike Prestos. Since I got back into 'serious' running 3 years ago, I've been on a quest to find something that make my feet happy. Thanks to the surplus of fit fluential posts on the Saucony Virattas, I started to look toward them. As luck would have it, Bryan purchased some for himself, ran in them and PRed the crap out of his half thus further convincing me that this might be the shoe for me. I realize its zero drop and will take some getting used to, but I'm so ready for the challenge. They came in the mail today and I am even more in love with the colors in person (charcoal gray base, lime green, and hot pink...

You really can bend them in half with just your fingers
Currently my training runs are rotating between my Aasics gel noosas, Newtons, and Brooks Adrenaline--- unfortunately I run my halfs in the brooks adrenaline and they just feel clunky and blah now and I'm ready to say goodbye. The plan is next week I'll do a few short runs (3 maybe 4 miles) in the Virattas and see how they feel. If it appears they might have potential, I will go ahead and purchase the Saucony Cortanas as they have a 4 mm drop, were voted as one of Runner's World best shoes, and all the reviews I've read from folks who run in them raved about the easy transition---- fingers crossed!! 
Twins this morning :) 

St. Patty's Celebration- I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the culture of our company, but even more so my department. We randomly decided to hold another wine at five, St. Patty's theme, for today--- someone mistakingly forwarded the party invite to another department, so now we have over 50 people who are coming. Green wine + Green beer + Irish music + a few of us doing dancing + costumes = Amazing time. I hosted the last wine at 5, but I caved and said I'd bring mint chocolate covered cookie dough balls. 

Originally I purchased white chocolate and dyed it green, however it overheated and became the consistency of mashed potatoes... white chocolate is so finicky- i'd love to know any secrets you may have to melt it just right?? (I did one batch dutch oven style last night, and one batch microwave... major fail on both)

St. Patty's Race/ Bloggy gal weekend: Today I'm headed to HOTlanta after above mentioned celebration to meet up at Elizabeth's until Kim flies in at the awesome hour of 12:45 am and then we'll have all saturday to hang out before Jess comes in from her AL race (double header weekend) so we can run the Georgia Publix 1/2 on Sunday. Unfortunately Elizabeth is going to be cheerleading vs. running due to hip injury, but running or cheerleading, I'm just glad to finally meet her after all this time!

Alaska!- Last week my mom surprised me by letting me know she wanted to join me for my Alaska race. (State #42 I believe)  I chose July to venture to the far north as its a sucky month to race with the heat, it fit well into my schedule, and prices for air fare isn't bad. Douglas Island 1/2 Marathon  is the lucky winner, but unfortunately it doesn't look all too exciting... actually are any races in Alaska exciting?? We decided we will stay for about a week- arrive Wed, leave Tues, so definitely looking for fun stuff to do while in Juneau! (obviously take awesome photos of nature is a must)

How do you properly melt white chocolate?
I've been to add crisco, butter, wax, vegetable shortening to make it easier... not sure about the wax part. Did try both butter and vegetable shortening last night, major fail. 

Anything exciting that is a must see in Alaska in July?
I'd like to see a bear, a totem pole, and maybe go canoeing, but after that I'm clueless. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I'm going to be the next Betty Crocker

I go through phases with my eating--- I'll be super healthy one week, lazy the next, motivated to create concoctions  etc. 

Over the course of the last month, my eating patterns have been off- I crave the weirdest things, have been going out far too much more than i'm willing to admit, and just lacked a general motivation to actually prepare   literally anything. I got a little bug last night to start cleaning out my pantry and experimenting with 2 breakfast / snack ideas. 

Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins 

  • Standard chocolate chip muffin mix
  • 1 cup plain brown rice protein powder (can use any type, this is what I had on hand that didnt' have a flavor)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • for giggles and my sweet tooth I added extra half cup of chocolate chips 
  • little bit of liquid stevia to offset the bitterness of protein powder. 
  • Bake 400 for 15 or so minutes. 
I managed to get 8 muffins out of this, but you could make more or less depending on how large they are. Super moist, right amount of sweet, and due to higher protein they are surprisingly filling :) 

Mini eggs muffins / quiches 

Not really sure what denotes something as a 'quiche', so if this doesn't qualify, pardon my lack of knowledge. 
  • 6-8 eggs (can add more if you want to do egg whites)
  • 1 cup of chopped white onions
  • 1/4 cup of corn
  • 1/4 cup of broccoli
  • 2 tbsps of crushed red pepper for heat. 
  • Bake 350 for 20 min
These are so good and I only wish I had more veggies on hand to add. This also yielded 8 mini quiches and I put them in the fridge so I can grab 2 for breakfast after 1 min heated up in mircrowave. All about the convenience. 

I originally made these so I could be healthy and not eat everything in sight... lets ignore the fact that after my 5 mile run last night I had 4 pieces of pizza, 2 of the above muffins, 1 egg quiche, and a bowl of smores cereal--- clearly running enables me to make bad decisions and eat everything I can get my hands on. 

I know I don't have any 'food issues', but more so bad timing with snacks before a workout so by the time said workout is finished, I'm on a food frenzy--- lets hope this stops before my waistline catches up to me.

What are your go to snacks to prevent over eating?
I"m a big boiled egg and granola bar fan, so I was trying to mix it up