Race Recap: Spring Fever Chase 10K

Y’all. I did a new thing today. I ran NAKED.

I should probably clarify. By running naked I mean that I ran without my watch!

I emailed my coach last week and told him that I didn’t really have to (or want to) *race* Spring Fever, but that I would definitely be running it. I also told him that it’s a very hilly course and I never run great (relatively speaking … as in I haven’t ever run a PR here), but I love it regardless and that there were no big race plans needed (he usually sends me a very thorough race plan, so I didn’t want him to waste time on that).

He told me to go watch less and run by feel. What?! I thought about it some and told him that I simultaneously loved and was terrified of this idea. It sounded fun but what about the data?! The mere thought of stress free running was stressing me out. Ha. My little number-loving, OCD brain was blown at the thought of not be able to know (and dissect) my splits after the race.

With no pressure of the watch, the plan was to take it pretty conservative at the start and almost make it a progression run (by feel), finishing strong and fast the last couple of miles, enjoying running and having fun chasing down people during the second half. Most importantly the plan was to have fun and enjoy the race because that’s why we do this. A million times, YES! That’s why we do this. We do this because we love running, pushing ourselves to be the best that we can be on that day and being a part of something bigger than any blog post could ever adequately convey.

Spring Fever has always been one of my favorite races! I had a decent streak going at one point, until I got the flu in 2015 (i.e., the tax season from H. E. Double. L). Daniel has run it every year since we met, so he has an 8 year streak going now too. Here we are in 2010!

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The first year I ran the race was 2007. I have no clue what my time was (and trust me, I have done a decent amount of internet stalking to try to figure it out), but I know that I placed 3rd in my age group! It was my first time to ever place in my age group (and I still have the award to prove it :)). I ran again in 2008 and again, have no clue what my time was, but I do know that I got called out in the age group results for the boys. I always register as Samantha instead of Sam now for that very reason! The rest of the years went something like this: 2009: 45:39, 2010: 44:54, 2011: 42:32, 2012: 40:57, 2013: 41:04, 2014: 41:01, 2015: N/A, 2016: 40:20.

2017 was my 10th Spring Fever Chase 10K! We got to Fairhope at 7 a.m. this morning and picked up our bibs before walking down to the Running Wild tent for a team picture and a few warm up miles. We ran 2 miles before the race and then I ditched my watch and we made our way to the start line. I felt pretty calm at the start and I was excited to run!

I have no mile splits to share with you today, so I’ll do my best to describe the race in terms of how I felt (which as it turns out was good!). I knew that the Daniels (Young Daniel and husband Daniel) were going to likely start somewhere between 6:15 and 6:30 pace (they said 6:30, but I didn’t really believe them (LOL)). I figured I would just try to stay a little bit behind them for the first few miles and see how I felt. I settled in to what seemed like a comfortable, sustainable pace during the first mile and stayed about 10 – 20 yards behind the Daniels and a few other guys.

The start of this race is always a little chaotic because so many people run TOO FAST for the first half mile or so. You have to do a little bit of weaving around and dodging kiddos. I guess this is pretty true of any race. The problem is that the kids start really fast and when they run out of steam they will just flat-out STOP right in front of you. No one got trampled (that I am aware of) and I felt really good during the first mile.

My mom and dad came to the race to cheer for us and they were at the one mile mark.  Of course my dad yelled, “GO KID!” He has always called me Kid and I hope that never changes. I got a little boost from hearing them (you can also see Ali & Cody in the background) cheer for me. I love local races for that very reason. Having people out along the course cheering for you is the best!

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During the second mile I chatted with a guy from Mobile that I have seen a several local races, but haven’t every really gotten to meet, so that was nice. We came up on one of the local high school coaches riding his bike and coaching one of his athletes. He was telling him to relax, focus on his form and to stick with us to catch the pack of guys in front of him. I figured that sounded like a good plan to me, so I decided to relax, focus on my form and try to catch the pack of guys in front of me.

I caught up to husband Daniel about mile 2.5, which kind of made me sad because I knew that meant he wasn’t running the time that he hoped for. He has a labral tear in his hip, so he isn’t exactly in peak shape right now. I knew that he didn’t care if I passed him, but I was still just hoping that he would be feeling good. He encouraged me as I went by and told me to catch Young Daniel and make sure that we both finished strong. I told him that I would do my best!

The course has “gentle” rolling hills pretty much the entire way. Gentle might not be the correct adjective, but they aren’t steep … so … moderately rolling hills perhaps. The problem is that there is one in mile 2 and mile 3 and mile 4 and mile 6. I don’t consider myself to be a strong hill runner, so I was planning to just conserve on the uphills and not expend any unnecessary energy. This is where not having the watch was absolutely awesome! Normally I would’ve looked at my watch a million times and when I saw it slow down on the uphills, I would’ve thought to myself, “stick a fork in me, I’m done.”

I caught up to Young Daniel and David (one of the other Running Wild team members) somewhere around mile 3.5. I still felt really good, which was somewhat surprising. I told Young Daniel good job and to keep it up and let’s go finish this thing. He is racing the Azalea Trail 10K next weekend and so I knew he wasn’t planning on giving an all-out effort today. He told me to go on ahead. It was kind of funny because he did the same thing to me at Rock N Roll New Orleans when he caught me around half-way and I told him to go on ahead. One of these days, we’ll run together!

