Friday, February 28, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15k Recap

You'd think since there is a race almost every weekend here in Nashville that I'd be jumping on board to fill up my schedule and earn some extra bling. That is just not the case since I've been saving money for traveling, and of course Nashville can be quite hilly. Now that the states are over,  I have  more funds, and my weekends free, (although hills are still here) one of my small goals for running this year was to participate in more local events.

For the past 2 solid months I've been on a hot chocolate kick. I blame the less than stellar temps (come on mother nature, we're in the south!) + my sweet tooth for my nightly relaxing hot chocolate binge. When I caught wind that the Hot Chocolate 5k / 15k series was coming through our city, I knew I HAD to do it.

Since I'm not in any 'speed' kind of shape, nor do I have any desire to "race" anytime soon I chose the 15k option... since its a new to me distance and I can go into the day without any expectations.

Jen and I before the race

For those of you that know me... I don't sugar coat things. I tell it like it is both on here, and in real life. This race was not all bacon and cupcakes (this is my replacement for rainbow and butterflies since I'm not 12 anymore and neither of those things gets me excited.. bacon and cupcakes, well they do). 

I feel like a "broken runner" - my attitude for races just sucks. I have zero desire to push myself. Seriously ever since Hawaii I've been averaging 0-3 days a week of running... most often 1 day. The only reason for going through with this race is because I was carpooling with above friend Jen and I didn't want to let her down. 

Why it sucked:
  • 23 degrees + wind + no sun = miserable temps. It was strange because after awhile I started sweating, yet my hands and feet were numb... make up you mind weird body! 
  • HILLS. Ya ya ya, Nashville has some hills. I can run hills just fine, however, ours are long and never ending. When you think you're done, you have more to go. In my 4 years here I have actually never ran up West End before. For those that are familiar with Country Music Marathon- this is the street you run all the way down in the first mile (although course is changed for this year)--- now imagine having to run up that in the wind- gah. 
  • I never found my groove. Just as all things Lisa fashion my first mile was just following everyone and when I clocked in at 7:19 I pulled back knowing I would eventually die (one of these days I'll just wait till that happens and see what kind of time I can pull off) Since I decided to take it easy, apparently that meant shortening my stride. By mile 6 my hips were so sore from change of gait and I couldn't stride out if I tried because they had gone into robot mode. 
  • And the other big reason for me on why it sucked is I just didn't care. Seems silly, but having no goals and no expectations, and frankly no desire to even do well apparently means that I will hate every minute of said activity while doing it. Noted. 
Since my experience was less than stellar, I debated on even blogging about it, however all my negativity had nothing to do with the organization RAM racing put into the event, so I figured for all those who are interested in a Hot Chocolate event, you might want to know about what a fabulous job they did.

  • Expo was quick and painless in and out. I found a code if you registered by a certain date to receive a free travel mug with registration. My current mug is too big to fit in my car cup holders, this is the perfect replacement and I used it daily
not mine, source 
  • Typically the swag aka race shirt is subpar and ill fitting. I'm not kidding when I say I FREAKING LOVE this hoodie. My race was Feb 15 and I've probably worn this bad boy 7x since then, even brought it with me last weekend to Phoenix and got so many compliments (so many others with it on as well) They let you try on sizes to exchange, since it was slightly fitted, I opted to change my L for the XL so it could be more roomy. The inside of the hoody and the stitching is what inspired my newest nail color as well 
  • The 5k started at 7 and the 15k started at 8. We had slightly different starting areas, hence why corral "A"  is actually "I" for 15k.  I loved loved loved that the first few corrals they explicitly call out "no walkers" As I'm sure is the case for many of you, this is a huge pet peeve of mine when you have to bob and weave around walkers in the first mile of the race. 

  • Every mile was marked AND had a clock with it- so rare to find that these days. I will say that for our course we apparently shared the first 2 miles with the 5k and the first mile marker was for us, but then maybe a min later there was another 1 mile marker for the 5k, same thing for mile 2. If you didn't have a GPS watch on  I could see where this would be confusing. 
  • Water stations aplenty. They were perfectly spaced out about every 1.5-2 miles If it were hot I might have been upset that most were water and only 1 had gatorade, but in the cold I don't care. The first aid station I was handed a cup of ice so I had to swap it out for one that wasn't already frozen over. They don't supply you with gu, so if you feel you may need it for 15k, just bring your own. 
  • There are a lot of out and backs which I actually like. Although it personally didn't help motivate me for this race, traditionally I love getting to pass by other runners, see friends if applicable, and just feed off everyone's energy. 
  • Lots of spectators for this race. My philosophy on this is because its a unique concept to get a bunch of chocolate goodies at end of race, you have people that traditionally don't enter races do it for fun, hence more spectators to cheer on their friends in their rare 'race day performance' 
  • Quite a few photographers on the course- dont be fooled by this photo- was actually rounding the corner to finish line, hence the smile

  • Saved the best for last, but the after refreshments... OBVIOUSLY
hot chocolate. liquid chocolate to dip banana, wafers, pretzels, and rice krispie treats in. Pretzels were my fave for the sweet/ salty combo. Since it was FREEZING, my rice krispie treat was rock solid hard

Trying to get as much chocolate on my mouth as possible. 

