The adventures of an unlikely pair. Follow us if you dare....

Friday, September 28, 2012

The One About The Panhandle Half Marathon

Gun's Up! For all you Red Raider fans out there.

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this up – I was just not really motivated to write about it, not because it was a bad race or anything, it was actually a good race, I just didn't feel like writing about it. Lame I know.

Last week I posted two goals for myself for this race and those were to 
1) run the entire thing and 
2) have consistent mile splits.

Well for number 1 I am going to give myself an A+!
And for number 2 I will go with an A-.

It was actually really nice staying in Lubbock at my aunt and uncle’s house – they are both extremely hospitable and it was a relaxing weekend spent with family and taking care of a few things ( I picked out a wedding band!). Saturday night after a wonderful dinner I actually went to bed at a fairly early time of 10 pm (that’s early for me folks!). I slept ok and didn't have to be up until 6:15!

Everything in Lubbock is pretty much “right down the road” and when I say it took us 10 minutes to get to the race I mean it took us about 8 ½ minutes. This was a smaller race of about 1200 people total (Marathon, half marathon and 5K) and parking was not an issue at all. We were also able to use the bathrooms in the civic center so that was great too. I saw some people standing in line at a port-o-potty but I have no idea why when they could take about 10 more steps and pee indoors and actually flush the toilet – I guess they must have really wanted that race experience!

We got there about 7 am for an 8 am start time so we sat in the car for a while and let Alex’s phone charge up. I ate a banana and drank my pre-workout drink. I went out about 7:20 to use the bathroom and then I did my 10 minute warm-up (0.90 miles) by running around the parking lot a few times. I've never warmed up before a race before and honestly it was kind of nice – it got out some of those prerace nerves and got my blood flowing. In hindsight my warm-up mile was a bit faster than it should have been so in the future I will probably do this again but go really really slow!

Once I was warmed up I found Alex and we took a couple of pictures and then waited about 10 minutes for the race to start. The weather was great and it wasn't cold but it definitely wasn't hot. There were maybe about 300 or so people doing the half marathon so it wasn't crowded either.

The race used the jaguar timing which meant that the timing strip was on your bib and you didn't need to put one on your shoe which was weird because it made it a bit confusing as to where the race actually started (I’m still not sure because when I look at the starting times online everyone starts at the exact same time!). But at 8 on the dot we took off and started out around what I would call a ghost town, but was actually probably downtown Lubbock.

I joke about it being a ghost town but actually it was extremely quite as we wound our way through the downtown streets. It made time go by quickly as we were weaving through each street and most of the buildings looked to be vacant so they were kind of interesting to me. I quickly zoned out at this point and just let myself settle into the run (I do have to mention that right at mile 1 I saw a guy sitting on his front porch with a Scottie puppy – so sweet!).

Early on there were a couple of ladies that I would trade spots with back and forth along the course but eventually around mile 5 I lost them for good. There were pleasant and during the first couple of miles their husbands and kids would be cheering for them because they could just walking each block of the downtown area to see us as we all passed by and that was cute.

The first three miles were weaving through the downtown area and then right at mile 3 we entered a park area. Alex had taken off in the first half mile of the race and I saw him at mile 3 in the port-o-potty lines. I waved, asked how he was and kept going, I figured he would catch back up and pass me soon.

From miles 3-9 we were in a large park, Mackenzie Park and we ran on the roads around that, it made a loop and once you came back out of the park you turned left and went back towards downtown. I actually got a little bit bored of this portion but at least it was a nice day. As I was approaching mile 4 I could see the people that were either running the marathon (since they started half an hour earlier) or the really fast half marathoners.  I remember people being so encouraging at this point and everyone on both sites of the course telling each other they were doing good and looking strong, it was a fun and positive race environment. This was where most of the spectators were as well.

I kind of zoned out at this portion of the race because I was already a mile farther than everyone else (meaning I didn't reset my Garmin when I was done with my warm-up, so if the mile marker said 5, my Garmin said 6), there were a few up and down areas, I wouldn't really call them hills but this wasn't a pancake flat course either.