After I passed them and maybe one other guy, my place was pretty much set for the remainder of the race. I was in third place overall at this point (first female; third person) and I could see the first two runners ahead of me, but they weren’t getting any closer. My mom and dad (and Ali and Cody) were on the course again somewhere in between mile 4 and 4.5 cheering for all of us, so that gave me another little boost. I also knew at that point that I had a mile of flat-to-downhill running and I was pretty excited about that. Bring on the downhill!

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Someone standing on the next corner called out my time to me as I passed. It was 28 minutes and some change. I knew I was somewhere in between miles 4 and 5, probably close to 4.5, but without the watch to check my distance, I wasn’t really sure. I didn’t even attempt to do the math in my head at this point. Mathing while running is like drinking and driving … just don’t do it. It can be dangerous. I thought 28 minutes sounded pretty good and at that point, I had less than a mile and a half to go. I can do anything for a mile. Right?!

The really good news was that once you pass mile 5, you have half a mile of downhill running (before climbing back up to the finish). I was ready for that downhill and I *think* I picked the pace up some (but who knows really). I made up a little bit of ground on the second place runner, but I never could quite catch him. The last little ascent was brutal. Again, I was so thankful not to have my watch telling me how slow I was or how much I sucked (those watches … they can be mean sometimes). I just focused on getting to that finish line and holding my place.

I was absolutely floored when the clock became visible. It read 38:XX. I thought to myself, “Surely that says 39:XX, right? It has to be 39 something.” It wasn’t. It was a 38! Holy Moses. I finished in 38:52 and was ecstatic! It was over a minute and a half *course* PR (not all time PR, but just on that course).

Before I knew it, Daniel and Jill came zooming in! Jill met her goal of sub-40 and ran a 39:52, which was a big PR for her (and it was her first time running this course … it took me 10 years to do that!). She is a great training buddy and I am thrilled for her!

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Daniel finished sub-40 as well, which is great and he is ultimately happy with that. He has run a 37:19 on this course before (which is just sick), so it wasn’t a PR, but I’m pretty sure it is a broken hip PR! Ha.

We hung out at the finish line for a little bit, swapping battle stories with the other runners and got our picture taken with the Dogwood Trail Maids (at least I think these are the Dogwoods … it’s either that or the Azalea Trail Maids … and I’m sure that if I got it wrong I probably offended someone … heck, the fact that I don’t know which ones they are is likely offensive as well … sorry!).

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Jessica and baby Olivia had a great race as well! She rocked a sub-8:00 pace running for two. And of course she is wearing a black top and you can’t even tell that she is 5 months pregnant.

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We made our way back over to the Running Wild tent and I got adjusted by Ryan. It is really nice to have someone stretch you out post-race. I think it definitely helps to jump-start the recovery process. He said that when I first saw him (after First Light) my glute/hamstring/hip issue was an 8/10 on a scale of good to bad and now it is a 0.5/10. Yes! Success!

Side note: I did end up getting a standing desk at work. I have been trying to stand for an hour or two each day and I think it has really helped. I’m pretty sure that my computer is trying to take over the planet with its ginormous-ness.

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Anywho. After that we did a two mile cool down. Cooling down after a race also promotes recovery and flushes the system. It’s hard to make yourself do it sometimes, but it is always worth it. We came back in time for the awards. The race takes place during Arts & Crafts Festival, and each year the award is a print done by a local artist (sometimes kids, sometimes not). We have them sprinkled throughout our house! The overall winners also got a free pair of shoes from Running Wild! Saa-weet!

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After the awards we did brunch at Warehouse and then came back and walked around the Arts & Crafts Festival for a little while. It was a beautiful day and I was happy to soak up some Vitamin D (it’s good for the soul).

In closing (so formal), I would just like to declare my love for Spring Fever Chase one more time. It is truly one of the best local races and one of my all-time favorites! I would also like to challenge you to race without a watch sometime. I had a blast! I hadn’t realized until today how much of a head-case I am I stalk my Garmin during races and how much I let that little number dictate how I feel (kind of like the scale). Running without a watch helped me to remove any preconceived limitation that I would’ve placed on myself today (it’s tax season, I’m tired, I never run well here, etc.) and enabled me to run happy and run free!

Mission accomplished. Try it! Run naked and report back (… with pictures (KIDDING)).

Race Recap: Seaside School Half Marathon

Hey guys! I’m a little late with this race recap, but better late than never. I’ve done a race recap of all of the races I’ve done since I started blogging and I don’t want to end that streak yet.

Last weekend I ran the Seaside School Half Marathon. I’m pretty sure that I’ve wanted to do this race since I ran my first half in college. I love Seaside and the idea of running a half there in the spring sounded quite nice. Unfortunately, I decided to become a CPA and trips to Seaside in March became only a thing of my dreams. Ha. I was determined to do this race eventually and this year was the year!

We were supposed to leave Friday afternoon after work, but I ended up having to work late Friday and also had to work half a day Saturday as well, so we didn’t leave until around lunch time on Saturday. It’s not a bad drive at all though, so we made it to Seaside by around 2 or 2:30 and had plenty of time to get settled in and go by the expo to get our packets.

We stopped by the grocery store and got some things for dinner and then headed over to the beach to catch the sunset. We were a little late getting out there, but it was very pretty regardless!