Despite my misery, I'm glad I got a 15k under my belt. It did run long so I had 9.5 on my garmin, finishing in 1:18 with a 8:20 pace. Not bad for hating life and walking a ton. Aside from the mounds of chocolate consumed and getting in a 9.5 mile run I surely would have not done on my own, another good did come from the race-- I realized how greatly my attitude affects the outcome of not only performance, but also outlook on the race. Although I was originally excited when I signed up to run, on actual race morning I went into it with an "i don't want to be here" negativity. This continually grew as the miles ticked by and just made the entire run a train wreck.  I did learn from this and shifted my attitude for my next race following weekend (Ragnar Del Sol), which I will be blogging about next, but what a difference it made. 

If you have one of these events come to your city, I'd recommend checking it out. Next year I may just do the 5k--- all the same swag but about $27 cheaper! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sexy by Summer

For the last couple months leading up to racing # 50 and for sure  after I was done, I was constantly bombarded with the nagging question "what's next?" When the infamous question started pouring in I would get all giddy and say it was time to rest. After more time passed I started to get annoyed thinking 'why does there have to be a next, what is so wrong with just being normal afterward and not having anything to focus on?'

After I was officially done it was a mix of emotions, but the most  prominent feeling was loss. Let me rewind....

Last December I lost all motivation to work out so I just didn't. Then I decided to do the ultimate reset the first 3 weeks of January where you can't work out, so by the time it was over I had gone a whole 6 weeks of practically zero exercise. I went stir crazy and the first week I was able to get back on the horse I ran 39 miles in 5 days (thats a LOT of miles for me) I had a focus to get back into shape, became diligent in my workouts again, picked up yoga, and finally hit a big PR for state #40, Maryland in May. A few weeks later I got injured in my calf and from June - September it hurt to run. I did just enough during the week to get by, but my fitness (and physique) declined over that stretch. 

By the time I was healed I just didn't care that much anymore- I had less than 5 states left and I was just going through the motions to make sure I finished what I set out to do. The only thing that kept me "motivated" was to finish my goal. 

Now here I was, goal finished, still out of shape, and I have zero focus on what to do. I need a break from the half marathon, yet I'm not wanting to race the shorter distances either. If I'm being completely honest, the only time I've been excited about running in the last month is when we have a break in the weather and the sun is shining.  I started going to classes offered at work to occupy my time again, yoga, kettlebell, RIPPED- just looking for something different to see if any excited me. 

About 2 weeks ago I was getting ready for work  and was putting my hair up in a pony tail when I noticed I had some definition without flexing going on in my arms- how had I not noticed this before? Like a middle school boy I started flexing in the mirror staring at various parts of my body to see what was sculpted and what was not (legs and arms, check, everything else... needs some work). It's crazy how I've been 'active' for so long, yet was so marshmallow soft in lots of different areas. 

I started to think about how I've always had skinny arms, and if some kettlebells and workout classes can help me start to see results... what can I do if I actually put forth some real effort and have a focus again?
unflexed muscle!

I decided to come up with a plan, sexy by summer, or #sbs if you follow me on instagram to sculpt my body. I know there are tons of ways to go about this, but for me I need something that was convenient, had definitive check points, and was easy to follow. I was up late one night watching infomercials and one for Beach Body's T25 came on. I own p90x and I have a ton of beachbody coach friends that blow up my newsfeed, so I'm familiar with company and the program- I decided 25 min a day, 5x week for 10 weeks was doable because just like my 50 state quest, there is a definitive date to shoot for. 

I realize 10 weeks out is May, but here in the south, thats summer! I went ahead and purchased and due to travel this week (I'm en route to Phoenix today for Ragnar Del Sol) I started week 1 on Sat so I could go Sat - Wed and get my first 5 days in without interruption. Aside from not being coordinated with some of the moves.. pretty sure I nailed it for a beginner. 

I just stepped off the scale and proud to be 4lbs down- winning. 

