Monday, February 27, 2012

hyannis half marathon

yesterday was the 12th time ive gotten into the starting crowd of a half marathon. no matter how many times i run a race, i still get nervous. i remember the first time i ran a half (in 2005) and i was unsure what would happen out there as i had never run farther than 11 miles before. but even now im still unsure of how my body will hold up, despite knowing what the distance should be like (since ive now covered twice the distance 5 times). i know my body is in better shape than my previous half marathons. my legs are stronger, ive built up my core, my speed has increased over the last year. but i still knew in my mind that anything can happen on race day.

but before we get to the actual race, lets talk about everything leading up to the race. cuz that was fun. i drove to massachusetts and picked up Dutch, who gave me a 5 cent tour of his house (i think i want my money back) and within 5 minutes of seeing him called me short (im pretty sure he wanted to walk to hyannis...). i then made sure to hit all the pot holes and weave in and out of traffic (no, i wasnt texting...) so that he never wanted to drive with me again (i think it worked).

we went to the expo and picked up our bib, and i got to meet Joe from 1 Band ID. i also saw kim working the DetermiNation booth! so fun to see friendly faces! julia arrived shortly before we left for dinner, where we met up with jessie, liz, and ashley at colombo's cafe in downtown hyannis. dinner was full of fun conversation, basket after basket of bread, stripping off clothes cuz we were all too hot/putting clothes back on and shivering when the heat would turn off, raw chicken.... oh it was just a really great time. we all went our separate ways after dinner and julia, dutch, and i headed to the hampton inn to watch the devil wears prada  get some sleep before the big race. (quote of the night: "we only have one king sized bed in the hotel"... "its ok, i brought my headphones".)

julia and dutch left for the race at 7am to help the luna team with registration. i stayed at the hotel til 9 reading and watching friends. the race didnt start til 10am which made it tough to figure out how to fuel (since i woke up at 7 and was starving). ive never had scrambled eggs and a bagel before a race before, so why not try this morning right? (it was delicious, but *spoiler alert* it will prove that it wasnt enough). i finished "water for elephants" and at about 8:45 figured i should probably get ready and figure out what i was going to wear (id packed a ton of options, nothing like leaving it til the last minute). it was about 30 degrees, with a high of 39, and windy. i consulted sarah and told her to figure out my outfit for me (obvs thats what friends are for). i braided up my hair, packed up my bag, and headed out. i parked a ways away so i could warm up (my groin has been real f*ed lately, so warming up was essential). i got to the start about 20 minutes early, feeling really good and stretched out. i couldnt find anyone (no surprise) and they had the start line corralled with fences and i couldnt get in, so i was stuck at the back of the pack. lovely.

it took me 3 minutes to walk/shuffle to the start, which then turned into trying to weave through all the back of the pack runners. start *fail*. my pace was all over the place, i was weaving to the left, cutting people off, weaving to the right, up on the sidewalk, back on the road... it was a mess. and on top of it, about a quarter of a mile into the race they guided us all to run on one side of the road, which made it even more crowded. i had heard this was a beautiful course but all i was looking at for the first mile was the ground to make sure i didnt trip on anything (and i almost ran head on into a car). i ran mile 1 in 8:05, and was then able to settle in comfortably and start looking around me, hoping to enjoy this race at a comfortable pace.

it was between mile 1 and 2 that i (stupidly) started picking people off. apparently my mind had forgotten that i had 12 miles left to run. each mile kept coming and going rather easily, and i was smiling and loving it. i spent a few of the first miles thinking about what an awesome race this was and how i felt everything was going right, and a huge PR was in the books.

add in: i absolutely LOVED the crowd along the course and the awesome posters. i wish i could remember them all, but a few of my faves included: (mile 2ish)- "you are NOT almost done" (appreciate the truth on that one), "motivational poster", and "your legs are supposed to feel this bad". sadly at mile 4 i saw a poster that said "BREATH". i tried to look behind me to see if the flip side of his poster said "take a..." but im pretty sure he forgot the "E". i could write an entire blog post about that.... but ill move on.

so anyway, then came the wind. and a hill (um hi, all you runner friends that i trust so much with my LIFE... you told me this was FLAT!). and another hill. and some more wind. and i realized i was overdressed. and my pace started to slip. and my heart rate went above 180. and and and....