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Race morning we woke up around 5:30, made coffee and got ready to leave by 6:30 for the 7 a.m. race start. We stayed in Seagrove about a mile and a half from the start of the race, so we decided to run over to the start to get a warm-up in (which was a great idea in theory, but after the race when we had to walk back home, we were definitely second guessing our decision). It was a tad chilly when we left (low to mid 50s), but we warmed up pretty quickly.

I had no idea what course was prior to the actual race (there wasn’t a course map online or at the expo). We had a general idea of where the start was and that was pretty much the extent of our knowledge pre-race. In case you are curious, the course is an out and back, starting in Seaside, running 6.55 miles out towards Grayton Beach and Blue Mountain Beach on 30A and then all the way back.

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If you’ve been following along for a little while, you probably know that I typically study the course beforehand and have a fairly set plan going into races. If you’re new, HI! I am Sam and I’m a running nerd. Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect with this course. I assumed that it would be pancake flat. It wasn’t. I wouldn’t describe it as hilly by any means, but there were several rollers in there.

I started out at 6:30 (ish) pace. I was fighting a cold (or a sinus infection … who knows really) the week before and in general was feeling tired and run down (imagine that … a CPA being tired during tax season … crazy, right). I don’t mean to sound whiny, but it is what it is I reckon. I was pleasantly surprised that 6:30 felt really comfortable! I honestly thought I might be able to hold that pace for the entire way. I passed a few girls in the first 3 or 4 miles and by the time we got to the turn around point, I was the third female.

I was really happy to finally make it to the turnaround, until we actually turned around. Apparently we had a tailwind the entire first half of the race (how is it that you never *feel* a tailwind), which meant … it was directly in our face for the entire second half. Holy moly. That wind was no joke. It slammed into me and crushed my spirit a little bit.

The wind was a steady 10-15 mph with gusts 20-25 mph. At one point (around mile 9 I think), my visor blew completely off of my head and I had to turn around and get it. I think I was kind of just *done* after that. According to this article, a “substantial” wind (i.e. one approximately equal to the pace you are running at) will set you back 12 seconds per mile with a headwind, and aid you by 6 seconds per mile with a tailwind. I’m thinking that 12 seconds actually should be closer to 30 seconds per mile. Their research must be off. Ha.

When you run a race at the beach, you take a chance on the wind. I had flashbacks to the Pensacola Beach half last spring, which is also basically an out and back course as well. At that race we battled a really intense headwind on the way out and had the tailwind to push us home the second half. For the record, I would definitely prefer that to the way we had it in Seaside. Hopefully Mother Nature can get that together for me next time. Actually, if I’m making requests, I’d like to just go ahead and request that it be between 45 and 50 with no wind and no humidity for all of my races.

I finished in 1:29 as 4th female. I was very happy to be finished! Daniel finished not too long after me in 1:32. He has been battling a mysterious injury for what seems like several years now. He had an MRI arthrogram done yesterday and found out that he has a fairly significant tear in his labrum (in case you don’t know (I didn’t) the labrum is a rim of soft tissue or fibrocartilage that surrounds the hip socket). The fact that he ran a 1:32 on that is pretty amazing!

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Please note: I tried to buy the above photo (several times), but it absolutely will not work. I will try again later. I am not trying to steal any race photos here. 

I enjoyed the race, but it really didn’t live up to what I was expecting. I think that because I have wanted to do it for so long, I had an unrealistic expectation going in that it was going to be absolutely amazing and I definitely didn’t think that it was amazing. I’m glad I did it, but it definitely won’t be a yearly thing.

The race swag was pretty great though! I don’t think I’d ever do a race just for the stuff we all get (side note: we’ve been on a kick watching The Office recently, so please feel free to  picture me as Michael telling you about his swag), but if you’re into that sort of thing, this is definitely an awesome race. The shirts are cute (kind of girly, but I’m a girl so I’m cool with that (Daniel wasn’t as thrilled)) and every finisher gets a medal and a Vera Bradley bag (again … girly). We also got a coffee cup that says Top 100 finisher, so that’s pretty cool too.

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It was a quick, but fun trip. I’m definitely glad that I finally got to do this race and I can definitely cross it off my list now. Been there. Run that.

I hope y’all are having a great week! Talk to you soon!

February Recap

I can’t even believe that February has come and gone. Pure craziness! It’s been a very busy, very exciting month here. Let’s talk about what’s been going on!

Recap: February 2017

Workouts: Not as many workouts this month as usual. The end of the first week of the month was a taper for Rock N Roll New Orleans and the second week was a recovery week. I also missed two workouts during the weekends that we were moving. Between work and moving I am just worn slap out. Sometimes life gets busy and training (and blogging) have to take the back seat for a little bit, but that’s totally understandable and is definitely as it should be.

2 mi. WU, 6 X 1 mile (6:11, 6:10, 6:07, 6:08, 6:05, 6:10), 1.5 mi. CD

12 mile medium long run (7:23 average)

2 mi. WU, 2 X 3 mi. ([6:42, 6:38, 6:33], [6:40, 6:34, 6:19]), 1.5 mi. CD

20 mile long run (7:50 average)

Favorite workout: I’m going to have to go with my 20 miler for this one. Rebecca and I did 20 miles last Saturday and kept it at a really respectable pace. This was my first 20 miler since July, which seems crazy! I took some time off from the long distance training (my last marathon was November of 2015) and I’m itching to get back at it …

Daniel and I are taking a trip out west in May and (of course) I found a race to do while we will be there. The trip had nothing to do with running initially, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to run on some beautiful trails and race in a state where I have never run.