We ran around a water/theme park and then we ran around the windmill farm and we ran around a “lake” which looked more like a pond to me. There were a few fairly good inclines on the back portion of this park loop and at one point (mile 8 of the race) I saw a guy fall to the ground in front of me on the incline because of a cramp. I checked if he was ok and then at the bottom of the incline there was actually a police officer directing traffic and I told him there was someone that needed medical attention.

Mile 9 of the race (10 on the day for me) I started to really feel like I was hitting a wall; I hadn't taken any fuel up to the point (on purpose) and had only had a banana to eat about an hour before the race (again on purpose). I am really trying to not use as much GU while running and trying to train my body to not need those things while running. And besides, I had eaten so much pumpkin bread that my aunt had made the day before so I know I had plenty of fuel stored up in there! So far it’s been good to not take fuel during my runs but I was glad that I did bring a just in case GU with me because I took that at this point. It was actually one of those Chia seed gels and it was pretty good, not as sweet as most GU is which I like.

At mile 10 there was a giant incline when we were leaving the park and heading back downtown, we were on a main road now and passing the Mrs. Baird’s Bread factory – that was totally not cool to be smelling the fresh bread as you are almost at the end of a half marathon!

At mile 11 of the race (12 for me) you can see that I get excited that I’m almost done because I speed up a bit too much. When the mile beeped at 11:28, I’m pretty sure I said, Oh Crap! Or something similar….

I calmed myself down because I still had two miles left and I was feeling tired. I was really starting to feel the heat from the sun now but honestly the weather was still pretty nice. We were weaving our way back into the downtown area now and it got all dead and quiet again, I started passing a few people who were walking and that was nice.

At the last water stop I grabbed some Gatorade and dumped that and a cup of water into my handheld for some added electrolytes but that actually gave me some really bad stomach cramps. At mile 12.5 (13.5 for me) the cramps hit so hard I had to stop running and I walked about 10 steps before I realized I was so close to running the whole thing and I needed to just suck it up, cramps or no cramps.

I tried to speed up some as I was nearing the end but I misjudged how far this one stretch was until we turned for the finish and so I had to back off a bit to get to the finish area. I finished the day with 14.1 miles in 2:45:37, so subtract my 10 minute (exactly 10 minutes on the dot!) warm-up and I’m sitting at 13.2 miles in 2:35:37, that’s only 2 minutes off my current PR!

Honestly I couldn't have asked for a better race; I ran the whole thing (minus those 10 steps which let’s be honest, when I've run 14 miles for the day 10 steps really isn't walking…) and I had my second best time in a half marathon ever. I've run 16 half marathons now and that is only the second one where I have run the whole thing. It was such a confidence booster for my marathon training and for running in general.

As for the other goal of consistent splits, honestly I’m not disappointed in what I did, I managed consistency for the most part and honestly the main point of this goal was for me to be consistent enough to accomplish my number one goal, so it definitely served its purpose!

Once I got my medal I thought I should hurry over and wait for Alex because I just knew he was right behind me, but instead I wound up waiting for about half an hour – he had had some foot issues and I made the mistake of not bringing GU for him poor guy so he had a really rough race!

Over all this was an excellent race – one that I would highly recommend. I know Lubbock is not the most scenic place to go but I thoroughly enjoyed the race and the course (although there were a few steep inclines I would still say this was a flat course). I'm pretty sure that elevation chart doesn't lie!

 I am very good as zoning out at races and this was the perfect race to zone out and run a nice and easy long run that counted as training miles for marathon training. I’m not always a fan of the races that this particular racing company puts on but this one was probably by far my favorite that this company has done. Everything was well executed, the location and site were nice, there seemed to be plenty of water on the course (I always have my hand held so I usually ignore water stops) and the crowds were small but so encouraging. There were also lots of police officers and volunteers along the course. I had a great day and would probably do this race again if given the chance.