The biggest thing for me isn't about the weight loss or watching my body change, its about having a focus again. What's great is my roommate is doing it with me since she is currently injured and can't run, so we're motivating eachother and planning our day around when we can do it together- finally some accountability. 

So my 'what's next' is getting my body back- following a workout routine diligently, and just seeing what can actually happen if I put some hard work in for the next few months. I'm not trying to bulk up or try to fatigue my body just being more aware of how my body responds to certain types of exercises. If I don't feel like running, I won't- with exception of 2 Ragnars already planned durring the time frame. 

My other focus is being more aware of how my body responds to food- cheese, too much oatmeal, brussel sprouts- all bad news for Lisa. I'm good about cooking my food, but I have a busy schedule so its so much easier at times to just go out. I'm allowing myself 1 night out a week of restaurant food and if it has to be more I will have to choose healthier options on menu. I'm also cutting out alcohol on weekdays. Contrary to popular belief, I don't drink that much- when I go out I may have 1 beer or two because I enjoy it, but I'm really good about knowing my limits. 

Lastly is I want to be more flexible. For the last month I've been doing a yoga class 2x week and I can already see a difference in my progress, plus it just makes me feel better and more aware of my pain points- hamstrings and it bands. 

Overall, my focus has shifted to just treating ME better and getting my body back. I'm tired of feeling like I should be lighter or skinnier based on all the miles I put in over the years. I finally realized that FOR ME, running just doesn't cut it. I'm not going to hang up my running shoes by any means, but it will no longer be my main priority for next several months. 

1 week down, 9 more to go! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Weekly Recap 2/10-2/16

Weights at home 
Extremely busy day at work to prep for our site visit to San Antonio the following day- didn't get finished tying up loose ends till well after my run group met (and it was freezing) so I skipped the run. Watched the Olympics with the roommate and commentated on the awesome butts on speed skaters and the lackluster excitement of the 1500 skating. Then this happened...f

I might have never mentioned Leah is friends with Sara and Ryan Hall - used to run with Sara and went to their wedding etc. Slightly jealous and definitely ups the roomie's cool factor

No workouts- travel day to San Antonio, TX for work. Naturally as luck would have it we were welcomed with 40 degrees and pouring rain whereas the rest of week was full of sunshine and 70/80 degree weather. Spent the bulk of the day meeting colleagues who will be working on the account I work with, as well as learning the differences of their protocol / processes vs. Nashville. I got hit on which was pretty funny. Rounded out the day with dinner and tons of great food and beer- they even carried Alaskan beer (only certain states carry it) 
Biggest brownie ever and I'm still in awe that I couldn't finish it

p90x Core Synergistics
Travel back to Nashville, was fighting a major headache since the night before so worked from home rest of the day. Roomie and I met up with some folks for dinner and drinks and I added this awesome addition to my pint glass collection (I have over 40) 
R.I.P.P.E.D class
Busy day at work. We had our hardest ripped class to date (finally learned what it stood for: resistance, intervals, power, plyometrics, endurance, distance) Usual Thursday routine, come home, unwind, watch "The Taste" while making different items in the kitchen. 

Friday- Valentine's Day
My Valentine this year (and who am I kidding, every year) was my parents. Mama J made me heart cookies and the parents bought me an awesome daughter necklace. Shaun T was delivered, and I had a bunch of chocolate at the Hot chocolate 15k expo. We won't even go into how I had to pay for parking, $8, and thought I'd use cash- only the machine doesn't dispense change and took my whole $20. (I hate downtown parking) The celebration / anti-celebration would commence on 15th, so 14th was a quiet night at home.

Hot Chocolate 15k - Recap to come. Short version- it was incredibly cold and ridiculously hard course. 
Probably the sexiest photo I've posted on this blog to date- promise I'm not that pasty, chose a bad filter

Got my nails did
Started day 1 of T25 with roomie- definitely will be waiting to share the 'before' photos until I can show some progress- day 1 went well, calves a little sore from the run earlier in the day combined with all the jumping in the video.

Rounded out the day by preparing for our Single's get together later that evening. We thought it would be a great idea to embrace our inner college self and make pink panty droppers- 10 beers, half handle of vodka, 6 lemonade concentrates- sweet, but good (although we had several, 1 was enough) 

Woke up incredibly sore, but it was in the 50s (compared to day befores 20s), so I had to go for a shakeout run and enjoy the temps. 
4 miles 8:40 pace
Waited for roomie to finish her bike ride then did day 2 of t25. So far the moves aren't terrible, its just some of them are awkward and seeing as we both run, we only work certain muscles. We had a rolling gab session together afterwards- quads, it bands, calves galore