More to come on that soon!

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Races: I ran 2 races this month … the Rock N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon & the Joe Cain Classic 5K.

Favorite Race: Rock N Roll New Orleans will always hold a special place in my heart, but I really just LOVED Joe Cain this year! It was so fun to do an impromptu race with no pressure.

Paces: The paces ranged from 6:04 to 10:23 this month.

Distances: Distances ranged from 4 miles (on the Alter G treadmill) to 20 miles.

Total miles: 298.10 miles

Strength work: 90 minutes of “lifting” plus some miscellaneous, undocumented (gasp … appalling … I know) ab work. I was really on a roll with adding strength training to the weekly routine, but it just got to be too much. I had too much on my plate and I had to decide what to cut. Unfortunately strength training was the first to go (I think blogging was a close second).

Current book: Uh … I think I may have read one page of a book (aside from my morning devotion) this entire month. I have also fallen behind and basically quit reading all of my usual blogs. So sad. So busy. So overwhelmed.

Current music: I’m really digging the Billy Joel station on Pandora lately. I added Paul Simon as the “variety” and I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Current guilty pleasure: Cookie dough. I am chuckling a little bit to myself right now because I only just realized that the package [literally] says “do not consume raw cookie dough.”

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Current drink: When we were at the grocery store last week, I noticed that they had mello yello zero and for some reason that just sounded incredible to me. Probably because I am tired, but who knows. We got a fridge pack of it. Maybe I can put a lemon-lime Nuun in it and call it a recovery beverage.

Current food: I’ve been really loving chicken salad lately (not a salad with chicken, but chicken salad). Pretty much every day for lunch I have a wrap with chicken salad. It’s delicious.

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Also, in the interest of full-disclosure (there is also a current confession category that perhaps this next little spiel would more accurately be categorized in, but that’s neither here nor there), I kind of freaked out when they started putting the calorie content on this chicken salad. I have been enjoying it for WEEKS and then all of a sudden … bam! 900+ calories?! Holy moly. I honestly thought I was in a really good place with my nutrition and overall outlook towards food and this really threw me for a loop.

I know that I can eat whatever and that I NEED calories to fuel my running, but I guess I prefer to remain somewhat blissfully unaware on certain things. I came really close to not buying the chicken salad again this week, but I bought it and I will enjoy it. I might even take a sharpie and mark out the calorie content!

Current obsession: Organizing my closet. Maybe it’s just me, but there is something very cathartic about cleaning out and organizing a closet. Just me? Okay, cool. Regardless, I was on a mission to de-clutter and organize. I got all new matching coat hangers. I have never bought coat hangers before and this was obviously not an absolutely necessary expense, but they were cheap and they make me happy, so … worth it.

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Current need: REST

Current indulgence: Taking a few minutes out of my morning to write this blog post before heading to work!

Current bane of my existence: My shoulder. For whatever reason, it has decided to start coming out of place on the regular now. It’s a tad frustrating (and painful to boot).

Current procrastination: So many things … fully cleaning out our storage unit, hanging pictures, changing my address at all of the places that has to be done, etc. My post-tax season to do list is quite lengthy!

Current confession: I am feeling very overwhelmed lately and I feel like I am not giving 100% to anything. I am usually an “all-in” type of person and I *strongly dislike* feeling like I am not doing my best. I know this about myself (self-awareness is key right) and yet somehow I can’t seem to stop it.

Current excitement: We bought a house and we are (almost) all moved in! Super fun and exciting! The moving part … not so much.

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I remember thinking how terrible moving was when we moved out of our other house and I also remember thinking that I never wanted to move again (like ever), but when we moved out of our house, we moved (what was supposed to be temporarily) into a garage apartment and that meant that we most definitely would be moving again at some point. Well … that some point came to fruition now (almost 3 years (!!!) later).

We knew the area that we wanted to be in (this was the most important factor) and we have been keeping our eyes open for new houses that became available in our price range. We were able to be fairly selective, which was really nice! After being on the lookout for 3 years, our eyes are tired and we are ready to rest them in our new home.

Current quote: Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.

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This will probably sound super cliché, but I feel like I knew from the minute that we walked into our new house and it was going to be our home. It migh’ve taken Daniel a little bit longer to get on board, but he is all in now (thank goodness)!

Our house was on the market for a little while and eventually the price dropped into our range. As soon as it did, we were on it. I called my grandmother (she is in her nineties and still works as a real estate agent … she’s incredible) and told her that we wanted to look at it. The next day we looked at it and the day after that we made an offer.

My heart lives on Mobile Bay (the sign came with the house). And yes, we are doing the whole white picket fence, living the American dream thing over here currently. Haha!

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It’s been a crazy, but incredible month!

Race Recap: Joe Cain Classic 5K

Hey-o! It’s been a hot minute since I have gotten the chance to do a post and I have lots to catch you up on! Unfortunately, this time of year is CRAZY busy for me at work and I rarely get a chance to sit down and write (even as I write this I am short on time). I really do miss it. We are over half way through tax season now and so the countdown is *officially* on.