*I'm not sure what is wrong with the formatting of the text, I have messed with it and trust me it's bothering me but I just have to let it go!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The One About That Road Trip We Took A Really Long Time Ago

I realize that at this point it’s pretty ridiculous to post about a road trip that Alex and I took back at the start of May, but this is my blog and I want to remember certain things and so I decided that what the heck, I’ll go ahead and post about it!

I actually wrote about the Mini Marathon here; but I failed to include all the other aspects of that trip as well so you can now see that in pictures and bullet points.

  • We drove 16 hours there AND back; yes, yes we are crazy
  • We drove through 8 different states.
  • Because of the 16 hour drive we wanted to do most of the driving at night so that we had more time in Indianapolis.

  • On the way there Alex did most of the driving, I did all of the sleeping.
  • I also controlled the music choices – thankfully we both enjoy Disney songs, praise and worship music, Journey, Chicago and a few comedians mixed in.

  • We stopped in St. Louis for breakfast on Friday morning (about half way) to meet with one of Alex’s best friends.

  • We actually got into St. Louis about an hour and a half earlier than planned so we went to the arch so that I could take pictures. It took us a while to find a place to park and we wound up paying $3 just so I could take a picture!

  • As we parked a HUGE storm cloud came through the area and brought a bunch of wind, but it disappeared as quickly as it came up.  

  • We had breakfast at a coffee shop on the campus of St. Louis University and it was probably one of the best breakfast sandwiches I have ever had!

  • We also spent time walking around the beautiful campus of St. Louis University.

  • One thing I love about Alex is that we both agree that eating fast food on the road is just not good; it’s expensive and the food is not good for you. So we like to pack up a cooler of drinks and snacks to take with us and we always seem to find the best stuff to bring with us! I love making snack packs with Alex!

  • When we got to Indianapolis we immediately went to pick up our race packets.

  • Friday night we had dinner with Alex’s dad and brothers and Alex was excited to drive his dad’s mustang around.

  • He also showed me a place in his neighborhood where the street signs say Nolan and Ryan! I think that is just the coolest thing in the world! (if you don’t know who Nolan Ryan is then shame on you and go look him up!)

    what the heck is wrong with my eyes?!?!

  • Saturday we ran the race that we won’t speak of….

  • Then after the race Alex took me to my favorite place ever – Moe’s! We actually got free cookies because a guy saw me taking pictures of my food – oh the life of a blogger! I could never be a food blogger, never!

  • Saturday night we hung out with the Thomases and Mr. Thomas shared his home brewed grapefruit beer – I LOVE grapefruit and this was good!

  • Sunday we took it easy and had a late breakfast with Alex’s family before we hit the road again about noon.
  • On the way home we stopped in Memphis to see Alex’s Aunt, Uncle and cousins. They made us an awesome dinner with some of the best strawberry shortcake I have ever had!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The One About Feeling Guilty

I know I’m not alone when I say that I feel guilty about missing workouts; and I also know I’m not alone when I deal with it and get over it.

But yesterday evening as I headed to Alex’s apartment rather than head to the gym it hit me that maybe I have too much guilt over missing planned workouts. I was actually a bit surprised at myself for skipping last night’s workout because

a)   I was really looking forward to going to BodyPump last night; it’s been 6 weeks since I’ve been and I really wanted to go and

b)   If I was going to take a rest day this week I would have thought it would have been Monday night when I was still so worn out from Sunday’s race, but I actually got my act together and went for a run instead of being lazy like I wanted to.

So I guess my rest day was just pushed one day further, and that’s ok, my body was very tired and I honestly needed, yes needed that day of rest.

However, what I don’t need is the guilt that comes with taking that needed rest day. Why is it that taking a rest day, for the well being of your body and mind can cause so much inner turmoil? Like I said, I know I’m not alone, I’ve read many a blog post from you guys where you said you felt guilty about missing such and such workout, but why do we feel this way when we have clearly earned it?

I did some soul searching last night and I came up with my reasonings for why I probably feel so guilty.