Finished the day by heading to our regional championship trivia tournament... yes sounds silly. 50 teams around Nashville (top 5 teams at each location) were battling it out to make it to the ultimate championship in Tunica, MS in 2 weeks for the chance to win $25,000
Team "Coming in Hot"

Yes I'm the only female. For the championship you're only allowed 5 people, and since I've been around the longest I made the cut, whew. It's nice to know my random knowledge can come in handy at times. I also think its because of my awesome whit and humor I bring every week
It's a "party for your entire mouth"- seriously, who doesn't love these?!?!
:sidenote: proof I'm not pasty white 

At half time we were in 13th place, by the end of 10 rounds we were in 4th (top 6 go to MS). The "final" question is always putting items in order and you wager up to 30 points (if right you keep, if not you lose). I had to pull the executive / bitchy card and say since we were not 100% sure on our answers we were not going to wager any points because since the stakes were so high (and the questions were so difficult), the only teams that would wager are those trying to guess to make it in top 6. Leave it to the female to be right and we only dropped 1 place (an underdog team bet it all and lucked out) and we ended up 5th!!! 
March 1st we're heading to Tunica, MS to play amongst 119 other teams to see who is the grand winner (I'm told told top 3 actually get cash) It will be kind of nice to travel without having a race to run! 

On that note, all my spare time shall be spent studying the internets about presidents, geography, and literature- my 3 weakest categories. 
Total Workouts for the week
Runs (2)13 miles
Yoga 2 days
Weights / videos 5 days

Anything noteworthy in your week?

Fan of poprocks??
Had a hilarious / bad experience with watermelon, but love the other flavors

Do you have any obnoxious drink that takes you back to college?
I'm a beer snob and that is typically what I stick to, however in college it was all about what you could afford. $10 diluted bottle of vodka, 1L of mt. dew, few packets of kool aid and you have "razzle". I might puke if I were to attempt to drink that now. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Weekly Recap 2/3-2-9

It seems like the weeks are just flying by since New Year's.  This week was pretty jammed packed and as you can deduce from below recaps, I ran once. My focus while its unbearable to run outside has shifted more toward 'sculpting' vs. solely on running.

Kettlebell Class followed by 4 miles @ our weekly Tin Roof Run

My gf Sarah finally joined me for RIPPED class - although we use small weights, its definitely a workout.

After class on my way to trivia Elizabeth reached out to see if I would want to be on a NUUN  all girl's team for Ragnar Trail Atlanta. Ever since my first experience with Ragnar Trail Vail Lake, (ridiculously long recap of everything you would want to know about a trail relay HERE )I vowed that I had to do another one in the near future- happily obliged and so excited to to have a gals weekend to look forward to in April! 

Finished the night by losing trivia badly with the absence of two of our team members- championship is this upcoming Sunday!  

Yoga at lunch
Bootcamp (first time in 3+ months since I've done this)
Today was the kickoff of our favorite bar's "social club" First Wed of every month there is a featured alcohol tasting with reps to drop some knowledge on us + unlimited food. I'm not a fan of bourbon, but since the roommate and I are friends with the owner, we wanted to be supportive and help make the first one a success. Upside, we were the ONLY girls there and we may have had some interested suitors approach us (we declined politely) 

I did nothing exciting. It was nice to just come home after work and veg out on couch and enjoyed an episode of "The Taste" while trying to create my own culinary creations... stuffed bell peppers. First time trying these out and they were delicious (I mixed 98% lean beef with quinoa, onions, and canned tomatoes) 

Remember that beer fest I went to where everything went terribly wrong and was one of the worst experiences of my life? It didn't go over so well with the roommate either (she also got sick even though she was just a volunteer pourer and didn't drink much) Although this transpired in December,  Friday was the scheduled "thank you party" the organizers were throwing for all the volunteers. I was Leah's   +1 so we could make better memories and maybe, just maybe want to go next year. 

She also invited someone I've been wanting to meet for quite some time, Jeanette Faber. She's a sponsored Brooks runner and ran in the USATF World Championships in Russia this summer for the marathon distance. Although she ran a 2:44:03 in Russia, her PR is 2:32:37 - damn. 
It just so happens she transplanted to Nashville a year ago so we know a lot of the same people.  I was picking her brain for advice when I decide to get disciplined and gun for a PR while getting speedy. Although I'm not ready yet, I'm excited to get back on the horse soon and put her knowledge to use.