if you cant trust your runner friends, who can you trust?!

so that great race i was having completely went to shit at mile 8. well ok, not completely (i didnt go from 8 min miles to 12 min miles or anything, but to me i felt like i was totally crashing). my legs were going numb. i was hot (and definitely not like supermodel hot). i felt like my heart was racing and i couldnt get it to slow down. and then, out of nowhere, sarah showed up next to me. she had told me she was using this as a training run so her pace was exactly what i wanted... i had hoped to find her before the race but it didnt work out that way. so when i saw her i was soooo excited, but i kept telling her that i thought i was dying and that she should just go on without me. she told me that she had been looking for me for the past 8 miles just so that she could make sure i was still on pace to go sub 1:50, and she wanted to run with me. yay! so she gabbed and gabbed and i tried to get one or two word sentences out inbetween my heavy breathing. she reminded me we could run 8:25s/8:30s as long as i picked it up the last mile (yeah sure, can you find me a bike please?).

but all in all, she pushed me to keep going. if she hadnt shown up next to me i swear i would have walked the last 5 miles. at mile 10 i did the complicated math in my head (yes its complicated when im tired and hot and dying) and realized that i could run 10 minute miles and still get sub 1:50, so that helped a little (and i kept reminding sarah about this little tidbit, and she kept saying "but youre not a 10 min/mile runner. were doing 8:25s, so keep up". yes boss.). every time i looked up she was pointing at the ground next to her (she was about 10 feet ahead of me) screaming at me to catch up with her. please note, cuz im not sure i have said this enough: and before i knew it, she was pointing through the trees on the right to show me i could see the finish line. i looked at my watch and saw that i was not only going to go sub 1:50, i was going to go sub 1:49. so i gave it all i had (final pace 7:36) and smiled/cried my way across the finish line and gave sarah the biggest hug ever!

boom. PR by almost 3 minutes.
(ps- that 120 for HR was a half hour later when i finally got to my car.)

about 10 minutes after i finished i was standing with dutch, ashley, and kelly when all of a sudden my calf seized up and i literally fell over in pain. ive had charlie horses in my calves before but this was pain like i had never known. i looked down at my calf and it was so gross looking, pulsating, rock hard, my foot wouldnt move and i was all "what the F is going on?!" ashley was yelling at me to press on it, and dutch grabbed my leg and dug his thumb into my calf. ouch. it was seriously insane. it eventually loosened up but my god if that was not the worst pain ever! i quickly found a banana and downed another bottle of water before attempting to run a cool down mile to stretch it out.

other than the mental breakdown during the race, the overheating, and the minor calf issue after the race, im overall really happy with how my race turned out. (us runners are an awesome kind of stupid breed arent we? felt like dying, pain, heat, wind, hills... and im still happy?!)

miles 1-8: all rainbows and glitter and butterflies.
not so much after that. but kicked it up at the end. win.

big smiles.

 yay for good friends

half marathon #12 in the books
(lifetime race #70!)

official time: 1:48:45
pace: 8:18
field placement: 885/3321 (26.6%)
age group (f 30-39): 97/585 (16.6%)

Friday, February 24, 2012

(not always so fun) fun fact friday

1. when i go to the grocery store for "a few things" i often end up shopping like i have no food in my house (which is not true) and the end of the world is coming and i better stock pile just incase (also not true, i hope... but i guess you can never be sure). we have 3 things of ranch dressing in the pantry. you can never be too prepared.

2. i very much dislike the propane company and the fact that they havent called us back after we've left FOUR messages on their machine. so for now ive resorted to turning the heat down and wearing hooded sweatshirts, wool socks, and on occasion a winter hat while in the house. screw you and your expensive propane. (*update: since starting this post they freaking called back, of course. and now we pay less. so ill turn the heat up just a little... for the sake of our kitten, of course. my winter hat is so stylish)

3. after shopping around recently for some baby girl clothes for a friend i decided we will have a boy. cuz ya know, i can make those decisions and everything.

4. taxes. barf.