For starters I think we, as fitness enthusiasts and healthy living promoters feel the need to always give 110%; we have to be better, be faster, be stronger and always put forth our best effort. I know for me I always want to improve, and pushing myself harder and harder is just par for the course, I know that’s the only way I will see results. So naturally when you take a day to sit on the couch and drink wine and eat cheese you feel like you aren’t putting your best foot forward, therefore you are lazy (which is not the case but often times our minds tell us that it is). Taking rest days are hard, they just are.

The mental aspect of a rest day is what really gets me; sometimes it’s hard enough to talk yourself into a good hard workout that when you get to a point where you want or need a rest day you find it almost counterproductive to what you work so hard for during the week. For example, Monday I really debated long and hard about not running and finally the thought of getting in a run out won the desire to sit on the couch because I knew I would feel better when I just went. I also at times struggle to get up early on Saturday mornings to get my long runs in, as was the case early on in my marathon training. However, now I feel like I have mastered a pretty decent streak of motivation and determination and I feel like allowing myself a day of rest just squanders all that hard work; hard work including the hard mental work of being motivated.

I also find it hard to take a rest day and/or miss a workout that I’ve posted because let’s face it, I would lose face and not be some awesome, super motivated runner. I know that’s crap but you can’t tell me that you haven’t thought that yourself. Some of us blog for inspiration, some of us blog for our own personal reasons and some of us blog to find motivation and accountability but most of us blog for all of the above reasons combined. So missing a workout, yeah that makes me feel like I’m not motivating to someone else, or it makes me feel like I’ve let myself down or those around me. I know that’s not the case at all, we all deserve to rest and let our bodies recover but for some reason it’s hard for me.

I hope I’m not the only one that truly struggles with this; maybe it’s my type-A personality and the dread of not getting to mark a workout as “done” that causes me so much angst. Or maybe it’s that I struggle much more with the mental aspects of healthy living rather than the actual doing. Either way I feel guilty way too many times when I shouldn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt at all.

So with that being said, I’m going to try harder to let myself enjoy the rest days in their fullest and learn to listen to my body and make adjustments to my schedule as needed. I would much rather take an unplanned rest day instead of having an injury or getting sick because I’ve pushed myself too hard. Rest days are important and I need to remember that they are rewards for working hard on the other days!

Do you struggle with missed workout guilt? And if you do, what do you do that combat those feelings?

Monday, September 24, 2012

The One With Two Weeks’ Worth Of Training Updates

Since I posted exciting news last week in lieu of posting my weekly training report you will get 2 weeks’ worth today!

Week 11 (Sept 10-16)


5 pace

4.5 miles
Yoga + tennis


10K race

Elliptical + Softball

11+ miles

September 10-16 was a fairly light week for me; my sister was here Monday night and I wanted to spend some time with them so I just hopped on the elliptical at home for 60 min while they watched tv.

Wednesday I went out for a run before Bible study and got a later start than I wanted to, I also happened to run faster than I wanted to.

Thursday night I hit up Yoga for Runners and it was a wonderful night of deep hip stretches and just exactly what I needed!

On Sunday I was too lazy to do the elliptical and softball got cancelled.

Here was what I did this past week:

Week 12 (Sept 17-23)
7 miles

3.1 miles

Hills (5-6 miles)

5.5 miles with 5 hill repeats
4 miles

4 done

2 miles

Rest day
Panhandle Half marathon + 1 warm up mile

14.1 miles
21+ miles

26.6 miles

On Monday I had dinner with my best friends in the world so I gladly cut my run short for that. This was actually a very good run for me; 2 of my 3 miles were in the mid-10’s for pace which is something that still shocks me when I do it. I think that I have the potential to be faster than I think I am capable of but I’m still trying to figure out where to unleash that speed!

Tuesday I had to babysit so I just took a rest day.

Wednesday I had a great hill workout before Bible study with a total of 5.5 miles. I did 5 sets of 0.10 mile sprints averaging around 60 seconds each with 0.10 jogs back down the hill. I usually don’t ever jog back down the hill, I usually just walk but this time I wanted to keep my legs moving and it was hard but I was glad I did.

