Thursday, July 24, 2014

Three Things Thursday- back to the track


Kim is HERE! We spent a solid 2 years(?) racing and seeing one another almost every month, that its been weird to have gone cold turkey since November - Oklahoma Route 66 1/2. The past several years her daughter has a bball tourney literally right down the road from my house, so I was beyond excited to play hostess and show her around.

The adorable sign she got me while out and about yesterday in Nashville :) 

 As luck would have it, the tourney fell on the one week where our entire market is in town and we are in meetings all day and events at night. In order to spend more time with her, I agreed to head to the track with her Wednesday morning and join in on her track workout--- 400 meter repeats.

Truth be told she ran 7 400 repeats. I ran 5 because I had to rest up. One of my co-workers and I were talking smack all week to one another and we randomly  decided to "face off" on the track and do a 100m race-- I know, I know resting for only 100m, but hey, I needed to go all out and we had already ran a mile to the track. Some of my other co-workers came by to watch "THE RACE" as well. Original plan was we had to shotgun a beer to add some intrigue to the 7:00am show down, but Dan drank them both the night before so it didn't happen...

Per top photo, I did win and he hung his head in shame. He did let off the gas at the last minute so I definitely think he had more in the tank. Next year when everyone is back in town more people are going to race and we're upping the ante to 400m... sometimes a little friendly smack talk and competition is fun and remind you of the 'glory days'!

Bourbon Chase potentially gets a re-do. 
This past fall I ran the Bourbon Chase last minute and it ended up being one of the worst relay experiences of my life due to a bad assignment time from race director and being behind pretty much the entire race. Since the course was GORGEOUS, I told myself I'd like to do it again if the opportunity presented itself (it sells out every year within a day or so of registration) so I wouldn't have a negative view of the race. Randomly today I get a facebook message from a mutual friend Brittany asking if I wanted to join her team of all Nashvillian runners that I haven't yet met. Seriously within 23 minutes of receiving this message, Elizabeth texted me stating her gf was looking for a spot to fill on their team and was wondering if I was interested. What are the odds?

I tell Brittany I'm in if I can be in van 1 (was in van 2 last year), and I'm sitting here talking to Kim while typing this and telling her all about Bourbon Chase last year and then I realize that I actually have a half marathon I signed up for on the same exact day. Crap!

I haven't blogged about this, but about 1 month ago I was able to register for a local 1/2 that, just like Bourbon Chase, also sells out within the first day due to it being the only one in the area that is flat. Since this will be my first half 'back', my plan was to go balls to the wall and just see what I could do and then go from there in regards to breaking 1:40. Initially my goal was to just try to break it on the first try, but my mileage is just not there right now so I don't think its possible.

I'm caught on what I should do: Forgo the half and give Bourbon Chase the redemption I've been waiting for, OR stick with original plan and focus on the half marathon?
What would YOU do? 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Three Things Thursday- 30 Edition

So yesterday I turned 30.... cue the dramatic music.  On one hand it was neat in the sense that I've accomplished a lot before turning 30 and I'm told I don't look my age (lets hope that continues for awhile. ) On the other hand there is the nagging feeling you can't avoid, thinking you should start that next chapter of settling down, getting married, and start a family. Although I do want those things... its beyond my control so I have to be patient.

Anytime you enter a new decade, there is always time for reflection, but to keep this light, I chose to focus more on what I DO have in my life that I'm thankful for.
My family
Mom sent a care package to my work on Monday and when it didn't arrive she freaked out and thought this was putting a damper on my surprise. Since it was insured, it required a signature thus there was a delay and it arrived on Tuesday (day before my birthday) She is always so thoughtful with her gifts. Obviously you have to have the obligatory 30 knick knacks, but the pandora bracelet (i've been needing a new one) with the 3 charm as well as the book full of great stories are both fabulous.
Photo: "At 30 you are at that junction when the experience of your past and the ambition for your future will help you make all the right decisions in your life!" Best inscription yet from @maryjojameson !
Thanks mom and Tricia for the day before the actual 3-0 surprises
Close up of the 30
I got my first pandora bracelet for my 25th birthday and its neat to look back on all my charms that mark important events- when I moved to Nashville and left Louisville, my Alaska race, when i hit 50 states etc etc. 
On my actual birthday she kept posting photos of when I was young- surprisingly I hadn't seen either of the below photos. 
Photo: Lisa Jameson.....30 years ago made our family complete!!!  :0)with Eric Jameson&

One of my brothers called in the morning, the other sent me a series of jib jab cards featuring him dancing along with rest of his family--- love these. 

And of course my dad offered some words of wisdom... although no phone call <cough cough> ;) 

My friends
I came into work yesterday and 2 of my best friends happened to decorate my desk (all before 730am mind you) and it looked like an explosion of glitter and chocolate. I haven't felt this loved in a long time. As a joke, they bought me stripper shoes because they say the 2-3 inch heels I wear aren't "real heels"-- still no idea where I would wear these to, or how I would walk in them. 

They bought me a growler of beer, and my mom had beer shaped cookies delivered to my office.... sensing a pattern here??
Photo: My best friends brought me beer and my mom delivered a beer themed cookie bouquet--- I'm sensing a pattern

After taking a half day off to get some errands done, we rounded out the night with a ladies night at one of the "newish" restaurants in East Nashville called the Tree House... and yes we ate in a tree house :) I haven't had a group of girl friends since I moved to Nashville. Most of my friends were guys, AND I had pockets of friends independent of one another, so to have some of them interact and be friends with one another was something I've been missing for a long time. 

All that I've accomplished
I think too often we focus on what we don't yet have, that we forget where we came from. 5 years ago I was living in Louisville in a 2 bedroom apartment with 9 people. I had NO money to my name, was just getting back into interacting with my family, and had zero direction  on what I was doing with my life. Now I have a great career that enables me to make enough to live comfortably as well as go on some adventures,  a strong support network, completed my goal to run a half in every state, a stable home with only 1 roommate, and most importantly, I like where my life is headed. Obviously there are times when I feel "lonely" or that I measure my success to my peers, but I do snap out of it and remind myself to be grateful for the journey. 

Here's to what I'm sure will be my greatest decade yet!!!

For those that are 30+, did you have fears entering this milestone birthday?

Do you check in with your self to be thankful for all that you have?

Monday, July 14, 2014

June Highlights

June was embarrassing in terms of fitness, less than 30 miles for the month- crazy pitiful.
This pretty much sums it up--- lots of time off

There was quite a bit going on with moving homes and work that I knew this would be my last 'lazy month'  before picking back up the running to be prepared for Hood to Coast in August.  I also feel that since June is "officially" summer, there are more activities always going on that I feel I "have to" take part in so I don't miss out- thus resulting in always being on the go and too tired to workout first thing in morning or end of day.

So what did happen?


I said goodbye to apartment living and the best roommate to date

And hello to a 3 story townhome with double the space and then some from compared to what I'm used to

Who knew how much time could be spent decorating, gardening, and trying to make the space my own?  I have to keep reminding myself that because I'm still renting, I'll have to move everything AGAIN into my own place when that time comes, so to not go overboard--- both with practicality and my check book. 

The second floor is pretty much where I spend all my time and I have lots still to do, but its been fun along the way.  I still have a bonus room off the kitchen I haven't done anything with, along with the entire back room on the first floor that is empty #toomuchspaceproblems

Typically I see my family (siblings) 3x a year- Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter and my parents come down 1x a year to see my in Nashville.  June was a treat because I got some bonus quality time.
Mom came down 2 days after moving in to help me decorate,organize, and pick out some new furnishings. She got the ball rolling, but lots more has been done since then and I'll be excited for her (and dad) to see the transformation when they come down in less than 1 month. 
After her short 3 day stint here, we headed up to Indianapolis for my cousin's wedding reception- love being able to reconnect  with the extended family

My brothers and I- we're a tall bunch

Some of the cousins

Having play time with one of my nephews (my other 2 didn't make the trip) 

And getting to dance with dad

With all the purchasing of home goods, June's entertainment month was all about embracing what is free!!
Art and Wine Crawl in downtown Franklin
Outdoor Free concerts every Saturday in East Nashville 

And I even managed to score free tix to our company box for Katy Perry tickets 

I know I typically blog about the good things because who wants to be a debbie downer, but June also had a few road bumps as well:
  • Roommate I had selected to move in & split the cost of town home with disappeared and never returned any of my messages- leaving me with another month's rent to pay for solo. Normally not a big deal, but 2 months rent  now when I'm covering everything  would actually get me 4.3 month's rent compared to what I've been paying the last 4 years. 
  • Piggy backing on the roommate situation, this month was the FIRST time I haven't had a roommate since I was 18. The past 11/12 years there has always been someone around, so the first few weeks by myself was a huge shock and adjustment. I got extremely lonely and would avoid coming home to an empty house. This  meant 1 of 2 things---constantly finding things to do with friends so I wouldn't be at home by myself, or immersing myself in settings where even if I wasn't talking to people I was still surrounded by them (shopping, going out to eat, staying at work later etc) Both scenarios resulted in unnecessary spending. On the upside, I did also start and finish both seasons of "Orange is the new Black", so now I know what the heck everyone else around me is talking about. 
  • Work picked up and naturally I acquired more additional responsibilities with nothing coming off my plate to accommodate. Initially I was told I would help out temporarily, but then it changed to assist till the end of the year. On one hand its job security, on the other hand I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my job so it increases the unnecessary stress I put on myself. 
  • I realized the guy I had been seeing for 2 months was a complete immature pervert and we were NOT on the same page when it comes to relationships. I often find myself wondering what happened to the good men out there that know how to treat, and most importantly, talk to a lady. I ended things in not the nicest of ways so at least I got that satisfaction of controlling the situation. Next please. 
  • Lastly, coming to terms with this being my last full month being in my 20s... enough said. (2 days till dirty 30) 

Overall June was just a very busy month. It was hard to find balance with all the changes, but I feel like I've finally found my groove. July's focus is all about getting back into swing of things and shifting my focus from "if I don't feel like doing it I won't" into a more disciplined schedule when it comes to workouts. So far I've already ran more miles in July than June (not that it was too difficult to do) so off to a great start. 

How as your June?
Anything exciting / noteworthy you experienced?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Looking back at Ragnar Cape Cod

Apparently there was a time at the beginning of May that I ran in a Ragnar Cape Cod relay- I know here we are 9 whole weeks after the fact and I'm just now writing about it? Truth is, I kind of lost my running / blogging mojo. Combine that with the fact that this was my 11th overnight relay, and all the recaps run together--- I ran a lot, I got very little sleep, I ate like crap, I had a great time with strangers, it was a blast etc etc.

Despite the traditional similarities that come with running a relay, there were 3 major differences for this one that made this a 'newer' experience  for me.

1. Everyone on this team was new to me. 
When I told my friends I was doing a relay in Cape Cod with a bunch of people I didn't know, I consistently got the eyebrow lift followed by the question "how in the world did you even find out about them?" I guess with all the traveling and meeting up with strangers I just don't think twice about it anymore, but since not everyone has reached that level of familiarity as I have, here is how it went down:

I joined the team by responding to a facebook post looking for 2 more runners my friend Julia put out there. Julia and I met through blogging and then ran on an ultra team for Northwest Passage together. I also recognized Nancy's name since I've been following her blog the last several years, but everyone else, despite most blogging, I was unfamiliar with.
Once I was 'officially'  part of the team, Betsy reached out since she also happens to live in Nashville. We met up once for lunch and then agreed to get on the same R/T flights to East Coast to keep each other company.
Betsy and I showing how Nashville girls have some hops!

Unfortunately a few weeks prior to race day Julia had to back out due to family commitments, so that left me with 1 person I barely knew going into the long weekend. No big deal- it actually makes the trip more interesting because you are constantly learning about your teammates the entire time. I guess this could go either way in the good / bad department, so I lucked out!

And in running order--- Meet the team!

 Photo Source
2. I was the only Ragnar Veteran on the team
I think there may have been some of the folks in van 1 who have run a relay before, but this was their first time experiencing a Ragnar. Despite trying to figure out the logistics of everything (huge shout out to Betsy for making this all come together so smoothly), this was a huge plus in my book. I think sometimes we do things so many times we become de-sensitized to them--- thats how I've become with racing lately (although by taking this huge break I'm hoping my first race back I'll get the butterflies again). It was incredibly refreshing to have everyone be genuinely excited about the entire experience with all the questions, enthusiasm, cheering, and photo taking. I strongly believe that it's possible to feed off other's energy, and they kept me fueled the entire weekend.  If you want to see their take on their first relay, here are some of their recaps. 

Jen- Running with my Girls

3.  I have officially rode out the 'no longer have to train' bus
Ever since I made the decision to run a 1/2 in every state, I've literally had multiple half marathons every single month the past few years with only a few months exception where it was just 1. This meant that I could take several weeks of dialed back mileage and never really lose too much of my endurance. There were a few times where I struggled for maybe a week, but it all came back. This weekend was a big reality check for me. Although I had purposely been taking it easy for 4 months leading up to the race, I guess I just didn't grasp how hard 10 miles could really feel when your body hasn't done double digits in months.
This was hands down the hardest relay for me physically. I was reminded of when I first got back into running 4 years ago- I could never get my breathing down, my form didn't feel natural, I was sore after every run and 'finding a groove' seemed impossible.
Who knew you could get THIS tight after 10 miles?!?

 I have now lost everything I built over the last 3.5 years- stamina, speed, and most importantly- confidence in my abilities---- CRAP.  Although this was a wake up call that I need to get back on track, I'd be lying if I said I immediately was motivated to get back into the grind and come up with a plan to gain all that was lost. Instead, it made me realize that I need to enjoy time off now, because when I decide to train again, I'm going to have to go all in if I want to get back to the level where I last left off.

Now onto things I didn't learn, but were more re-affirmed:
The Cape is Beautiful

You can never have too many group photos 

Running by yourself the entire relay stinks
My first two runs I didn't have a single kill. Occasionally I would get passed by someone, but other than that, it was just me and the road
This is what my last run looked liked.... 

and then finally caught up with people and had to photo it and send to the group text in the middle of my run

I've never been so excited to mark down kills before

I am a giant compared to some of my teammates (in all fairness, she's under 5'0)

There is a lot of history along the course- and this is just what we saw on our part of the run!
Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, structure surrounding Plymouth Rock 
Pilgrim Monument 

Tomb that marks the death of the first pilgrims

And lastly- the last 100m of both your last run, as well as the entire relay, is always full of smiles.... 

Another successful relay in the books- if you have the opportunity to go visit the Cape, I highly recommend. If you're able to run while there, even better. Both times I've ran the Cape I have gone in May--- first time it was bloody hot, this time it was pretty chilly. Weather is a grab bag there as the forecast changed leading up to race day. 

Next relay is the infamous HOOD TO COAST. I'm on an all ladies FAST team, so its about that time to get my butt in gear!!!

Have you run a relay before?
What is your favorite part?