5. i bought a sewing machine this week and now everyone will have stylish christmas gifts this year. you have been warned. (i have no idea what im doing, fyi)

6. im really good at following directions when driving (i freaking drove from maine to arizona ALONE without getting lost). however, the year after i graduated from college i drove to syracuse. in albany i apparently took a wrong turn. i drove 2+ hours before thinking i might not be going the right way and stopped to ask for directions. convo- me: "so that city up there ahead, is that syracuse?" convenient store lady: "oh no honey, you must be lost. thats canada." the only way to get back on track was to drive the 2+ hours back down to albany and then continue on towards syracuse. fml.

7. during the summer of my junior year in college a few guys i worked with decided it would be fun to drive down to six flags for the day (3 hour trip from home). we took my little hyundai accent, parked in the super expensive/no security lot, spent the whole day riding roller coasters and left to drive home at 10pm, exhausted. as we got close to our car, we saw a group of people standing around. come to find out, about 10 cars were vandalized... mine being one of them. what was the crime? they stole ONE tire. really? off a hyundai? so we couldnt drive home on a donut, no place was open to get one, i wasnt 21 and a hotel didnt want to give a room to me and two guys (come on, it was a weekday!... i ended up having to call my mom). the next day it took 6 hours for an auto body shop to get me a tire and we spent it at dicks sporting goods trying on hunting gear. what a scene.

8. yes, i watched whitney houstons funeral. judge away.

9. i long to drive a 5 speed again. driving is boring. sometimes i pretend my altima isnt automatic.

10. ive started adding almond milk to my oatmeal. yummmmmy.

11. i sometimes write things on my to-do list that ive already done just so i can feel accomplishment of crossing it off.

12. im inbetween sizes in my favorite american eagle jeans. i need a new pair but i feel one size looks baggy and frumpy, and the other size is too tight. sigh.

13. im beginning to enjoy the bike. who am i?!

14. when KL&H come on at 10am, the today show gets shut off.


15. sunday will be my 12th half marathon

16. this pic continues to crack me up whenever i see it (sarah... what?! haha)

happy friday everyone!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

playing random catch up

i really love my work schedule.... i work three 12 hour days a week...give or take... sometimes i pick up an extra shift here and there, and im on a committee that meets once a month, plus other bs meetings here and there... but generally i have 4 days off. those days sure go by fast but i often get a lot done. this week (and next) however, i work my 3 shifts in a row. on those 3 days i get NOTHING done (aside from the 4:30am gym sweat fest). the 4 off in a row are so great though, hence i can now catch up on what whats been going on!

last saturday i ran my 2nd 5k of the year and again i went sub 23! but, just barely (my watch said 22:57, official time said 22:59, whoa... i dont even want to talk about how pissed i would have been....). ive been working on my speed and really wanted to be closer to sub 22 than sub 23, but it started snowing on the morning of the race making road conditions a bit slippery, they changed the course that i thought was going to be a longer downhill start where i was going to try to bank some time, and then there was the cliff at mile 2....

incase you thought i was kidding...

my cousin kim and i ran the race together and she took a slight lead at the end, finishing 2 seconds ahead of me and taking 1st in our age group, giving me 2nd. ill take it :) overall im just really happy that i am becoming more consistent with my splits instead of crashing at the end like i used to do. i also wore my HRM for this race (i had to search all over my house for the damn thing, i havent worn it since...????) and my max hr was 188. so i guess that gives us an idea of something that ill look into at some point? sure.

looks fun, right?

in my january recap i made 3 goals for february (i like to start small...)
   1. ride more miles than i did in february of 2011 (45 miles)
   2. 525m swim (sprint tri distance) in 11 minutes (current time 11:20)
   3. plank a day

well, its the 16th of february... how am i doing? as of yesterday i have logged 53 miles on the bike, and my timed swim yesterday was 10:20! ive come such a long way in just a month and a half with my biking and swimming, i wish it was may right now!! (and im actually enjoying the bike more now, weird! riding in my kinvaras is really helping with my whole toe numbness thing). and so far so good with the plank a day. i started at 25 seconds and im up to 45 seconds. ive also done a plank in 5 different states and 30,000 feet in the air:

i know everyone and their mother is talking about the sad news of whitney houston passing away. i agree that there are other things going on all over this world that should probably take precedence on the news and everything, but its still very sad. i grew up listening to her strong, beautiful voice, and despite the troubles she had, she was still an amazing singer and left this earth too soon. i pray that she can find the comfort she desperately needed and was unable to find here.