Today we are just going to chat about the Joe Cain Classic 5K, which was “darn near perfection” in the words of Young Daniel. The Joe Cain Classic 5K takes place in downtown Mobile on … you guessed it … Joe Cain Day (the Sunday before Fat Tuesday). I’m not going to pretend to know much about the actual history of Joe Cain Day or Mardi Gras for that matter. The basic gist is that Joe Cain is credited with reviving the Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile after the Civil War.

This race is basically our only participation in any sort of Mardi Gras festivities each year. Although, we actually did have our own little “parade” this year …

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The last two weekends we have been in the process of moving and we have made multiple trips through town in the back of my dad’s trailer. It definitely reminds me of those signs that you see at races that say “worst parade ever.”

Our new house came with lots of Mardi Gras decorations and so of course we had to get a picture with them (because obviously we are so festive like that) …

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Anywho … back to the race. The race advertises itself as flat, fast, & ugly! You run through the not-so-beautiful streets of Mobile’s “bail bond district” (seriously, you pass about 10 different bond companies as well as the county jail), but it is definitely flat and fast, so the description is totally on point. Lots of PRs went down (literally (get it … like the times got faster)) yesterday!

I did not PR, nor did I expect to. In fact, I went into this race with zero expectations, which I must admit was quite nice. I ran 20 miles the day before the race and the race wasn’t even technically on my schedule. I made a last-minute, game-time decision to run and I am so glad that I did! It was a beautiful day to run and to spend time with friends and I am 100% satisfied with my decision.

As far as the race itself, I was pleasantly surprised. I met and exceeded all expectations that I had (which was zero mind you). Haha. After a two (ish) mile warm up, we lined up on the start line and it was go time. I ran the first mile in 6:08 and felt good, so I decided to go with it. Daniel didn’t run the race, but he came to support me (or so I thought). He was out on the course at mile 1. I could hear him cheering for everyone in front of me as they ran by. The next thing I know, I have basically passed him and I hear him yell, “Go Jill! … and Sam!” It was pretty funny. I guess I snuck up on him, but it was just the way that he added the “and Sam” that made it seem like I was an afterthought. We all had a good laugh about it afterwards. 

I came through mile 2 in 6:04 and mile 3 in 6:09. It was a tad windy out there (and by a tad windy, I mean it was really windy) and so I tried my best to tuck in and hold on during the second half of the race. I ended up tucking in behind Aaron Freesmeier (who I seem to end up running beside in a lot of races recently). I tried my best to catch him, but he stayed steadily on pace right in front of me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he ran a PR of 19:05, so that was awesome! I crossed in 19:08, which isn’t a PR, but was actually almost 30 seconds faster than I ran this same race last year, so I’ll take it!

As soon as I pulled my tab off and came through the chute, I turned around to see Jill! She ran an amazing race and ended up with a 27 second PR (!!!) of 19:19. We have been doing some workouts together and I was SO proud of her and happy to see her CRUSH it out there. She totally outkicked this teenager in the last 0.05 of the race too! Girl. Power.

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Not long after that Sasser came in and he also got himself a shiny new PR! He ran 19:48. I’ve been working with him over the last few months. He had a goal to break 20 minutes in the 5K and he has worked really hard to meet that goal. I was SO proud of and happy for him as well!

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Chronologically I have gotten out of order, but Young Daniel also ran an amazing race and came away with a new PR of 18:16! I told y’all. So many PRs. He was way ahead of me the whole race, so I  don’t know exactly how his race went (other than super-fast obviously). He and Steve were neck and neck at the finish.

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Our friend Cody also had a great race and ended up 2nd overall with a time of 17:57.

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Jessica rocked a solid 25:05 running for two! She is staying active and having a wonderful pregnancy so far. I’m so happy for this little mama-to-be!

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We hung out after the race for a little while and waited on the awards. Honestly, most people probably do this race for the post-race festivities. There’s live music, dancing, food and beverages, door prizes, etc. It’s always fun and you never really know what you’re gonna see.

For first female I got a $100 Visa gift card (pretty much the best race prize ever) and a cool coaster. This is me and Darrell, who won for the guys with a 17:35 (smokin’)!

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It was a wonderful day to race and everyone did so well. I LOVE IT. It is great to see people work hard and meet goals. You never know what you are capable of until you try!

That’s it for today. I hope y’all have a great week and I will talk to you soon!

Race Recap: RNR NOLA

Hey friends!

I hope your week is off to a good start! If you’ve been following along for a little bit, you know that I ran the Rock N Roll half marathon in New Orleans this past weekend. The race didn’t go exactly as I hoped that it would, but we had a great trip regardless!

After dropping Brooks off at the Dog Ranch mid-morning on Saturday, we met up with Jessica and Wes and headed to NOLA. Lower Alabama was VERY well represented in New Orleans this weekend! Everywhere we went (i.e., the expo and the race), we ran into so many people that we knew.

We stayed at the InterContinental on St. Charles. We were less than a mile from the expo and just a few blocks from the race start. The location couldn’t have been much better. Once we got to town, we decided to go ahead and hit the expo to get our bibs.

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Kenny, Young Daniel, Daniel, me and Jess!