Thursday I went out for 4 easy miles and had no plans other than just to get them done. This was a rough run for me in many ways but also wound up being a fairly decent run. I managed a consistent pace for once (11:07, 11:05, 11:06, 10:58) and I also kept my pace much lower than I thought I would. However, I was having calf and shin pain in my right leg throughout the entire run.

Friday we traveled to Lubbock so we could run the Panhandle Half on Sunday so I took a rest day, and because of my calf and shin problem I went ahead and took Saturday off as well.

Sunday was race day and I managed a warm up mile and then 13.2 miles of the race…but I don’t want to spoil my race report, let’s just say I had a wonderful race and accomplished what I set out to do, for the most part.

Here is what this week will probably look like:

Week 13 (Sept 24-30)
3 miles
Body pump + yoga
5 pace
4 miles easy
16 miles
25.5+   miles

I haven’t decided yet if I want to run 3 miles tonight or if I want to just completely take a rest day. I should probably run the 3 miles but I’m still tired from yesterday. I’m not sore or anything, just tired. So we shall see what happens.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The One With Wedding Details and Weekend Plans

You guys are lucky – you get a two for one post today, mainly because I have run out of days to post stuff and I don’t like posting on the weekends….

*I first want to say thank you to everyone who has left sweet congratulatory comments on my blog about my PR and our engagement – I really, really appreciate all your love and support! I want to respond to all of you and most of you I have e-mailed back but some of you are no-reply bloggers and so I can’t email you back and say thank you L. I’m not trying to be rude and ignore you, I just have no way to respond to you; So consider this my heartfelt thanks!

So let’s get the fun wedding stuff out there first!

To start with we have a date already picked: Sunday, May 26, 2013.

          I am very excited about a Memorial Day wedding! Memorial Day has always been a special day in my family because my great-grandmother, Mama’s (pronounced Mo-Mo) birthday was May 28th and so every year our family would have a family reunion/birthday celebration for her that weekend. Mama passed away in March of 2011 and we all miss her dearly and having my wedding on this weekend was important to me.

          However, I did have to make a few compromises for that day because you see Alex and his family and friends are from Indianapolis and if you are from Indianapolis then you know that that day is Race Day, aka The Indy 500 for all you non-Indy car fans, like myself. Apparently it’s a big deal up there. So when we first began our talks of a late spring, early summer wedding our original thought was a June 1st wedding because heaven forbid by wedding anniversary would be on or around race day every year. But then come to find out one of Alex’s brothers is graduating in early June and it just made more sense to have a Memorial day wedding so that family has time to travel and his brothers won’t miss school and finals.

          That being said we have set the wedding for early evening so that all those Indy people can watch their race. I also had to agree to let Alex wear a top hat and monocle in his pictures with his groomsmen (don’t ask, just smile and nod like I do). So as long as that top hat doesn’t find its way into our ceremony I’m ok with that!

The next big item that is already taken care of is our venue: Chestnut Square.
          I fell in love with the little white chapel at Chestnut square and I could not picture having my wedding anywhere else, which is why we actually booked our venue three weeks ago! I know we did things backwards but here’s the deal, we had our date and were pretty set on that day given family travel and such so when I started calling places and realized that a lot of places were already booked I started to freak out. Alex, in his wise ways realized this and told me that we should just go ahead and visit some places and book Chestnut square if that’s what I wanted. So within a few hours I had checked to see if Chestnut Square was available and made an appointment to go see it 2 days later. Mom, Alex and I went and booked that on September 1st and honestly it was a huge relief to have that taken care of.

          I am so in love with our venue and I cannot wait to see everything come together! The ceremony will be in the chapel and then there is an old house where the food and cake will be for the reception. Then there is an outdoor area where we will have a dance floor and yard games set up. We will also have a fire pit and roast marshmallows to make s’mores!