onto more fun things: my friends john and amy found out yesterday they are having a baby girl! yay!! i know nothing about those old wives tales but one i think ive heard somewhere is if you are carrying low its a boy? well i told her on saturday night i thought she was having a girl because she was still able to wear her own jeans and not have to use the new elastic thingy (that was my exact thought process haha). they also bought a house that has a purple bedroom with fairies, so now they dont have to repaint :) my cousin erin is pregnant with twin girls (and her brother also had twin girls!!), my step sister is pregnant (not gonna find out what theyre having), rebecca finds out TODAY what shes having, my good friend jen at work is pregnant... so many babies this summer!!!

and last but certainly not least, i got tagged by megan and im just now getting around to answering her, she doesnt mind though :)

1. What is one thing you regret doing/not doing? - im honestly the type of person who believes that you shouldnt live with regrets. do i have some things in my past that i wish i hadnt done? sure. but everything that i have done has gotten me to where i am today, and i am very happy with who i am right at this moment. (side note: see question 2 for a regret. or two).

2. Do you have any tattoos? Of what? And where? - i have 4 tattoos, but ive actually been tattooed 5 times...
(from LtoR)- 1. summer of 2000, i had gone to one place and picked out the symbol i wanted (fun fact: no idea what i had wanted, just decided to get a tattoo. dont do that.) but they were so expensive so i went to another place that didnt have that same symbol, so i picked out this one cuz i thought it looked cool. it means "transformation". the two stars are purple and gold for elmira college. yeah. tattoo semi regret #1, but i cant really see it so whatever. (and i have this random red freckle next to the tattoo and i enjoy saying that the tattoo guy accidentally made a mistake and tattooed a red dot). 2. spring semester of sophomore year 2001, my roommate and i decided to get a tattoo together. we drove to ithaca, ny and each got the blue star on our bikini line. we both had to get them redone after a few months because the water at elmira had so much chlorine in it that the blue turned white in color. when i went back to get it touched up i added the purple moon, she made hers into a shooting star. my moon has also lost its color and is all splotchy. im not getting it redone cuz this one hurt like a bitch! whatever. tattoo semi regret #2. 3. pretty self explanatory... october 2009, after completing my first marathon. my first tattoo with no star and no purple haha. 4. november 2011. the "a" is purple for cystic fibrosis awareness. "breathe" has numerous meanings in my life. most everyone knows this, but i changed my career and became a respiratory therapist after meeting my (now) husband and his brother who had cystic fibrosis. aaron lost his lifelong struggle in august of this past year and i got this in honor of him. miss him everyday.

3. If you could travel anywhere right now, with an unlimited budget, where would you go? - ireland or a 50 states tour

4. Early bird or night owl? - i used to be a night owl when i worked the 3p-11p or 4p-12a shifts at my old job and i could sleep til 10am. im slowly turning into my mother... i love going to be before 9pm and waking up at 4:30 or 5am. i cant sleep past 8am anymore.

5. What is your favorite activity for stress relief? - running, running, running.

6. Childhood hero? - it wasnt so much a childhood hero but growing up i really enjoyed watching mia hamm and michael jordan

7. What is one item from your life bucket list you'd like to get done this year? - become a triathlete! may 5th :) (and i had to share this, cuz its freaking awesome)

8. The worst place you've ever been to? - driving home from seeing my college roommate in new jersey i had no cash for the GW bridge in new york city. i had to get off the highway and find a store that had an atm. i ended up driving through harlem. needless to say i was not overly excited.