We walked around the expo for a little bit, but I didn’t really see anything that I had to have. I usually LOVE expos, but this one was just really crowded and not as exciting as usual. I also managed to sign up for a women’s XL tee-shirt somehow. They told me I could exchange it, but the line was really long, so I decided to just roll with it. As the lady handed me the shirt, she said, “they run small …” (the ellipsis here represents an actual trail off of her words and isn’t just my typical overuse of this grammatical punctuation) and I was kind of like, “well cool, thanks (I think).” I do love a big shirt to sleep in.

We walked around a little bit more and stopped at a CVS to get some water and snacks for the room. At this point everyone was really hungry, so we decided to do an early dinner at Trenasse, which was the restaurant in our hotel. It was very good and so convenient (insert K Mart “ship my pants” joke here). After dinner I was so tired! Saturday started off fairly early with my half marathon training group and I missed my usual Saturday afternoon nap (yes, I am 31, going on 80!). We ended up walking over 5 miles around NOLA over the course of the afternoon too (which made for some tired legs and feet). Jessica and I decided to call it a night and the rest of the crew headed down to the French Quarter for beignets.

I got a pretty good night’s sleep. I woke up a few more times than I typically do at home though. One time I woke up and realized I was sleeping on my stomach with my arms above my head (which is not a normal sleep position for me). I tried to push up and roll over and my shoulder came out of socket! Argh. That hasn’t happened in so long. Have I told y’all that story? I don’t think I have because I don’t think it has dislocated at any point in the last few years.

I’ll try to keep this part brief … about 10 years ago, someone dared me to do a flip on my cousin’s trampoline (my cousin was about 3 or 4 years old at the time and I was 21 or 22). It was one of those really small, kid-sized trampolines with a net around it. I spent A LOT of time on the trampoline growing up (we never had one with a net though) and I thought for sure I would be able to do a flip on the little one too and so, of course, I took the dare. I flipped, got tangled in the netting and landed on my shoulder, causing it to dislocate. I thought my arm was broken for a hot minute, but luckily it popped back into place on its own. It hurt like the dickens though.

After that “incident” my shoulder would come out of place off an on randomly (think opening the refrigerator, trying to get something in the backseat of the car, drying off with a towel, wrapping Christmas presents (so very random), etc.). It happened so many times that I started to not even think anything about it. It would usually go back into place without much problem (except one time when my friend’s uncle who was a veterinarian had to pop it back in for me … that also hurt like the dickens).

That “usually” ended one fateful day in the middle of Mobile Bay as Daniel and I were sailing (which is also a funny story, but I’m already chasing tangents here). I was crawling to the front of the boat to let the jib out and my shoulder came out. This time it was serious and we were pretty much stuck in the middle of the bay. It was out of place for HOURS that day and by the time we made it to land I had to go to the ER to get it put back in place. I was given the option of surgery or physical therapy and I chose to do the PT and hope for the best. I rarely have issues with it now, but apparently it does still happen.

Whew. Keeping things brief is not my forte. Back to the race …

We woke up at 6 for a 7:30 race start and made some coffee in the room. I brought some UCAN to drink before the race. I don’t always take something before a half, but I thought this was going to be a good decision. I took a few sips of it and thought that it really didn’t taste very good, but it was a flavor that I don’t typically drink, so I didn’t think much about it. I choked down a few more sips and decided I was good to go. We left our hotel at about 7:15 and got in a quick one mile warm up before the race started.

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My plan for this race was very similar to First Light. In case you don’t have my race plans memorized (sarcasm), it was to start at 6:30 – 6:35, hold 6:23 – 6:28 for miles 2 through 10 and then under 6:25 for miles 11 – 13.1.

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In the words of Weird Al Yankovic, “I’m just too white & nerdy.”

I felt really good about the plan going into the race. I was confident in my fitness and I wasn’t nervous or anxious or anything like that about the race.

The first 5 miles went beautifully. I ran 6:30, 6:27, 6:26, 6:25, 6:24. All of those were exactly within the planned range. I felt good … until all of a sudden, I didn’t. I started to struggle during the sixth mile and from there it just got progressively worse. Miles 8 through 13 felt like the last six miles of a marathon after you have hit the wall. I just tried my best to do some damage control and not let it get too ugly out there. I was riding the struggle bus and I was just praying that the bus would make it to the finish line without breaking down!

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Eek.

I finished in 1:31 and haven’t been that happy to see a finish line in quite some time. This was a goal race for me and I’ve been pretty open about sharing my goal of 1:23 – 1:24. While the race didn’t go exactly as planned time-wise, I am still thankful that I was able to run and enjoy a weekend with friends. I don’t ever want the number on the clock to dictate my feelings.

I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed for a little bit, because I was. I have worked hard and put a lot of energy (mental and physical) into my training and I don’t feel like my race reflected this. I gave myself a little bit time to feel frustrated about it and then it was time to move on.

During my “frustration time,” I came up with a host of excuses or reasons that I don’t think this one went as well as I wanted it to. Just to name a few: I’m tired (the further into tax season I get, the more run down my body gets), I was out of my regular routine and likely didn’t get enough carbs in the day before the race, I ran 8 miles with my training group and then we walked all over NOLA the day before the race (which is NOT recommended … do as I say, not as I do), my UCAN was expired (kind of foreshadowing that I wrote about not thinking twice about food being passed its expiration date in my last post (ha)) and the list goes on …

None of that really matters though. It was not my day, but it was a good day to run! Any day that we are healthy enough to be able to run is a good day and I don’t want to ever lose sight of that fact.