Photographer: Ambient 11

          Braedan, with Ambient 11 is a friend of my sister Rachel’s that she knew in college. He did my sister Sara’s wedding back in April. 
source: ambient 11
I loved the work he did and knew that if nothing else I wanted him to do our engagement pictures. But after talking with him and finding out that he was still available for our date we decided that he’s going to do the wedding for us as well. I am really excited to have him working with us and I can’t wait for our engagement pictures in November! I’ve been saving this inspiration photo I found a year ago and I just knew that someday that would be something I would recreate so last week I ordered some vintage Christmas lights and we will be using them for our engagement pictures!
someday I will do this :)
source: via: Pintrest

Colors: Lemon/Lime/Navy

          I had seen pictures of people using lemons and limes as decorations and I loved the idea of lemons and limes so I decided that was what I wanted to use paired with navy blue. 
Beautiful Centerpiece
source: Crafts and Such via: Pintrest
The plan is for the bridesmaids to wear navy dresses 
source: Ann Taylor via: Pintrest
and the groomsmen will be wearing khaki with navy gingham shirts.
groom attire
source: via: Pintrest

Other details

We are planning on having a low-key wedding and we want to celebrate and have a relaxing and fun time with our friends and family so the atmosphere will be relaxed. No one will be allowed to wear a suit or tie – it just won’t work! We plan to have fun yard games and enjoy a night of dancing and eating good food.
corn hole sign, good idea for cocktail hour
Source: Stone Gate Event Rentals via: Pintrest
Yard games
source: Main Event Pro via: Pintrest

Alex and I are also trying to be very frugal in the finances of our wedding so we are doing as much of it as we can, like the food. We plan to have easy and simple foods and make some of it ourselves.
Here’s a sample menu:
          Pulled pork sliders (catered in)
          Potato salad (catered in)
          Sweet potato wedges (we do)
          Roasted veggies (we do)
          A dip bar with
          Spinach and Artichoke dip (we do)
          Corn and Avocado salsa (we do)
          Regular salsa (we do)
          Buffalo chicken dip (we do)

We also plan on having a smaller cake because Nanna will be making pies for us as well as the s’mores we will be having.

We have a few more details already mapped out but I don’t want to spoil everything and tell you it all right now, I’ve got to spread things out over the next several months, but for now those are the big items on our list that we have crossed off!

Now, on to my weekend plans…

This afternoon Alex and I are headed to Lubbock because on Sunday we will be running the Panhandle Half Marathon.
 I haven’t run a half marathon since the Indy Mini Marathon in May, which as you all know was a disaster so I’m actually pretty excited to run this weekend. I know I have gotten a lot faster and I’m in really good running shape right now (except this right calf issues that has shown up in the last 2 days!) but I don’t really plan on trying for a PR this weekend. This weekend is actually just training miles for me. I have 14 miles on my marathon training plan and so 13.1 with a warm-up works just fine for me; I will gladly accept a t-shirt and medal to log some training miles, thank you very much!

I have 2 goals for this race:

The first is to run the entire race; I know this may seem weird given all the races that I have run but I have only ever run 1 half marathon in its entirety. Most of the time I will walk at some point during a race and so my goal is to run the entire race.

My other goal is to find a consistent pace. I never in a million years thought I would say this but I need to figure out how to slow down a little bit! I’ve had so many great runs lately with negative splits but they have all been shorter distances and so I would really like to find and hit a good consistent pace and stick with that for at least 10-11 miles of the race. I’m not entirely sure what that pace is right now but I’m thinking somewhere around 11:35-11:40 would be a good goal for me; whatever it is I would like to not be all over the place with my pace.

So that’s the plan for the race.

The rest of the weekend will be spent visiting family since I have 2 aunts and uncles and 7 cousins out there. Sadly my sister and brother-in-law will be in Vegas for the weekend so I won’t get to see her.

Tonight we will go see one of my cousins play football, which I always love. Tomorrow we have to pick-up packets and we plan to hang out with my uncle some (his store, Foot Tech is one of the race sponsors) and then I also have to go pick out a wedding band at the jewelry store where my sister works!

I’m really looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend with family. I also really enjoy a good road trip with Alex!

What are your weekend plans? Is anyone racing this weekend?