9. What is your favorite fruit? - strawberries or red grapes

10. If you could go back to college, what would you major in? - nursing or sports medicine

11. Dream job? - i really really love what im doing now, but i think i would enjoy being a stay at home mom and be a weddding/family photographer on the side

Monday, February 13, 2012

dear monday...

care to join? link up...

dear monday, for the 2nd week in a row we meet up nice and early for 800m sprints and a bike brick. dont get used to this. come may 5th this is all ending. maybe.

dear blog, sorry i avoided you all week. i know i really need to catch up, which will happen tomorrow. or wednesday. maybe.

dear indeciciveness, (or dear dictionary... indeciceviveness? too many e's and i's... i dunno)... anyway, dear waivering back and forth, cut the shit and just make a damn decision. no more maybes.

dear icanhascheezburger, you make my monday THAT awesome. i mean really, who doesnt love cute kittens?

dear 5k race distance, i think i just may have this whole consistency thing down now. after two races in a row going sub 23 i feel like that might be my new speed. and i kinda like it. but a 22:59 is cutting it real close, even if there was snow. and a cliff at mile 2.

dear self, i vaguely remember you saying "OH HELLZ NO, NO MORE RUNNING 5Ks"... oh like in november. of 2009. (fact.).

dear megan, thanks for tagging me for the 11 things... i havent forgotten about you! give me just a few more days, k?

dear drama from this weekend, seriously? what are we in high school? i just need to laugh.

dear whitney, i hope that you can find comfort and be at peace now. the countless number of times i cried listening to "all at once" when i was younger...

Monday, February 6, 2012

dear monday...

i decided to start something new today... feel free to join every monday, and link up with megan if you do

dear monday, here you are again...

dear work, thank you for allowing me to have the morning off. sleeping until 8am was beyond awesome.

dear chips, i understand that you love to wake me up every morning by tapping on my cheek with your paw and butting your little head into mine. but mondays when i can actually sleep in are not the day to do it.

dear treadmill 800s, i have a serious love/hate relationship growing with you right now. sure you may think i that smile and head bob is for you, but i had some fantastic tunes goin on this morning and i got lost in my music. nothing about you makes me want to smile and head bob. go find sarah. she likes you more. but ill see you again next week and i will dominate you.

dear tom brady, ugh.

dear bella, i hope i get some answers soon cuz you really should have picked jacob.

dear mom, im glad we taught you how to text message this weekend but you might want to find out if you have a texting plan now that youre texting us every hour.

dear extra 5lbs, wtf?

dear coffee, thank you for your yummy deliciousness this morning. it was exactly what i needed to start this week off on a good foot.

dear HIMYM, im happy to have a new episode tonight but seriously, if you dont hurry it up and end this charade i might freak out a lot.

dear stupid cell phone battery, cut the shit. i charge you every night, i dont see why you have to continuously die in the afternoon. i dont want to buy one of your fancy dancy big batteries. im sure the 6 zillion texts i send a day dont help. ill try to get better if you try. k thanks.

dear monday, bring. it. on.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

mid winter classic

its no real surprise that its cold in maine in the winter time. and while the (seemingly) entire country is 60+ degrees and everyones posting all over the internet that theyre wearing shorts, theres snow on the ground here and its in the 20s. so you all can just keep your damn warm weather, cuz were still running here, just a little more bundled up. end of rant....

for the past few years ive looked forward to running the mid winter classic 10 miler on superbowl sunday in cape elizabeth (where my parents live/i went to high school)... if not for the sole purpose of running 10 miles before stuffing my face with yummy food and downing many liquid calories. the weather can go either way... one year was brutally cold and windy, another in the 40's (and i was way overdressed).

last year it snowed the night before the race and they rescheduled the race, only to have race day be in the 40s and sunny/beautiful. then there was another snow storm on the day of the reschedule, so they cancelled the race. boooooo. i ended up running it on the treadmill anyway (participants in the race were told that people couldnt even come out and run along the course... not sure how they policed that one).

this course is pretty tough, with about 9ish good sized hills.

so running it on the treadmill last year wasnt as tough as the course, giving me a 1:22. the two previous years on the course i got 1:26:08 and 1:26:08. yes i got the very same time. i dont even know how that is possible. i got pretty upset, but its all in perspective i guess. i dont need to PR every race, im just happy i can run.

the weather report for this weekend looked pretty good (a little cold but no snow), and i was excited to run with a great group of people. sadly, my grandma passed away this past weekend so i will be flying to st.louis in the morning to head to her funeral. ive really been training with a lot of speed work over the past few months and i knew that i had it in me to blast the 1:26 on this course, so i thought i would just go run it on my own. the weather report for yesterday looked better than today so i tried to get myself psyched up to run. the rain wasnt helping.