My devotion is morning was just what I needed to hear, so I want to share it here in case it speaks to you too:

Offer God your willingness. Even if you feel small … even if you feel unlikely … even if everything in you is screaming you’re not someone who can be used by God … simply offer Him your willingness.

Use what God has given you. What’s in your hand, sweet friend? What gift, what talent, what ability? Whatever it is, take time to sharpen it. And choose to believe that God can use it when you humbly offer it up to Him.

Stay true to who you are. God isn’t asking you to be anyone other than you either. You do you, and then watch with humble amazement as God uses your willing, obedient, ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary things in His name.

Running in New Orleans this weekend was kind of bittersweet because I will always have the memory of winning that race. As cliché as it may sound, I truly feel like that was a life changing moment and now sometimes I feel like I will never be able to recreate that moment. This devotion reminds me that it is in the midst of the ordinary (i.e., non-life changing moments) that God can use us the most. Running is a truly gift and I always want to be ready and willing to run whatever (figurative) race that God is calling me to run.

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Have a great week! See ya soon!

RNR NOLA: Week 4 (RACE WEEK)

Hey there!

Race week is here and I wanted to go ahead and do the typical weekly training run-down post before the weekend gets too busy. Unfortunately this week was not super exciting from a training perspective, as I had to be a good (well behaved) runner and take it easy to get rested up for the half.

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Monday: 2 mi. WU, 3 mi. tempo (6:34 avg.), 1 mi. recovery, 3 X 1:00 (5:50 – 6:00 ish), 2 mi. CD 

Monday was the only official workout of the week. This was actually supposed to be done Tuesday (since the half is Sunday, that would’ve still given me four days of easy runs), but my schedule on Tuesday is super hectic with strength training in the morning and coaching in the evening, so my options were Monday or Wednesday. Wednesday probably would’ve been fine as far as having time to properly recover, but I’ve settled into a good routine of Monday being a workout day and it’s nice to go ahead and kick the week off with a workout, so Monday was the winner!

I ran into Jill at the grocery store Sunday afternoon and she said that she was up for a “Move It Monday” workout too, so that worked out really well. It is always nice to have a friend to run with! We met at the track Monday morning, but Jill was less than thrilled about the idea of running a 3 mile tempo around the track (I think we just met there more out of habit than anything else) and I was less than thrilled about the idea of doing a tempo run on the sidewalks in the dark, so we came up with a decent solution and decided to take our tempo to the streets. We had to bail or cross to the other side of the road a couple of times because of cars, but otherwise it was great!

The plan for the tempo portion of the workout was a 6:40, 6:30, 6:20 progression. What we actually did was 6:47, 6:24, 6:28. Our route had a few hills (up and down), which made the progression aspect of the workout difficult, but overall our average was pretty much spot on. We got a one mile recovery and then we did three 1 minute “pick ups.” The pick up portion was hilly as well, so we got a bonus hill repeat or two thrown in there.

The workout flew by and I really enjoy workouts that have a little tempo followed by some speed. It keeps things interesting and you get in some solid work!

Tuesday: 4.5 miles (8:32 pace) + strength training

Tuesday morning was 4.5 easy miles with Rebecca and Jessica followed by 45 minutes of BACK exercises. Holy moly. I never knew there were so many different muscles in my back or that there were so many different ways that you could work them out.

Wednesday AM: 8 miles (9:06 pace)

Daniel, Jessica and I ran 8 easy miles Wednesday morning. Nothing super exciting to note, but it was definitely a good run.

Wednesday PM: 4 miles (7:35 pace) + strength training

We got our second strength training session in on Wednesday this week, which worked well. I got off work in time to do a few miles before our session started. I ran a little bit quicker than I typically would have because it was starting to get a little dark and I was by myself. I had my phone and taser on me, but still …

We did lower body and core Wednesday evening (lots of squats, donkey kicks and planks).

Thursday: 5 miles (8:26 pace)

Daniel and I got in 5 easy miles before work Thursday morning.

Friday: 5 miles (7:53 pace)

Friday morning was basically just a repeat of Thursday morning.

Saturday: 8 miles (8:32 pace)

My training group had 8 miles on the schedule this morning. We woke up to chilly temperatures (that seemed to come out of nowhere) in the 30s! I really wasn’t expecting that, but everyone bundled up and did great. This was their longest run so far!

Hopefully the temperature will be good for the race tomorrow … fingers crossed! It looks like it’s going to be mid 50s, which would be really nice.

Enjoy your weekend! Talk to you soon!

January Recap

Well guys, January is done! You should all have your 1099s and W-2s at this point, so it’s time to get those tax returns filed. Fun times! Ha. BUT … only 2 and 1/2 more months of craziness remains! It is probably too early for a countdown.

Since we are at the end of the first month of 2017, I figured it was time for a monthly recap post. I tweaked my “monthly recap” template for 2017 to keep things a little more interesting around here. We’ll start with running (because … running … duh) and then we’ll move on to the miscellaneous randomness portion of the post. There is not much that I love more than running and miscellaneous randomness, so I’m excited to report on both of these things at the end of each month.

Here we go!

RECAP: January 2017

Workouts: 8 workouts this month. From an overview perspective, I had one week of taper for the First Light Half, followed by a week of recovery (so just one workout at the end of that week) and then two pretty solid weeks of training for Rock N Roll New Orleans with 3 workouts per week.

2 mi. WU, 4 mi. brisk (6:49, 6:45, 6:40, 6:40), 1 mi. recovery, 6 X 30 seconds (6:00, 5:56, 5:52, 5:48, 5:44, 5:40), 2 mi. CD

16 mile moderate pace LR (7:30)

2 mi. WU, 12 X 400 w/ 200 rec. (85, 87, 85, 85, 84, 85, 86, 85, 87, 86, 89, 86), 2 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 3 X 2 miles (13:00, 12:54, 12:44), 2 mi. CD

14 mile LR w/ last 5: 7:02, 6:44, 6:42, 6:45, 6:55

2 mi. WU, 4 X 800 (3:00, 3:00 2:56, 2:54), 2 X 1 mi. (5:56, 5:52), 1.5 mi. CD

15 mi. moderate pace LR (7:38)

2 mi. WU, 3 mi. tempo (6:34 avg.), 1 mi. recovery, 3 X 1:00 (5:50 – 6:00), 2 mi. CD

Favorite workout: I really enjoyed what I am going to call “the race week workout,” which has been some sort of tempo combined with some quicker pickups towards the end (to get you used to pushing hard on tired legs). My first and last workout in January are both examples of this.

Races: 2 races this month. I ran the First Light Half on January 8th & the Charity Chase 5K on January 28th. I mentioned it in my last post, but I’m still contemplating the idea of doing a half marathon each month in 2017. July and August are actually the only two months that there isn’t a half somewhere in the state of Alabama, so I think it’s doable from a travel perspective. The half is my favorite distance too, so it just makes sense … right? Right.

Favorite Race: First Light Half! I rarely order race photos (in my 10+ years of running, I think I’ve ordered race photos maybe 5 times), but I really liked this one from First Light this year. I like that the clock is prominently displayed and I LOVE that my dad is in the background (on the left side in the blue jacket).

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Paces: My paces this month ranged from 5:52 to 10:34! That’s a pretty wide range. The 5:52 mile was in one of my workouts (definitely not an everyday pace by any means) and the runs that I do with the half marathon training group that I am coaching are usually closer to the 9:30 to 10:30 range.

Total miles: 290

Distances: The distances I ran ranged from 3 miles to 16 miles this month.

Strength work: Y’all. Please be super impressed by this stat. I did 4.5 hours of strength training in January (in the form of six 45 minute sessions). WHAT?! That is a big deal from someone who formerly disregarded any and all strength training. I can now pick things up and put them down with the best of ’em.

Current book: I am still working on Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight. At the rate I am going, I will likely still be working on this one until April. I’m not saying that it isn’t interesting, because it is really good so far, but I am just SO TIRED at the end of the day that I only make it through one or two pages before my eyes close and the Kindle hits me in the face (which oddly doesn’t even wake me up).

Current music: I’ve really been digging the song Just Like Fire by P!nk lately. We can get ’em running, running, running.

Current guilty pleasure: Afternoon coffee. You know it’s tax season when afternoon coffee comes back into your life. We have a fresh batch of iced coffee at the office, which is just plain irresistible sometimes.

Current drink: I placed my first official Nuun “ambassador” order and so I’m well stocked on Nuun for a ‘lil while. It will be interesting to see how long the 12 tubes will actually last me. I drink two tabs at a time and sometimes I drink two or three cups per day, so it might not last too long!

Current food: Breakfast has been the most popular meal that we have been eating out lately. My favorite breakfast meal that I’ve had recently was the Bananas Foster French Toast that I got from Brick & Spoon. It was every bit as delicious as it sounds.

Current obsession: Okay, so I’ve got two obsessions (I’m a slightly obsessive person anyway, so the fact that I only have two is probably a step in the right direction). One is Wayfair! They’ve got “Just What I Need!” Daniel and I have been browsing and saving lots of things! The second one is ChapStick (just realized that this is one of those things that what you call it is actually just a brand (like Q-Tips or Coke)). Santa put several things of “lip balm” in my stocking this year and I can’t get enough!

Current need: I need to pack for New Orleans!

Current indulgence: This is more of a “contemplated” indulgence at this point, but I am thinking about getting a standing desk converter for my computer at work. Unfortunately my computer is so heavy (#fourmonitorproblems) that the one I would need is quite expensive. I can’t decide if the cost is justified or not. I know sitting all day is not good and I really like the idea of having the option to stand, but I can also see it being one of those things that sounds way cooler than it actually is. Anyone out there have a standing desk converter? I need some feedback before I decide whether or not to splurge on this!

Current bane of my existence: My phone is about to drive me bonkers. Something is wrong with the volume settings and sometimes it rings even when I have it on silent and other times my alarm makes ZERO noise even when I have the volume on. So strange.

Current procrastination: My windshield has a huge crack in it and I have definitely been putting off getting that replaced. Did you know that you can actually get a ticket for having a cracked windshield (obstruction of view)? Daniel got a ticket for that once. For right now it is a risk I’m worth dealing with.

Current confession: I sometimes eat foods that are passed their expiration date. Daniel thinks that this is horrific and I usually don’t even think twice about it.

Current quote: In the spirit of getting prepared to be uncomfortable in New Orleans … 

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Current excitement: Rock N Roll New Orleans! It’s ALMOST HERE. I can’t wait!

Tell me something that you are currently excited about!