P90x Core Synergistics 

One of my high school friends and teammates asked if he could come up to visit and check out a hockey game and local breweries. He lives in Alabama and their alcohol rules are still limited on what they can carry and such. I showed him all the goods he hasn't yet experienced on his previous visits. 
We pretty much ate and drank till our hearts content 

Pharamacy Burger (where I got bratwurst since I knew we were going to Burger Republic for dinner) 

Burger Republic - seriously best burger I've had in awhile- taco seasoned beef, jalapeno guac, pepper jack cheese- YUM. My favorite part was their naughty milk shakes- this was the Evil Smores - chocolate ice cream, chocolate graham crackers, marshmallow vodka, hershey chocolate bar + whipped cream on top! 

I got tickets to the hockey game via our suite and although the Preds lost miserably 5-1, still had a great time. 

Since none of us were ready to call it a night we walked to one of my favorite bar / restaurants downtown, Flying Saucer for some beer- a beer snob's heaven

Everytime I go there, I feel the need to get a photo with whomever on these balls - I know there are more than these 3, but all I could manage to find

Leah and I circa this weekend- holding eachother up 

Circa Fall 2011- chillin / Stephen flick us off 

My 26th birthday circa 2010- model posing 
If you come visit me in Nashville, I promise we can get a ball picture too ;) 

30 min of my own moves with weights while watching the most adorable movie ever Snowbuddies (I have dog fever lately - similar to baby fever, yet I don't need a man to complete this cure) 

Took Tom to my favorite brunch in town (all you can eat buffet) at Puckett's. Did some shopping at Kohls to use up coupons, then cooked and watched they Olympics while doing my taxes- lazy yet productive at the same time

It's imperative to be snuggled up with hot cocoa (bonus points if in an Elvis mug) while watching the winter olympics. Did anyone else notice how gorgeous / perfect hair / perfect smile the female snow boarders were??? They were all also all blonde and tiny, with a median height of 5'3. Guess my dreams of a snowboard

Overall, a pretty good week. As planned, running took a backseat to other workouts, and I'm okay with that. It also helps that it is frigid cold here and i have no desire to run in these temps!

Anything noteworthy in your week??

Monday, February 3, 2014

January in Review

January was an interesting month. The first part was full of anticipation and excitement leading up to Hawai'i, and then as soon as the race was over it was filled with uncertainty and emptiness. I have a clean slate which on one hand is kind of refreshing, but on the other hand it's overwhelming with the countless questions circling on how to fill it. Looking back on the last several years I can see that when my body went through the most positive changes it was when the focus was off of running and more on 'cross training' and proper eating--- this will replace running as my # 1 priority.

Total Mileage:  58 miles- surprisingly a couple more than December. Since racing was winding down, running hasn't been at the top of my list.

Highest Mileage week: 22- my week in Hawaii was actually my highest mileage week. I never thought being on vacation would make me run MORE, but I wanted to take full advantage of all the sights around me.

Races Planned / Completed: 1/1

Cue Europe's "The final countdown"....
50th and Final State- Hawaii- Recap HERE

New to Me: (Because you should always be trying something new) 

  • Tried out (and loved) our new fitness class offered at work, RIPPED

If it weren't for Hawaii, I may not have any "new to me" items for January 
  • First (and probably last for awhile) flying round trip first class 

  • Bike ride down a volcano / mountain 

  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUPing) - can't wait to try this again 
  • Luau 

Accomplishments for January 
  • Obviously the big one is completing the 50 state quest!!
    1. Finished 2nd in our trivia league (up from 4th) and made it to city finals. 
    2. Found a new class that I can stick with on a weekly basis 
    Current Book:  I planned on doing so much reading on the all day plane ride, but instead we got free tablets to watch movies- January was a book free month.

    Current Excitements/ Obsessions:
    • Ragnar Relay in Phoenix 
    • Saving $$ now that I won't be traveling as much 
    Current Songs

    I know its been around for a few months but I'm obsessed with Say Something by Great Big World + Christina Aguilera 

    Current Treat
    Hot chocolate! Every night I have a hot chocolate while snuggling on the couch- perfection. If you're looking for a fun way to add some flavor you can chop up left over candy canes for hints of peppermint OR add some fireball for a cinnamon twist. 

    Current Goal (s):  

    Main focus is to do what I need to get my body back on track before summer (Mid May- June) :
    • Lose 10-15 lbs
    • Although I'm still going to run- my focus is switching to more weights / sculpting
    • Aside from my hot chocolate treat- cleaning out my diet--- looking into going gluten free 
    • At least run 1 race a month
    January Major takeaway:  It's important to have multiple goals so when one is accomplished you can move on to the next. Being goal-less for me is like not having any direction, definitely not a feeling I like or wish to repeat. I've been working on multiple smaller goals that I want to accomplish in the next handful of months vs. trying to create another lofty long term goal that I've been working at for the past 3 years. 

    How was your January?