welcome to cape elizabeth sign

the roads didnt look great, but it was 34 degrees and had been raining so i figured they wouldnt be too slushy and hopefully not icy.

the start

before leaving i looked up the pace for each mile in order to try and go 1:22. i didnt know if i really had it in me, and without others around me to push me i figured it was going to be pretty tough. but im always usually up for a good challenge, and i wanted to push myself. so i wrote the mile splits i needed on my arm. along with one of my favorite phrases:

(it looks a little red, rest assured i didnt tattoo myself)

the first mile or so is flat/downhill, so i figured i would be pretty fast. when i got to mile 1 and saw 8:04, i was pleased. the roads werent slippery at all, but i did have to be cautious with the cars since the sides of the road were limited due to the snowbanks (we dont have to deal with that during the race since they close one side of the road to cars... but i managed). knowing this course as well as i do, i knew the next mile had 3 gross hills, so i figured i would slow down a bit on those, and then maybe catch up on the flat mile after that.

the 3 hills came and went (not without me cursing the 2nd hill... yuck!) i like to power up the hills and then recover on the way down, and this seemed to work well. by the time i got to mile 3 i was warming up nicely, my feet were still dry, and i was actually enjoying this run. yay!

mile 3-4 is flat, and then you head up a hill, then a slight downhill, and another uphill towards mile 5. then you go over a marsh which is notorious for its wind. luckily it wasnt too bad (but it smelled!), and i grabbed my espresso love gu and continued on. i had added a few new tunes to the ipod which really powered me along.

another hill... then another one... and another one... blah. mile 6.5 brings the start of the beach to beacon 10k course which brought back memories of fun times and warmth! sadly, those great thoughts were short lived as i felt like i was about to throw up. my legs felt heavy, my stomach was doing funny things... i looked at my watch and it read 7:25. whoops! slooooooow down! i eased off a little and knew i didnt have much further to go. i hadnt even glanced at my mile splits on my arm at this point cuz i knew i needed 8:12s to get 1:22 and each mile had been way under so i knew i had banked a good amount of time. i remembered mile 8 split reading 1:05 something, and when i got to mile 8 my watch said 1:04... i was so excited, i knew i was going to do it! (but the last mile of the course is uphill, ugh...)

i think its about mile 8.5 when it starts to go uphill towards the high school, then its a downhill finish. although its not a huge incline, its a steady hill which i think sucks even more. but i powered through with some good tunes and sprinted towards the finish. when i stopped my watch on 10 miles, i couldnt even believe what my watch read:

i didnt think i had 1:22 in me... and i did 1:19!! a 6 minute and 56 second course PR :) heres how the splits actually turned out:

ill take it!

im extremely happy with how my run turned out, but im still sad that i wont be there to run with everyone on sunday. i need to be with my family and that is more important to me. and of course ill be back in time to watch the pats kick some new york a$$!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

january recap

january recap

days in month: 31

# of workouts: 25

runs/miles: 16 runs/52.3 miles (up from 2011 9 runs/33.2 miles)

bike/miles: 5/35 miles (up from 2011 3/24 miles)

races: 2- frozen 5k & twitter road race 5k (up from last year, no races, but i ran in punta cana... that sadly did not happen this year)

# of 5k PRs: ONE! 22:02. sub 23 finally!!!!

# of new sneakers bought: 2 pairs of saucony kinvaras. love.

# of times ive gone back and forth about running a marathon this year: 6

# of times ive almost pressed submit on a marathon registration page: 2

# of times i thought about registering for THIS: once. then i almost threw up.

favorite run: hands down the frozen 5k race. i was successfully able to maintain a steady pace without completely bonking out during the 3rd mile.

# of times ive yelled "NO!", "GET OFF THE TABLE", and/or "STOP IT" to the cat: 358

# of hours spent on pinterest: countless. such a time suck. and i love it.

current song obsession: shake it out by florence + the machine

fave favorite 366project pic:

winter finally decided to show up in maine

february goals

ride more miles than feb 2011 (45 miles)
525m swim in 11 minutes (current time: 11:20
plank a day

the other day (maybe it was yesterday, this week has been weird) i saw Danica tweet this idea for the month of february, and i saw a few other people that are doing it too.... sometimes its tough to figure out pics of the day for my 366project, so i thought i would do this for february: